Monday, May 12, 2014

Warm up to our Exploration of Technology

You will do a second in-depth essay exploration very soon.  In preparation for that, this final blog post will require you to read two articles and post a comment in the same manner as before.

Required: Hashtag Activism: Read this to see how a well-written, balanced article can approach a current, over-hyped topic such as social media and activism.

Now choose one of these two:
Eight, no, Nine problems with Big Data: an example of a critique of popular assumptions.
The Peril of Knowledge Everywhere: an examination of data, pattern recognition, and the role of the individual.

For this post, I want you to concentrate on two terms/concepts related to truth: Validity and Belief. I want you to first review the terms themselves and then look at the claims being made in the readings in light of the terms. Can you identify some beliefs, either explicit or implicit? Can you address validity in terms of how something is considered valid (the process to establish validity) not just why it is valid?

As always, find what you have to say, using these articles as a springboard. Don't forget:
  • Identify knowledge issues that spring from the many knowledge claims, 
  • Offer your perspective and self-reflection (note: I don't want "your opinion"), 
  • Give other perspectives, 
  • And attempt counterclaims.
Target Due Date: May 16th. Note: if you read and write in class you should be able to get this done by Friday without any work done at home. Focus in class please.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


True/Truth/Truthful:  Highly loaded terms.

Humans often asks "What is true?" or "What is the truth?"  Other times, one emphatically states, "I know what is true."  The nature of truth is an interesting, and contentious, subject. We will explore this topic with the realization that we will contend with it throughout TOK but never put it to rest.

1. To start, watch the following clip

What is Colbert getting at here? (don't post a response, just think about it and discuss in class)

2.Next, read Tests for Truth to give some structure to viewing how people may come to accept something as true.  Now, make a copy of Tests for Truth questions and answer the questions right on the document.

3. Finally, read The Triumph of the Psycho-Fact and post a response examining his claims and the knowledge issues raised (same format as before--ask if you are confused).

Post Due by Friday, May 9th.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Knowledge Claims and Truth

I want us to engage in the core issue of Knowledge Claims made by individuals, groups, institutions, cultures, and whole societies. (remember the previous post that has the knowledge claims diagrams). Let's start with a short in-class reading: Confronting the fact of fiction and the fiction of fact

I want you to identify a question directly or indirectly posed by the author of the article. Also, be prepared to mention a few knowledge claims present. We will discuss this in class.

Next, read THIS EXCERPT from Stuart Firestein's Ignorance. (please download it to your computer). After you have read the excerpt please respond to this post with a comment by exploring the following:

1. Some claims made by the author and generally established claims made by others/society.
2. Your individual perspective on the topics raised and other potential perspectives on those topics.

Don't forget to use some of the terms we started this class with.  You have a whole list of defined terms that will come in helpful.

This will be your first response to a blog post, based on THIS RUBRIC.

What happens if you are confused? Well, first read the article regardless as to whether you understand the assignment.  Then, email me with questions or ask in class. Finally, try your best to explore.  If you are off base we will work together to rewrite.  This is a public comment on the blog so write with a learned audience in mind.

Post Due by Friday, May 2nd.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Writing for Theory of Knowledge

We will now take your ideas of the first exploration and rework them to more closely approach the expectations of Theory of Knowledge.  Remember, the official TOK Essay rubric is found on this blog on the page called Course information. The main goal is to address the following:

TOK Objective: Through writing, the student will demonstrate proficiency in understanding knowledge issues, articulate one or more knower’s perspectives, analyze knowledge issues, and organize ideas.


  • In light of the specific prompt, the student demonstrates clear understanding of the knowledge issues, and makes links and comparisons between Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge.
  • Expresses an independent and somewhat reflective approach as the knower, and gives consideration to other perspectives.
  • Analysis of knowledge issues is clear, with a sufficient depth and detail related to “real world” situations. Counterclaims are explored and evaluated, and underlying assumptions are identified
  • Ideas are organized, concepts are clear and explained, and facts used are not only correct but also pertinent.

Click Here for a document that will help you work through the TOK Essay Rubric. IMPORTANT: Once you open the document, go to File, Make a Copy, and then make a copy for your google drive.

Monday, March 31, 2014

First Exploration, and Categorizing Knowledge

1. The Narrative of Dualism is our first exploration:

Click Here for a presentation that explains Your First Exploration. We will also go over this, in depth and more than once, in class.  Due date for first written exploration: shared as a Google doc by Friday, April 11th.

As we take time to explore the narrative of dualism, we will also continue to build our base in TOK.  We started building that base with defining terms, by recognizing perspectives through maps, and now we will look into how knowledge can be categorized. This is a multi-step process that will take some time and will extend far beyond this first exploration--in fact, this is the foundation you will use until you finish TOK next year.

2. Knowledge: Now that we spent time categorizing knowledge on our own, through class work activities and discussion, we will now look at how Theory of Knowledge Categorizes Knowledge. Remember this is for clarity and is not the only way to do it.

Next, take a look at this diagram, Categorizing Knowledge and Knowledge Claims, which will lay out a conceptual framework for the knowledge framework we will establish.  We will do quite a bit of work in class about this and more blog posts will follow.

I leave you with Rene Descartes:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Maps of the World

Hi Everyone,
This week we will explore the concept of maps: your map of the world or a map of your world. This will be done in class primarily but here is everything we will go over:

Click on this slideshow to follow along with the teacher: Your Map of the World/Map of the Your World

Here is the assignment (which is repeated from the above slideshow) to do after you have run through the slideshow as a class and had sufficient discussion:

Create your map of the world or a map of your world.  There are many ways to do this and you don’t need to be an artist to do this well. You are required to use pictures and text (and other mediums if you choose) along with the map itself.

Question for open discussion: What are some ways to do this task? Share these thoughts right now.

Essential Questions: Is a map an example of both personal and shared knowledge? Does it skew more towards one or another. Can maps be biased? How can maps represent or misrepresent knowledge?

Be prepared to share the map by Friday, March 28th.

Note: I have not mandated any one set style.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

First Assigment: Exploring Terms and Concepts

Hello Everyone,
Your first assignment in TOK will be started on your own these first days of class. Try your best and do the assignment in a way that makes sense to you. This will not take only one or two class periods so do not rush it; at the same time, do not be lazy about it as well. Find a good pace. Thank you.

Essential Question: How does one define and then differentiate between personal and shared knowledge?

Task: The task is two-fold: part of it is individual work and part is group work. So, first, break into small groups (a pair is not a group) and then discuss when and how you will work individually and when/how you will work as a group.

For each term in the three categories below, please define according to your personal view and according to the general consensus of those around you (meaning the group you are in). This means two definitions. Dictionary definitions are forbidden but you are welcome to consult general or specialized dictionaries to assist your understanding. In other words, cutting and pasting a dictionary definition is not welcome and is quite lame.

For Your Consideration: What are ways to explore and record/represent these crucial terms? Note: I have not mandated any particular way to do this task.

Ways of Knowing:
Sense Perception

Areas of Knowledge:
The Arts
Human Sciences
Natural Sciences
Religious Knowledge
Indigenous Knowledge
Key Concepts