Sensory learning combats feelings of disconnectedness

It is a cruel fact.  The more plugged-in we are, the more we disconnect from our environment.

We require our five senses to experience the world around us: our ability to see, hear, touch, smell and taste.  Electronic devices monopolizes to a large extent our visual and auditory capacity.  There have been several incidences of people seriously injuring themselves or even dying as a result of being distracted while texting, phoning or listening to music with headphones (Levy, 2016). 

Albeit various physical injuries are serious consequences, there is an even more sinister side-effect to feelings of disconnectedness.  A person may experience disorientation and confusion from not being closely connected with the world around them, and these feelings could contribute to generalized anxiety and panic disorders.

In my garden I’ve planted lavender, rosemary, lemon thyme and parsley.  These are herbs with strong sensory experiences of taste and smell, and with the added benefit that it can be used in cooking.  I have also planted several red cocktail tomato plants. img-20170316-wa0000.jpg

I encourage my two-year old to walk in the garden and smell and taste the herbs.  We water the flowers, look for snails and earth worms and we trial the path of ants.

We lay on the grass with our eyes closed and listen to the sound of the wind and chirping of birds.  We also lay on the grass with our eyes open, and look at the formation of clouds and the planes flying overhead.

When I refer to ‘we’ I also include my husband, who is very good at finding shapes in clouds.

We recently harvested a beautiful crop of tomatoes, and you could taste the sunlight with each bite.  I started these activities primarily to introduce my child to the world of gardening. However, I found that it helped me relax and find joy again in nature and reconnect with my environment.


Let’s discuss

How can we encourage sensory learning experiences for ourselves, our children and – most challenging – our online students?


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Educating the Singularity

We are in trouble when we stop to acknowledge that every choice we make, every direction we take is shaping our future, the very future of the human race.

As the world is avalanching towards the singularity, man(women)kind has never enjoyed more diverse interests. The Social Media revolution altered the way we interact with each other, as well as the roles we share.

Nowadays anyone can be author, programmer, web designer, musician, artist, actor etc.  The Internet made it possible for anyone to rise to fame very quickly.  However, being famous is usually coupled with your name.  If you can establish yourself within your industry, your name is your greatest currency.  If everyone knows you, it doesn’t always matter if you have knowledge, skills, expertise or talent.

Today, we have opened the door and let the monster out of the cupboard.  He looks a bit like the Tin Man with no heart from the Wizard of Oz.  When he smiles it’s a grimace that reminds of Jaws from the old Bond movies.

Yet, he has managed to become our best friend.  When you whisper to him, he answers back.  He’ll dictate (if you let him) where to shop, what to wear, who to like and who to ignore.  He does not only follow you, but also records your every single movement.

Try this little test.  Within your phone settings, do a quick count of how many applications follows your location?  Now turn off all location settings.  Then record how long it takes for you to turn most of them back on, even if only while using the app.  It seems that privacy is a small price to pay for convenience.

Then came the proclamation that we can live forever.  OMG seriously? You ask bewildered.  Am I going to be stuck in a body of titanium and kept alive by nanobots?  Please kill me now, and what a range of delectable choices: alcohol, sugar, drugs to take you down, drugs to rise you up, and drugs to make you forget that you are a citizen of this planet.

And this is where we falter. When we forget that we are citizens of this planet. It does not matter if you are famous or not, if your name is ‘known in high place’, and whether or not you have established your brand. You are an equal contributor to the evolution of human consciousness.

The machine is learning at an exponential rate every day.  What are you teaching?

Let’s discuss

Ray Kurzweil (2005) predicted in his book ‘The Singularity is near’ that intelligence will become increasing nonbiological and it will enable us to transcend our biological limitations.

Kurzweil examines the next step in the evolutionary process, namely the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our own creations.

How do you feel about the future of technology?  Do you think that the human race will be enhanced or compromised by the rise of emergent technologies?

Posted in Cyber psychology, Emergent technologies, Mindful parenting, Social media culture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment