Arc-of Life Learning

1.2 The philosophy of information – The Arc-of-Life Learning

Thomas and Brown’s ‘Arc-of-Life learning. In A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change’ (2011) describes learning as ‘moving from the stable infrastructure of the twentieth century to the fluid infrastructure of the twenty-first century, where technology is constantly creating and responding to change.’ They further discuss that this change, at a relentless pace, is responsible for our disequilibrium yet enables an amplification of our ability to access unlimited resources, instruments and information.

As an educator and learner this change in learning structure as enabled a intense growth in desire to achieve so much more in life. Like the child that finds the game of ‘Why?’ so engrossing, I have found the challenge of answering my own questions a personal pleasure. Using the massive information network and the structured environments of learning institutions, I have pursued and achieved career goals, enabling me to widen my teaching fields to highly focussed science subjects such as Senior Chemistry, and VET based training courses like Information and Media Technologies. I have taught myself to use media and technology rich tools and then developed ways of using those tools within both my personal life and my teaching. And in all that time I saw myself as ‘playing’ with technology.

Yet within those years I have not found engagement in online collaboration as a natural progression of the the new culture of learning I am engaging in. Students, teacher and personal collaboration have still focussed on the physical presence in a learning space. This could be more reflective of my own school days learning styles or lack of willingness to speak out in medium that pushes you beyond a comfort zone.

As Thomas and Brown discuss in the final pages of their writings, the Arc-of-life learning is akin to building a bridge between the public, information-based world and the personal, structured world. My own experience as an educator and learner reflect the building of the bridge for a new culture of learning. Perhaps I have a little more the build in the form of support structures to develop my confidence in using the bridge to its full potential, but I am certainly seeing its potential.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). Arc-of-Life learning. In A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change (pp. 17-33). Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.

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