Response to the Evolution Debate: Memes

Susan Blackmore uncovers a new concept about the development of thought and ideas as she characterizes them as similar to viruses of thought.  She extends on this core thinking and presents a new concept:

"Temes" = technology generated memes.


So, here is conjecture about the concepts and their application to education and administration:

1.  Static and unresponsive curriculum is the antithesis of memes/temes.  We saw an example of this in an ASCD article about the absence of quality material representing Asian and Middle Eastern cultures in our textbooks according to a recent study.

2.  Instructional practices that focus on product without attention to process are grossly disconnected from memes/temes.  While the expression is to be considered important, there is an essential attention that needs to be driven to the process of how memes – conscious and unconscious – develop in the brains of children inside and outside of the traditional classroom.

3.  Technology, especially, is likely emerging as the primary method for developing conceptual processes that are self-generating and "infectious".  Consider examples like Digg, Facebook, and the like.  With this understanding we change from a focus on intelligence to a focus on Susan’s concept of replications.

So, in response to the evolution argument elsewhere in this blog, it’s not about evolution in the Darwinian sense, but is instead about the iteration of replicators that we are currently engaging.  Digital natives are at a higher generation of teme replicator than the immigrant generations before them.

So, the question for all of us in the administrative world is guessing at the temes that will "survive."  Ultimately, these "temes" will best prepare our students for the concepts they must "inherit" in order to lead a productive and successful life.  How we spend our educational dollars to support this process is an essential discussion.  While we resist trend temptation and early adoption, it is this kind of consideration that is, in fact, critical to replication in a fast paced information oriented world.  Can we avoid it when kids are plugged into this at home – or more accurately when they are away from both home and school either physically or virtually?

I don’t think so.