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Open Source Learning - the Analogist - 05-05-2016 01:51 PM

I had this idea:

Just like how school by its "wisdom" inflicts a curriculum on students, regardless of their interests, we should similarly make our communities our curriculum and learn whatever we can from everybody, even if we aren't interested. The discipline to listen to stuff you don't care about is difficult, but if we are on some level capable of tolerating it, should we not also do the same to our neighbors?

My idea was to go to my local mosque on saturdays after the noon prayer and afterwards organize these kinds of programs:

Somebody decides to present an idea, an opinion/theory, or a question to the group in attendence. a chairman is appointed to help keep the presentation on track and organize the endeavor. And basically we force ourselves to actively take an interest in the person presenting. the catch is this however, that each session would at some point switch to Q&A and the person, if its a question being presented, will be told ideas regarding the answer or how to begin pursuing the answer. It its a theory of some kind or an idea that it be criticized and analyzed and that we the audience would hold them accountable to honesty and reason.

For example, I would explain my frustration at the fact that Americans seem to be quite passionate about gardening, developing over generations a ton of heirloom varieties of vegetable, yet we as Muslims, even though our Prophet (saws) encouraged farming, don't even know what heirlooms are.

This sort of thing could easily be instituted anywhere people have a regular time-slot for assembly. I recently made the move to a Monday through Friday work schedule, so I am now a part of that privileged minority. But I think school is also Monday through Friday, so anybody young enough or privileged enough could do some weekend thing.

One of my ideas would be to phyically walk from one side of town to the other speculating, to peak curiosity, the unknown history and background of all the sites in town. Where did they come from? What are they doing? And maybe even go inside some building to see exactly what is going on in our town. I have very little clue honestly.

What does anybody else think?

(I'm super busy lately, but I really wanna read what everybody says whenever I get time to check back. I miss school survival)

RE: Open Source Learning - brainiac3397 - 05-06-2016 02:18 PM

Community involvement stuffaroo. Check with local community if such a thing is in place (my town has rec center and library for most social community stuff, including training and educational stuff. City govt departments also sometimes have some program...depending on budget).

Then use info from them, maybe even collaborate to get some stuff and assistance. As for interedt perhaps prepare a pamphlet with potential topics and see how many people are interested most in which topics, or want to see certain topics, and there may be some with actual experience who will pitch in more effort.

If I understand some of what you are attempting.

RE: Open Source Learning - the Analogist - 05-09-2016 08:05 AM

Well right now my interest is not in the community as a whole, but the Muslims in my town. I never really had many friends until I was Muslim and then only when I went to college because intelligent Muslims were hard to find in my town, and I had yet to develop much of an intelligence myself.

I've decided that the reason I didn't have many friends was because the qualities I had were not really compatible with non-Muslims, except people who have Asperger's. This is because when something interests me I become obsessively interested in finding out about it, and I go through phases. Most people don't care about anything at all and they hate hearing somebody who cares about things talk. That's been my experience.

I feel more obliged to offer my program to my fellow Muslims since they seem to be the most in need of it, and because the greater population I think would have a much bigger hill of apathy to overcome, and I'm not particularly charismatic. If it can be instituted on a small level, which is easier, then by its success more versions of the program can spin off to other groups so inclined/inspired. I'm following the tree-model of social progress, to plant seeds that what they lose in speed they gain in strength.

The most basic message I want to get out is religious as well. We've got a big problem in this society that the people here in school survival know very well about, though they'll need to read this post metaphorically. Our worldly existence should be a reflection of our inner-selves, but since our external world is so heavily controlled by a conspiracy of forces, what then is the effect on our inner-selves?

To revive our ability to express our religion through our way of life, we must first learn how to bypass all of those apparent worldly barriers which keep us stuck in eternal compromise. The most basic barrier being our own ignorance of how the world works. This is the knowledge locked away by those who know it, but I think discoverable by the collective intelligence of those we've divided ourselves from (hence our apparent conquest).

RE: Open Source Learning - the Analogist - 06-13-2016 07:38 AM

I just drafted a pamphlet I would hand out as an annoying person in your local grocery store. Here is how it reads so far:

Open Source Learning: the Three Category System

What is Open-Source Learning?
It is an approach to learning that seeks to turn anything and everything into an educational experience.

