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Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler)

part A knowing
chapter 1 knowing frames 1.1 Interconnectivity - the question what is teaching is a difcult one that has no clear answer, nor should it - learning is also complex and dependent on interpretation; which leaves us with the question, what is knowing - knowledge isnt a think, it is a dynamic phenomenon - knowing and doing are not different phenomenon 1.2 Partiality - every act of knowing is incomplete and biased, since knowing entails a selection of one ideal and a discard of another - worse, we are ignorant of those partialities and our education system maintains an economically stratied society - appropriate responses to our problems revolve around knowing differently, not simply knowing more - knower, knowledge and knowing are not separate phenomenon, but are interrelated - the embodied, embedded and situated nature of knowing 1.3 Diversity - the importance of attending to the knowings that arise in diverse cultures, eras and landscapes - empirical science has been the Western worlds prevailing attitude toward knowledge; a problematic tendency which has positioned science as all knowing and unied, when this is far from the case - it is not a monolith, but a bazaar; it is simultaneously stable and dynamic (undergoing constant change and modication - knowledge as a commodity sets up the West for a position of dominance, which it has wielded over the last couple centuries - another problem is that the center of this knowledge is the individual, out of which all culture and knowledge arises - in indigenous knowing, it arises from who you are and what you are doing, and it unfolds within interlaced sets of political, social and environmental conditions - education continues to be violent through teaching practices and curricula that are infused by a theory of knowing that is rooted in empiricism and imperialism; it is individualistic - teaching is about nurturing diversity in biological and cultural systems - it is not about replication, but about creation - the possibilities that arise when personal and cultural diversities are brought into conversation - teaching is about engaging, in all facets of the word, and in all facets of the world 1.4 Sufciency - two principle aims of the book 1) interrogate webs of association that shape understanding of knowing, learning and teaching, 2) integrate current trans-disciplinary research and how enable possibilities that are attentive to time, context, and change

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - a knowers knowing is subject to constant modication; yet at the same time, ones sense of the world is curiously inadequate chapter 2 knowing looks 2.1 Perception - why educate? - historically, it is rooted in a desire to have a younger generation see things the same way - but, what does seeing mean? And how do you affect it? - can teachers cause learners to change their perceptions? No. - expanding the space of the possible; it is participation in the ever-unfolding project of becoming capable and new, unimagined possibilities - schooling is not preparation for life, it is life - not shaping perception to existing frames, but opening perception to new frames - there is more communication from the brain to the sense organ than from the sense organ to the brain; therefore perception cannot be a passive event of taking things in - sense organs are shing for sensation - perception and conception are inseparable; or knowledge shapes perception, and perception shapes knowledge - how does this t with our view of knowledge as taking things in? It doesnt. 2.2 Awareness - our sense organs can register in the area of ten million bits of information per second, yet we can only be aware of 10 to 20 bits - consciousness is vast, and perception is small (like a spotlight shining on only one part of the stage in a dark theatre) - our basic attunement to the world around us then, is basically non-conscious, and this is not something we learn to do - learning new things is largely a matter of conscious awareness, however, enfolding such knowledge into our lives in largely unconscious (we are not conscious of how we ride a bike, or of each word we speak, yet at one point, we were) 2.3 Attention - mastery is a focus on isolated skills, repetitive practice, and regular testing to ensure that the chunks are learned - rote memorization is not bad practice, learning skills must become automatic and transparent before they can be used in more complex competencies - however, it needs appropriate contextualization or the learning will just be done for the sake of learning, and the opposite effect will be gained - orient attention to vital details at appropriate times - prompting attentions to some new aspect, some new way of interpreting the everyday of life 2.4 Consciousness - how can we come to terms with, as educators, that a trickle of perceptions selected out of a torrent of possibilities is distilled down, summarized, and ultimately, interpreted? - the spectrum of answers goes from purely physiological (genetic) to purely socially determined - nature versus nurture - your brain is constantly in the process of establishing new connections and is in a constant state of change

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - biology and perception - some life forms have radically different sense organs, and this leaves us unable to even imagine how they perceive the world - we are physiologically coupled to our world in a specic and narrow way; since we are only capable of viewing the world through the senses we have - even person to person we are different, and our sense change as we age, so our perception of our own world changes with it! - culture and perception - perception implies interpretation, and that ability hinges on experience; perception is mainly learned - habits of perception ow out of the deep etchings of our language - it focuses our perception on certain areas, and turns the spotlight off to others - the introduction of a new vocabulary can have a profound impact on perception - words do more than orient perception; they constrain it, yet they also enable it 2.5 Conception - human consciousness is a little bit slow compared to the stimulus - we are never aware of what is happening right now - consciousness doesnt control, it comments - rethinking the nature of consciousness-- not as a xed and unchanging form, but as a complex phenomenon that evolves - we are not trying to control consciousness and perception, but orient it - if the spotlight is shined on one possibility, it ignores others; and what we perceive matters, because it will then lead us to act on the one possibility that is being illuminated - see world through Euclidian Geometry, and then reorienting your consciousness to a more fractal understanding of geometry is an example of how teachers can orient students perception - we see things we have never seen, because the spotlight was never looking at them - education can thus be recast as helping people to know what they dont know, but as noticing what they have never noticed before - it is an ongoing expansion of ones perceptual world chapter 3 knowing acts 3.1 Enacting Norms - the world normal entered into the english language through the concept of the carpenters square, or a 90 degree angle; it is rooted in euclidian geometry - teachers are still expected to act as the normal exemplars of cultural representations of collective ideals - in a fast paced world that is changing rapidly, with shifting demographics, are teachers still expected to t this role? - education has been organized around the concept of normal - deconstruction of the term normal; to deconstruct is not to take apart piece by piece, but rather to bring forward what is excluded, concealed, implied, or otherwise unsayable - most human knowledge is not explicit; it is tacit, implicit, embodied, acted out, enacted; it is manifest in interactions, attitudes, structures, and obsessions - formal schooling is usually focused on the explicit part of knowledge; the visual ow of the iceberg - rendering the familiar strange-- reawakening attentions to entrenched habits of association and exploring alternatives

