array(1) { [0]=> string(108) "
  • [[#cite_ref-0|↑]] This has nothing to do with parent-child relationships of UMOs
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    (Philosophy)
    (Philosophy)
    == The Goal ==
    == The Goal ==
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    Universe University (UU) aims to answer essential and the most pressing challenges to modern education. Nowadays, the core demand to educational systems is to provide for development of independent and critical thinking, creativity and responsibility. These goals surely sound good but real construction and technology of contemporary schools go back to the 17th century and aim to informing and skills training only. In the most general terms we can shortly describe contemporary schools as following:
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    Universe University (UU) aims to address the core demand to the modern education: development of independent and critical thinking, creativity and responsibility. The problem is that general technology of the contemporary schools go back to the 17th century. It is directed to informing and skills' training. For the more than 300 years school is believed to provide knowledge, while critical thinking is mostly up to a teacher, or better say, up to a good teacher. Do these goals relate to one another?
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    First, knowledge and creativity as such are not one and the same. They can relate in one process and go away in another. Let's see how that works in the history and philosophy of the existing school:
    <UL>
    <UL>
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    First and foremost knowledge is interpreted as absolute objective truth. That infers certain features of the entire school construction and technology:
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    <LI>The most general idea the contemporary western school is based on interprets knowledge as the absolute objective truth.</LI>
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    <LI>Knowledge is translated into information divided by portions to present to students</LI>
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    <LI>This kind of knowledge, just by definition, requires only accurate transmission by a teacher (objectively put in position of passive transmitter) to a class (objectively put in position of passive receivers).</LI>
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    <LI>Students are organized in classes that are groups to be exposed to a lesson, a portion of knowledge for a fixed period of time</LI>
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    <LI>That infers an idea of lesson, a portion of knowledge determined by period of time to be presented.</LI>
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    <LI>The technology requires this conveyor to move with a precalculated speed. Since students are of different abilities to learn there is a grade system needed there</LI>
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    <LI>That infers and idea of class as group of students the lesson to be presented to simultaneously.</LI>
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    <LI>Grades are objectively became a purpose of studies which turns knowledge in the means</LI>
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    <LI>The entire construction is a conveyor to drug a class through a course with predetermined speed. Since students are of different abilities the conveyor must to mark each by level of ones´ achievement at special moments. This is done by grading systems.</LI>
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    <LI>That backfires on teachers which are pushed to be concerned with grades as goal while teaching becomes the means</LI>  
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    <LI>Grades, in turn, shift subjective goal of a student from knowledge to a grade itself.</LI>
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    </UL>
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    <LI>Which, in turn, pushes their teacher to shift focus from knowledge as such to grading students.</LI>  
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    We see that independent thinking, etc. are not direct purpose of the system, to say the least. These features could be brought up by a  teacher who has enough courage and energy. Still, the fact of the matter is that those up-to-a-teacher features, despite being in major demand, cannot be normally worked for against the entire system. Teachers, trying to do something real in that regard, have their innovations either swallowed by the system, digested and turned into yet other forms of informing and training, or bounce against the wall, break up and get thrown out. No other outcome of educational reforms and innovation could be observed since 19th century at any level in any part of the world.
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    </UL>  
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    Hence, our understanding is that modern school has to be reconstructed top-down so that the entire system would aim directly to bringing up independent and critical thinking, creativity and responsibility. We believe that in the course of such an educational process information and skills or, generally speaking, knowledge of traditional type will be acquired by students as a side effect and much deeper.
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    It is noteworthy that in above described mechanism all elements are logical, they fit the fundamental understanding of knowledge and, which is no less important, they fit one another! That construction is essentially the same for the great majority of mainstream schools worldwide. They may differ in details but not in essence.
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    == Dialogue as Educational Principle ==
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    It is evident that objectively this construction and corresponding technology do not promote development of independent and critical thinking, creativity and responsibility. These could be, as we mentioned before, provided by a teacher.
