New Media Faculty Dev. Seminar – FA2010

"Awakening the Digital Imagination" – a Networked Seminar

Deschooling? Scary

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Post source: Gail'sNew MediaBlog

I really enjoyed today’s discussion of “Learning Webs” in Deschooling Society. My fellow participants had some great comments and insights. While the author made some good points, it is scary to think of changing the educational system in such radical, major ways all at once. I would be afraid the students, and indeed, everyone, would not be motivated or knowledgeable enough to be in charge of their own learning. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. The educational system and the society the author described sounds too different to actually conceptualize it. I can’t see it happening the way the author described it.

I Will Survive…

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Post source: publicintellectual

First, I Was Afraid. I Was Petrified...

or something like that...

I must admit that I struggled with the Deschooling reading for today. Something deep and, seemingly, primal screamed out in slo-mo, "NOOOO!!!!" when the author appeared to belittle the hierarchical order and engagement with knowledge.

"Of course one needs to find and engage with knowledge in order. It's obvious." Or, additionally, the "reorganization" of schools in a deschooled environment, a web of learning, would resulted in further divisions between the haves and have-nots.

But I Spent So Many Nights Thinking How You Did Me Wrong...

Then, however, I began to think as I encountered different examples about how resources were used in ways similar to the author's descriptions, like the tape recorders and mechanical donkeys, that mirrored my experiences in teaching. I teach about half of my day at a relatively lower privileged high school where money seems prevalent for football and computers that remain locked in closets. I see textbooks that cost hundreds of dollars that cost only that much for the reason that they control the flow of information and are driven by the profit motive.

I was also angry about the article's assertion that it was the teachers who held onto this structure. I would love nothing more than to let students be self-directed. In fact, I've structured my final paper in my freshmen writing class to be inspired by a reading of their choice and tried to serve more as guide than a "TEACHER". I encourage them to ask questions that they are interested in and follow the directions that their research sends them. However, they have been so strictly trained against inquiry that these appears to cause the same anguish as ordering them to kill their pet rabbit.

Clearly something is NOT right.

I Grew Strong. I Learned How to Carry On.

The problem that I see in this debate, and the reading itself, is that educators and policy-makers seek answers rather than a dialectic. Just as Ms. Gaynor states in her totemic song, the strength comes from struggle, not the solution. It comes in the realization that the narrator has about what they should have done in the distant and recent past AND in their practical response to what they should do now.

The error of complete reconstructionalists is that they can imagine the world and relationships in that world in any way that they want. They have the luxury of a known fantasy. Gloria Gaynor, along with the vast majority of educators today, knows that the what-if's are as self-interested as the no-good-nic attempting to return.

Perhaps, just maybe, the solution to the education/tech debate rests in the song as she sings to not just focus on
all the strength I had not to fall apart kept trying hard to mend the pieces of my broken heart and I spent oh so many nights just feeling sorry for myself


But rather on the direction provided by the example...
Now I hold my head up high and you see me somebody new. I'm not that chained up little person still in love with you


Yes, we could completely recreate ourselves to meet the expectations of one constituency or another, but then we succeed only in demonstrating something of the lack of value of the very thing that we offer to provide.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

I Will Survive…

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Post source: publicintellectual

First, I Was Afraid. I Was Petrified...

or something like that...

I must admit that I struggled with the Deschooling reading for today. Something deep and, seemingly, primal screamed out in slo-mo, "NOOOO!!!!" when the author appeared to belittle the hierarchical order and engagement with knowledge.

"Of course one needs to find and engage with knowledge in order. It's obvious." Or, additionally, the "reorganization" of schools in a deschooled environment, a web of learning, would resulted in further divisions between the haves and have-nots.

But I Spent So Many Nights Thinking How You Did Me Wrong...

Then, however, I began to think as I encountered different examples about how resources were used in ways similar to the author's descriptions, like the tape recorders and mechanical donkeys, that mirrored my experiences in teaching. I teach about half of my day at a relatively lower privileged high school where money seems prevalent for football and computers that remain locked in closets. I see textbooks that cost hundreds of dollars that cost only that much for the reason that they control the flow of information and are driven by the profit motive.

I was also angry about the article's assertion that it was the teachers who held onto this structure. I would love nothing more than to let students be self-directed. In fact, I've structured my final paper in my freshmen writing class to be inspired by a reading of their choice and tried to serve more as guide than a "TEACHER". I encourage them to ask questions that they are interested in and follow the directions that their research sends them. However, they have been so strictly trained against inquiry that these appears to cause the same anguish as ordering them to kill their pet rabbit.

Clearly something is NOT right.

I Grew Strong. I Learned How to Carry On.

