Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Technology and Indigenous thought

While it may seem like a disconnect to blog indigenous thinking using the internet, I would say that is really isn't. This is really the 21st century version of the cave painting. This cave can be viewed anywhere in the world, and interpreted by almost anyone in their own language. Translation in and of itself does not convey meaning however. But I digress. Recently I acquired and iPod for use at work, and also a Micro Memo voice recorder. Now not only can I practice the oral tradition, I can broadcast it to anyone interested. My speech patterns can be burned to a CD or DVD for future generations. I also have video recording, so I can also tell the stories almost in person. Or make copies of both on the same media. I can be my great-great grand children's story teller. Not only will the story be preserved, but it will not suffer any degradation in the telling. This has caused some disturbance in many indigenous communities, because sometimes the story benefits from the teller's embellishment of facts and imagery. The story gets better with the telling, so to speak. This may be true, but to be a good storyteller, you need to be able to remember the story the way it was told before you can add or delete anything. The indigenous scientist first and foremost needs to be articulate and well spoken, or will be discounted simply on the basis of language. One of the key things I also try to do is use appropriate analogies to bring higher level ideas down to a level of the audience. This does two things, first it lets the audience know that whatever idea you are trying to get across may not be that complicated, and second, after applying the analogy, it raises the audience's appreciation of the concept. A poorly understood concept is the beginning of learning, and can be fleshed out and turned into a fully developed theorem with the right approach to the learner's understanding. She Hoy

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