Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, July 31, 2003

The Invisible Perfect Loop

Sponsored Links


Education is the gym of our minds and what we are given in these institutions determines the types of brain we have and the critical thinking abilities we develop to contribute new ideas to society.

If these institutions do not apply principles and practices that allow:

a) knowledge to be revised and reformulated on an ongoing basis,

b) new paradigms to emerge and to be applied,

c) learning to be centered on students,

d) informal, learn-by-doing discovery approaches to knowledge creation

they themselves negate the creation and nurturing of any possible fertile ground for the evolution and renewal of our society and for our improved understanding of how things work.

If the teachers do not transform themselves in facilitators providing keys to "knowledge doors" for the learners to use, we are only going to keep imparting the same static concepts that are holding "this" reality in place while preventing any new one from taking over.

If academia dictates science and if science dictates (mainly through formal education and media) our reality and perceptions it seems clear to me that we have to work hard in the education arena to reform and gently subvert long-rooted close-loop-processes whereby the only knowledge imparted has been pre-selected and made unchallengeable.

We know well from history that knowledge and science are always challengeable and that they are not infallible. Allowing for mechanisms that provide easier questioning and analysis of alternative worldviews would certainly provide for much greater opportunities for growth and for solving present day problems in more efficient ways.

So, what I am driving with this point is that as a Communication Agents we couldn't care less about the technology and methodology used in Education until we do really target the core, global driving forces embedded in world education systems and institutions.

The issues of academic publishing and reviewing process.
The issues of access and terminology.
The issues of pedagogy as being a too frequently a missing element in the learning expertise provided by today's professors.
The issue of who is to learn from whom.
And much more.

We have enough Stephen Downes and Sebastien Paquets doing all of the conceptualizing, researching and scouting that could be done on this front but we miss the brave individual communicators who are after exposing these deeply reaching issues and that focus on reporting why the education system as is, with or without the incredible tools you talk about, cannot be of good use to humanity.

Please see what Sebastian Fiedler had to say on this:

"In your recent post titled "The Death Of The Webmaster: Why Weblogs Bring A True Revolution To Internet Publishing" you express thoughts and opinions that are very close or even identical to my own perspective on this issue. Take a look at this article of mine and you will see what I mean.

My paper titled "Personal Webpublishing as a reflective conversational tool for self-organized learning" offers some of the concepts that guide my current work.

I am convinced that the ideology of "obligatory curriculums" and "teacher knows best" shows more and more its severe limits and weaknesses, and I can surely see that working towards a counter-culture of people who take responsibility for their own growth and change is a political stance that is not embraced by educational institutions that are almost exclusively controlled by governmental, private and religious agencies (at least here in Germany).

The emerging personal Webpublishing culture displays encouraging features of a self-organized learning culture but so far it remains pretty much elitist and I find it extremely difficult to communicate its inner workings and special features to people who do not live highly networked lives.

There is a need to work towards a greater awareness of the way we all construct knowledge, its instrumental purpose, the value claims we attach to it, and how consensus can be reached.

Much of today's ritualized patterns of communication in the scientific community keeps this whole business rather instransparent and mystified. Following George Kelly's analogy of "man-as-scientist" we need to get aware that our daily meaning making efforts are not so fundamentally different from the more systematic activities of professional scientists.

What maybe required to achieve is a process-oriented focus on "self-organized learning" skills and practices should also serve to develop a more sceptical perspective towards science, its methods, and its knowledge claims.

Personal publishing technologies and practices can play an active role in changing the dynamics and flows among scientists and between scientists and a larger public.

What also maybe needed is an effort to try to equip more people with skills, knowledge, and tools that help them to self-organize their own learning and research, which in some cases might result in the production of "...independent, distributed, interactive, community based and highly personalised media", while in other cases people might professionalize their activities in a way that allows them to engage in and contribute the ongoing discourse within the scientific community.

Essentially, we all try to make our worlds and our futures more predictable through the construction of regularities in our experience.... and to reach some consensus about certain knowledge and value claims.

