Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Relational Thinking and Blogandering

I am not sure how well organized this post will be, but somehow I think that form will be appropriate to the topic.

My name is Kristen, and I am a bloganderer. I might even have to say Webanderer...

Since my employ with a software company in 1996, I have been hopelessly addicted to searching the Web. I enjoy nothing more than indulging little research requests in my brain with precision googling and then, as if exploring a new city or park, move from thought to thought, relationally.

Way back in 1995, when I was in graduate school to be am elementary school teacher, I learned about the Progressive School of education. Progressive education is a movement that finds its roots in present experience, is more democratic in outlook, and looks forward. One of its applications is Experiential education where classroom learning is guided by both the experiences of the students and the class as a whole. I think of it as the form of teaching where the way the students' mind works is most honored and respected.

Wikipedia defines:
Experiential education is a philosophy of education that focuses on the transactive process between teacher and student involved in direct experience with the learning environment and content.

This is not to be confused with Experiential learning:
Experiential learning requires no teacher and relates solely to the meaning making process of the individual from direct experience. It is an inherent process that occurs naturally. However, as John Dewey pointed out experiential learning can often lead to mis-educative experiences.

Ahhhhhh...mis-educative experiences! Therein lies the rub. All this wandering the Web and blogandering can lead to false conclusions. Just look at the popularity of Snopes. I have many friends who send out email apocrypha warning me against dangers rife in this world, from how to avoid carjacking, to the dangers of certain deoderants, I get them all. Most of these are perpetuated untruths. Thank goodness for Snopes and their research for educating me...but, then again, how do I know that what they write is true?

And Wikipedia, an encyclopedia created by the Web community. How do we know if it's not just a bunch of words conjured up by internet blowhards? And blogs are even worse. They present like articles or news, but are not more than someone's thoughts spilling out into a browser window.

Now we have Tumblr encouraging microblogging. A form of blogging even less precise and more pithy. I know I will continue to blogander, but as the articles and entries on the Internet increase daily, will I have more and more of Dewey's "mis-educational" experiences? Will I care? Are we entering an era where imprecise truths are resepected?

2 comments:

Elisa said...

I think that with anything on the internet you just take it with a grain of salt. It isn't like a newspaper where they have standards (although my local one is rife with spelling errors!). Anyone can say anything. Nearly four years of Babycenter surfing has taught me that!

Amelia's moms said...

I think that the web is basically perfectly set up for people who think like you do....in connections. The potential of the internet is not reached when used by linear thinkers. Its imprecision is one of its most intriguing qualities, allowing you to fill in the missing words and/or carry on with half a thought bouncing around in your head to digest later.