The capability approach

CAPABILITY APPROACH

The capability approach to a person’s advantage is concerned with evaluating it in terms of his or her actual ability to achieve various valuable functionings* a part of living

It differs from other approaches using other informational focuses, for example:

  • personal utility
  • absolute or relative opulence
  • assessments of negative freedoms
  • comparisons of means of freedom
  • comparisons of resource holdings as a basis of just equality

The capability approach is concerned primarily with the identification of value-objects, and sees the evaluative space in terms of functionings and capabilities to function (…) Choices have to be faced in the delineation of the relevant functionings. The format always permits additional ‘achievements’ to be defined and included (…) There is no escape from the problem of evaluation in selecting a class of functionings in the description and appraisal of capabilities (…) (1) What are the objects of value? (2) How
valuable are the respective objects? the identification of the objects of value is
substantively the primary exercise which makes it possible to pursue the second question (…) The identification of the objects of value specifies what may be called an evaluative space (…) The selection of the evaluative space has a good deal of cutting power on its own, both because of what it includes as potentially valuable and because of what it excludes (…) The freedom to lead different types of life is reflected in the person’s capability set.  The capability of a person depends on a variety of factors, including personal characteristics and social arrangements. A full accounting of individual freedom must, of course, go beyond the capabilities of personal living and pay attention to the person’s other objectives, but human capabilities constitute an important part of individual freedom (…) We can make a fourfold classification of points of evaluative interest in assessing human advantage, based on two different distinctions. One distinction is between (1.1) the promotion of the person’s well-being, and (1.2) the pursuit of the person’s overall agency goals (…) The second distinction is between (2.1) achievement, and (2.2) the freedom to achieve (…) The assessment of each of these four types of benefit involves an evaluative exercise, but they are not the same evaluative exercise (…0 The four categories of intrapersonal assessment and interpersonal comparison that follow from these two distinctions (namely, well-being achievement, well-being freedom, agency achievement, and agency freedom) are related to each other, but are not identical

*functionings represent parts of the state of a person–in particular the various things that he or she manages to do or be in leading a life. The capability of a person reflects the alternative combinations of functionings the person can achieve, and from which he or she can choose one collections

Excerpts from Amartyr Sen’s Capability and Well‐Being, full paper available here

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Dialogic-Dialectic

BAKHTIN

the skills of listening to others becomes as important as making clear statements/ the good listener has to respond to intent, to suggestion, for the conversation to keep moving forward/ the difference between the two terms is not a matter of either/or. the heart of it all lies in picking up on concrete details, on specifics, to drive a conversation forward. Bad listeners bounce back in generalities when they respond; they are not attending to those small phrases, facial gestures or silences which open up a discussion.

Dialectic: the verbal play of opposites should gradually build up to a synthesis (…) the Aristotelian notion that although we use the same words, we cannot say we are speaking of the same things (..) the aim is to come to a mutual understanding (…) the listener elaborates the assumption by putting it into words (…) in the Socratic notion, the echo is actually a displacement

Dialogic: first coined by Mikhail Bakhtin to name a discussion which does not resolve itself by finding a common ground (…) though no shared agreements may be reached, through the process of exchange people may become more aware of their own views and expand their understanding of one another (..) knitted together but divergent exchange (…) a dialogic conversation can be ruined by too much identification with the other person.

Excerpts from Richard Sennett’s book, Together: The Rituals & Politics of Cooperation, 2012, London: Penguin Books (pages 18-20)

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The workshop as a means for creating & sustaining sociality

 

ROBERT OWEN

The workshop is one of the oldest institutions of human society. like farming, the artisan workshop terminated the wandering way of life. Much of this also depended on the scale of their tools. In China and Greece it was the most important institution anchoring civic life which practiced the division of labor. The workshop spawned an idea of justice, artisans were allowed to choose freely how to practice their craft. Craftsmen, both Confucius and Plato believed, make good citizens. The urban craftsman in the medieval period began producing surplus: from covering the intra-city needs to inter-city needs. Guilds managed conflict

The European roots of the American workshops can be traced to Robert Owen. He originally founded New Lanark in Scotland as a prototype of a modern industry. He later formulated his plans for an autonomous village and tried to diffuse that model first in England (Orbiston) and then in the US (Harmony). He formulated a set of precepts, the otherwise known as 6 Rochdale Principles: workshops open to anyone, one person one vote, distribution of surplus in relation to trade, cash trading, political and religious neutrality and promotion of education. Owen’s idea of workshop is of an institution which combines long-term mutual benefit and loyalty with short-term flexibility and openness. Factory-style science was for him a mechanical testing of hypotheses; a more innovative laboratory engages from experiment, open to surprise discovery.