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) 3.2 Normalism - people are different; but how? - perception; biologically rooted and culturally elaborated - humans are a difference seeking species; we look for the one that doesnt match - we impose this onto our perceived world and nd examples of it that do not exist - this is a useful tool; boundaries are necessary for keeping us safe, we use our senses to know not to go to far, or to further - however, perception is not a simple process of gathering information; it is about making associations between immediate experiences and prior events -- a process over which we have no control, and not always productive - at a cultural level, this is embedded in language - IAT (Implicit Associations Testing) - humans have no direct control over the associations that made - however, indirect inuences can profoundly affect what is assumed to be normal - formal education could play an important role in excavating and challenging some of these implicit associations - an important aspect of education is interrogating conceptions of normal; for if you dont, or ignore them, that is the same as accepting them 3.3 Normal Distributions - a move in the 1800s by the social sciences to the collection of quantitive data - history of the bell curve --- astronomers measuring celestial bodies --- mathematics of probability --- social statistics like height and birth rates --- personality characteristics, morals, intelligence and behaviors - this all means that we moved from looking at people as diverse, and started looking at them in terms of what is normal, and how far does a person deviate from that normality - in education the concept of normal distributions underpins many areas of the eld; common curricula, homogenous classrooms, uniform teaching methods, age-appropriate classrooms and activities, and standardized academic testing - ALL of these rest on the assumption of a normal child, and ALL of them contribute to the entrenchment of that assumption within educational structures - we have words in education to label teachers; delayed, disordered, challenged, gifted; and each of these rests on the need to make a normative structure in the middle - difference and diversity have been overwhelmingly cast as qualities to be tolerated, managed, and ameliorated; rather than appreciated, embraced, and fostered 3.4 Developmentalism - used to refer to any theory in which a model presents a series of steps or stages through which a person is expected to progress - many of theorisits behind these models have gone to great lengths in their writings to let the reader know that these are uid, complex, contextual, and recursive; however, the majority of interpretation is done in a linear progression going from incompleteness to wholeness - images of ladders and staircases destroy the beautifulness of these models and theories - educational policy makers adopted them full-stop, as they neatly t into the already linear structure of formal schooling (factory model) - physically, humans develop more or less the same (assuming all dietary and pychological needs are being met) - however problems arise; there are always exceptions, personal experience and culture play a huge role, and we assume that because physical development is largely uniform, so then must conceptual development be too

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - the problem is rooted in how these theories are hinged to the word normal - normal does not mean universal, or on average, they are rooted in the statistical mean of the subject group being studied; and if the subject group was kids living in a wealthy neighborhood, what does that tell us about the rest of us? And why is that being used to guide policy? - one does not progress sequentially through the stages - when doing math; some people prefer to go back down to the concrete stage on Piagets theory, rather than learning a new idea at the formal stage - it is not that they are at formal operations, it is they can be there, but they can also move around - we progress through the stages based on our emergent needs; conceptual development isnt about the future, it is about the present - recursive cycles and feedback loops - as one grows and learns, we develop new gears, and can shift between different modalities of though and strategies depending on our immediate situation - the most critical aspect of the teachers role is not provision of information, but participation with learners in the development of strategies to interpret that information - what we know is inseparable from what we do chapter 4 knowing structures 4.1 Embodiment - different systems of knowing are nested inside other systems of knowing; bodily, person, collectives, societies, species, ecosphere - they are all examples of decentralized networks - knowing bodies are fractal, not euclidean - these bodies are in a co-evolutionary complex process; adapting to and affecting one another and they dynamics - they are tightly interrelated - however, the prevailing metaphors for education are ill-suited to actual world; knowledge is not an object, it is not a food, it is not an edice, and it is not a liquid - no substance enters a body when it is learned; therefore teaching cannot be about delivering, relaying, transmitting, or getting things across - it is an ongoing structural dance of coupling and evolution 4.2 Memory - taken-as-shared in the 1980s threw this idea on its head - most of our education system is organized around the idea that the individual is the center of knowing - our understanding of memory takes a fractal like image - individual memory; the memories of one person inside their head - sensory memory; short lived, intercellular - brain-based memory; not localized, but involve different aspects of the brain - short-term memory; fade quickly and dont leave an impression; what we have in mind at a given moment - long-term memory; a more stable pattern, resist fading because they are associated with changes to the brain structure - non-declarative memory; procedures that can be done without conscious thought, like riding a bike - declarative memory; most common to education, it depends on the types of memories that can be brought forward and stated

