Talk:Systems And Tools Educational Model

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General Thoughts[edit]

I envision this to be both a topic, and a research project. I think the critical part to having this be a collaborative effort, is that we work on following the internal rules of the philosophy as close as possible, and if they are not appropriate, or do not fit certain concepts well enough, that we figure out better or more universal rules.

I hope to be able to do more referencing of sources soon, but because it is an self-built paradigm in many ways with original "research" built from deductive reasoning, I'm not sure if that is as appropriate. Once an initial paradigm/philosophy is built here, I hope that experiments can be done to test some of the hypothesis of the philosophy, and these should be referenced. --Jacob Walker 14:59, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Tools are Systems[edit]

I had an epiphany this evening, although it is one that maybe makes this subject more abstract, and I want to start to move it towards being more concrete... But I'll throw it out here anyways, and see if anyone has feedback. Everything I listed as a tool, is actually part of a system itself. And further, any system listed can be used as a tool to accomplish a persons goals. So tools are systems and systems are tools, and the whole concept here is much more reiterative than first thought, and maybe could even be modeled as a fractal. So maybe all the current categories will need to be changed to reflect this idea. --Jacob Walker 02:33, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Another Type of System[edit]

I had a thought a few days ago about another potential system, but now it escapes me. I remember that it was something like the personal systems, but social in nature. I think, I thought that the school system would fall in this category. I wanted to document it here so I might remember more in the future, or get other feedback. --Jacob Walker 15:50, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

I remembered what I had been thinking about. I think it is important that infrastructure is part of the systems, such as electricity generation and distribution, fuel, building materials (steele, wood, etc). These are kind of in the current model under multiple categories, so maybe things need to be moved around to fit them, or just have an alternative view, or something... I think more thought is needed. --Jacob Walker 23:13, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Where do skills and knowledge fit in, and are their other "element types" that people gain from learning?[edit]

It has always seem to me that learning is composed of both knowledge (information) and skills (the ability to do something). Is there more to learning than these two element types? Is that what we ultimately gain through the learning process, only knowledge and skills? Of course there are different types of knowledge, and skills, such as physical skills or mental skills, etc. But is there anything else that people can get? Can we completely model the learning process with just these two things? And if so, then when it comes to systems, how do these two things fit in with each other? --Jacob Walker 03:39, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

More than a 2-D Matrix[edit]

So far this article has put systems in with each other as tools in a 2-D matrix. But with the Public Pupil Pizza Project, it is being shown that 3 systems might simultaneously "overlap". For example, a business system (entrepreneurial) is aided by the math system, which is aided by a spreadsheet program. All 3 can be taught simultaneously and by doing so, each can be understood better because each is more relevant, or enhances the other topics in other ways. I think the matrix idea may need revision, although from a communication perspective, it might be easier to still start with a 2-d model, as it can be placed on paper or a computer screen easier. --Jacob Walker 03:44, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Name of This Topic[edit]

While the General idea of which namespace this topic falls under has been resolved, the current title "Systems and Tools Educational Philosophy" is only a working name. I am not sure that it is an appropriate name, as maybe this topic will end up being more of a mental framework than a philosophy per se. Maybe we will find that as I have conjectured that all tools are systems, and we will remove that from the name. (On the other hand maybe we will find all systems are also tools, so both might be appropriate in the title)

I think the goal for a name of an idea is to be something that is self-descriptive, complete, yet if possible, not so complex that no one can remember it, or that the title itself scares people away. Also, we may decide to coin our own word in the future, like constructivists did with their educational philosophy. Or, we could have 2 names, a technical name, and then a more easy to remember and say name. We could also try to get fancy by having a cool acronym, but I personally don't suggest sacrificing meaning for a fancy acronym. If one ends up happening because it works out, then that is cool. --Jacob Walker 00:55, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

I've been thinking more about the name question. The word "Philosophy" seems too theoretical, and too "pushy". Maybe it would be good to use the word "framework" in place of "philosophy"? --Jacob Walker 14:57, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Ok, after further thought, I am pretty sure that the name will be "Systems and Tools Educational Model", which has the added benefit of having the acronym STEM. And I believe it most accuratly describes the concept that is being created, as it is a mental model (which is also a framework) --Jacob Walker 23:08, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Making this topic more easily understood[edit]

While I have attempted to write my initial ideas for this educational philosophy in a very universal and theoretical manner that is appropriate for academia, and be the most accurate in describing the philosophy, I know that the way I wrote things is not necessarily the most understandable. I hope that after the theoretical framework gets hashed out here, that a more easily understood document can be written to explain what this philosophy is all about and help "sell" the idea to educators, policy makers, etc. --Jacob Walker 03:45, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

How to set up classes using this philosophy/model[edit]

