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January 22, 2011


Overwhelmed – A Maze of Cognitive Turbulence

by Peter Skillen

Poster Designed for Logo Conference in Toronto 1986

I love learning. And I expect confusion. I thrive on dissonance. But, this morning, as I write this, I am curiously unsettled.

It has been the first week of the Connectivism course and I have not been able to attend to the readings and the webinars as deeply as I had hoped. One of those weeks, I guess.

I have generally described myself as a constructivist, indeed constructionist, over the years. However, I have always had a distinct distaste for packaged descriptions and formulae and indeed theories propagated and, often marketed by gurus as if there it is a ‘truth’ delivered from the heavens.

George Siemens at TEDxNYED.

Image via Wikipedia

I have always found myself in discord with any proponent of any theory because there is often a rigidity in their thinking or a flippant dismissal of other aspects of self or other domains that may bring the chosen theory into question.

Now I see George Siemens and Stephen Downes differently because of the value systems I see inherent in their behaviours and actions. The openness and richness of diverse voice is welcomed, and indeed encouraged.

Now I don’t intend to get into hero worship here either. Also, not my style.

However, I am continuing my struggle to gain deeper understandings.

Canadian sociologist Derrick de Kerckhove

Canadian sociologist Derrick de Kerckhove - Image via Wikipedia

Right now, my brain is turbulent. This week’s readings and webinars have unleashed noises and visions that won’t settle – everything from my discussions with Derrick de Kerckhove and his work on connected intelligence in the 1990’s to the newer research into neuroplasticity to the nightmarish classifications of our western medical models which define, and advise on, ADHD and learning disabilities.

Ok, no really intelligent thoughts today.

I just need to become one with the messiness of my mind.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 23 2011

    Hi Peter,
    Thanks for sharing! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one re-thinking this week. Thanks for sharing the de Kerckhove link as well.

    I too, tend to see myself as a constructionist, and the after hearing the webinar recordings this week with references to the importance of our creating artefacts and “remixing, repurposing and feeding forward” I’m reminded more of constructionism and social constructivism than connectivism at the moment. Looking forward to more learning this week!

    • peter skillen
      Jan 23 2011

      Hey, thank you.

      So I am going back in time to investigate more about earlier ideas about connectionism and models of parallel distributed computation and neural network theories of cognition described by Rumelhart. And, guess what, Seymour Papert was wrapped up to his eyeballs in those debates about modelling cognition after neural networks Check out his book called Perceptrons that he wrote with Marvin Minsky — in 1969! Love it.

      But am sorry that Seymour is not able to take part in this course with us. Can you imagine…


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