How to philosophise with a hammer

A concept is a brick. It can be used to build the courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window. Deleuze and Guattari ATP p x11

At other times another means of recovery which is even more to my taste, is to cross-examine idols. There are more idols than realities in the world: this constitutes my “evil eye” for this world: it is also my “evil ear.” To put questions in this quarter with a hammer, and to hear perchance that well-known hollow sound which tells of blown-out frogs,—what a joy this is for one who has cars even behind his cars, for an old psychologist and Pied Piper like myself in whose presence precisely that which would fain be silent, must betray itself. Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols 

Sometimes philosophy needs to shake things up. Sometimes we can be too polite, sometimes reasoned debate will just not work. I’ve been meaning to write a proper piece about this for a long time now. Maybe I will, and maybe I won’t. In the meantime here’s some snippets, and a damned good tune.

 

 

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Twitter chat personas

Say cheese

I’ve been thinking a lot about the different ways of interacting, or not, on Twitter this week, and I’ve come up with a rough list of types of engagement in Twitter conversations:

  • Academic:  adds relevant academic references
  • Networker: links to others/brings other tweeps into the conversation
  • Self-publicist: always twists the conversation to talk about their work; provides links to their work over and over again
  • Cheerleader: RTs with added positive comments about the original post
  • Enthusiast: replies to say how great everybody and their ideas are
  • Lurker: likes posts, might RT without added comment, but does not post
  • Critic: disagrees, adds alternative points of view, but does so in a positive way*
  • Troll: no need to define these*

What do you think? Do you recognise yourself or others in this categorisation? Ha:ve I missed out any personas you’d include?

* Thanks to Len for these two

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It depends how you look at it

Blind men and elephant3

There’s a story that’s often told about a bunch of blind men and an elephant. Each man only encounters a part of the elephant and, based on their partial understanding, disagree with the others about the *real* nature of the animal. I wrote about this years ago on another site, now lost, and I can’t remember exactly what I said, butI said something related during rhizo15.

I’m not a fan of pretending that educational researchers can be objective. However, I don’t think that an implication of this is that all educational research is a matter of subjective opinion – there’s an alternative candidate that’s worth consideration.

Perspectivism is the view that every point of view is a matter of perspective.* Everybody has their own perspective, and it’s important to recognise that this might not be the whole story. This doesn’t mean that truth is subjective, or relative – perspectives can be better or worse than others, and some perspectives can be aggregated to make a bigger story, as the blind men can do in order to get a fuller picture of the elephant – if they take the time to listen to each other.

Rhizomes are like this. Each of us finds our own way of navigating then, each of us have our own perspective. We can often understand others’, and we can agree or disagree with them. Rhizomes are heterogeneous multiplicities, to use some of D&G’s words.

Perspectivism grounds my methodology and my ethical approach for my PhD. I am looking at CLMOOC and putting my interpretation on what I see there, then making my interpretation open to others to agree, or disagree. I’m not pretending to have all of the answers, but I am suggesting a point of view that I think is plausible. I think that’s how educational research should be viewed.

* There’s a lot more to this, of course. I’m not suggesting that there is no such thing as objective truth, it’s more complicated than that. But this will suffice for here.

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Stealing learning

He came like a thief in the night. Stealthily, furtively, he crept in. With nobody watching he grabbed it, clutched at it with all his might, cradled it close to his chest and shuffled away.

This picture of learners who do not actively post, but passively consume, is one that I think is prevalent with some folk. I’m not minded to give in to it – I think that this is an opportunity to reclaim the term. That’s an idea that is at the edge of my mind a lot at the moment. Lurking there, some might say. I’ll say more soon, but in the meantime here’s a couple of my sketches.

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Lurkers

Lurker

I lurk

There, I’ve said it out loud. There are times that, for various reasons, I read conversations and watch what is going on without visibly participating. Does that make me a bad person, or is my behaviour an entirely rational response to our busy modern world? Do I need to ‘fess up and join in, or is it socially acceptable nowadays for me to passively consume what others create? These, and other questions, were ones that I posed for a recent LTHEChat.

