And so. After the previous post set the scene, we move towards the grand culmination of the last day of April for the Twitterverse: #4wordpedagogy.
To which I would add the words “service,” “sustainable,” and “stewardship.”
On which see further in a Twitter sequence about the Princeton University Strategic Plan:
Princeton’s 2016 Strategic Plan offers just one example of an alternative path to an all-too-common current one; an alternate present and future. It stands against the following, which are neither the be-all and end-all, nor the only way to be:
- the blind worship of growth, competitive silos, and short-term profits
- a dazzled fascination with fashion, newness, false pseudo-innovations, and the false pseudo-leadership of the “passionate” heroic individual
- for such cults of youth, speed, consumption, commodification, and “modernity” are but the foolish veneration of false gods, as witness the last century’s tragedies and the previous two centuries’ culture of colonialist “progress”
- the concomitant destruction of people, community, culture, and ecosystem
Time to think about the ant and the cicada again.
What’s changed between Aesop and La Fontaine?
Well, for one thing, the latter’s version is notoriously difficult as lacking a moral; leading naturally and necessarily to questioning and thought.
What then changed between La Fontaine’s ant and cicada and China Miéville’s khepri?
Reconsidering the virtue of the industrious ant in a post-industrial era; questioning the virtues of an obedient single-minded ant colony while having hive-minds and virtual communities on the mind; mixing, remixing, translatio/n narrow and broad sense, hybrid creativity.
Time to revisit, reread, rethink, think anew. Together.
All those involved with universities, all those who are part of our universal knowledge-community, should not only question (as part of a culture of questioning) but question themselves regularly. From first-year students to professors emeriti; librarians, counsellors, administrators, managers, senators, and governors too: are you feeling and being like Yoda?
The following statement is going to sound appallingly naff, nauseously saccharine, niais. But if you absolutely had to nail me down to four words—kicking and screaming, being a verbose word-lover—they would have to be about teaching and learning and the university a whole and its larger role, its ecological niche in its larger environment. So my four words would have to be these:
“We are all one.”
Service to others, working for and with one another harmoniously in mutual aid.
Sustainable: large-scale long-term environmental and human wellbeing. Compassionate, renovative, creative, resilient.
Stewardship as wise guardians rather than governors or leaders, in service to future generations and to humanity itself: to safeguard, preserve, nurture, care for, and cultivate our shared universitas.
And now for the grand Tweetathon itself, a virtual teach-in that wasn’t just a love-in amongst teachy preachy people (though there was of course some of that: what do you expect? We’re human.) It was also academic outreach and community service.
You can read the whole lot at Twitter > #4wordpedagogy
Here are some subjectively-selected highlights.
Without releasing any plot spoilers for any readers who are not up to date with The 100, and in this my own home institution’s centennial year, it might be timely to add:
Saving the best for last: @avoiding_bears:
Leaving you on that happy note; and wishing you a happy May Day…
This whole #4wordpedagogy thing resulted in a great collective work in the form of a graph; with participants not just as static “information points & nodes” but as dynamic interactive “vertices,” in which I had the happy honour to be a Top 10 Vertex, Ranked By Betweenness Centrality.
A “Top 10 Vertex of Betweenness Centrality” isn’t just a pretty face and a cute phrase, though:
Betweenness centrality is an indicator of a node’s centrality in a network. It is equal to the number of shortest paths from all vertices to all others that pass through that node. A node with high betweenness centrality has a large influence on the transfer of items through the network, under the assumption that item transfer follows the shortest paths. The concept finds wide application, including computer and social networks, biology, transport and scientific cooperation. Development of betweenness centrality is generally attributed to sociologist Linton Freeman. The idea was earlier proposed by mathematician J. Anthonisse, but his work was never published.
[…] Real world scale free networks, such as the internet, also follow a power law load distribution. This is an intuitive result. Scale free networks arrange themselves to create short path lengths across the network by creating a few hub nodes with much higher connectivity than the majority of the network. These hubs will naturally experience much higher loads because of this added connectivity.
In a weighted network the links connecting the nodes are no longer treated as binary interactions, but are weighted in proportion to their capacity, influence, frequency, etc., which adds another dimension of heterogeneity within the network beyond the topological effects. A node’s strength in a weighted network is given by the sum of the weights of its adjacent edges.
[…] Betweenness centrality is related to a network’s connectivity, in so much as high betweenness vertices have the potential to disconnect graphs if removed (see cut set).
—Wikipedia > Betweenness centrality.
Here’s what this looks like:
Closer-up, it turns out that I’m no. 2 and runner-up to the obviously-central Instigator, Supreme Architect, and Prime Mover; and in brute statistical terms of number of Twitter followers—a simpler measure of quantifiable importance—by far the smallest fish in the Top 10 pool.
Size =/= impact.
Power =/= influence.
And one for the “Educational Leadership” section of next year’s Annual Report Of Activity.
MARGINAL ADDITION, LATER:
WE ARE ALL MARGIN/AL/IA
What are margins and borders for?
Where the freaks and geeks hang out, dress up, and play. Where singerie and clergie meet, mingle, and mess around. The outskirts are—and always have been—where edgy outliers reside and creative subversion happens; irrealist places of wild imagination, improvisation, and innovation. Intemporal atemporal super-temporal. The interzone. An immediate intersection with any present in any world, the margins are a liminal safe space in between (yet also thereby in the middle) that’s a welcoming gateway to medievalism. Indeed, verily and forsooth, marginality is already medievality: welcome!
Nous n’avons jamais été modernes.
Nous avons toujours été au milieu, moyenâgeux, et médiévaux.
= en quatre mots / in #4words:
NOUS SOMMES TOUS MÉDIÉVISTES
L’IMAGINATION AU POUVOIR