Comments on the Pages
Up to this point the focus on learning and attention is spot on, and I would like this paragraph to perhaps give a bit more detail
( case example, etc). on how “designer skills come handy when I need to design a structured experience to funnel the limited attention spans of both my myself and my students.”
It is not clear from this paragraph is 1) all the students are doing more o the recommmeded reading because of this participatory space or 2) the students are responded to one person’s ( the lead discussant) intepretation of the text’s. It is also not clear if the instructor feel that if 2), this is better than the long silences and if so, to point out any possible pitfalls or benefits. For instance do students see is a challenge to challenge the lead student’s interpretation and thus turn to those texts to gain better footing in posting?
I really like the details and examples of this assignment. However, I am left wondering as to the interpretation of the outcome. Were the students increased social ties a result of not having online networks to communicate with others, or was it the support group experience of the blog that brought them together? It would be interesting to know more about this.
This networked learning experience requires establishing trust through a lively, unplugged, face-to-face classroom experience. I try to use my interaction designer skills to design a structured online experience to funnel the limited attention spans of both myself and my students. But I have not found a way to establish the required level of trust as an online-only experience.
I’m assuming Katayoun Chamany’s response fits here:
“It is not clear from this paragraph is 1) all the students are doing more o the recommmeded reading because of this participatory space or 2) the students are responded to one person’s ( the lead discussant) intepretation of the text’s. It is also not clear if the instructor feel that if 2), this is better than the long silences and if so, to point out any possible pitfalls or benefits. For instance do students see is a challenge to challenge the lead student’s interpretation and thus turn to those texts to gain better footing in posting?”
The latter is true here’s a rewrite:
If students don’t read the assigned texts, class discussions may result in long embarrassing silences. To counter that I – along most educators in the field – designate assigned materials as either “required” or “recommended,” where the former is often lighter reading or an audio or video file, and the latter is more involved. One student is assigned to lead the class by reading and summarizing all the material in a post and publishing it 48 hours before class. The rest of the students are required to read and comment on that post. This methodology requires them to engage in a written debate and to develop critical perspectives about the reading. And so, the students challenge the arguments made on other comments and on the summary post. By class time, the discussion is already on, and the students are eager to reiterate and further develop their arguments.
Thanks again Katayoun, your feedback is very helpful.
It was more the support group effect, they definitely shared their Googleclastic experience on Facebook and on our own blog, so it would be hard to argue this experiment was a depriving them of online networking. It was the fact they shared a unique and somewhat awkward experience that I believe strengthened the social ties.
Do you think I should rephrase the last sentence? If so, care to offer an edit?
This is a great paragraph.
You have an extra comma after the first “killer app,”
from “code repository a tool”
to “code repository tool”
…that last comment is for paragraph 4… oops (can’t change)
Abandonware is one word: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abandonware
also, punctuation should be “abandonware,”
My experience is that the networked assignment, not the networked classroom, renders transparent the evaluation standards.
…have been fascinating…
I wonder about slipping in and out of the plural. You say “We try to teach our students to teach themselves” but I’m not sure who “we” is, and I’m not sure this statement is true. I but do you for sure that *you* teach *your* students to teach themselves.
OY, that was for paragraph 6. I keep adding comments on the wrong paragraphs. Sorry.
(pasted into correct place here, disregard comment above)
“some students sink more easily than others ”
“some students swim more easily than others ”
It seems a little bit depressing to focus on the ones who “sink more easily” as it almost structures the goal as sinking.
Overall, this paragraph seems a little less cohesive/coherent than the previous ones.
I mean, only a little bit. It is mostly about flow.
That is more clear.
Consider rewriting the first two sentences to remove the passive voice.
I am a little bit confused about your use of chronology. In the previous paragraph the use of dates for blogger, et al was helpful. Here are saying that “even though it was hailed as personal printing press, others used it collaboratively” but it also seems like you are trying to say that “evan as it was being hailed as an individual platform, others were using it collaboratively.” This comes back to chronology, as it is a bit weird to have BoingBoing listed *after* HuffPo, as BB dates to 1996 as a web publication (~1999 as a blog per se), while HuffPo wasn’t founded until 2005. Also, BB started out as a one person blog, and then expanded to four core editors, and then added contributors.
These two concepts/entities could use a sentence/example for each to explain what you mean: “unified multi-voiced stream over the individuated author archives”
“format have been”
“format has been”
I did it again… wrong paragraph.
I would love to see a footnote here with some links to good examples of this:
“These contributions can be anything from a single guest post to a full integration of blogging and commenting into the class dynamics with multiple posting from students every day through the week”
“blogs from the other side, as a graduate student”
“blogs as a graduate student”
This is a really great point about the difficulty of doing it just because the professor has asked. I think it is slightly separate from the problem of isolating individual work in siloed blogs, and not on collaborative blogs
“under the a single ”
“under a single “
Do you really believe the blog is more important than the classroom? That sounds a little bit… like you are going too far. How could students post bulletpointed summaries of their classroom/critique feedback *if they didn’t have feedback in class?* Having them post summaries of their feedback is a great idea.
I like the idea. I’m a little be unsure I fully understand the game part. I think (but am not sure) that what you are saying is that because of the chain when you start with the commenter Student A, who presents the work of Student B, when student B presents the post she commented on (Student C), Student C will not necessarily realize that he will be in the hot seat? Is the idea that it is kind of like a random selection of half of the class that will be called upon to speak that day, but that it is not determined by truly random chance, nor by decisions of the professor? Forgive me if I am being dense here… but I’m not fully getting it.
“as a closed knit social network”
“as closed knit social networks”
“plug-ins” should be plural
maybe “One student persuaded me”…?
“One student put some in Washington on the defense when her post labeled parts of the Obama administration’s Open Data initiative as “transparency-washing.” ”
It would be great if you could link to this blog post, and also to any defensive posts coming out of the govt.
What do you mean by “function as a very up-to-date platform”? It is cutting edge technology, or that it as built in software updates, or…?
I love this practice, (and my contribution to this volume is about this kind of WP work) but this sentence seems like a completely different paragraph than the sentences that come before it.
“Finally, the students were asked to collaboratively contribute the knowledge they acquired in class to Wikipedia (thereby reversing the controversial use of Wikipedia as reference).”
“After the last class I export the content of the blog and mail it to the students. It is their data; they deserve to keep it. ”
“we often say: “Google is your friend.” ”
Do we? And who is “we?”
The Spring-08 link loads and then redirects… *to Google!*
I think that you might expand a bit more. The assignment is super interesting, and the comments on each of the course blogs are really rich. I think you have done a pretty good job of summarizing them here in the four you have chosen, but you could do a little bit more analysis, and general summary…? It feels like the essay ends a little bit abruptly.
Yeah, it was supposed to be swim… didn’t mean to sink anyone… I ‘sink (to be read in heavy Israeli accent).
Good point. I personally turned down more than one offer to run networked classroom. This distinction is a nice way of putting it.
Good point. Thanks for catching that. I will move BB to the first batch (instead of GigaOm) and get my chronology straight.
I actually go deeper into the latter further down in the essay.
You got it perfectly 🙂
Another good catch! I’ll add the reference: http://cultureandcommunication.org/tdm/s10/03/08/wheres-the-transparency-in-the-white-house-visitor-logs/
Are you sure? It works fine for me.
[…] article, “When Teaching Becomes an Interaction Design Task: Networking the classroom with collaborative blo… had many positive aspects and my general impression is that Zer-Aviv understands the debates […]
Interesting discussion. I’ve used FB as a sort of “Blackboard alternative.” But I got a lot of pushback from students. Admittedly, this was several years ago, and both FB itself has changed, as have people’s attitudes toward it. I first went there, as you suggest, to meet students where they lived. A lot of the students appreciated that, but a few really didn’t like it. They talked to me about FB being their third space, a place for escape from the rigors of the university and the classroom.
Ultimately, I’ve since stayed away from Facebook more as a protest of their policies. But I’m curious as to whether you ever got the same kind of pushback from students.
It’d be useful to hear a bit more about your campus context. What kind of college or university is it? What kind of students attend, etc. Do any of these aspects of the campus context contribute to the “growing divide” on campus regarding digital media?
“The Kool-Aid has been swallowed” — I don’t know if this is the most helpful metaphor to use here. It implies a kind of fatalistic attitude: students have already committed to total continuous partial attention, so you might as well join them. Which I don’t think really represents the tone of your essay.
I really like this distinction between teaching ABOUT Facebook and teaching THROUGH Facebook. I’d love to hear more about it, for example, how you historicize Facebook.
Re: subverting your campus’s own course management system. Awesome! Readers will likely want to hear more about this. Maybe in a footnote you could briefly address this more.
Oh, wait — I see that you are addressing this distinction later in the essay. Maybe make it clear that you’ll talk about this distinction in greater detail later.
Do you always use the same sentence for the game of Telephone? It’d be interesting to hear some example sentences in a footnote, to help us understand how much information you’re expecting the students to “encode” and “transmit.”
I wonder if you’ll increasingly encounter students who are resistant to Facebook, and if so, how you might deal with that. I’d also like to hear more about what compels the students to join the Facebook group, even though they aren’t graded at all for it. What is the value-added for them? And what evidence can you share with us about what students value about the Facebook group?
This is some of the most interesting material in your essay, in which you provide a workable model of how to ethically be a professor on Facebook. It might be worth expanding this paragraph, providing more details/examples, and foregrounding it in your essay.
Can you link to a specific post on Stone’s site? Something like http://lindastone.net/2009/12/02/zgmaps/.
Overall comments: I’ve left more specific comments throughout the essay, but I wanted to offer a few broader comments as well.
In general, this essay would benefit from (1) more context and (2) more examples. In terms of context, it’d be helpful to hear more about the institutional context, the place of this specific class in your curriculum, and the problems with the university CMS that first pushed you toward Facebook.
As for examples, I don’t have a strong sense of what Facebook as a CMS actually looks like. Is it possible to provide a screen shot or two that illustrates what an in-class conversation might look like on the Facebook wall?
Also, you do a great job addressing privacy and Facebook. Could you also supply additional links (in a footnote, for example) to outside resources that readers may find helpful if they want to talk about Facebook and privacy with their own students?
Responding to: “Some have embraced the world of digital media and others have dug in their heels, particularly taking a hard line against laptops in the lecture hall” and “using commercial products can lead to distraction.”