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - episodic memory; memory of experiences, easily recalled - semantic memory; fact based memory, more difcult to recall because it is missing the contextualization - memories are not stable states, but are a vibrant tapestry of patterns - episodic memories are parts of a vast web of association, and the details are best learned when they are already lodged in a an already established matrix of experience and interpretation - not everything we know is bounded by our skin - we distribute our memory systems to ofoad some of the demands on our brains, and we let the world outside of us do the remembering, like a colored le for a certain type of bill, or notes in the margin - knowledge is then invested in tools, language, customs, homes, cities, design, etc. - collective memory; a memory that we are all part of - short term memory; fads, occupy attention then leave with no enduring impact - long-term memory; customs and culture, molded out of the structure of the collective - we can go out further with this, and in further as well - cells have memory, so do plants, so do species, and so do ecosystems - memories are patterns of co-activity among agents that come together into more complex collectives; they all embody their histories - meanings, understandings and interpretations are shared; not identical among individuals, but distributed across collectives and their memory systems 4.3 Knowledge - what does this mean for knowledge? what does it look like? - in the nested circles; memory refers to the dynamics within a given circle/system, while knowledge refers to how those circles t into the grander whole - therefore, knowledge is embodied (there must be an actor), and situated (there must be a context for the action) - knowledge is a relationship - society is a living example of how a collective can be vastly more intelligent than even the smartest individual - production and innovative groups tend to be decentralized - consensus is a bad idea, as it leads to compromise, which can lead to the lowest common denominator of decisions to be made; disagreements are good - autonomy of groups leads to more exible and adaptive decisions - ideas bump up against each other and points of divergence and convergence are revealed - win-win outcome is when the outcome benets both the individual and the group - should education serve the interests of the students or the society? This is a false dichotomy, as it can do both 4.4 Collectivity - humans routinely synchronize actions with one another - our speech patterns and body language are acutely sensitive to the person we are talking to - a conversation could then be described as a coupling of individuals attentional systems - this coupling goes on at the level of the brain, as they get in tune with they way the other person is thinking - there may not be a linkage between the two systems physically, but they do act as a single cognitive system

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - mirror neurons are located in many parts of the brain; they re not only when we perform an action, but when we observe somebody else performing an action - everything we see someone do, we mimic in our minds - piggyback on somebody elses perceptual ability, and enhance your own - however, these can also go against the grain and lead not to learning, but to social pressures and the need to t in - mob mentality would be the opposite of collective intelligence; with only suppressing the diversity of opinions in the group, it can go down dangerous paths - sociality might be rooted in our biology; but something more complex arises in the space of knowing structures

part B learning
chapter 5 learning frames 5.1 Complexity - rejection of machine based metaphors in favor of biological ones - parts to whole - they are always caught up with other systems in a dance of change, and cannot be reduced - because they adapt and transform themselves, the metaphors of Newton and a machine cannot explain them - complex systems are systems that learn 5.2 Learning Systems - mussels in the great lakes - an ecosystem is not static and optimized, but vibrantly sufcient - the zebra mussels have been embodied in the ecosystem of the great lakes - the ecosystem learned how to incorporate the mussels into their environment, and now the whole system is stronger as a result 5.3 Identifying Complexity - there is no one size ts all explanation, but there are several common strategy for recognizing a complex system - they all have stable boundaries and identities, though they share information with other systems through a porous membrane - they are self-organized and self-maintained; they learn to accommodate change - the learning system determines what will be learned, not the event that prompts the learning, self-determination - no cause and effect - far-from-equilibrium; forces them to explore the possibilities and tinker with new patterns, this helps them evolve new structures and new ways of working - complex learning systems appear to be xed, but in fact they are only stable patterns in the ow of matter and/or activity 5.4 Complexity Imagery - directed progress vs. expansive growth; people dont move along a line of predetermined outcomes - it is about the selection from possibilities

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - moving into and through an evolving space of possibility - learning is then, better to understand in terms of not a straight progression along a line, but rather recursion, iteration, feedback loops, folding back, elaboration, growth and evolution - learning is playful - play tends to be contrasted with work and is seen as a distraction, purposelessness, and disorder - people are more content when their work allows them spaces for imagination, innovation, problem solving and exible responses; or they get to play with ideas - play is the possibility of movement - Euclidian shapes vs Fractal forms; lines, arrows and nite forms are not useful when talking about this type of learning - the process of learning is constantly transformative, yet they perceive a memory of the following - tree like fractal is useful for explaining the emergent space of what is possible - node like fractal is useful for explaining knowledge producing systems (brains, math, language and science) - they are all nested into themselves and how they share with other systems - normal distribution vs power law distribution; moving away from the bell curve and towards the power law - what is a normal earthquake? is an illogical question, since the vast majority of earthquakes are imperceptible to man, and hence the average would be so small - in a power law distribution, their are no characteristic learning episodes - Blooms taxonomy is an example of a power law distribution, at the bottom of the pyramid there are many questions related to knowledge, and at the top, very few about evaluating; as you go up, the likelihood drops precipitously - teachers have taken this complex model and linearized it into a lesson progression that forces each level to come out - in a complex system, the level of questions would be expected to emerge, provided the contexts were sufciently rich and were structured in ways that allowed ideas to interact - a classroom community is a complex knowledge-producing unity chapter 6 learning positions 6.1 Correspondence Theories - behaviorisms; the most dominant theory of learning through most of the 20th century - focus on what is observable and measurable - what matters is what someone is doing, not what they are thinking - sets up an atmosphere where experiments are easily controlled - rewards, punishments (or the threat of punishment) will lead to the desired outcome - shortcomings; school is too diverse and uid, no distinction between declarative and nondeclarative memory, human innovation becomes difcult to explain and manage, ignores biological predispositions, suggests the relationship between learning and experience is linear and predictable - it is not wrong, but it is inappropriate for what a school can and should be - curriculum, standards, learning outcomes; these are all rooted in behaviorist objectives - it assumes that teaching causes learning - classroom management is the same, it is the assumed cause/effect control relationship at play - in terms of collectivity, activities are better when they promote individual and group selfregulation

