Month: September 2022

Learning Problems

One of the issues with learning is that many times one interesting nugget will lead to another, and another. This is a good thing – it’s how chains of awareness form. But for one also concerned with focus, or with the challenges of focus, it can manifest as new fodder for those challenges. A blessing of sorts, but one’s list of "hm…" things grows longer.

The honest approach is to mark and capture these things, and then allow them to settle. Review in due course to see which have developed and which can be weeded. David Allen and his research (and fellow followers) would argue that the capture is key – for if one doesn’t, the idea will linger as a distraction rather than an idea…

Manifested this morning by John Naughton’s Memex reference of a new book "Slouching Towards Utopia" on the history of Capitalism by Brad Delong. It’s got all the catnip – an interesting precis, an intriguing bio-blurb from the Atlantic($), and a reminder that DeLong is a oldschool blogger — his site (pre move to Substack in 2021) was on Typepad!

So yes, added to the TBR list.

On Learning Modes

Of late I’ve been returning to the contemporary writing of protoblogger, developer, gadfly, irascible-in-love-with-life Dave Winer, attending to his thoughts via the SMTP cheap-seats of his email archive each day. It’s been a good reminder of the early blogging days, when the concept of putting things out on the net was often based on a sharing of what you were learning, doing, reading and what you felt might be of some benefit to the other brains (and keyboards) who were also learning, thinking and doing.

And also of note in this morning’s transom was this lovely piece by AJ Jacobs reflecting on 40 years of teaching. Partly a "the more they change, the more they stay the same" but also a lovely capture of a moment of connection and the experience of shared revelation. It brought further to mind the work of my Father, now these 30 years gone. I suspect that he would have believed that what Jacobs was able to do with the student to bring together humanities and a wonder at the human experience with their scientific ambitions and endeavors was not dissimilar to his believe that in a university the goal should be to help minds developing to merge both book and lab learning with the experience of crafting research itself – that our minds approach the world best when they have more than one tool to hand, and at our times of discovery – for those who have the university in that process – we can structure experience of these different modes relatively safely.

It was this interest in seeing experiential and intellectual learning developed in partnership that led to my father establishing the Fox Glen Fund, which provides a modest contribution to this effort for students in the Biology department at IU. I see that this year’s recipient once again is moving in areas more complex than my own mind can comprehend beyond buzzwords.