Thursday, April 28, 2011

Farewell EDT 400 Spring 2011

"Democratic Living is not given in nature, like gold or water. It is a social construct, like a skyscraper, school playground, or new idea. Accordingly there can be no democracy without its builders, caretakers, and change agents...."-Walter Parker (2003)

"Imagining how events could be otherwise than they are is a hallmark freedom and power of human beings. Making social imagination work for us involves us in new concepts and principles, in new ways of using our minds to grasp complexities we do not yet comprehend. Thinking this way helps us construct new social realities both locally and globally. Social imagination is not merely for the sake of of academic knowing; it must include our feelings, and it must include our acting."- D. Bob Gowin in Boulding (1998)

May the river you all navigate call for your best....always answer with passion.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Conviviality, Autonomy, Interdependence

Illich, I. (1973). Tools for conviviality. New York: Harper & Row.

The symptoms of accelerated crisis are widely recognized. Multiple attempts have been made to explain them. I believe that this crisis is rooted in a major twofold experiment which has failed, and I claim that the resolution of the crisis begins with a recognition of the failure. For a hundred years we have tried to make machines work for men and to school men for life in their service. Now it turns out that machines do not "work" and that people cannot be schooled for a life at the service of machines. The hypothesis on which the experiment was built must now be discarded. The hypothesis was that machines can replace slaves. The evidence shows that, used for this purpose, machines enslave men. Neither a dictatorial proletariat nor a leisure mass can escape the dominion of constantly expanding industrial tools.

The crisis can be solved only if we learn to invert the present deep structure of tools; if we give people tools that guarantee their right to work with high, independent efficiency, thus simultaneously eliminating the need for either slaves or masters and enhancing each person's range of freedom. People need new tools to work with rather than tools that "work" for them. They need technology to make the most of the energy and imagination each has, rather than more well−programmed energy slaves.

I believe that society must be reconstructed to enlarge the contribution of autonomous individuals and primary groups to the total effectiveness of a new system of production designed to satisfy the human needs which it also determines. In fact, the institutions of industrial society do just the opposite. As the power of machines increases, the role of persons more and more decreases to that of mere consumers......

I choose the term "conviviality" to designate the opposite of industrial productivity. I intend it to mean autonomous and creative intercourse among persons, and the intercourse of persons with their environment; and this in contrast with the conditioned response of persons to the demands made upon them by others, and by a man−made environment. I consider conviviality to be individual freedom realized in personal interdependence and, as such, an intrinsic ethical value. I believe that, in any society, as conviviality is reduced below a certain level, no amount of industrial productivity can effectively satisfy the needs it creates among society's members.....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I listened again Lisa and I imaged our future.

Exhibitions: open a human creation

As citizens have new choices, new chances for learning, their willingness to seek leadership should increase. We may expect that they will experience more deeply both their own independence and their need for guidance. As they are liberated from manipulation by others, they should learn to profit from the discipline others have acquired in a lifetime. Deschooling education should increase — rather than stifle — the search for [people] with practical wisdom who would be willing to sustain the newcomer in his educational adventure. As masters of their art abandon the claim to be superior informants or skill models, their claim to superior wisdom will begin to ring true. -Illich (1970)

To Exhibit Learning

Exhibitions beautifully disrupt institutions and show deep learning. An exhibition, in short, is a public presentation of learning.  Exhibitions are practiced at all levels of education and in all fields.  A learner or group of learners publicly exhibit their understanding of knowledge territories and connect learning to relevant issues of today. This is important and hard work that shows the individual and group that learning does not only happen within the walls of an institution but is a matter for society in general.  Inviting the public to view, question, comment, and participate in a learning community reveals, connects and networks learning communities.  Exhibitions also decolonize the pedagogue.  When educators open their process or teaching to the outside world they ensure an essential conversation to ensue on the import of the work they do. Whether you adhere to Ted Sizer and the Coalition of Essential Schools vision of exhibitions as assessment or just agree with performance assessment being public I have no doubt that you see the benefit of opening the learning process to communities outside of your institution, school, room.... in dynamic ways.

