Archive for October, 2009

Future Minds

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
Howard Gardner – well-known for his multiple intelligences theory – discusses his new book, 5 Minds for the Future, in a lecture at the RSA. Shifting from the purely cognitive, towards a socio-political response to globalisation and technological innovation. he argues today’s learners need to adopt to flexible, inter-disciplinary ‘outside-the-box’ thinking by cultivating five key mental capacities:
The Disciplinary Mind
The Synthesizing Mind
The Creating Mind
The Respectful Mind
The Ethical Mind
The Disciplinary Mind
Here, Gardner refers primarily to the academic disciplines. Whilst acknowledging the necessity to achieve mastery in one discipline (which usually takes a minimum of 10 years), he stresses the need to recognise the distinctive (and essentially unnatural) ways of thinking in other major schools of thought.
The Synthesizing Mind
Quoting physicist Murray Gell-Man – who suggested the synthesizing mind will be the most important in the 21st century – Gardner suggests this is the most urgently required of the five minds, yet remains the least supported in formal education. Synthesis requires the ability to integrate ideas from different disciplines into a coherent whole that is communicable to others. Gardner argues the best synthesizers are those who can cultivate and master synthesizing methods or strategies using a range of formats – maps, taxonomies, narrative etc., which are best developed through goal-driven and feedback processes.
The Creating Mind
The capacity to identify new problems, questions and phenomena. Creativity is not just a cognitive process, but is reliant on personality traits of temperament and attitude, and on feedback from others in the field.
The Respectful Mind
The ability to empathize; to acknowledge, understand and eventually contest the views of others.
The Ethical Mind
The fulfillment of one’s professional responsibilities and moral obligations as a citizen.
Gardner acknowledges integration of the five minds is prone to tensions, and that most individuals will have a tendency towards some over others, He concludes by emphasizes the need to expose students to societies, communities and people where qualities derived from these minds are encouraged and influential.

five_minds

Howard Gardner – well-known for his multiple intelligences theory – discusses his new book, 5 Minds for the Future, in a lecture at the RSA. Shifting from the purely cognitive, towards a social policy response to globalisation and technological innovation. he argues today’s learners need to adopt to flexible, inter-disciplinary ‘outside-the-box’ thinking by cultivating five key mental capacities:

  • The Disciplinary Mind
  • The Synthesizing Mind
  • The Creating Mind
  • The Respectful Mind
  • The Ethical Mind

The Disciplinary Mind

Here, Gardner refers primarily to the academic disciplines. Whilst acknowledging the necessity to achieve mastery in one discipline (which usually takes a minimum of 10 years), he stresses the need to recognise the distinctive (and essentially unnatural) ways of thinking in other major schools of thought.

The Synthesizing Mind

Quoting physicist Murray Gell-Man – who proposed the synthesizing mind will be the most important in the 21st century – Gardner suggests this is the most urgently required of the five minds, yet remains the least supported in formal education. Synthesis requires the ability to integrate ideas from different disciplines into a coherent whole that is communicable to others. Gardner argues the best synthesizers are those who can cultivate and master synthesizing methods or strategies using a range of formats – maps, taxonomies, narrative etc., – which are best developed through goal-driven and feedback processes.

The Creating Mind

The capacity to identify new problems, questions and phenomena. Creativity is not just a cognitive process, but is reliant on personality traits of temperament and attitude, and on feedback from others in the field.

The Respectful Mind

The ability to empathize; to acknowledge, understand and eventually contest the views of others.

The Ethical Mind

The fulfillment of one’s professional responsibilities and moral obligations as a citizen.

Gardner acknowledges integration of the five minds is prone to tensions, and that most individuals will have a tendency towards some over others, He concludes by emphasizing the need to expose students to communities and societies in which the qualities derived from these minds are both encouraged and prevalent.

