Subject: Re: in need of some assistance [Curtiss] Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006
14:57:00 -0500 From: "W. Curtiss Priest"  Organization: Center
for Information, Technology & Society To: Ken Komoski , CC: Mark Carey , Uri Guttman
 BCC: References: 1

Ken Komoski wrote: > > Curt (and Andy): ... > Therefore, I want us to consider,
the term 'Knowledge Cells' > (you, yourself used it the other day in an email to
Uri). > > If we did this we would clearly separate ourselves from the competing
> definitions of learning objects. ...

Dear Ken,

This is such a fine example of why we collaborate. We are both troubled with the
phrase "learning objects."

And I am glad you met Andy.

We quite agree that it is not the "objects" that are the learning, it is what
the "student" does with the materials qua objects that is the learning.

You will recall that as we iterated on the AACE paper, this iteration is posted
at , I felt compelled to talk of objects that
contain the necessary information and the objects that have some pedagogical
construction, to be the GUI connecting knowledge objects and via pedagogical

Pedagogy --

NOUN: 1. The art or profession of teaching. 2. Preparatory training or

ETYMOLOGY: French p‚dagogie, from Old French, from Greek paidaggi, from
paidaggos, slave who took children to and from school. See pedagogue

Source: American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed.

At the 2004 AACE conference where we presented, one presenter from the UK was
quite laudatory about Coffield's two year study on "learning styles."

our paper,

And, small world, while we have only 10 footnotes in our paper, number 6

"Various publications, Learning Styles, Howard Gardner, Harvard University. (See
also Frank Coffield, e.g., )"

Which now is:

And, recall all of the research for our paper was out of CITS/EPIE discretionary

So, I return to your Papert-like suggestion that kids can play with knowledge
cells, and, using Uri's analogy, link them like Tinker Toys.

[See:  ]

So, not only am I greatly in favor of using either "knowledge objects" or
"knowledge cells," we can also escape the preconceptions around Logo, if we use
the Uri metaphor.

Plus, Uri's simple formalism defining "stem cells" can easily be the formalism
for defining knowledge cells. [I have Uri's more precise distinctions in an
e-mail from him, but, conveying those is not necessary at this level of

And, by separating knowledge cells from pedagogical cells, we meet your
distinction in the paper between a-instructional resources and instructional

"a-instructional resources" -- "knowledge cell" "instructional resources" --
"knowledge cell" + "pedagogical cell"

I sense something quite elegant brewing.

Of course, one pedagogy, espoused by Dewey, is "self-directed" and "learning by

Does that remove the need for the "art of teaching?" I think not. Recall the
Margaret Riel consulted to the U.S. Congressional OTA when I did, and she was
very keen on creating "learning circles" with the teacher as a coach. See:

And, it is not clear that every learner's style is ready for the, relatively,
unstructured format of the works I have just mentioned.

But, with "Tutor-Matcher" (our peer-to-peer) knowledge connector and with
Osoft's "Wiki-like forums," we have all the pieces to start constructing the
flexible tool that takes your estimate of no more than 1 hour per day, students'
"time on task" and produces an environment where we increase time on task by one
full order of magnitude.

Now, imagine where we can actually garnished volunteer time, such as time
devoted to Wikipedia, but, where the time is spent creating and connection both
knowledge and pedagogical cells? Yes, some of that time will be provided by the
"very children we wish to learn." However, as Coffield shows, there are learning
styles that vary almost as much as each family varies from another. I.e., some
learners will never be significant "creators" of the ensuing World Brain.

Team work, critical in this "age of information," now can be more thoughtfully
created, as, those of different learning styles are meshed to encourage
creativity and innovation. (I cite my book, _Technological Innovation for a
Dynamic Economy, Pergamon Press.)


Curtiss --

W. Curtiss Priest, Director, CITS Research Affiliate, Comparative Media Studies,
MIT Center for Information, Technology & Society 466 Pleasant St., Melrose, MA
02176 781-662-4044 BMSLIB@MIT.EDU