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EDN Themes: Culture & Community

Listed below are entries for the Culture & Community theme. Related entries can be found through keyword searches. For example, creativity can be found in other themes. Using Google "Search This Site" to do a keyword search for "creativity" reveals related entries in other themes.

Authority: Authentic & Imposed Conversations

Robert Paterson picks up on an engaging line of thought in The death of authority by position - Marketing, Government, Teaching. The source takes us to Hugh MacLeod's The Kryptonite Factor in which he provides a brief narrative that describes the role of authority in the marketer/marketee relationship. Understanding the various ways in which victimization operates is helpful in understanding marketing.

All of this brings us back to the nature of authority and we ask, "Whose authority is this and why should I believe it matters to me?" Questions like these require us to examine the source, often a tacit assumption, about something that we have built intellectual safe havens around, and if we see weaknesses in those assumptions our safe havens no longer seem safe...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Oct29/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Belonging: Jean Vanier - Community Belonging

Jean Vanier asks us to consider the question, "Where does a broader sense of belonging come from?" The question invites us to consider the relationship between the ideas of community and belonging...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Jun15/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Community Building: Dave Pollard - A Better Way

In A Better Way Dave Pollard poses a fundamental question: What can be done by each one of us to make our communities and our world a better place, a happier place? The idea behind A Better Way is to create a living document (i.e. - a collaborative document created by a community of interested people that evolves over time) that bridges the gap between the thinking and communicating of ideas about A Better Way toward the creation of a movement in which the experiences described in the document become everyday life. One of the key ideas in a A Better Way is that learning must become something more vibrant and resilient than our tradition educational conceptions of it...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Feb 2/05) | Read/Comments (0) |

Community Engagement: From Knowing to Doing

In Heart Disease Creating Life Expectancy Gap I read:

"We live in a rich sea of knowledge about heart disease, but we are treating patients with high blood pressure on a suboptimal basis," Morosco told the conference.

This is an important insight that has relevance beyond health issues. We do live in the midst of a rich sea of knowledge, yet our ability to engage that knowledge may not be as rich. With respect to the issues described surrounding heart disease, Dr. Gregory Morosco (PhD, MPH, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) captures a critical problem with knowledge in general, that is the difference between having knowledge and being able to communicate and implement practical applications of it.

We often here slogans such as knowledge is power and notions of a knowledge society and knowledge management. While having a certain kind of appeal and perhaps offering a respite from an over-emphasis on information, these ideas seem transitory in nature. Knowledge is important, but it is simply not enough. Dr. Morosco describes a key issue...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Aug29/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Community Engagement: Interaction Design

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Bureau of Rural Sciences has released Towards Whole of Community Engagement: A Practical Toolkit. It offers some interesting insights into design processes that foster community engagement and are therefore of interest to anyone interested in improving interaction, conversation, and dialogue regardless of their particular area of expertise. There are some interesting parallels to Connected Intelligence Network Learning Design. For me, the tools and techniques described here are directly related to the interaction design of any learning environment and the focus could just as easily be training, education, e-Learning, instructional design, brand development, marketing, and so on.

In relation to interaction design and learning environments, I found the following areas of particular interest...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Aug20/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Community: A Heartfelt and Committed Approach to Giving

Pat Kahnert is a corporate marketing and communications consultant, helping business, not-for-profit and government organizations to add clarity, credibility and impact to their work. In Putting Community Investment Criteria Into Action Pat describes a number of key criteria that are essential in building and implementing effective investment programs...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Oct23/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Community: Philia - A Dialogue On Caring Citizenship

Philia is a greek word meaning the bonds of friendship that unite members of a community. Other sense of the word include the force of caring that binds communities together and "the reserve of human warmth, affect, enthusiasm and generosity that nourishes and stimulates the fellowship that is the heart of civic life."

The meaning in this word has been embraced through the creation of Philia: A Dialogue on Citizenship, an organization built on the following beliefs...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Jul23/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Community: Service Learning or Community Service?

