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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Root&Branch

This is a first blog post for the Deeper Learning MOOC (#DLMOOC)
Making the loop for the Karok Three-Pronged Fish Spear
Making the loop for the Karok Three-Pronged Fish Spear

There was a short-lived progressive magazine during my youth called Root and Branch, and the idea that a plant has roughly as much root mass below the ground as it has above ground structure, combine to make these horticultural analogies to learning and brain function fascinate me. The idea that manual activities can stimulate the creation of brain connections, and that increased neural pathways in the brain afford possibilities for unrelated new learnings, amplify my enthusiasm for string figures as a hook for interesting curriculum.

The carnival barker part of my radical hippie youth activism experience wants to have me dress up like an EduBux Pitchman and promise a "comprehensive curriculum, K-12, tying every aspect of the CCSS to a corresponding string game or related learning." And if I got a 6-figure contract to focus on that, I probably could pull it off. But that's not the point.

Technology is being misused whenever there's not a lot of thought and discussion among staff, community, and with students, around the question,

"Who's telling the computer what to do?"

We must all be examining these tools, interrogating them, and using them to express our points of view and share our experiences in the world. Those processes then become secondary to the activities students do, with their hands dug into the stuff of the world, using our multi-communicative ambient tools to share as they learn.