I agree that the allowing laptops and “commercial products” probably presents an unnecessary distraction in a classroom. In the undergrad and even grad classes I’ve had, the students with laptops are usually not using them for the purposes of the class they’re in at that moment.
Using of FaceBook in the classroom seems like has the potential to compound this distraction. Although Lipton is requesting his students to log on to the class’s FB page, it would be all too tempting for many students to sneak a peek at their own personal FB pages, too.
Responding to: “Some [teachers]… have dug in their heels, particularly taking a hard line against laptops in the lecture hall” and “For many faculty the ban is supported because using commercial products can lead to distraction.”
I’m ambivalent about allowing laptops and “commercial products” into the classroom. In my undergrad and even grad level courses, the students who bring laptops usually aren’t using them for the purposes of the class they’re in at that moment. I’ve seen my classmates surfing the web, chatting, checking social networking sites, playing games, and even doing homework for other classes, but rarely do I see people taking notes, following along with a reading assignment, or cross-referencing a comment. Adding FaceBook to the mix seems like it would simply compound the problem of distraction. Although Lipton is requesting that students log in to FB during class to access the class’s page, it would be all too tempting for many students to sneak a peek at their own personal pages. And with 200 students in a class and few teaching assistants, FB use would be difficult to monitor in the class.
Responding to: “Research has started to frame debates about distractions versus multitasking within sociological and neurological contexts. My students often insist that a multitasking-learning environment will best serve their purposes.”
There are three broad learning categories: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Traditional educational methods frequently cater to auditory learners (think the usual lecture) or visual learners (teachers who hand out notes or write them on a board). Teaching strategies rarely lend themselves to tactile learning and are typically incapable of simultaneously catering to learners from more than one type. A “multi-tasking learning environment” seems like it has the potential to address the inequity presented by traditional teaching methods. By allowing students to use their laptops and FB in addition to white boards, notebooks, etc. students have greater flexibility and control over how the information is consumed and can more easily engage all of their senses, which would likely foster stronger connections to the information presented.
Responding to: “…students who ‘operate in such a state are not as productive as those who stay on task.'”
I believe that dividing one’s attention between various media results in less productivity, but maybe it isn’t such a big deal. Many jobs require the ability to multi-task, particularly with media. Employees have to update their company’s website, reply to emails and answer the phone all at the same time. Asking students to multi-task with media in a classroom could be an opportunity to teach them how to multi-task efficiently and with maximum productivity.
Responding to: “More than engagement, using Facebook allows me to build a bridge between my classroom curricula and what my students are doing outside the lecture hall.”
I really love this. I’m a huge fan of connecting literature to popular culture because I think that students will be more apt to read and enjoy lit (at least during the semester) if it relates to what they choose to watch and listen to in their free time. The same principle applies here: connecting educational stuff to FB probably makes them more interested in what’s going on in the classroom.
Responding to: “In other words, access to the information, discussion, links, and learning is not cut off once the course is over.”
This is really significant. Making info available after the semester ends allows and and even encourages students to continue making connections after the course is over. So often the info in one class is presented as being completely disconnected from the info in other classes or the “real world,” and keeping the info available on FB encourages students to make those connections semesters and years later. Classes are much less “single serving” when the learning can continue after the semester has finished.
Responding to: “At the same time, I believe it is also important to teach students about Facebook.”
This is a great idea, and naturally falls within the scope of Lipton’s media class. However, it might compromise time and detract from more important information in a class that’s not about media. Teaching FB “literacy” in an English 200 class, for example, would be next to impossible considering how much already has to be taught.
Responding to: “My class groups are usually open because I insist on an approach to media learning that is open, social, and connected.”
This could definitely have benefits. Allowing non-class members to see class information could generate interest and increase connections and availability to resources and info.
Responding to: “During class, when a student has a question, idea, related link or resource, he or she can post to the group and the assistant responds, raises the issues with me, and/or brings it to the attention of the class as a whole.”
There’s at least one obvious answer to samplereality’s question about what motivates students to join the class’s FB group. Lipton mentions that his Media class is quite large, sometimes having as many as 200 students. Many students are hesitant to share and ask questions in class, particularly one with so many students. Using FB provides them with a more comfortable way to do this. If they ask a question, they are instantly connected to, and can receive an answer from, a wide variety of resources: the teacher, TAs, and any number of classmates.
Responding to: “I often look to the wall and discussion list during my class preparations for links, ideas, and connections.”
Clearly, FB is as much a resource for the teacher as for the students. FB allows Lipton to find out what students are interested in, have questions or problems with, etc. Seeing what the students are thinking makes it lot easier to plan the class, address issues, and develop and implement goals.
Responding to: “My argument is that with each group of ‘friends’ I have a unique identity.”
This illustrates one of the major problems I have with social networking sites. I haven’t done any research on this so I may be way off, but it appears that the use of these sites results in our identities being increasingly digital, and increasingly fragmented.
I’ve read studies that students who bring laptops do class do on average worse than students who use traditional pen and paper, even if the students are using their laptops solely for note taking. I would use facebook as a means of extracurricular activity, as homework, rather than an in-class thing.
I really like this, though it may be a bit idealistic. Personally I’m not certain I would continue to follow the class page after I had completed the course. However, it is still useful for students to be able to make these literary connections outside of the classroom. And the unorthodox teaching style will definitely appeal to students, especially literature students I feel.
“Digital Portfolios” is interesting. This could allow high school students to build on their work for college applications and for undergrads to tease out a thesis.
Agreed with the above. For my personal project in regard to high school I don’t think it would be legal to have an open group however. But for undergrads the more the merrier as far as discussion is concerned.
Definitely an excellent outlet for students to ask questions they may have been too shy to ask publicly. It would be useful for the students to go home, do the reading, post questions so the teacher would be able to better design the lesson plan for the next day.
I must disagree Leah. I think the self is already an extremely fragmented concept. Thinking about how I relate to my male friends versus female friends, I am a totally different person around each group, same for my parents, extended family, etc.
This is a critical point. The instructor must make the students feel safe/private and must protect him/herself as well. Otherwise students would be too fearful to join a group=, exposing their photos, info, etc.
Add a comma after “surface level.”
Your reference to “egoistic self-absorption” echoes some of the most common (and, to my mind, ill-founded) critiques of twitter. Is there something about twitter as a tool that makes it inherently foster “egotistic self-absorption”? Because that’s not my experience of it, and from what I know of you, it’s not yours, either. So, rather than framing this as something that twitter fosters, you might mention this as something people criticize it for, rightly or wrongly. And you might also cite one or two such critiques.
“But surprisingly, I would like to suggest, microblogging, and in this case specifically Twitter, my microblogging platform of choice, can actually prove useful”
— both “surprisingly” and “actually” seem unnecessary, since your readers (this one, at least) may not find it surprising. And I don’t think that you do, either!
“Indeed, I find it to be one of the social media tools with the highest pedagogical return.”
— can you be more specific about what you mean by “pedagogical return”?
— Should links be provided to the services (Jaiku, Tumbler, Plurk, etc.) you describe or to Wikipedia pages where they are defunct?
— “an alternate to the corporately dominated landscape” might be rephrased
— add a comma after “because of its popularity”
— would it be worth explaining why Twitter’s popularity makes it appealing? Do you discuss this below?
— add links to services you mention (jaiku, tumbler, plurk, etc.) and link out to wikipedia for defunct services.
— explain what “greater configuration” means — greater configuration of the platform according to user preferences? or something else?
— in discussion of Twitter as pseudonym for microblogging, maybe mention “tweet” as noun/verb associated with microblogging?
–First sentence of this new paragraph is a little repetitive of the last sentence of the previous paragraph.
— add comma after “crucial reason for using Twitter”
— add apostrophe to “augment Twitters functionality”
— Change start of sentence “By having an open API it easy” to “Having an open API makes it easy”
— Change “followed the rules” to “follows the rules”
— In last sentence of this paragraph, add a comma after “Practically” and after “in the classroom” and between “short” and “140”
— change “written on effectively using Twitter in the classroom, yields” to “written on using Twitter effectively in the classroom yields” [no comma]
— in second sentence, I’d change to “to notify students by sending reminders and updates”
— Consider moving the sentence about the Italian class out of the parentheses and into the previous sentence.
— there’s an “is” missing from the next sentence (right before “as a creative medium”)
— I’d edit the last sentence to read, “The way I use Twitter — and the basis of its pedagogical value for me — is actually in doing the reverse, in using it as a tool to foster conversation outside of the classroom.”
— I’d also consider moving that last sentence into its own paragraph for effect, though that might be too informal/bloggy for this text.
— I’d change the beginning of this sentence to read, “During the early days of twitter, the exact nature of the service, and even of microblogging more generally, was the subject of many critical pieces.”
sorry — above comment should be attached to the next paragraph.
— I’d change “And, equally as important…” to “And, equally as important is encouraging them to use that base . . . ” …. I’d also add a “to” before “begin”
The last sentence in this paragraph could be reworded to connect it more smoothly to the previous sentences. E.g., “Given this dissipation of focus, twitter can become a powerful meta-tool . . . .”
Gah. Again, above comment should be attached to the following paragraph (8)
Add comma after “To be sure.” Either remove comma before “and concerns” or remove “that” before “ought.” I’d also change “a” to “the” in “a company can then harvest.”
— missing comma after “using Twitter as a privileged example”
— consider replacing “ask what is the market value of a social media service such as Twitter” to “to question the market value of social media services such as Twitter.”
— Comma after “Here again” and later after “Thus”
— change “compare the services TOS and Privacy policies” to “compare the TOS and privacy policies of these services”
— “One of my pedagogical priorities in teaching social media is to have students take ownership and control over their digital presence.” — this is a really important point, but some readers may not see the connection between TOS/Privacy policies and ownership/control over digital presence. Can you make it more clear?
— “worked through leveraging” should be “worked by leveraging”
This is a really nice point, very smoothly made.
— add a comma after “to clearly view a channel”
— add a comma before “as well”
— “though out” should be “thought-out”
A few thoughts about this paragraph:
— the preceding paragraphed primed me for a move towards a description of an assignment; this one begins by taking me back to a discussion of pedagogical challenges. You might look for a way to combine or restructure the paragraphs so that you discuss pedagogical challenges together first, and then lead towards the assignment.