In exploring the Tamarack Learning Centre I came across Is Community Service a Waste of Time? The article explores the problems with involving students in community service activities and promotes the idea of service learning as a means to better integrate community-based experiences in education. Directions like this in education are examples of how schools are trying to increase the range of interaction that students experience. There are a number of interesting issues that arise in this discussion...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Jul13/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Community: What is a Vibrant Community?

One of the questions in the Tamarack Learning Community is, "What is a vibrant community?" The question is an important one, and Paul Born's perspective on it is clearly holistic. This is an important discussion - please feel free to join in by taking out a free account. I have copied my first response to the question below (please add any comments directly in the Discussion Board section of the Tamarack Learning Centre)...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Jul18/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Death: The End of Lifelong Learning

You will die - have you ever really considered what that means to you?

One of the unavoidable consequences of living is dying. Each of us will experience our own death. Death and dying should not be something that we fear talking about nor should it be a source of morbid entertainment or fascination. It may be uncomfortable to consider our own end and for some people the very thought of their own death needlessly incites fear and anxiety. For other people the comprehension of their own death may be a direct path to higher levels of spirituality that serves to inform and energize their lives and the lives of those around them. And of course, many of us try to ignore the whole proposition until we are forced to deal with it. …

Posted in Culture & Community | (Dec13/03) | Read/Comments (0) |

Deception: Knowledge Isn't Power

I'm starting to think that we need an organization that bans the use of certain phrases. Here I'm speaking about the phrase, "Knowledge is Power." Is it? Whose knowledge? Whose power? What should this knowledge and power be aimed at? We are all bombarded by empty slogans and catch-phrases everyday and for the most part we simply let them pass by. Yesterday a startling contrast came up at a conference I was attending in which the phrase "Knowledge is Power" was borderline offensive...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Apr14/04) | Read/Comments (2) |

Diversity: The Experience of Language

Simon J. Ortiz has written an essay in Genocide of the Mind: New Native American Writing that reveals compelling insights into the experience of language. The focus of the essay is to compare the Native Indian to our traditional English orientation to language. Throughout this essay we are presented with ideas about how language experienced, the role of perception in language, the limitations of traditional English language education, and insight into the immense cultural power of Native Indian language...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Apr10/05) | Read/Comments (2) |

Family: Delayed Life Transitions

The The Vanier Institute of the Family maintains a series of papers exploring Contemporary Family Trends. In Jean Vanier: Community Belonging I briefly explored Jean Vanier's important ideas surrounding the intersection of community and belonging as he presents them in his book Becoming Human. The various Contemporary Family Trends described reveal that the idea of family is quite diverse and is intimately linked to its environment. A family is more than a set of biological connections; a family is a form of felt meaning. In Vanier's terms, a family is a kind of community that is nurtured by ideas about belonging. In this sense, family is an environment for deep communication. We may even think about a family as a kind of environment for learning, and perhaps even a network of connections and associations.

When we think about our own family, what is it that comes to mind? Is there an ideal sense of family that we seek to attain? I suspect that it is not possible to generalize answers to these questions. With respect to learning, the influence of family and its effects on family members seems to go largely unnoticed. At the same time, the dynamics of a family have a clear and intimate connection with learning...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Nov22/05) | Read/Comments (4) |

Human Capital: People as Economic Asset

In the Tamarack Learning Centre an interesting article is available called From Information to Application: How Communities Learn written by the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. The purpose of this article is to summarize key findings about how people learn under three themes:

  1. Information becomes knowledge when it is applied;
  2. The essential connection between the needs, concerns and interests of the learner and the application of information; and
  3. Ways a learner can engage and interact with information.
While each of these themes is well known, what is particularly interesting is the way in which ideas about learning are framed...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Aug10/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Identity: Genocide of the Mind

Genocide of the Mind: New Native American Writing, edited by MariJo Moore, is a collection of wonderful stories that describe the effects of an imposed (and all too often culturally insensitive) modernization on the cultural sensibilities of Native American Indians. Each narrative is compelling journey of mind, heart and spirit inpired by survival, resilience and the preservation of identity.

