A new liberal arts
Background Illustrations provided by: http://edison.rutgers.edu/

Learning and Flow

I’ve been slowly (re)reading Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience out of order. The basics of Flow are: have a clear goal that denotes rules to follow, feel that the goal is challenging but not overwhelming, and have frequent feedback so you can make and measure progress towards your goal.

I find that learning something out of order sticks with me more because I’m forced to make guesses and connections for the stuff that doesn’t yet make sense. It’s sometimes hectic and scary but that fear draws me in more. Yesterday I was tearing through chapters, finding nuance where I previously just said, “that makes sense” to my self. The more I read, the more I started to understand why I like to learn so much — it is the epitome of a Flow experience. Think about it. You are working at the edge of your skill level on something with clear goals, you often have ways to get feedback, and if the subject is something you’re into, the activity is aligned with your greater goals. It is a very empowering experience.

Now think about the way kids currently learn, especially college students. They are told what classes are required for them and have maybe 3 exams all semester. Feedback is infrequent and spread apart so the student doesn’t have enough data to course correct, so they fall behind on skills and fall out of flow. Instead of feeling the Flow of knowledge and creativity run through them, the rapidly connecting synapses that form a fuller brain, the whole experience feels like a grind.

My takeaways: If you are teaching a gen ed class like this, either use frequent exams to give close to real time feedback or do all your exams in the beginning to make sure the students are headed in the right direction and then let them work on projects of their choosing as they further develop the required knowledge or skills.

Reblogged from itsquoted  57 notes

In those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake of her rejoicing with heaven and earth. By John Milton (via itsquoted)

Personalization: The Cult of Self

One of the biggest tools consumer tech businesses use is personalization. The thinking goes, the more you present people something they like, the more they will engage with your product, the easier it is to monetize you. I understand the logic, when is it ever bad to give the customers what they want?

The logic ends once you start to think about how you personally react to all the stuff you see. Some stuff you like, some stuff you don’t. Some stuff you like but just a little. Some stuff you like on occasion or when you’re in the right mood

Seeing isn’t always liking.

Just because I read a lot about football in the fall doesn’t mean I want to read about it all year long. Many people read more about politics around the election but they aren’t that engaged for the next 2 years.

My fear is that I will encounter tons and tons of stuff that I like but not realize I’m in an echo chamber of my own making.

I love the internet because it has exposed me to more inspirational and interesting subjects than anyone can imagine, but I would never have encountered any of it if I didn’t explore— if I wasn’t exposed to New.

When we are exposed to something novel, to something we didn’t previously know, we are brought closer to the people who already knew and loved the something New. Whatever New brought us there was just a red herring for the connection people feel when they love the same thing. So it seems that when we keep engaging with the same media, it isn’t the individual who suffers, it’s the Commons.

I want more services that work to expose me to things that will make me a more well rounded person— like if stumbleupon had a point of view. A liberal arts curriculum in my pocket.

Reblogged from noam-chomsky  66 notes

So if you decide not to make use of the opportunities that you have; not to try to live your life in a way which is constructive and helpful, you end up looking back and say: ‘Why did I bother living?’ By ― Noam Chomsky (via slolane)

Reblogged from unionmetrics  162 notes
unionmetrics:

om:

Many of today’s social behaviors that led to many billion dollar companies are inspired by blogs and blogging of the yore. My article is here. 

Favorite excerpt: 
"If you look around the media landscape, the media darlings of the moment — BuzzFeed and Upworthy — are doing essentially that, curating a world overrun with information and content and packaging it up for fast-food like consumption. Using the social web to share these content equivalent of McNuggets at massive scale is sheer genius and that is why they are worthy of all the adulation they are getting.
That doesn’t mean you and I can’t do the same. We’ll just do it at a different scale, at a different tempo and with a different lens — our own.” 

This only sums up part of why I hate upworthy

unionmetrics:

om:

Many of today’s social behaviors that led to many billion dollar companies are inspired by blogs and blogging of the yore. My article is here

Favorite excerpt: 

"If you look around the media landscape, the media darlings of the moment — BuzzFeed and Upworthy — are doing essentially that, curating a world overrun with information and content and packaging it up for fast-food like consumption. Using the social web to share these content equivalent of McNuggets at massive scale is sheer genius and that is why they are worthy of all the adulation they are getting.

That doesn’t mean you and I can’t do the same. We’ll just do it at a different scale, at a different tempo and with a different lens — our own.” 

This only sums up part of why I hate upworthy