It’s been quite a week.
We’re on break now; classes resume Monday morning. Some of us have gone home, some have had their families join them here, some are staying through the weekend and doing work or sightseeing or combinations of both. If it doesn’t get rained out, I’m going to a Braves game this afternoon with some Frye folk. This morning I hope to get some more work done on a podcasting article I’m writing.
The break allows me to begin to take stock of what I’ve learned, whom I’ve met, and the new horizons that are becoming visible. The break is also a free-form serendipity field. This morning’s breakfast, for example: I went to the dining room with an article to read, not expecting to find anyone there from Frye, or at least not the critical mass that instantly forms after each session as we proceed from a mind-bending class to refresh ourselves at the buffet. But then serendipity struck. A small group of seminarians formed quite casually. The talk began. By the time it ended about two hours later, we had covered Plato, AI, the Book of Kells, kennings, Gothic, the military and war-gaming, organizational experiences, the uses of analogy in education and understanding generally, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, video art, manuscripts of silver ink on purple parchment, spell-checkers across variants of English usage (specifically Australian and U.S.) and the subtly enforced convergences of orthography that can result, tablet computers, Bonnie Raitt, Fredo Viola, schools of education, mind-mapping, haptic and ergonomic considerations in hardware, software, and fountain pens, gluggy rissoto, note-taking in journals, mind-mapping both free-form and software-enabled, settling in one spot vs. moving around, conceding vs. considering, microcues in film directors and in contextual learning generally, Stanley Kubrick, the Zone of Proximal Development, IT Conversations, prisoner dilemmas, the way medieval monks would describe good light by saying one could see to crack lice even at midnight, first contact stories, human beings considered as a species, cats and curiosity, cats that are more like dogs than cats (including a Burmese that would play fetch), leaded glass eggs and the trouble they cause going through airport security, rearranging furniture, tolerant spouses, karaoke, low-tech tech, OS X, and I’m positive I’ve left a great deal out.
All that and a Belgian waffle too. A good morning and a fine example of what Bruner calls consciousness-raising about the possibilities of communal mental activity. Part of me wishes I could record these moments more fully, in words or video or audio. Part of me understands that I myself will be the record of the moment, in the sense that these interactions are writing (or revising) parts of me into being, and in very interesting ways. I suppose I am the notes I’m taking. That’s one way to think about real school.