Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Imagination and intelligence

I'm the last one to denigrate knowledge. It is important to know certain things, even more so to have immediate recall. The forecaster issuing a warning or the pilot whose aircraft is malfunctioning don't have time to Google the results. Not that the cloud is bad either; it just means that we need good skills at sorting, evaluating and comparing sources. This no doubt happened too when books started to be printed. The issue now is the volumes of unsourced crap and the sad denigration of experise and mastery which dominates at times and sees people not trust climate scientists over right wing bloggers on climate change or doctors over the home experts on vaccination.

But as a sometime climate scientist, full time educator who uses the learning management system Moodle, and ecotheologian, I know that imagination is of huge importance. Now imagination without knowledge is pure fantasy. But imagination helps us take our knowledge and apply it in new and yet more interesting ways. It helps us to theorise; playing what-if games. It allows us to think about a better world, more efficient technology, better ways of teaching, learning and living.

In the context of the conference I've just been to, imagination allows me to use a finite number of tools in Moodle to do a large number of things; or more correctly to allow students to explore them. The plug and play, Lego (tm) brick approach of Moodle makes it very powerful to use activities in sequences, plotting multiple pathways through material as students construct their own learning (constructivism) and use the activities created as one of the nodes in their learning experiencem (connectivism), hopefully along with their colleagues, the teacher and the wider world (libraries, Social media etc).

With such simple tools, all you need is the imagination to think how to use them to help students to develop both their knowledge and imagination.

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