I stumbled into #HumanMOOC. Well okay I have been hearing about it for awhile but I had not really planned to participate – so it was not like I just came upon it out of the blue. I saw this tweet that they were kicking things off with a conversation between Matt Crosslin and George Siemens. I got to meet George and Matt at #dlrn15 and find them to both be interesting guys so I tuned in.
It was a Google Hangout On-air and I was happy that it was not an opportunity to participate directly but rather an opportunity to listen.That is – they did not share a join link to the hangout but just a view link.
I had decided on a lingering late Saturday morning/early afternoon; by the time of the hangout I was still in PJs and making some brunch. I really enjoy Matt and George but I didn’t want to talk to them at that moment. I was making eggs, toast, OJ, and coffee – and then eating all of that – as they were talking. (Yes, it was 12:30pm stop judging me). After the hangout I checked out the #HumanMOOC tag and found a lot of friends there. Many had “missed” the hangout for very human reasons such as grocery shopping and putting up a Christmas tree. Still many lamented that they had “missed” something.
I may have felt like I missed something too if I had not viewed live. Having viewed live, I didn’t think that they missed much. Not that the conversation wasn’t great but just that it was a viewing kind of experience and they recorded it so…
Now is a paradox after all. Here we are living our human lives and coming together to talk about humanizing online learning only to lament over missing some particular now.
I think it is human to crave the now that once was or the now that could be and then forget about the now of now.
Technology is also a paradox. For instance there was conversation in there about how we have not been able to give attention to things like creativity, affect, compassion, emotion, etc. because we have been too busy with our lives and being workers. And then this bit about being on the precipice of a dawning of unprecedented human creativity because we are able to offload some of that busy stuff.
I’m all for that! That sounds great! Can we do that?
The paradox comes in with how do we create that space made for those more fuzzy things? What are we offloading in those things that have been taking up so much time with our work and our lives and such… How is it, again, that we can make time for this great influx of creation? Most often it is here that I see automation in drive toward efficiency.
These efficient uses of technology all at once give technology a bad name and are touted as a way to open doors. They give a bad name in that as they mechanize things we start to wonder what those things really are and question what we are giving over – could it be our thinking, our being, ourselves – that has been mechanized? Are we just becoming robots? At same time… it is that kind of mechanized, efficient, boring, dull work that we wish to automate so that we can give room for creative passions.
It seems to me that creates a power struggle and it makes me wonder if we aren’t just slugging off the work we don’t want to do on someone/thing else? But it’s okay cause it is a machine right? I actually don’t think it is right or wrong. It is just an exchange and like all exchanges we have to weigh what we are getting and what we are losing. Maybe we gain time but we lose experience. If we can turn in the time for an even richer experience then perhaps it’s a good deal. If not then maybe we need to rethink some things.
I think I might be okay with this dualism. I know there was a lot of push back on binary ideas at #dlrn for instance with Mike Caufield’s Gardent and Stream approach. #HumanMOOC adopted these metaphors and it seems that it plays on this split between efficiency and creativity that I am seeing when we discuss the nature of technology. The stream seems rather efficient with it’s fixed pathways and anchored foundations. The garden… well oh gosh what is even in there? It is all over the place and could be anything that anyone dreams up using tools of their choosing – pretty creative.
I wonder if the efficient and creative sides of technology happen to be in a kind of symbiotic relationship where they sort of need one another? I wonder if they are reflections of the complexities of the creatures who made those technologies? I wonder if trying to separate them is possible and if so what is the point of doing so? It may seem I’m trying to deny the dualism with such questions but it seems wrong to me to deny them or to pretend that they do not exist apart from one another. Can’t we recognize their separateness and still see the relationship between them? Without pulling them apart or denying their uniqueness. Can we accept the paradox?