…there were three Bears…

What is this? It sounds familiar, and yet…

One day, after [the bears] had made the porridge for their breakfast and poured it into their porridge pots, they walked out into the wood while the porridge was cooling, that they might not burn their mouths by beginning too soon to eat it. And while they were walking a little old woman came to the house. She could not have been a good, honest, old woman; for, first, she looked in at the window, and then she peeped in at the keyhole, and, seeing nobody in the house, she lifted the latch.

Old woman? What happened to Goldilocks?

Out the little old woman jumped, and whether she broke her neck in the fall or ran into the wood and was lost there, or found her way out of the wood and was taken up by the constable and sent to the House of Correction for a vagrant as she was, I cannot tell. But the three Bears never saw anything more of her.

Broke her neck? Vagrant?

The original story, as told by poet Robert Southey in 1837, differs in subtle ways from the fairy tales we tell our children today. Similarly, in the original versions by the Brothers Grimm, the Little Mermaid dies at sea, Snow White is left for dead, carrier pigeons pluck out the eyes of Cinderella’s step-sisters, and Sleeping Beauty is abused by the King. With such examples of changing moral relativism, which can be seen in such stories over time, can knowledge and understanding ever truly identify universal certainty and truth?

It is true that as cultural diversity collides at the crossroads of understanding, there is an increasing need to identify with the challenges that diversity brings to learning. The lens that colour our perspectives differ from place-to-place and age-to-age. What is universally knowable in Aristotle’s time differs from that in Southey’s and that of today.

Language and the way in which we tell these stories reinforce a specific ideology that we may not even be aware we are bringing to the learning environment. As such, it is difficult to apply in any practical sense the fundamental learning objectives of a given time and place without also considering the context in which such learning is placed.

We have all heard the expression, “the winners write the history books”. To a large degree, this is actually untrue. The culture into which we must fit writes the history books. That history is reinterpreted with each generation, who then embellish and make politically correct the parts that don’t fit the social norms of their time.

What virtual expression brings to the learning experience is a return to balance in learning objectives. It enables a constructive criticism of the material based on the time and place those innovations were designed to address. By deconstructing the knowledge setting, the mind is opened to understanding the significance of the past, the root challenges of today, and how to develop innovative paradigms for the future.

We look forward to hearing about your walk through history. Will you share them with us? Join us by submitting your exhibit, machinima, and/or your virtual explorations and be part of all the action which is VWBPE.