Sunday, July 13, 2014

Educational Philosophy Revisited July 13, 2014

Photo: Francis Ledoux

A year ago I began a journey on the road to "digital literacy".  Last July I wrote the following statement of educational  philosophy...

"Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved"

                                                                 Soren Kierkegaard

This quote has resonated in my mind since I first read it in a philosophy class in college.  I am still trying to articulate the meaning I find in that statement.  Perhaps it expresses something about my educational philosophy?  Perhaps I have always wanted to change it to read: "Life is a mystery to be lived and a problem to be solved"?

I think life is all about the joy of teaching and learning.  My basic tenants of education at this point in my life are:

  • Learning is an intrapersonal experience where "intellectual discourse" may lead to knowing something or changing one's thoughts about something.
  • There must be some form of struggle with the concepts and ideas before you make them your own or understand them (Piaget's idea of equilibration)
  • Our desire to know and learn needs to be encouraged.  The role of the teacher is to tap into the student's curiosity by posing probing questions and offering adventurous experiences.  It is not an option to be uninformed.  Education is power and anyone who says "ignorance is bliss" is self oppressive.

    As a learner and teacher I have been influenced by some of the ideas of Jean Piaget, John Dewey, Rachel Carson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and many others.

As I reflect on my own words posted above and the learning I have experienced this year I think that my basic philosophy of education has not changed. It has, however, been drastically enhanced by what is currently called Instructional Technology and Digital Media Literacy at the University of New Haven.  

In my revised philosophy statement I would add Mimi Ito, Pernille Tranburg, James Paul Gee, Brene Brown, John Seeley Brown, Sherry Turkle, Daphne Koller, Sir Ken Robinson, and William Ian O'Byrne to the list of those who have influenced my ideas about education.  The type of access I have to great thinkers has expanded exponentially since I have begun my journey on the road to digital literacy.

As I continue to review and refine my educational philosophy I hope to explore more about technology in education as it relates to respect, equity and access.  As I analyze the affordances and vulnerabilities of technology I learn that we need to be thoughtful and purposeful about designing learning experiences for diverse populations.  I am keenly aware of the rate of change which is at the core of technology and look forward to continnued imersion in the multimedia aspects of the educational world.

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