Sunday, October 25, 2015

Learning is a mechanism. 1. Starting point

I was browsing absent-mindedly a Facebook stream. 

There was something which attracted my attention. 

It was a Slideshare presentation. 

It was a Jesse Stommel keynote from somewhere. 

If I were on my PC, I would embed it but for now I place a link to the slides:

There were two aspects which immediately attracted my interest:

1) The image of a Stormtrooper holding an over-sized Scrabble tile (I think letter B). 

The Stormtrooper's body and head position were ambiguous. 

There was a story to unravel therein. 

The image of the Stormtrooper with the title evoked questions of power, violence and yet the Scrabble tile suggested play and the way in which the trooper was holding the tile made me think he or she or it was clasping a precious object to his breastplate armour.  

Was the tile a tablet? 
Was the tile a holy tablet?
Was the tile an infant?
Was the tile a book?
Was the tile a book of spells? 
Was the tile a book of spelling? 
Was the tile a volume of an encylcopaedia for the letter B?

My curiosity was aroused.

I love imagination-riffing off curious assemblages.

2) The title: Learning is not a mechanism.

I don't know why the title resonated so much.  

It is perhaps a gut reaction against humans being harnessed to machines. 

It is perhaps a throw back to Tess of the D'Urbervilles - a scene of country folk being strapped to the philistinian terror of a steam-powered COMBINE harvester. (I note I capitalise combine - I am not sure why - on questioning my choice - I insist on keeping it thus).

It is perhaps an emotional response against a form of "education" (I deliberately italicise)  that sees drilling, procedural steps, discipline, as 'professional', efficient', ´rational', 'serious', 'accountable',  as what the tax-payer, the shareholders?, are paying for, because as we all know, 'education' is expensive and 'time is money'.

We need STANDARDS to stand for.
We need STANDARDS to brandish.
We need STANDARDS to rally the troops.

Strangely however, it was not the title itself which really has captured my imagination, it is its antithesis:

Learning is a mechanism.

It was this idea which sparked a process of hunting, rummaging, reflection, remembering, questioning, reading, studying, collecting, puzzling, noting, ordering, packing, imagining, imaging.

I started drawing out signs on a Popplet. I started connecting symbols.
I quickly came up against conceptual, typographic, emotional, flatness (I quickly refer back to Nick Sousanis - and book mark Unflattening) 

Thinking with word tiles was not enough.

I think back to an earlier post Scrabble.
I think back to an earlier post Submission.

I realise that I am researching sensory, depth, context collapse, dynamic conceptual bubbling (that is the image which comes to me) here. I shall leave the unsatisfactory grammar as written. 

I am essentially immersed in this ecology of which I i i i i i ... am a part, of which I iiiii  are universe.  

I don't stop to question this for fear that I will delete it as nonsense. 

The Iiiiis have IT.

I imagine that to explore learning as mechanism I can not:

Do this with overview.
Do this alone.
Do this as sythesis.
Do this flat. 
Do this apart. 

I must do this through multiple, apparently disconnected vignettes (I note not really understanding this word and enjoying this idea.). 

I leave this in suspense...

Thank you Jesse for the tile.

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