— While I think that your final point, that there is a pedagogical opportunity to be had in helping students learn to navigate vast flows of information, I’m a bit surprised to see your noise/signal metaphor here and phrases such as “most of it not important.” Do you really believe that? I think it might be productive to draw a more nuanced description of information flows here, since something that at first looks like “noise” can turn out to be “signal” (or can lead one towards a signal). If there is a way to stick with the idea of teaching students to *surf* the information flows without drowning in them, without necessarily implying that the waters themselves are, by and large, polluted, I think that might be preferable. But maybe I’m just lost in my own metaphorical tangle at this point.
— “Initially, I have students create accounts follow me, their classmates, and ten people they do not know.” — this sentence should be restructured.
Add a comma between “First students”
Add a comma after closing parenthesis at “(as many of my students are)”
“twitter clients who” — “who” should be “that”
“a more rich” might be changed to “richer”
add a dash to “stepping-off”
“After hashtags are explained” — shouldn’t you explain them here, at least briefly?
add comma between “get organized” and “but also”
“After hashtags are explained” — shouldn’t you explain them here, as well, at least briefly?
Add comma between “get organized” and “but also”
“The goal is to get students to see how Twitter can operate at the “meta-conversational” level, pointing to various places on the web where more nuanced conversation is developing.” — but doesn’t this also show that there is discursive nuance to be found even in 140-character tweets?
This is a rich and provocative look at using Twitter inside (and outside) of a classroom setting. I love the way the essay moves through a discussion of pedagogical challenges, and then turns those pedagogical challenges on their heads to find new opportunities for learning. The essay does a very nice job of distilling the benefits of using a tool like twitter in the classroom.
Aside from the sentence-level corrections that I’ve added below at the paragraph level, my only major suggestion is that you incorporate a short description of a specific student experience that occurred in one of your classes when you used the assignment described in this essay. Such a description would add some nice texture to the essay and might provide good fodder for your conclusion.
I actually wanted to use the word solipsistic, but ultimately changed it with readership in mind. You are right though I should be clear that this was my impression prior to using Twitter, and in its early days (prior to SXSW award). Should be changed to make that clear.
Again I think you are right about this I should make clear that this is a narration of my surprise upon using Twitter for the first time over two years ago, not the current state of things. I think people are no longer surprised by this.
[…] David Parry | “Using Twitter — But Not in the Classroom” Monday, January 17, 2011 12:58 PM […]
Hmmm. First reason: popularity. Yes, Twitter has a larger user base, and, after all, anything that Mr. Kutcher uses must be great. But it feels to me like Twitter is largely an infrastructure (or a platform, as you note below), and as such isn’t so hot (more below). Most of the front-ends for the service also allow updating to identi.ca (as well as FB, etc.).
Moreover, if your argument is the API, one of the reasons so many front-ends provide identi.ca support is that it sports the same API calls as Twitter.
I’m not an identi.ca booster–I tweet!–but I worry about what seems to be an endorsement of a service that is otherwise going to be the first option anyway.
Again, I worry a lot about Twitter == microblogging. You wouldn’t say that NBC is a platform, or that blogger.com is. One of the things that distinguishes tv (on the technical side) and the blogosphere from Twitter is precisely the open standards the former are built on. I don’t think that Twitter’s API is enough to really make it an open standard in the same way.
I recognize that it is the de facto leader in the space, but these things change, and one of the ways they may change is if competitors adapt open standards.
Yeah I worry about this to, all the time, and in my classes we discuss this along with other matters about service choice, but I couldn’t really get into that in this essay. Maybe I should try to figure out a way though.
This is great advice, Jeffrey. I presented Omeka as one possible platform for my grad students’ projects this past fall. We ultimately decided that it had more horsepower than we needed, so we opted for simple blog-based assignments. After a few semesters of watching (and attempting to help) students struggling to execute multimodal projects that are unnecessarily complicated, on platforms that are too souped-up for the tasks at hand, I’ve discovered how important it is to talk at the outset of any project about managing expectations, balancing technical wish-lists with students’ technical capabilities, and finding the right tool(s) for the job.
rephrase “that because of that”
Otherwise, this is an excellent intro to the piece.
the “even” in “even important” seems unnecessary to me; it vaguely implies that student work isn’t normally important, which I don’t think you mean. I’d suggest either removing “even” or being more specific about how it can be important (ie., making a new contribution to a scholarly debate, etc.).
sorry — above comment was meant to be associated with the second paragraph.
Cite Prensky here?
I’d argue against using bold text for emphasis in this paragraph and below. It seems like overemphasis to me (definitely more in the style of a ProfHacker blog post than a scholarly essay). In the end, whether the style is bloggy or not matters less than whether the emphasis is warranted. To me the use of bold text here and elsewhere in the essay feels a bit affected, though others might disagree.
Very nice job on this opening section. As a reader, I have a firm sense of your pedagogical approach by this point in the essay.
Add a link/footnote to WordPress
Reword “you or your students rollingn your own”
I’d take “a goal of mine” out of the parenthetical and instead add a sentence at the end of this paragraph reminding readers that struggle/discomfort can be productive for students. It’s an important point.
This is a fantastic and important point. Do you want to say a quick word about those three terms or offer an example to show the differences?
This essay provides a wonderful introduction not just to using Omeka in the classroom, but also to using any kind of digital tool in a pedagogical context. Your opening section does a very nice job of laying out your teaching philosophy in ways that emphasize the benefits that teaching with digital tools offer to students, and your sections on Omeka avoid a narrow view of the tool in favor of an approach that emphasizes major pedagogical concerns surrounding its use. Very well done.
Aside from the editing suggestions I made below at the paragraph level, the only major feature I see missing from this essay is a discussion of a specific Omeka project. I wonder if you might add a paragraph or two at the end of the essay that would describe the details of a student Omeka exhibit and how it differed from a traditional student paper. That would do a number of things: it would end the essay where it began, by returning us to student work; it would provide a concrete example that would re-emphasize the strategies described in the first section; and it would provide a specific example of an Omeka exhibit that would reinforce your description of the tool in the second section.
You do link out to some student project, so that may not be necessary, but I did feel a need for a more extended and concrete discussion of the kind of work that could be produced with Omeka.
At any rate, I think that this is excellent work, both a pleasing and informative read.
[…] and Learning with Omeka: Discomfort, Play, and Creating Public, Online, Digital Collections” http://mcpress.media-commons.org/artoflearning/teaching-and-learning-with-omeka/ […]
Indeed. To follow on Matt’s comment, I wonder if you wanted to talk about how students are also learning to think more like historians through this process as well? For instance, briefly, in the ways that they analyze and compare their sources, contextualize these sources, and build an argument through the format of an exhibit.
A question that I think many people will have comes up first here, but runs throughout the article — how to do grading, and how to talk about grading with the students. We have background in how to grade the traditional research paper, but how do you grade being “creative in their approaches to conceiving and presenting information”? Or is that not part of the grading?
I know that could move far afield of the core of this article, though. But I also know that you have some good guidance for at least addressing that anxiety with students. Perhaps something here, or below in the particular context of Part 3 in the guidance for teachers?
It might be helpful here to distinguish metadata (as in Dublin Core) from tags (a different kind of metadata). I think the orientation toward DC metadata is one of the most important pedagogical aspects of using Omeka — it pushes students to consider formal description of the resources they work with, which is another skill that the 7-12 page paper generally doesn’t address.
[…] This is a great article on using Omeka in a classroom environment. I particular like the idea that it’s acceptable for students to feel some discomfort in the digital environment. […]
[…] technology and producing it. I came across a cool article by Jeffrey MCClurken called “Learning through Digital Media: Teaching and Learning with Omeka: Discomfort, Play and Creating Publ…,” which questions the common notion that digital natives somehow intuitively get digital media. […]
Very nice opening. Perhaps insert an example or two into the third sentence to flesh out the traditions you are referencing? E.g., “The tradition of appropriation in image-making, ranging from modernist collage to post-modernist pastiche, often contradicts students’ received notions about originality and authorship.”
“is” should be “are” in the second sentence, since there are forms of academic dishonesty that don’t involve plagiarism.
This is a fascinating paragraph, Michael, but one that I think could be usefully complicated even further! Here are a few things to think about:
— Are you sure that your colleagues who teach lit and comp teach plagiarism as a clear-cut issue, and that the rules surrounding plagiarism are rarely contested? I teach such classes, and I *always* teach plagiarism as a gray area (productively, I hope), in part because I want to teach students about what citation means and how attribution is a very complicated issue (try talking to students about paraphrasing, and you’ll see what I mean). I find it hard to believe that anyone could talk about paraphrasing without acknowledging that there is no clear-cut line beyond which a sentence can be proven not to be plagiarized.
I take your point that in media production classes, the very notion of plagiarism is explicitly problematized, interrogated, and complicated, but I’d be careful about suggesting that the same kinds of discussions don’t go on in lit/comp classrooms.
— “Closely related to appropriation is the distinction of whether an image that appropriates another image means to cite to the original appropriated image, as would be the case in a parody, or whether the appropriated image was merely used as suitable raw material for a collage. ” Two thoughts here: 1. See if you can find another word besides “appropriates” in the first phrase (repetition); 2. Your use of “cite” here is a bit confusing in this context, because I don’t think you’re talking about the formal citation practices that could be used to avoid charges of plagiarism (but rather, if I’m understanding you correctly, to an artist signaling/building upon another artwork. Can you reword it?
— It might be useful to be more explicit about what you mean by “semiotics” in the lines, “Appropriation and citation are not indicated by a formal footnoting practice, but by the semiotics of the image itself. Whereas the semiotics of a well-appropriated image clearly establishes that it was made by someone else…” What does a “well-appropriated image” look like and how do its semiotics clearly establish fair use?
— Also, you may get to this below (I’m commenting as I read along), but to what extent does intention matter? Intention, of course, is a very problematic term in literary studies (think of the “intentional fallacy”), but I wonder how it plays out in the context of plagiarism/fair use.
Again, I’m wondering about your use of the term “semiotics” here. Do you really mean “semiotics,” or are you perhaps thinking of semantics?
My understanding of fair use is that it is not a right, but a legal defense. Here are a few links that take up that discussion. i’m interested to know what you think:
I think that this paragraph needs a smoother transition from the preceding paragraph; the move from first-amendment rights to the Wikimedia Commons feels abrupt.
