Thursday, February 28, 2013

Target Technology Stack

To support my work in completing my Open and Networked PhD one of my major tasks will be developing software. My current thinking is I will be developing an internet portal to allow people to bring together their digital badges. I want to provide people a way to bring together all their validated learning accomplishments into one place for display and supporting analytics.

For software development I need to choose a technology stack, or the server software and programming language(s) I will use for development. This will be a LAMP stack for the following reasons;
  1. I have already been developing on LAMP for a number of years. So any additional learning curve for this project will be shallow.
  2. I see LAMP to be the technologies of;
    • Linux (or Ubuntu)
    • Apache (Web Server)
    • MongoDB (Database) - this replaces MySQL as it is now owned by Oracle and can no longer be considered non-proprietary.
    • PhP - used with HTML5 and CSS3 in an MVC pattern
  3. I want to choose an open and popular platform currently used within the education technology space.This stack, with the exception of MongoDB, is used by WikiMedia, Moodle, Drupal, and Wordpress. Pretty much all the major players in the Open Education space.
  4. I will host all this on rackspace... because I've used them for a number of years, for a number of clients, and they totally rock!!!
  5. I seriously considered node.js and it may become a part of the project as I more deeply explore the openbadges infrastructure... this would add to my learning curve.
  6. I will most likely use github for source code librarianship... but I wonder about the best approach and schedule to releasing my work into the open. Mostly, I think about working for free and releasing my work at the correct time.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

OnPhD: Detail your contribution

This is the blog post describing completion of the third task of the OnPhD candidacy challenge. In this post I detail what I am going to do as my contribution to furthering human knowledge.

My contribution will fall within the intersection of education technology, systems architecture and heutagogy. My current thinking toward this area of focus will be to create a badge clustering portal that will allow people to gather and create badges from the different non-obi compliant badges systems. The benefit of this would be to support my thesis that we need a way of collecting together peoples learning to provide validation and recognition. My working thesis is;
The ability to validate and cluster all the events of life-long learning, regardless of their origin, will provide the required alternative to emancipate the self-directed learner from the limits of traditional accreditation. This shift will enable every learner, regardless of approach, to pursue learning with the same level of recognition as learners in traditional institutions.
  1. Detail your ideas around a significant contribution. (remember this can be altered as your knowledge of the domain of study deepens, it is an iterative process)
    Build a web portal, with support for mobile devices, which allows a user to consolidate there badges from many non-obi compliant badge systems.
    • The technology platform will utilize a MVC approach using HTML5, CSS3, PhP and MondoDB. Rationalization of this technology stack will be in a follow-up blog post.
    • Solution architecture will be focused around open platforms and standards. A strong service orientation using RESTful type approaches for integration.
    • Features will always look toward assisting the self-directed learner in consolidating thier accreditations.
  2. How are you going to publish?
    I will publish frequently on my blog with papers written for major project milestones and upon completion of significant design elements. I will publish in two primary locations; first, utilize online open journals and second, pubish on wikiversity.
  3. Where will you engage your network of peers and mentors?
    Online! I will communicate regularly with my peers and mentors, both directly and via online communities. I will seek feedback with all my regular blog posts and provide more formal engagement processes with all major publishing events. If engagement requires discussion I will ask to publish the video or audio chat. I will be very transparent through all my engagements. Peers and mentors will be aware of this before they are asked to engage.
  4. How is your work going to be peer reviewed?
    Peer review will come via my publishing in the open, my regular and frequent engagements, and through blind peer review via the journals I utilize to publish my major works.
  5. How are your findings and data going to be published in the open?
    All documents and data will be published in the open. People can request complete data sets and open API's will be made available. Note: privacy policies will be put in place regarding participant data.
  6. Describe how you know you are finished.
    When users badge clusters are successfully rendered and shared from their user page within the web portal.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

OnPhD: Identify your domain of study

This is the blog post describing completion of the second task of the OnPhD candidacy challenge. In this post I describe my domain of study and provide a potential PhD thesis statement.

This sentence and slide stack (with audio) should answer questions 1 thru 6.
My domain of study is the union and intersection of the educational technologist, the solution architect and the self-directed adult learner (heutagogue). The intersection of these three topics encourages the study of personal learning ecologies, the technology stack and distributed computing that supports personal learning, and the devices and user experience that best suits the self-directed learner.

These two sentences provide a potential PhD thesis statement.
The ability to validate and cluster all the events of life-long learning, regardless of their origin, will provide the required alternative to emancipate the self-directed learner from the limits of traditional accreditation. This shift will enable every learner, regardless of approach, to pursue learning with the same level of recognition as learners in traditional institutions.

To do: The completion of this task exposed a gap in my knowledge. I need to do a bunch of research on Heutagogy. From this reseach I will build another concept map, but this work will become a part of my OnPhD.

