Wednesday, September 20, 2006

hyper media representation is irreversible

I realise that I have embraced hypermedia to the point of no return.

I started the rewrite of my Cairns talk about programming, blogs and wikis on Office Writer / MS Word but was also making another version on a new wiki I have just created, Learning theory evolves

The linear word doc became unmanageable because I kept cross referencing multiple blog and wiki posts from the past and sometimes selecting extracts from them. After a while my presentation became too large and it was very difficult to keep the doc version and the wiki version in synch. I only have a 30 minute time slot.

I can only put it together coherently in hyper media

I have to do it in this way. Present an introduction, which is essential philosophical / developmental:
  • ... programming is one of the best games
  • we author ourselves with language, with the help of others
  • eat your own dogfood
I follow this with the course ingredients and then, more importantly, the course dynamics, which do turn out to be dialectical:
  • routine skill development / open ended challenges
  • serious / fun
  • doing / documenting
  • individual / group
  • spoon feeding / eat your own dogfood
I make short statements about each of these subheadings and include lots of links for those who want to follow up. I do the same for the final sections, How Did it Go?, and the meta-reflection of my own development

The reader can find their own path through this and decide what to do with it. That suits the reader / audience / perhaps future collaborator better too.

Most of it was created and documented in hypermedia as we went along, by myself and my students. Since it was initially created there it has to stay there and be documented in that way. Otherwise it would be artificially constrained and truncated. You can't put hypermedia back into linear format. It's silly to try.

It will succeed or fail on the quality of the philosphy / dynamics. The detail is important too, of course, but there is too much detail, so the audience is invited to pursue their own interests wrt the detail.

The current version of my presentation is here.


Anonymous said...

"You can't put hypermedia back into linear format. It's silly to try."

You've identified something quite interesting here Bill, how using ICTs changes the way we think and thus the ways in which we are happy communicating.

Have written a couple of things for publication in print publications this year and felt unhappy with the way the ideas were communicated in both cases. I I now find linear text limiting and like you identify here I much prefer to communicate read and write through hypermedia

Love your new wikispace and am also interested in how George Siemens wiki aligned publication Knowing Knowledge will work out

Bill Kerr said...

thanks arti

I've also found that attempting to podcast my presentation has impacted significantly back onto the written version (so far I am doing it in small sections which are linked from my wiki , due to the 10MB size limit at boxnet)

the late garth boomer once talked about the importance of transformations from one media to another in learning

i found in attempting to podcast from my written word that it didn't flow nicely. i think when we read and write that we "autocomplete" an enormous amount, dot points are effortlessly transformed into linked conceptual meanings

but this doesn't work in the same way when hearing the spoken voice. maybe the spoken voice is more linear, there is effort involved in just listening carefully, a lateral thought might prevent good listening

at any rate, i'm finding the transformation to podcasting to involve more learning (and difficulty) than i anticipated it would. perhaps, i'm not just not a radio sort of guy, i'm far from satsified with my current efforts. one thought is that it might work better to provide both a podcast in combination with slides, as graham wegner and mark prensky have done. multimedia literacy must be an interesting area, i expect that some of this has been theorised somewhere but haven't had time to look yet

clark alrich does address the question of limitations of linear content in quite a strident way in his introduction to this podcast : "we have sacrificed so much (90% of worthwhile knowledge" by grounding ourselves in linear content - books, movies, lectures, even hypertext is a small variation - this has crippled schools, crippled training programs - the great challenge is to untrain, to unprogram ourselves and to think of content more dynamically - when we turn knowledge into books you lose 95% of what the person knows - you need to appreciate non linear content before we can see how inefficient linear content is" ( he then goes onto making money which takes the gloss of his talk unfortunately)