I don’t have children, but I can’t avoid the news that it is the beginning of a new school year for those who do. This has made me ponder the various learning methods and opportunities afforded to us all.
Inworld I explored three sister islands this morning. On the first↑ is a library offering “collections of literary classics, religious works, philosophy and history”, which is very cool. They have a group and events which, if literature is your thing, you should check out.
The second island↑, gives you a chance to experience the Wilanow Royal Palace↑ in Warsaw. You could spend a long time wandering these halls and grounds. The third region, Museum Island↑, is crammed with ancient monuments and structures from a variety of cultures. They provide historical data/explanatory texts and give you a chance to see important works you may only have heard of (or, in many cases, have never heard of).
I love sites like this, because I’m never going to get to these places any other way.
My encounters with learning in the physical world are varied and unending. Who knew, for example, that you’re supposed to replace a furnace filter more than once every 6 years?
Or, how could I know that the designers of a modern computer tower wouldn’t take into consideration that water can be spilled when they decided that some USB ports should face the sky? My mouse now acts like it ate bad sushi and is experiencing uncontrolled stomach spasms. sigh
The newest addition to the household is also being educated. I’m using flash cards – “Yes, this is a squirrel, the enemy, you can chase them. These are the cats, the good guys, you cannot chase them!” I get the feeling this is going to take a while.
One of my favourite “learning” past-times involves those television series where an historian travels in the footsteps of some explorer, or wanders around the ruins of a lost city.
One of the first shows I remember being captivated by involved a man in the traditional khaki fighting his way through the Central American jungle. I can’t remember his name. It wasn’t Michael Wood↑, I don’t think, but a very similar type.
The British are superb at this type of television. There is often an understated acknowledgement of post-colonial guilt, and a history of under-estimating the intelligence of other cultures. Mostly, it’s just great visuals and fascinating bits of information.
I bring this up because I encountered a new series yesterday. Treasures of the Indus↑, is a 3 part exploration of the history of the Indian sub-continent and it’s very different from anything I’ve watched before. Oh it has the beautiful images, and the first episode taught me many things.
The big difference though is the guide. Sona Datta is smart and well educated and well spoken, which so far doesn’t make her much different from the men I’ve watched. However, she is also quite snarky (in an understated way) and funny.
I can’t imagine Michael Wood (or the others I’ve seen) introducing the greek influence on Buddhist art by referring to Alexander’s “testosterone-fueled mission to outdo Darius the Great”. I didn’t know about the impact the Greeks had on Buddhism, but that line about Alexander means I won’t forget it.
If you get a chance, do watch this series. I may have to see them multiple times – partly because her throw-away digs at other historians mean I spend a lot of time googling the names of these people. Sona’s opinions on everything shine through – but, I feel like I’ve learned something. That’s what counts right?
Now, where are those flashcards?