Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A conversation with @doctorjeff at TwitterSchool about the Space/Time of twitter. And the power of Print.

Every Tuesday teachers from all over the world gather around #edchat.

For anyone passionate about education it is a great way to spend 2 hours on a Tuesday between 7 and 9 pm EDT. Of the many interesting conversation strings, I particularly enjoyed my conversation with

According to his twitter page,
doctorjeff is an"astrophysicist, educator, writer, nat'l pgm director, w cool apprch to earth & space science education. See Blog on the Universe!"

Blog on the Universe is for anyone who gets joy from learning and aspires to know. To visit this space, you just need to be open to the possibility that science, the majesty of the universe, and the nature of our home world—Earth—can be presented in an exciting new light.

The conversation started when he asked,
doctorjeff I thought education was a team effort - teachers, administrators, government working together. What am I missing? Help help. #edtec
I said
@doctorjeff education a team effort What am I missing? . #edtech Admins, teachers, pols, parents all play dif games with dif incentives

He said
doctorjeff @ToughLoveforX Admins, tchrs, pols, parnts all play dif games w dif incentvs. -Agreed. But what am I still missing? It's not a game#edchat
I said
@doctorjeff "It's not a game." | Actually, game theory+systems theory+ behavioural economics is a good lens to clarify the problem. #edchat
@doctorjeff IMO, we need the right rulers, clocks & models to fix this problem. "Time and space are the deep fundamentals" - Alvin Toeffler
@doctorjeff Consider the space/time of info exchange on twitter and how different that is from the sp/tm of a typical teacher's day. #edchat
He said
doctorjeff @ToughLoveforX I actually like space time curvature of the Twitterverse. It's non-linear, but locally Euclidean, unlike classrm. #edchat
I said
@doctorjeff non-linear cause there are multiple conversations at once. Locally flat cause I'm doing it one on one with computer. | Nice.

He said
doctorjeff @ToughLoveforX non-linear cause there are multiple conversations at once. Locally flat cause I'm doing it one on one with computer. #edchat
I said
@doctorjeff .Nice. So ..What's a "non-linear, but locally Euclidean" ed system #edchat If the space/time changes, everything changes.

@doctorjeff without control of your space/time, it's hard to feel power -> hard to learn. Twitterspace allows power & conversation.
He said
doctorjeff @ToughLoveforX In classrm, if managed the way I;d manage, its not locally flat given there r many 'centers' of learning. Thoughts? #edchat
I said
@doctorjeff What's the space/time around each kid? Is it locally flat and communication complete from the kid's lens? #edchat
End of conversation for now.

The point for Print
Marshall McCluhan correctly said " The Medium is the Message." One way of understanding what he meant was that each medium creates it's own space/time. When we enter into the space/time created by the technology of communication it changes our natural behavior.

In an information rich, but attention scarce society, the risk of engaging is wasting time. If the benefit is not clear, engaging does not happen. The forward looking benefit of engaging is not worth the risk of getting engaging in a conversation.

The paradox of "motivating" a student or teacher is that it requires engagement to learn the benefits of engaging. I think it's a version of Einstein's
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

"Teaching" the going forward benefit of learning most easily reaches exactly the students who already see the benefits of learning. But it is very inefficient in reaching the students whose space/time is me and now.

To see the value of Print and the space/time it creates I want to use some words doctorjeff put on the table. Our most at-risk students live in a deeply "non-linear" world. But learning emerges most quickly in flat "locally Euclidean" space/time.

Print is a medium that creates "locally Euclidean" space/time.

To clarify what I'm trying to say, "compare and contrast" seeing this conversation at #edchat versus seeing it in this post.

Then consider the potential reach if this post were delivered in Print to the hundreds of thousands of non engaged teachers who don't see that the going forward benefits of engaging in technology are worth the time required of them, now.

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