What is the Three Category System?
It is an approach to knowledge that sorts everything into one of three categories.

(1) Facts, those truths which we simply have to submit to.
(2) Opinions, the things that are subject to debate.
(3) Experience, those things you must do to understand.

The purpose of this framework is to aid in analyzing any given situation. Our knowledge is never complete, so as a way of figuring out how to fill those gaps, we consider these three aspects.

The difference between a “fact” and a “conclusion” is decisive, for one is actually an opinion. The Art of Conversation is that we listen attentively to the thoughts of others as in (1), though we also seek to understand, clarify, or challenge in pursuit of a more fact-based understanding (2). We also don’t ask our physics teacher how to throw a curveball, we ask a pitcher for some tips and then we grab an actual ball (3).

What about the different learning styles of kids?
I don’t believe that different learning styles exist, rather that we have interests and inclinations and that the nature of those interests are different.

I ask, if you need to learn with your hands, how then would you approach literary analysis? Does it just need to not be a Kindle? What if you are more of a visual learner, how would you approach theology? Do we need to now draw a diagram of God?

It might also be that some honesty reflex goes off when we hear an opinion that is not our own, and we don’t trust it until we arrive at the conclusion ourselves. This process will vary based on the question, not the questioner.

How can “Anything” be made Educational?
Consider that any activity bears these three aspects in some form or another. One of my favorite examples is Legos.

The materials you work with are what they are, they are not subject to debate (1), but the possibilities still remain endless. You work (3) to bridge the gap between your imagination and reality constantly making decisions (2) along the way on how to best construct your vision. The play itself is already educational, though it might not be obvious how.

Consider too that I’ve just described the basic skill set for a wide range of high-paying and respectable jobs. Engineering and architecture aside, consider how much technology is employed to make a house work or a car work. Understanding how to repair things can make good money, and even beyond that is the prospect of being a reseller fixing up old ones; appliances, cars, or even houses themselves.

How do we prepare kids for adulthood/working?
The process I envision is as follows, that the natural interests of children are encouraged enthusiastically at first, and as they grow up over time, our support becomes more challenging and critical.

The “facts of life” are, as facts, a matter where the child should be sat down and made to listen, but we have to be honest with ourselves about where our knowledge ends, and work, perhaps even with them, to fill those gaps.

Trips outside the house to find information and the people who have it are wonderful, meaningful, purposeful adventures which can result in contacts, networks, and even the possibility of referrals to people in a position to employ or invest.

If your child wants to be a(n) “X”, find some “X’s”, and ask them hard questions about what is it really like and how do you get in. Curiosity needs to be satisfied and the greater world needs to be made available to pique such curiosity.

Don’t just “get out of the house”, do it with purpose, conviction, and objectives, even if they are vague.

How could I ever do this? I am so busy!
Useful things always require that time be budgeted in some way. My suggestion, practice first the Art of Conversation by scheduling about 30 minutes for meetings on a regular basis to discuss the interests your child is currently pursuing. The goal of these meetings is to identify new objectives in the pursuit of those interests and to review written reports they make on their progress. You take a moment to review these for correct Grammar, Logic, and follow up with questions.

By taking such an active interest in them you can count on them to follow through with the work, even if their interests change (it will). And since your explanation of Grammar and Logic, which are facts of communication and reason, is in the context of their interest they should be more receptive than if those same subjects were handled in an abstract manner.

There are more than 10,000 minutes in a week, so 30 minutes should be reasonable, but they should be focused with multi-tasking kept to a minimal.


Any thoughts? Questions?

Open Source Learning - the Analogist - 07-27-2016 12:56 PM

I'm taking the lack of engagement with these ideas as a sign I need to give them some more content.

I'm going to write a book about this. That's the plan at least, as soon as I finish a much smaller project I intend to post here. (not on this thread)

I'm planning the book to be a collection of essays, planning the table of contents first which I would then write according to all of the separate integrated ideas I have regarding not just this system, but how to apply it to existing academia, schooling, and life in general.

Skimming the wikipedia page on informal logical fallacies it can easily be gleamed that pretty much every fallacy is simple an abstract example of how to not be honest about whatever subject you are discussing. This is why I place Logic in the first category since THAT is the category of "Truth" or its best approximation, thus it has the strong arm in debate. You reject an idea of mine, so the question becomes "on what basis do you reject my opinion" and if an actual error in logic can be discovered I either have to come up with a new more logical explanation or change my opinion.

