Tag Archives: Knowledge

Darkness in Mind

 

A stock of adjectives used with education illustrates the variety of interests in what is perceived to be pillar-stone of any society. From the days of studying professions or pursuing vocations, adjectives have been added to this natural activity of a community. Study had been restricted to the domain of religion; renaissance brought it to secular domain. In a feudal structure, only the curious pursued it and found it strangely illuminating their minds and liberating their consciousness from immediate concerns of here and now. The enchanted mind could transcend the bounds of history and geography and soak his thirsty soul in perpetual fount of knowledge. It was with his blessed state as a model that education found its truest epithet. Liberal education existed till almost the final decades of last century, but paradoxically the political change it formulated and realized – burgeoning of democracy – could not support this ‘feudal’ ideal and it gave way to several of its avatar-s, each of which tried to replace it fully and failed. Well, failed to hold their own, but together they almost succeeded in flushing it out.

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Game of Life

Magister Ludi, considered to be most significant work of Herman Hesse, was given another title,  Das Glasperlenspiel or The Glassbead Game. In a futuristic setting the author speaks of  a game of life (the rules are alluded to but never stated), which the students have to master. It is the story of Joseph Knecht who starts as a schoolboy and rises to become Magister Ludi of the great place considered to be Ivory Tower. The Latin stem, Lud means both play and school. The apparently modern notion of learning by fun is a rediscovery of essence of learning.

This brief post is to highlight how Gaming Pundits are discovering important truths about inter-relationship between game, motivation, learning, fulfillment and hard-core reality. The following Slideshare presentation by Sebastian Deterding, aimed at designers for better comprehending the concept of ‘gamification’ , serves equally well in understanding the prime objectives in education.

A Presentation by Sebastian Deterding

Don't Play Games With Me: Promises and Pitfalls of Gameful Design

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Where knowledge is free

 

With a gesture of great hope, India has announced NATGRID.  This is a logical consequence to unique ID (UID) started a year back. The census exercise was designed as a preparatory step to this end and with people formally registering for (UID), a sharper data-set would be available to planners. An incentive had been originally envisaged and now various state governments are offering Rs. 100 to different segments, so that each individual has a bank account. The government will directly transfer a sum equivalent to US dollar 2.23 into the bank accounts of beneficiaries of social security schemes, pensioners, physically disabled and widows, and those of rural employment guarantee scheme who are below poverty line after they produce relevant documents as proof at the time of enrolment. Apart from understandable requirement for ration card (the sole universally obtained card across all sections in the country), other documents needed for UID like IP pump set details, Passbook number in milk cooperative society, Customer card number for LPG connection etcetera imply that data being collected would be used for other purposes as well.

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Knowledge rewarded

Being vital for any civilized society, education often is taken for granted. But occasionally the busy wheels of life stop for a moment to notice those who serve equally as they stand and wait. It is heartening whenever that happens.

Such an occasion was the 10th annual EduGala held at Algonquin College where along with others, Carleton professors Leighann Neilson and H. Masud Taj were presented with Capital Educator Awards on Thursday evening from the Ottawa-Carleton Learning Foundation (OCLF), which facilitates dialogue and action to support public education in the community – from Kindergarten to PhD.

Leighann Neilson has been an assistant professor of marketing in the Sprott School of Business since 2006. Neilson designs her courses in keeping with her philosophy that learning, especially in undergraduate courses, “doesn’t have to hurt.” Students say her sense of humour is one of the things they most enjoy in her class. Neilson believes in integrating teaching and research, frequently bringing insights from her research in not-for-profit marketing or the Canadian wine industry into the classroom.

H. Masud Taj is an adjunct professor at Carleton. He conducts design studios at the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism and lectures on Muslim civilizations at the Centre for Initiatives in Education.  Both his studios and his lectures are premised on “alterity” − to know ourselves, we need to know the other. He is the director of Transnational Architectural Journeys with projects in India where he delivered the keynote at the 2ndInternational Conference of Islamic Art and Architecture. As an architect, he was mentored by the Egyptian visionary Hasan Fathy, and as a calligrapher, by Italic master David Hosbrough.

His poetry is archived in the University’s Special Collection.

The award ceremony can be viewed here.

Teaching is a futuristic activity that never loses sight of past. It is considered to be and often appears, a profession but teaching is a call. As the saying goes some instruct, others inform but the best inspire. It is in the dreams of their students that teachers live. One of the awardees, Taj  represented the spirit of eternal teacher in his acceptance speech.

I am pleased to win the Capital Educators Award. To those who nominated me: thank you for your trust. All finalists here and my colleagues at Azreili School of Architecture and Urbanism are dedicated teachers in their own ways and many more deserving than I. Hence I accept the award on their behalf.

I thank all my students at Azreili School of Architecture and Urbanism as well as life-long learners that I lecture to at Centre for Initiatives in Education at Carleton University. I also thank students and colleagues at the International Academy of Science & Technology here as well as at Sir JJ College of Architecture, Rizvi School of Architecture, and Pillai School of Architecture in India and I recall my teachers there in gratitude – Sardar Muhammad Malik of Blue Mountains School and Prof Yatin Chandawarker of Bandra School of Art.

In my forthcoming book of poems, Alphabestiary (with exegesis by Dr Bruce Meyer) the Grasshopper says:

Map your senses

On to my frame of reference,

Your thighs will bulge

With muscular insights.

You will witness

The world the way I do,

Take a leap of faith,

Fly.

I thank my family for their insights and my parents for their faith in us (my sisters too are teachers). Parents faith in their children remain unshaken: they told me I was going to win the award and that I should read out their greetings to all the teachers assembled here. So here is the message from my 86 year old parents:

Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him) said : “God, His angels and all those in heavens and on earth, even ants in their hills and fish in the water call down blessings on those who teach others beneficial knowledge.

Salute to all who teach and blessings to all who learn.

Knowledge is its own reward, teaching, own joy.

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Reclaiming Intent

Dr. Rajiv Trivedi

It is said that words profane an idea. As our restricted technological advance commits us to human communication through imperfect linguistic expression, we conduct ourselves thus. It is this elasticity of language that accounts for greater use of fuzzy logic in all human affairs. So while most people use this phrase to describe a process in which the direction of brain-drain changes, I use it as an appeal to change the nature of such a drain.

It all began with quantification of human being. For some time, it seemed a good thing as historically, human being had been treated as less than that. But while in the past, it was a product of instinct-based more-barbaric-than-civilized society; in the twentieth century it was a conscious act to place human-beings at certain pre-conceived levels. More than anything else, this century can be adjudged as being consumed with the process of evaluating man. For the first time in his history, man had focused his eyes away from gods and heavens towards his own tiny but real existence.

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