I was lucky to have been a part of a very, very messy learning experience this holiday season. This learning experience was not a MOOC but rather a connectivist learning experience called “a happening” per Mike Caulfield.
The happening was a semi-structured community learning experience using Federated Wiki as an authoring tool. The goal of the happening, if I understand fully, was to get several people together that would write and “fork” each other’s writing.
I found the technology less than intuitive. I spent much of my time accidentally writing over my own pages numerous times. I attempted to create new pages that would disappear, I added a comment to Jenny Mackness’s page, and tried to fork pages to add comments to them in different ways. I even attempted to add a background to my page multiple times but continued to have the “orange halo” issue. It was forking frustrating!
As I made mistakes, rewrote posts and overwrote my work again and again, I kept wondering how difficult it would be to use this technology for education until the UI/UX became more simplified.
I have to give some serious credit to Mike Caulfield and Ward Cunningham not only for holding regular hangouts (which I did not attend and I wish I had) but for also jumping on a google hangout when I was stuck. In order to better understand forking of pages on #fedwiki, I turned to Alan Levine’s post: Federated Wiki in Motion (like a bent fork).
This was my messiest learning experience to date. I needed to focus on the fundamentals of the tools before we got started but rather I started by creating content that I deleted many times. I really wish I had created the content in word so that I wouldn’t have to recreate pages over and over. This focus on recreating content that was lost kept me for connecting ideas and reading others posts and pages. I understand from Maha Bali and Jenny Mackness’s blog posts that the collaborative idea generation was the best part of #fedwiki. I feel like I may have been drowning in the shallow end of the pool during this experience and missed out on the best part.
Now that I’m getting a hang of the technology, I’d love to continue or join another “happening”.