An invitation to join the Paideia process in 1994-1995
Paideia will host 9 conferences during 1994-1995.
These will take place every 5 to 6 weeks. Local groups
will meet, hopefully at least one on each continent.
The sessions will last for one day.
The sessions will be up live on the Internet during
the day, initially as running reports and later with
voice and visuals. The sessions will be multilingual
with simultaneous translation, as soon as possible.
The dates of the 9 conferences are:
June 11 Social and Natural Sciences
July 23 Sustainable Society
August 20 Paideia
October 8 Politics and Economics
November 19 Democracies and their Economies
December 17 Paideia
February 14 Arts and History
March 18 Quality of Life
April 22 Paideia
In May of 1993, four persons, joined occasionally by one or another of 5
others and in touch with 12 others, began a year of consistent and
continuing conversation. They usually met every other week.
Their points of departure were:
This is a report on that year's work and an invitation to join in
next year's continuing dialogue. The report is accompanied by a
revision of the study guides for the MA and various documents
officially defining the institutional setting for the effort in Paideia--
a university on the Internet.
- Their own work, family and everyday life.
- The emerging news of an eventful year.
- A set of study guides for an MA in Liberal Studies and Policy Studies.
The calibration of levels of participation:
The conferences will be run as if each participant
had an MA in Liberal and Policy Studies. Those who
perceive their mastery at an introductory ("AA") or
("BA") level will find continual reference to where
they are already.
The conferences will maintain a breadth of service,
so that those with modest means and those with
sophisticated means can operate in the same system.
We would like for the most currently sophisticated
state-of-the-art to serve as a metaphor for those
using the system with less.
World Wide Web server-- http://www.nl.net/~paideia/
postal address--Zocherstraat 56, 1054 MA Amsterdam
Copyright 1994 Paideia
A Framework for Portfolios, Dialogue and Examinations
Paideia uses WWW to provide a framework or scaffold (1) for each
member, as participant within a network, to proceed with his or her own
further development. The portfolio is the primary vehicle for structuring
this process. Dialogue is the primary route we take with this vehicle.
Examinations are the primary mechanisms for assessing whether we have
reached our destinations.
Here we present a scaffold for use in sharing with peers,
tutors, mentors and examiners in the assessment of how the
journey is going and whether you have reached a particular
destination en route. This scaffold is analogous to
criticism in the arts and peer revue in the sciences.
Paideia using WWW provides a more inclusive scaffold than just
the arts and sciences. Therefore, its framework for critique
needs to be more inclusive. For all of us, this is
problematic, since the perogative for this sort of overview
has traditionally been assigned to others, on our behalf.
Paideia gives you permission to join in your own critique.
It also insists that you accept the price for that responsibility.
The price is possession of a framework for your critique.
Existing knowledge represented on World Wide Web
A scaffold for an artistic and historical critique
First, we need to create our own metaphors and our own
narratives, in juxtaposition with our autobiographies.
This task connects to the idea that we are each "texts"--
our own unique constellation of representations or
symbols of various sorts. The task also connects with the
idea that we are each the product of the processes of cultural
reproduction, social control and integration and socialization
that make us who we are within our time and place.(*)
You are under no obligation to play all roles in presenting
yourself. You are under a reasonable obligation, both locally
and over the network, to expose yourself to others who will
play reciprical roles in relation to you. Your view of your
metaphor, your view of history and your view of yourself need
to be reflected upon by others.
A scaffold for a social and natural sciences critique
The modalities of the sciences differ profoundly from the
modes of the arts and history (and autobiography). The issue
is not whether you agree or diagree on particular matters in
the sciences or even like or dislike the scientific posture in
relation to our realities. The issue is whether you recognize
that the sciences do define themselves, in large measure, in
terms of their method and they usually define that as hypothesis
building and testing. Scientists look at our everyday reality
and realities they can access through their instruments and see
variables with differing values in all sorts of relations to
one another within those seen and unseen realities. (*)
1) "Scaffolding is the support the master gives apprentices
in carrying out a task. This can range from doing almost the
entire task for them to giving occasional hints as to what to
do next." from Allan Collins, John Seely Brown, and Ann Holum,
"Cognitive Apprenticeship Making Thinking Visible".
American Education, Volume 15, Number 3 (Winter 1992), page 8.
It is our job to take the tested hypotheses and integrate
them into our own working image of our own paideia.
