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#2811
Dr. Rich Blundell
Participant

Jennifer and Karen, thanks for the feedback and kind words! Glad you are liking the philosophy behind the app.

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There is so much to love about Dewey. There is, of course, the well-understood value of experience-as-education, but one of my favorite insights of Dewey’s is how he articulated the reciprocal of this. In other words, yes, there can be great educational value in our experiences, this is pretty clear, but what about the value of education-as-experience?! This 180-degree interpretation is rarely articulated or seriously pursued in education.

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And Dewey does not use the term “experience” lightly. He offers a rich description of experience that is imbued with meaning. He goes so far as to distinguish between ordinary, run-of-the-mill experience (lowercase “e”) and AN Experience (uppercase “E”). For Dewey, AN Experience has a narrative quality to it; it piques interest, motivates further investigation, and culminates with personally meaningful payoffs (epiphanies??). This is MUCH more than just seeing the value of experience in education, it is about the experiential value of education itself. When learning is AN Experience first, it can be more meaningful – as opposed to just factual knowledge.

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For those not inclined to download my article (Which is available here by the way), this is one of the essential arguments I am making both in the article and putting into practice (hopefully) through the app.

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The other fundamental tactic of the app (not So much Dewey’s as my own – or perhaps Goethe’s) is to provide a phenomenological opportunity (or lived-experience) upon which to build conceptual knowledge. My argument here is that we are more inclined to understand and construct integral knowledge on a phenomenological foundation. This is another important subject altogether but I think it is critical for building empathy.

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The way I see it, Dewey was way ahead of his time. It’s only now, 8 decades later, that the technology has caught up and we are able to provide the kind of rich “in situ” learning Experiences (uppercase E) that Dewey was advocating for.

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Rich