Week 8: Analytical and Critical Thinking

Becoming an Educationalist is designed to get you exploring what it means to be an emancipatory, creative and inspiring educationalist for the 21st Century

An educationalist:

  • Helps you think for yourself
  • We are becoming… educationalists (see Deleuze).

This week

  • Simulations: 25 Moral dilemmas: read; draw; resolve; digitise
  • Notes: what, why, how
  • Academic writing: what, why, how
  • Practical writing – answering the mini-question
  • Peer mentor led activity

Embodied learning: Simulation#25 moral dilemmas: http://psychopixi.com/misc/25-moral-dilemmas/

Simulations and role plays invite whole-body learning. For this week’s simulation we shared out some of the 25 moral dilemmas collected by the Team.  We were asked to read our dilemma – then think it through via a drawing first and then discussion. We were also given links to various open source online resources so that we could represent our problem and our solution via an animation or some other more visual – or more audio – representation:

Voicethread: http://voicethread.com
Storify: http://storify.com/
Xtranormal: http://www.xtranormal.com/
Pixton: http://pixton.com/uk/
Issuu: http://issuu.com/
Storybird: http://storybird.com/
Weebly: http://www.weebly.com/
Animoto: http://animoto.com/
Prezi: http://prezi.com
GoAnimate: http://goanimate.com/
More ideas: ‘50+ web 2.0 ways to tell a story’: http://50ways.wikispaces.com/

We were shown one of Sandra’s Go-Animates as an example. This is a reflective ‘log’ on #edcmooc: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfx1_fVZbyI

De-brief

One pair were brave enough to show their drawings and discuss their dilemma in the de-brief:

In 1842, a ship struck an iceberg and more than 30 survivors were crowded into a lifeboat intended to hold 7. As a storm threatened, it became obvious that the lifeboat would have to be lightened if anyone were to survive. The captain reasoned that the right thing to do in this situation was to force some individuals to go over the side and drown. Such an action, he reasoned, was not unjust to those thrown overboard, for they would have drowned anyway. If he did nothing, however, he would be responsible for the deaths of those whom he could have saved. Some people opposed the captain’s decision. They claimed that if nothing were done and everyone died as a result, no one would be responsible for these deaths. On the other hand, if the captain attempted to save some, he could do so only by killing others and their deaths would be his responsibility; this would be worse than doing nothing and letting all die. The captain rejected this reasoning. Since the only possibility for rescue required great efforts of rowing, the captain decided that the weakest would have to be sacrificed. In this situation it would be absurd, he thought, to decide by drawing lots who should be thrown overboard. As it turned out, after days of hard rowing, the survivors were rescued and the captain was tried for his action.

If you had been on the jury, how would you have decided?

They decided that the captain and the remaining crew were guilty of murder – not least because the captain had a duty of care to *all* his passengers and crew… It was interesting that discussing this allowed us to explore to what extent our solutions were context-dependent, and typically influenced by our emotions as well as our values; and how far they are dependent on our over-arching moral or ethical codes, and thus are more philosophical and independent of context.

Image

This relates back to issues that we discussed W2: Kant and the moral imperative and Bentham and Utilitarianism. It also seeded thoughts about how far our perceived understanding of our ‘role’ in particular situations legitimises actions that in other circumstances would be counter to ourselves as *human* beings. For example, the prison guard and the prisoner, those that torture suspected terrorists… And given that we are becoming educationalists – how do we see ourselves in an educational role? This led on to discussion of the behaviour experiments of the late 20Cth:  Rosenthal and Jacobson and the self-fulfilling prophecy; the blue eye/brown eye class room experiment; the electric shock experiment…

In the Workshop

The workshops diverged slightly this week – one at least went on to continue discussing the moral dilemmas in  detail – and linking that to the way we need to use argument and evidence in our academic writing.

The others seems to have spent some time looking at active notemaking – and how that also prepares us to engage with ideas: to have a dialogue with the theories, concepts and case studies that we study – and come to our own conclusions…  See: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/studyhub/note.html Much was made of just how active we have to be to make our ideas memorable.

The workshops all covered Academic writing in a more formal way than in our first introductory Writing Workshop – that introduced us to free writing – and to Winnicott (1971)!!

The Essay: What; Why; How

…  with real writing:

To what extent is the response to the moral dilemma a question of values? To what extent does it rely on analytical and critical thinking?

We looked at the essay as the formal, discursive and more theoretical form of academic writing. It is the space where we wrestle with ideas – and struggle with them – and write to learn – as we organise our own thoughts – and discover what we think. See: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/studyhub/writing.html

We did think that essays were about finding our own voice – but obviously there is the dark side of academic writing! We write and it is measured, assessed and judged. Philosophically we may accept that any system that offers certification will measure and stamp progress… But awareness of being judged can inhibit our thinking and engagement.

We also thought of different ways to assess – by presentation and by the production of digital artefacts that ‘reflect’ on a part of a course. In #edcmooc (E-learning and Digital Cultures), assessment includes the production of a digital artefact PLUS the peer review of three other artefacts.

Here’s a Prezi Poster Presentation on Academic writing – critiquing institutional over-emphasis on ‘skills’ rather than ideas and knowledge-construction: http://prezi.com/essebcrx47jr/not-a-key-thought/

Talking of – #edcmooc: Just for the heck of it…

Here are a couple of blogpost reflections on learning from fellow students of ours from #edcmooc:

Glidden’s post reflecting on learning itself: http://morethanjustcontent.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/what-does-my-learning-look-like-octel/

And another on what it is to be human – which relates to our early discussions on our values and ethical behaviour: http://morethanjustcontent.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/what-is-a-human-edcmooc/

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One thought on “Week 8: Analytical and Critical Thinking

  1. Very good depiction of the ship and I like the way that you included a shark just to dramatize the situation. Overall very well written blog,very specific and kept to the point. The blog is organized in easy way to read and the text is not overly descriptive, in such way that you get lost.

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