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Memory: Learning and Then Doing

Late updated: 2008.04.28 at 16:35 PCT +10GMT See also: [Thoughts and Methods as Applied to Teaching Art using Modern Technologies (TAMT)] (MAIN page for this project) [Philosophical (& Pedagogical) Approach]

Memory: Learning and Then Doing

On this page: {Intro: Memory: Learning and Then Doing} {Layers of Learning} {A Sample Problem - Making a painting using non-traditional techniques.} {The Concept of Memory in the Technological Age} {} {} {} {Text-book links per se} {Links}

Intro: Memory: Learning and Then Doing

This paper addresses in a very hands-on and down-to-earth manner the problems assocaited with the teaching of art. For the most part this consists of "passing along by lecture and demonstration" - HOW things are done in art. Out of my own experiences and talking with other teachers, i have come to focus on three distinct phases of memorisation/learning and how they are connected with the DOING of art. These are: 1. The Base Knowledge - learning. 2. Applying the knowledge - exploration. 3. Going further - experimentation. In once sense, there is nothing new here. However, i am laying these things out so that they may be refered to later. It should be noted that in most cases new knowledge is ONLY created by the process of experimentation. While during the normal processes of learning and exploration the teacher and or student may through serrendipity stumble onto new ideas, it is usually while we are actively exploring NEW ways of doing things --or-- by reviewing what has been done in the past with our modern outlook that most progress seems to occur. However, it is safe to say that unless one IS looking, it is unlikely that one will FIND.

Intro: Layers of Learning

As one of my chemistry profs, Dr. Squibb, used to say, "In order to think, you have to have something to think about". This was his statement of motivation as to why we had to learn the chemical element symbols (eg, H is Hydrogen, He is Helium, etc), and the oxidation states (eg, OH- is Hydroxide, "N02 is Nitrite, Cu+ is Cuprous, and Cu+2 is Curpric, etc). I take it as read that ROTE learning is the most painful, boring, and least efficient way of learning. But, once something IS learned it is almost always retined intact for extended lengths of time. That is: In ANY area of study there is an *assumed* under-laying lanaguge that every pracitioner must know how to use and what it is called. For example, in the machine shop, when working with thin plate metal, one needs to know the difference between a ball peen hammer (used for shapping) and the small sledge hammer (used for flatteing) -- each has it uses and limitations. The rather ROTE learning of the names of things and in many cases their inter-relations with other things seems to be a necessity of learning - and apparently the only one that seems to work. I will refer to this sort of material as the BASE KNOWLEDGE. And it clearly consists of BASE FACTS and BASE SKILLS. Once the student has a base knowledge, they can then begin building up complex ways of using that knowledge to perform a TASK. Since, i am an artist, i will use examples from that area - with attendant explanations for non-artists; share and enjoy!
As the student continues to mature in their practice of their particular skill-area, additional material is required to approach more difficult problems or even to progress at all. Students that do not continue to progress are said to have "stagnated at a given level of expertise". This may serve the student's needs, but will also limit them should they decide to try new things. Again, as Piaget showed - much knowledge simply IS hierarchical and can not easily be learned in a random manner. [Note 1]

A Sample Problem - Making a painting using non-traditional techniques.