If we are to talk about the human side of learning, the struggles and achievements of other cultures are just as important, and perhaps even more important, as our own. It is through the lens of other cultures, especially those that we impose upon, that we gain insight into the good and evil that lies in our own...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Jan27/05) | Read/Comments (1) |

Identity: Learning and The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

In The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life Erving Goffman explores social interaction through the lens of theatrical performance. An important focus of Goffman's work is his investigation into how people present themselves in everyday life and how others perceive them. In other words, he explores the construction and perception of identity. This is an interesting aspect of learning that links the preservation of self to the ways in which people communicate their identity...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Nov26/05) | Read/Comments (0) |

Instructional Design: You Can't Learn Something When Somebody Else Does It For You

Sometimes interesting things can jump out at you from the television. I happened across a television program called Spirit Connection that was describing the hidden problem of homelessness in St. John's, Newfoundland. A woman once homeless was learning to work as a cook in a restaurant. More importantly she was rebuilding her life.

She twice stated that you can't learn something when somebody else does it for you while describing how other people had helped her back on to her feet. She was learning new skills by doing them and having others help her when she needed help. Her motivation was pure and profound.

Yet I think this woman has somehow said something very simple yet more powerful - she was learning to live a better life. The depth of learning that the homeless and destitute in our societies experience must be quite profound since it originates deep within our primal instincts for survival.

Posted in Culture & Community | (Oct20/03) | Read/Comments (1) |

Interaction Design: From Age Segregation to Age Connectedness

Youth Gains Wisdom From the Aged promotes the idea that encouraging multi-age interaction helps build a deeper sense of community. The assumption, I believe, is quite true. The initiative described is quite worthwhile, yet what struck me more than anything else was the notion that linking different age groups is "new." Of course, within the education system the idea of age connectedness is new and contrary to the underlying enforcement of age segregation. However, if we step outside of the educational lens, the idea of people of different ages learning together is natural, organic and obvious...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Nov13/05) | Read/Comments (6) |

Language: Edward Hall - The Silent Language

In The Silent Language Edward Hall explores the cross-cultural context of communication and learning. The silent language refers to how people from different cultures communicate to each other without the use of words and states that "there is an entire universe of behavior that is unexplored, unexamined, and very much taken for granted." Underlying this exploration is the need to understand communication and learning in different cultural contexts in order to more fully appreciate the diversity of how the world can be perceived. Throughout his book, Hall focused on a number of important ideas related to learning...

Posted in Culture & Community | (May18/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Learning Communities: Philia - A Dialogue On Caring Citizenship

Philia - A Dialogue on Caring Citizenship is founded on the belief that "the health, well-being and strength of our society requires the presence and participation of all citizens." In September of 2005, Avril Orloff (Project Manager) launched the Philia Learning Community, a section of the website I had the pleasure of writing. Exploring the dynamics and growth of this community offers an interesting case study in the design, implementation and effect of learning communities...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Sep30/05) | Read/Comments (3) |

Learning Communities: Tamarack - An Institute For Community Engagement

Tamarack: An Institute for Community Engagement:

Tamarack is a charitable organization dedicated to helping Canadian communities take ownership of local issues by making use of proven strategies for community engagement. Community Engagement is commonly defined as citizens from different sectors of a community joining together taking leadership, to address issues that affect them all.

Community engagement focuses learning on ways of building durable relationships that foster improved lifestyles for all community members. The materials presented arae of high quality, yet I find that the voice of community engagement is difficult to find...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Oct20/05) | Read/Comments (0) |

Learning: A Global Phenomenon

Learning is a global phenomenon. It's reach is quite literally world-wide and touches every human being living in every possible circumstance of life. One person, regardless of their social status, is not in any way more qualified than another to discuss learning. While there is an extensive array of expertise associated with the educational or training experience, there is no one individual or group of people that can claim professional expertise with respect to learning. Learning remains mysterious, and this mystery is to be embraced...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Jun17/05) | Read/Comments (1) |

Learning: Risk and Respect

An interesting topic came up in the GroupJazz Forum. Ann Lawless from Adelaide, Australia posed some interesting ideas and questions about the role of risk and respect in learning (online and offline). It's an important issue. Here's my forum response...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Apr19/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Learning: The Cultural Context

