Complexity in Education
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Complexity in Education
This stream looks at the ways complexity theory and complexity thinking are affecting education.
Curated by Keith Hamon
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Why did humans evolve such large brains? Because smarter people have more friends

Why did humans evolve such large brains? Because smarter people have more friends | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
It seems our brains could be even more flexible that we previously thought. Recent genetic evidence suggests the modern human brain is more malleable and is modelled more by the surrounding environment than that of chimpanzees. The anatomy of the chimpanzee brain is strongly controlled by their genes, whereas the modern human brain is extensively shaped by the environment, no matter what the genetics.
Keith Hamon's insight:
Yes, genetics supplies the parts, but it's the interactions with a rich environment that determines how the parts emerge and function. This is helps explain how learning works and why—the social is far more important than we have traditionally thought. Learning is a group activity, not a solo activity.
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Problems are Interconnected -- And so are Solutions - The Donella Meadows Project

By Donella Meadows –February 18, 1988– One of the favorite maxims of environmentalists is that Everything is Connected to Everything Else. That idea is usually delivered with a heavy charge of negativity — if you do something stupid in one place, it will lead to bigger problems somewhere else, or horrible disasters sometime in the …
Keith Hamon's insight:
Education is a wicked problem that demands wicked solutions.
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Why Complexity is Different – Student Voices

Why Complexity is Different – Student Voices | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
One of the hardest things to explain is why complex systems are actually different from simple systems. The problem is rooted in a set of ideas that work together and reinforce each other so that…
Keith Hamon's insight:
A wonderful explanation about why scale is important in understanding complex systems. We must determine at what scale to observe a system (for instance, a student) to determine what features of the system are necessary for understanding it well enough to engage it.
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New Directions in Open Education

New Directions in Open Education | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
if we really want to talk about the human core of open, this is where you’ll find it. In issues of relevance, and belonging, and diversity.
Keith Hamon's insight:
Mike Caulfield's excellent discussion of open education. As he says, "If we really want to talk about the human core of open, this is where you’ll find it. In issues of relevance, and belonging, and diversity."
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How ant societies point to radical possibilities for humans – Deborah M Gordon | Aeon Essays

The ant colony has often served as a metaphor for human order and hierarchy. But real ant society is radical to its core
Keith Hamon's insight:
We have thought that ants are regimented, inflexible automatons, but it seems that they are much more resourceful and varied than we believed. They have much to teach us about complex, acentered organization.
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Blockchain-Based Digital Identity Will Disrupt Commerce and Government | Bank Innovation

Blockchain-Based Digital Identity Will Disrupt Commerce and Government | Bank Innovation | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
Digital Identity is such a thorny problem, fraught with technical, legal, societal and political issues, because there are two different interrelated
Keith Hamon's insight:
Reliable identity is an issue in open, complex systems. Block-chain technology may be the a-centered way to handle the issue.
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The digital revolution in higher education has already happened. No one noticed.

The digital revolution in higher education has already happened. No one noticed. | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
The digital revolution in higher education has happened. In the fall of 2012, the most recent semester with complete dat…
Keith Hamon's insight:

Okay, so now that it's here, maybe we should figure out what to do with it.

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[1506.04349] Rare Speed-up in Automatic Theorem Proving Reveals Tradeoff Between Computational Time and Information Value

The main theorem in this paper together with the numerical experiment---undertaken using two different automatic theorem provers AProS and Prover9 on random theorems of propositional logic---provide strong theoretical and empirical arguments for the fact that finding new useful information for solving a specific problem (theorem) is, in general, as hard as the problem (theorem) itself.
Keith Hamon's insight:

Well, we now have the math to prove what we have long suspected of research: finding new, useful information for solving a specific problem is, in general, as hard as the problem itself. Welcome to a complex world.

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Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness

Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured. Physicists have conducted John Wheeler's delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. The group reversed Wheeler's original experiment, and used helium atoms scattered by light.
Keith Hamon's insight:

We must always be careful of extrapolating results from the micro scale to the meso scale where humans live, but if measurement affects reality, in a real way it decides reality, then shouldn't we be more mindful of the measurements we make at the human level? Measurements become entangled in unexpected ways both with the thing, or student, measured and the thing, test or teacher, doing the measuring.

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How Networks Are Revolutionizing Scientific (and Maybe Human) Thought | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network

How Networks Are Revolutionizing Scientific (and Maybe Human) Thought | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
Modern research in sociology, psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology is showing that our world does not revolve around ourselves as individuals—contrary to Enlightenment and later claims that we are inherently self-centered creatures. Instead, what we are like as individuals critically depends on how we are linked socially and emotionally with others in relational networks reaching far and wide.

Why? We have evolved as a species to be quintessentially social creatures.
Keith Hamon's insight:

Education needs to catch on and catch up to the complexity revolution.

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Economic complexity: A different way to look at the economy — Foundations & Frontiers — Medium

Economic complexity: A different way to look at the economy - Foundations & Frontiers - Medium
By W. Brian Arthur; External Professor, Santa Fe Institute; Visiting Researcher, Palo Alto Research Center
Keith Hamon's insight:

We need a different way to look at education, a complex way.

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Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
It’s about listening, empathy and having more women.
Keith Hamon's insight:

Groups in organizations, including education I suspect, are smarter and make better decisions when they listen better, empathize more, and include more women—who typically listen and empathize better than men. This works for adults, but what about children? Maybe we should teach listening/empathizing skills for group work.

