Dear visitor, welcome to the SUMA (Synthetic Understanding via Movement Analogies) learning platform. The modern education from its initiation has been fragmented. Long before the onset of post-modern movement in the 1960es, during and after the period of Enlightenment, various education systems lend themselves to immersing young generations within fragmented narratives told by different academic subjects. Today the situation is not different.
Fragmented scientific understanding seems to be caused dominantly by existence of emergent levels of substance organization whose key properties cannot be formally, i.e., mathematically, deduced from the laws that govern the behavior of the more microscopic components. Therefore, each level is endowed with specific and novel structures and properties which need a specific language to explain them. These languages, thus, use context-dependent concepts to name and explain the processes under scrutiny. Context dependence is viewed essentially as a major cause of the fragmentation between the vocabularies of different scientific disciplines. That is, while within specific scientific fields and subfields the communication of knowledge is made possible by a common vocabulary, the more distant disciplines are, the more difficult communication becomes. As this language fragmentation is also translated into science education, this inevitably leads to the formation of a fragmented worldview in learners and limits the possibilities of a learning transfer between different scientific subjects.
In his UN manifesto ‘Seven complex lessons in education for the future’, Edgar Morin made a plea for an integrated approach in education. In his view, the contemporary education, based on a fragmented structure of topics, limits reasoning and critical thinking in students, contributing little to the development of the integrative competencies and knowledge considered essential in modern society. The main issue, then, becomes how to integrate and reduce the barriers within and between widely different areas as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Humanities, which is not achieved by various forms of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches.
We think that the tension arising from the coexistence of context-dependent and unifying tendencies in science can be seen as an opportunity rather than a problem: resolving it may result in explanatory patterns that are characterized by both a coherent explanatory skeleton coming from unifying tendencies and flexibility due to its context-dependent vocabulary. Some preliminary project results and general considerations on this topic can be found here (1, 2).
In this learning platform we offer one possible strategy of creating a base for a synthetic understanding of processes in nature, society and arts. We base the integration on teaching common concepts and principles of various dynamical systems. Moreover, we put physical activities, in a form of movement analogies, as a pivot in forming the content of such an integrative education through formation of an embodied and experientially grounded understanding. Similar to the human knowledge growth this platform is a project in development. We hope it will grow and change bringing new and improving the old contents. We also hope that it will be a helpful tool for teachers, educators and students in their permanent striving to integrate their visions of the world.
Bellow, you will find links to the general concepts that provide integrating tendencies in formation of synthetic understanding. Each of those links further enables links to phenomena at different level of Nature’s organization (we consider Society as an emergent state of Nature). Examples using movement analogies will be given in each of these links. We are fully aware that this initial stage suffers many imperfections. We are also aware that that is a typical property of any beginning.