Learning as foraging

“In foraging for food, signals indicating reduced glucose levels cause an animal’s nervous system to generate an incentive motive ro acquire food. …..The desire to acquire certain knowledge or skill similarly constitutes an incentive motive that a learner must translate into activity in order to learn. In other words, a learner must do things in order to learn.” (Schumann, 2001, p. 21)


The art of metaphor. Today: Nick Ellis

“Because both consciousness and linguistic knowledge are dificult to conceptualize and operationalize, much existing research has taken a pragmatic approach and, like the drunk who looked for his car keys under a lamppost a block away from where he dropped them, “because the light is better there,” used easy to administer grammaticality judgments, or metalinguistic judgments, or multiple choice or other limited response format measures of language proficiency. Such tests have questionable validity as measures of language proficiency and in their very nature they are more likely to tap explicit conscious learning than are measures involving free constructed responses (Norris and Ortega, 2000). This is a research area plagued with measurement problems (Hulstijn and Ellis, 2005).” (Nick Ellis 2008:10)

“Nevertheless, amnesiacs maintained implicit memories (those evidenced by the facilitation of the processing of a stimulus as a function of a recent encounter with an identical or related stimulus but where the person at no point has to consciously recall the prior event) and were able to learn new perceptual skills like mirror reading and new motor skills (Schacter, 1987; Squire and Kandel, 1999). They also showed normal classical conditioning, thus the famous anecdote of the amnesic patient who, having once been pricked by a pin hidden in the hand of her consultant, refused thereafter to shake him by his hand while at the same time denying ever having met him before.” (Nick Ellis 2008: 3)

Naive networks

“When people who have become fascinated by BBSs or networks start spreading the idea that such networks are inherently democratic in some magical way, without specifying the hard work that must be done in real life to harvest the fruits of that democratizing power, they run the danger of becoming unwitting agents of commodification. First, it pays to understand how old the idea really is. Next, it is important to realize that the hopes of technophiles have often been used to sell technology for commercial gain.”
(Howard Rheingold, 
The Virtual Community)

La amistad

“Si hay algo que de verdad añoro no es la infancia, sino la amistad, la amistad mutua que me unía a mis amigos a los quince años o a los veinte años, la capacidad de conversar durante horas, caminando por mi ciudad desierta en las noches de verano, de contar con exactitud aquello que uno era, lo que deseaba y lo que sufría, y estar juntos, porque muchas veces eso era lo único que teníamos a falta de dinero para ir a un bar o a un cine o a los billares, la pura evidencia de la amistad, las manos en los bolsillos vacíos y las cabezas hundidas entre los hombres y aproximadas en una actitud de confidencia, de conspiración. Echo de menos la pudorosa ternura masculina, la emoción de sentirse aceptado y comprendido y no atreverse a expresar la gratitud por tanto afecto: no la torva caballería hombruna, la confidencia jactanciosa o el cruce de un guiño baboso ante la presencia de una mujer deseable.”
(Antonio Muñoz Molina, Sefarad)

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