Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What would a transhumanist theory of education look like? #edcmooc

Are you a human, a transhuman or a posthuman?!

... They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” First article of the Universal Declaration of HumanRights

... only the former has the capacity for rational thought. Reason belongs solely to the human and, as such, serves to unite the human race.” Neil Badmington 

... and share their lives, even if this simply means sharing a personal post on facebook.

Some humans try to...

Some of them... 
but in fact, technology has more worshipers than many religions nowadays...

Professor Steve Fuller's point of view reinforces the need to reflect about the “human” existence, given we “have failed in the humanist project”, which aims for racial, gender and class equality, for instance.

Shouldn't we consider transhumanism then?

“Here we are evaluating the opportunities for enhancing the human condition and the human organism opened up by the advancement of technology. Attention is given to both present technologies, like genetic engineering and information technology, and anticipated future ones, such as molecular nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.” Nick Bostrom

“We favour allowing individuals wide personal choice over how they enable their lives. This includes use of techniques that may be developed to assist memory, concentration, and mental energy; life extension therapies; reproductive choice technologies; cryonics procedures; and many other possible human modification and enhancement technologies.”
TheTranshumanist Declaration  

...and augmentation of human intellectual, physical and emotional capacities.

And what about a posthuman?

It's already considered a radical enhanced human.

Posthumanism goes beyond what we would ever deem possible in regards to human beings and their use of technology.

Now comes the question: What would a transhumanist theory of education look like?!
I think it would definitely be linked to technology and digital education.

“'Technology-enhanced learning’ appears to have become the new acceptable term globally for what used to be called ‘e-learning’”   EPSRC Technology Enhanced Learning Research Programme

After reflecting the following statement: what is considered utopic (desirable) and dystopic (undesirable) according to a “transhumanist education”, I may say:

Dystopic points
1) can be extremely overwhelming, specially through the interaction of massive social medias

2) As we rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence (“Is Google making us stupid?”  )

3) Based on the misery noted in many regions of the planet, the opportunity to have a “transhuman education” may be restricted to a small elite group; this will likely further increase the disparity between the poor and the rich in our current society.

Utopic points
1) have a variety of computer-based simulations and games to stimulate learning, thus expanding the student’s problem-solving skills, and further increasing their ability to apply the new acquired knowledge.

2) use artificial intelligence to personalize teaching and learning.
go beyond written texts; new technologies can enhance embodied learning
“There is increasing support for the idea that the way we think maybe ‘embodied’, or inseparably linked to our physical experiences. Evidence has largely come from the way that we use gestures when explaining ideas, for example, moving our hands up and down to explain the notion of balance. These gestures do not just help listeners’ comprehension; they help the speaker’s own thinking”. Andrew Manches (pg 33)
3) have collaborative learning environment: online discussion forums and infinitely content tools allow teachers and students to work, study and learn together.

References used on my Digital Artifact submission for the course "E-learning and Digital Cultures" #edcmooc

Badmington, Neil (2000) Introduction: approaching posthumanism. Posthumanism. Houndmills; New York: Palgrave.

Bostrom (2005) ‘Transhumanist values’ reproduced from Review of Contemporary Philosophy, Vol. 4, May (2005)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

System upgrade: realising the vision for UK education (2012) EPSRC Technology Enhanced Learning Research Programme.

Paintings by Alex Grey. 

Photos by Carline Piva (myself) in India.

Note: To produce this artifact I tried a new tool that I really liked: 

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