A scaffold for politics and economics
Next we come to one of the most difficult aspects of our
estimate of ourselves. Politically we live in such a complex
and jaded time that to hold ourselves accountable at all for
political positions is presumptuous. Economically we also live
in a time when it appears easy to get off the hook of ethical
The tracing out of the lace-like quality of a core set of
issues we face, and our immunization from the onslought of
distractions we face demands heroic effort. We need to
transfer from economic portfolio analysis to political
budget and legilative analysis, the modes of precise
consideration and debate we have been taught so carefully.
A scaffold for perspective critique
To characterize a common framework for evaluating how we
live out our perspectives, we need to use referents outside
the belief systems themselves. This outside stance is
problematic when we view from within a perspective.
It seems essential for the practical purposes of our
common life. We cannot presume to evaluate systems of
perspective, but merely observe some of the consequences for
Emerging knowledge represented on World Wide Web
A scaffold of dialogue and theme critique
Paideia participates in the process of dialogue in which we
examine the themes that contribute to better
quality of life, more sustainable societies and more effective
democracies and their economies. It embeds itself in the locales
where its members live and defines its usefulness in terms of
their everyday lives. Grounded in this day-by-day existence, it
provides a context for percieving and accepting responsibilities
in as global a fashion as seems appropriate.
Over the past five developmental years, we have approached
quality of life as a theme for dialogue in a number of ways.
Our need to review and identify with global history in relation
to our autobiographies has moved from a Western focus to
more inclusive global images. Our realization of the place of
the arts in our lives has moved from a combined practical and
theoretical approach to various mixes of experience and reflection
back to a more simple combination of both.
The case for achieving a sustainable society rests on our
common acceptance of this value. The problem of generating
sufficient energy to provide a critical mass of action for a
sustainable society rests partly in attaching this value to
existing belief systems in religions and the like. The solution
also rests in accepting the complex personal and network task of
composing our own metaphors in the light of our own global
narratives of history.(*)
A value system that transcends all of the specific issues
that various democracies face derives from our shared
convictions. Nothing inherent in human nature dictates
democracy. Something intrinsic to many emerging value
perspectives does indicate its desirability.(*)
A scaffold for a critique of our sources and opportunities
Traditionally we have all come out of local situations
where the dynamics of peer pressure and the hierarchy of whatever
sort we were subject to, made both our perspectives and all of
the rest of our values and concepts conform. To presume to
transcend this world of affection and support by "going away to
college", even though staying at home, requires an act of will on
the part of all of us.(*)
Bluntly, the approach we propose and that we propose we
"judge" each other by is one that insists on public
responsibility for public policy in our political and
economic life. The media expose us to enough of a rush of
images that we could appear to exempt ourselves from further effort
if we just watched that TV program and then that other one over there.
Actually, more seems possible for us and more seems demanded of
Relevant Knowledge represented on World Wide Web
Portfolios, dialogue and examinations
We see the domains and perspectives as relatively less subject to
change than the themes we pursue in dialogue or our processing of the
sources of our new knowledge in the arts, history and sciences or our
search for opportunities for acting responsibily in politics, work and
investment or our own cultural life. For each of us this resolves itself
into the relevance of knowledge and perspective set over against themes
for dialogue and sources and opportunities in our everyday lives.
We document these interacting processes in our portfolios, reflect upon
them in our dialogue and periodically are examined in our mastery.
The portfolio is hyperlinked to the rest of the system and peers and
mentors are able to access it and comment upon it. Initial experiments
using WWW on the Internet, suggest that the examinations should also
have a hyperlinked aspect.
A University in the World Wide Web on the Internet
Thus, Paideia on the Internet is conventional in its allegiance to the
arts, history, the sciences, policy studies and the importance of our varying
perspectives. It is equally conventional in its affirmation of the
disciplines more oriented to change--rhetoric, journalism
(media studies) and library-information studies. It proposes to its
staff and students personalized participation in this mental landscape,
charting the journey with a portfolio and measures of mastery.
taking the journey in thematic dialogue
and assessing arrivals along the journey with measures of mastery.
(*) The names in these paragraph refer to key readings
assigned in the Paideia study guides.
Comment on Dutch readings: These are exemplary cases of both story and
history and they also are autobiography. Notice that the
author of each was under no obligation to be his or her own
critic, let alone place his or her work in a larger
historical and philosophcial framework. Another book, like
Mirror of the Indes, does that task separately.
- The Hidden Force
- Ten Thousand Things
- Max Havalar.