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - mentalisms; prior to behaviorism, most of the attempted understanding of learning was focused on how the mind works - the most prominent perspective is that learning is a matter of assembling an inner representation of the world - the metaphor has historically followed the most advanced technology of the time (photography, print press, etc) and is now using metaphors of computers - manifest in phrases like internalizing, inputting, storing and processing, the mind as a database - however, nothing is taken-in when we learn, so these metaphors all fall short, since the basic tenet of mentalisms is that the mind works by acquiring - something like Gardner and his learning styles reduces the complexity of teaching and learning and set it up to a simple prescription for teaching - common ground; rely on a series of dichotomies, internal/external, self/other, individual/ collective, knower/knowledge - most importantly, that the mental is separate from the physical - cast school as a linear process; controlling internal representations - teaching becomes technical - it is complicated, but it is not a complex whole 6.2 Coherence Theories - reject the assumption that there is a difference between body/mind, selves/others, etc - they all highlight the vibrancy of their interests - phrased in terms of adaptation and evolution - focus on t, rather than match - what really matters is internal coherence and compatibility - constructivisms; individual sense making - tends to be associated with building metaphors - Piaget argued that learning is a continuos process of updating ones sense of the world as prompted by new experiences - as a result, our histories play a major role on how we interpret new stimulus - the body is a learning structure - it is an ongoing process embodying ones history - the guide of education then, is not to complete and incomplete child, but to enlarge their understanding - errors are now seen as interpretations along the path to understanding, where correspondence theories saw them as mismatches between internal and external worlds - the teacher is not supposed to x the error, but discover the web of associations that led to it - teaching is now cast as a cycle of construals; the teacher tries to construe the students construals so that a new set of experiences might be organized in order to prompt a new round of construals - Constructionisms; concerned more with interpersonal dynamics and collective activity - language, social status, cultural background, disciplinary knowledge - learning systems with grander learning systems - cognition is always collective; embedded in, enabled by, and constrained by the social phenomenon of language, caught up in layers of history and tradition, conned by well established boundaries of acceptability; dened by joint interests shared assumptions, and common sense - Lev Vygotsky used the metaphor of an apprenticeship; however, policy makers have taken it to far to assume that when a child studies science, he/she is apprenticing to be a

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) real scientist; Vygotsky meant this simply as a descriptive and explicative perspective, not a literal one - cultural and critical theories of learning; a broadening of the conversation - cultural context and the social implications of schooling - how does school contribute to social stratication, gender roles, etc - a shift to look at the culture and the social, and how that affects the individual - no tidy distinctions between individuals, social groupings, and cultures; they are all nested in each other - ecological theories; usually aligned with one of the theories above - however, it extends the argument into the more-than-human world; interspecies relationships and planetary dynamics - view of humanity as one species in a grand web of life - cognition is seen as joint participation or mutual effect as agents act together to open up new possibilities - an agents learning is then, both its memory and its knowing - common ground; a phenomena will persist until the effort it required for the agent to maintain it exceeds the effort required to revise it - events intended to prompt learning must reach a critical mass in order to, rst, interrupt the entertained patterns and, second, to present viable alternatives to existing habits - teaching is about creating disequilibrium 6.3 Complexity Theories - might be taken as a recommendation to simultaneously consider an array of coherence theories - these theories and their foci need to be addressed at the same time - education is a trans-phenomena, and therefore requires a trans-disciplinary attitude - education simultaneously affects and is affected by many overlapping, intertwined, and nested learning systems - they are all right chapter 7 learning minds 7.1 Intelligence - no broad consensus on what intelligence means - it something about the ability to discern between what really matters in a situation (Piaget) - primates have the same modules as human brains, so it makes the ability to map the brain difcult - people who do poorly in one area, tend to do poorly in all areas, and same with people who do well - abilities are always based in something culturally, some ability - theories of multiple intelligences provide no cause for intervention or recommendations - modes of reasoning are rooted in cultural settings, and what could be construed as logical could be misunderstood with narrative; both of which are critical thinking, though only one is correct on a formal IQ test 7.2 Exceptionality - cultural bias plays into identications of gifted-ness - performance versus interpretation - there are no validated accounts of expeptional giftedness erupting without years of study and effort

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - there is a lack of evidence to support the innate - experts are born, they are made - three qualities among experts - they begin early - they engage in intense (solitary) practice - they engage in effortful study (taking on challenges above their ability) - practice must test the limits of ones current ability - chess players and athletes (access to games and practice facilities) - positive feedback loop of young athletes born at the beginning of the year - outside their particular realm of mastery, prodigies do not better than the average person - the role of obsession - brain injuries, one region of the brain requires less resources, so more go to others (see Oliver Sacks, An Anthropologist on Mars) 7.3 (Dis)Ability - the ip side of the multiple intelligences - dyslexics can learn to overcome their issue with specic strategies; this goes against the norms of modern schooling, which suggests that all people and all brains operate the same way - people learn in different ways - LDs are descriptions, not explanations - mostly middle to upper class caucasians get labeled, which gives them more resources (an unconscious racism of society) - dening differences, assigning labels, and structuring interventions; in the case of hyperactivity - not just Ritalin, also dietary regimes, behavioral modication (rewards and punishments) - vaguely dened disorder - in summer the drug regime stops, suggesting that the behavior is context dependent (just to do well in school, dont deviate from the norm) - better options than drugs; a broadened conception of what is acceptable behavior; diversied and active learning contexts - two main reasons for these behaviors; biopsychological and sociological - what is the difference between ADHD and giftedness? 7.4 Getting Smarter - issues connected to labeling - intelligence is based on internal, brain based phenomenon - ability is xed and measurable - silent assumptions of the way things are supposed to be (normalcy) - The measurability of intelligence - IQ test dominates the discussion - mental age to chronological age - this infers that mental age must rise accordingly - test is structured around knowledge and logical abilities - they have never developed a test that produces a normal distribution - culturally relevant - IQ tests do little more than measure the imposed assumptions of their designers - immigrant testing and ofcer material and the change in the test that allowed women to be as smart as men (same thing has not been done with minorities) - people can get smarter (IQ wise) by training for the test or changing their environment; this wouldnt happen if the test was accurate