Most classes have to be taught in a linear fashion. As the current article discusses under the topic of the matrix, this educational philosophy is 2 dimensional, and both dimensions are critical. So what do you guys think? Would it be better to teach a system, such as economics, and then teach all the tools with it, or is it better to teach a tool, such as English, and then show how it can apply to all the systems? Or should it be a smattering of both, or should both completely exist, and overlap for better "coverage", so all students will see each cell twice, once from a system point of view, and then from a tool point of view?--Jacob Walker 00:08, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Most of what we think we know about sequencing content and topics in classes comes from our past experience with the "factory" model of education. "Better" often ends up being what works for the most students, even if for any particular subject there might only be a small fraction of students who really do well using the "better" method. I'm interested in the possibility that we can make use of the internet as a way to escape the confines of the factory model of education. Maybe there are millions of "good" linear paths for learners and maybe we could accommodate them all. I think the first step towards finding out is to increase the control that learners exercise over the direction of their own learning. Teachers can become facilitators of learning, helping individual students discover and create their own learning paths. Wikiversity does not have conventional classes, and I think it is a waste of the potential power of wiki technology to simply cram conventional courses into wiki format. The wiki user environment naturally supports self-motivated learners who find their own learning path in a rich learning environment. Can we create a system that efficiently takes into account what each learner knows and what each learner wants to know and directs them to the learning resources that will efficiently move them towards their goals? --JWSchmidt 01:23, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I think you have some valid points, from the research I have done, the modern school system is based on a factory "assembly line" model. I too am opposed to much of that model, but there are some important things that I see. One is that as adults, we can choose freely what we want to learn. Children don't yet have the tools to make these choices, and without some education tend to make selfish choices. (Many adults do too ;-) The purpose of the model that I am presenting is to give a reason why people should learn any particular thing. And I believe as they learn more, they should be given more freedom of where they want to "specialize" their knowledge, even if that is in taking a lot from everywhere. But sometimes a learner doesn't know what they want to know until they are exposed to the possibilities of what that knowledge is, and what it can do for them. That is a big thrust of the system model, every tool is taught in application to a system, and every system is "sold" to the student about why they should care about the system. If in the end the system isn't important to them, they will choose not to learn about it.
The model I'm trying to form should allow traditional education to fit within it, and also allow "alternative" means such as Wikiversity, and it should be able to give guidelines about what a person might want to learn. Also, while I am a believer of much of what the Internet offers, especially sites like Wikipedia and Wikiversity, to totally go away from direct social interaction at a young age would have profound, and possibly dangerous effects upon our society. Technology is a wonderful tool, but I think Marshall McLuhan had a very relevant point about how one form of media (or extension of humankind), stops another extension, so the unintended consequences of a system must always be looked at. --Jacob Walker 03:32, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
"Children don't yet have the tools to make these choices" <-- I agree that most children cannot function intellectually at a level that is required for participation as editors of a wiki and I have written about this here. I spent most of this week going through the entire Wikiversity main namespace. Most Wikiversity content seems to be added by college students and they add content that is of concern to college students. I like the idea that Wikiversity should concern itself with learning resources for all ages and can host learning materials that will support conventional classroom education. However. I also try to be realistic about how Wikiversity will grow and function, which I think means paying attention to the people who create Wikiversity content. When I think about children who are too young to participate in Wikiversity today, I find myself thinking about how it might be possible to facilitate those segments of our educational system that are most likely to produce future Wikiversity participants. For example, there is a school near where I live that is trying to build education around learning resources that exist on the internet. I hope Wikiversity can grow into a host for resources that are useful to such schools. I am concerned about finding ways to provide teachers at such schools with confidence in Wikiversity as an online resource and I suspect that is will be important for Wikiversity to appear the be more than just a random collection of learning resources. Wikiversity will need portal pages that clearly express specific educational philosophies and show how Wikiversity can be used constructively to support those philosophies. --JWSchmidt 15:35, 12 January 2007 (UTC)


This is certainly an interesting page - and it reflects, for me, the fact that we really can and should go about thinking about education in a very deep way in the context of Wikiversity's existence. In what way(s) could Wikiversity be any different from traditional models? In what way(s) would it be good to carry on tradition? What traditions/theories/philosophies can we learn from? What kind of education is both appropriate and possible in this space? Will one size (curriculum) fit all (learners/educators)? (And, yes, in response to a point above, what consequence(s) might Wikiversity's model(s) of education have on learners?)

What I firstly am curious about, in commenting on this, is whether this is intended as a unified curriculum for Wikiversity (or any other educational space), or whether it is envisaged as a singular, particular example of a curriculum. In other words, is it intended to become the curriculum of Wikiversity, or is it another in the series of experiments that are ongoing (cf. Learning to learn a wiki way)? I would also question whether it is wise to envisage this approach to education as being a "complete alternative to current educational systems" - without acknowledging what current systems there are, and what they might contribute to this philosophy/system. Personally, I would always be cautious in stating that something is entirely new - this piece of thinking, like anything, is based on a worldview, on experience, on previous and current thinking, a blend of creative and reactive thinking. With my (limited) framework of educational systems, I can already see flavours of w:Activity theory, w:Constructivism, and w:Community of practice, as well as the theories of thinkers like w:John Dewey, w:Jean Piaget (like w:Developmental psychology), and others.

