concepts

The knowledge delusion: What changes and what stays the same

Classical Definition of Kno

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An interesting discussion took place between two prominent e-thinkers who both agree that the 'nature of knowledge' is changing but disagree on how and what the implications are. Stephen Downes summarises the notion of changing knowledge as follows.

Twitter backlash exposes shallowness of modern psychology

Twitter's Update Page

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The Inquisitr responds to a recent Times article on Twitter with the phrase 'load of bollocks, up to a point'  but he is wrong. It is entirely and thoroughly bollocks. There is not a single quote in that article that is not at least partially nonsense. More than anything the psychiatric response to Twitter stems from the profound failure of modern psychology which for the last hundred or so years has lived off a populist reification of some of Freud's interesting insights. For instance this quote from Alain de Botton:

A load of Twitter - Times Online “To ‘follow’ someone is to have a fantasy of who this person you’re following is, and you use it as a map reference or signpost to guide your own life because you are lost,” says James. “I would guess that the typical profile of a ‘follower’ is someone who is young and who feels marginalised, empty and pointless. They don’t have an inner life,” he says.

 

If a word falls in the woods...The interactional nature of meaning

It seems the Oxford dictionary has inadvertenly posed a rather serious challenge to the semanticians of the world. They launch a fun little website asking the net to save individual words reminiscent of the parrot Gerald Durrell's "Talking Parcel". Lifehacker immediately recognized the utility of such a project for party entertainment:

No fair in Bulgarian: Universals of language and particulars of culture

A rather silly comment in the Christian Science Monitor about the consequences of the supposed lack of the word for 'integrity' in Bulgarian on the Bulgarian economy recently drew the ire of Mark Lieberman on the Language Log: 

Obama, Socialist Realism and the Inventory of Expressive Units of Culture

Obama and swaying fields of corn was a major theme of his 30-minute pre-election and then Elizabeth Alexander's poem at the inauguration brought it home during the inauguration:

Can personalisation address the digital generation's issues?

This video presents a vision of the new generation that may or may not point us in the right direction for personalisation. It puts forward a vision of radical social and cognitive difference that we need to take into account when constructing an online space. On the other hand, we need to approach this critically lest we fall into the trap of innovating based on the surface appearance.

Personalised learning and its kindred spirits

Personalised learning isn't a concept that stands alone in educational history or contemporary approaches. I've already mentioned its basic affinity with Rousseau's Emile but that is more a piece of trivia than anything else.

There are a few more substantial analogs that can be made:

  • Problem-based learning
  • Portfolio-based assessment
  • Distance learning
  • e-Learning/m-Learning
  • Self-directed learning/Learner-centered instruction
  • Montessori schools (and similar alternatives)

Personalised learning and centralised outcomes

It occurred to me from a recent conversation with an educator trying to implement elements of personalization that one of the biggest issues facing this idea is the dichotomy between learning that meets the personal needs of multiple students who are nevertheless working towards the same shared outcome that is then tested by

First impressions: Advocacy, student self-advocacy, special needs and personalised learning

My initial impression from looking at the literature on personalized learning is that there is no clear concept of what self-advocacy within personalized learning involves. First, the term self-advocacy if rarely used. There is talk of the student voice, consultation, etc. but not of self-advocacy.

It appears that the term self-advocacy is predominantly  linked to students with special needs (which includes both physical and learning disablities as well as gifted pupils). And in that context there is a very good definition available:

s/z: British/American approaches to personali(s/z)ed learning

It's not often that one gets to write a blog post referencing the work of Roland Barthes but it was exactly the difference between s and z that served as the title of his famous work that provided a shortcut to an accidental discovery.

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