The problem: A beginning painting student wants to make an oil painting, and has decided to use a large piece of thick paper rather than a canvas for it. The explanation (teaching) is as follows. The student would most likely take out their notebook and take notes. Note that this same set of events would occur in the case of a W/S (Work/Shop) - which are usually presented to classes on a particular method not normally practiced or that the presenteur has particular expertise in. 1. You will need to decide on the scale that you want to work on. Extending craft paper doesn't hold up very well. Also, hanging the paper will be a problem. Either you can use a stretcher or find a place to tape it up onto the wall. The sub-tasks that would be have to be known are: 1) What is craft paper? Where do i get it, how do i cut it to size? Is it easily dented, folded or deformed? [Craft paper is pretty much the "brown paper sack" paper that we often get at the grocery store. It's usually much thicker - anywere from 2 to 4 times thnicker. Also, notice that the surface of "corragated card board" or "card board box" paper) is in fact a low grade craft paper. 2) What is a stretcher? [a wooden frame made to hold the canvas, paper or other "matrix". The "matrix" is what you (in this case) paint on. A wall could be the matrix for a mural, the picture "The Mona Lisa" is painted on a matrix of pannel board.] 3) How would i tape it to a wall? [Good old masking tape - the sticky kind not the easily removed kind - can be used if a LOT of strips are used. Also, the paper could be folder over a long piece of string that could be then taped down to the paper itself and then tied up on nails or other staunchions in the wall.] 2. Gesso the paper and let it dry. It's best to do this with it laying flat. Make sure that the tables that you are working on are clean otherwise dust, charcoal, or what-ever will end up on it. Craft paper pretty much rolls up like canvas. Storing it is about the same as well. [Gesso is a special white primer that seals the surface. Many painters that didn't use on their works - usually trying out new techniques - end up having problems after several years with the paint fading or even chipping off or rotting. If the surface onto which you lay your paper is even the least bit dusty/dirty then each time you roll it up, there is very good chance (Murphy's Law) that the front side will simply get dirtier and dirtier - that may or may not be what you want. Thus, you may need to clean the table or lay down clean paper (from the butcher-paper roll) each time you set out to start working on the painting.] Again these questions present themselves. And by practice (either by reading about each topic, or viewing a lecture (live, video, slide-show) the student "moves" these required practices into their memory. -[
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The Concept of Memory in the Technological Age

See also: -[
Who Wants to be a Millionare?]- (in TAMT; as, eg) What do you know? How much to you remember? If i ask you a question, can you answer it? Can you answer it exactly? Can you recall an EXACT quote? Can you tell me who said it? Are you sure? How do you know what you think you know IS true? Recent films have explore the concept of memory (especially lost and regained memory) in many cases; eg, "The Matrix", "Mimento", "The Bourne Identity". Regardless, our memory seems to fall into three categories: 1) Things that we know in a general way even thought we might be hard pressed to "prove" them. 2) Things that we sort of know, but know where to find out for sure; eg, a specific web site, a book that we've read, someone that we know "knows". 3) Things that we think are true, but are not quite sure about. And like all good occupants of the Matrix we somehow get by. Two of the pioneers in "resoning under uncertainty" were Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tverski - Kanneman received the Nobel Prise but Tverski had died before it was awarded. The important point that they made is that in many cases we work with ideas and things that we take as true, but in fact we have no real basis for them. This doesn't necessarily prevent us from arriving at true conclusions regardless. The key is to to be able to make progress regardless of the "model" that is used. In the arts this is especially true, since in many cases works are based on dreams, fantasies, or even outright lies. The end result is that everyone bandies about "THE" truth as if it was some absolute thing - when in many cases (especially in public discourse) it is only a fraction of the truth. Only in the cases of mathematics and in carefully reviewed rsearch is there anything even resembling what we might call "Truth with a capital T". The point of this argument is that something like the internet (and other technology of couse) is that it can multiply the problem immensely. One only has to notice the number of chain letters, get-rich-quick schemes, etc. on the inter-net to see this. How then, are we to proceed in learning? ..(research to try to find answer to that will go here)....

Garbage Dump

(possible links of interest - poss to be used later) http://www.commun-it.org/wiki/index.php/Special:Search?fulltext=Search&search=learner http://www.commun-it.org/wiki/index.php/Creating_Open_Learning_Environments_with_Online_Tools:_Blogging_and_Podcasting_%28LL2007_1B%29 stats accessed 2008.04.09 at 17:58 PCT Stuart Glogoff - blogging http://www.commun-it.org/wiki/index.php/Instructional_Blogging:Promoting_Interactivity%2C_Student-Centered_Learning%2C_and_Peer_Input accessed 2008.04.09 at ~~ 17:51 PCT Susana M. Sotillo - IM'g http://www.commun-it.org/wiki/index.php/Using_Instant_Messaging_for_Collaborative_Learning:_A_Case_Study accessed 2008.04.09 at 17:53 PCT -[]- -[]- -[]- -[]-

Notes

(this section only)
[1] {Return to the TEXT above}

Monty - A Redux

References

need to imdb these. odd that i know the films SO well, and yet for the life of me (a writer no less!) can't think of even who the director is let alone the author(s) - again note the frequency of the GROUP effort; eg, "Little Miss Sunshine", or "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" - just look at the lisf of authors and such! "The Matrix", "Mimento", "The Bourne Identity". "Little Miss Sunshine" "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" - Tverski, Amos (). wiki ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amos_Tversky

Links