Wednesday, March 2

Theory Or Ideology - MASHISM

  I Think I'm A Mashist
Alan Cooper prefers to use the term 'ideology' rather than 'theory' to describe Connectivism, in fact learning theories in general. He questions whether it holds up as possessing experimentally testable predictions (in the scientific sense). Perhaps in an endeavour to process the glut of information coming our way these days we need to resort to pigeonholing as we go. Back on the semantics merry-go-round !

I would suggest applying some of the strategies Harold Rheingold suggests for crap detection online to theories/ideologies/recommended practices/concepts etc. before blithely jumping on any bandwagon.

I'm happy to file Connectivism in the theory column for now as 'theory' to me means something that is proferred, but has yet to be proven. Not very scientific I know, but I believe it's understandable when bared down to the basics and cleaned of scientific, academic jargon. Perhaps I'll define it as an educational rather than scientific theory ?

When I think of ideologies, evangelism and conversion come to mind. People's social and political lives can be driven by ideologies. Ideologies are more intense, there's more at stake. People take it personally if their ideology is criticised. A smorgasbord of theories from which to graze is my preference, considering bits and pieces of the 'isms' which will best serve individual needs harmonised into a hybrid practice - in keeping with Web 2.0 and the delight in mashups, perhaps mashism is a closer definition. Then again, perhaps I prefer my initial offering of Complexitism. Currently I don't accept any theory as my ideology.

Theories are as diverse as the motivations and personalities of those who subscribe to them. Those who have stakes in the theory, the developers, need to publish their theories, to parade them in front of their peers for review in order for them to gain any credence whatsoever, to have them published in legitimate journals. Perhaps academic researchers are responsible for this 'scientification' of education, and this is why it's becoming so confusing. When the stakes are high, ideologies are born and people generally are uncomfortable having their ideologies rejected. Give me a theory any day. Mine is mashism until something better comes along that makes sense to me.

And once again, Stephen attempts to explain the meaning of Connectivism 

There have been personal attacks directed against Stephen both on Wikipedia and in responses to his blog posts and I question whether adherents of a theory would spew forth such vitriole. It is generally ideologies.Text aggression and intended sabotage simply reduce these attacks to the level of a 'Rasputinist' rant.I wonder if Stephen ever despairs
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1 comment:

  1. I think I'm in favor of Mashism too (There should be a Mashism Tango to complement Tom Lehrer's one - ). IMHO people tend to nail their sails to the mast on educational theories prematurely - then you get those stories about misapplication! Education's such a complex thing I'd prefer to see a lot more effort going into the practice rather than theory - or at least instead of debating about whether, say, a MOOC could be adapted to teach maths to recalcitrant teenagers, somebody should actually try it and report their findings. Not that I think debate's a bad thing per se - more a matter of what's best done with limited time and energy.

    Education itself as a theory made me think! I guess it can't be separated out from ideology - just think Taliban! And very different from 'proven' scientific theory with real world, 'kick a stone' power - like Newton's Laws.

    Gordon Lockhart