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Page history last edited by suifaijohnmak 15 years, 1 month ago

John's metaphor deserves more than just a side note in the comments of the Research References page:


"My philosophy of learning is like the digestion system of our human body.

  • I digest and assimilate the food (ideas, resources - on the net, artifacts, knowledge and information)
  • and absorb those nutrients (which become emergent knowledge)
  • out of it into my body through the blood stream (through plan-do-check-act learning reflection cycle in my connections - nodes and networks).
  • I will ensure that I take a variety of foods (learning network at neuro, conceptual, external - communities, social levels) to maintain a healthy body and mind.
  • I will egest any by-products of learning (those obsolete knowledge, SPAMS, distractions, overloading of knowledge and time wasters) to keep my body clear of toxins and wastes.
  • The ICT and Web 2.0, PLE etc. could act as catalysts (or enzymes) for the digestion.
  • I would also take extra physical, spiritual and mental exercises (external support, experts' advice, courses, community or network participation and involvement, action research and learning projects) to ensure a proper balance of my health."

(Formatting added)


You may have stored a faint idea of such a nutrition metaphor in your weak memory connections (that you call subconsciousness) but I have never read such a rich elaboration of the analogy ! 


I have always liked the information scent/ foraging, or gatherer/ hunter analogy (herehere, here, and especially here) which also suggests that we still have the wrong attitude towards the seemingly scarce resources.


Perhaps knowledge is not directly in the "food" but is only emerging like glucose or internal starch (sorry I am bad at biology). But then, you also eat pure dextrose. (I have always wanted to follow the thought that novelties are easier to be digested and hence probably comparable to sugar and sweets -- which kids like as well as noveltiy stories!)


Thanks for the stimulating note!


Wonderful metaphor.  It has all the ingredients for an ecology, including internal and external ecologies, visible and hidden, macro and micro-chemical, right down to the catalysts.  And there's a 'mind' and an identity in there too somewhere.


MM2009-03-21 It is a pity that I cannot thoroughly follow the other threads on John's blog Ning site. 


Regarding the mentioning of the Six Hats meme: I think it is no surprise that several people independently link to it, because it has gained new relevance. Unfortunately De Bono's most important book seems to be out of sale and I am stiil waiting for my used copy via ebay. I was reminded of it at almost the same time as your first blog post about it, via a third independent path which is also interesting: Dave Gray, author of the "unbook" Marks and Meaning, has a closed Flickr group for the readers of his book where they can post comments. On his page 95 we had the following exchange.


"x28x28de says: Frankly, I miss a real network, ideally a connectivist one. And one without double-headed arrows. I am always skeptical about double-headed arrows if the mutual interaction/ reciprocal effect is not clearly evident, because they often pretend that one has understood the interdependence but in fact has not.


dgray_xplane says: Great point about two-directional arrows. I agree they often conceal fuzzy thinking.

Connectionism looks like an interesting topic. What would you say are the characteristics of a connectivist network? 

x28x28de says:

According to the central metaphor of the neuronal network, "Not all connections are of equal strength ". So the nodes have typically more than 1 neignbor (otherwise the network is the hierarchical border-case and a connection may be identified with the node itself). And there are some weak ties.

dgray_xplane says: Have you read Mechanisms of Mind by Edward De Bono? I think there are some ideas in there that are closely related to connectivism."


and so I am waiting for it.

Regarding the digestive metaphor on Ning, I think I start understanding why I have never seen ANT as a competitor to connectivism, since the latter compares two layers (conceptual and personal) while the former focusses exclusively on the interactions among one (albeit mixed) level (persons <-> concepts). And the levels "of  embeddedness" IMHO accommodate more to nested hierarchies than to the influence personal -> conceptual level. But I have to more thoroughly digest that all.

Matthias, I am digesting yours too!

I have learnt about the 6 hats (faintly) long time ago (may be even 20 - 30 years ago??), but have thought that they were just for the children to consider about lateral thinking, where this topic has been around for at least 3-4 decades. 


Relating to lateral thinking, my first encounter was through reading a story in a book.  I remember the story (metaphor) about the discovery of oil in areas (in the mining industry).  The digging of oil (petrol, or mines etc.) deep down into an particular spots in an assigned area represents the longitudinal study (tunnel vision), and has its limitations.  What happens if we dig into ONE subject and found that there was no oil there.  Then the lateral thinking (latitudinal study) could be used.  This time the digging of oil could be spreaded around different areas with a systematic (or chaotic or complex) search, and you would likely find the source of oil using such approach in a more cost and time effective way.  Such concepts could be similar to the Chaos and Complexity Theory (the butterfly effect) in some respects except that it is about being creative, a lateral thinker in the design of say a course... But some people will despise such thinking or approach, may be saying that it is too cheeky - to wear different hats at times.   And may be for training children only. 


The green hat - is no good for the Chinese male (especially for the husbands).  If a husband is wearing a green hat, it means he has got an unfaithful wife who has a relationship with others - so an unfaithful wife and a poor husband (who could be teased and laughed by others.  This may be a cultural issue related to such simple thinking hats.  And so, if one is using this method to conduct training, it may be VERY UNWISE to ask a Chinese male to wear a GREEN HAT. LOL Though this may sound trivial to us (as an educated person in a modern society), the beliefs are still there for the traditional Chinese (or even Asians?)  So I would think that culture plays an important part.  I would suggest to be aware such taboos.


Back to the DeBono story.  Last month, whilst I was just browsing through the books and resources in the library (in research on blogging), I thought it might be good to research on some creative ideas or theories.  I found Edward de Bono's Mind Power - discover the secrets of creative thinking (First published 1995) in a pack.  After a few reading, I found it has provided a process in developing parallel thinking.  This seems quite useful in reflective learning.  I then checked on the YouTubes, and realised that it has re-lived a bit after years of its introduction - a "resurrection" of the concepts and model that I may call it. 


I have used other resources like the EQ and SQ by Danile Goleman, and Seven and Eighth Habits by Stephen Covey as the basis of my previous work. and study on psychology and emotional controls.   I have found that they were all based on "MODERN" psychologies.  I have found great interests in areas like Destructive Emotions (with conversation of Daniel Goleman & Dalai Lama and other psychologists etc.) but may be because I have limited knowledge in the semiotics and emotion research, I didn't pursue it further.  Besides, being a Catholic, I found it "odd" and interesting to realise the Buddist concepts of serependity (quietness and peace, and the connections to nature etc.  So, I have used the colorless hat (that I invented it to represent these ideas, and you wouldn't find it in any books.  Please refer to my transformational thinking in my blog http://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com for details.  I think it is also based on Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence - where he is reluctant in adding the 8th intelligence about intelligence on nature and supernatural. 


I wrote these without any quoting any reference (here), and did it based on my meandering thoughts.  So, I hope you don't mind my free digression.  But if you want to know where the sources are, I could check them out for you.  And I think that's another way of thinking aloud and externalising my thoughts based on my weak collection of ideas.  This could also help me in consolidating my various threads and presenting it to all of you in a "lateral way".  Is it creative?  I don't know.  Only you could tell.  Is it a mash up and bundled up of ideas?  May be.  And hopefully you would treat this as my small token to you.  LOL

John 22/03/2009



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