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Mark Johnson
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Revisiting Inquiry Based Learning: Uncertainty-based teaching
Through Liverpool University, I've become re-engaged in the issue of Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) - this time under the guise of research-based teaching and learning. IBL was one of the major things that I worked on at the University of Bolton's Institute f...

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The problem of Information and Ergodicity
Information is not ergodic: the average surprisingness of an entire message is not the same as the surprisingess of a section of the message. So how does this affect the way we use Shannon equations? What makes information non-ergodic is the continual trans...

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Finding the "Aesthetic Line"
The dynamics of human experience are such that there is continual blurring and shifting of focus. There are rare moments when focus brings revelation, insight and emancipation. At such moments, the contrapuntal lines of experience map each human being on ea...

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Ashby's Experimental Method in "Design for a Brain"
Ashby's Design for a Brain is a remarkable book containing a lot of detail about how Ashby saw cyberentics as a science. Some of the most interesting passages concern his defence of his own methodology as he sought to create a "mechanical brain", building o...

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Multiple (redundant) Descriptions of the World: A Lesson for Teachers
Gregory Bateson's final book, Angels Fear, contains some fascinating details in his thinking which still require some unpicking. I was drawn back to it (it has been sitting on my shelf for many years now) by a wonderful paper by Peter Harries Jones on Bates...

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Tim Farron on University Compromise Agreements: some reflections on my experiences at the University of Bolton
The Times Higher Educational Supplement has become strangely less attractive since it stopped printing its institutional index on the back page. I rarely opened the plastic cover, but always checked to see the nice things said about my current institution (...

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Options and Selection in Evolution
When we think about selection - for example, natural selection, or the selection of symbols to create or decode a message (Shannon), or the selection of meanings of that message (Luhmann) - there is an implicit notion that selection is a bit like selecting ...

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What has technology done to education?
In 2017 we celebrate 500 years since Martin Luther sparked the reformation by nailing his 95 theses to All Saint's Church in Wittenberg (as well as sending them to the Archbishop of Mainz). Although it caused a religious crisis with which we have lived ever...

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Brains and Descriptions - some Agent-based modelling
Imagine that a brain is a set of constraints which produce multiple descriptions. The constraints organise themselves as a binary tree: with enough layers of recursion it quickly becomes very complex: In the diagram (left) produced in NetLogo, they are mult...

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Reasoning and Cognition: The difference between Modelling Logic and Modelling Reality
I'm wrestling with the problem of formalising the way in which learning conversations emerge. Basically, I think what happens when a teachers cares about what they do, and reflects carefully about how they act, they will listen carefully to the constraints ...
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