Add a comma after “Historically”
“intellectual property regimes” seems like it might be restated a little more clearly.
“determining copyright is a nuanced legal profession” — seems like it’s a nuanced process undertaken by those in the legal profession rather than a profession in its own right.
You might start a new paragraph with “Due to these legal changes.” I’d also think about rephrasing “legal changes” to something like “shifts in the legal definition of copyright.”
Are you conflating free speech with fair use here?
I know that space is limited here, but it might be worth using a footnote to explore the differences between the Flickr Commons and the Wikimedia Commons. Here is one link, found through a quick google search, that might be relevant: http://openobjects.blogspot.com/2010/01/why-do-museums-prefer-flickr-commons-to.html
Might be worth expanding just a bit on this assignment, since having students add to the Commons involves a different kind of pedagogy (namely, active/constructive learning) than simply asking them to consider the issues in the abstract.
Ah, okay — I see that you get to this down here. Disregard my earlier comment.
Nice work, Michael. This is a well-framed article on the complex nature of intellectual-property issues , particularly as they present themselves in media-production classes.
If there is one place that you might expand this a bit — and this might be done in your concluding paragraph — it’s to think about how the interrogation of fair use that goes on so productively in your own media production classes might be expanded to other disciplines. What can or should the scholars teaching plagiarism as a black and white, cut and dried issue learn from your experiences and incorporate into their humanities classes?
You mention exercising first amendment rights throughout the essay. I’m not sure you should take the American context for granted or you should at least acknowledge that.
Missing spaces around “Searching and Sampling”
Citation needed for explicit purpose of WikiCommons. I actually believe the explicit intent is for the images to have “an educational value”. (which is quite enigmatic)
Might he be referring to significance in using ‘semiotics’? Not quite the same as semantic meaning…
Agree with above on grey area of plagiarism. To abstract it further, are not all ideas (written or otherwise) derivative to some extent? Does this count?
There is a lot to talk about in the pedagogy of Looking for Whitman, so this might go by a little too quickly for readers who don’t already know the project, and its relevance specifically as a case study that shows the value of BuddyPress could be developed more in the article, since that might not be a connection that everyone familiar with Looking for Whitman already knows.
Because you open with such a striking example from an individual student’s experience, readers might expect to see more of that in this article, particularly when you argue for the merits of a particular technology. Conversely, are there bad individual experiences for students participating in instructional experiments on Facebook that you could point to? Although it might be seen as anecdotal evidence, a few salient examples can be very persuasive, particularly in the literature surrounding college composition.
Thanks, Liz — great suggestions.
Thanks for pointing this out. I will see what I can do during the next round of revisions to slow down and explain the project, and its relevance to BuddyPress, more clearly.
This is an excellent articulation of the effects of this event. Nice.
“I wound up creating these expanded profile fields in front of the class itself”
could maybe re rewritten as
“I wound up creating these expanded profile fields during class in front of my students”
or something of that nature, as is it took me two readings to understand the meaning
argh… that comment was for paragraph 9. and i can’t edit it…
could maybe re rewritten as
(ignore duplicate version on paragraph 2)
A short anecdotal example could be helpful here. For example if two students who met from different classes and formed a blog or group. This would be similar to your example of the architecture students.
Do you think it is worth commenting on which kinds of groups end up selecting which kinds of privacy settings? Maybe only in a footnote. This might also be an opportune time to mention FERPA, if only as a means of explaining why many course sites are private. I think that FERPA is (unfortunately) sometimes a hurdle to achieving the kinds of successes you describe in the Ellison example, *but* it doesn’t have to be that way! Blackboard is configured to full privacy by FERPA-default.
“private company whose shares are not traded openly on the stock exchange” is about to become untrue… (http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/21/facebook-ipo-april-2012/) you might consider trying to future proof this sentence a bit, by appending “at the time of this writing” or something of that nature.
Not that it necessarily needs to be included here, but you might be interested to see http://givememydata.com/ as a response to FB data portability issues.
Really good question to ask and answer.
This is a really nice articulation of this problem. Maybe this is the place to mention FERPA (right before you talk about how WP/BP allow you to set privacy in the next paragraph).
I second the suggestions Liz has made about including more tangible examples/stories from the student perspective.
It is interesting that the students in your course with Steve gravitated to the Group. In the CORE 1 seminar that I co-taught with Steve last semester, almost all of the activity was on the blog. The Group was used for document/reading postings, and some announcements. The blog was set as private.
This underscores how technology is not deterministic. It is the social practice built around the technology that determines the use of the technology.
Maybe this comment is a good place to mention one thing (though this paragraph may not be the place to address it, if you address it at all): You are essentially repurposing a blog & social network software as courseware. Should you mention that what you are doing is effectively a Blackboard/Learning Management System replacement? Or talk about it as a Personal Learning Environment (and explain the difference between that and a CMS)? Again, this might be a side note to the overall discussion, but it is something that underlies this conversation.
I agree with Liz. I think that you should spend much more time talking about CUNY AC and Looking for Whitman. I would suggest introducing them at the very beginning. You could add it in after the paragraph that ends “If WordPress allowed one to create a network of connected blogs, BuddyPress helped create a social ecosystem around those blogs.”
>> It would help give the reader an idea of a concrete use, and direct them as to where the essay is heading.
>> It would also allow you to refer to specific CUNY AC examples as you describe the multiple functionalities and pros/cons (e.g. “Member Profiles” and privacy in “Data Ownership.”)
>> Focus your discussion of Looking for Whitman on a *specific assignment* This way you end up discussing the CUNY AC in full during the “tech specs” middle section, and you can highlight one particularly successful assignment in this section.
Metacognition and metacognitive strategies seem to me to be tools for deuterolearning
they are synonymsm similar concepts devised in different moments. they could be added here.
I think that this is such an important point. However, imo, it does not need to start off with the assertion that learners are short-changed by these for-profit systems, even if they are. Or maybe the text should cite some statistical study to back up the claim? I would also not equate “pricey learning management systems” with “the newest gadgets” (even though related, these are not the same thing). The point seems lost that there is something exhilarating in the use of free and open-source tools that are every bit as effective (in the opinions of the essay contributors) as the costly management systems that strain budgets of educational institutions.
I am not sure about this citation (I should check for myself). The way it reads is that the writer Jeffrey R. Young claims that the reluctance can be interpreted as Freire’s “banking model”. Aside from my confusion, the statement jumps to a dualistic frame, e.g., still subscribe to the banking model. Don’t the new technologies offer just as much to the “isolated” (as if that were possible) teacher as it does to the learners? You start to get into that in section “Changing Role Models”. Is it really just a matter of the same old dualistic generational struggle? Also, the consequences are pernicious for what or whom (I assume “societal” is what is meant.) If it is so bad, shouldn’t that be stated a little more explicitly (perhaps as in paragraph 4…see my comment there)?
I should have said,
The point seems lost that there is something exhilarating in the use of free and open-source tools that are every bit as effective more far-reaching in their effects (in the opinions of the essay contributors) as the costly management systems that strain budgets of educational institutions.
Again, I am defeated by this comment system!… (do any of the essays address frustration-as-productive?!)
delete “”every bit as effective as” in my initial comment and substitute “more far-reaching in their effects than”
Thanks, Barbara. In this paragraph, I’m distinguishing digital learning from the vast area of distance learning or online education. There have been many articles recently that target Kaplan, Devry, Capella, and other for-profits for misrepresenting the costs of the education to prospective students, for not delivering substantive education, and for not accurately representing the chances to find a job with their degrees in hand. This leads to a situation where students default on their student loans and the government picks up the bill.
Of course, it’s always tricky to generalize as there are positive examples – of charter schools, for example.
Thanks, Barbara. I will clarify this.
Okay. I take back the point about the written word. And, rather than blame my iPad browser for not displaying the entire book contents, I will just say that the opposite of my previous comment is actually the case. The written word does not dominate these social media tools, as the essays amply demonstrate. And to me that is significantly underscored by the essay’s point that we are in the midst of a transformative process.
Thanks, Barbara. There are indeed several essays that address media production but that is indeed not the main focus of the publication. As you noticed, we included several essays on video production and on teaching with Seesmic.
Although I tend to agree with the sentiment, I also know a lot of technology refusers who would say that they refuse to use these technologies precisely because they relate information technologies to the mechanistic and Fordist systems. In fact, I suspect that connotation of new media is fairly common. Of course, technology is no more “naturally” bottom-up than it is top-down…
And we’ve had this talk, but I’ll reiterate it here. I don’t believe that (a) non-profit status is a particularly strong bulwark against profiteering on the backs of students or that (b) paying for tools necessarily leads to educational exploitation.
I am certainly a proponent of free software (libre and gratis) and of employing it where appropriate, but I think it’s dangerous to conflate the use of non-free software with exploitation of students.
I also think the distinction between training and learning (yes, I’m of the camp that sees “education” as problematic) is worthwhile, but that there remains a place for training. I want a surgeon who is both educated and trained, and I think the two are interwoven in more areas than just surgery.
Actually, I like that as the next book in the series. Everyone takes a historical figure and asks how they would use tech to teach. I get dibs on Rousseau and Bakhtin!
That’s a very good point, Alex, but we may not be able to turn this into a book that makes the case for learning through digital media for “refusers.” The publication is addressed to those -like you- who are open, willing, and ready to give it a try.
I have only skimmed much of the work, but there does seem to be a more specific premise/framework than you have spelled out: the general topic is something like “critical pedagogy in the USE of digital media tools”, i.e. predominantly off-the-shelf, putting the teachers and students squarely within the bounds of user-to-consumer. I would state this up front in there somewhere, or risk disappointing folks who thought there was going to be more done TO the tools, which are infinitely plastic. Some of your contributors might be prepared for this as a follow-up.
We focused on broadly available tools and not so much on altering them because the projected reader is not so technically-inclined. I will mention it, thanks.
this account provides an excellent indication of the difficulties we’re going to encounter as we shift from a culture based on individuals and individual effort to one based on collaborative groups.
this is a very important point. facebook and twitter, while key to our current sense of the social web are definitely NOT collaboration tools. also, making a collage of various communication tools such as email and messaging, might improve communication a bit, but that is not the same as enabling collaboration. my instinct is that we need a lot more experience collaborating in the context of the digital network before we will be able to build the powerful tools that we imagine must be possible.