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    However, those up-to-a-teacher features, despite being in major demand, cannot normally work against the entire system. They can only work despite the system, against it. Worldwide experience for centuries tells us the same story of innovation in education: Innovations either get swallowed by the school, digested and turned into yet other forms of informing and training, or they bounce against the wall, break up and get thrown out. No other outcome of educational reforms and innovations could be observed since 19th century in any part of the world.
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    Independent and critical thinking, creativity and responsibility are all theoretically and phenomenologically based on dialogue: Dialogue as inner speech (Plato: "thought is the silent and inner conversation of the soul with itself") and as free communication between humans.
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    Hence, our understanding is that modern school has to be wholly reconstructed bottom up, so that the entire system would aim directly to bringing up independent and critical thinking, creativity and responsibility. Moreover, we believe that in such a school, knowledge will be acquired along and it will be acquired willingly, deeper and more intensively than within any current system.
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    <UL>
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    <LI>How does it work? First of all, thinking, if it is thinking, is independent. We are not talking about problem solving here because a problem can be extremely complex but if the method to solve it is known and trained a solution does not actually requires thinking. And vise versa: a problem may be simple but if a method to solve it is not known a solution requires thinking. How can thinking not to be independent? If it involves outside guidance, what is instructed does not require thinking. Thinking is left only for the part beyond instruction, that is, thinking is independent. How does it look? We know that: a thinker is asking herself questions and trying to come up with the answers, that is, thinking is happening in the form of dialogue.</LI>
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    <LI>What about critical thinking? Thinking is critical if it is thinking. If a thinker satisfied  with understanding of a certain subject there is not even any reason to think it over. If, on the contrary, one is not satisfied with that understanding, that is, critical about it, then one has reason to think it over, to ask herself questions and look for answers.</LI>
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    <LI>It does not take a lot to see said answers as something new. That is, dialogue performs as the mechanism of creativity.</LI>
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    <LI>Finally, the last quality we mentioned as needed, responsibility also develops in dialogue. It is needed and develops at both ends of thinking: while asking and looking for answers as well. If one is satisfied with a certain commonly accepted, traditional or habitual explanation, that is, leaves responsibility to rest on shoulders of others then no questions are asked. But questioning of something accepted means to take on responsibility for finding of a true understanding. All the same, being satisfied with an answer without substantiating it is irresponsible position. But thorough investigation means taking on responsibility.</LI>
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    <LI>All the above contemplating applies easily to the outside dialogue, free communication between different personalities. We can refer to the most general projection here: if someone is really looking for an answer for difficult question one becomes open to dialogue. And vise versa: If someone is open for dialogue one is subjected to difficult questions.</LI>
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    </UL>
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    That is why dialogue is the central idea and the core feature to be provided by UU.  That vision translates into several features of the projected environment.
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    === The common for-dialogue features ===
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    == Dialogue As Educational Principle ==
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    There are several fundamental ideas a new school can be built on. One of them and the most promising, in our view, is dialogue. Dialogue theoretically and in practice proves to be a foundation for independent and critical thinking, creativity and responsibility.
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    There are two "modes" of dialogue: dialogue as inner speech, which actually is thinking (Plato: "thought is the silent and inner conversation of the soul with itself") and dialogue  as free communication between humans.
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    Schematically that works as follows: If someone has to explain something not understood by another one, that requires to find a way to overcome misunderstanding which infers creativity.
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    The creativity is needed even more for the listener, who is trying to understand. If the listener is not just to remember what is explained but to understand, that requires to recreate the subject anew.
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    Creativity, in turn, requires inside itself answers to not-so-evident questions, that is, presupposes independent thinking. One pulls another in. And if make a step back to the aim of the conversation when I need to understand what exactly you do not understand, we already in the realm of critical thinking. What is about responsibility. It is also here because while looking for the right argumentation I need to take upon myself responsibility for it. Actually, responsibility as such shows up in dialogue in several faces. Even in the very beginning I already am taking responsibility for my interlocutor or, otherwise, I would not even started!
