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Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities

Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities has 50 remote-ready activities, which work for either your classroom or remote teaching.

QIR: Reading a Picture Forum

Comments are posted in the order in which they are received, with earlier postings appearing first below on this page. To see the latest postings, click on "Go to last comment" below.

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Welcome to "Reading a Picture"
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2004-08-30 16:07:33
Link to this Comment: 10704

Welcome, colleagues. I am very glad to find all of us here, and very much looking forward to seeing where we can go FROM here, where we can get to by semester's end....

Let's begin, shall we, by telling one another what we see when we look @ the image on the cover of our course packet/course home page? Tell us what you see when you look at "Understanding Is...???" Tell us a brief story of this picture:

Looking forward both to your initial reactions and the...

revisions that will emerge as we share these stories.


What do you see?
Name: Annabella
Date: 2004-08-31 17:47:11
Link to this Comment: 10708

Looking at this picture:

The world is fluid, liquid, changing all the time. It is never finished developing. Part of its development is incorporating pieces of input from outside sources. One such source is the thinker as depicted here as the "Cat House" looking object.
As the thinker contemplates the meaning of understanding, it has ideas, and shares them with the world which then embodies those ideas as part of itself.
The ideas fragment and change as they become incorporated into the world, as represented by the various colors in the world.
Without these ideas from the thinker, the world would be all one color, completely homogeneous; boring. But ideas keep it interesting, stirred up. Everything we bump into or come up against is nothing but an idea.
Ideas are both the beauty and the ugliness in the world. Ideas are formulated during the thinker's attempt to understand "understanding."
The world was created by the thoughts of the thinker, who stands apart from the world, but continuously replenishes it with more thought and more ideas.
The thinker is anyone who ever had a thought, or in other words, anyone who tried to understand something.

Every Story is Incomplete
Name: Samantha
Date: 2004-08-31 21:40:04
Link to this Comment: 10709

Once there was an artist who had a puzzle in mind. It included a circle/sphere and a box with primary colors. There was a blank page. She began to paint, questioning the origins of her original thought. Was the circle earth? Was the square on the pedestal a representation of how humans box themselves in? The box had to have puzzle pieces falling--these would be absorbed into the multicolored sphere, or earth.

There was somthing to be said about Logic, so the artist placed the box on the pedestal. She decided in fact that the box was an individual losing its individuality, the pieces changing colors being absorbed into the sphere was to mean what happens to individuals when they become members of the global society.

Name: Kathleen
Date: 2004-09-01 13:03:20
Link to this Comment: 10712

People with edges are hurling themselves from the linear place of understanding into big space.
Their colors blur; their edges soften. Greeny has almost plunged into the sphere, and part of the One differentiates itself from the mass to invite her in. Stepping off the green square of the cube world was momentarily terrifying- not in the moment of stepping, but in the moment before the stepping. But now, out in space, there is no room for terror, only wonder. She falls, looking, and sees that she is about to be met by herself, her own green head emerging from the chaotic gleaming round song of what is. Boxtown was a place of edges, words, limits. What-is-ville is at once a place of experience, whole-ness and mystery.

Understanding is...?
Name: Angela Joy
Date: 2004-09-01 16:15:16
Link to this Comment: 10713

Understanding is not as simple as a cube with only three colors visible. Our understanding of concepts, ideas, and values is constantly being altered, in small puzzle pieces as in the picture, or in an avalanche of fragments. In this picture it appears that the three bits of understanding are flaking off the big cube and drifting down to the multi-colored ball. They appear to take on some of the radiance of the ball as they descend. The ball, however, looks unstructured and disorganized in contrast to the cube. Maybe that indicates how uncertain our "understandings" actually are. I can only see the ball growing larger and more luminous as the cube keeps losing its pieces. The ball is also more mobile than the cube. It can be rolled around and even played with. So whatever understanding is, it is probably not some clear-cut, rigid shape, but more likely something more easily manipulated.

Thursday assignment
Name: Patricia W
Date: 2004-09-01 21:18:08
Link to this Comment: 10715

What do I see?

I see a structure made of geometric forms. A cube with three sides showing, each in a primary color, red, blue and green. Balanced on a sqaure base by a rectangle.

Why is it there?

The cube seems to be formed from interlocking puzzle pieces which two have fallen, one blue, one red. I can't tell what is causing the cube to disconnect.

