Archive for February, 2011

The Bonsai Incident

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

I just finished reading “The Element” from Sir Ken Robinson Ph.D., a must-read for everybody interested in education or personal development. The “One Element” is the activity you’re designed to do, that you forget time and space doing it.

He states that the human creativity and intelligence is nearly infinetely and most of all, diverse. I understand this in the sense of Howard Gardner’s “Multiple Intelligences“. I think therefore it is not sufficient to create a test like the Meyer-Briggs-Test that only holds like 5 or 6 categories to describe a human being, all his plans, feelings, dreams, and behaviours. For nearly 6 billion people you’ll need 6 billion categories.

Robinson compares the thrive for knowledge of humans with the thrive for growing within fauna. I think everybody who has ever seen a bonsai tree or ever has cut one can see that. A Bonsai will keep growing only within the possible conditions. As long as there is the slightest chance, it will grow! It is not getting as tall as it could, but it doesn’t give up either.

Manfred Spitzer wrote in “Learning: The human brain and the school of life” that every animal is optimized for a specific task. Birds are optimized for flying, the cheetah for running, and the human? The human is optimized for learning! No creature is better in adepting to new situations. So why are so many humans that much discouraged about something they are designed to do?

It could be, that often in education methods and knowledge is forced on children and nobody cares to explain why this knowledge is important for them. Nobody cares if this knowledge is useful to them or if only one of them is talented at what he is trying to teach to them. Additionally sometimes if learners try to verify their understanding of the content by asking questions, their opinion is not appreciated if it doesn’t match the one that is taught.

So how could learners or possible learners be motivated intrinsically? Could personalization be an option? Would personalized content be an motivating factor to boost or even initialize thrive for learning? I think if that’s the case, computers could help to determine a template for learners, based on several profiles of learners.

What’s your opinion? Could there be a personalized learning? Would it motivate learners? Could computers help with personalizing content? And if, to what degree would you think they can be of help?

Plymouth E-Learning Conference 2011

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The Plymouth E-Learning Conference 2011 is coming soon. From April 6th to April 8th, Plymouth will be crowded with E-Learning researchers from all over the world. Within the University of Plymouth at Drake Circus, researchers will be talking about web 2.0, social media and technologies within the process of teaching and learning. Key note speakers this year include Jane Seale, Stephen Heppell, John Davitt and Inge De Waard. The motto this year is: “Digital Futures: Learning in a Connected World”.

As a regular attendee I’m really looking forward to interesting dialogs, presentations and meeting the community, following the call of Steve Wheeler every year. Hope to see you there.