Thursday, October 9, 2008

CCK08 - week 4 – History of Networked Learning

A History of the Social Web (for some reason, Trebor Scholz took down the original link and now we rely on the link to the archive)
A Brief History of Networked Learning George Siemens

A Folk History of the Internet - this is very much a work in progress that I have been assembling over the years. If you are logged in on my website ( you can edit the contents of this wiki. - Stephen
Other useful resources for this week:
History of Open Content – George Siemens

Notes from readings:
A History of the Social Web - Trebor Scholz

“On Distributed Communication Networks” – Paul Baran, 1964 – on fear of an attack by the Soviet Union, the need for a communication that could withstand a projected large-scale (possibly nuclear) attack proposed a distributed network which allowed sections of a distributed network to be destroyed while the message would still reach its destination.

Supported by “Packet Switching” – Leonard Kleinrock, 1960 - Baran describes ‘packet switching’: all the nodes in the network would be equal in status to all other nodes, each node with its own authority to originate, pass, and receive messages." If there is a traffic jam at one point in the network, it can be re-routed.

By 1975 most of what happened on ARPANET was email, which was really not in sync with ARPANET's explicit research focus but it demonstrated the desire of people, given the opportunity, to be social, to talk to each other.

1977 - Mailing Lists – MsgGroup; Groupware – MUD (multi-user dungeon which combine role-playing games with chat rooms – later to become MMORGs – massively multiplayer online role-playing ie World of Warcraft WOW)
1978 – Bulletin Board Systems; USENET newsgroups, a system that copies files between computers without central control
1979 – ‘emoticons’ used to improve the dry text medium of the email
1981 – first IBM PC with mouse
1988 – Tim Berners-Lee & Robert Cailliau – conceptualised WWW, HTTP, URL, HTML
1993 – Marc Andreessen created a browser accessible to the non-technical person – which was rewritten to become ‘Netscape’ – Peter Steiner cartoon “on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”
1995 - the cross-platform software language JAVA, a "building material" for software, was written at SunMicro Systems, named after coffee, Silicon Valley's favorite beverage
1999 - Napster (peer to peer music sharing software) was important as it established expectations-- information wants to be free.
2000 – RSS 1.0 released
2000/2001 – Wikipedia created
2002 – Friendster, Last.Fm, Technorati, Flickr launched, ‘folksonomy’ & ‘social software’ termed/coined
2003 – Delicious,
LinkedIN (based on ‘weak ties’ – as you’re more likely to get a job through weak ties instead of strong ones Mark Granovetter 1973 "Getting a Job"),
MySpace (the most culturally influential social networking platform in the history of the Internet to date with about two hundred million users. According to freelance writer Trent Lapinski "MySpace was actually created by executives whose backgrounds are anchored in spam and mass marketing... [and] essential to the creation of MySpace is current CEO Chris DeWolfe.” "DeWolfe learned that people will sign up for almost anything that they find useful, and they could care less about the fine print." Spam became a central "feature" of MySpace,which, in 2006, makes it abundantly clear that "the company has 'a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license ... to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute' all content uploaded to their site.”),
Second Life launched.
Google starts ‘Adsense’ program allowing many individual bloggers to monetize traffic on their site.
Podcasting became popular.
Skype released.
Iraq War begins and anonymous Iraq blogger Salam Pax started to report
PeanutButterWiki (Pbwiki) started
2004 – ‘Weblog’ official used in Webster dictionary; Facebook starts at Harvard Uni; Orkut – Google’s social networking site founded; LimeWire released
2005 – ‘Web 2.0’ coined; Ning, YouTube; GoogleVideo, Blip.TV launched; Bebo becomes popular (launched in 1997)
2006-2007 – a plethora of social software sites are launched, including Twitter (2006) – 1 billion people are online (2007) – 2 million English Wikipedia articles – 200 million MySpace accounts – 30 million Facebook users, growing by 4 million each month

"The Precariat" in which they state that: “Precarious work refers to all possible shapes of unsure, not guaranteed, flexible exploitation: from illegalized, seasonal and temporary employment to homework, flex- and temp-work to subcontractors, freelancers or so called self employed persons.” In the years to come the ideas surrounding the term of the precariat were applied to new labor conditions created by a networked lifestyle.”

“Networks in computer science, ecology, molecular biology, and quantum physics, according to Barabási have much in common and can inform us about online communities and social networks.”

Recent social websites (ie Facebook) do not allow users to ‘delete’ their accounts, and content cannot be easily exported.

The future of networked sociality is clearly linked to the anticipated two billions cellphone users of the near future.

A number of influential internet innovators work towards an internet which is free and user driven. However, in recent times, even though social websites are still ‘free’ that are not without the restrictions of not being able to delete accounts, ransomed by where people’s friends are, and the hindrance of being able to export content.

A Brief History of Networked Learning George Siemens
Networked learning is not new. Networked learning has been occurring throughout time – farmers sharing their knowledge – however, with the introduction of computer/telephonic technology and its physical networks to allow connectivity has brought to the forefront how networks facilitate learning
Barabási issued the statement: “Networks are everywhere. All you need is an eye for them” - Albert-László Barabási chronicles his awakening to the power of networks in the 2002 publication of Linked - (p. 7), indicating the increased awareness of networks as an underpinning structure in many disciplines.

Five significant stages can be noted in how networks are viewed within the educational space can be found in a review of literature:
(a) infrastructure development – the physical technical infrastructure ie computer software, hardware and connectivity;

(b) merging with fields which have an existing research base – sociology, mathematics and physics which have an established research base on networks, ;

(c) theoretical and transformative views of learning, knowledge, and cognition;
Salomon (1993) suggested the development of distributed cognition—cognition that occurs “in conjunction or partnership with others” (p. xiii), is due to three reasons:
(a) the growth of computers as tools to assist in intellectual activity,
(b) growing interest in Vygotsky’s theory of cognition as a product of a particular context or social setting, and
(c) dissatisfaction of the limitations of cognition when viewed as solely “in-the-head” (p. xiv).

Technology aids in the distribution of cognition as it enables us to “project ourselves outward digitally” (de Kerchove, 1997, p. 38), or, more boldly, “to treat the Web as the extension of the contents of one’s own mind” (p. 79).

(d) practicality and popularization of social network services; - The popularization of social software raised the profile of networks. Social networking, however, did not become main stream until the 2003 launch of MySpace. A potential secondary benefit may be the development of network thinking skills on the part of learners, as they discover ways of finding information and people, as well as solve problems through active involvement in a network.

(e) as a model for detailing the process of education and learning.
Within this stage, educators are beginning to explore how network models can assist not only collaborative learning in online and blended environments, but with pervasive mobile learning

This popularization, unfortunately, has led to the term network acquiring a degree of vagueness with multiple potential meanings.

The multiple potential meanings of the term network, as expressed by the five stages of network development, need to be recognized and reflected in order for educators to more precisely communicate concepts of connectivism and networked learning.

Connectivism, as a theory of learning, is developed against the backdrop of physical network infrastructure, development of the social learning theory, and distributed conceptions of cognition and knowing. ….. they served as an underpinning structure to the development of fields of science, literature, and technology.

A Folk History of the Internet – Stephen Downes

To show that what makes the net great is not the technologies and the CEOs but rather the stories, trends and fables that characterize the internet experience.

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