>Great quotes on education, teaching and learning:
An Einstein maxim is ‘Knowledge is experience – everything else is just information.’ We are now in an age where information is more abundant than could ever have been imagined…..students may emerge from an hour’s session with several thousands of words on equivalent in handout materials, downloadable files from an intranet or web. But it is still just information until they have done things with it to turn it into the start of their own knowledge about the subject concerned, and link it up to other things they already know …….. Perhaps at one level the quest to make learning happen in post-compulsory education boils down to how best can we help our learners turn information into their own knowledge.
From Phil Race ‘Making Learning Happen’
A teacher ought to be a stranger to the desire for domination, vain-glory, and pride; one should not be able to fool him by flattery, nor blind him by gifts, nor conquer him by the stomach, nor dominate him by anger; but he should be patient, gentle, and humbler as far as possible; he must be tested and without partisanship, full of concern for people, and a lover of souls.
from Amma Theodora – who was one of the early Christian monastics who went into the Egyptian desert during the third and fourth centuries, to live a life of prayer and contemplation. She had been married to a Roman tribune, and following her husband’s death, she retired to the desert to pray. Her wisdom was much sought after and a number of her sayings have survived, including this one about Christian teachers.
>Noise becomes data when it transcends the purely sensual and has cognititve pattern.
Data becomes information when it can be related to other information in a way that adds meaning.
Information becomes knowledge when it is integrated with other information in a form useful for deciding, acting or composing new knowledge.
Knowledge becomes understanding when related to tother knowledge in a manner useful in conceiving, anticipating, evaluating and judging.
Understanding becomes wisdom when informed by purpose, ethics, principle, memory of the past, and projection into the future.
Dee Hock comments that more primitive societies had a far higher ratio of wisodom and understanding to knowledge and date. They hadn’t got much in the way of data but loads of wisdom. On the other hand our society is high on data and information “but understands very little of what it knows”, leaving us with “separatist, linear, mechanistic institutions, confined with our ever more isolated specialities, constricted by ever narrowing perspectives.”
So, it looks like we are stuck between a rock and a hard place – institutions not fit for purpose in our information age and no time or inclination to understand all the information of our age. Cue – theologian and sage.
>Listening to friend Carol’s presentation yesterday made me realise how church is tied down by the industrial age. Perception of church is stil very much building based and the church building boom seems to have been part and parcel of the industrial development of the 19th century. Often funded by industrialists churches were places to be seen and seemed to cement people’s place in society.
We have hastily moved from being an industrial society to being an information society, and is it the nature of information which has had such an effect on society and how we organise ourselves into social networks. Yet while factories have closed (and communities coped far better that they thought) our church buildings remain and remain furnished with the trappings (and pews) of the mindset of the industrial age.
According to Gregory Bateson “information is a difference that makes a difference”. Dee Hock makes these points:
Unlike finite physical resources, information multiplies by transfer and is not depleted by use.
Information is a miser of energy. It can endlessly replicate, move ubiquitously at the speed of light, and massively condense in minute space …
Information breeds. When one bit of information is combined with another, the result is new information. It will become the slave and property of noone. Efforts to make information conform to archaic notions of scarcity, ownership and finite physical quantity – concepts that grew out of the agricultural and industrialised age – merely lock humankind into old, mental boxes of constraint and exploitation.
Information is ethically neutral.
Products, services, and organisations in which the value of the mental content begins to dwarf the value of the physical content require wise people of deep understanding.
Dee Hock writes this:
Thinking about a society based on information and one based on physicality requires radically different perspective and consciousness. However, we prefer too often to ignore the fundmental differences nd carry over into the Chaordic Age of managing information, ideas and values, concepts and assumptions that proved useful in the mechanised Industrial Age of machine crafting, the age of managing things; concepts such as ownership, scarcity, spearability, quantifiable measurement, statistical economics, mathematical monetarism, hierarchical structuralism, and command-and-control management.
The birth of the Chaordic Age alls into question virtually every concept of societal organisation, management, and conduct on which we have come to rely. Clinging too rigorously to old concepts, dismissing new concepts too lightly, protecting old forms that resulted from those concepts too fiercely, imposing those forms on a changing society too resolutely, are a certain path to failure.