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Emacsconf2021: Dialogic learning how to learn through the Emacs tool

I can think of very few contexts in this hurried ‘great reset’ (to assume the urgency of Schwab & Malleret 2020) where we have the reflective/reflexive privilege to focus on the meaning/ethos of our digital tools.
One such opportunity arose thanks to the EmacsConf2021 organizers and support team. Conference talks are available to posterity! You can hear speakers such as Dhavan explain Emacs as living the examined life, or Buddhist sutta.
The organizers’ vision of Emacs even includes talks on all stages of the freedom ladder, and programs not yet ported to Emacs, like Omega T.
If one is looking for a place that respects the ideals of knowledge, including multiple even differing viewpoints, EmacsConf is it. If we know anything about the trials of democratic, dialogic knowledge (cf. Plato), we know how hard it is to make possible such an opportunity. Thank you to Sacha, Bandali, Zaeph, and team.
I am saying knowledge is dialgoic to draw on the tradition of Plato; work by Donald Schön – where we have ‘conversations’ with our learning situations, and Christopher Alexander’s adaptation of Ivan Illich’s learning web. Alexander conceived of a network of learning pattern design that would facilitate “access for the learner: to allow him to look into the windows of the control room or the parliament, if he cannot get in the door”. That is to say, in the context of programming, even if we are not learning how to program conventionally, such as in an educational institution, we can nonetheless learn something legitimate about it in other ways, through other paths.
Negotiation of learning was possible at EmacsConf2021 through internal dialogue when listening to lectures, informal chat, Etherpad Q&As, and BBB dialogic sessions.
How do we create contexts that can meet us in the ‘unofficial’ learning situations where we may find ourselves, if we are learning programming by hacking on a needs-basis?
We can begin by listening to and learning to EmacsConf talks. Here are just some example talks that I will be revisiting to think through new potentialities for categorization and tree structures/increased flexibility in the organization of learning. This list may be updated later when I listen to those talks I was not able to listen to live – also, this list is not complete: The confernece has given me new thoughts to contemplate. If we are seeking to cultivate knowledge in a class or in a conference, how could we organize this knowledge such that it would cater to multiple inquiry approaches – like visits to a museum can be interesting to visitors at all learning levels (cf. Caillet in Andler & Guerry)?1 Could we use Emacs to do this and could the advantages of such flexibility justify the learning curve of adopting Emacs in the learning workflow even among non-Emacs-using contexts?



^ 1.Caillet, E. (2008). L’exposition, le musée: L’éducation informelle comme école de l’éducation formelle. In Andler, D. & Guerry, B. (Eds.), Apprendre Demain: Sciences cognitives et education à l’ère numérique. (pp. 137-154). Paris: Hatier.

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