Monday, January 31, 2011

Who is the bellwether in your social network? #cck11

Just before this #cck11 MOOC course started, I began reading a booked called Bellwether by Connie Willis. Talk about serendipity! The plot wove around two researchers brought together by chance (or was it?); one researching chaos theory and the other trying to find the root cause of fads. 

Bellwether (novel)Image via Wikipedia

This book was given to me by an Australian parent at our school. I think she liked the main character's need to check out literary classics at her university's library so the stats would show them as being used; not as inactive - slated for removal.

The ultimate conclusion of this novel was that certain people feel an "itch" which drives them to create or do something new. They are not necessarily the most knowledgeable person, but they can be the catalyst in creating new knowledge. 

Do we assume leadership has an purposeful effect or that a conscious decision is always behind leadership? 
The bellwether in a flock of sheep isn't a "leader" because they are smarter; they lead because they are faster and hungrier... the rest of us just cascade. 

Does this catalyst exist in social networks? I like to check the original person followed on each twitter account. Thankfully, it doesn't all lead to Kevin Bacon... but there does seem to be only a few with original thoughts feeding each area of knowledge. I want to join those different areas together, throw in some serious chaos, and see what floats to the top!


  1. Hi Jennie...

    Thanks for the book recommendation. Speaking of serendipitous connections, you mentioned that the book addressed issues associated with creativity. I just got done reading "The Element" by Ken Robinson. It is an excellent book. There are some great videos of his presentations on-line as well:

    He discusses creativity and the fact that many people never reach their "element." This is not because they lack creativity or do not have the capabilities to create original work. Rather, our institutions (and schools in particular) are playing a role (and in some ways an inadvertent role) in limiting people's opportunities to truly explore their skills. Premium value placed soley on science, math, writing, and so on result in so many other disciplines being pushed aside and devalued. Robinson in by no means anti-teacher or anti-education, but he raises the critical point that our current system is out-dated, is built upon values of a previous era, and needs to change.

    I highly recommend checking out his work.

    Mike :)

  2. Thanks for the tip Mike - I love everything Ken Robinson puts his mind to! I personally am becoming more anti-teacher/anti-education because of it's current form. It's not the people - it's the institution.

    I have started to follow the "disruptive" school of thought. The current system can not be improved... just ignored when more choices open up. If we could shift the energy away from fixing a broken model to completely different ways, we would be so much further along the enlightenment continuum.

    In the meantime, we all have to make the best of our system and do the most we can for the current kids; questioning the things that Alfie Kohn focuses on - grading, homework, competition, etc.

    I am following Gary Stager, Roger Schank, and Stephen Downes. Who else is pushing the paradigm?