The idea of a learning environment as a cultural context emphasizes that the character and personality of learning is culturally diverse. Learning is a global phenomenon, but like an ecology of learning, it is fuelled by diversity. The ways in which people learn to apprehend, comprehend, perceive, think, create meaning, build beliefs, behave and feel have an intimate connection to their own cultural context. In other words, learning cannot be fully understood without consideration of the specific cultural terrain it resides in. Too often, I believe, we tend to think about learning in ethno-centric ways, or in ways that are specific to our own cultural preferences. The challenge is similar to that of new media learning environments in that we need to develop the capacity to stand outside our own cultural conditioning in order to appreciate and invite a variety of cultural perspectives into our own learning...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Nov25/05) | Read/Comments (0) |

Legacy: What Should We Leave Behind?

Jill Fallon has embarked on an very interesting business venture. Her two weblogs, Legacy Matters and The Business of Life, contain a wide variety of insightful ideas that cause us to reflect on what the lasting effects of our life on others can be after we have gone...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Dec 2/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Lifestyle: Life Coach Certification

An emerging trend toward the idea of Lifestyle Coaching seems to be gaining momentum as a viable business opportunity. The purpose of lifestyle coaching is to provide consultative and educational services that help clients to discover and live a better life. The notion of life coach certification provides practioners with a source of authority and basis for establishing themselves as a trusted professional in the eyes of the public. In general, the market for lifestyle coaching is focused on providing solutions to help people bridge the gap between what they want to do or be in life and their present circumstances. In other words, lifestyle coaching is about providing a service for the preservation (and perhaps the recovery) of an individual's identity in the confluence of everyday life.

One of the most common intellectual foundations for constructing a business platform is to position the business as an valued entity that provides a solution to a problem. Of course, we are also familiar with the idea that solutions may be provided to problems that don't exist, or perhaps proposed solutions help to manufacture a problem in the minds of the marketplace. Lifestyle coaching, like the psychology industry, will face a number of challenges...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Sep12/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Lifestyle: The Foundation for a Better Life

Here is something very refreshing indeed:

"GOOD NEWS: Good things are happening in the news. Discover positive news reports from all over the world on individuals making a difference in their market-segments. All news articles relate to one or more values and all illustrate individuals who are passing on good values with their example."


Posted in Culture & Community | (May22/04) | Read/Comments (2) |

Lifestyle: What Should I Do With My Life?

One of the key questions I see being asked in a wide variety of contexts is about lifestyle or, more specifically, "What is the style of life I wish to lead?" And the word style is becoming more closely connected with ideas about purpose, meaning, passion, vocation, integrity and value. The pursuit of this question often invokes the idea of a journey in which our authentic experiences of everyday living are placed under the lens of investigation. It brings us to the well-known metaphorical crossroads that heightens our perception and awareness of our own identity sometimes in stark contrast to the person we wish to be. This heightened sense of perception and awareness may be described, at least in part, as pattern recognition.

I was recently exploring the ideas of Paul Zane Pilzer, Johnnie Moore, Tony Goodson, Danish Ahmed, Michael Crichton, Po Bronson, Sharif Kahn and Rolf Potts and noticed an underlying pattern, at least, in my own imagination. In relation to these writers, I was reminded of Marshall McLuhan, James Burke and William Gibson. Perhaps I am imagining too much, but there seems to be a sense of convergence in their thoughts. This Pattern Recognition is also driven by another underlying sense that my own weblog contains numerous entries that lack connection even though they lie in wait. So I thought I would try a different kind of entry that made an attempt to bring together a sampling of readings in a single entry that forced me to try and identify patterns (whether successful or not)...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Aug 4/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Lifestylism: "Learning about Design, Learning and Life"

Jeremy Hiebert is following an important line of thought that directly connects to the question, "How do we learn the things we value most?" His HeadsPace weblog contains an interesting combination of thoughts about design, technology and learning. His entry, Lifestylism represents what I suspect will be an important turning point and he has created the Lifestylism Weblog to explore these ideas in depth.