The problem that I see in this debate, and the reading itself, is that educators and policy-makers seek answers rather than a dialectic. Just as Ms. Gaynor states in her totemic song, the strength comes from struggle, not the solution. It comes in the realization that the narrator has about what they should have done in the distant and recent past AND in their practical response to what they should do now.

The error of complete reconstructionalists is that they can imagine the world and relationships in that world in any way that they want. They have the luxury of a known fantasy. Gloria Gaynor, along with the vast majority of educators today, knows that the what-if's are as self-interested as the no-good-nic attempting to return.

Perhaps, just maybe, the solution to the education/tech debate rests in the song as she sings to not just focus on
all the strength I had not to fall apart kept trying hard to mend the pieces of my broken heart and I spent oh so many nights just feeling sorry for myself


But rather on the direction provided by the example...
Now I hold my head up high and you see me somebody new. I'm not that chained up little person still in love with you


Yes, we could completely recreate ourselves to meet the expectations of one constituency or another, but then we succeed only in demonstrating something of the lack of value of the very thing that we offer to provide.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

I Will Survive…

No comments

Post source: publicintellectual

First, I Was Afraid. I Was Petrified...

or something like that...

I must admit that I struggled with the Deschooling reading for today. Something deep and, seemingly, primal screamed out in slo-mo, "NOOOO!!!!" when the author appeared to belittle the hierarchical order and engagement with knowledge.

"Of course one needs to find and engage with knowledge in order. It's obvious." Or, additionally, the "reorganization" of schools in a deschooled environment, a web of learning, would resulted in further divisions between the haves and have-nots.

But I Spent So Many Nights Thinking How You Did Me Wrong...

Then, however, I began to think as I encountered different examples about how resources were used in ways similar to the author's descriptions, like the tape recorders and mechanical donkeys, that mirrored my experiences in teaching. I teach about half of my day at a relatively lower privileged high school where money seems prevalent for football and computers that remain locked in closets. I see textbooks that cost hundreds of dollars that cost only that much for the reason that they control the flow of information and are driven by the profit motive.

I was also angry about the article's assertion that it was the teachers who held onto this structure. I would love nothing more than to let students be self-directed. In fact, I've structured my final paper in my freshmen writing class to be inspired by a reading of their choice and tried to serve more as guide than a "TEACHER". I encourage them to ask questions that they are interested in and follow the directions that their research sends them. However, they have been so strictly trained against inquiry that these appears to cause the same anguish as ordering them to kill their pet rabbit.

Clearly something is NOT right.

I Grew Strong. I Learned How to Carry On.

The problem that I see in this debate, and the reading itself, is that educators and policy-makers seek answers rather than a dialectic. Just as Ms. Gaynor states in her totemic song, the strength comes from struggle, not the solution. It comes in the realization that the narrator has about what they should have done in the distant and recent past AND in their practical response to what they should do now.

The error of complete reconstructionalists is that they can imagine the world and relationships in that world in any way that they want. They have the luxury of a known fantasy. Gloria Gaynor, along with the vast majority of educators today, knows that the what-if's are as self-interested as the no-good-nic attempting to return.

Perhaps, just maybe, the solution to the education/tech debate rests in the song as she sings to not just focus on
all the strength I had not to fall apart kept trying hard to mend the pieces of my broken heart and I spent oh so many nights just feeling sorry for myself


But rather on the direction provided by the example...
Now I hold my head up high and you see me somebody new. I'm not that chained up little person still in love with you


Yes, we could completely recreate ourselves to meet the expectations of one constituency or another, but then we succeed only in demonstrating something of the lack of value of the very thing that we offer to provide.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Turkle, Video Games, and Flow

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Post source: Gail'sNew MediaBlog

I’ve played a video game twice, I think. The first was Pac Man, which I remember as being kind of fun, although I felt that I was not very good at the game. The second, I think, was Grand Theft Auto. I remember trying and failing miserably, to keep my car from crashing into things. I felt very out of control. My kids laughed and explained you were supposed to crash into things, not try to avoid it.  I didn’t enjoy that game at all.

So, I’ve never experienced the “altered state” while playing a video game that Turkle described. However, I can understand what she described as “muscle memory” or “flow” as being similar to sports when the mental and physical come together, and the body knows what to do without one being aware of the mind telling it what to do. I had a good friend who was an excellent golfer and he explained that feeling while playing golf. I used to play the piano and remember that feeling of “flow” — like my hands and fingers were moving on their own without my thinking about it.  

I can understand those who play video games and experience this feeling and use the game to kind of “self medicate” in order to unwind, de-stress, or feel in control of something. With me, it just won’t be video games I use to do this. I’d rather be reading a good book! To each his own!