It might be worth mentioning that this exclusivity in Wave invites created a buzz (pun unintended) that raised both interest and expectations. The choice to extend through invites was attempting to replicate what Facebook did right—create a meaningful online social networking platform by expending through (not necessarily online) social networks. But Facebook had a plausible interaction promise, while Wave in the name of openness was too vague.
This is another case of Google “not getting social” due to its algorithmic ideology.
Truly fascinating and inspiring writeup.
I would recommend to not end it on a “dead end” kind of tone as we can (and should) look beyond Google services. One of the companies Google bought to strengthen the Wave team was the one behind the collaborative writing platform Etherpad. As soon as Google bought the company Etherpad closed its services leaving people locked out of the system with no access to their own work. This brought up a lot of anger and forced Google and the Etherpad team to release the Etherpad code as Open Source software.
A day after the code was made available http://PiratePad.org launched offering an alternative, free and independent Etherpad service (yes, these are the same pirates as The Pirate Bay and the Pirate Party).
I have been using Piratepad quite a lot and what it does well is decouple the collaborative document from any notion of social networking. You get a document with a unique ID, and you can simply start editing. You can choose a username, you can chat with other users, you can follow the playback and you can export to different formats.
The fact that it was so easy (less than 24 hours) for the pirates to install their own Etherpad installation from the Open Sourced codebase means this is a viable option for us as educators. It means a university can install an Etherpad instance and not require students and profs to be dependent on the business interests and priacy policies of this or the other company.
It is important to mention Wave was announced as an Open Source project but until today the technology have not been completely released to the public. Even if it would’ve been, it would not have meant installing and maintaining an independent instance would have been a viable (and affordable) option for low-budgeted/non-commercial orgs.
Etherpad has much less “bells and whistles” but it might just do the job. At least for collaborative note-taking.
Thanks again for sharing your experience.
I also used Wave in a class in the spring and it worked very well for group collaboration and project management, especially during the big snowstorm that hit so much of the area last winter.
You’re exactly right that Google mischaracterized Wave, perhaps because they themselves didn’t understand it. But I wonder if there’s a lesson to be learned here more generally about technology and use. Does a technology need to have a clear, obvious broad use in order to succeed on the scale that Google or other commercial companies seem to require? Certainly, we, as academics and teachers, need to be prepared to have some of these free tools stop working (much) sooner or later.
Does the tool mentioned by seekers and tjb654 in the comments on the original ProfHacker post work to pull material out of Wave? If so, it might be mentioning it or link to the Google advice page on it. http://www.google.com/support/wave/bin/answer.py?answer=1083134
Excellent piece about potential of a tool to allow for new methods of collaboration and communication, while offering a caution about teaching tools rather than process/approach/function.
this is an important point for there are many “creaky” infrastructures, but the methodology remains useful. something we must keep in mind when frustrated by technology.
The moral seems to be, for all of us, that we have to try things all over again when they don’t work the first time. As Kathleen says, her initial goals of students finalizing their notes in Google Docs was not possible. The original idea is a good one, but it was not fully realizable. However, how the students handled an unfamiliar software was exciting. How can all this be rethought in a new way? That’s what seems worth here.
I’m not sure if Google’s approach was to mimic Facebook specifically, or, as Kathleen mentions, was a symptom of their rollout strategy. I tend to think the latter is more correct, though with this in mind wonder if Kathleen’s paragraph might benefit from evidence/citation. For example, a quote or press release that addresses Google’s intent for rolling out through invites could answer whether Wave’s launch was based on technology or a social strategy. (With their expert staff of developers, it is curious that they won’t control an initial public release to the masses.)
So I was one of the “I don’t get the usefulness” people. I’ll admit, I didn’t use it much before reaching this assessment. But perhaps part of the issues was that it did seem like it was a tool in need of a purpose.
While this discussion suggests ways the–what, “friction”?–of the tool helped your students, there wasn’t–I don’t think–enough in the way of exemplars for it to keep up. No one said: this is a tool that really worked in these three cases. Maybe those existed, and maybe they were communicated, but if so, not widely enough to get traction…
Good points, both of you. I’ll try to track down the initial description of the rollout process; I’m pretty sure it came in the Q&A after the developer release press conference.
That’s a really good question. We certainly need either to be prepared for these tools to stop working or to take on their development and maintenance under the auspices of educational, not-for-profit organizations…
Hmmm. I’ll have to look into that.
Wow — having poked at it now, I’m massively sorry that Ferry either didn’t exist or wasn’t on my radar screen when I was teaching this class. Not only does the Ferry bot export your waves to Google Docs, exactly as I’d hoped, but it also keeps them in sync as the Waves get updated. That would have been fantastically helpful. I suppose it’s one of the perils of a system that relies so heavily on plugins for basic functionality; if you don’t find out about the plugins, it appears that the system’s functionality is incomplete…
I was also one of the “What is this for?” people on Wave. I tried it in a number of creative/collaborative ways, and it just got… muddled. We thought a simple wiki, forum, or listserve might work just as well. In theory, Wave promised to serve all of these functions in one handy application, but it was a bit overwhelming and the learning curve was steep.
Of course now after reading your article, I realize Wave would have been the perfect platform for similar ideas I’d had for tech-incorporating pedagogy! As a Teaching Assistant, I’m trying to think of ways to, well, assist. My supervising professor is a bit of a technophobe and my students are digital natives – a collaborative note-taking and discussion forum is exactly the kind of thing I’d hoped to create.
I wonder though how effective this project would be on a larger scale (our survey class has 90 students) and without the technology accessible to every student. I wouldn’t want to create a situation where lazy students could simply piggyback on the hard work of other students (any more than they do already!)
Either way, very informative and enlightening article! Maybe now I can start to look for other avenues of creating a similar environment…
Very very interesting.
I have been assigning my students to build WordPress based blogs too and I find the sustainability question to be a key one. Unless they build portfolio sites or personal blogs for themselves many of the student blogs built during my class were left abandoned at the end of the semester. You could argue there is much to learn from that too, but I was always conflicted about tying/conflating the interests behind maintaining an online presence and the ones behind getting a nice grade. They are sometimes as conflicting as writing for money vs. writing as a form of self expression.
What was your experience there? How do you mitigate these conflicting motivations?
Are they rolling their own WordPress installations? Using WordPress.com? Or do you have a multiuser WP blogging platform like UMWBlogs.org or CUNY’s site?
Talking about these various options would be helpful for a variety of people who are interested in investing in WordPress, depending on their level of interest, ability, and/or support.
“enhance the typography of everyday writing” is a strange locution — I have no idea what it means. A bit of googling reveals that it comes from the following (but uncited) URL: http://wordpress.org/about/
I’d say that this material should be cited, but in truth, it should probably be rewritten to more clearly express what is meant by the phrase in question. You might try to find some interviews with Mullenweg in which he talks about the origins of WP; perhaps he explains more clearly what he was working towards when he created the platform.
After doing a Web search it appears “Consumer Culture and the Technological Imperative” is the correct articles title.
I think I know what kind of ethics you might be talking about (environmental?) but are there others? Maybe you should be more explicit here?
You should take a look at Patrick Lichty’s chapter, as he addresses this question from a different perspective: persistence. In Second Life, objects have persistence, and he has to do the work of removing *some of* them, while keeping others for inspiration and continuity. This becomes a curatorial question.
I think you should consider a more robust title that gives a better sense of what you are talking about doing with WordPress, both because it will be more clear, but it will also sit better against the background of the titles of the other essays included here.
Good point about the Pecha Kucha
So true about having to re-work the majority of a course b/c the tech changes so quickly. I’m doing that right now…
In the final version, be sure to put the Sullivan quote in a blockquote, as I got lost and thought it was your own words by the middle of it.
Good point re aggregator. If you are using an aggregator, then it is probably not on a WP MU platform…?
Do you think it might be useful in the future to require students to not make changes to a standard template, so they are forced to work only on the content? Or some version of this kind of restriction?
You might address the issue of students who are afraid of making their writing publicly available – I’m surprised at how shy students can be about sharing their work, and also about commenting on other students’ work
Thanks Steve good point!
I very much like your thinking here about the effects of using the word “practitioner,” but I’m not sure that I’m following all of the connections in the paragraph, such as the problems distinguishing fantasy from reality and the criminalization of pornography. Perhaps this could be focused down a bit?
I wonder if a bit of transition here might help things – a heading that lets the reader follow the shift?
Are you introducing bias into the discussion, or introducing a discussion of bias? The phrasing of that sentence is a little ambiguous.
I really like the ideas here about blogging as a platform for rehearsing leadership; very sharp.
The insights you present in the second half of the essay into your use of blogs in the classroom are really fantastic — so much so that I wonder if you might foreground them a bit, and let some of the more general thoughts about teaching, technology, and so forth grow organically out of your reflections on your own classroom? Right now, the first half of the essay feels a little disjointed, and it’s hard to find a throughline; once you turn to the blogs, things become very clear, and very engaging.
Hi, Kathleen, Are you suggesting that I frame bias as an issue in the classroom before introducing the question of addressing it? Is this what you mean? Thanks.
Yes, perhaps I would have to cite a few examples of what I mean by the ways in which fantasy is being criminalized or delete the thought. What I mean about the reference to pornography is that people are being jailed for downloading socially unacceptable porn even though they’re not doing anything in the analog world that’s criminal — no criminal acts with people. So, one’s fantasies, not one’s actions, are rendered illegal. Etc. But thanks.
What I’m actually after here is less an example than the connection between that point and the overall argument you’re hoping the essay will make about your uses of blogs in the classroom….
I was actually just a little confused by the phrasing, which is ambiguous: that you’d been using Project Implicit “as a way to introduce hidden bias” seemed a bit confusing — it makes it sound like you’re injecting bias into the conversation without your students’ knowledge. Is it the topic of hidden bias you’re introducing — in fact, trying to make the hidden explicit?
Sure. Thanks. I see what you mean.
Got it. Thanks.
I think this is an important point, but perhaps one not entirely evident to those who haven’t encountered pseudo-public blogging sites behind walled gardens, which range from obviously un-public courseware systems like the blogging software provided by WebCT to seemingly well-meaning university sponsored efforts like The Writing Studio at Colorado State University.