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - IQ varies throughout the day and depends on biological factors like hunger, rest, etc - the principle reason the IQ test was created was to judge academic ability, and that has proven to be difcult - the relationship between IQ and socio-economic status - scores are cut in half if you indicate your race! - the nature of intelligence - not a unied phenomenon - computers cannot out-do humans in simple things, but they can beat us in chess (programmable skill versus a uid skill) - AI research has moved into the realm of complex systems, and Kurzwell predicts that it will surpass us - the location of intelligence - current research has rejected mechanical metaphors of the mind - brain as society, brain as ecosystem - the brain operates like a complex social or ecological collective - thought and behavior arise in the complex simultaneous co-activity of many contributors (it is decentralized) - intelligence is about being able to initiate the next move - space of activity where agent meets the world - an ecosystem or a virus is seen as intelligent - limits to intelligence is now problematic - our intelligence is rooted in our language (Maturana and Varela) - the limits of intelligence - scores on standardized tests of intelligence have been rising at a surprising rate - our capacities to gather and sift through mass amounts of information, to generate diverse interpretations, to identify and solve problems, and to make critical and rapid discernments - pop culture is making us smarter - not based on what you are thinking, but how; more uid, exible, imaginative, further reaching - it has given educators new insights into the learning process - artifacts and tools created within a culture are not simply products, but bestower s of intelligence - technologies help to orient attention, to ofoad cognitive demands, and allow us to focus on new details - the calculator was freedom from rote calculations to mathematical thinking - empowers thought and gives rise to more complex forms - no limits to the mind? chapter 8 learning forms 8.1 Technology - the root of technology means art or skill; and brings up a web of associations that includes the methods, strategies, theories and practices that dene a culture - includes branches of technology that include biological, chemical, physical, biosocial, social, behavioral, epistemic and philosophical artifacts - language underpins the human ability to come together in grander cognitive systems, ones with capacities that vastly surpass the abilities of individuals - language might be categorized as an evolving form that constantly re-organized itself through modication and interactions with humans as they negotiate the world

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - language is used to examine and elaborate language; giving rise to science, philosophy (recursive loop) - it is a dynamic repository of collective knowledge - reduce the cognitive demand on our conscious brains while amplifying interpretative reach - language enables forethought, anticipation, planning, and strategy - we also use this ability to take others down - we dont see language as a technology because we embody it, we live in it like a sh in water - educators have two responsibilities when it comes to technology; opening up new vistas of possibility by attending to emergent technology, and preventing the shutdown of other possibilities by technology that have become invisible to their users 8.2 Writing - new technologies in education goes back to the invention of the book (Plato thought the written word would dim the mind), to pencils - true, writing reduces the need to exercise working memory, but it also frees up consciousness so that we can deal with more focused issues - writing presented - the written word gives knowledge a sense of vigor, it detaches itself from the author - oral societies tend to relate themselves to the collective, while literate societies tend to relate themselves to themselves - we have no opportunity to ask critical questions to the authors vis a via the words they use; by contrast people in oral cultures have less of an importance of precise denitions - oral languages evolve much faster than written ones - logic is derived from the word word - writing compels a linear representations of ideas - early texts jump from myth to logic to opinion to gossip, etc; they lack a linear progression - how might emergent technologies be contributing to transformations in how we think about ourselves, our knowing, and what it means to learn? - new technologies are challenging the entrenched way of perceiving literacy 8.3 Reading - writing is more than transcribing thoughts that have already occurred; it is an act of reformulation, it is recursive - to write is to invent new webs of relations - you cant have an observation without an observer - ction and non-ction - this book is a reformulation of an old idea - what is at stake is not fact or ction; but how the text is presented to the reader - the difference between non-ction and ction is that in non-ction the reader is asked to believe what is happening is true, while in ction, the reader is asked to pretend what is happening is true - ction aims at presenting occasions for alternative interpretive possibilities than at presenting already interpreted accounts - think about mirror neurons from chpt. 2 - writing can take us beyond our imagined selves - mythology is so much more than tales - they are collections of wisdom, morals, and knowledge - they take us beyond - non-ction rarely does this

