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Ocularcentring techniques in (e-)education


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Paper presented to the ESF workshop 'Visual communication in contemporary European societies: Shaping identities, citizenship, communities and inclusion strategies. University of Bologna (Italy), Alma Mater Studiorum Forli, 2-3 April 2011.

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Ocularcentring techniques in (e-)education

  1. 1. Ocularcentring techniques in (e-)education Presentation to the ESF Workshop, Visual communication in contemporary European societies: Shaping identities, citizenship, communities, inclusion strategies. University of Bologna, Forlì (Italy), 3 April 2011 Ernst D. Thoutenhoofd This slideshow is publicly available at What technological objects teach us about learning without teaching
  2. 2. I love to learn but I hate to be taught | Churchill
  3. 3.
  4. 4. <ul><li>We live in a sociotechnical world. </li></ul><ul><li>Cf. Wiebe Bijker (1995) Of bicyles, bakelites and bulbs, MIT. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Schools are networks of material and human actors—organised around learning —of such density that schooling appears to act as one(‘education’). </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Learning involves objects as much as it involves people. </li></ul><ul><li>Cf. Estrid Sørensen (2009) The materiality of learning, CUP. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Ocularcentrism is the organised privileging of sight over the other senses in actor networks (such as schools). </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Human alphabet | Anton Beeke (1970). </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>In the ‘actor-networks’ of educational literacy, </li></ul><ul><li>alphabets are mutable, mobile objects ; </li></ul><ul><li>reading and writing are techniques ; </li></ul><ul><li>and literacy is a sociotechnology with a broad material base. </li></ul><ul><li>All are social actors . </li></ul>
  10. 10. There is no such stuff as information or knowledge. They are epistemes that connect the materiality of documents and data to the ideas of education and cumulative progress. Cf Bernd Frohmann (2004) Deflating information, UTP.
  11. 11. <ul><li>I want to suggest to you that learning is selforganising network activity involving humans, objects and ideas; and that monitoring has joined classifying as a core intellectual competence. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>‘ Aap Noot Mies’ Dutch reading method, ca 1900. </li></ul>Teaching literacy through objects was formalised by Comenius (1592-1670).
  13. 13. <ul><li>Orbus Sensorium Pictus, 1658 | Comenius </li></ul>Comenius’ printed imagery supported learning and joining a stable universe .
  14. 14. <ul><li>Woman with child and picture-book | Jacques de Gheyn, ca 1600 </li></ul>
  15. 15. But object-picture relations were used much earlier to teach ideas . Cf. Simon Stevin (1584-1620) and his Beghinselen der weeghconst (1586).
  16. 16. Law of equilibrium.
  17. 17. Buoyancy.
  18. 18. Some of these visual actors have become constants (such as diagrams, maps and clocks) and must be learned.
  19. 19. <ul><li>View of Amsterdam | Google, 2009 </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>View of Amsterdam | Jan Christoffel Micker, 1652 </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Seeing involves competence with a diverse range of visual actors . </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Australian prison designed around Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon principles. </li></ul>Foucault’s observing gaze is such an actor.
  23. 23. Schooling reflects similar principles of (self-)control through monitoring . Schooling foregrounds monitoring instruments such as tests, exams, experiments, observation schemes and registers.
  24. 24. <ul><li>Experiment with a bird in an airpump | Joseph C. Wright of Derby, 1768 </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>This implies that in- and exclusion are formal schooling effects. </li></ul>Monitoring inevitably generates conflicting or limiting behaviours and ideas that obstruct learning.
  26. 26. <ul><li>Intelligence tests (WISC-III) </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>The DSM-IV classification of deviant behaviours. </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>Magnetic resonance imaging techniques and technology </li></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>Monitoring is the visual epistemic basis of evidence-based research, including practices of in- and exclusion. </li></ul>New technologies point to monitoring as persistent empirical basis for normative agreement .
  30. 30. <ul><li>Sign language corpora | (ELAN) </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>Molecular structure of Ritalin </li></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><li>The DNA of a depressed person. </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>The progression of schizophrenia in a person’s brain. </li></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>Sociogram of an inclusive school class. </li></ul><ul><li>Sander (top left) is a special needs pupil. </li></ul><ul><li>© Courtesy of Anke de Boer, Groningen University doctoral student. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Monitoring systems shape monitoring, learning and understanding, wellbeing, selfregulation and inclusion.
  36. 36. <ul><li>Monitoring is an episteme of evidence-based research practice. </li></ul>With lifelong learning and social media, (self-)monitoring has become a key competence .
  37. 37. The current concept of mass-education and its literacy model date from the industrial revolution.
  38. 38. It may be time to revise our vision of education. The school (school plate) | Cornelis Jetses ca 1910.
  39. 39. We might reorganise truly inclusive education around those contemporary competences and technologies that can accellerate, distribute and selforganise many forms of learning. We can take school teaching out of learning.
  40. 40. End Further reading on the next slide.
  41. 41. Further reading Bijker, Wiebe (1995) Of bicyles, bakelites and bulbs, MIT Press Fenwick, Tara and Richard Edwards (2010) Actor-network theory in education, Routledge. Foucault, Michel (1977) Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison, Pantheon Books. Frohmann , Bernd(2004) Deflating information, Toronto University Press. Harman, Graham (2009) Prince of networks: Bruno Latour and metaphysics , Re-press. Jay, Martin (1994) Downcast eyes: the denigration of vision in twentieth-century French thought, University of California Press. Latour, Bruno (1991) We have never been modern , MIT Press. Levin, David M. (ed. 1993) Modernity and the hegemony of vision, University of California Press. Mol, Annemarie (2002) The body multiple: Ontology in medical practice, Duke University Press. Sørensen, Estrid (2009) The materiality of learning, Cambridge University Press.