Schools and museums are not for learning

Schools and museums are not for learning:
Anyone who has worked with me will be shocked. I’ve said ad nauseam that museums are all about learning more than any other function. So what am I saying? I’ve been thinking hard about learning in the process of setting up a new company Flow Associates. What if we said that schools and other learning centres are not about learning but about making,


precisely.. they are about making, and through making people become something and by becoming something we are by definition learning, but learning is just a description of becoming, and becoming only happens when something is being done, created, made, be that thing material or mental.

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0 comments on “Schools and museums are not for learning

  1. Rochelle says:

    Heh. Sounds like concepts of information literacy gone deeply, deeply wrong. Before saying “schools are not for learning”, maybe we just need to redefine “learning”. Or, actually, just clarify our terms, since I’m fairly sure (and so, it seems, are you) that the term in question is already broad enough to encompass these things. A few months ago my colleagues and I had to come up with a working definition of “technology literacy” (busted from the start, because, of course what on earth is “technology”, but leaving that aside), and the only part I was clinging to the whole time was the idea of being comfortable enough with software and the internet to know how to play with things to figure them out. That’s the literacy, right there, right? It’s not about knowing what button to push, it’s just about being confident enough to know how to play. So I’m interested that the definition of “learning” in the linked post falls completely outside the concept of play. And isn’t constructivism a theory of learning? Make/construct/co-construct/play…words are funny things, I guess.

  2. jeremy says:

    Yes, constructivism and play… play is a form of work, and constructivism is just a technical term that covers some things that the I didn’t want to cover.

    In regards to the concept of literacy, i’m for trashing it along with the concept of knowledge. We have something like ‘learning’ but it is really about the production of subjectivities, however shared and entangled those become, and not really about the objectivity of the button to be pushed at all.

  3. Rochelle says:

    Yeah, I’m not a fan of the concept of “information literacy” either, though I get the general gist of what they were actually aiming for. I’ve gone over the standards too, and found them profoundly uninspiring, at least in the way they’re written up.

    I’m interested in this idea about the production of subjectivities and where you stand on that. I’m feeling a little blinkered by this dial up connection, it’s like I can’t really think properly without a broadband connection. But do you want the objectivity? I guess knowledge has that objectivity button pushing element as well, as if it’s the kind of understanding that can be just poured into you.

    You said, once, obviously delete this if you don’t want it in public, but that you don’t teach your students, you think with them. I’ve been soaking in that idea for a while, I like it a lot. (And it keeps reminding me of a book on 16th century English witchcraft called Thinking with Demons, which is really not the direction you were going in that conversation, but there it is.)

  4. jason says:

    What about constructioNism?

    People should read a little jackson and eisner at some point, and not forget that informal learning environments have been studied for decades. I left a longer comment on the original post.

  5. Rochelle says:

    RTFM, eh?

    And here I was looking at that, thinking, geez, this is going back to that ill-fated conversation about service learning, which I suddenly had an epiphany about, and that epiphany just keeps on rolling. My understanding of service learning up until now had been about sending students off to various places to do good works outside of the classroom proper (and outside of curriculum proper), but now I see that the same concept applies to simply giving learning a purpose within the formal curriculum itself, since not everyone is motivated to learn things for the sake of learning them, and a little purpose never hurt anyone.

    And I think this is something we should seriously consider before we sit down with the Triangle kids next year (when we will bring them into Second Life’s teen grid). Jeremy? You in? It will be fun!

  6. CleverGirl says:

    I say bring on Ivan Illich and his learning networks…

  7. […] then this weekend, while perusing the blog of my (prolific) friend Jeremy Hunsinger, I followed his link to a post about how schools and museums aren’t about learning, they’re about making […]