Saturday, March 26, 2011
Information Is Only Two Dimensional
I've been asked why I put my curriculum online for everyone to see, even if it isn't students from my own class. If the information is already on there, why would anyone want to take the class? There are two reasons:
1. I believe the information is important for us to equalize our social inequalities. If we are to put our words into action, then the act of my placing this information for all to see is my commitment to my own beliefs of social and economic justice. Information is always the first step in lowering the divide that exists between the haves and the have-nots.
2. Information is only good to a point. It's like being on a two-dimensional plane with a limited view of what's over the horizon. The third dimension that makes for the best views is the interactive communication that happens when people congregate. A whole new dimension enriches the information and brings about greater understanding. By sharing ideas and hearing other perspectives, our ability to truly understand the information is broaden to that third dimension. Without these conversations, we can stagnate and forget what we've just read. Dialogue - interpreting, explaining, debating, defining and applying - with like-minded people reinforces and strengthens our conceptual understanding and makes it real. That then allows us to memorialize the lessons as permanent fixtures able to reside in our brain cells.
Our class environment cannot be thought of as the traditional classroom. Instead we need to consider what makes for the most conducive environment for learning. We must make it so that the passions of what we want to do and who we are fully embraced. We need to have a place where our students can feel confident about their abilities - which in this particular case, is establishing the entrepreneurial mindset and creating a business that speaks to their soul.
Nothing less should be expected; otherwise, all we are doing is exactly what Theologian Ivan Illich stated: "schools teach the need to be taught." Our goal is: teach to make improvements in our lives. When that happens, our desire to learn takes an upswing. We start using knowledge as practical tools and apply them to our daily lives. Then we can reposition Illich's statement with a whole new - and progressive - meaning.
As a great body of research has shown; even in our Internet world, the greatest attribute to our understanding of each other still comes from physical presence when we face each other and talk.
That's why it's important for me to hold open the third dimension and why, those who want to make that true leap into qualitative change, need to enter and join the dialogue.