Enmesh our pedagogy with the world

Dynamism and the ability to imagine, collaborate, and co-design learning environments are hallmarks of effective pedagogues today. These are all skills that are not learned in the semester course on literacy or technology in education. Many of us face institutional constraints in our work in education and seek ways to open our learning communities. We work to collectivize, democratize, co-create and enable personal and group passions for flow in learning. Many of us have been, as a passionate educator once told me I would become prior to my first classroom experience, " a coalition in your own classroom" (sub whatever you want to imagine to replace coalition in your situation). But this is not enough. Learning is an ecology that is interconnected and interdependent. We must share our communities work, we must exhibit, the whole ecology must weigh its social imagination into the mix....We need to show learning, failure and iteration and ask for feedback, connect and network our work on new levels.... we must enmesh our pedagogy with the world.

Open a human creation

Exhibitions open education to the world. In the process of preparing for public participation in learning the individual looks deeply at the connections they are making....the common good in their endeavor....their learning moves from 8-3, 12:30-1:30, Tuesday and Thursday to their heart. When you face the public you face your heart....Yes nerves flash signals and the body quivers upon the thought of being on stage, but your heart tells the story. For the young person in high school the story might be "what does it mean to go to school in the 21st century....what is 'world history' 'literature', 'science', 'my life'.... For the pedagogue the story needs to be " 'what am I undertaking', 'what role do I have in society', 'who may look to me', 'how will I collaborate with the world'....". As one who believes in the commons and in learning as ecology I want to see more than a transcript and degree from any institution from "masters" of pedagogy or any field. I want to see a heart beating, a passion for learning....something different from books and sites....a human creation.

Find a learning ecology

Join me in finding ways to open education. Exhibitions are just one of these ways. We who have decided to be pedagogues as part of our learning ecology will benefit from making the learning communities we work within visible. This networking will help other communities change, become dynamic, and change again to make learning dynamic, resilient, and ubiquitous.

This week is exhibition week in one of the learning communities I work with

I look forward to being a part of this meaningful time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A learning mash-up.


We need them....dedicated and passionate teachers and learners who see learning as a design that the learner moves, shapes and feeds forward as positive action in our world....educational communities need them, those with social imagination....experts, yes experts. The more I get to know Rob Greco the more he reminds me of Illich's (1970) "people with special educational competence".
Three types of special educational competence should, in fact, be distinguished: one to create and operate the kinds of educational exchanges or networks outlined here; another to guide students and parents in the use of these networks; and a third to act as primus inter pares in undertaking difficult intellectual exploratory journeys....To design and operate the networks I have been describing would not require many people, but it would require people with the most profound understanding of education and administration, in a perspective quite different from and even opposed to that of schools.


Greco lives his educational experiences with the learners in his communities....he sees the messiness in learning, breathes deep of the essence, and trusts in the human capacity for mutual aid....I witnessed the outcome of that journey in an  Elluminate  session on Tuesday.  The middle level learners Rob guides worked as a community to exhibit what was important to them about learning and life.  I was awestruck with joy and hope.



Leigh continues to amaze me.  After a brief blogging hiatus, he is right back with thought provoking work, feeding forward amazing resources and inspiring.  His recent thoughts on "ubiquity" contribute much to the deschooling and networked learning conversation. Feeding forward Ian Hart's (2001) Deschooling and the Web was welcomed reading this week.


Howard Rheingold's bookmark quest for P2P learning networks brought me right back to Dougald Hine's School of Everything page.  I delved into his links on Free UThe Learning Exchange and the Young Foundation


If your not on the edge, you're taking up to much space

I have read, watched and learned from Dennis for many years....I am more amazed than ever.

Big Picture Learning Profile
College Unbound

Much more....P2P Foundation Wiki Blog