Learning Mashups

My wife asked me to sum up the five most important things to teach in Sociology – and I couldn’t.

I couldn’t even do a list of twelve, or twenty. It wasn’t until later that I realized that it’s why my business cards (yes, I have them – and tend to end up using them for notes and bookmarks) have had “random synthesis” on them. It’s why my best notes in classes are arranged like a mind-map, and possibly why I’m so freaking infuriating for a lot of people to talk to.

The important thing, I finally managed to tell her, was that they are able to think critically. And then you throw a bunch of information at them and force them to put it together. See what sticks, make it all relate. That informs my resource posts (for homeschoolers, parents, teachers, and just curious folks); it’s a bunch of neat and interesting things… but the value is in trying to make them relate to everything else. While I’ve found certain bits more useful or meaningful than others, that doesn’t mean they’re the key or most important parts.

It’s all related.

Maybe that’s why I’m so fond of mashups where I know the source songs. They’re frequently quite good of themselves, but it’s where they’re smashed together to make something distinctly different that really makes my day.

I’ve been told my whole life that I’m “creative”, and I used to resist it. I just put stuff together in weird and different ways, that’s all. To find that process actually has a term – and has gained popular acceptance in academia, fiction, and pop culture… well, that makes me feel all kinds of nice.

[Edit: Thank goodness I’ve gotten some sleep since I wrote this, huh?]

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