Here are the comments posted about various articles on my previous blogs, the content of which has been moved here.
Thanks cookingontheriver! Some cyber communities are intriguing, but they all lack the person-to-person dimension. In terms of teaching, your assumption is that teaching is lecturing. From this assumption, online learning isn’t all that different. However, if teaching involves developing real learning communities, where interaction, spontaneity, emergent themes, and intensive relationships are central (which is what we should be trying to do), then e-learning can’t come close. Earlier this summer I taught an online course. Students liked it, but I felt like I was hog-tied. Now, I’m teaching an in-person class with a student from the online course. I asked how my teaching was different… There was no comparison….
Though I seem to agree with all that you write here the experience of a cyber-community such as facebook presents connections and a feeling of shared experience. It is only a virtual experience. It might not replace the school experience of a teacher lecturing, standing in front of, a group, but is there an either/or here? Neither is ideal. Both present that double bind of standing up and sitting down at the same time.
Moussa, Thanks for the response. You’re partially correct, but the most rigorous and authentic problem solving and critical thinking take place within “real,” not “virtual” communities of practice (Lave, Wenger, Rogoff, et al.). The majority of our learning is social (and again, not “virtually” social) where communications are not limited to the written word. It’s more than facial expressions that we miss. We miss group mind (distributed learning in the sense of open systems). Even here, with this email communication, we’re probably missing 70%…. :). Jeff
Jeff, While I agree with the fact that distance education limits the possibility of reading people’s facial expressions and other forms of body language, it provides, however, learners with the opportunity to engage in critical thinking as well as problem solving and problem posing activities. I don’t think we should throw the baby with the bath water. The only major concern I see with DE is the lack of true contact, thus, impacting the way people interpret each other’s ideas. Despite these surmountable flaws, I believe DE allows students to connect with each other in a way that would not have been provided by traditional form of education. Just a thought! Moussa
Nadia,Yes, I do remember our great conversation. I’m really glad you wrote. I wish I had more time to develop this blog. I’ve been thinking a lot about psychological layers, which we all build as layers of “ego” (from both western and Buddhist perspectives). Some of these layers may be important constructs with varying degrees of porosity and flexibility (kind of the sense of a healthy ego from the western psychological perspective). On the other hand, we develop layers that act more like borders or barriers that try to solidify our senses of self and other and all the space in between (this is the idea of ego from the Buddhist perspective). These layers separate mind and body (Cartesian duality) and separate us from others (environment, people, etc.). I think different people have varying degrees of solidity in these layers. Some more open and some more closed and solid. So, as Bateson discussed, there seem to be three different types of relationships that can arise from the types of layers we’ve created (I don’t particularly care for his names for these relationships, but….): (a) complementary, which is the sense of dominant-submissive — these relationships ultimately separate; (b) symmetrical, which are competitive or based on vying for control — these relationships ultimately separate; and (c) reciprocal, which is based on negotiation and equitability — these relationships tend to unify and last. I’ve written some papers about these relationships as they emerge in schools. Any way, I’d love to see what you come up with. And, please feel free to add commentaries to my blog.Keep in touch. It’ll be nice to keep a conversation going.Take care.Jeff
I am excited to have run across your new blog! Your post came at a good time as I was taking a break from working on a paper in which I am presenting ideas on the fit (perceived) of a person with their sociocultural environment and how this fit can influence the attributes of the larger system. I have been struggling with a good way of describing the multiple aspects that contribute to an individual’s level of fit between themselves and their environment. After reading your post I realize that maybe I am skipping an important ‘fit’ between the individual and themself. This ‘fit’ may be better explained with a discussion of layers, psychological layers as protective barriers, and layers and their role in defining relationships. Thanks for the thought-provoking post and I hope you are having a nice summer. As a reminder we met at the AERA meeting during dinner with the Complexity group.
Amen and amen. It amazes me that community leaders were complaining about people coming out of school not knowing how to do basic functional skills for the work place and society because the schools were teaching to the end of the year test…in the mid 1800’s. (Look up Colonel Francis Parker.)
By Karsten on 5/27/10
nice site jeff. guy
Its a really great effort to make students creative. Its really sad that violance that is perpetuated by the politicization will destroying the future of the students. So the responsibilty of the politician is to only give the funds and stay away from the edcaution system because they dont know whats the edcuation system running in the schools. Thanks cours espagnol madrid