My final question would be whether this theory is about what people learn or how people learn (or both). The two things appear to be confused here - though I admit that much of this feedback may simply reflect my own confusion. Personally, I'm more interested in how people learn that what they learn (as is probably clear from this feedback), but perhaps this is not entirely relevant to this piece. But, if this brings some clarity to the process of developing this piece, perhaps my wordiness here may not have gone to waste. :-) Best regards, Cormaggio talk 13:37, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

To answer your first question, when I first created this page, I wasn't even thinking about how it would be applied to Wikiversity. I created it as a general framework for all types of learning, and created it on wikiversity under the school of education because I wanted to have it be a collaborative effort. I do not profess that it is the only way of modeling education, but I think by having a mental framework, it allows any educational system to be improved.
To address the question of being a "complete alternative", that phrasing needs to be changed. As I think more about this concept, and from feedback, it seems that it is not a complete alternative, nor exactly an alternative, the prefix "meta" probably is a better description of the philosophy, because it is a "higher level" view of categorizing curriculums. And in fact the words paradigm or mental framework may be better words than philosophy. And I would agree that nothing is entirely new, so some wording needs to be refined. Also, I do not know enough about why current content areas exist, but it seems to me, that what we teach generally has been an "evolutionary" process. But I want to make clear that when I say "evolutionary", it doesn't always mean that the best survives, it means that what is good enough survives. It also tends to mean there has not always been a larger model things are based upon. But part of the scientific method tends to be creating unified theories. That is what I think this model does, it is attempting to create a unified model, where all current education can fit, and from this unified model, we can see holes in current educational systems. I'm attempting to do that research using the California State Standards. I chose these standards, as they directly affect me as a California educator, and other states, and countries could have their own done. Also, I should state that in some ways maybe this model is the next step in the evolutionary process of education, one wonderful thing about "evolution" of ideas, is that we DO have intelligence through the process, and we can have a "metaevolution" to higher ways of thinking.
The primary purpose of this educational theory is around "what" people learn, and "when". But any question of education is tied to "how". But I'm trying to leave "how" out of it as much as I can, because there are many good educational theories on this topic, and I envision that the best of those theories can be combined with this framework to build better educational systems that address all the questions. --Jacob Walker 14:16, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Hello... interesting... as a mere maths teacher, i haven't thought about how everything fits together, topic or systems-wise... all i have been spending 10 years thinking about and putting into practice is the system that is the community of children in a class, and how best to serve them so that it becomes a coherent social unity... i have started another project, and wonder if this might marry your ideas...? --Fidocancan 19:38, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Category of this topic?[edit]

I think I might have placed this in the wrong area in wikiversity. I placed it under the school of Education, but maybe it should more formally be a topic? But I also hope it will become a collaborative research project? Any thoughts on where this should reside? I don't want to do multiple moves on it.

--Jacob Walker 03:03, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

At Wikiversity, pages in the "School:" namespace are for content development projects in a broad subject area. See: Wikiversity:Schools. If you want this page to be associated with the Wikiversity School of Education you can do so without using the "School:" prefix in the name. It is not clear what the scope of this page is. Is it part of a Wikiversity content development project that could be called Topic:Educational Philosophy? Is it a learning resource that might be called something like Systems And Tools in Education or What should people learn?? You can certainly select more specific categories than just Education.--JWSchmidt 15:04, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Ok, that makes sense. When I first made the page, I tried reading about the namespaces but it didn't all make sense to me. One of the issues of trying to get this into the correct name space is that it is both a topic, and a research project. The goal of this page is to use a collaborative effort through the wiki to create a new educational philosophy/paradigm. It really shouldn't be placed as the broad "Educational Philosophy", although the page that exists about educational philosophies should link to this page. Also, while the paradigm deals with what people should learn, it is not the current standard paradigm of what most educators probably think about when they think about what people should learn, so I don't want to classify it as something so broad. Although, once again, a page about what people should learn should point to this educational philosophy.
So as I see it, it probably should either be in a topic: name space, or the name space used for research, or both. And I appreciate any feedback on this topic. --Jacob Walker 23:53, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
I went ahead and moved the page out of the school name space, since it seems that this makes more sense.--Jacob Walker 00:25, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
I think you made the correct choice. Wikiversity has been granted the opportunity to have participants do some original research. The Wikiversity community is trying to make plans and policies for research (see). There has been a small amount of discussion about the idea of having a "Research:" namespace. However, my philosophical position is that research can be an integral part of education and there is no need to divide up this wiki's main namespace. Everything that is created by Wikiversity participants as learning resources and research can exist on pages in the main namespace. --JWSchmidt 01:19, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
I tend to agree with you. In fact, I'm glad to see that topics are not necessarily hierarchical with just one school. I think many things can be classified in more than one way, depending upon your model. That is why I didn't want to say that the method that is being created with the Systems and Tools Educational Philosophy is only one. Also, thank you for adding the see also section and link. Along with this educational philosophy/theory, I think it would be good to have a page under the school of education that links to all the educational philosophies, theories, paradigms, etc. (These words all mean relatively the same thing in this context) --Jacob Walker 00:50, 12 January 2007 (UTC)