Monday, 17 August 2015

Blogphilosophy: a #Blideo and our learning frequency

Steve Wheeler threw his new blideo challenge out into the open and with a twist towards me as well. So grabbing this new challenge with both hands, juggling it, and sending it on its way again after some additional words. For a full list of blideo's, look here (growing as I type).

Blideo steps
The #blideo challenge follows the blimage challenge which I answered to a couple of weeks ago. The blideo challenge similarly can be as easy as you want it to be, but no matter how simple or complex it might be in content, it requires some reflection which inevitably makes it an action which drives the author towards meaning. The three-phase set-up is easy: 1 - select a video (preferably one that is open to the public); 2 - reflect upon it through a learning lens via a blogpost; 3 - invite others to do the same while using the hashtag blideo (#blideo).

Normally one builds upon a suggested video from the person sending you the challenge... but luckily there is room for freedom, as I read Sue Beckingham's, David Hopkin's, and Pascale Colonna's posts, which were all great I thought it would be better to come up with a new video.
First thought: did I come across any video that immediately made me think about learning/teaching/anything Ed-related? And yes, there is. One video keeps returning in my minds eye, emerging frequently when pondering about learning, society, groups... and hence my #blideo challenge took shape.

The tendency to sync
This 4 minute video is fairly well known, and shows a set of metronomes that start off ticking asynchronously, and at the end they all move at a synchronized rhythm.

This spontaneous synchronization also occurs with living creatures (swarms of birds, fish, insects...) which was nicely summed up in a TEDtalk by Steven Strogatz which can be seen here (btw can we see TEDtalks as synchronized video format depicting what presentation quality should look like?).

But if inanimate as well as animate objects are susceptible to synchronicity, then humans must be too... and they are. Group behavior is fascinating, but upsetting at the same time, at least for some of us, myself included. If we all tend towards synchronized action, then we can never become truly free as we are all directed by the others. And similar, if synchronicity is inevitable, then why (or when?) do we shift towards a revolution or - to put it in weak contemporary terms - change management? And related to education: is it then possible to have such a thing as disrupted education (a much discussed shift due to new online learning and connecting opportunities such as the dawn of MOOCs)? Or is it simply a new frequency that shall be followed as nature does and which makes perfect, group sense? If such changes always end up to make sense for the group, and given the fact that humans have not attain peace, equity, global balance... any new seeming opportunity within educational technology will end up being assimilated by the group dynamic, or the sync-dogma... or sync-utopia.

Global peace through education: tendency towards spontaneous order versus the urge towards entropy
Let's be optimistic. Maybe we will at some point manage to get the human population to sync on societal laws and views that will be beneficial to all, despite our more or less violent past history. And of course learning/education will be a central actor in this shift, as only by transmitting new information can the group take a new direction (look at the TEDtalk from Steven Strogatz). In that case of course we must first install those beneficial guidelines or laws, and in order to do this we must experiment to find what results in peace, solidarity or any of those balanced concepts. Small efforts of asynchronous learning projects might deliver, but then it might be that those small, successful lab experiments won't survive the group dynamics once launched in society? Indeed, it might be that we need to first install a global full stop before installing the new ideas at a multitude of locations around the world, as that would enable those new group ideas to be picked up.
The question is of course: who's frequency wins, or put mildly: who's frequency do we want to follow? Is it the ideas that find most resonance in the existing group? In that case, the size of a group that supports those ideas will matter (well, open door there, colonialism and its dynamics shows it again and again), or is it possible that tiny changes are indeed able to turn the full frequency of ideas around? If that is the case, we must all be critical learners. Each one of us will have to make a non-propaganda-driven choice on what they want and whether they agree upon new rules to achieve a stable society in which we all have the opportunity to reach our full potential and happiness.

Or are we already on our way to a global sync enabling cooperative living no matter where?
Ah... time to pass the baton to the next thinkers... which movie gets your grey cells in a state of thrill? You can either use the video above, find a new one, or reflect on the one below as a starting point: