Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Net Smart - an online session with Howard Rheingold

Wed 13 June 4pm 2012 at the TDC:
Net Smart - an online session with Howard Rheingold
Click here to watch a recording of this session. Allow the Java applet to download and launch, then use the Collaborate Playback controls to play it.

Howard Rheingold addressed the Transdisciplinary Group via a Blackboard Collaborate connection from his breakfast table in California and aimed his talk at both the room and online participants who could update google documents and contribute to chat commentaries as the talk progressed-as searchers , curators, mindmappers  and lexicon investigators. He focused on the subject of his new book Net Smart which addresses the nature of successful online participation and social networking.

Intelligent, Humane and Mindful Uses of Social Media: notes on Rheingold's talk by Jackie Calderwood and Tia Azulay.


Poor attention when texting and walking leads to thousands of accidents yearly:(,8599,1724522,00.html)

Students are often distracted by media during lectures-he studied them using video recordings  both from his viewpoint as lecturer and from behind the class. His best student was  multitasking and seemed actually degrading his understanding of the lecture.

He identified a number of modes of interaction such as multi-tasking and the emergence of supertasking, which perhaps 5% of his students manage -where multiple focii can work effectively rather than being a distraction. He asked if  we are born that way or if we have learnt something transferable? 

He also distinguished the mindfulness of Buddhist and Hindu teachings and Metacognition  (Metacognition on Wikipedia: which relies on good symbolic models and representations and mindful intention and the right mode of attention.
Mental attention can be scattered or focused, mapped sequentially or spatially.

infotention training ( suggests better and faster microdecision making- that is  thinking for a microsecond, become more conscious or aware how you are making your decisions about information.

In his own research he uses rss aggregators as dashboards with their own information hierarchy:
tabs (drag and drop on daily/hourly basis)
feeds (radars)
It doesn’t matter if you use paper & pen and peripheral vision, so long as you make your attention deployment and routes to goals visible daily, not by forcing the issue, but simply by paying attention and matching one’s  spatial attention to those priorities. 

Such attention can be trained. Dr Daniel Segal, The Mindful Brain (neuroscience) investigates this open mode of participation. 

It is important to breathe!(Linda Stone)  ‘email apnea’ – the holding breath whilst emailing must degrade attention. ( to Intention changes the brain . In the brain tasks & neural networks fire together - the repetition reinforces abilities-attention changes ones ability, and the brain models attention to take control of one's attention.

Critical Consumption or Crap Detection
Much misinformation is posted online. In order to establish reliable evidence, triangulate sources:
(Hemingway: Writers need a good internal crap detector)
Ping - enables you to see if a website is up or down
With news of the Internet being down during the Arab spring in Egypt-Twitter was about half hour ahead of the world news, but it was still up to the individual  to find out if the rumour was  true or not.

He advised avoiding the Echo Chamber effect: the polarization of opinion by  only speaking with people with whom they agree.  See also Mayfield's Power Law of Participation:
He went on to describe Social Capital and Curation: (Jenkins’ term in Participatory Culture) . Social bookmarking eg napster - music from other users online and curation as a lightweight  ‘collective intelligence’.  As for Collaboration See Howard’s TED talk (2005):
and Way-new collaboration TED talk on YouTube:
Crowd sourcing e.g. Wired’s article  on Jim Gray: 50+ Social Curation Tools: or the discovery of folding patterns in large organic molecules such as the HIV virus - foldit: amassing computer power to fold protein molecules for medications/disease ( )
The presentation of self online, see: 'Presentation of Self in everyday Life' (Goffman, 1959): He also considered the relationships of networks: bridging capital, 6 degrees of separation, the fill of ‘structural holes’. Social science research also identifies the phenomenon of pay it forward (future social capital through favours)  - not done online yet but has been common in face to face ineteraction See: Harvey Smallman eg. (

         A Netsmart Lexicon:

Social media includes web-based and mobile based technologies which are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue among organizations, communities, and individuals.
Metacognition is defined as "cognition about cognition", or "knowing about knowing."[1] It can take many forms; it includes knowledge about when and how to use particular 
strategies for learning or for problem solving.[1]
email apnea: the unconscious suspension of breathing as people deal with their emails.
Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is that mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.
Echo chamber: a hollow enclosure used to produce echoing sounds, usually for recording purposes. For example, the producers of a television or radio program might wish to produce the aural illusion that a conversation is taking place in a cave; this effect might be accomplished by playing the recording of the conversation inside an echo chamber, with an accompanying microphone to catch the echoes.
The term "media echo chamber" can refer to any situation in which information, ideas or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission inside an "enclosed" space.
Digital Curation: Digital curation is the selection[1], preservation, maintenance, collection and archiving of digital assets[2][3]. Digital curation is generally referred to the process of establishing and developing long term repositories of digital assets for current and future reference[2] by researchers, scientists, historians, and scholars. Enterprises are starting to utilize digital curation to improve the quality of information and data within their operational and strategic processes.[4].
Social Capital:Individuals can use curation of interesting locations to create social capital with other networked individuals In sociology, social capital is the expected collective or economic benefits derived from the preferential treatment and cooperation between individuals and groups. Although different social sciences emphasize different aspects of social capital, they tend to share the core idea "that social networks have value". Just as a screwdriver (physical capital) or a university education (human capital) can increase productivity (both individual and collective), so do social contacts affect the productivity of individuals and groups".[1]
Architecture of Participation: A phrase coined by Tim O'Reilly that is used to describe the nature of systems that are designed for user contribution. Architecture of Participation is a Web 2.0 concept in which a community of users contributes to the content or to the design and development process.
Collective Intelligence: Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision making in bacteria[clarification needed], animals, humans and computer networks. The term appears in sociobiology, political science and in context of mass peer review and crowdsourcing applications. This broader definition[clarification needed] involves consensus, social capital and formalisms such as voting systems, social media and other means of quantifying mass activity. Everything from a political party to a public wiki can reasonably be described as this loose form of collective intelligence.
crowdsourcing: a process that involves outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of people. This process can occur both online and offline,[1] and the difference between crowdsourcing and ordinary outsourcing is that a task or problem is outsourced to an undefined public rather than a specific body, such as paid employees.
Cooperative learning: the use of small groups through which students work together to maximize their own and each other's learning.
Centrality: how important a person is within a social network,
Multilingual: …. : 2. using or able to use several languages especially with equal fluency
Second Screen:  refers to an additional electronic device (e.g. tablet,smartphone) that allows a television audience to interact with the content they are consuming.

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