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - new technologies have enabled more democratic, collective, and participatory writing spaces - the screen opens up multi-dimensional and multi-directional spaces 8.4 Mass Printing - Gutenberg made books a naturalized part of our world - reading went from a public event, to a private one - decoding became synonymous with reading; and left out other interpretive skills - The goal of reading instruction is the mastery of silent reading - also, Gutenberg made information more available to the masses, which led to specialization - this led to modern science, and the industrial revolution, and eventually to capitalism and imperialism - the modern school was one of the great achievements of the latter - which begs the question; what are basics, and are we actually teaching them? 8.5 Electronic Technologies - change is rapidly increasing (duh?) - we nd ourselves in a proliferation of previously unimaginable possibilities - they enable mass collaboration - traditional print tech is one way, whereas new tech is multi-directional - THIS WILL change schools - amplication of haves and have nots - reading on the internet is about being able to skip words to nd relevant information - knowing what NOT to attend to is as important as knowing what to attend to - formal schooling will have to more to less of an I, and more of a WE 8.6 Changing Consciousness - there is less concern in the world with how we embody our technologies - identities arise from interactions with others - two million years ago, all technology was from tools that were found rather than made - they are discarded and forgotten once the task is complete; an awareness of here and now, or as Donald calls it, Episodic Consciousness - after that, the deliberate manufacture of tools appeared; which required long term memory and reliance on a strong social unity; mimetic consciousness - more exible tech was needed next, and this was distributed among members of the culture, and included both past, present and future; Mythic Consciousness - next came the ability to think abstractly, or what Donald calls the theoretical consciousness (language, math, etc) - Donald stops there, but Davis argues that it continues - we are on the cusp (are we?) of transforming our experience with the world - education is wholly complicit in this emergence of new possibilities - we are participating in the evolution - collective production - how has teaching evolved alongside these emergence new possibilities (hint: it hasnt) - teaching is approaching a crossroads where we need to thing away from an emphasis on individuals who pass on established knowledge and towards a collective who elaborate new emergent knowings - teaching is becoming the forms that are created for and by learning

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler)

part C teaching
chapter 9 teaching frames 9.1 Conceptions of Teaching - this chapter is a recap of Brents earlier work, Inventions of Teaching - as conceived by the original meaning of the word, signs or pointing to, teaching can be explained as any experience that prompts learning - it is not about what the teacher does, it is about what happens to the learner - many synonyms of teaching are used interchangeably even though they have drastically different roots - words are not packets of information, but modes in webs of associations - it is not linear, multiple strands are present at a singular time and in singular events - the object is not to inform us about how we think about teaching, but rather point awareness to how we are thinking about teaching and open the door to more complex possibilities 9.2 Correspondence Theories of Teaching - knowledge is a matter of obtaining, uncovering and discovering that which exists out there in the world - an internal model that mirrors the outside world - problems abound; 1) nothing actually passes from outside to inside in terms of learning, 2) neurological research has found no evidence whatsoever of inner representations - back to ancient greece; the truth is out there and exists beyond the person - mystical-religious vs rationalist-empiricist thought; seemingly distinct but complementary views (god versus nature, science vs religion) - mystical-religious conceptions; focus on meaning of existence - some things exceed human capacity to learn - gurative devices and the arts - use of metaphors and symbols; myth - the early focus on education; an unexamined life is not worth living - a recovery of humanities wholeness, or the unity that strings us all together - teaching is seen as drawing out, or drawing in - nurturing, fostering, tutoring - the Socratic method; the teachers questions are based on the students answers, revealing pure, unimpeachable, innate knowledge - drawing the learner into a social system that is seen to be right, or good; induction, and indoctrination - rational-empiricist conceptions; overtook the episteme (everyday know-how) and pressed into the realm of the larger questions of mystical conceptions - the rise of capitalism, print, science, etc. - rationalism (logic) and empiricism (experience) have common roots in that all phenomenon are reducible to their fundamental parts - cognition is an individual thing that happens inside of ones own head - both assume a stable, unchanging reality - however, when it comes to foundations teaching they are worlds apart - rationalism is concerned with logical constructs; tightly controlled curriculum which is linear, incremental and carefully sequenced, and punctuated by regular tests to make sure the learner is up to speed (explaining, telling, instructing, directing)

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - empiricism is more concerned with a behavioral view of learning (conditioning, training) with testing as a sort of ongoing quality control (variables) 9.3 Coherence Theories of Teaching - knowledge is dynamic, evolving and relational; it cannot exist outside of the knower, because it is not independent of the knower - it is embodied - the differences exist in the distinction between human perception - perception is a membrane that separates the knower from the environment - it is coupled to the surroundings - teaching in this frame is not about overcoming the fallibilities of perception - it is, rather, attending to the webs of implicit and explicit association that render our individual and collective worlds coherent - interpretivist conceptions; individual understanding (constructivism), social collectivity (social constructivism) and cultural (critical theories) - understood to occur between disparate moments or happenings - the continuos cycle of incorporating new experiences into the ecosystem of associations that have emerged from pervious experiences - recursive elaboration - not building on prior knowledge, but transforming learning to include new experiences - learning is not determined by teaching; it is conditioned and dependent on it - teaching is facilitating, guiding, enabling - constuctivisms recommend that attention be paid to prior learning and that the experiences be rich; the teacher prompts the student toward an interpretation, the interprets the students interpretation and so on - constructionisms have more interest in social norms and cultural tools; how do individuals become part of collectives - critical theories talk about ethics to prevailing and entrenched acts; teaching is giving voice and advocating - participatory conceptions; the human race is a teaching race, we are biologically enabled and culturally conditioned to do so - humans are biological and cultural beings - it is not about maintaining what is known, but opening new possibilities - nested, self-similar, scale independent, and recursive in fractal nature - teaching in this frame is; improvising, occasioning, conversing, caring, and engaging - highlight the qualities of contingency, exibility, emergence, and expansive possibilities - triggering learning, and disturbing ways of knowing - a coupling of consciousness; a human capacity to coordinate attentional systems and to synchronize brain functioning, in effect presenting the possibility of grander cognitive unities - teaching as the consciousness of the collective - it does not direct, it orients - teaching is about expaning the space of what is possible and creating emergence to the yet un-imagined chapter 10 teaching challenges 10.1 Inclusive Education - the accommodation of difference in the classroom - every child has a right to equal education - intelligence and identity are not genetically determined or xed in the early years of life

