Lost and found in dialogue: Embracing the promises of interdiscursivity and diminishing its risks
June 20, 2020 – 10:00am Central Standard Time, US
Abstract. Ours are times of a rampant growth in communicational diversity. In the universe filled with multiple discourses, we may need to cross discursive boundaries even when trying to reach our closest neighbor. Against the natural instinct of turning a deaf ear at what may sometimes sound as a cacophony, most of us are trying to embrace this communicational entropy as an opportunity rather than as a problem to solve. Indeed, tolerance toward the simultaneous presence of multiple forms of talk carries a promise of a better world, of a world in which no discourse can gain exclusivity on the sheer force of the power wielded by its skillful participants. This is a world in which, on the contrary, people will gain leadership solely thanks to the power of their discourses. This said, multi-discursivity carries with it some risks, and the question of how to avoid the pitfalls while enjoying the benefits is yet to be answered. In this talk, I will reflect on both promises and perils of discursive diversity, as they manifest themselves in the particular case of research on learning. The point of departure will be the claim that research can be usefully conceptualized as a discursive activity. I will conclude with a close look at the idea of dialogic education which, in spite of its being rife with mostly unacknowledged inherent dilemmas, constitutes our preferred response to the needs of multivocal classrooms. Viewing research as a special case of learning, I will be asking how to harness dialogism in coping with, and trying to benefit from, the current proliferation of scientific discourses.
Update. Since this abstract was posted on ICLS website, the COVID-19 pandemic changed our priorities in almost every domain of life. The issues raised in the above paragraphs did not, however, lose their relevance. On the contrary. With the global solidarity recognized as critical for our success to cope (Harari, 2020), the dialogue, as understood in this talk, came forth as a life-saving device. In the updated version of this presentation, I will reflect on the question of how to harness interdiscursive communication to minimize the losses of our current collective experience and to maximize its future gains.
Writer, Independent Scholar
The Ed-Tech Imaginary
June 21, 2020 – 10:00am Central Standard Time, US
How do the stories we tell about the history and the future of education (and education technology) shape our beliefs about teaching and learning — the beliefs of educators, as well as those of the general public?
We like to think about this process differently perhaps: that our deeply held commitments to certain ideas about education — and ideally, to the science of teaching and learning — are what shape the technologies we build. But what if much of what inspires our technologies and what fosters our faith in what these technologies can do comes from fictions rather than facts?
This keynote will explore the “ed-tech imaginary” as it appears in science fiction — think of Neo in The Matrix, for example, so amazed that he’s rapidly learned kung fu by plugging into an instructional computer system. But it also includes historical narratives — shorthand phrases like “the factory model of education” that aren’t particularly accurate stories but that seem to be terribly compelling stories nonetheless.
Associate Dean for Equity & Justice
Learning as an emergent strategy
June 22, 2020 – 10:00am Central Standard Time, US
In this talk, I will focus on the ways that learning, different than schooling, has always been deeply connected to life itself. I provide examples from the past of fugitive learning, learning that barred by the law but maintained and created as a way of knowing and living. I will also provide examples of the powerful public pedagogies that we’ve seen rise when schools have been closed due to COVID-19.