So a big part of my book would be examining the role Logic actually would play in our daily lives and how to integrate it into existing study. of course one of my concepts I mentioned in the pamphlet, though I didn't name it, is "Prior Investment", that is since somebody is already interested in something and has pursued that interest, they have a "Prior Investment" in the subject, and would hopefully, therefore, be more receptive to constructive criticism on the basis of Logic, just as one example.

The fact is, all of this content is applicable to adult people living "real life" and ultimately these ideas would be not as a way for home-schoolers to reform their methods, or teachers to change their approach, but to put everybody on the same page and on equal footing on the basis of not just Logic, which is the argumentative trump card, (which students are dis-armed of) but by understanding how to open the curriculum up to endless possibilities while maintaining justifiable discipline.

Every method has its place. sometimes shutting up is in order, the question is when. Sometimes arguing is in order, the question is when. and sometimes just doing it and shutting up is in order, the question is when. This is what my Three Category System is intended to answer.

RE: Open Source Learning - the Analogist - 07-28-2016 02:03 PM

The western academic tradition is not without its merit. In general the real benefit of studying the humanities or the sciences is just to develop the ability to reason to a conclusion, using evidence as needed.

This quite practical use however is subverted in two ways. (1) in the needless compartmentalization of the various disciplines and (2) dogmatism.

As for (1), everybody knows that literature informs history and that history informs literature, but in school these disciplines are made trivial by their lack of the other. Trivial in the sense that their relevance to real life or to the other subjects is neither apparent nor a part of the study.

As for (2), when you get those teachers who don't appreciate that research and argumentation are the skills sought, they make the class a lecture with tests, assignments, and virtually no discussion (authoritarianism). This of course varies, with people exposed to good teachers wondering what the rest of us are complaining about...

Take for instance my interest in educational methodology. It has some elements of religion to it, since its actually a secularization of the Islamic scholastic tradition. It has some basic epistemology, drawing on philosophy. It draws heavily from my own experience, which is never a part of school, that is you never bring anything to the table... I'm not really talking about psychology, but I do deal with "learning disabilities" as a subject. This particular interest is not easily classifiable, and the uniqueness of this interest leaves no place within established "subjects" as they are classified.

Lets talk about my juxtaposition of King Arthur and his Round Table to Pharoah and his Pyramid. Watching the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies I could connect all of these ideas to the manner in which corporate America organizes, arguing that a system of ethics derived from somewhat commonly accepted ideals could be possible in real life, but clarifying that human fallibility and moral weakness are ultimately the real reason we find what we do in the present day.

How would you classify a project like that?

Since by identifying the ends sought by studying the humanities, the question then becomes "why restrict the topics studied"?

The purpose of the Three Category System is to figure out where each discipline belongs in terms of method, and how to properly free it from hindering constrains. The distinction between the Humanities and Sciences is arguably arbitrary as well in that Medicine muddies the water quite effectively, although Medicine does tend towards "science" which is why everything is a pill and nobody seems happy...

If somebody is allowed to pursue their interests in an uncontrolled manner, perhaps this is bad... after all, you need the knowledge from the 1st Category, namely Logic, to ensure that the conclusions drawn from study are reasonable. Thus, I say the best method employed to teach/learn any of the Humanities and Sciences is by freely studying relevant material and following up with a cool minded mutually interested critic who is aware of Logic and perhaps knows where to go in further pursuit of the interest.

I alluded too but did not name a concept I call "prior investment". Essentially my theory is that when it comes time to learn the necessary science of reason, Logic, it need not be a dry dull lecture, but in the context of reviewing some study done by a student. In that case the student already has a "prior investment" in the topic and so presumably would be more inclined to tolerate criticism of his findings, provided they are fair and neutral, which is why I stress Logic.

A quick browsing of the wikipedia page on Logical fallacies ought to quickly demonstrate that most of Logic is about being honest about the topic at hand. That is why I say the 1st category, where submission is warranted, is the strong arm in debate which is necessary to develop to skill of arriving at conclusions based on research, the 2nd category. I call the 1st category the Traditional Sciences since they are essentially rules that are transmitted, but the 2nd category the Critical Sciences and mastered through research and debate, tempered by the 1st category.