New Media Faculty Dev. Seminar – FA2010

"Awakening the Digital Imagination" – a Networked Seminar

On Marshall McLuhan

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Post source: JoMama Meets the New Media

The film clip with Woody Allen and Marshall McLuhan that someone posted on the networked blog was both amusing and  applicable.  ”Why can’t life be like that?”  Well, if the medium is indeed the message, then I would think it often is.  After plowing through the pages in McLuhan’s two selections, however, I can easily imagine McLuhan being the fellow behind Woody Allen in the line, pontificating about Joyce, Rimbaud, Ruskin, Pope, and Rousseau.  I have to admit that most of this was lost on me, but I get the reality of psychic transformation taking place since the time of Gutenberg.  The timing of this particular reading is serendipitously close to our recent experience with Mark Taylor, who spent the afternoon last Friday talking about the rewiring of the human brain over the past couple of decades.  I have been following with fascination the faculty response to his talk.  Most educators with whom I have talked agree emphatically that students today think/behave/study/respond/learn very differently.  The spirited discussion begins at the point where we ask the question “So what then?”  Do we put our energy into the technology (the medium) or into the content (the message), or do we do both, with neither suffering neglect?

I carry with me some lessons that I learned way back in my years as a storyteller, at a time when there wasn’t much (if any) real storytelling going on in our area.   Telling stories to young children without the aid of any props at all – no puppets, no flannel boards, no pictures – I found that children would listen with rapt attention.  Why?  I believe it was because they were hungry (dare I say starved?) for something that they rarely got -

  • eyeball-to-eyeball communication
  • total involvement with the speaker
  • nothing to come between the story and their own imagination

These were children who were being raised with Sesame Street, wonderfully illustrated picture books, beautifully animated movies, bright bulletin boards at school, and endless TV – who rarely were asked to listen, simply to listen.   It isn’t hard for me to imagine that their minds, with only a steady diet of the visual, might just undergo a kind of transformation.

I was also interested to read about McLuhan’s response to the misprinting of his book’s title – being The Medium is the Massage. He saw that as a good mistake, because he thought that the medium does indeed have the function of massaging the content.  I often take exactly the opposite stance – that when surrounded by such super-spectacular media, students lack the ability, the motivation, or the inclination to massage the material, to dig in and work with it.

Post source: JoMama Meets the New Media

I love it that the test group for the interim Dynabook was composed of children. It is humbling to know that while I am today being wowed by the capabilities of Sketchup, a fourteen year old girl was programming just such a thing back in 1977!

The section on music capture (OPUS) piqued my curiosity about where that is at this point.  Having read this but knowing nothing more, I am quite sure that it must be possible to play a new composition on a keyboard on the computer (or ipad) and have it immediately appear as written in musical notation.  My thirteen year old grandson installed a cool piano program on my ipad, so that I can practice piano anywhere I am – so now I want to see how I can transfer my playing to written notation.  Who knows how?

Some Ideas About Tech…

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Post source: publicintellectual

I'm going to take a break from discussing and interacting with the readings until later this week. Don't worry, I have plenty of things to say about Nelson's "Computer Lib/Dream Machines" and Kay/Goldberg's "Personal Dynamic Media", and in some ways, I want this post to bridge between my Nelson-esque rant from last week to a discussion of implications for actual use.

All of this ties into the fact that...
I got an iPad!

This is fascinating to me primarily because I have always had to be supremely self-motivated in my technological direction. Other than my father's devotion to the sadly overlooked and under-appreciated Commodore Amiga,



most of the technology in my life has had to have been self-selected, vetted, and thoroughly argued for/purchased with my own money.

From my alarm clock to my numerous Walkmen, personal cd players, laptops, desktops, pager, cell phones, iPods, flash drives, home theater system, video consoles (PS, PS2, Wii), Kindle, and anything I might have left out, I have spent hours talking to people, checking out Consumer Reports, surfing the web, all in the service of not purchasing something that I would not get solid use out of.

This iPad gives me to opportunity to interact with a media technology on a different level, a reactive level, which has been quite informative.

I want to give one negative aspect and then a bunch of positive things.


Bad- Difficulties of Output
The abilities of the iPad to connect, combine, store, and access a wide variety of media is fabulous, but the difficulty of getting things off of the iPad. I assume that these will be corrected/simplified as things progress, but I would love a couple things: higher quality audio/video output, easier wireless printing, and data/file transfer via bluetooth/WiFi.

Yes, before you start inputting comments, I know that these all have workarounds that are ok, but for my use, as an educator who goes to different rooms with different set-ups (often of widely varying decades of equipment), I'd like to have one thing that I can carry with me with my presentations, online encyclopedia, Kindle access, gradebook, streaming audio/video, etc. all in one. Right now, I have to install Silverlight/Kindle on the computers that I use in the classroom (assuming that the priesthood allows such things), have a selection of flashdrives, and a connection to Google Docs.