Course Design Sprint

Outstanding!!! Early last year I wrote a post playing with the idea of a course design sprint. The main idea being the development of a full online course in a reduced amount of time. less than five days, or some low number of days like that. In my post I dreamt of having the time to execute on the idea to see if it would work.
Agile Instructional Design Sprint
Well it turns out my friend Billy Meinke ran a course sprint this past weekend.  The course was developed as a launch course for the School of Open during Open Education Week (Mar 11-15). I really don't want to take the wind out of their sails... so you can read about all there great work yourself. I'm just so flipped out they proved this idea out! Kudos to everyone involved, particularly Billy!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Solution Architect

This concept map is a compliment to the previously posted "Educational Technologist" post. These two concept maps together provide the visuals for my identified domain of study as I work through the P2Pu challenge to declare my OnPhD candidacy. This concept map contains the two related concepts of Solution Architect and Information Technology (IT) Architect. Many of the skills and knowledge for the solution architect are a part of the overarching role of IT Architect. It is my intention to seek a research domain that occurs within the intersection of Education Technologist and Solution Architect. I believe bringing greater architectural discipline to the educational technologist role will assist greatly in growing this important role within the rapidly innovating educational space.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Teach people to teach themselves

What stands out for me most is that we need to teach people to teach themselves. Everyone needs to design and develop their own learning methodology and implement for the rest of their lives. This methodology needs to include and recognize other people as places where your knowledge resides. People also need to alter the methodology through time, but it is still their own learning design methodology customized and upgraded for them and by them. I believe people can begin to get meta-cognitive during their teens. I think this timing would be different with everyone. But when a person is ready they need to develop (with rigor) their own learning approach.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Peter Rawsthorne's Career Narrative

Family on Quiniscoe Summit, 2551 m
I really do love to build and integrate software solutions, particularly internet solutions. And the more information sources and distribution, the better. I am truly invigorated when building solutions that take the complexity of a well thought out business strategy and create kicking customer facing internet portals. I also get jazzed when the solution directly supports the business' back-end processes so the business can be smarter and more nimble. If there is uncertainty around strategy due to the project being a start-up idea (or wild-ass dream), I can proceed with experience using agile and lean approaches. I can create a project heartbeat where we ship regularly with focus on customer need and successes. This is all fun for me, and if all this falls within the knowledge management or adult education domain, all the better.

Over the last 23 years I have occupied almost every role within the development of information technology software and internet solutions; I've worked as a programmer, a database administrator and solutions architect, through to manager of information technology. I have been successful in large organizations, in small internet start-ups, and many organizations in between. I feel it is a great accomplishment that I can bring projects to completion regardless of when I join the project and within any technical or leadership capacity. I believe it is important to finish the things we start.

I am excited about opportunities with medium sized organizations and consulting firms who are looking to innovate their business through information and internet technology or assist others in improving their business through technology innovation. My experience and education would have me in the role of senior solutions architect, consultant, or director of information technology.

If you have an interest in working together please do not hesitate to contact me; peter AT rawsthorne DOT org.

If you want to view my career history my linked in profile is a great place to start;

Friday, February 15, 2013

Gears of my childhood

I am involved in the current running of Learning Creative Learning with MIT and P2Pu. A fantastic online course which is prompting much reflection and confirming much of what I am doing with inspiring adult learners. I am definately on the right road!

This weeks activity is to;
Read Seymour Papert’s essay on the “Gears of My Childhood” and write about an object from your childhood that interested and influenced you.

I struggled with this. I didn't have an object like Papert had, something that I grew my learning around, something I would use to visualize or conceptualize my learning. Something I did have, and still have... is the bicycle. I rode my bicycle everywhere, to school, from school, to the park, just up and down our dead-end road. My social life was around the bicycle for many years, we had a bike club on our street. Every day and every weekend we would meet-up and do things, the bicycle was a constant.   I didn't think about the bicycle in direct relationship with my learning. It never was a gear to my learning. I would rather see is as a foundation to most of what I did, and played a big part of forming who I am today.
  • The bicycle provided a freedom to travel great distances, unsupervised. Today, I love to travel.
  • The bicycle provided me access to a number of different social circles and friendships. Today, I know many people and socialize across social and economic domains.
  • The bicycle provided me travel to many different events. Today, my interests and studies are broad.
  • The bicycle allowed me to escape the restraints of what was expected of me. Today, I seek (with confidence) alternate routes to desired outcomes.
  • The bicycle was easy to take apart and put back together. Today, I am constantly taking things apart and putting them back together, often improving them along the way.
  • The bicycle caused me injury, but I always made it home. Today, I pick myself up on bad days and have persistence to keep going.
  • The bicycle took me places I could not have otherwise gone. Today, I am still curious and follow thoughts, ideas and inspirations to places I would not have otherwise gone.
I know that the bicycle isn't the same as the gear as described by Papert. I never used the bicycle as an analogy or image to base my learning. The bicycle provided me a freedom to become an autodidactic.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Badge System Design: Task 1