On the opposite of Owen lay Charles Fourrier version of workshop: its aim was greatest good for greatest number. He created the phalansteries (big hotels) where he crowded the deserving poor. This was top-down planning that inspired the Soviet industrial planning. People in phalansteries worked and lived in the same building.

These workshops lay the foundation for the Settlement Houses and the Hampton and Tuskegee Institutions founded in the US at the second half of the 19th century.

Excerpts from Richard Sennett’s book, Together: The Rituals & Politics of Cooperation, 2012, London: Penguin Books and Leonardo Benevolo’s, Storia dell’ architettura moderna, 1990, Bari: Edizioni Laterza

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Networked Learning and the perils of Personalized Learning Environents

Diagram_of_a_social_network

NETWORKED LEARNING DEFINITIONS

  • Goodyear, 2005: Networked learning is learning in which information and communications (ICT) is used to promote connections: between one learner and other learners, between learners and tutors; between a learning community and its learning resources.
  • Ryberg et al., 2012: the ideas of relations and connections suggest that learning is not confined to the individual mind or the individual learner. Rather, learning and knowledge construction is located in the connections and interactions between learners, teachers and resources, and seen as emerging from critical dialogues and enquiries. It seems to encompass an understanding of learning as a social, relational phenomenon, and a view of knowledge and identity as constructed through interaction and dialogue
  • Jones, 2008: networked learning aligns well with social practice, socio-cultural or social learning theories that also situate and analyse learning as located in social practice and interaction, rather than as a phenomenon of the individual mind.

PLEs perils in regard to

  • Experience: may threaten or loosen the shared experience of studying a course
  • Exposure to diversity: may encourage a narrow private view
  • Privacy: user behavior may adapt to the perceived requirements of a sytem
  • Content: it overemphasizes delivery of personalized content at the expense of communication with others (Dirckinck-Holmfeld and Jones, 2009)

 

References

Ryberg, T., Buus, L., & Georgsen, M., 2012. Differences in understandings of networked learning theory: Connectivity or collaboration? In L. Dirckinck-Holmfeld, V. Hodgson, & D. McConnell (Eds.), Exploring the Theory, Pedagogy and Practice of Networked Learning (pp. 43-58). Springer Science+Business Media B.V., DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-0496-5_3

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Bricolage as a design methodology

BRICOLAGE_Scorched-Earth-2006

Bricolage implies that :

  • design is in crisis: the standard social science methods are not well adapted to the new realities of global complexity which contains new concepts that they define, such as the “multiple“, the “distributed” and the “emotional“/ design research has relied on established methods from other disciplines however, it is not  about the variety of methods available as it is about the hegemonic and dominatory pretensions of certain versions or accounts of method/ some methods, although extremely good, fail to appropriate the ephemeral, the indefinite and the irregular/ educationally that has resulted in a refocusing on understanding how design can address social, economic and political issues; what kind of future world we want to live in/ understand-improve-apply the practice of design has become what is the nature of design? (Law + Urry)
  • designs is undisciplined: it has always had to draw knowledge from other disciplines, initially through a lack of existing subject knowledge and lately due to a refocusing on larger, more difficult social issues/ Buchanan: design is the last liberal art, meaning a discipline of thinking that may be shared to some degree by all men and women in their daily lives and is in turn mastered by a few people who practice the discipline with distinctive insight and sometimes advance it to new areas of innovative applications/ design acts as an agent of change due to design’s ability to synthesize understanding from the natural world with understanding of the human condition/ the SEVEN ROLES of the designer: facilitator-researcher-co-creator-communicator-strategist-capability builder-enterpreneur (Buchana, Banerjee, Fry)
  • design is maturing: the study of the discipline is scientifically based and the accumulated knowledge is subject to criticism/ the practice of the discipline is unrestricted as to the area of application/ both study and practice give active consideration to the social problems and ramifications/ there is a growing number of phds and a growing number of related journals and conferences/ design can only exist outside its disciplinary boundaries to be effective (Kernan)