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    All that said easily translates from pure explanation to discussion and from communication to thinking. In thinking I am responsible for myself to move from hypothesis to certainty, from fantasy to idea, from opinion to understanding. I need to be creative to come up with  these starting points and very critical about them and myself so that not to be satisfied with opinions, fantasies and hypotheses but proceed to understanding of the truth and reality.
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    That is why we take dialogue as the central idea and the core feature of UU.
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    In order to provide that we develop several unique features and are going to utilize many available tools developed by others and useful to this effect.
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    === The common features ===
    <UL>
    <UL>
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    <LI>A system of communication protocols in UMO (User Manageable Object, see below) studies or development.</LI>
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    <LI>A set of communication protocols to be used in development and studies of User Manageable Objects (UMO, see below).</LI>
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    <LI>Overall open source type of the courses and other educational units created within UU framework.</LI>
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    <LI>Overall open source type of the UMOs, including courses and other educational units created within UU framework.</LI>
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    <LI>Various feedback tools on courses, single topics, problems, problem solutions, authors, and so forth.</LI>
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    <LI>System features to provide collaborative UMO creation and studies.</LI>
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    <LI>Rich feedback environment</LI>
    </UL>
    </UL>
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    === The specific for-dialogue features ===
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    === The unique features ===
    <UL>
    <UL>
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    <LI>An UMO Explanation for a Topic. Unlimited number of Explanations can be created in parallel, that is, an author may use different explanations, including those, which contradict one another. Such an approach is traditionally seen unacceptable. In our view,  on the contrary, dramatically different explanations of the same subject provoke questions and doubts and lead to independent thinking. This feature can also  be used for explanations on different levels of generalization. This feature allows to bring dialogue into traditionally hierarchical courses.</LI>
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    <LI>An UMO Explanation. Unlimited number of Explanations can be  
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    <LI>An UMO Juxtaposition. This object is to join other UMOs based on relationships between ideas, such as contradiction, complementarity, similarity, discrepancy, etc.</LI>
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    created in parallel, that is, an author may use different explanations,  
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    <LI>An UMO Technology reflects certain understanding of an educational process and school construction as a whole. That presupposes development of a unique educational systems and hence brings forward the idea of dialogue in the entire educational environment. Technology adds specific features to default UMOs.</LI>
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    including those, which contradict one another. Such an approach is traditionally  
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    <LI>System features to provide collaborative UMO creation and studies.</LI>
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    seen unacceptable. In our view,  on the contrary, dramatically different  
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    explanations of the same subject provoke questions and doubts and lead to  
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    independent thinking. UMO Explanation allows to bring dialogue into
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    traditionally hierarchical courses. This UMO can also  be used for explanations on  
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    different levels of generalization.</LI>
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    <LI>An UMO Juxtaposition. This object is to put together other UMOs based on  
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    relationships between ideas, such as contradiction, complementarity, similarity,  
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    discrepancy, etc.</LI>
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    <LI>An UMO Technology reflects certain understanding of an educational process  
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    and school construction as a whole. That presupposes development of a unique  
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    educational systems and hence brings forward the idea of dialogue in the entire  
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    educational environment. Technology adds specific features to default UMOs.</LI>
    </UL>
    </UL>
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    == UU role ==
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    == UU particular goals ==
    What UU can do to provide for stated goal? We see the following:
    What UU can do to provide for stated goal? We see the following:
    <UL>
    <UL>
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    <LI>Plain promotion of the ideas of whole educational technology and dialogue in education</LI>
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    <LI>Plain promotion of the ideas of the educational technology as whole and dialogue in education. The latter is to be developed in two aspects: First, a specific school based on dialogue entirely; Second, dialogue in entire educational system as a social institution</LI>
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    <LI>Support of the real schools oriented on the above ideas through special tools</LI>
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    <LI>Tools to support of the real schools oriented on the above ideas</LI>
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    <LI>Support of virtual entirely dialogical courses and courses wholly based on other unique ideas</LI>
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    <LI>Tools to support of virtual dialogical courses</LI>
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    <LI>Tools to add dialogical features to any educational unit</LI>
    </UL>
    </UL>

    Revision as of 23:59, 26 August 2015