I totally agree with you that the challenge to students to actually add something new to a class for their peers is both a way to produce excellent work and totally subversive institutionally and that instructional strategies like skimming and surfing make a lot of practical sense to recommend to others. But I don’t think you should dismiss the question of academic labor too quickly or cavalierly, as you might by calling the feeling of overload a “common complaint.” I think it could be a legitimate objection that merits a serious and empathetic response. After all, the pleasure of effective digital teaching can foster its own kinds of playbor that aren’t rewarded either monetarily or with advancement in the ranks.
Currently I have over two hundred students blogging in my upper division course, which is described at http://losh.ucsd.edu/courses/publicrhetoric.html. I do worry, however, about the point at which students lose the sense of a community audience as I come closer or surpass Dunbar’s number. It’s less about worrying over my keeping track of them than about all of us keeping track of each other in the group as the total number of connections increases.
“The essential element of the scholarly endeavor is engaging in texts and discussing them. This is equally true for the toddler and the learned professor. If there is a technology that can enable this process and can be provided to as many people as possible with little difficulty or expense, we should use it.”
This process as described here in the first two sentences seems accurate. However, the “if” of the last sentence is quite the looming “if.” Hopefully Halavais will take care to discuss the problems surrounding this last sentence, given that “little difficulty or expense” automatically excludes many groups of people, and often not by a choice of their own. Most likely, these groups of people would consequentially experience even greater disadvantage than they do at present. Obviously the “if” indicates an uncertainty, but how do we feasibly (not just theoretically) deal with human agency lost not only to technology but specifically to cyberspace and its opportunities for alternative identity creation?
This scholarly process as described in the first two sentences seems accurate. However, the “if” of the last sentence is quite the looming “if,” and hopefully Halavis will discuss the issues surrounding what he has perhaps idealistically proposed. The phrase “with little difficulty or expense” automatically excludes countless groups of people, often not by choice. Most likely, such groups of people would consequentially face greater disadvantages than those that they already struggle with. Obviously the “if” conveys uncertainty, and yes this might be an age old question, but how do we deal feasibly (not just theoretically) with a potential loss of human agency in an age not only of technology, but specifically of cyberspace as an opportunity for alternative identity creation?
Odd, who are these students? I would imagine that the opposite might in some cases be true. A sense of formality inheres in physically turning in your work, given the finality of “an assignment” and the attention to structure and formatting (MLA, etc.) that students are expected to pay when handing in work. Of course there are formalities of cyberspace as well, but the colloquial nature of many web communication sites would seem to influence the generation of less formal responses on the internet than one might prepare to hand in physically. I do agree that students feel socially bound to their publicly accessible schoolwork, so I suppose it’s true that classroom blogs are a good incentive to work hard.
Good save-“that provides a learning opportunity in itself”
I think someone brought this up in the last class session. A whole lesson or more could focus on separating credible sources from the non-credible. As a matter of fact, I’m having this issue right now, as my search for blogs relevant to my scholarly project continues.
This teaching philosophy sounds rosy for all parties involved, but I’m having a hard time delineating where blogging specifically marks a difference in how this philosophy plays out. Allowing students freedom and agency in their studies often yields greater results than rigidly structured courses might allow for, but I don’t see how this strengthens his argument about blogging. Blogging is merely one of many avenues a student could take given scholarly agency. This seems more to advertise his freedom philosophy (which is great) than to illustrate the usefulness of classroom blogs.
I’m all for this method of encouraging metacognition. Writing and reading are ongoing processes that are never finished and never separate from one another, and an awareness of your own participation in such processes is valuable to your own work. This sometimes seems to be overlooked in English classes, so I like that his reason for mandating self-assessment and ongoing comment conversations is to cultivate metacognition skills.
Great, I spelled the author’s name wrong in my first post. I apologize.
[…] Posted by admin, in Class musings […]
I’d like to see a better transition at the start of this paragraph, perhaps by restating what you mean by “this YouTube pedagogy”; I think you’re not referring to Juhasz (the subject of the previous paragraph) alone, but also to Siva’s work. Even changing “this YouTube pedagogy” to “these examples of YouTube pedagogies” might do the trick.
Also: you write that info sharing about these pedagogies were not fostered by scholarly journals, but your footnote to Juhasz’s work points to an academic journal (_Cinema Journal_).
This paragraph, as whole, could use a bit more work. I’m not sure how the DML Central reference fits into the larger narrative about YouTube pedagogy, or how/why you’re contrasting it to other blog networks you’ve been a part of. If your main point in this paragraph is that YouTube pedagogies were fostered by scholarly networks, and if DML didn’t figure into that, why mention it at this point in the essay?
“these principles” could use a quick gloss.
I wonder whether you might expand a bit on student reactions to having their videos taken down by YouTube. How did they react, and in what ways did the learning experiences they had as a result fulfill your goals as an instructor? More importantly, how might a consideration of these experiences help us think through the points that Juhasz and Vaidhyanathan make above?
This is all too true with ethics/teaching. Its interesting that often times teachers use sites like youtube/Facebook/Myspace without keenly reading the privacy facts, and essentially prostituting a class setting to advertisement/political objectives/biases of a corporate site.
Yes this is all too true. Too many times do teachers use these social sites without keenly reading the privacy facts, and by way of this they prostitute their class to a whole list of advertisement/political ends.
But is it actually deviating or encouraging such stereotyping above and beyond what pop-culture has already reinforced through decades on TV, Radio, Fashion and etc?
I was described Pageflakes a day ago. Very neat.
This is interesting because the activism present within a YouTube Paradigm likely reflects the same capitalist activism seen in day to day, “reality,” life.
The interesting thing too is that YouTube’s actual police force is compiled in three ways. The first, there computer system is able to play almost instantly the media which you have uploaded and run it against auditory/video matches/etc. to police whether copyright infringement has occurred, second it has actual people filtering and monitoring un/flagged content and comments, and finally the mob like factor of the audience is objectionable because it can, referable to its social biases, flag/object to videos they don’t like. For example, there was several years back a series of anti-semitism carried out by Islamic online groups through YouTube — they would flag news Jewish news videos/hand operated camera videos that had been uploaded depicting the aftermath of a terrorist bombing. The monitors would take the video off, even when it expressly didn’t show any inappropriate content. Either CNN or BBC had mentioned it briefly, but the determining factor on WHO polices YouTube the most (the mob) was never fully brought up.
You might want to explain “primitive” as it is a 3D/SL specific word.
I’m not understanding what you mean by “perceptive disconnection.”
SL is somewhat faddish (forgive me for saying it // major population drops as of late, no?), but is also part of a long continuum of MOOs and MUDs. I think you might want to give a little bit more (a couple of sentences) context and use that to frame how this is not just about SL specifically (at least I assume it isn’t entirely about SL), but about immersive non-game based simulations of all kinds (e.g. the kinds that might succeed SL). This will allow the essay a longer shelf life before it becomes dated such that is no longer useable.
This is a really interesting point that I think potentially warrants further exploration. What are your direct tactics for “balancing retention of legacy content?” Does SL do this better than other platforms? If so, what lessons could be taken back to other platforms.
These question/statements are partly framed in my frustration of having separate blogs for each instantiation of a course and which usually means I compartmentalize them entirely.
Somewhat awkward transition here. I know we were asked to comment on desired changes, but without that knowledge it would feel pretty abrupt. Maybe a transitional sentence, or maybe a section header.
This definition should be at the very top. The history that follows in the next to paragraphs could also be up there.
You should also mention/address the broader uses of SL as a teaching space. These include general lectures delivered outside of an institution, to communities of teachers teaching remote ESL/language learner classes (http://www.its-teachers.com/destinations/second_life/second_life03.asp). Right now the three references you give are geographically and disciplinarily unified, and I think they don’t represent the full extent of the kinds of ways that SL is being used as a teaching tool.
This is an important point about it being another world, not another classroom.
Second Life seems to be the darling of academics, and journalists alike. As for gamers, and those who spend lots of times in online ‘virtual worlds’ it’s a second-rate novelty world at best. However, I think it’s important to note the distinction between many of the more popular MMOs like WoW, EVE, WAR, EQ and others. That is, these MMOs, while perhaps a bit more realistic in their presentation, are much more restrictive in the freedoms they allow their players. And that’s one of the more compelling things about Second Life: it’s a blank slate, a kind of shared virtual space that has lived, until now, only in the imagination of authors like William Gibson. Sure, SL is kind of gimmicky, and maybe it will become dated as users move on to more popular and flexible platforms (Minecraft?) but it is fascinating because to look at it, is to look at the possibilities of teaching in a virtual space.
I still find it surprising that McLuhan was able to predict the World Wide Web 28 years before its creation. His efforts should be applauded.
I still remember when those huge Nokia phones came out; they were the most happening thing on the block. I do agree that when we incorporate tools into our lives, they do end up becoming habits. Now I cannot survive without my cellphone. Yet, our ancestors had been done it for thousands of years.
Sorry!The above comment is actually for paragraph 2…The comment below is for par. 1
I vouch for the use of new technology to teach students; it seems best to use their strengths for their advancement in learning.
Posting on such social networks as Flickr and Twitter can generate much feedback, both positive and negative. But, my only concern is that since such networks do present a very social/platonic setting, students may be deprived of the scholarly feedback they need to advance.
In other terms, the research talks back literally.
I do prefer on the spot questioning and answering. But, those who have not attended the conferences, or those who have attended yet still have lingering questions, can certainly use Twitter to their benefit. Maybe we can some how utlize this approach to benefit students and their learning process.
New form of marching without the actual march!
Students depart from learning that requires more reading. I am all for “Less is more!”
Why ‘evanescent’ sense of responsibility, or am I missing something about the meaning of this word in this particular context?
This was really interesting to me — the way in which students performed the familiar in staging their exams.
Would it be worthwhile to mention something like Vimeo in the context of contemporary video uploading? Not the same, I know…
Not sure you need ‘these’ in reference to ‘tools’
I use “evanescent” because it captures a sense of transition from one set of attributes that characterize “clarity” to another, and my own inability to let go. Does this make sense?
I agree – and it’s an interesting notion in conjunction with your work. Indeed, I think much of the territory we’re “discovering” in rethinking teaching and learning via media now is territory well covered by film and video artists in the ’80s and ’90s, especially by feminists and video essayists…
Great – thanks for your feedback!
Here’s the Merriam Webster def:
1. Soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.
2. Denoting a field or wave that extends into a region where it cannot propagate and whose amplitude therefore decreases with distance.
