Researcher, learner, parent. I also wear various hats as an independent historian, folklorist and evolving futurist, and study, among other things, the cultural implications of emerging learning paths and technologies.
Over the past decade or so, my roving curiosity and personal experience has been focused on the psychological, social and cultural implications of personal (learner-defined) learning. This has included– or even required– forays into open education and connectivism; explorations of the relationships between creativity, learning, emotional well-being, cognitive load and resilience; and considering changing perceptions of power, privacy and legacy.
For those curious about folklore: Folklore as an academic discipline in the U.S. is separate from, but has approaches in common with, anthropology, ethnography, history, and semiotics. Colloquially, “folkore” is often used to describe unsophisticated or naïve beliefs, but the academic definition I prefer describes the study of folklore as the examination of wide-ranging forms of cultural expression arising from the dynamic tensions between tradition and innovation. As such, educational and technological change seems to create suitable fodder.
For those curious about futures work: The study of change over time is often viewed as the province of history, but it also has much in common with concepts of change over time going forward. Foresight, or futures thinking, enhances our abilities to develop serious, imaginative and ethical approaches to contextualizing assumptions, variables and present actions, and creating responsible paths through the complex interaction of our choices, the known, and the unknown.
“What matters is the wisdom and virtue that might emerge as we construct our critical and creative responses to… visions here, now, in the present within which our pasts and futures are enfolded. … [F]utures are human constructions that are never “out there” but, rather, are always “here, now.” Recognizing that futures are intrinsic to present action and existence liberates the critical and creative imagination and enables us to explore possible futures without colonizing them. Thus, the types of futures study that can expand the temporal horizons … are those that are located firmly in our present consciousness and in the type of critical vision that “sees through” the inherited meanings, traditions, values, paradigms, myths, metaphors, concepts and guiding images of various kinds that are embedded in everyday language and mediate our our experiences of temporal continuity and change.”
From: Gough, Noel. “Voicing Curriculum Visions.” In Doll, William E. Curriculum Visions. (2002)
Generated initially as a reflective space relating to the 2008 MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08), facilitated by George Siemens, Stephen Downes and Dave Cormier.
The header photo:
Brownie Lake, Minneapolis. See also: Minne, the Lake Creature, a public work of art.