 

References

Yee, J.S.R., Bremner, C., 2011. Methodological Bricolage – What does it tell us about Design? In Doctoral Design Education Conference, 23-25 May 2011, Hong Kong Polytechnic, Hong Kong, available here

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the age of scenius

Scenius

Scenius, or Communal Genius_Scenius is like genius, only embedded in a scene rather than in genes. Brian Eno suggested the word to convey the extreme creativity that groups, places or “scenes”  can occasionally generate. His actual definition is:  “Scenius stands for the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene. It is the communal form of the concept of the genius.”

Individuals immersed in a productive scenius will blossom and produce their best work. When buoyed by scenius, you act like genius. Your like-minded peers, and the entire environment inspire you.

The geography of scenius is nurtured by several factors:

  • Mutual appreciation: Risky moves are applauded by the group, subtlety is appreciated, and friendly competition goads the shy. Scenius can be thought of as the best of peer pressure.
  • Rapid exchange of tools and techniques: As soon as something is invented, it is flaunted and then shared. Ideas flow quickly because they are flowing inside a common language and sensibility.
  • Network effects of success: When a record is broken, a hit happens, or breakthrough erupts, the success is claimed by the entire scene. This empowers the scene to further success.
  • Local tolerance for the novelties: The local “outside” does not push back too hard against the transgressions of the scene. The renegades and mavericks are protected by this buffer zone.

Scenius can erupt almost anywhere, and at different scales: in a corner of a company, in a neighborhood, or in an entire region.

 

2008, Wired Magazine, full article available here/ Image available here

The “Connected Curriculum”

CONNECTED CURRICULUM

UCL’s twenty-year vision and a wholesale commitment to changing programs of study/ its goal is to enable students to participate in research and inquiry throughout their education/ allows students to make connections both vertically across a program’s year groups and horizontally across disciplinary divides, even beyond the university setting/ research-based education aspires to widen the notion of what constitutes legitimate research and who has the authority to contribute to it.

The University is changing: new ways of knowing in order to thrive in a unknown future/ in the age of supercomplexity a new epistemology for the university awaits, one that is open, bold, engaging, accessible, and conscious of its own insecurity (Barnett)

SIX DIMENSIONS OF CONNECTIVITY

  • students are encouraged to connect with staff and learn about ongoing research
  • connected sequence of research activities throughout students’ programs (scaffolding)
  • research is inherently social/ students are encouraged to connect their learning across the subjects they are taking and with the wider world
  • students are encouraged to connect academic learning with workplace learning and develop a full range of professional attributes and skills
  • assessments: critical questions concerning their forms or types of skills they address
  • interpersonal connections between people from different disciplines, cultures and backgrounds

 

References

Carnell, B., 2017. Towards a connected curriculum in architectural education: research-based education in practice. In Charrette 4(1) Spring 2017, pp. 14-26

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Peer to peer learning

peer-to-peer-learning-portal-online-learning-uplatz_3

Peer Learning Definition: Students learning from and with each other in both formal and informal ways with emphasis on the learning process and the emotional support that learners offer each other, as much as the task itself.

10 models: the traditional proctor model (seniors tutor juniors), partnerships between students of the same year, discussion seminars, private study groups, parrainage, counselling, peer-assessment schemes, collaborative project or lab work, projects in different sized groups, workplace mentoring and community activities.