Those are the associations I usually have with the word. If it’s being used these days in a different way, it’s kind of news to me. Your use of it may make sense, but it derailed me a little. I really like this piece, though.
Yes, I concur on emphasizing publicity over sociality in this case. Compared to Twitter and others, Delicious seems to function much less as a broadcast medium and more as an indexical trace. I’ve come to depend on my Delicious network of strangers and friends for a stream of information that reflects great specificities of study, and relatively little consideration for perceived public good. This I count as a good thing, as the Delicious user is less burdened than a Wikipedia author by questions of merit. Perhaps a spatial metaphor might help distinguish this tool from others – to (publicly) store on delicious is more like those temporary trail markers left by hikers – a pile of stones to mark a turn – than the proverbial warchalking, so often cited in the social web. The hiker lays a forked stick in the trail to enable herself to retrace and retrieve – even knowing that others might see it, but not necessarily for others to see. This is a distinction that I learned THROUGH using delicious, and so as I move forward in search of a new tool, I have now already been organized BY delicious, into certain ways of treating public and private.
One struggle I face in the classroom with Delicious – which I too use often – is how to anticipate and incorporate the duration of adaptation required for new users. I can require a certain number of links per week of a student, but that doesn’t actually build a new user – that merely enforces a set of actions. Actual use requires some degree of buy-in, some willingness to begin leave the observable trace behind – and that is something students are understandably loathe to do under supervision and scrutiny. I have found that most students who start using delicious don’t use it effectively until AFTER they are finished with my class – and then, I start learning from their feeds too. Thanks for the great essay, and a chance to reflect on this medium tool as it transitions.
Wow, this is ambitious!
Does an all-in-one too help you think critically about the material you’re filing away?
A very good question! I used DevonThink for a while, and Evernote for a bit, but always found myself wanting separate databases for different kinds of data, rather than one giant bucket.
This is very interesting; the different levels of social interaction here described move us away from the social/individual binary we often see in discussions of technologies like these. (You’re missing a “the,” though, I think, in the phrase “I’m not [the] most social user of social media.”)
Fantastic essay, Shannon, particularly in the wake of the announcement of Delicious’s imminent demise. I love the ways you think here about how and why you bookmark, and how and why you might transmit those ideas to your students. And I really love the distinction you draw between “publicity” and “sociality.” I’ll be curious to hear what new platform you’ve selected, and how it changes your practices…
[…] I mentioned a while ago, I wrote a piece on “teaching with Delicious” for the Institute for Distributed Creativity/Trebor […]
Agree, but a splendid project. And as an assignment for students it also holds a great deal of promise.
It’s possible that the term “verisimilitude” may require a parenthetical assist to define for the non-academic reader, such as “interface realism” OR consider a direct link to the wikipedia entry for this term if the discussion is considered acceptable, relevant and supporting <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verisimilitude_(literature)>
This is (probably) a common point across the Reader that is very well stated in this paragraph. Situating the discussion of a tool’s context over its purpose with such a strong assertion could be an overstatement, however, perhaps an overcompensation for the “halcyon” days. The assumption that teachers and learners will definitely and inevitably “catch-up” to the pace of technological development isn’t assured, especially when it tends to occur as a kind of punctuated equilibrium, evolutionarily speaking.
The essay effectively argues that a critical response to how we use digital tools ought to supplant pragmatic and “experimental” deployments. A brief speculation could imagine a moment when our use of digital media won’t need to be pre-occupied with “critical” deployments and instead, can evolve towards media that educates as a more invisible, integrated, and seamlessly involved (“ubiquitous”) regularized teaching and learning experience. This would probably be a moment when we let go of verisimilitude in digital media for learning in favor of a truly universalized University.
I really appreciate this part of the essay, indeed it might serve as a set of guidelines all instructors should get. But, can you explain what you mean by “laboratory method?” I can think of several interpretations of what you mean by this.
Technical issue: Wondering if clicking on the image could yield a larger version of this picture. As is the resolution is not really adequate enough for really understanding or looking at the screen capture.
In this paragraph, you mention both Blackboard and Moodle. Throughout your thoughts, your examples seem to be based solely on Blackboard. I generally agree with your comment and see that the Blackboard environment is ‘closed’ in the sense that they do not encourage linkages to other tools. However, Moodle is different. As it is an open-source product, use of external products is limited only by the ability of the individual to connect to it. Yes, sometimes that involves the development of software modules to do it. However, with the large group of developers adding to Moodle, access to many external services is already available.
What a wonderful analogy! I really like this beginning and can see where it is going right away. My main purpose in using digital media is to connect my students to each other and the texts, not to alienate them in any way.
[…] Here are some select quotes from the article: […]
“community is the classroom” is a cute phrase but I’m not sure what you mean? Might need unpacking a little.
I might ref. LPFM too
This section seems longer and more technical and thus appears IMHO to be unbalanced with the other sections. I would advise summarizing.
I would add a short paragraph that sets up what you are arguing in this section of the paper.
Thank you for your comments.
I agree that LPFM is an important type of community media. However, because the focus of this essay is teaching and learning with digital video, I decided to limit the scope of this discussion to public, educational, and government access television. Perhaps I could mention LPFM as one of many community media outlets that have approached the use of digital media in new and exciting ways, such as with podcasting, audio webstreaming, etc.
Thank you again for your review.
YES! the boundary between learner and author is very narrow. i first noticed this about twenty years ago when my then eleven year old son spent a summer writing a visual almanac of the ocean in hypercard. later that fall, we visited the scripps aquarium in La Jolla and he knew so much about many of the species we saw. when i asked him how he knew so much he said, “oh i learned all this while making the visual almanac”
actually i notice this paragraph makes no sense. It should be:
“This form of Book Sprint has been developed at FLOSS Manuals, a library of cost-free (and freely licensed) manuals about free software…”
I am happy this point is made here and discussed.
As a participant in two book sprints (Collaborative Futures 1st ed. + Collaborative Futures 2st ed.) I found both of them to be the most intense and productive learning experiences of my life (!!!). It is like a think tank that is bound to produce not just a general document, but an actual book—with all of the historical baggage that writing a book caries.
I am really interested in turning the format into a wider pedagogical tool.
I was interested when I read about the adoption of Booki in an undergraduate course and would like to know a bit more about how the Booki assignment is structured: how long; are there content templates; are there page limits; what were the initial challenges and how were they addressed?
Also in terms of learning outcomes, I am wondering if the instructor sought Booki to address a particular learning outcome, or whether Book I generated the need to place new learning outcomes in the syllabus they emerged from this project.
Here is where I would like to see the essay expand. This is the most important point begin made, that somehow Booki and the Book Sprint were different from a a five day pow-wow with five laptops in a room… but to be honest, from these four paragraphs it is not clear how… how specifically is the software changing the process, if one prints and physically sits on the floor and manually cuts and pastes.How is this different from merging track changes, or using other editing software in the same physical space? I think I can imagine it, but I would like more concrete examples of how let’s say a particular book chapter or paragraph benefited from the unique features of this process. Also I am imagining I can search and find these manuals or the course described below, but a link or two here, or an excerpt showing how the draft process came to be would be helpful for the reader to see the evolution of the book via Booki
See my comment below and then perhaps tell the reader early on how ” group process” is specifically different using Booki.
What is the name of the book.. I searched the Booki books link and could not locate it and I would like to see a student product, and then the instructors assessment of the book as it relates to the learning outcomes of the course.
It is very helpful to have this LoC policy decision re-articulated here in this Reader. Making distinct the blurry boundaries between legal and illegal use of media with tools like Handbrake is a very valuable contribution.
It is a valuable contribution to remind Readers of their Fair Use media rights, thanks to US LoC policy making. Connecting this policy to Handbrake is a useful means of empowering more educators and learners to innovate with their deserved Fair Use abilities.
I assume this paragraph refers to the “—for a short while, anyway—” phrase of paragraph 8? It’s appropriate to incorporate how the inevitable obsolescence of DVD will shift the moment of in medias res for the narrative of media formats into the coming age of media beyond a physical conveyance.
Indeed, in my rush to address the hardware narrative here, I forgot to mention this! I should absolutely add a sentence about this, to reflect in fact the way I cover it in the classroom. thanks.
This reminds me of the Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. decision (or the Betamax case) and how precarious this decision was (5-4), almost went the other way, making VHS copying illegal.
Could you say more about giving them this choice? Reason? Motivation? How many take it? Do you still give them this choice after the 2010 LoC ruling?
i think one has to exercise care using the word “place” in this context, since, without a qualifier, its use here, suggests that places can only be real-world and syncrhonous. i think this is counter however to our experience over the past twenty years indicating that virtual synchronous or asynchronous spaces share many of the crucial aspects of physical space in terms of facilitating human communication and interaction.
“the drive towards the bigger, better and faster has left us with devices that are out of sync with our work patterns. ” this is a crucial point. we vastly underestimate the profound changes in behavior that powerful new technologies require. we are not adapting anywhere near as quickly as we are inventing.
The ability “to construct cultures that do not depend on place” is a seductive aspect of the Social Web. I assume that blogs belong to the Social Web, so I would discriminate a bit here. Personally, a great deal of what I see on Facebook turns me off, and actually sends me rushing to find experiences that satisfy ALL my senses. However, I have found interactions on blogs extremely exciting and intellectually satisfatory. The feeling was never of wasted time. How do we bridge both to teach/learn better?
The problem is that the market is what moves all this. In a pre-capitalist society, inventions were the products of true visionaries with true intentions to better the world. Now, a great deal of them are the product of personal ambition. We are left wondering in this sea of change. Devices are nothing but containers, and it seems to me that the desire of the market is that what fills all those containers is similarly profitable.
I think I understand the point you are trying to make here, but wonder if a bit more nuance is appropriate. I am not sure if multi-tasking is such a modern idea (e.g. multi-tasking while cooking is often necessary), nor I am prepared to concede that its efficiency is entirely a myth, for everybody, for all tasks. I any case, you might consider narrowing down your claim a bit and citing specific studies (Nass is not in your endnotes below).
I like the topic and the essay.
I wonder if you might want to connect your formulation of “smaller, better, slower” to the slow movements (slow food, slow reading, etc.).