Lurking gets a lot of bad press. Personally, as I said in the twitter chat, and as I’ve explained in more detail in a recent paper written with some friends, my preferred term is Legitimate Peripheral Participation – a phrase we take from Lave and Wenger. But I still use lurking as a shorthand for that phrase, as it doesn’t trip off the tongue easily!

So  what do you think? Is lurking a shady thing to do? I don’t think so.

Posted in Learning, MOOC, Online learning, Peer interaction, PhD, Teaching, University | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Turn a flower into a bird

Daffodil

A great daily create today, imo (disclaimer: I submitted the idea). I took a photo of a daffodil that I took a couple of months ago and put it through an online app that turns photos into drawings, and messed around for a few minutes till I had an outline I liked.

Then I printed it out and got out my pencil case. I could already see the makings of a beak and a scruffy body, and this is what appeared.

Scruff

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Summer doodles, and more

Hello all – how’s July for you so far? Here in Glasgow it’s hot, and I am hiding in my study looking out over our garden with berries ripening, potato plants thriving- so much promise, so much sun.

But, luckily, as I hide in my cool study, I have plenty to occupy me. Because this is July, and CLMooc has a month of creativity to inspire me Come and join us, if you will, as we share pictures and poems with each other before joining up with a wider community from the middle of July.

All are welcome. I hope to see you there. If you like, I’ll also send you a postcard.

Posted in #CLMOOC, DailyCreate, Gifting, Love, Peer interaction, postcards, Scotland | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Be the Pink Panther

Today’s Daily Create  brought to mind a quote from Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus:

Write to the nth power, the n – 1 power, write with slogans: Make rhizomes, not roots, never plant! Don’t sow, grow offshoots! Don’t be one or multiple, be multiplicities! Run lines, never plot a point! Speed turns the point into a line! Be quick, even when standing still! Line of chance, line  of hips, line of flight. Don’t bring out the General in you! Don’t have just ideas, just have an idea (Godard). Have short-term ideas. Make maps, not photos or drawings. Be the Pink Panther and your loves will be like the wasp and the orchid, the cat and the baboon. ATP p. 24-5

It’s all about heterogeneity and rhizomes, of course – about working outside the lines, about not conforming to state control. It’s the essence of DS106 and CLMooc, for me. So here’s a gif for today:

via GIPHY

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Socks

I like knitting socks. I’ve got a whole drawer full of pairs I’ve made for myself, from plain ribbed ones to fancy designs,  and most of my family own at least one pair I’ve made for them. I’ve got masses of yarn, in a rainbow of colours, and all I need is somebody who needs socks.

So that’s where you come in. If you’d like me to knit you a pair of socks, all you need to do is design a pair and send me the design.

A few things before you start:

  • Socks are knitted in the round. Generally there will be 64 stitches per row for a woman’s sock, and 72 for a man’s.
  • Socks can, of course, be any length. My default is 100 rows for the leg, which is about 8 inches.
  • Knitted stitches are wider than they are tall – the ratio is about 4 stitches to measure the same as 5 rows (so 28 stitches knitted over 35 rows would make a 4 inch square, for example). Knitting chart paper is easy to find online. Here’s some.
  • Patterns can repeat around the sock – multiples of 8 are very common.
  • There can be different patterns on the same sock.
  • Patterns with only 1 or 2 colours per row are nicest to knit (I have 2 hands, and can hold 1 colour in each).
  • If you’d prefer plain socks, or stripy ones, that’s also fine – just tell me which colour (s) you’d like.

So – over to you. This is an open offer – I am a #4life knitter, so whenever I get a request I add it to my queue.

Posted in #CLMOOC, DS106, Gifting, knitting | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

If trees could talk

I walk past this tree every day on the way to my office.

In the early morning the quad is quiet, with maybe a crow hopping across the grass or a cleaner scurrying about between the buildings.

Later in the day it is busier – students eating lunch on sunny days, academics sitting on benches chatting, tourists marveling in the architecture and taking photos of each other.

What sights has this tree seen? What happy memories do people hold of being in this place? Graduations, weddings, exams, meetings. School children on day trips, alumni back for nostalgic visits, those that work here – like me – wandering out to catch our breath and pause for a moment.

 

 

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