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Re: 10 Brain Things...and One Reminder that People are the Curriculum!

Stephen, Hope all is well up in your neck of the woods. Appreciate your pick-up of the "10 Brain Things...People are the Curriculum" post...and more appreciative of your thoughtful challenge to the introductory line: "patterns are truth". For what it's worth, a touch of context (perhaps a pattern, no less): The underlying 'goal' of the "10 Brain Things" (plus one for the road) was not to frame an argument. It was not to seek a thread of specific continuity. And it was not suggest that any one of those posts were the 'truth' or that there was a single 'way' to interpret or read any of those posts. Some of them I agree with in word and/or spirit. Some of them I do not in either word or spirit. Each, however, are punctuation moments in a continual stream of thinking...and thus form at best a 'pattern' rather than a singular or rhetorical argument. At least not for me. Therefore, when I wrote as an introductory comment, "patterns are truths", it was a) a provocation for others to Gestalt on their own terms and simply to re-echo what blog links are really all about: rubber band momentum rather than singular truths, and b) that in the future information 'gathering' and information 'sense-making' will NOT be a matter of ONE SINGULAR TRUTH to memorize and echo, but there will be a critical need to be PATTERN_SAAVY, to be PERIPHEAL, to be RESPONSE-ABLE, to be CONSCIOUS of WHAT LIES BETWEEN the LINKS. Otherwise, the sheer amount of information, and the sheer amount of content-authors, and the sheer amount of perspectives, and the sheer lack of singular authorities, and maybe the 'common sense' ideas shared by Daniel Pink (et al) of new CONCEPTUAL AGE thinking (left and right brain merged, rather than at war) will make it simply the 'cost of entry' if you want to be truly literate. Isn't there an unspoken or tacit expectation that "digital literacy" is more than simply being able to turn on the machine or type/stylus at some necessary speed, or write code, or manage dozens of multi-media mediums at one presentation moment, or to 'think' like Prensky's Digital Natives? Isn't it really about intuitive, adaptive, pattern recognition; being able to sort through a stunning degree of information quickly and placing value judgements on details in terms of 'relevant' or 'irrelevant' to the purposes of your search or essential question; isn't it about snowboarding on the rough ungroomed edges off the side of a trail rather than a linear, parallel, technically expert alpine glide down a groomed trail? So, back to the matter of "patterns are truth": Yes, I agree with you, patterns are perception, and whether or not we're comfortable with it or not, perception is lower-case "t" truth (for all you Aristotle fans) and the daily currency of our human experience, and while there are laws and truths and theories and commone sense expectations, our daily human experience is based upon making sense based on perceptions and trying to continually hone in one what we can live with. Same is true in 'school'. Tests and experts aside, the day of kids simply memorizing the map and coloring in the lines and nodding their head up and down just because I as the teacher said a fact was a fact is at best quaint, and at worst a dinosaur that hasn't left the building. You mentioned "room for error" when our mind leaps into action, leaps into sense-making. True. Absolutely. But "error" isn't the problem, unless you're holding the code at some missle silo or are paralyzed by a low SAT test score one Saturday morning. Learning is about experimentation and questions and error if it is to be real. Learning without errors has no long-term relevance. Like a velcro-closure sneaker when its scrubbed clean of any error in the process. We spend infinite time and energy worrying about answers and final decisions in the learning process as if 99.9% of our evaluations weren't arbitrary in the first place (although maybe filled with good intentions). If we spent that same time helping kids "ask the right questions", wrestling with ambiguity, being comfortable with errors and "not knowing" at first, think...think just how significant the learning process would be. Because if we don't figure out a way to make learning a customized experience for each single learner in this day and age and the future to follow, then 'thinking tasks' will be outsourced to machines and a few noble philosophers on virtual mountain tops. And since the future will most likely not be framed by simplistic boundaries and labels and linear rows to sit in, I'm guessing that 'pattern recognition' will be critical as a 'cost of entry' for all learners. Now, here's the final rock skipped across the water's surface for this morning: I am not interested in "patterns are truths" as "answers", although I do believe that for most of us they end up being so -- and maybe this was the "danger" you were hinting at. No, that's not my gig. My interest lies in "patterns are truths" as a launching point for discussion, for brainstorming, for learning to ask great questions. And in this, I do believe without reservation that errors are our colleagues and frankly better company than convenient "2+2=4" truths. Have a great day, Stephen...and great waking up to your challenge this morning. [Comment] [Permalink]