This is my work toward completing the first task of the badge system design challenge on P2Pu. This post is exactly the same as the comment I entered as completion of the task.
  1. Please introduce yourself. And include information about your experience with badges (both traditional and digital) and what you are wanting to learn specifically about badge systems design.
    • My name is Peter Rawsthorne. I am creating this Badge System Design Challenge for P2Pu. The best way to get a sense of who I am is to view my blog and related links; Particularly, the connect with me links top of the right column.
    • I have been involved with badges most of my life. I was a scout, I participated in a number of programs with the YMCA, I was a Canadian Sailing Association participant, and a number of other merit badge issuing organizations. The depth of my early experiences with badges is well described in my confessions of a badge addict post.
    • I have also been developing learning resources for the Open Badges project since Q2 of 2012. A summary of this work can be found in this post about agile learning and open badges.
    • My focus in creating this course and with badge system design in general is to deepen my understanding in how best to design a system of badges and to what granularity of criteria for each badge.

  2. Describe your experience with course and curriculum design. Don't be shy, tell us about a small lesson you created for yourself or a complete degree program. Or any possible descriptions of works in between.
    • I have been creating courses and curriculum for over 20 years. I have worked in small computer stores providing digital literacy workshops for parents, I have worked for Universities and created faculty workshops, courses and curriculum for students. I have built many online courses and curriculum. I enjoy building learning materials and most recently have enjoyed creating Open Educational Resources (OER).
    • Most recently I created a two week seminar series about badge systems design. The seminars were a combination of directed online discussion and two 1 hour lunch-and-learn screencasts. The wiki containing the all the artifacts from this seminar series can be found on the SCoPE site;

  3. Tell a story about rubrics or learning outcomes. And if or how you have you used them? and within what context? Do you know what a rubric or learning outcome is? And how they would apply to learning. If you don't know what a rubric or learning outcome is, describe a badge (traditional or digital) you have earned or someone you know has earned. Describe the requirements to earn the badge.
    • I have created rubrics for many different courses and learning tasks. One of my favourite experiences in building rubrics was when teaching into a B.Ed program at Memorial University. All the students collaborated and built a rubric for evaluating other students educational blog posts and their strategy for using blogging as a learning tool with K7 students. I believe rubrics are an excellent way of focusing the tasks along a learning journey.
    • I have used learning outcomes only a few times, and they were a part of a course description. The idea was to describe what the student would know or what they would accomplish through the course. It was a description of the outcomes of the course.
    • I believe rubrics and learning outcomes fit well, as a proven educational approach, when creating the criteria for an open badge.

  4. Consider your commitment to this challenge. Do you want to just complete each task within the challenge or do you want to contribute to creating each task within the challenge. Building this challenge as collaborative effort will make it way better. Either way, engage, contribute, enjoy...
    • I am committed to creating this challenge end-to-end. I will create a few tasks within the challenge and then complete each task as if I am also a learner taking the task.
    • I'd like to encourage others assist in creating this challenge and would enjoy working with other badge system designers in building this challenge. I believe we would all learn more, and create a better product, if we worked together.
    • I am wanting to implement a flipped assessment approach within this challenge. I see flipped assessment as an experiment. And P2Pu is the right place to conduct this experiment.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Learning theories, frameworks, and approaches

So I'm building a concept map for my application of candidacy for the Open and Networked PhD program with Wikiversity and P2Pu. The related P2Pu challenge requests a creative work that describes your area of study. My areas of study are self-directed life-long learning approaches (Heutagogy) and software architecture. One of the concept maps I am creating attempts to answer the question "what is life-long learning?" I started to visualize the terms;  pedagogy, andragogy, heutagogy, behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and connectivism. I began to struggle with how these terms relate to each other within a concept map... so this micro learning journey began and inspired this blog post. How best do I visualize the connections and relationships among all these terms?

I read, I reflected, and I settled upon two main categories for the following reasons;

1. Approaches to teaching and learning
This set of terms describe ways of teaching and learning. And they describe how a person can learn and provides ways to plan and conduct learning.
  1. Behaviorism - a large amount of repetition to achieve the desired action.
  2. Cognitivism - sequenced learning. Learning is a determined journey, that with direction desired learning can be achieved.
  3. Constructivism - a persons learning is built upon previous learnings and knowledge. New learning are put into place based on this previous knowledge.
  4. Connectivism - knowledge is stored in your friends, the information appliances and the objects around you.
  5. Others - there are many other approaches, but I see the above four as the most generalized set
  6. Inquiry - I'd also include inquiry based approaches, cause they work really well... IMO.
2. How I perceive the learning theories
All of the theories are about how humans learn (or can be taught, depending on your perspective). I believe the biggest factor in applying learning theory is age. I do believe children learn differently than adults. I also believe adults can learn a lot from how children learn.
  1. Pedagogy - how kids are educated [taught or learned (let's say K12... could overlap into higher education and before kindergarten)]
  2. Andragogy - directed education strategies for adults
  3. Heutagogy - self-directed learning by adults (strategies for the adult to learn without the direction of others)
So there you have it, three theories and six approaches... I do believe that all six approaches can be used within each of the three theories (with varying degrees of success). All this reading and reflection influenced the organization of my concept map to look as follows; more on this to come...