Posted in Culture & Community | (Aug13/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Myth: Personal Myth and Everyday Life

A quotation from Joseph Campbell's Pathways to Bliss struck me as providing a nice summary of my purpose for writing a number of entries in EDN. I thought I would take a moment to collect these entries out of the archives and reframe them in the light of another one of Campbell's insights...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Oct11/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Network: Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN)

The Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) is an organization focused on developing network learning environments designed to provide practical and concrete assistance for disabled people. The definition and purpose of a personal network is clearly articulated, and focused on the promotion and development of human values and experiences...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Apr22/05) | Read/Comments (0) |

Peace: John Papworth - Social Empowerment

Zenji Natusch and I recently came across each other in the Group Jazz Forum. After reading the title of his weblog "The Slight of the Poonbilled Bornhack" and the tag line “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” [Albert Einstein] I then found his writing to be quite compelling. In his entry Was thinking just before about what I wrote in the last posting a variety of important issues emerge - the dynamics of power and authority, Peace Through Social Empowerment John Papworth, the value of master-apprentice relationships, and network learning environments. There's much to reflect upon here...

Posted in Culture & Community | (May10/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Research Archive: Culture & Community

A list of Culture & Community resources powered by Furl, Feedburner, and Feed2JS:

Posted in Culture & Community | (Dec27/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Storytelling: From telling to living

I am making an attempt here to decribe why my mother's recent health problems have relevance to learning. The fundamental question I am pursuing in EDN is, "How do people learn the things they value most?" Since I am now immersed in a challenge to find proper care for her I feel I can make an attempt at writing authentically.

My mother's struggle since writing Hospitals and Branding: Where is the care in healthcare? continues. Over the past nine days we have made two visits to the family doctor, two calls to Telehealth Ontario and three visits to the emergency room of Royal Victoria Hospital. On this last visit, now three days ago, she was finally admitted to hospital.

In Healthcare: Canada Trending Downward I shared a recent statistic revealing that 33% of Canadians have given Canada's healthcare system a grade of C or less. The reasons most frequently given are twofold: a) lack of funding; and b) lack of access. At the same time I would have to say that all Canadians are indeed fortunate to have a public healthcare system and it remains an important part of our national identity. So any accolades or criticisms of this system are made in the spirit of trying to make it more sustainable, durable and responsive to the needs of people. It is also a way to try and examine learning in the face of real-life circumstances...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Aug27/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Survival: Lifesense and Learning

Our instinct for survival is an underlying ground for learning. It shapes how we think and what we do. Survival tunes our thoughts, emotions, and motivations. Our ancient ancestors experienced survival as hunting for food and protecting themselves from the elements. Today ideas about survival thrive in a new environment strongly influenced by modern technologies. The character and personality of survival is different to that of our ancient ancestors, but our primal instinct remains a strong driving force in our lives today. Exploring how our instinct for survival shapes and influences our lives is an important way to explore learning...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Nov19/05) | Read/Comments (0) |

Violence: Bullying and Learning

My daughter's experiences in education are quite a bit different from my son's. She is two years younger than my son and although that would place her in high school, she has decided not to participate in public education and is seeking her own path in life. As a parent and one who has dedicated his life to education you can imagine my anxiety about this. However, her story is one that has taught me (and undoubtedly will continue to teach me) a great deal...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Jan10/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Violence: Self-esteem vs. Self-control

Here's an interesting article by Tana Dineen called Smacking Adults. In it she builds the perspective that violence is being grossly over-generalized and that actions that are not fundamentally violent in nature are being presented as a form of violence...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Mar 6/04) | Read/Comments (0) |

Virtue: Idleness

Mark Slouka has written an interesting article called Quitting The Paint Factory: On The Virtues of Idleness. I became aware of this article through Chris Corrigan.

I distrust the perpetually busy; always have. The frenetic ones spinning in tight little circles like poisoned rats. The slower ones, grinding away their fourscore and ten in righteousness and pain. They are the soul-eaters.

From this wonderful opening we are invited into a variety of creative metaphors and a compelling look at the need for more reflection in life...

Posted in Culture & Community | (Dec 1/04) | Read/Comments (0) |