In many areas we cannot rely on the mere consumption of the pre-configured and pre-defined products of Science, School, and Public Media.

We can only change the distribution of power here if more and if more people learn how to research, how to take responsibility for their own learning, and how to produce and work with independent media we can offer a serious alternative to the established and imposed scientific worldview.

Why we need to change
Change is the only constant of this world as we know it. What gets more critically important is a more active approach towards human adaptation and deliberate efforts and interventions based on what we seem to know and understand.

Population growth, global networks and infrastructures for communication, trade, and transport, explosion of scientific knowledge production, and so forth, put great adaptive pressure on individuals, communities, and societies. We currently wittness that institutions, like schools and universities, or churches and political parties, that were partly designed to bridge generations via the conservation of attitudes, norms, practices, tools, etc. can hardly cope with the continous emergence of new demands, needs, and outside pressures.

Thus, people will be pushed into self-organized change and continous adaptation much more regularly in the future.

Rather than specific changes we need to develop a greater capacity and flexibility to adpat ourselves and our organizations and communities according to emergent needs and threats.

I don't see how our societies will be able to cope with future demands and threats, if we don't develop more individual adaptive power in the first place.

The time of centrally-designed and controlled problem solutions is truly coming to an end...

Greatest threats to humanity peaceful and harmonious evolution right now

- rising fundamentalism (political, religious,...) that goes along with a decreasing tolerance for "otherness"

- the "economic metaphor" taking over literally every part of life (including human relationships and life itself), leading us towards the unquestioned exploitation of humans and their environment

- the ideology of "scientific progress", the attached desire to control and predict this world, and the creation of technologies without the consideration of normative questions

Three greatest threats to education

- the complete institutionalization of education leaving hardly any room for other forms of intentional learning

- again... the exclusive application of "economic" patterns of thoughts and concepts

- denying of human qualities, needs, and potentials that do not fit into the economic-technological landscape

f) Three greatest threats to individual learning

- no tolerance for uncertainty

- lack of personal criteria of evaluation and quality

- complete dependence on educational authorities

How can we effectively give back choice, initiative and will to intelligent individuals ?

People can develop skills and practices that allow them to gain independence and more self-direction in learning.

Deeply ingrained beliefs and personal myths of their own capacities, talents, the nature of knowlege, and the process of learning are harder to change and sometimes require work that is closer to therapy than counselling or teaching.

For many it seems to be important to design educational events and environments that allow for an exploration of choice, initiative, and will in a save and supportive context.

Intentional change often results in performance dips before new patterns of thought and action can be established. Thus one can often witness how people fall back into old habits after a period of attempted change.

The range of freedom in human thought and action can never be entirely matched by design.

So, in a way I would say that we can model effective practices for self-organized learning, provide tools, enviroments and infrastructures, and design certain support services and mechanisms, but we will never be able to directly install "initiative and will"or self-direction.

These are qualities that have to grow within... and we do not hold any technological power over them. And frankly... I am quite happy about this lack of psycho-technology! ;-) "

Education needs to go through deep transformatory change because the educational institutions themselves have and risk to become more and more, as in the past, instruments of schooling and of power control to preserve established truths.

Here is the invisible perfect loop:

The great enemies that thwart society's growth and balanced interactions are few vested multi-national interests that own and direct the same universities that create the scientists who will write the scientific papers that through the same-interests-controlled-media will be popularized by non-competent journalists to determine the realities we perceive.

Anyone can clearly see how the academic world may very well be an extended tentacle of the vested interests we are so eagerly fighting in economics, finance, banking, environment, health/medicine, globalization issues and the like.

That is why Education is such an important aspect of the change and reform that needs to be brought about in society today.

What do YOU think?

Readers' Comments    
blog comments powered by Disqus
posted by Robin Good on Thursday, July 31 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Search this site for more with 








    Curated by

    New media explorer
    Communication designer


    POP Newsletter

    Robin Good's Newsletter for Professional Online Publishers  



    Real Time Web Analytics