Outcomes

  • working with others: sharing, acknowledging contributions, working together to develop collaborative skills.
  • critical inquiry and reflection: challenges to existing ways of thinking, opportunities for formulating questions, deep engagement
  • communication and articulation of knowledge, understanding and skills: testing and rehearsing the ideas of others, expressing concepts
  • managing learning and how to learn: self-management skills, not prompt by deadlines but by the exigencies of cooperating, identifying learning needs, collective responsibility
  • self and peer assessment: giving and receiving feedback, identifying criteria

 

References

Peer Learning in Higher Education: Learning from & with Each Other, (eds) David Boud, Ruth Cohen & Jane Sampson, introduction by David Boud, 2001, London: Kogan Page

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7 principles for good practice in undergraduate education, by A. Chickering & Z. Gamson

chickering_gamson 2

  1. encourages contacts between students and faculty;
  2. develops reciprocity and cooperation among students;
  3. uses active learning techniques;
  4. gives prompt feedback;
  5. emphasizes time on task;
  6. communicates high expectations; and
  7. respects diverse talents and ways of learning

 

References

Chickering A.W., Gamson, Z., F., 1987. Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. In AAHE BULLETIN/MARCH 1987/3

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The “Learning” Space

LEARNING SPACE

  • (…) any space became a learning space because of the social practices being performed, informed by a variety of cultural norms and expectations, in fact it was made of these two [Harrison, 2018]
  • it is not a container in which the world proceeds, but it is a co-product of these proceedings [Thrift, 2003]
  • dynamic relationship between social norms, how material and social structures influence these norms and how they are then embodied by individuals/ it is a set of relations between individuals [Kuntz & Berger, 2011]
  • space is constructed through orderings or operations of objects and social relations (regional: where object/relations are clustered within boundaries, network: where the distances between elements and relations account for difference and fluid: where boundaries allow for leaking or transformation) [Mol & Law, 1994]
  • material space such as the design and use of classroom is not the equivalent of place and not the object, background or container of study, it is instead, a dynamic multiplicity that is constantly being produced by simultaneous practice-so-far and is enacted, turbulent, entangled and hybrid [Fenwick, Edwards & Sawchuk, 2011]
  • they are not merely material spaces but also conceived spaces [Lefebvre, 1991; Soja, 1989]
  • space dependent on software-driven technologies is identified as a code/space where software and the spatiality of everyday life become mutually constituted, produced through one another [Kitchin & Dodge, 2011]
  • web-based spaces are not containers in which online learning activities take place but rather fluid sociomaterial assemblages that take on particularities as people and things -both online and offline- negotiate how they move, mix and mobilize in their correspondences [Thompson, 2014]
  • virtual learning environments not only are places where social and cultural production processes occur, they are also bound by preexisting conventional systems that are defined by HE cultural processes and norms [Goodfellow & Hewling, 2005]
  • LMSs/ VLEs often reflect institutional, hierarchical perspective
  • when working online we work in destabilized classrooms engaging in spaces and practices which are disquieting, disorienting, strange, anxiety-inducing, uncanny [Bayne, 2010]
  • online environments can also be walled, hierarchical and traditional as F2F classrooms and they can also be “wild and open” where social technologies are hailed as “interactive. connected, free, easily accessed and accessible, enabled to create dynamic and nuanced communities of learners/ but binary versions of learning spaces allow us to avoid examining the complex relationships between learning and the spaces it takes place [McRae, 2014]

 

References

Michelle Harrison, 2018. Space as a tool for analysis: Examining digital learning spaces. In Open Praxis, vol. 10 issue 1, January–March 2018, pp. 17–28 (ISSN 2304-070X)

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Learning Definitions

LEARNING PEOPLE

Learning is:

  • Ramsden/1988: a qualitative change in a person’s way of seeing, experiencing, understanding, conceptualizing sth in the real world
  • Encyclopedia Britannica: a relatively permanent change in a behavioral potentiality that occurs as a result of reinforced practice
  • Ausubel/1975: the strengthening of relevant aspects of cognitive structure
  • Marton/ 1975: the grasping of what is signified by the sign
  • Barnett/1992: a human process which has an effect on those undertaking it/ has been understood in the context of the ‘value background’ of its time
  • Dewey/1916: likely to follow investigation of a situation with personal significance rather than an aloof thing, imposed from external requirements
  • Saljo/19825 categories of learning
    • a quantitative increase in knowledge
    • memorizing
    • acquisition of facts, methods which can be retained and used when necessary
    • the abstraction of meaning
    • an interpretation process aimed at understanding reality
    • developing as a person