DRAFT Knowledge Domain for the Educational Technologist v0.2

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Flipping assessment

I've been exploring the idea of flipping assessment for a while. It started with my work as a TA during my M.Ed graduate studies, also explored it during my time with WikiEducator, it was confirmed as I reflected upon my graduate studies and every community of practice since, and I designed it into a language learning portal I architected a while back. Why do we have people who have already completed the work (and possibly long since forgotten the details) assess those currently working on building their understanding. Why not have the cohort of learners most current with the subject provide the bulk of the assessment. Why not flip the assessment and have the novice learners assess those a few steps ahead on the same learning journey? I believe the cohort of novice learners (working with master learners) would be the most motivated to develop understanding and invest the most time in the assessment of another learners work. Particularly, if the assessment event is a formative event and just a part of the overall assessment.

This is what I envision for flipping assessment. This wouldn't be a complete flip, where novice learners do all of the assessment, but they would have an increased role in the assessment of the learning cohort. As I see it the elements of the diagram are as follows;
  • Working from left to right a person masters a subject.
  • A subject within a knowledge domain is exactly that, a complete subject that fits within a larger domain of knowledge. An example would be baking bread is a subject within the food preparation (or cooking, or baking) knowledge domain. And the subject of bread baking is large enough to be considered a subject within itself where someone would develop an expertise.
  • An Interested learner is a person with an interest in the subject, who never actually studies the subject, but they will read about it and not shy away from a discussion.
  • A Novice learner is a person committed to learning a subject. They actively seek out information, read and consume information about the subject. They participate in learning events (online and otherwise) to increase their understanding. They would even take a course from a traditional institution.
  • A Master learner is someone nearing completion of their studies of a subject. They could be considered to have "almost" mastered the subject.
  • Teaching assistants are people who are rewarded for providing mentorship to learners. This role is a part of traditional institutional learning, and plays a role in helping learners master a subject. Teaching assistants are often much closer to a subject than a professor as their learning was more recent and, given their role, they are closer to the learning cohort due to their frequency of personal interaction with the learners.
  • A Seasoned learner is someone who has mastered a subject, and is not actively involved in learning the subject. They do continue to read about the subject and actively seek out new and related information. They are members of communities of practice regarding a subject and occasionally engage and/or contribute to the community. They are very current with the subject and provide feedback and guidance to other community members.
  • The Professors are well, professors. They are most often people with Ph.D`s who are very active in furthering and adding to a domain of knowledge. Their focus is not always on teaching or the details of a specific subject within their chosen domain of knowledge, unless that is their area of research. I guess what I want to say is that a professor won`t be focused on the subject matter (and the learners study) of an undergraduate level course and its specific subjects. This is not to say professors can`t be an amazing resource for someone learning a new subject. A professors time should be used very wisely, but finding ways to encourage their engagement is good.
  • The Experts are people who, through a number of different methods, have become experts in a subject. They continue to be experts by ongoing reading, personal research tasks, and involvement with online communities. They sometimes lurk (even engage) in online learning communities. Getting experts to contribute to assessment would be great, and finding ways to include them is time well spent.
My plan to implement flipped assessment
I want to experiment with the idea of having novice learners assess the work of master learners. Both the novice and master learners need to be active within the same learning journey, where the master learner is only a few lessons (or tasks) ahead of the novice. The idea being the novice is beginning their study of the subject and the master is almost finished.  I want the novice learners to read and understand the work of a master learner and give it an assessment. If the novice has questions, they ask them of the master learner. The master learner also has to encourage the novice learners to assess their work. Without this assessment neither the novice or the master will progress to completion. If novice learners want to team up to assess a master learners work, they can. This flipped assessment will not be the only assessment the learners will receive as a peer based summative assessment will occur when a learner has finished their study of the subject.

I plan to implement this flipped assessment in the Badge System Design challenge I am creating in P2Pu. The design of the challenge is iterative in that we will be covering the topics more than once with increasing depth as the challenge progresses. This iterative approach allows for a task earlier in the challenge to include the assessment of another learners completed works later in the challenge. Essentially, a novice learner is assessing the work of a master learner. Flipped Assessment.

If you are interested in the previous background chat discussing this idea it can be found in Google+.