This Modern World

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Here’s something terrific for free: It’s an E-book of great articles from the always useful Educating Modern Learners, an online source with which I am proud to be associated.

I’m still working my way through the content – and in some cases re-reading – but no disappointments. These people write well about important and useful topics.

See the list below.

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 10.48.36 AMHighly recommended. It’s free! So how can you go wrong?

There’s something deliciously old fashioned and rather quaint about the word “modern”.

And that disconnect fits beautifully with the ethos of EML. While the world and its learners change there are some very solid progressive values about learning and community that do not.

It’s great to have educators of this calibre help us come to grips with Confronting EdTech’s Monsters (an Education Week interview with EML-erAudrey Watters) and all the other puzzlements and dilemmas of a world of learning transformed.

Check out the titles in the sidebar for a sense of the breadth and depth of the ideas and issues.

What does the word “modern” conjure in your mind?

My associations tend toward the not so contemporary modernist era – let’s say somewhere between 1885 and 1960. It’s an age that begins with an explosion of mechanical marvels, new technologies and ideologies (automobile, airplane, telephone, radio, telegraph, theory of relativity, theory of evolution, Marxism, and Freud’s views about the unconscious) and a parallel world of art, literature and design that reflected and expressed those changes with experimentation, and by breaking conventions and challenging traditions.

And then the catastrophe of the Great War.

“In the Somme valley, the back of language broke. It could no longer carry its former meanings. World War I changed the life of words and images in art, radically and forever. It brought our culture into the age of mass-produced, industrialized death. This, at first, was indescribable.”
Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New

The Shock of the New indeed.

The old order collapsed into the heap of broken images.

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
                    – T.S.Eliot, The Wasteland

Poughkeepsie Day School was founded in 1934 – kind of in the middle of that period. I’ve been researching that year of contradictions, glamor, social upheaval, hope and despair.

Of that, more anon.

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