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Posts Tagged ‘thoughts

Outside the humour, grossness, and gross humour, this Wong Fu extra on shower thoughts has a lesson for those of us in education.


Video source

What are shower thoughts? These are deep realisation, clear-mindedness, or being able to connect the dots. The story of Archimedes’ “eureka moment” while having a bath might be considered a shower thought, or in his case, a bath thought.

The lesson for educators is that learning does not always happen in the classroom. More often than not, learning happens outside of it and in unexpected ways. Sometimes the learning happens in context, while other times it happens when the mind is relaxed to so that it creates its own a-ha moments.

This is not an invitation to create more homework. Homework is often just busy and stressful work. It is not introspective or spontaneous or based on retreat. Instead, we might create “shower thought” moments in class by designing for play, relaxation, or reflection.

 
This is a quick thought dump. Instead of hastily typing some ideas down in the Notes app, I am recording some preliminary ideas for a possible curriculum workshop.

Content design
Serial vs parallel (vs rhizomal?) plans
Continuous vs segmented curricular trains

Time considerations
Using academic terms and semesters
Redefining the “pie chart” of time

Meta design
Strategies for sensing change
Change management

Other design considerations
Alignment, Assessment, and Authenticity
SAMR, TPACK, TOWS models

This is a quick follow-up to shower thoughts 1.

One reason we might have deep or profound thoughts while showering is because our minds make connections when we are relaxed. This is why sleep is more important in the run up to exams than cramming.

A shower thought is also an example I sometimes bring up in workshops where we practice station-based learning. The design for such sessions is that there are different tasks at each station, all of which help learners attempt and achieve learning outcomes.

I emphasise to participants that when station-based learning is repeated and becomes a culture of practice, students learn to associate different parts of a room — the different stations — with different tasks, e.g., consuming content, making connections, considering contrasts, reflecting.

The shower story starts with a question: Have you ever had a good idea while showering only to forget it once you towel dry and get dressed? Most participants say yes.

Then I ask them what they do or need to do to get the idea back. Some reply that they need to take the shower again. The idea comes back when they do.
 

 
I call this learning-in-place. We associate certain concepts, ideas, and issues with cues that are visual, aural, tactile, odorous, etc. It is as if a thought bubble remained where we once stood, and we have to return to where it was to get it back.

That is why students associated different concepts or types of learning with different stations. That is also why I need to step back into the shower to recapture my thoughts. It is either that or I am just getting old.

 
The tweeted “shower thought” below led me to a few questions:

Was the tweet a statement about how “outside” children created tools that encouraged “inside” children?

Or was the statement more about how we create change whether we intend to or not?

Or better still, how about the fact that some of us are always playing and inventing?

Tempting to link the future of anything to technological development. That is what most people seem to do because technologies make things faster, better, or are just plain awesome.
 

Caps-Lock is FULL OF AWESOME!!1! by colinaut, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  colinaut 

 
Since my passion and work lie where the fields of education and technology overlap, that might also be why I am often asked to offer answers to the question “What is the future of education?”

I do not have a ready or standard answer. But I have distilled some ideas that have withstood scrutiny.

The first is that education and schooling overlap, but they are not the same. For example, schooling is about enculturating the masses while education is about finding the individual.

We need both schooling and education, but I think that we have too much schooling and not enough education. It is just as important to realize that some people use the terms interchangeably. This is why you will get different and confusing answers.

The second thought I have is that it is a mistake to link changes in schooling and education to the pace of technological development. Schooling and education move and respond very slowly to change. Both are very conservative, but schooling more so than education.

The world’s first university might have started in Bologna in 1088. Lectures probably started shortly after and they are still a mainstay in 2015 despite the changes in technology.

My third thought is that we are extremely short-sighted as a species. We want to look forward as far as we can, but we hold ourselves back with our short and selective memories, our biases, our greed, and our fear:

  • We forget that every important technological development had its opponents and failures.
  • Some of us refuse to accept evolution as a fundamental change process because we cannot see beyond a human lifetime.
  • A few of us in control of products like educational media and policies like Internet access would rather maintain the status quo to make money or to feed worry.

So is there a future for education in spite of all these barriers? Of course. Can I tell you what it will look like definitively? Of course I cannot.

What can we do then? Instead of wringing our hands in despair, I say we learn to be now-ists because what we do now shapes the future. If, as William Gibson put it, the future is already here; it is just not evenly distributed, then I say we find ways to spread it around.

I read two seemingly unrelated articles recently but came to the same conclusion. It is important to be alone with your thoughts.

The first article was a satirical piece at CNNGO on the top 10 most boring things to do in Singapore. I found item #3 (taking walks in a mall) to be particularly sad but true.

We are so short of space that a walk does not happen in nature but in our concrete jungle instead. You cannot hear yourself think in the constant din of such a place. For me that defeats the purpose of going out on a walk.

The New York Times had an interesting article about countering group think by being alone with your thoughts. It highlighted how solitude could promote creativity, productivity, deeper learning and even personal well-being.

The article was not positioned to be misanthropic or anti-collaboration. It was recommending a balance in what seemed to be mindless pursuits that result from group think.

I can relate. I am so protective of time and space for myself that I schedule meetings with myself in my public calendar so that people know when to leave me alone. I am also hoping that staff at CeL use their 10% time at work to learn to be with themselves.


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