Laurel-Computer as Agent

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Post source: Gail'sNew MediaBlog

One of Laurel’s points that I related to was her question “Can computers think?” Of course not, but the author describes the Aristotelian point of view that an agent, is “one who takes action” , and the more accepted legal definition of “one who is empowered to act on behalf of another”. We accept that our computers are our agents, performing actions at our request. However, it is easy to forget that momentarily and to attribute the action to the computer. I find myself doing this all the time. In fact, I did it during the day’s discussion of this reading. I was complaining about my ipad “doing this” and “not letting me do that” when I was confronted by a fellow seminar participant (Thanks, Stephen), and was brought up short and realized, “Oops, yes, I’m doing just what is described in the article” .  What an illustration of the author’s point!

Post source: publicintellectual

A bit of background is necessary before I get into my belated discussion of Turkle (which I thought I had put on timed release but did not, I suppose).

First, I love games of all sorts. One of my favorite things to do with my family has always been to play games. My brother and I used to fight over the monthly arrival of the Games magazine. We love crosswords, computer games, arcade games, car games, and any other sort of game known to mankind.

I believe that this game-centric lifestyle has warped me to no end. I constantly play games in my mind at almost all times. One of my favorites is to take things that people say and try to think of songs or quotes from movies/TV that fit or follow from this. "Come on!" almost always elicits an internal completion of "Eileen" and a subconscious break-out into "toora loora toora loo rye aye" etc. (Albeit, my version is the Save Ferris version rather than the Dexy's Midnight Runners').

Second, I did not have a console gaming system for a long, long, long time after all of my friends had one, other than an Atari 800, which was ostensibly a computer. So, Nintendo, Sega, and Playstation systems were always a bit of a fetish item for me. I did eventually buy a PS1 and a PS2 after they went down in price, but by that time, it was not cool.

This means that my sort of my gaming came a series of fits and starts that depended on what my friends had and were playing. It meant that I never got really good at any of the games that other people played and would constantly have to submit to the query of, "Do you want to have me help you through is part?"

Conclusion
Combining these, I feel a polarity that I'm not sure I see in Turkle's work, although I might see it reflected. It is that gaming, whether it was a form of social connection and/or mental expansion and challenge, was never, for me at least, a matter of this zen-like connection that Turkle observes.

For me, it was a battle with the movable parts that Turkle claims to not exist in video games, despite my battles with sticky controller buttons, high ping/lag, or have the less-than-modern mouse or joystick. it was a battle with not being able to devote the time and energy to claim some social status.

Even in the faculty seminar with the fact that I'm more gamer than most of my colleagues, I am noob of all noobs in comparison to those around me. My student toss off their kill ratios and ask me about whether I've played the new Fallout (no), and I'm left without a response. A couple years ago, I taught a mass media intro class and had a day on identity construction in video games. I brought in my PS2 and Guitar Hero II, a wonderful example of mastery and the zen-like meditation that Turkle describes, and I was pawned in ways that I'm sure you can imagine.

Fortunately, now, I can retreat to my farm and enjoy a leisurely time of planting tomatoes.




Or, better yet, I can turn down the lights and watch "Dory" mate.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Post source: publicintellectual

A bit of background is necessary before I get into my belated discussion of Turkle (which I thought I had put on timed release but did not, I suppose).

First, I love games of all sorts. One of my favorite things to do with my family has always been to play games. My brother and I used to fight over the monthly arrival of the Games magazine. We love crosswords, computer games, arcade games, car games, and any other sort of game known to mankind.

I believe that this game-centric lifestyle has warped me to no end. I constantly play games in my mind at almost all times. One of my favorites is to take things that people say and try to think of songs or quotes from movies/TV that fit or follow from this. "Come on!" almost always elicits an internal completion of "Eileen" and a subconscious break-out into "toora loora toora loo rye aye" etc. (Albeit, my version is the Save Ferris version rather than the Dexy's Midnight Runners').

Second, I did not have a console gaming system for a long, long, long time after all of my friends had one, other than an Atari 800, which was ostensibly a computer. So, Nintendo, Sega, and Playstation systems were always a bit of a fetish item for me. I did eventually buy a PS1 and a PS2 after they went down in price, but by that time, it was not cool.

This means that my sort of my gaming came a series of fits and starts that depended on what my friends had and were playing. It meant that I never got really good at any of the games that other people played and would constantly have to submit to the query of, "Do you want to have me help you through is part?"

Conclusion
Combining these, I feel a polarity that I'm not sure I see in Turkle's work, although I might see it reflected. It is that gaming, whether it was a form of social connection and/or mental expansion and challenge, was never, for me at least, a matter of this zen-like connection that Turkle observes.

