Thursday, 12 April 2012

Best Discussion on Forums Yet?

The US dept for Education in investing in researching discussion forums in education.

It's lovely being stretched to think in new ways about forums.  In this discussion we've been chatting about how forums challenge the conclusions of top philosophers and psychologies about 'authentic' discussion because they have the ability to 'transcend time and space' and involve many contributors - features of deep conversation which were not easily available in the past.

The discussion is in the 'Education Online Communities of Practice Managers' Network' on and it's called 'Do online discussion forums produce genuine conversation?'


  1. Hi Rebecca

    Just to show that there is another side to me than the misog you see on JR's site.

    How does this tie into your post on education ?


    Well I suppose I could make a tenuous connection here:

    In order for people to learn things which are hard to learn they need to be motivated somehow.

    It needs to become what they think about when they wake up. For me it's guitar but I really wish it could be maths !

  2. Well what a lovely start to Saturday morning that was!

    One thing we've come to understand in maths recently is that number is fundamentally two different things - repeated addition (counting) and ratio (how big one quantity is compared with another).

    In the west we teach only repeated addition. People do naturally acquire a sense of ratio - If I asked you to jump with your eyes closed and I told you that distance was 19 and then I asked you to jump 25 you could probably have a fair go at that task just by knowing the relative sizes of numbers. People who love betting tend to use number as ratio a lot in their calculations.

    Number as ratio is very obviously present in uneducated cultures - it's there the incredible calculations child street traders carry out. Western education tends to block it out at certain developmental stages. They key to acquiring both number as counting and number as ratio is to being exposed to their foundations elements at times when you are open to learning them. Often people miss the basics because their brain is doing something else when they're being taught them and our educations sytem doesn't give them another chance. They can end up learning maths and passing tests but it's always a struggle.

    If you struggled with maths it wouldn't suprise me if your mind was trying to do number as ratio Kevin - because it's so obviously fundamental in your interpretation of music.

    Here's where the two systems overlap - some ratios in music are whole number ratios. People who learned number as counting can do them. But they can't do what you can do on your guitar because they can't 'hear' all those other ratios. They've been blocked out by their learning of whole numbers. The other ratios are not whole numbers.

    The Open University book MU120 Unit 9 Block B: Every picture Tells a Story: Music.
    might interest you.