I know these chapters are meant to focus on a particular solution, and we aren’t bound to enumerate an entire class of tools, however, especially since you are selling this software, you really should discuss similar alternatives. The Yes Men’s Steve Lampert written self-control, a very similar tool released under the GPL, which I hope we mention alongside Freedom in our book. There is also concentrate which isn’t open source, but does have a rich set of features.
Similarly, I wonder if you might want to add a paragraph describing another anti-distraction strategy – going retro and clearing your desktop dos-style. WriteRooom, OhmWriter, and the open source PyRoom all focus on reducing visual clutter, in contrast to social clutter. I think this addition would complement the discussion nicely.
Berkam -> Berkman
I think she goes by “Cathy Davidson” professionally.
[…] An alternative to a learning site like iLearn might look something like Jon Ippolito’s “The Pool,” which I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. In this system, students help one another […]
The collection Learning Through Digital Media offers a grounded analysis of a number of significant and recent situations of online learning. The collection appropriately includes examples of uses of online services with influence and application beyond classrooms (Wave, Facebook, Twitter, Zotero, Flickr, Ushahidi and Wikimedia). In these environments student learning opens onto more diverse and authentic vectors of connection than most uses of closed e-learning platforms. As such, the collection is important both as pedagogical insight and as timely cultural politics.
What a tremendous critical resource for students, faculty and anyone else seriously interested in how contemporary media have and will continue to shape the landscape of teaching and learning.
A stellar group of scholars examine a wide range of platforms and programs reshaping pedagogy. These researchers are committed to the social implications of technology and learning, both in the classroom and in the public sphere. Thoughtful and engaged, these essays help us rethink our pedagogical assumptions through the limits and affordance of digital media. This is an indispensible collection for educators interested in the future of their practice.
Please change the name from Index to something else, or change the content. While full-text search is great for finding material quickly, it can also be misleading. Imagine the reader searching for “remove” when the document uses only “delete.”
I’d like to see this page be an intelligent list of concepts, ideas, etc referenced in the text–a traditional index–wherein someone can glean the contents of the material and can find material they might otherwise not find via the table of contents or text search.
It is too bad that all of the chapters are no longer online, as the process is so much part of the product. You should consider making them back available.
I agree completely, Michael; alas, this was the editor’s choice. Perhaps with enough support from other authors we might be able to make the drafts public again…?
I am not sure “instinctively” is the right word, this plays into the sense of “digital natives” and naturalness of technology that might be problematic. To be sure a touch interface is easier to master than the complexities of say the English language, but I am not sure it is any less a language or a learned skill.
Also do you mean infinite “intelligence” or “information.” Those seem to be separate things.
David, thank you for the suggestions. I’m revising the first few sentences slightly to resolve “instinctively” and “intelligence” into less controversial terms.
I revised this first paragraph by (1) acknowledging the two-year is my own to personalize the opening statement, (2) dropped “instinctively” (3) replaced “intelligence” with “information” per David Perry’s suggestion and (4) added two brief sentences to further contrast our adult wonder with our children’s mobile media and technology reality.
Watching my two-year old figure out my iPhone demonstrates how young people can learn a well-developed sense of computer literacy well before mastering language skills. Consider how this moment’s generation of children has been born into an ordinary world of touch screen mobile computers that connect and inform us constantly, perhaps even compulsively. Only adults seem to marvel at mobile features like video-chat. For toddlers, our romantic future is their ordinary present. This new digital mobility shifts us away from a synchronous and simultaneous sense of shared place and time (e.g., the classroom) towards an asynchronous, discontinuous and individualized consumption of software (e.g., “an app for that.”) These new tools engage us all in various contemporary projects of shareable knowledge, hyper-connected communication and collective cognition. Our own constantly connected mobile device puts nearly infinite information at our fingertips in a dematerialized, timeless and placeless context. Strangely though, the fruits of this placeless and timeless mobility shift yield a seemingly tactile media (e.g., multi-touch) for chronological (e.g., blog) and geo-locative (e.g., check-in) tendencies.
[…] Forlano, Ethnographic Research And Digital Media *An innovative approach to teaching students how to use technology in ethnographic […]
You note a heavy emphasis on teamwork and collaboration – I’m curious if you offer any guidelines or models for successful collaboration?
I’m fascinated by the use of spectrum analysis – and the idea connects with some of the ideas in your Situated Technologies Pamphlet (of which I’m a big fan!), grounding ethnography in a different milieu than what we’re accustomed to considering. Thanks for this –
Great article, thanks for sharing!
There are many other teachers and students who love using mind maps in and outside of the classroom, and there are millions of business professionals who use them at work. If you haven’t tried mind mapping yet, give it a try – you’ll discover a brand new way of taking notes, managing information, and learning.
I like the idea of voice recording a lot.
Could you say a little more about why the open review essays were removed? I’m disappointed not to find the process archived here — for the purposes of future discussions of open review modes. I assume the reasons for doing this were substantive and strong or the essays would not have been removed.
Hi, Katherine. You may want to contact the editor directly about this question, though I’d love to have that discussion take place here! –K.
It would be real helpful to point to some examples of this and say a little more about how seamlessness is suspect. So many educators who first get iMovie in their hands see that seamlessness – something Apple has strived to implement with ever greater control over the years of iMovie’s development – as the main benefit of the software. I think giving educators some helpful hints about how the seamless brings ideology with it would be GREAT. (iMovie once was also just a shell for manipulating Quicktime, for example. One could access the .mov files directly, move them around, re-edit them and re-import. Ever since they hid that stuff, the program has been useless to me in the classroom.)
This is a great essay and adds alot of historical texture and detail to the evolution of video editing. Michael and I worked on the video annotations chapter, which in many ways is a natural complement to yours. Perhaps we can try to weave a few more interconnections, around a few central questions?
After you have had a chance to look our chapter over, maybe we can discuss your thoughts on forms mutimedia critical essays? Your opinions on the differences between teaching editing and expression skills versus literacy and comprehension? The relative value of shooting your own material compared to working with found footage?
This paragraph of ours alludes to emerging forms of composition and presentation, and might be a good place to refer to some of your ideas.
Let’s be in touch.
This is a fantastic assignment, Mark! So often we teach research skills through atomized projects that often feel like busywork to students. Here, you’ve integrated myriad research <i>skills</i> — project definition, use of research databases, note-taking, citation, abstracting, etc. — within a larger research <i>ethos</i> — one based on collaboration — to model for students how these various tasks are integral means to a larger, more meaningful end.
I’ve used a similar series of assignments in various Masters-level methodology and “intro to grad studies”-type classes. Your essay has encouraged me to think more about how we, too, could make better use of Zotero’s “Groups” and shared bibliographies. What if we considered these shared bibliographies “living” documents whose evolution continues past the semester’s end? I can imagine new students in future sections of our classes being invited to make use of and contribute to these evolving lists. Realizing that this is an ongoing project can help students to feel as if they’re part of a living textual community. Noting the similarities and differences in the sources their classmates have cited, and the different tags and notes their classmates have added to those sources, could help to illuminate different critical reading practices and promote critical practice of Zotero itself.
I love the “user” vs “critical practitioner” distinction. One can’t help but think of the “digital natives” idea, and this distinction nicely refutes that.
Your obsolescence caveat certainly rings true for me, Jonah: on the day I received the proofs for my Delicious essay, Yahoo announced that it was “sunset”-ting Delicious and some of of its other properties. Your piece reinforced what I learned from the Delicious panic: that is, how important it is, in teaching (with) digital media, to focus on cultivating “cross-platform” skills — or general principles (regarding production, in your case; and citation and annotation, in mine) that are independent of their operationalization in any particular software or hardware.
I studied Fine Arts in Spain and I finished my degree at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. There,I attended Human Computer Interaction classes,where I had my first contact with a micro-controler. As a video artist, it was an enlightened experience which it made me continue with the digital arts studies. Basic Stamp was my first micro-controler, I did some interactive installations as well and since then, I have used interactive software like Pure Data, Eyesweb, etc. improving my ideas, creativity and artistic expression.
In the present, my dissertation is about how technology and science can be work through arts and how creativity acts on this matter. In this way, creativity is an important issue due to artists and scientists increasing their knowledge and amplifying their view of their own work. Another aspect to take into account is the fact that technology is basically made by big companies that impose market trends, that is, gadgets, software and hardware that we have to use and we have to buy. So we are losing the hand-made tradition -or thinking by yourself about whatever item, losing the capacity for critical analysis- because we just have to consume new products constantly. This is a big problem made by the fact that technology becomes obsolete very quickly.
If students learn about technology while they create art projects, then “they adopt a critical view of digital media and the tools used to create a project question how digital media is used and decide whether there might be a better way to accomplish a project than what already exists.”- as Jonah Brucker-Cohen explain in this article-. People must be aware of the importance of knowing how technology works and how our bodies interact with digital systems, so this can be a way to acknowledge people to become more critical about what we consume, which it is possible just through education.
This paragraph is very intriguing, particularly the idea of “alternative rhetorical modes.” One thinks of the recent advances in time-based information graphics (Tim Berners-Lee on TED, etc.) and Manovitch’s celebration of the database as actually coming to social practice as a new form of critical thinking.
This essay offers a route to linking media literacy, visual literacy, and critical thinking that is exciting to see. It is a new area, but one that is going to revolutionize viewing, and making of social media. We just had a conference at Hunter with the BAVC Producers Institute, and the possibilities of augmented reality, of “footnoted” and “expanded” documentary filmmaking were conceptualized and explored in a concrete way by filmmakers working with developers from Google, Xerox Parc, game design shops, etc. This experience reinforced for me the cogency of this chapter. Your essay is clearly based on classroom practice. What a visual/textual essay might be will emerge. In terms of specifics, my sense is that kids given video material turn to mashups and spoofs easily. There is some benefit to any manipulation of the hegemonic output of the media industry, but you suggest more. Here the kind of textual paraphernalia, or at least text-discourse derived notions of what annotation might become is also left open. That is key. Text needs annotation to historicize and contextualize in a different way than visual imagery, so frameworks for pedagogy need to be developed iteratively as you suggest.
For more student reaction, here’s a link to a video made by Dan Anderson at The University of North Carolina summing up his student’s experience reading Ambrose Pierce’s Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge together in CommentPress.
the video is here: http://thoughtpress.org/daniel/blog07-09/videos/owlcreek/index.html
the commentpress edition with student comments is here:
November 2, 2011 at 1:54 pm
See in context
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