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Re: [xmca] Brains, Computer, and the Future of Education

On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 4:37 AM, Michael Glassman <MGlassman@ehe.osu.edu>wrote:

> Hi David,
> I sort of feel like the human relationship with information has changed in
> very fundemental ways over the last ten years.  Phenomena like the Web,
> Google, FaceBook, the Open Source movement have moved incredibly quickly.
>  Some academic urban legends are rising up, such as the idea that the
> computer in some way changes the structure of wiring of the brain
> (absolutely no evidence, or even proto-evidence for this I can.)  But I
> think it is a combination of fear and confusion.  You have first amendment
> lawyers like Floyd Abrams arguing against free speech on the Internet.  You
> have brutal authoritarians like Putin signing executive orders making
> Russian government completely Open Source by 2015 (my guess is he has no
> idea what Open Source actually is).  The whole thing is mind boggling.
> I think of cognitivist, behaviorists socio cultural theorists, etc, etc.
> arguing over who bats next, not realizing that the rules of the game are
> completely changing.  Changing in ways we don't even have a vocabulary to
> talk about yet.
> Michael
> ________________________________
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of David H Kirshner
> Sent: Tue 1/11/2011 10:45 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: RE: [xmca] Brains, Computer, and the Future of Education
> Larry,
> Here's my sociology of science account of the rise of brain studies as a
> substitute for learning theory.
> 1. In Kuhnian terms, psychology is a preparadigmatic science. For
> instance, learning is variously studied in behavioral, cognitive,
> developmental, and sociocultural schools that conceive of learning in
> fundamentally distinct ways.
> 2. The grand motive of preparadigmatic science is establishment of
> paradigmatic consensus. Each school is in competition with the others to
> unify the field under its umbrella by coming to accommodate the
> interests of the other schools while still preserving the essence of its
> own unique perspective. Most often this competition is implicit, but
> periodically it leads to open conflict as in Chomsky's repudiation of
> Skinner's effort to account for "Verbal Behavior," or in the flare up in
> the late '90s between James Greeno and John Anderson and company over
> cognitivist efforts to account for the situated character of learning.
> 3. The dominant paradigm in any period always is the one to most
> strenuously pursue hegemonic designs on the field. The cognitivists'
> embracing of the rhetoric of situativity has cost them dearly: they no
> longer can forefront the technical machinery of information processing
> theory and artificial intelligence computer simulation as their central
> technical method and theoretical thrust. This is really a crisis point
> for cognitivists. They gained prominence through the Information
> Processing approach, and are coasting along on their reputation.
> Embracing brain science enables them to maintain the surface features of
> dynamic "science," while providing a convenient disguise for the fact
> that there's no longer a central metaphor for learning that is being
> elaborated and developed by that community.
> 4. Projecting this forward a decade or so, we have the likelihood of
> diminishment of the importance of the cognitivist umbrella, and renewed
> opportunity for the other schools to push toward the front of the pack.
> ...should be lots of fun.
> David
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]
> On Behalf Of Larry Purss
> Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 7:37 AM
> To: lchcmike@gmail.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Brains, Computer, and the Future of Education
> Mike,
> The band wagon may not be a strong enough metaphor.  The image of a
> steam
> roller seems more accurate.  I mentioned earlier that the term ZPD is
> now a
> recognized term in many school settings [as scaffolding].  However this
> alternative metaphor of mind as computer or mind  as brain is a far more
> powerful metaphor in schools. Often school staffs are fascinated with
> these
> explanations and believe that neuroscience is finally getting to the
> "heart"
> of the matter [couldn't resist the contradictary metaphor]. Brain
> science as
> an explanation of learning is becoming   the dominant narrative in
> many school debates.  I was wondering if there are any "simplified'
> articles
> for a general audience that engage with these neuro/brain metaphors that
> would lead to school staffs possibly having a dialogue [by introducing
> dought]  I have shared a few articles with interested staff who love
> ideas
> but they were too "theoretical" for a staff discussion.
> With this steam roller comes the call for justifying your practice in
> schools by using "best practices" which are "evidence based".  This
> evidence often is dominated by evidence from neuroscience
>  I have attempted to introduce sociocultural perspectives into the
> debate in
>  response to the neuro/brain social representations of learning but I
> would
> appreciate an  article for a general audience that I could hand out to
> start
> a dialogue among school staffs.
> Mike, I believe this frame of reference is not a "fad" or a "band wagon"
> but is developing into a "conventionalized" metaphor which most
> educators
> may use to explain "learning" in  schools.  Fad indicates a transitory
> phenomena and neuroscience seems a longer lasting  phenomena.
> I am looking for an article that does not refute or contradict the
> neuroscience explanations but rather LINKS the  ideas to sociocultural
> concepts.
> One of the principals in a school I work in is attending this
> conference,
> and principals do have influence in school cultures.  I hope to
> influence
> her.
> Larry
> On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 8:07 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> > The bandwagon is visible coming over the horizon!
> > Check it out at http://www.learningandthebrain.com/brain28.html.
> > Join for just the price of a click and a clack.
> > mike
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