Summer School Fun
I always enjoy speaking at a summer school: the enthusiasm of the PhD. students is always a treat… This year’s Joint European Summer School on Technology Enhanced Learning was no exception!
I was invited to talk about the Snowflake Effect… I added some new slides to make students aware of how crowds are really … stupid, juxtaposing Canetti with Surowiecki… In fact, that was a rhetorical trick: Surowiecki nicely explains that you can only obtain the wisdom of the crowds if the individuals in the crowd make up their mind independently. Otherwise, you get group think. In that case, in my opinion, crowds become … stupid! That is why I believe more in the power of one, connected to many.
BTW, as I gave my talk on June 4, I used the picture of the man in front of the tank 20 years ago to illustrate the power of one. Sadly, this man was not connected to many. It seemed a bit unreal to talk to students who were small infants at the time, about the simple courage of a man and the students that were about their age in 1989… I find it a bit hard at times to understand how we’ve just come to accept that this happened and decided to ‘move on’ with our lives…
What struck me in the reaction from the students is that many did not know about the tools that I used to illustrate the theme of abundance and personalization: I now consider these tools to be ‘mainstream’ and I would have expected the students to live on the ‘bleeding edge’. I had expected that they would show me many new tools and technologies! That was a bit of a mistake on my part…
However, quite a few did share with me their work: I had some great conversations and look forward to getting updates from them as their work progresses. (Please do send me your updates!)
I often ask the audience to write down what struck them in my presentation and why it was relevant to them. Many of the students mentioned that they appreciated my passion. That was nice to hear, but it did make me wonder a bit: shouldn’t ‘passion’ be the norm at a Summer School?
In any case, it was Serious Fun – I look forward to doing this again next year!