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Posts tagged ‘#TowardPersonalLearning’

Students, measurement, & connection: Book Club Post 4

Time for another Summer Book Club post! What? You say summer is over?? I am keen to hold on to every ray of sunshine, and as a slow reader, I’ll be posting well into November. This post covers pages 240-347 of Stephen Downes’ (free) ebook: Toward Personal Learning. I wrote about the earlier sections in these posts:

My method in writing these posts is to gather the bits that stop me in my tracks, make me think, write them down, and then connect the dots around them. Three themes emerged for me in these hundred pages: the students, the measurements that sometimes bind (as in hold fast, like hands tied) us, and connections. Let’s start with the students. Read more

Strive Less, Share More: Book Club Post 3

This is the third in a series of posts reflecting on Stephen Downes book Toward Personal Learning. I suggested it might be a summer book club, and a few people have joined in – some have even posted! There is an excellent reflective piece here by Charlag. This post contains musings on p.179-271.

As I read, I keep notes, because with the start of term drawing ever nearer, I want to keep on top of this. I am already a bit behind, although I got stuck with good reason. (hint: it’s the line of text that became the title. It really struck me, and for a week I didn’t read on, but reflected on it)

…now where are those notes I keep? Let’s find them and see what really caught my eye in these eighty odd pages. (Remember I got stuck, so I’m a bit behind and didn’t do the full hundred yet)

Downes goes on to pick holes in Brennan’s article. Read more

The Butterfly, Learning, & Community: Book Club Post (August 1)

Is it August already? Yes, and today is a great day to type with the rain coming down outside. That butterfly pic was taken just yesterday… I’m sure summer will come back. Keeping to my schedule it is time for my August post for this Book Club about Stephen Downes’ book ‘Toward Personal Learning’. Several people have said they are reading too, and that is great. Please do join in either with your own post or a comment.

According to the schedule, this post could cover anything from p.81-177, which contains a lot! I have covered a little bit of it here. (6-8 min read. Featured image is a ‘silver washed’ butterfly taken by Jan Ritchie)

Abstraction and Myth:

About scope and understanding:

“We speak in myth be cause reality is ineffable. It cannot be expressed in words. All language is, as in the first instance, based in myth, based in some idealization, some abstraction.” p.81

“We comprehend the future in terms of what we understand today. This is the basis of the origin of these myths. This is really important to understand. When we start talking about what cannot be known we lose our place or we experience only confusion. We are lost in a swirl of chaos. It’s chaos that, in fact, characterizes all reality.We project our thoughts, our ideas, our beliefs, our features onto the chaos. This is how we understand the chaos. We look at the chaos and we see ourselves. In seeing ourselves in the chaos, we comprehend the chaos, but it’s a myth.” p.82

I liked this because I tell stories, speak in metaphor, sound, images. I love the idea of the chaos. I don’t love chaos, but instead the *concept* of an existent chaos that is beyond my brain’s organisational comprehension. Read more

Toward Personal Learning: Book Club Post 1

I’ve been reading Stephen Downes’ book Toward Personal Learning, which is a collection of blog posts, speeches, and articles (and is free via his website). It is part of my summer learning, making time to do the important things. Reading is one of those important things, and so is talking to people, so I invited people to share their thought about this book as a summer book club, using the tag #TwardPersonalLearning

As I read I keep a copy quotes that jump out at me, and these two really did:

“Good learning empowers; it doesn’t needlessly constrain.” p.59

“That’s the thing with education. What we think is the ‘outcome’ of the process is never really the outcome. If you simply case whether or not they learn how to code REST interfaces, that’s all they will learn. But if you want them to acquire a wider range of skills, you need to place them in a more challenging environment (and then encourage cooperation so they have a decent chance of success in that environment).” p.64

They come from a section that is a written conversation – replies to real questions by students. That is the first meaningful thing for me. Conversation with students. Let’s write that again: Conversation with students others. Even before discussing content, valuing the inquisitiveness of others and engaging with people whether they hold ‘respected’ posts in life, or something less outwardly glamourous, but none the less needed, wins for me. Every one of us on this planet is a person. Every one of us learns, as we all breathe, eat, sleep… Read more