Category Archives: Lifestream

Pinterest! River Course


Just Pinned to Education and Digital Cultures: river formation diagram

In Week 10 I posted a picture of the beach which I captioned Lifestream reaches the sea and I captured this diagram as part of my imagining of this lifestream as a river course, associating its early days with the steep plunge of a young river when I was learning what was required and how to set up the ifttt automation before embarking on a fast and furious flow of reading, blogging, capturing and tweeting. This vertiginous drop gave way briefly to calmer pools in which it was possible to momentarily catch breath and reflect on the course before racing downstream again. I could carry on making these associations – tributaries representing ideas and impressions flowing in from my mooc and from other students in the community; rocks set midstream or pebbles thrown in from tutors causing thought-ripples or rapids; taking leisurely meanders through ideas picked up along the way; running aground in stagnant oxbow lakes when losing flow, direction or community.

Where I think the lifestream’s analogy to a river course does work is in the fast-paced nature of the experience, the myriad inputs from outside that have flowed into it, its unique source and the individual landscape around it that will make every lifestream different and the vertical scrolling rolling unidirectional blog form privileging the now and making attempts to wade back upstream difficult.

Tweet! Defining and the digital

Dirk asked how we define ‘Digital Education’. I suggested dropping the word digital as it is now so enmeshed in our lives. (I think I should have said tautologous and prepend – so interesting how I replied quickly without proper reflection. Is that the ‘fault’ of Twitter in some sort of essentialist sense, or how we have come to adopt it as a society for quick and often impulsive bytes, or merely the fault of me 🙂 )

Favourite tweets! Favourited to watch

I would love to be able to attend this event, as I would have liked to attend recent lectures by Audrey Watters and on Critical Pedagogy at Edinburgh. I will look out for recordings.

The title is interesting – erosion and sedimentation recall my lifestream analogy and underpin how words and metaphors perform our world.

YouTube! Automating Education and Teaching Machines Audrey Watters

Automating Education and Teaching Machines Audrey Watters
“Can computers replace teachers?” The Atlantic recently asked. “Can AI replace student testing?” another publication queried. These sorts of headlines are appearing with increasing frequency. But do they reflect technological advances in “artificial intelligence”? Or are they reflections instead of culture and political desires to see education automated?

This talk will explore the history of “teaching machines” — a history that certainly pre-dates the latest hype about artificial intelligence. It will also examine the ideological (and technical) underpinnings of Silicon Valley’s recent push to automate — or as it calls it, “personalize” — education.

I liked this on YouTube to fix it on my lifestream so that I can watch it later.
via YouTube

Reading List! The Rediscovery of Teaching

Alan Sensei

Gert Biesta’s paper calls upon the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas to explicate his argument that students are not served by adaptive teaching in spite of the rhetoric surrounding such ‘prevailing educational imaginary’ (p.378). He contends that this type of auto-didacticism means that the student remains ‘in her own mind’, able to make meaning of the world as she perceives and learns about it, yet,

“the self … can never out of its own generate a criterion with which to evaluate that which it is adjusting to” (p.388).

Biesta, arguing with Levinas, states that the student in this situation crucially lacks an intervention or, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say considering Levinas’ philosophy, an intercession, from another, an exteriority, who addresses her and in so doing, makes revelation. Without this,

the very ‘thing’ that cannot happen, the very ‘thing’ that can never ‘arrive’ in their universe, is the event of being addressed, that is, the event of being taught (p.388).

Levinas’ philosophy and Biesta’s explication is far more complex than can be summarised in this short comment, but I believe it revolves around an understanding of the teacher as generously and without expectation of return, interceding for the student by providing something akin to Sartre’s ‘look’ which reveals her to herself and awards her proper subjectivity and apprehension in and of the world and without promoting his own view of it.

I need to read this again to gain a better understanding of it.

Biesta, G. (2016). The Rediscovery of Teaching: On robot vacuum cleaners, non-ecological education and the limits of the hermeneutical world view. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 48(4), pp.374-392.

from Dropbox

Tweet! Human transhumanist

I tweeted this article on transhumanism. What I found fascinating about it was that Randal Koene, a transhumanist, was asked by the interviewer

wouldn’t a radical fusion of ourselves with technology amount, in the end, to a final capitulation of the very idea of personhood?

Koene replied by saying

Hearing you say that makes it clear that there’s a major hurdle there for people. I’m more comfortable than you are with the idea, but that’s because I’ve been exposed to it for so long that I’ve just got used to it.

We have a choice don’t we?