Connectivist Learning – Searching Yourself

I have “experimented on myself” all my life, and I have been consciously documenting my actions, for over 20 years now…

Now, before this blog goes south on wild misinterpretations, let me explain. It has always been my personal passion to conduct self-immersion action-research. My first encounter in immersion-self-experimentation was probably at the age of 4, or somewhere around that. I remember clearly, my father – an engineer, professor, researcher, experimenter, and joker – had asked me to read aloud from a children’s nursery book.

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While reading, he asked me to stand straight, and periodically adjust the focus of my eyes to the edge of the book and beyond, so that I could simultaneously focus on him, as he sat at the opposite side of the table. My father would then pick up a flash card that was sitting on the table, and show it to me, as I was reading the children’s nursery book.

These were math flash cards, the kind which had a formula on one side in red, and the answer on the other side in blue. The objective of this “game” was to have me read the poems in the children’s nursery book, while simultaneously answering math questions. My father was experimenting on me – seeing if he could train me to multitask with both my artistic right brain (poetry and language), as well as my scientific left brain (math and logic).

Now remember, I was only about 4 years old at the time. At that age, I didn’t think about what was asked of me. I just did whatever my father told me to do. So, in response, I would (in one single breath), verbalize something in the lines of the following:

“I saw a ship a sailing…. 2+2=4… a sailing on the sea… 1+3= is also 4…. And, oh! it was all laden… 5+3=8… With pretty things for thee!”

To me, all this was just a “game”.

To my father, the “game” was an experiment.

Later as I grew up, through the years, my father continued to “train” me in a variety of other cognitive methods. At the time, I had no clue about “cognition” or “training” or “learning” or anything. It was just all in a days work – a first born child’s active relationship with an intellectual parent.The realization that these activities were in fact “experiments” on cognition development, only came much, much later in life, when I had become a parent myself, and after having had returned to grad school to pursue a change in career. I had practiced as a professional architect for 15 years, while dabbling part time as an adjunct faculty for 5 years, when I finally took the plunge, to shift focus and change religions from industry practice, to full time academia. My choice of major was Instructional Design and Technology. From there, I learned all about cognition, pedagogy, action-research, and a whole lot more – much of which I had already “experienced” live, hands-on, through my father’s “experiments”.

FYI, no, the career change was not due to any failure in the field of architecture. In fact, I was doing quite well in the industry at the time. The fact of the matter was, I was, and still am, innately and incessantly, entrenched in “immersion-self-experiments” a.k.a. “immersion action research”.

I do what I do, not because I have to, but because I have to…

My father has since passed away, but the lessons learned have stayed crystal clear in my memory. The most sharp and apparent realization from all these memories, is that all these “learning activities” were executed as “experiments”. I am now into my second half of my 40’s and my own first born child is entering young adulthood. I too, through the years, have “trained” my two children via “experiments”, and I also continued to “teach-myself” using my father’s methods. I know first hand, from the hard earned cognitive callouses in my long term memory schemata, that self-immersion is indeed a powerful and effective method for learning.

I have written about, and through, this method in various posts in G+ and here in this blog website. Topics range from “Discovery Learning”, to “Binge Learning”, to “Mobile Learning”, “Connectivist Learning”, “Metacognitive Learning”, and a variety of other eclectic “learning” topics. My writing style is purposely informal, as I write primarily to document my own observations. However, my intent is also to communicate to others like me – people who are not involved in “formal” higher education research circles, but who, in their own personal lives, practice the  fundamental raw essence of “action-research”, which is to experience, observe, analyze, synthesize and then reiterate with intervention for the purposes of improvement.

And thus, my blog today is to share a technology tool that I recently just learned – the Google search-command that allows you to search for your own comments in any G+ post, including posts that are not your own. I use this method to search, revisit, reflect on, and analyze my own learning online (metacognition).

Link to post by Ronnie Bincer: How to Easily Find Your Google+ Comments.

Link to my G+ post re-sharing Ronnie Bincer’s original post.

Search-command to find my G+ presence in other people’s posts: “roz hussin” -inurl:117219403239374562288

Link to relevant article on how Google Search focuses on aggregating information about people rather than just keywords. This resonates with my research hypothesis, that the value of online learning is not in the information content per se, but in the Connectivist Culture that exists in this environment.