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Things you Really Need to
Learn
Stephen Downes
May 30, 2007
How to predict consequences
http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~pa34/cohen2006.htm
Even though we are
epistemologically shut
off ...
what it is
… the ability to
create a mental
model imaging the
sequence of events
that would follow,
"what would likely
hap...
how we learn it today
Games of:
• numbers and counting (eg., darts)
• action (eg., billiards, baseball)
• chance (eg., pok...
Wishful Thinking
focusing on what you
want to happen rather
than what might happen
instead.
Common sense: everyday general...
new tech
.. will allow us to
explore complex
phenomena and
their consequences
• increased physicality (eg. Wii)
• increase...
How to read
How to look at some text and to
understand, in a deep way, what is
being asserted…
what it is
Understanding the four major types of writing:
• Description
• Argument
• Explanation
• Definition
http://www.i...
how we learn it today
grammar and language classes
and if we’re lucky
logic and rhetoric
reading reading reading reading w...
what to watch for
• reading without comprehension
• reading without meaning or purpose
Other Literacies
• graphics and map...
new tech
reading reading reading reading writing reading reading writing reading reading re
Rather than memorizing form (t...
How to distinguish
truth from fiction
The first thing to
learn is to
actually question
what you are
told, what you
read, a...
what it is
• judging for yourself
• observing
• questioning
• verifying
• putting into context
http://www.downes.ca/post/4...
how we learn it today
We are taught to depend on…
• authority (including media)
• counting (including popularity)
http://d...
what to watch for
• framing
• backgrounding
• misperception
(motives matter)
(our hidden assumptions)
(we see what
we’re l...
new tech
fisking
fact-check your a
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisking
The Semantic Condition
• autonomy
• diversity
• co...
How to empathize
The ability to imagine
oneself as another person…
The ability to be
another person…
what it is
a mental model of the other person's
thoughts and feelings in your own mind
a genuine feeling in yourself that
...
how we learn it today
Drama
… is mostly as theory
Religion
Psychology
Many schoolshavestopped teaching these…
what to watch for
- assuming everyone else is like you
- assuming empathy is
a bargain
like, say, the golden rule
http://h...
new tech
Opens
new
worlds
and puts
us into
the shoes
of other
people
World Wide Web
Read My Blog
MMRPGs
Mirro r Neuro ns
i...
How to be creative
what it is
• A transfer of knowledge from
one domain to another
• A manipulation of that
knowledge
It is not the filling o...
how we learn it today
Art
Music
Design
Writing
Play?
by creating thing (usually from scratch)
http://images.tribe.net/trib...
what to watch for
The Blank Page
Creativity is a response to something… how to rescue a
cat, how to cross a gap, how to ha...
new tech
devote some time every day to an art -
music, photography, video, drawing,
painting or poetry.
Has
unprecedented
...
How to communicate clearly
what it is
• knowing what you want to say
• knowing how to say it
probably the hardest
simple tools…
http://www.gutenberg....
how we learn it today
writing
public speaking
debating
note: mostly takes place
in closed environment
http://www.cavalierd...
what to watch for
It’s not something you can simply teach…
It’s something you need to practice in a
real environment
PYRAM...
new tech
http://www.downes.ca/post/38526
Educational Blogging
Gives
people a
real
audience
and allows
them to
pose real
qu...
How to Learn
When you
learn, you are
trying to create
patterns of
connectivity in
your brain. You
are trying to
connect
ne...
what it is
pattern recognition
To learn isto practiceand reflect
To teach isto model and demonstrate
Learning is like reco...
how we learn it today
We listen to someone
tell us about it in a class
(or maybe read a self-help book)
http://www.lib.lsu...
what to watch for
We are always learning
The question is…
What?
Learning how to learn is learning how to create patterns i...
new tech
lets us take control….
(yes, it’s that simple)
It’s our media
It’s our content
It’s our patterns
It’s our learnin...
How to stay healthy
If your school is not facilitating proper
exercise and nutrition, demand them!
what it is
Minimize exposure
Maximize resistance
.. to toxins, diseases,
threats, etc
.. with good foods,
exercises, pract...
how we learn it today
school
parents
friends
media
OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!
what to watch for
In a word: misinformation
Hit-button issues
Scare tactics
Advertising
new tech
Lets us check
Lets us learn for ourselves
Lets us compare notes
Lets us exercise
Together
How to
value
yourself
In order to value
yourself, you have to
say "I am valuable."
what it is
the belief that you are good enough (to have an
opinion, have a voice, and have a say, that your contributions
...
how we learn it today
We watch Dr. Phil
who tells us it’s ok…
after this commercial break
what to watch for
People who say you’re worthless
(unless you vote for them, do what they say, buy their product)
If someb...
new tech
Google / Yahoo Groups
Skype / IM / Email
Blog / Wiki / YouTube
Tell yourself that you are smart, you are cool, yo...
