Sunday, April 08, 2018

digital immersion mongrel Vygotsky

- a contextual pathway to enable modern indigenous technology

The origin of this was an exploration of an effective way (pragmatically) to bring digital technology to indigenous people. This turned into a hands on exploration of disparate fields which for convenience can be organised under three sub-headings which can in turn be melded together:

Epistemology: One interpretation of Vygotsky argues that all knowledge is socially constructed and that ethnomethodology, paying detailed attention in the now, is the best or only way of detecting and evaluating what is going on (Wolff-Michael Roth). This world view is critical of other learning theories be they behaviourist, cognitivist or constructivist.

Culture: Martin Nakata’s (cultural interface) and Kwame Appiah’s (cosmopolitan) approach is that indigenous (and other) culture is mongrel (no longer traditional), consisting of disparate, complex threads created by the intermingling of the traditional with the colonial. It follows from this that effective communication between different cultures must be contextual based by paying detailed attention to the now.

Technology: Taking a broad view there are many human technologies originating from the hand and the word. Digital technology (moving bits) is now replacing print as the dominant social medium. The only effective way to master digital technology is through full immersion in the medium. Some groups working with the Disadvantaged in the Third World have understood this, eg. Learning Equality, and use affordable hardware (Raspberry Pi and low-cost Android tablets), software (FOSS) and infrastructure (sneakernet where internet connectivity is limited).

Combining these approached leads to “Digital Immersion Mongrel Vygotsky”. The goal is to combine these three approaches to find the contextual sweet spot in the middle of the teething rings.

Appiah, Kwame Anthony. Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (2007)
Learning Equality
Nakata, Martin. Disciplining the Savages, Savaging the Disciplines (2007)
Roth, Wolff-Michael. The Mathematics of Mathematics: Thinking with the Late, Spinozist Vygotsky (2017)

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