Monday, February 18, 2013

Learning Creative Learning: week 2 #lcl-gears

- Seymour Papert (1980): Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas (Foreword: Gears of My Childhood)
  1. "Anything is easy if you can assimilate it to your collection of models. If you can’t, anything can be painfully difficult. Here too I was developing a way of thinking that would be resonant with Piaget’s. The understanding of learning must be genetic. It must refer to the genesis of knowledge. What an individual can learn, and how he learns it, depends on what models he has available. This raises, recursively, the question of how he learned these models. "
  2. "Thus the “laws of learning” must be about how intellectual structures grow out of one another and about how, in the process, they acquire both logical and emotional form."
- Joi Ito blog posts: Formal vs Informal Education,
  1. "I wonder how many people have personalities or interests that aren't really that suited for formal education, at least in its current form."
  2. Is there a way to support and acknowledge the importance of informal learning and allow those of us who work better in interest and self-motivated learning to do so without the social stigma and lack of support that is currently associated with dropping out of formal education?
Reading the Dictionary,
  1. "Although reading the dictionary and the encyclopedia from cover to cover may seem a bit extreme, it often feels like that's what we're asking kids to do who go through formal education."
  2. "I wonder whether we should be structuring the future of learning as online universities where you are asked to do the equivalent of reading the encyclopedia from cover to cover online. Shouldn't we be looking at the Internet as an amazing network enabling "The Power of Pull" and be empowering kids to learn through building things together rather than assessing their ability to complete courses and produce the right "answers"?
  1. " "Education" and at the notion that we actually understand the world causes us to be unprepared for the unpredictable."
  2. "All of our theories are very incomplete models of the real world and the only way to really get close to understanding the real world requires a kind of "unlearning" and a connection with the real world at an intuitive and an "uneducated" level."
  3. "Immersion and mindfulness are really important ways to see things that you normally don't see."
- Joi Ito (2012). Keynote to Open Educational Resources meeting (video), Hewlett Foundation.
  1. tl;dr - too long, didn't read
  2. "if it weren't for the internet, I would be a completely unlearned, uneducated person who probably wouldn't have the opportunities that I did."
  3. "The internet is changing everything for everyone"
  4. "You've created this environment that's massively reduced the cost of innovation."
  5. "pushes the center of innovation from the big centers to the edges."
  6. "the cost of failure is also zero."
  7. "the internet is all about open access, freedom to innovate, and freedom to connect."
  8. Small Pieces Loosely Joined, David Weinberger
  9. "most pieces of the internet are small and take care of themselves"
  10. The Power of Pull, John Seely Brown, pull the resources as you need them. Pull from the edges. Don't stock information."
  11. The spirit of the internet; you work together, you share, and you build the most impressive team you can imagine." 
  12. Ties to learning... we want kids to be able to pull form the edges not try to memorize the plan
  13. "learn stuff by messing around."
  14. "Anti-disciplinary, for the misfits that couldn't do anything anywhere else.
  15. Question Authority, Think for yourself.
  16. "This is a hard thing to teach. How do you assess this?"
  17. construction vs instruction
  18.  "How do you empower everyone to be a teacher?"
  19. "Create local role models and local ways of thinking. Look for small deviant behaviors in society and amplify those"
  20. "Replace the mentality of teacher with being a coach. Listen instead of preach"
  21. "For K-12, have a lab that's multi generational, that's a chunk of the day. Build stuff and tie the learning to it."
- Mimi Ito et al. (2009): Learning and Living with New MediaMacArthur Foundation.
  1. Robust participation in networked publics requires a social, cultural, and technical ecology grounded in social and recreational practices.
  2. Networked publics provide a context for youth to develop social norms in the context of public participation.
  3. Youth are developing new forms of media literacy that are keyed to new media and youth-centered social and cultural worlds.
  4. Peer-based learning has unique properties that drive engagement in ways that differ fundamentally from formal instruction.
  5. Our values and norms surrounding education, literacy, and public participation are being challenged by a shifting landscape of media and communications where youth are central actors.

What did you find most surprising in the readings?
  • That I agreed with almost everything that the writers had to say, especially in the Open Educational Session.
  • I was struck by how much Seymour Papert has influenced my own work. I first saw him speak at lamplighter School in Dallas, Texas in the early 1980s. His work just made so much sense to me and I think I have carried his ideas with me for a long time In some sense, it's all coming full circle with this class.
What did you disagree with or have questions about?
  • I would like to see more information (and this will likely be addresses in future classes) in how to set up an environment, and more importantly, how do we know when we have learned what we need to know?

Write about an object from your childhood that interested and influenced you.

I thought long and hard about what influenced me. I don't remember any one special toy, and that may because I have 4 younger brothers and had to share so many things. But then I remembered my sailboat! We grew up in the summer around the ocean. A big right of passage was turning 13 when you didn't have to wear your life jacket on the dock when going boating. At some point in my childhood, my Dad bought a sailboat from a local boat builder. Called a Chickadee, it was named after Booth Chick who was a legendary builder of wooden boats. At just 13 feet long and with a single sail, it was the perfect vessel for learning how to sail.

I had a few lessons, but not being one to really internalize boatloads (pun intended!) of information, I found that I could figure out how to make it work by experimenting with the wind and the sails and the currents. It was one of the things I could do all by myself, and I learned to be pretty good at it.

I spent a great deal of time seeing how fast I could go, and many experiments were done seeing how far I could heel until I almost flipped the boat. I would try "coming about" (turning with the wind) as opposed to jibing (turning across or against the wind). I would pull up the centerboard to see if that helped. And every once in awhile I would get out in the ocean, have a great day, only to get stuck in the river when the wind died down to nothing. All of this took place long before cell phones, so it was up to me to figure out how to get back to the dock, usually on my own!

Many years later, I was given a chance to join a sailing club off the waters of East Africa. Amazingly, it came right back to me, kind of like riding a bike. My sailboat is still in my parent's garage. I haven't used it in years, but I go look at it every summer and think about those wonderful days of freedom. 


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