How to live
meaningfully
What you are doing right
now is the thing that you
most want to do.
what it is
Dedication to a goal or cause
Appreciation of the here and now
• educate people
• cure diseases
• explore space...
how we learn it today
Good question…
There’s no shortage of
people who will tell us how
But do we ever
learn to decide for...
what to watch for
money, fame and
power are things
people seek in order
to do what is worth
doing.
The difference between ...
new tech
When you realize you have
the power to choose what
you are doing, you realize
you have the power to
choose the co...
Stephen Downes
http://www.downes.ca
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What You Really Need To Learn

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Outline of ten things you really need to learn (the basics of an education, you might say), some discussion of how we have traditionally learned them and some things to watch for, and a description of how new technologies are helping us learn them now.

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What You Really Need To Learn

  1. 1. Things you Really Need to Learn Stephen Downes May 30, 2007
  2. 2. How to predict consequences http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~pa34/cohen2006.htm Even though we are epistemologically shut off from the “ocean of consequences,” it is critical to be conscientious of the immense power an action can have. - Jack Cohen
  3. 3. what it is … the ability to create a mental model imaging the sequence of events that would follow, "what would likely happen if...?" A combination of science, mathematics, and visualization
  4. 4. how we learn it today Games of: • numbers and counting (eg., darts) • action (eg., billiards, baseball) • chance (eg., poker) • strategy (eg., chess, go) … and a little bit of science and mathematics education, to fill out the theory
  5. 5. Wishful Thinking focusing on what you want to happen rather than what might happen instead. Common sense: everyday generalizations but: over-simplification what to watch for http://www.lisavictoria.net/Images/ACEO/Full/WishfulThinking.jpg
  6. 6. new tech .. will allow us to explore complex phenomena and their consequences • increased physicality (eg. Wii) • increased complexity (eg. Sim City) • increased interactivity (eg. WoW) http://www.elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?section=reviews&article=7-1
  7. 7. How to read How to look at some text and to understand, in a deep way, what is being asserted…
  8. 8. what it is Understanding the four major types of writing: • Description • Argument • Explanation • Definition http://www.isoc.org/inet2000/cdproceedings/6d/6d_1.htm
  9. 9. how we learn it today grammar and language classes and if we’re lucky logic and rhetoric reading reading reading reading writing reading reading writing reading reading re
  10. 10. what to watch for • reading without comprehension • reading without meaning or purpose Other Literacies • graphics and maps • videography • signs and symbols • music • body language
  11. 11. new tech reading reading reading reading writing reading reading writing reading reading re Rather than memorizing form (the old way) multimedia teaches to look for signs in the environment (the new way) theseareindicators Wedon’t just consume, we also create
  12. 12. How to distinguish truth from fiction The first thing to learn is to actually question what you are told, what you read, and what you see on television.
  13. 13. what it is • judging for yourself • observing • questioning • verifying • putting into context http://www.downes.ca/post/4 http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18891/18891-h/images/ill-13-t.jpg
  14. 14. how we learn it today We are taught to depend on… • authority (including media) • counting (including popularity) http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/images/issues.gif Mostly, we don’t
  15. 15. what to watch for • framing • backgrounding • misperception (motives matter) (our hidden assumptions) (we see what we’re looking for)
  16. 16. new tech fisking fact-check your a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisking The Semantic Condition • autonomy • diversity • connectedness • openness http://www.theaugeanstables.com/wp-content/images/17_02.jpg
  17. 17. How to empathize The ability to imagine oneself as another person… The ability to be another person…
  18. 18. what it is a mental model of the other person's thoughts and feelings in your own mind a genuine feeling in yourself that operates in synch with the other person
  19. 19. how we learn it today Drama … is mostly as theory Religion Psychology Many schoolshavestopped teaching these…
  20. 20. what to watch for - assuming everyone else is like you - assuming empathy is a bargain like, say, the golden rule http://home.comcast.net/~wardomatic3/graffdad-color.jpg
  21. 21. new tech Opens new worlds and puts us into the shoes of other people World Wide Web Read My Blog MMRPGs Mirro r Neuro ns identity shifting
  22. 22. How to be creative
  23. 23. what it is • A transfer of knowledge from one domain to another • A manipulation of that knowledge It is not the filling of a blank slate Operates by metaphor thinking outside the box Requires pattern recognition that’s why it’s hard
