10 things that i think i know about learning ecologies

10 things that i think i know about learning ecologies

1. human beings learn; we don’t stop learning, we learn while we are awake, we learn while we are asleep, we learn when under stress, and we learn when comfortable and happy.

2. human beings do not always learn what others know,  or think is the truth, the right, the good, or anything else that is socially or culturally endorsed. in fact, we frequently learn what isn’t endorsed, and what is around the endorsed, what structures the endorsed and what endorses the endorsed, etc. etc. instead of learning the endorsed.  the learning around the endorsed learning may be the most important learning in the end.

3. learning is a process. it is not thing, nor a product.  it must be performed, but awareness of its performance does not always improve it.  human beings are not the only things that learn.

4. speed and change occur in ecologies and thus affect learning and learning ecologies.

5. learning constructs relationships. relationships are frequently labeled objects, essences, qualities, etc. but what we are doing is learning to relate one thing or set of things(subject, object, or quasi-object) to another thing or set of things. frequently when learning these relationships, we make them too ‘unchanging’, thus requiring future unlearning and relearning.

6. learning is social. there are always other human beings. other humans exist as learners implicit in everything, from our language, to our actions, to our texts, and to our world.  even if there are no ‘physical subjects’ other than yourself present when you learn, there are tens of thousands of subjects, a virtual society or hidden college, around you.  we learn from and with those human beings.

7. human beings build and inhabit ‘assemblages’ which are systems of relationships which persist through time such as institutions, environments, ideologies, etc. etc.  we build structures for learning too.  we also build ‘mechanisms’ which structure relationships with an intention of producing or re-producing in whole or in part assemblages.  the structuring and/or mechanizing of learning can prevent or hinder the learning, as much as it can help and encourage it.

8. assemblages and mechanisms are internal to our learning ecology, but we do not always learn about them, sometimes they are purposefully hidden from us, sometimes justifiably, sometimes not.  sometimes these assemblages and mechanisms augment human being’s capacity to learn.

9. when we structure and/or mechanize learning, we change its ecology, which necessitates the creation of relationships or the changing of relationships, thus we need to learn the relationships in the ecologies anew.

10. human beings have always been tool users. tools are technologies, and we have always learned about and through technologies.  technologies, as such, are part of our learning ecology and play parts in structuring and mechanizing learning. technologies have always mediated relationships, and all media are technologies.  there is a ‘craft’ to all technologies that must be learned, and in learning that craft, we create new relationships that we share with others.

Privacy Work-Around

So, how did the librarian get the word out? By regularly reporting to the library board that no NSL had been issued to any of the city’s 10 branches, which was perfectly legal. Everyone knew that if the chief librarian failed to report that nothing had happened, then indeed an NSL had been served.
[From Privacy Work-Around]


Sometimes the brilliance of the common sense of librarians is amazing. Given tight legal restrictions, they read the law, and found a solution that was compatible and in the end worked for their library

Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching

Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching

Welcome to the Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching (HILT). This Handbook was written by a group of subject librarians at Cardiff University to support their colleagues in Information Services as they developed their information literacy teaching.

[From Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching]


a nice resource for people interested in the literacy issue surrounding information.

blacklight opac

Blacklight is an open source OPAC (online public access catalog). That means libraries (or anyone else) can use it to allow people to search and browse their collections online. Blacklight uses Solr to index and search, and it has a highly configurable Ruby on Rails front-end. Currently, Blacklight can index, search, and provide faceted browsing for MaRC records and several kinds of XML documents, including TEI, EAD, and GDMS.


blacklight looks cool and highly extensible, hopefully i’ll find some time to play with it soon. i like it’s theme… expose your hidden data.

Hackito Ergo Sum: The Library Problem

The Library Problem

[From Hackito Ergo Sum: The Library Problem


The library problem is a problem that I have. I solve it slightly differently, but am always looking for new possible solutions. This is the problem of having a personal research library. Not everyone has one, not everyone needs one, but I do and I sort of do, so I need organization for one. This gentleman and his wife found one solution, my solution is librarything currently.

Books | The reading cure

The reading cure

The idea that literature can make us emotionally and physically stronger goes back to Plato.

[From Books | The reading cure]

This is actually one of my major insights, luckily i share it with many people. It is pretty simple. Great fiction, great books provide models for being, ways of coping, ways of understanding. They help you understand that yes, you are not the great lonely person confronting your challenges new, but that yes, this problem of yours is more or less the same as everyone else’s problems. Literature opens doors for realizing and empathizing.