For me, it was a battle with the movable parts that Turkle claims to not exist in video games, despite my battles with sticky controller buttons, high ping/lag, or have the less-than-modern mouse or joystick. it was a battle with not being able to devote the time and energy to claim some social status.

Even in the faculty seminar with the fact that I'm more gamer than most of my colleagues, I am noob of all noobs in comparison to those around me. My student toss off their kill ratios and ask me about whether I've played the new Fallout (no), and I'm left without a response. A couple years ago, I taught a mass media intro class and had a day on identity construction in video games. I brought in my PS2 and Guitar Hero II, a wonderful example of mastery and the zen-like meditation that Turkle describes, and I was pawned in ways that I'm sure you can imagine.

Fortunately, now, I can retreat to my farm and enjoy a leisurely time of planting tomatoes.




Or, better yet, I can turn down the lights and watch "Dory" mate.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Post source: publicintellectual

A bit of background is necessary before I get into my belated discussion of Turkle (which I thought I had put on timed release but did not, I suppose).

First, I love games of all sorts. One of my favorite things to do with my family has always been to play games. My brother and I used to fight over the monthly arrival of the Games magazine. We love crosswords, computer games, arcade games, car games, and any other sort of game known to mankind.

I believe that this game-centric lifestyle has warped me to no end. I constantly play games in my mind at almost all times. One of my favorites is to take things that people say and try to think of songs or quotes from movies/TV that fit or follow from this. "Come on!" almost always elicits an internal completion of "Eileen" and a subconscious break-out into "toora loora toora loo rye aye" etc. (Albeit, my version is the Save Ferris version rather than the Dexy's Midnight Runners').

Second, I did not have a console gaming system for a long, long, long time after all of my friends had one, other than an Atari 800, which was ostensibly a computer. So, Nintendo, Sega, and Playstation systems were always a bit of a fetish item for me. I did eventually buy a PS1 and a PS2 after they went down in price, but by that time, it was not cool.

This means that my sort of my gaming came a series of fits and starts that depended on what my friends had and were playing. It meant that I never got really good at any of the games that other people played and would constantly have to submit to the query of, "Do you want to have me help you through is part?"

Conclusion
Combining these, I feel a polarity that I'm not sure I see in Turkle's work, although I might see it reflected. It is that gaming, whether it was a form of social connection and/or mental expansion and challenge, was never, for me at least, a matter of this zen-like connection that Turkle observes.

For me, it was a battle with the movable parts that Turkle claims to not exist in video games, despite my battles with sticky controller buttons, high ping/lag, or have the less-than-modern mouse or joystick. it was a battle with not being able to devote the time and energy to claim some social status.

Even in the faculty seminar with the fact that I'm more gamer than most of my colleagues, I am noob of all noobs in comparison to those around me. My student toss off their kill ratios and ask me about whether I've played the new Fallout (no), and I'm left without a response. A couple years ago, I taught a mass media intro class and had a day on identity construction in video games. I brought in my PS2 and Guitar Hero II, a wonderful example of mastery and the zen-like meditation that Turkle describes, and I was pawned in ways that I'm sure you can imagine.

Fortunately, now, I can retreat to my farm and enjoy a leisurely time of planting tomatoes.




Or, better yet, I can turn down the lights and watch "Dory" mate.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Deschooling

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Post source: mccmktg

There are certainly merits for de-institutionalizing education. However, I could not get past the idea that the system described would be incredibly disadvantageous to children of lower socio-economic households.  I wonder if Illich had spent much time with children and parents who live in multi-generational poverty.  Those households are in constant chaos.  Parents for the most part have no interest/ability to guide their children in education.  Along these lines, in Outliers, there is a report on Annette Lareau’s research on parenting styles.  She found the styles divided along class lines  and cited examples like coaching children to speak up, finding resources and opportunities for children and interacting with people in authority.  Lareau concluded that children from wealthy homes are taught attitudes that are “suited to success in the modern world.”  Illich mentions the role of parents, but does not address how to overcome the wide disparity of abilities.

About midway through, the article on deschooling hit me as an article on home schooling.

One of Illich’s indictments of educators is their desire to keep knowledge a secret. This made me think of our discussion of the apparent unwillingness of the IT guys to share their knowledge.  But really aren’t most professions guilty — doctors, lawyers accountants?  I’m reminded of an email this week referring to a mechanic’s keeping secret the location of a radiator drain plug.  Maybe this desire to keep secrets is actually the very reason a system of education has developed.  The experts are not willing to share!  IF that is the case, Illich’s entire scenario would fall.

An Aside — Is it just me, or do articles in electronic form have way more errors than articles in print?