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - the problems exist not in the individual, but in the system - school should adapt to the individual needs of each child, not the other way around - this requires exibility in curriculum, pedagogy, access, etc. - most of the rhetoric focuses on the individual; when in fact, the whole idea has a strong sense of community at its heart - community is stronger when diversity is embraced 10.2 Critical Pedagogy - the common ground between crit. ped. and inclusive education is the desire to improve education for all students by attending to matters of perceived difference - there is no such thing as a neutral education policy - formal schooling is an instrument of conformity - it has potential to be a practice of freedom - Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of the Oppressed - how are people complicit in their own oppressions - turning language onto itself and inviting learners into critical examinations of the conventions that frame experience - just as applicable to the rich as to the poor; why do nations start wars, how are economics used to repress, etc. - the point is not to discover higher truth, but to maintain an attitude of mindfulness - teaching is an attitude that is oriented around the notion of making the familiar strange - the simultaneous tasks of uncovering normative structures and developing counternormative strategies 10.3 Critical Attitudes - roots in Marxist philosophy - post-colonial, indigenous, feminist, queer, etc. - regardless of the orienting theme or focus, education is seen as both a site of the struggle and means to change it - hidden curriculum - each different frame orients attention away from one thing and puts it on another; there is no unied critical pedagogy - Marxist analyses would be concerned with access to resources; class systems, wealth, economic policies - Post-colonial perspective would include an emphasis on the political and economic dimensions of the history; conicting world-views, revitalization of indigenous culture and alternative ways of knowing as they relate to sustainability and cultural knowledge - feminist pedagogies focus on the gender roles that education contributes to the society - queer pedagogy focuses on how education has been heterosexed with straight white identities 10.4 Critiques of Critical Pedagogy - irony; it can never prevail because it is concerned with disrupting the status quo, and since this is always moving and evolving, so do the critical pedagogues - using the masters tools to dismantle his house - the tools we use to dismantle education are based in the same sort of reductionist thinking that it purports to address - what to do? be attentive to the ways that classroom dynamics work - a diversity of opinions and ideas, do not exclude other ways of knowing or being

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) 10.5 Teacher Identity Formation - personal identity is always evolving - the chasm between the university and the public school; the former is accociated with pushing the boundaries of knowledge, and the latter with keeping the status quo - whatever your role and opinion, it is important to keep in mind that diversity of opinion and interpretation are vital to the health and robustness of knowledge producing communities - teaching is challenging; twofold meaning of difcult and disruptive chapter 11 teaching conditions 11.1 Enabling Constraints: Opening Possibilities by Limiting Choices - teaching is complex; these ideas are offered as a lens to recognize and make sense of effective educational practices - teaching are acting to affect different levels of learning systems; individual understanding and collectives - effective teaching engages these systems simultaneously and benets both by making each individual member in the collective smarter because of their position in the collective - complex unities are simultaneously rule bound (constraining) and capable of exible, unanticipated possibilities (enabling) - they are not prescriptive (what must be done), but expansive (what might be done by indicating what must not be done) - sufcient constraints and sufcient openness - to investigate established knowledge by engaging in a process of establishing knowledge - rules that delimit possibilities and allow choice at the same time 11.2 Specialization: Redundancy and Diversity - intelligent unities are simultaneously stable and innovative - internal redundancy is when people are the same, this sameness enables them to work together; often in mechanical systems this is seen as unnecessary - in a learning system, it allows a common mode of communication and it helps agents make up for others mistakes - this is pre-levant in schooling and is not a bad thing; until it is the only ingredient in the collective - diversity is needed to be an intelligent system - redundancy is inward oriented, enabling the habitual, while diversity is outward oriented, enabling novel actions in response to shifts in grander contexts - a pandemic would hit humanity hard, but unrepressed junk DNA would enable some to be immune; an intelligent response based on the diversity of DNA - not an ability to predict the future, but a pool of possibilities in the present - in a classroom, diversity cannot be manifest in a classroom that relies on individual, topdown explanations and prescriptive learning outcomes - a top-down approach is not what you might do, but what you must do; it closes down possibilities for expand the space of the possible - redundancy and diversity are complementary, working towards a more intelligent classroom collective does not compromise the individual, it enhances it 11.3 Networking Systems: Neighbor Interactions and Decentralization - agents in a complex system must be able to affect each other

