Class Site  Jay Silver 
Exploring Urban Nature
A Case Study of Becoming an Explorer - Dec. 2007
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Using Primary Sources, Especially Your Own Obersvations

"I Found it Out Myself"
Ryan talks about the difference between textbook learning and primary-source learning. I find his testimonial to be a pretty profound argument for first-person learning. Repeating someone else's experiment in a science class to prove their results correct may seem like a study of a profound concept, but designing your own experiment has a sort of lasting impact and an attentional primacy that in my mind dwarfs the supposed profundity of following someone else's steps.

Getting Drawn In
Shutsu talks about getting drawn in to a place through spending time there in first-person observation. She also says that the camera led her to each next step and seemed to have played an important part in framing the way she observed.
"Goodness" of a Place
David Lee gets at something that is more subtle. He talks about needing to be there in person to know the "Goodness" of a place. What I get from this is something that ties back to Nativeness and respect for the land. In some sense you may have to be with the land for a while in order to know it's subtle goodness or to get an intuition for the intricacies beyond simple expression.
"Since the class ended, I have also begun to look more closely at the behavior of people on site. I think an in-person site visit is essential for any sort of understanding about the 'goodness' of a place." David Lee
"Not Necessarily False"
Here's an anonymous interviewee who struggles with the idea of first person observation. You might think a student who had been around MIT for a while would be confident in his own observations, but this statement may be a clue about what one aspect of an MIT education really is, whether intentional or accidental.
Overview | Mini Case Study | Man on the Street | Observing Nature | Nativeness | Naturalists | First Person Obervation | What was Learned