  24. 24. how we learn it today Art Music Design Writing Play? by creating thing (usually from scratch) http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e09/308/e0930874-2acb-490d-80c3-9148f5cfd61c
  25. 25. what to watch for The Blank Page Creativity is a response to something… how to rescue a cat, how to cross a gap, how to hang laundry…
  26. 26. new tech devote some time every day to an art - music, photography, video, drawing, painting or poetry. Has unprecedented tools for creating… capturing… combining… Mash-Ups Unprecedented challenges too: Have you tried to play Myst? http://www.piledriver.com/images/MLS_mashups.jpg
  27. 27. How to communicate clearly
  28. 28. what it is • knowing what you want to say • knowing how to say it probably the hardest simple tools… http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15873/15873-h/images/001.jpg
  29. 29. how we learn it today writing public speaking debating note: mostly takes place in closed environment http://www.cavalierdaily.com/.Archives/2004/03/23/lfmain.gif
  30. 30. what to watch for It’s not something you can simply teach… It’s something you need to practice in a real environment PYRAMID STYLE WIN FRIENDS
  31. 31. new tech http://www.downes.ca/post/38526 Educational Blogging Gives people a real audience and allows them to pose real questions and lets them create collaboratively gliffy wiki co-comment subthaedit youtubewordpressdrupal flickr facebook myspace http://www.nyu.edu/its/ftc/ls/images/blog.gif
  32. 32. How to Learn When you learn, you are trying to create patterns of connectivity in your brain. You are trying to connect neurons together, and to strengthen that connection.
  33. 33. what it is pattern recognition To learn isto practiceand reflect To teach isto model and demonstrate Learning is like recognition… Models, archetypes, flows…
  34. 34. how we learn it today We listen to someone tell us about it in a class (or maybe read a self-help book) http://www.lib.lsu.edu/instruction/tour/images/classroom.jpg
  35. 35. what to watch for We are always learning The question is… What? Learning how to learn is learning how to create patterns in our mind rather than merely acquiring them http://www.beadcreative.com/for-web-kal-three-of-them.jpg
  36. 36. new tech lets us take control…. (yes, it’s that simple) It’s our media It’s our content It’s our patterns It’s our learning Be the Node
  37. 37. How to stay healthy If your school is not facilitating proper exercise and nutrition, demand them!
  38. 38. what it is Minimize exposure Maximize resistance .. to toxins, diseases, threats, etc .. with good foods, exercises, practices
  39. 39. how we learn it today school parents friends media OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!
  40. 40. what to watch for In a word: misinformation Hit-button issues Scare tactics Advertising
  41. 41. new tech Lets us check Lets us learn for ourselves Lets us compare notes Lets us exercise Together
  42. 42. How to value yourself In order to value yourself, you have to say "I am valuable."
  43. 43. what it is the belief that you are good enough (to have an opinion, have a voice, and have a say, that your contributions do matter) the belief that you are capable (that you can learn to do new things and to be creative) your ability to be independent (to not rely on some particular person or institution for personal well-being) and autonomous (capable of making your own decisions and living your live in your own way)
  44. 44. how we learn it today We watch Dr. Phil who tells us it’s ok… after this commercial break
  45. 45. what to watch for People who say you’re worthless (unless you vote for them, do what they say, buy their product) If somebody tells you that you are worthless over and over, and if you do nothing to counteract that, then you will come to believe you are worthless, because that's how your neural connections will form.
  46. 46. new tech Google / Yahoo Groups Skype / IM / Email Blog / Wiki / YouTube Tell yourself that you are smart, you are cool, you are strong… Say it out loud, in the morning, each day Then, practice these attributes. Be smart… My network is my support group THIS IS PRACTICE ONLINE… I am the network
  47. 47. How to live meaningfully What you are doing right now is the thing that you most want to do.
  48. 48. what it is Dedication to a goal or cause Appreciation of the here and now • educate people • cure diseases • explore space • worship God • raise a family • design cars • make art • attain enlightenment http://web.ncf.ca/ek867/feininger.bridge.jpg
  49. 49. how we learn it today Good question… There’s no shortage of people who will tell us how But do we ever learn to decide for ourselves?
  50. 50. what to watch for money, fame and power are things people seek in order to do what is worth doing. The difference between means and ends What is worth doing? http://www.performance-measurement.net/assets/rohm/balanced-act08.gif
  51. 51. new tech When you realize you have the power to choose what you are doing, you realize you have the power to choose the consequences. New technologies give us choice The world is (quite literally) what we make it (just ask the people who made Second Life) Everything you do has meaning
  52. 52. Stephen Downes http://www.downes.ca

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