Blog Action Day

Thursday, October 15th, 2009
Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 in an attempt to unite the world’s bloggers in posting about an issue of global importance on the same day. This year’s issue is climate change and falls on the day as it was revealed that the Arctic Ocean will be almost entirely free from ice within a decade.
The Catlin Arctic Survey, completed earlier this year by a team led by explorer Pen Hadow, represents the most current research into the condition of Arctic ice. Peter Wadhams of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge, who analysed the data said: “The summer ice cover in the Arctic will completely vanish in 20 to 30 years time. There won’t be any sea ice there at all.”

bad

Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 in an attempt to unite the world’s bloggers in posting about an issue of global importance on the same day. This year’s issue is climate change, and it falls on the day as it was revealed that the Arctic Ocean will be almost entirely free from ice within a decade.

The Catlin Arctic Survey, completed earlier this year by a team led by explorer Pen Hadow, represents the most current research into the condition of Arctic ice. Peter Wadhams of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge, who analysed the data added “the summer ice cover in the Arctic will completely vanish in 20 to 30 years time. There won’t be any sea ice there at all.”

Happy Birthday to Me

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

cake

My blog is one year old today! Despite a few early teething problems and the occasional mishap, it’s been erm… a piece of cake.

Thanks to everyone who’s contributed.

Pedagogy of the Senses

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

sensesNorm Friesen’s recent draft essay recalls Marshall Mcluhan’s pedagogical perspective based on the effects of media on the human senses. Mcluhan argued that the sensory impression of a medium (i.e that asociated with it’s production or output) does not necessarily equate to the sensory effect (or impact on the receiver). Radio, for example has an auditory impression, yet it’s effect – through the imaginative processing of the listener – is frequently visual. In other words, media affects senses other than those with which it communicates.

In fact, Mcluhan suggested any media affects all the senses to a degree, and that an individual’s ‘sensorium’ is ideally in a state of balance or equilibrium.  The media process is described as a ‘translation’ of the senses, which can distort this equilibrium or ratio of senses by amplifying some and attenuating others. These processes not only affect the aesthaetics of the media but potentially the consciousness and rationality of the receiver, leading Mcluhan to define pedagogy as a ‘training of senses.’

As our learning content and interactions become increasingly diverse and complex, how might this perspective affect our understanding of multimodality and cognitive overload?

Distributed Cognition as Artistic Strategy

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

I had assumed there was only one model of distributed cognition; that which is largely associated with the work of Edward Hutchins and which describes how individual human knowledge can be distributed across a group or network of people, tools or environments. So I was somewhat taken aback when Katherine Hayles, Professor of Literature at Duke University introduced four more in her lecture “How We Think” at the University of Nottingham earlier this evening. She outlined the embodied, extended, autonomous, and appropriated perspectives alongside the embedded model to which I am familiar. She then went on to explain how these are used to varying degrees by writers, artists and designers working in the digital domain; highlighting the print-based work of authors Mark Z Danielewski (‘House of Leaves’), and Steven Hall (‘Raw Shark Texts’), the electronic and interactive texts of Deena Larsen and Steve Tomasula, and an algorithmic engine from multimedia artist Talan Memmott. She discussed the roles of narrrative and spaciality (of texts / images etc.), and the temporality of embodied reading, and concluded by referring to Lev Manovich’s notion that narrative is in direct conflict with what he terms ‘database’ (i.e. that which is relational, spatial or conceptual).

Beyond the Pale

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

I’ve started a private war on web pages and blogs with white / pale text on black / dark backgrounds. I’m sure the temporary blindness you get from jumping back to a ‘normal’ web page (i.e. one with a light background) is not healthy. Most times I come across one, I click straight out again, no matter how good the content is. I’d like a browser that forewarns me when I’m opening such a page, or better still one that automatically inverts the colours (wouldn’t that be cool!). In the right context, ‘light-on-dark’ design can be great – particularly on visual sites with little text – but in most cases, it is used indiscriminately and unnecessarily. Unless you’re a goth, I can’t think of many reasons why you should even consider it – it’s not good design, it does not promote web accessibility, and it’s not good for my health.