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - agents need not be just humans; ideas, hunches, queries, images, artifacts, are all examples of agents - the ideas need to bump together; group work, electronic bulletin boards, grafti walls, etc. - there must be more than one possible explanation to begin with; if the activity is set up with prescribed outcome in mind, there will be no diversity and no neighbor interactions; the collective will be shut down - this can happen in a pod-seating class or in a everybody in rows and listen to the teacher class - where is the center? the student, the teacher, or the idea? - it is not about the agents, but de-centering the attention away from the agents to form a grander whole 11.4 Recursive Elaboration: Iterative Processes and Nested Systems - learning isnt accumulative - folds back onto itself; like a katana - ones history both enables and constraints our ability to adapt to new experiences - same is true with a collective - each element of the learning tasks is a recursive elaboration of already-established products from the collectives history - think of a fractal image; begin with a seed, elaborate on that product, elaborate on that product again, and so on - the knowledge needed for a new topic is usually represented in the collective, but not necessarily within a single person - what is 3x-4? show how you know --- make posters to justify your response --- organize those posters into clusters --- look for themes and variations (each step is elaborating on the previous, and opening more possible interpretations) - multiple learning systems in one room; individuals, dyads, small groups, clusters of groups, whole class; all of these systems are nested in each other, and none is privileged over the other, they provide mutual support and intelligence, unfolding from and enfolding in one another 11.5 Creating Memories: Remembering and Forgetting - for a system to learn and maintain its viability, it must a means to remember - biology takes care of the individual - memory has two aspects; selection and preservation - teacher acts as the consciousness of the collective; selecting from and orienting towards the interpretative possibilities that are present - as for preservation, these include wall displays, images, wikis, recordings, rehearsals, etc - the teacher helps to register the interpretations in the collective memory - commentator rather than controller 11.6 Feedback Loops: Positive and Negative - positive feedback loops contribute to amplications; wait time increases the quality of responses, emotioning and teacher interest in the subject can amplify the groups interest and allow attitudes to percolate through the system, selecting tasks that are doable but challenging and greater expectations supports greater achievement and so on - however, low-level thinking, negative emotions, and diminished expectations can also act as positive feedback loops - negative feedback loops are stabilizers or dampeners; these are embedded into the social collective, when they do get out of hand, we need to attend to the triggers, which may be positive feedback loops

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - these points raised in this chapter is not a prescriptive list of ideas to be mastered before entering the classroom, but rather, something to work on over a whole career; they are in their own sense a continuos elaboration - teaching is any event which prompts a collective system to respond differently - who or what is generating the ideas and insights cannot be understood in terms of a lone individual - the teacher is constantly perturbing and being perturbed within the evolving, selfprompting system of the classroom chapter 12 teaching encounters 12.1 Focal Events - deliberate efforts of teaching should be developed around artifacts or activities that are intended to gather and focus learners attention - the parsing of curriculum into bite sized morsels in a sound practice since human attention and consciousness is so small - however, these are not necessary for students to learn; they learn in environments that are sensorially rich - the most necessary ingredient is focus - the intentions and outcomes should be embedded and embodied in every aspect of the learning experience - activities should be organized around focal events; moments of investigation - activities need to be aware of perception; the culmination of interpretation, a gathering together of the histories of the planet, the species, the culture, and the individual 12.2 An Ethics of Responsibility - educators need to be aware of and explicit in their frames of interpretation - education has had a prevalent role in the destruction of the planet, by teaching how to do things, not why; this encourages the belief that the earth is an inexhaustible resource that is here for to exploit it - humanities ideas of their place in the world have changed a great deal since the early part of this century, and we are beginning to realize our place in the web of life - teaching is then, about ecological and social responsibility - going to a farm to learn is not just about agriculture, but rather about seeing your place in grander webs of relation and identication - the everyday world offers an unlimited bountifulness of opportunity - good teaching is not just about perturbing new images, but revisiting old ones and rethinking ones self and identity - interrupt entrenched habits of thinking - that being said, the necessary background competencies are vital for success 12.3 Copying - nothing moves from one brain to another in an act of learning - it is about triggering associations - experience is key, the best explanation in the world is useless to an unprepared audience - all knowing does not lend itself to explanation; it is not explicit, and it moves with how we enact ourselves in the world - copying others is a key element to how we learn; for example language - we copy somebody who is embodied in the world and shares our sensibility, not someone who is good at doing rote drills of the task we are trying to learn

Book Notes: Engaging Minds (Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, Rebecca Luce-Kapler) - copying in our current frame of education (explanation based teaching methods) is a relatively new sensibility - european painters used to copy their masters by recreating works before they were given a chance to move onto new material - chess masters copy old games to nd patterns to get into the mind of the original game - writing practice and copying favorite phrases help young writers get into the mind of the writer, particularly the rhythm of their words - it is not replication; but creative reenactment, aiming at a deeper understanding of what the master is doing 12.4 Preparing - by asking pre-service teachers to jump in and deal with the complexities of a classroom, after having done lesson planning rst, is akin to admitting that the transmission model of teaching and worksheets is acceptable practice - by having them plan lessons that are free of context on campus, we are propagating a belief that it is possible to create a generic lesson plan for all students - there is no best practice - the emphasis of group lesson preparation takes the impetus away from planning and puts it on preparation; the lesson plan as a thought experiment - a planner teacher has a trajectory of activities; a prepared teacher both a plan and it able to anticipate the digressions; it enables and support a sense of the dynamic and complex possibilities that might arise - start with a smaller class and work your way up 12.5 What is education for? - most teachers start their careers with the idea that they will be different from their teachers; yet most most fall into the same trap - education is not a matter of perpetuating entrenched habits of being; because learning is recursive and elaborative, and because the world is changing so quickly that the best preparation we can hope for is exible adaptation - the most profound impacts of teaching are rarely noticeable in the moment of teaching; they arrive at times unexpected, when the ideas and learning have had time to bubble up in the unconscious - we make sense of them afterwards, when the world tells us we need to - educational reform is too often about the topic of teaching methods, and not the nature of teaching - what does it mean to learn is often treated as if it were common sense - learning is not due-to experience or teaching; it is due-to the evolving structure of an agent-in-context - classrooms are about creating conditions for emergence of the yet unimagined - expanding the space of possible - knowing is inseparable from doing and being - teaching is never a personal or interpersonal act; it touches the sub-personal through the planetary - teaching is a deliberate participation in what is - teaching is lived