Next to the standing cube is a ball of muted colors; more pastle in hues. The ball appears to have been formed from pieces falling from the cube because there are faint outlines of its assimulated puzzle shapes faintly discernable.

What is causing this interchange?

The standing cube is surrounded by the melding of blue, red and green creating a dark shadow which outlines the cube's structure. Yet, the ball is light. Its inner background white with muted pastle shades of light blue, green, orange and purple. Its shadow is sky blue.

security and freedom
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2004-09-03 07:57:51
Link to this Comment: 10739

Very enjoyable conversation with you all yesterday morning. I mentioned two sites which were very relevant to our conversation. One was Paul's dialogue with his son Jed about how depriving EVERYTHING of the status of FINAL "authority" ...provides more "balance and security" than any of the individual things have ever provided....

The second reference to a site about the relationship between security and freedom (and about how we write about what we do not know we know!) was to The Dancing Bear Will Dance No More.


understanding is...
Name: andia
Date: 2004-09-06 20:20:26
Link to this Comment: 10793

There is a caption on the pedestal in the picture, "Knowledge is..," which is more of a question that a caption, the dashes inviting one to complete the sentence.At the top of the pedestal is a cube of which we can only see three sides, each composed of almost complete puzzles of which only one piece is missing.It isn't clear what, if anything is on the sides we cannot see. Other colours? The same colour repeated?
On the ground, there is a sphere,a mishmash of colours blending into each other, possibly representing the world, the world as we see it without the benefit of knowledge or of thought, a jumble of things, ideas, notions, impressions, experiences, certainties and uncertainties, intuitions, suppositions.
At the top of the sphere, figures become articulated, emerging from the chaos of the cacophony of colour. Simultaneousl as they become more discrete, they become more monochromatic. The further from the sphere they get, the more colour they lose until only three colours exist: red, blue and green. These may suggest three distinct questions that may be asked or three categories into which knowledge can be organised. The picture seems to suggest that understanding consists in taking the mess of sensations that is the world, organising them and creating a new view of the world, if not a new world entirely. The organisation of the chaos on the spere results in a new form.
It isn't clear however the process through which ideas move from low to high, the energy that drives it.
It isn't clear either the direction in which the puzzle pieces are moving, whether from sphere to cube or vice versa, although, given the prompt of "Knowlegde is...," it is difficult to conceive of knowlege being the process of going from articulated and discrete to chaotic. Perhaps the movement is cyclical and dual: from sphere to cube and from cube to sphere. Knowlege is a continuous process of organisation, a questioning of that organisation and the generation of chaos and then an organisation of that chaos into a sytem and so on.

Outside of the box.
Name: Andrylyn P
Date: 2004-09-09 08:55:17
Link to this Comment: 10809

Perhaps the way to understanding or knowledge comes through allowing oneself to fall out of the box (instead of stepping), recognizing that in sharing our questions with the world and allowing questions of our perception of the world we are opening ourselves to a kaleidoscope of colorful experiences.

Truth (knowledge) - fear-losing control-questioning-sharing-immersion.

It is also the recognition that while there might be difference & uniqueness of culture. [Perhaps we are not so different]

Lives and experiences touch no one is ever the same-Our relationship with the universe (and others) is dependent on how much we allow ourselves to be affected by others - How much of an integration of self we allow.

The Artist's Understanding
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2004-09-09 21:46:42
Link to this Comment: 10814

[I reproduce here a note Sharon Burgmayer wrote a couple of years ago, the first time we used her painting in this course:]

This link:
will take you to a movie that tells the story of how I came to create the
original "understanding" painting that was slightly changed for the cover of your book.

This movie gives one story, the first story, of the painting's "birth". In the original story, I "saw" the pieces moving in one direction only (as you'll see).

You, and others with whom I have shared the painting, have told subsequent
stories that have multiplied the dimensions of "understanding" that can be
extracted from it. From these stories I, too, now appreciate the ambiguity of pieces moving in both directions.
How you see it depends where you are. (Not unlike life.)
(The quote "Understanding is...." is from Werner Erhard.)

Enjoying, if not understanding
Name: Diana Kutl
Date: 2004-09-10 02:13:10
Link to this Comment: 10815

My sister is one of the students in your course, so I logged on to read her writing, which, being a sibling, I compelely understood. Thinking "I don't have time to read all of this" I read one more entry, then another, forgetting about the warm bed and the impatient husband waiting with only the TV for company, while I had a world of ideas as my friends.

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