Eating lunch at the edge of town

As the year ends, I guess there will be a flurry of bloggers reviewing “the” year. The more enlightened will review “their” year and only the very haughty would claim to have a birds-eye view of education or what is working. Only the ignorant would seek to turn everything into a Legrand Star which is just another bottleneck used to control the flow of ideas and usage of the Internet.

This year I’ve been given intimate access to the nascent technology of our time. The internet. The problem I’ve found is that as a network it’s brilliant at moving chunks of data around from one point, breaking them into millions of pieces which travel in unseen pathways, to be reassembled on my screen. No bottlenecks, information on the Internet, when in transit is dust.

People however don’t do this. They tend to want to own things and keep them whole. They say “we” but the mean “I”. They can bottleneck not just ideas, but people. They can take what someone had and hold it hostage.

Confusing peer to peer networking with client-server is one of the most remarkable mistakes people make. For many people, a network is a link wheel and “people” are terminals to receive information.

Sadly, peer to peer is corrupted time and again by individual agendas seeking to centralize “progressive change” on their ideas and those who they choose to add to their link wheel.

The idea of the Internet was that no one machine had authority over the others. This doesn’t seem to feel true of people. I don’t think the most amazing people are at the core – those whom dominate the dialogue and conference stages – but at the edge.

That’s my take on my year, I think the most inspirational and intelligent ideas still exist at the edge of the network, and that forming a PLN in the way the core like to present it is to ignore the nascent nature of the phenomenon of the Internet.

To stay free is to know that sense making happens by re-assembling dust and to know the no one has a birds eye view of what is happening or what is best unless they are foolish or controlling. The Internet, by it’s nature is not a democracy. There is no ground-up movement for change, as this requires a top. The idea the top is the most popular is just perpetuating the same school-yard society that many people had to suffer as a kid.

Perhaps a PLN or controlled network is just that, revenge for a shitty school-social experience being revisited. Oh that’s a bit dark, however just as plausible as now eating lunch with the populars.

My point – if I have one – is to avoid proprietary networks and ideas at this time. Bring things into the world of kids from the edge. This doesn’t have to be an iPad or web-tool, it can be philosophic, irony, stories or just lowering your V-Mask and being more human.

Choosing technology also means choosing predicated network belief, culture and assumptions. This doesn’t necessarily mean making your skills better or you having more knowledge, as the behavior of those at the core is to constantly diffuse what the network thinks was true a day before. For example: the endless lists of 5 things, none of which are more than opinion sanctioned by controlling gates on the network – issued to nodes.

Kids have amazing peer networks. I love that peer networks in Warcraft still work like dust. You arrive, play with people for a time, then leave. The game upholds the rules not some central person. Of true 12.5 million players, its hard to see anyone one person producing powerpoints about how Blizzard should improve the game and then selling a book about it.

But beware: peer does not mean equal, nor positive deviants accepted. Quite the opposite. It continues to hack me off, as “leaders” ignore nodes. The minister for education – will ignore all teacher nodes – as will the hierarchy – a PLN and a Legrand Star seem the same to me. I can’t know, as I too don’t have a birds eye view of “educational technology” and no one knows the future.

But I do see some “gurus” peddling the same diet through the bio-system to their followers today as five years ago. Who wants to live on an IV-drip via Twitter. Not me or you I hope.

Clearly I’m keeping a blog here that reflects my view that what should be exploring new ideas with kids and popular agenderising is just creating another Legrand Star, diffusing achievements from the edge.

To sell you wares, one must court the kings favour.

There appears to me, to be no difference between these PLNs and the “system” they like to use as fuel to progress individual agendas. They spend no time trying to figure out what the outliers are doing, but have adopted a strategy of feeding their nodes small and frequent meals of the same diet today and five years ago. The big difference, now they are on Ipad3 not 1.

I would like to offer an new position or emotive call to action. But, just as people tend to not re-tune the radio in their car, little will change, apart from the fact it’s ever harder to see the edge and escape the bottlenecks.

Whether you are ignored, trolled or lifted – social media has some behaviour that seems more regressive than progressive. But at the edge or the positive deviants, tinkering with new ideas and stuff with peers. But their PLN is probably small and diverse – because in the history of technology, large mass groups have almost always been proven wrong.

2013 will be spent at the edge for me. But hey, eating lunch at the edge isn’t so unusual. Sure beats giving you lunch to the playground trolls.