Accessibility of learning materials and Schrödinger’s Cat

Quantum theory says that until a particle is measured and observed, it exist in all states it could possibly be in, simultaneously. This phenomenon is, among many other, the basis for quantum computers. To explain this weird behaviour on subatomic scale, in 1935 the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger developed a thought experiment, known as Schrödinger’s Cat. In this thought experiment, a cat is locked up in a sealed box, together with a device filled with poison. Within an hour that device will break with a 50% chance, thereby killing the cat. So, after an hour, just before opening the box, the cat can be both alive and dead at the same time. Only when opening the box the actual state of the cat can be observed.

In a previous blog, we defined closed learning materials as

Closed learning materials are teaching, learning, and research resources that are unavailable for a person or a group of persons. This definition is dependent on the perspective of the stakeholder. E.g. semi-open learning resources, available for a group, appear to be closed for persons outside of that group.

Similar to Schrödinger’s Cat, before trying to access a specific learning material, it can be both closed and non-closed at the same time. Only by accessing it, the actual state can be determined.

This is just for fun. Maybe it will help explaining the different types of learning materials to others, maybe it will only add more confusion (“open, semi-open, closed ánd two states simultaneously, that is too much to comprehend”). But I liked it and therefore I share this.

In a TED-talk, Schrödinger’s Cat is explained by Josh Samani.

And in my favourite sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper uses Schrödinger’s Cat to explain to Penny whether she has to go out with Leonard or not.

Posted in Open Educational Resources.

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