Are the new ways of creating content creating a new sense of self

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in social_media | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

This video is great. It talks about how putting things out on the Internet causes context collapse – we know ANYONE can see it, and we may even have to see it.

So one way we know ourselves is by our relationship to others. Now that there are new ways to connect with others, we have new ways to know others. Does this mean we are finding new ways to know ourselves?

What do you think this means for education?

3 Responses to Are the new ways of creating content creating a new sense of self

  1. Ken Allan says:

    Kia ora e Gina.

    Yep. Interesting video.

    You mentioned context collapse. It’s not the putting stuff on the Internet that causes that. Context collapse happens all the time, even when the Internet is not involved.

    I believe that the main reason for context collapse is in interpretation. I also think you are right to allude to this when you say “ANYONE can see it” (and may have to see it).

    The thing is that seeing is believing is always what is thought is what happens. We believe what we interpret and we do not interpret with our eyes. Interpretation happens in the brain. So we actually ‘see’ with our brain. What is brought to our awareness through the eyes is always interpreted in the brain, whether it be understanding a section of text or a virtual image or a new Internet idea.

    Any experienced teacher (whether experienced in online or not) will tell you that interpretation is everything when it comes to learning. A student who interprets a concept in a way different from the tutor (or the tutor’s tutor, or the whole hierarchy of tutors) can do one of two things. They can miss the point entirely or they can see an innovative way of interpreting the concept differently. History is littered with stories of recalcitrant students who re-interpreted what their tutors attempted to impart to them (filling jugs). Einstein was one.

    What do I think it means for education? I don’t think it will change things much in that (concept collapse) direction at all. What it will do is give more people the chance to see and interpret for themselves. That can only be a good thing.

    Catchya later

  2. gminks says:

    Hi Ken!!!

    I agree that this is nothing new, our sense of self is shaped by everything around us. However, this changes the societal pressures that we encounter that have traditionally shaped our self image.

    In Here Comes Everybody Shirky talks about the communities of anorexic people who have banded together to encourage each other to stay anorexic no matter if people try to shame them into stopping. So normally, these folks would have lots of societal pressure to change their way of thinking about anorexia. But the internet allows them to interact with others who feel the way they do deep inside, and that allows them to develop a different sense of self.

    I see it in the autism community too. Parents rejecting the idea that their kids are broken, instead seeing that the external systems (including education) are broken.

    I think that concept collapse will affect American schools – after all lots of times here all the schools are for is creating good compliant citizens. What happens when kids figure out there is more to the world than what they are being taught? And more to them than what they have been allowed to think?

  3. Ken Allan says:

    Kia ora e Gina!

    Hang on a minute though . . . There is always going to be more to the world than what kids are taught. I’m sixty something – a so-called lifelong-learner with one foot in the grave – and I am forever finding that there’s more to the world than what I’ve learnt.

    How boring it would if all our students knew everything about the world before they left school. They would be world weary before their life as adults really began.

    As for being allowed to think . . . well, that’s a can of worms. In western society today there is as much pressure to think according to form, fad and fashion outside school as in. Homophily is rife everywhere. Even on the Internet.

    We, as adults, are schooled into thinking the way the group wants us to think, whether its in the social club or workplace or sports team. If you don’t think the way the cliques and the social circles think you should, you can become an isolate. You may even be labelled as an eccentric.

    Yet we talk of freedom of speech, and the right to have an opinion and the right to be individuals. True individuals who are different from others, and who (honestly) express what they feel and how they wish to live need strength and determination to make a strike for independence. It is not easy.

    Many who attempt this, at various stages in their lives, get pulled into line by what other people think they should think or say or do.

    One of the main reasons for this is that people don’t really think for themselves about issues – rather they think more of what other people think, or what others might think of them. They want to comply – never mind being schooled into being compliant citizens, as you mentioned.

    I guess you might be picking up from this rant that I’m defending schools. I’m not. But we cannot amputate schools from what goes on in society. Even to say that the schools are causing what’s not right about society is a bit off the mark in my opinion – and I’m not inferring that this is what you think.

    Society, however we choose to look at it, is not a reflection of what goes on in schools. It’s more that schools are a reflection of what’s permitted to go on in society, for society selects the people who eventually minister, govern and manage the schools.

    I think the Internet is more of a technological tool that can be used in schools. Like so-called dustless chalk, spirit duplicators, overhead projectors and other 20th century teaching technologies, the Internet will have its day.

    Catchya later

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