     

  • Bateson/1973: three levels in learning: Level I_facts and skills are defined by context (Freire’s banking), Level II_the learner is outside a confining frame enabling comparisons and connections (learning by doing, theory related to practice), Level III_discovering the ability to doubt the validity of previously held perceptions, the learning being about learning itself (reflective)
  • Bloom/1956, 1964: Three domains of learning: Cognitive (knowing), Conative (doing) and Affective (feeling)
  • Argyris-Schon, 1974: Single (instrumental) and Double loop Learning (challenges previous assumptions)
  • Salmon/1989: it is a socially constructed event lived out in a social and political context, which may not always be conducive to bursts of productive energy and emotion
  • Rogers/1983: self-initiated, significant, experiential, gut-level learning by the whole person, a process described as person-centered

 

References

Brockbank, A., McGill, I., 1998. Facilitating Reflective Learning in Higher Education. Buckingham: SRHE and Open University Press

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Digital Citizenship through Hybrid Education

digital-citizenship-2

Citizenship

  • Marshal/1950: Citizen is bestowed on those who are full members of a community-Educations as a social right/ Right of the adult citizen to have been educated instead of the right of the child to go to school.
  • Banks/2008: Citizen should be expanded to include cultural democracy and cultural citizenship as all liberal democracies are multi ethnic or multinational.
  • Mossberger et al./2008: Citizen defines as representing capacity, belonging, and the potential for political and economic engagement in society in the information age

Becoming and Belonging and the Capabilities to do so.

  • Capabilities to do so_McGillivray et al/2016: pedagogies need to be aligned with technologies to prepare both students and teachers to deal with the opportunities and threats of a digitally mediated world (…) Kymlicka/ 2002: Education for digital citizenship is not simply a matter of information, knowledge and know-how but it is also a matter of interpersonal and inherently ethical relations (…) Sen/1976: shift from mere technologies to what they enable people to do.
  • Becoming_Arendt/1958: the newcomer possesses the capacity of beginning something anew, human condition is connected to labor, work and action. With action in plurality we become a someone. Education is when we decide we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it.
  • Belonging_Bauman/1997: Inclusion as difference. Difference is not merely unavoidable but good, precious and in need of protection. A chance to reconsider individual freedom in diversity. Lingis/1994: community of those who have nothing in common is constituted by our response to the stranger (…) in our system of laws and our social institutions we recognize our formulated experience, our judgement, our debated consensus-in our rational enterprises we find nothing alien to us, we find ourselves (…) Biesta/ 2004: communication is ontologically prior to community but establishes community in the act of our response. What constitutes this other community inside the rational community is our responsiveness (…) Giroux/2011: pedagogy is a mode of witnessing, a public engagement in which students learn to be attentive and responsible to the memories and narratives of others

Hybridity: term originates from Latin and has roots in biology. It refers to cross-fertilization or amalgamation, the adoption and integration of elements from foreign cultures for Greeks and Romans, the international style in archaeology where no culture predominates (…) the term is closely connected to post-colonialism and multicultural awareness, it is an effort to remove negative connotations from words such as bastard or mongrel (…) Bhabha/1994: it is not a sequential blend of sth like flipped classroom or blended learning but it is sth other, a new breed, sth that is at least at two places at once.  (…) an effect of globalization/ hybridity emerges through the multitude of identities as a reality of the global classroom (…) Deleuze-Guattari/1980: a seamless and continuous flow wothout beginning and end akin to a rhizome (…) as a philosophical concept it suggests hesitation at a threshold (…) Stommel/2012: hybrid education is characterized by disruption, open-endedness, risk-taking, experimentation, empathy, dialogue and critical creativity.

 

References

Pedersen, A.Y., Nørgaard, R.T., Köppe, C., 2018. Patterns of Inclusion: Fostering Digital Citizenship through Hybrid Education. In Educational Technology & Society, 21 (1), 225-236

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