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Nature

Nature | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
An excerpt from the first chapter of my new book, Intertwingled. When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. – John Muir I'm standing on an is...
Keith Hamon's insight:

"The more we studied, the more we came to realize how poor our previous explanations had been." We teach and learn in ecosystems, but we pretend we are still in a factory. Consequently, all our explanations are impoverished.

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You Do Not Think Alone

You Do Not Think Alone | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
People fail to distinguish the knowledge that’s in their own heads from knowledge elsewhere (in their bodies, in the world, and—especially—in others’ heads). And we fail because whether or not knowledge is in our heads usually doesn’t matter. What matters is that we have access to the knowledge. In other words, the knowledge we use resides in the community. We participate in a community of knowledge. Thinking isn’t done by individuals; it is done by communities. This is true at macro levels: Fundamental values and beliefs that define our social, political, and spiritual identities are determined by our cultural communities. It is also true at the micro-level: We are natural collaborators, cognitive team-players. We think in tandem with others using our unique ability to share intentionality.
Keith Hamon's insight:
If we do not think alone, then why do we ask students to learn alone? Why do we test them alone?
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Quanta Magazine - Illuminating Science | Quanta Magazine

Quanta Magazine - Illuminating Science | Quanta Magazine | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
A Theory of Reality as More Than the Sum of Its Parts
Keith Hamon's insight:
Presents Hoel's recent work to show how agency emerges at macro-levels, exceeding the causal powers at the micro-levels.
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(Self)-Organize for Complexity

(Self)-Organize for Complexity | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
as things shift more, and more rapidly, people’s natural inclination may be to try to exert greater control or dig in to what is familiar but does not work. The more one does so, the worse things can get. As Pfleaging writes, we see a “high price for the illusion of control.” Within organizations this takes the form of various gaps – social, functional, and temporal – that make them  increasingly irrelevant and ineffective. Responding to complexity requires (to borrow a phrase from Eugene Kim) new muscles and mindsets.
Keith Hamon's insight:
As things shift more, and more rapidly, the natural inclination of educators may be to try to exert greater control or dig in to what is familiar but does not work. The more one does so, the worse things can get. As Pfleaging writes, we see a “high price for the illusion of control.” Within schools this takes the form of various gaps – social, functional, and temporal – that make those schools  increasingly irrelevant and ineffective. Responding to complexity requires (to borrow a phrase from Eugene Kim) new muscles and mindsets.
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Kumu-Finding-Clarity-Using-interviews-to-listen-to-a-system.pdf

Kumu-Finding-Clarity-Using-interviews-to-listen-to-a-system.pdf | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it

Via june holley
Keith Hamon's insight:
This is a useful guide to using interviews to map a complex organizational system.
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insectessociaux

insectessociaux | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
Commentaries, thoughts and opinions about social insects
Keith Hamon's insight:
Bees have figured out how to make group decision making effective through a process of environmental scans, data aggregation, and trust.
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The physics of life

The physics of life | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
From flocking birds to swarming molecules, physicists are seeking to understand 'active matter' — and looking for a fundamental theory of the living world.
Keith Hamon's insight:

As class sizes increase, I'm optimistic that the behavior of smart swarms can provide teachers with new ways of engaging their classes in productive learning.

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In social networks, group boundaries promote the spread of ideas, study finds

In social networks, group boundaries promote the spread of ideas, study finds | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
Social networks affect every aspect of our lives, from the jobs we get and the technologies we adopt to the partners we choose and the healthiness of our lifestyles. But where do they come from?
Keith Hamon's insight:

Boundaries are critical for the movement of information. They enable the flow of information.

 

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#OpenBadges for Holographic Identities

#OpenBadges for Holographic Identities | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
Issues of citizenship: coming-into-presence and preserving the difference
Keith Hamon's insight:

The issue for me is how to help students cultivate their holographic identities through cooperative, ethical trajectories through open, online spaces.

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Sean Sturm TEXT Vol 16 No 2

Sean Sturm TEXT Vol 16 No 2 | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
Keith Hamon's insight:

Something that takes a step toward rhizomatic writing by allowing for point last rather than point first, exploration and mapping rather than tracing.

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Nine Things Educators Need to Know About the Brain

Nine Things Educators Need to Know About the Brain | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
If we are going to move forward, we will have to admit that a one-size-fits-all model of education is doomed to fail the majority of students and teachers.
Keith Hamon's insight:

The brain is complex—it's education must be complex.

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Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations : Nature Neuroscience : Nature Publishing Group

Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations : Nature Neuroscience : Nature Publishing Group | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
This study demonstrates an epigenetic inheritance of a learned behavior that is transmitted across generations via the gametes whereby learning about a specific olfactory stimulus changes brain structure and the behavior of future generations. Specifically, Dias and Ressler show that behavioral response to olfactory fear conditioning in male parents is transmitted to their offspring via DNA methylation changes in the corresponding odorant receptor gene in the sperm, which is accompanied by the changes to the corresponding neuroanatomical structure that mediates olfactory perception.
Keith Hamon's insight:

Teachers, schools, and society cannot assume that learning is the direct result of the curriculum or teacher behavior. Learning is an exceedingly complex activity.

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Millions of Sources: the disruption of history and the humanities? - The Ubiquitous Librarian - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Millions of Sources: the disruption of history and the humanities? - The Ubiquitous Librarian - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Complexity in Education | Scoop.it
Keith Hamon's insight:

Adding complexity to the mix—and millions of data points are always complex—changes not only the ways we teach and learn but also the ways we conduct our scholarship.

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