2 responses

  1. Luke Fernandez
    January 4, 2012

    “To borrow from Vygotsky, I think the way to foster curiosity is to find the zone of proximal curiosity. Think of it as a kind of assisted stretching. The goal is to find something close enough to the student’s current interests to get her to click but far enough away that it’s not something she would have thought to look for herself.”

    One topical thinker that might also shed some light on this is Eli Pariser’s recent book titled THE FILTER BUBBLE. (I’m a little biased here having just reviewed it). Pariser doesn’t use your’s or Vygotsky’s phrasing but I think he could: For Pariser the zone of proximal curiosity is contracting rather than stretching as a result of increased personalization on the Web. The argument also has some relevance to the civic concerns you raised a few week ago in reference to the Occupy movement. In restricting our cognitive horizons personalization is also narrowing the public sphere and our awareness and interest in broader civic issues. Pariser isn’t saying that Web technology can’t play an important role in catalyzing curiosity and turning us into more active citizens. But he’s worried (in spite of initiatives like moveon.org) that the current trend toward more Web personalization isn’t helping much.

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