Complexity in Connected Courses: “Tis a Simple Gift”

Here we begin our course.  Initial conditions set.  Some string is longer than others. Some have different guages.  Equity? As much as can be accounted for.

I am a proprioceptric kind of person. I love embodied learning. When I saw these videos my body started to sway in sync to them and I began to wonder if there was something analogous to our work together in #ccourses. I put these out there with minimal text and invite you to watch and respond as you see fit. I find the whole process mesmerizing especially with the Shaker hymn in the background.

The initial conditions for connecting are set up. Sync up!

Initial Conditions Growing Out of Sync Back Into Sync Counter Back Out of Sync Back Into Sync Again

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

9 thoughts on “Complexity in Connected Courses: “Tis a Simple Gift”

  1. I have to confess that I didn’t hear the music, I’m one of those who fly over the media (including text) and stop when my eyes or ‘something’ I don’t know what it is, tells me to do it. I love the visual combination of the different videos when you fly over the post… i think life is like that, even with friends… there are some that dance with you or you with them for a while, and at some point some just go back to their orbits or you go away for what ever reason… but what you take with you is what matters… i think that’s what to be connected is, it is not a state, is part of the trip in life.. better don’t do it alone, but it doesn’t necessary need to be all the trip with the same people… at the end, people you cross around give you something that last and stays with you even when they are not longer there….

    1. Yes. Sync. The music and the text and animation are all sync. I am trying to demonstrate both the simplicity of initial conditions and the complexity of emergent behavior. And I am trying to create a post that IS that sync. You just get to another place without the music. The music itself is about sync, musicians, score/text, tempo coming together for performance. And the historical referents here are the Shakers, a millenial sect established in the U.S. with ties nearby in Kentucky, long since extinct because of their celibacy. They had forms of ecstatic dance as part of their worship. This simple hymn, “Simple Gifts” was part of their service. So they too practiced sync and by syncing with others they achieved an even greater synchrony. Or so they said. I had hoped that there would be many ways into the post. I had also hoped that folks would see, hear, and feel. And sync if they wanted. It was pretty ambitious I admit. Hey, if you don’t shoot for the stars you just might shoot your own foot ;).

  2. Not sure that webinars are a sync moment.

    They perhaps enable awareness of syncopation in our connected sytuation.

    No idea what all that means but I like the syn/sym/syn shapes of the letters.

    Hmm lovely: synthesis, Syn City, photosynthesis, Synderella…


    A Sycophant never forgets?

    I symply love nonsense.

    1. I think that sync is as natural in the world of connecting as it is in the physics of periodicity. We just have to be aware of the moment. In the webinar there were moments of silence between questions. If you go to the Soundcloud mp3 version of the webinar ( you can actually see it in the frequency image there. I think that when we sync our ‘waves’ double, triple, and quadruple. In society this can be a tide (just a lunar sync) and we call it the Zeitgeist. I don’t think it is all that mysterious. At some point folks just have faith in an idea or a person or an object. The sync isn’t always for the best. History is replete with these horrible synchronies. This is what I was upset about in the twitterchat on Monday. I have not yet put my faith in the experts who are pushing the idea of connected courses in the classroom. I am trying it in the classroom and parts of it I see working and parts not. And I cannot help but think of this scan from one of these bad old Zeitgeists, F.W. Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management (×569.png). I am not saying I am surrounded by Taylorists, but when I asked why should I trust them and no one says a peep, well… Actually Kim Jaxon does suggest a bit of restraint when she asks whether we should worry about all the reforms that have come and gone in education like so many waves of managers and bosses trying to pee their mark on something before they move on to bigger, better, faster, and more lucrative (my words not hers). The response on the webinar was deafening silence whereupon Gardner Campbell moves on, leaving the question hanging like an awkward middle schooler at his first dance. This is exactly what my response to Susan’s zeega is about (–what will you do with your one wild precious life? That is a damned difficult burden of proof on those in the webinar. They make lots of suggestions but in the end I am not bumped very far off my status quo by their lightning. And it’s not like I am all that attached to my status quo, but you know what I like even less? I dislike being so far out of sync that I am not even seen or heard in the conversation (or the twitter chat). I am out of round with a really long tether that makes me an outlier’s outlier. A freak. The fool’s fool. This ain’t no nonsense. You figure out the negatives there.

      1. I didn’t understand the lightning references. I did not see any sparks.

        I get uneasy with earnestness – particularly my own.

        What I mean by the webinar not being in sync is this idea of ‘worship’, of ‘apostles’ I don’t feel at all in ‘sync’.

        I agree with ‘The sync isn’t always for the best. History is replete with these horrible synchronies.’

        ‘This is what I was upset about in the twitterchat on Monday. I have not yet put my faith in the experts who are pushing the idea of connected courses in the classroom.’

        I would first question the notion of ‘classroom’.

        ‘I am trying it in the classroom and parts of it I see working and parts not.’

        I would be interested in what you mean by ‘it’.

        I would question what/who it is that we are wanting to amplify, extend, enrich?

        I am always ill at ease with this business of ‘A domain of your own.’
        It recalls for me ‘A house of your own’ which was a Thatcher slogan.

        Must we cable the net?

        I get a recurrent image of Russian Dolls which I haven’t unpacked yet.

        I value your open outlying.

        I don’t consider that freakish – au contraire.

        1. Oh, the lightning was in reference to their lightning quick opening responses on the webinar. Refers to quiz show format of quick questions and answers. Or perhaps you were just being hyperbolically dense 😉

  3. Just some quick formative thoughts. Lovely illustration of connected learning. Methinks it is far messier, but it will be hard to find an image/gif that captures entirely the chaos, jumps and starts.

    About sync-ing. I’d refer you to Randy Bass’ article in Unit 1 where he talks about his uncertainty — as to whether all courses need to look like this. No matter what teachers may think, I see every “course” as unique. It doesn’t have to be like the Ccourse. Components of connected learning can be integrated into a “course” design that works best for the learners.

    I didn’t attend the webinar but I’d offer this thought for discussion. Even in a face-to-face class, there is silence, and as teachers we do our best to encourage dialogue. So what’s different about silence in a synchronous event online?

    Every teaching act is a performative act. In the classroom and online. So there is action, silence/inaction, question, feedback or none. And technology hasn’t reached the stage where we can respond to every student who wants to “speak” online at the same time. But your data/question is archived and available for retrieval for a later response. 🙂

    1. I am deeply sorry to have missed your comments, your helpful and encouraging comments. I will be visiting your blog and reciprocating and hoping to be at least as kind and helpful as you have been.

      Metaphors/images/words are all constraints. We live with them and are by our awareness we just might rise above them. I am not so sanguine about what is ‘best’ for students. When I said I was implementing ideas, I meant that. Not best practice, ideas. Practice oftentimes is negotiated and improvised on the fly. No other way to describe it.

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