I have to say that it's not bad. I like it much more than making overheads/copies, tapes, VHS, posterboard and so on that was the norm when I was learning to make presentations, in undergrad, but how nice would it be to walk into a classroom with my iPad, have the projector automatically recognize the iPad, establish a connection (with log-in), and allow me to type, draw notes, show videos, play audio, all without cords, remotes, or a big console?


Good- Community of Discoverers
One of the most exciting parts of new technologies is the growth of supportive communities towards the use and maximization/enjoyment of their use.

I remember the weekly Amiga BBS/SysOp meetings at the University of Delaware campus that we'd attend. We've all seen the continuance of such communities for longer periods too (motorcycles, HAM radios, classic cars). The iPad seems to have some potential towards these sorts of connections, and I'd like to share a couple:

One, is the TWIT network's iPad show, "iPad Today" (if the link is not active, it's because it is blocked by Websense, which is causing some problems). The Twit Network is an interesting podcasting network helmed by Leo Laporte, who I first saw 10 years ago on Tech TV. More interesting than the weekly show alone is the establishment of live, chat communities, wiki's, Buzz's, twitter accounts, blogs, and other outlets that grow up around it.

Second, is the "ideaplay" website that a friend at the tech and Ed, PhD program at Michigan State turned me on to.

These sorts of discussions and communities not only serve to teach one the rules and possibilities of the central subject, but they also test those rules and abilities. We can weigh the costs of "jailbreaking" an iPad without having to put yours at risk (not that there's really a big risk). In other words, they establish boundaries but also push against these, or at least they do in the best of potential worlds.

Mobility

The potentials to move and interact with content is really excellent with the iPad. The screen is clear, sharp, and just begs to be touched. I don't find the keyboard overly difficult to type on for most purposes, although I do wish a wider shift key and more ready access to number keys. I'm sure that different keyboards will come in time. The sheer portability and design profile of the iPad make it very easy to pop into a bag, even more so than a laptop or netbook.


Accessibility
The use of the iPad is very simplistic (overly so in some's opinion). There are a select number of apps per page arranged without much variability. Clicking in and out to single applications fits most uses on a daily basis and simplifies a work-thread in a way that might be advantageous for a creature that cannot truly multi-task.

Pure Potential
There is nothing really innovative to the iPad. As many have said, the tablet PC is not new, and others have actually done it better in some ways. What Apple provides is a a convergence and synergy that makes the iPad a potential and simple locus for almost all connection/access, in a similar way to what some Microsoft people have seen with the XBox 360 with Zune-pass.

I cannot wait to see where things go and test out trails going forward.

Some Ideas About Tech…

No comments

Post source: publicintellectual

I'm going to take a break from discussing and interacting with the readings until later this week. Don't worry, I have plenty of things to say about Nelson's "Computer Lib/Dream Machines" and Kay/Goldberg's "Personal Dynamic Media", and in some ways, I want this post to bridge between my Nelson-esque rant from last week to a discussion of implications for actual use.

All of this ties into the fact that...
I got an iPad!

This is fascinating to me primarily because I have always had to be supremely self-motivated in my technological direction. Other than my father's devotion to the sadly overlooked and under-appreciated Commodore Amiga,



most of the technology in my life has had to have been self-selected, vetted, and thoroughly argued for/purchased with my own money.

From my alarm clock to my numerous Walkmen, personal cd players, laptops, desktops, pager, cell phones, iPods, flash drives, home theater system, video consoles (PS, PS2, Wii), Kindle, and anything I might have left out, I have spent hours talking to people, checking out Consumer Reports, surfing the web, all in the service of not purchasing something that I would not get solid use out of.

This iPad gives me to opportunity to interact with a media technology on a different level, a reactive level, which has been quite informative.

I want to give one negative aspect and then a bunch of positive things.


Bad- Difficulties of Output
The abilities of the iPad to connect, combine, store, and access a wide variety of media is fabulous, but the difficulty of getting things off of the iPad. I assume that these will be corrected/simplified as things progress, but I would love a couple things: higher quality audio/video output, easier wireless printing, and data/file transfer via bluetooth/WiFi.

Yes, before you start inputting comments, I know that these all have workarounds that are ok, but for my use, as an educator who goes to different rooms with different set-ups (often of widely varying decades of equipment), I'd like to have one thing that I can carry with me with my presentations, online encyclopedia, Kindle access, gradebook, streaming audio/video, etc. all in one. Right now, I have to install Silverlight/Kindle on the computers that I use in the classroom (assuming that the priesthood allows such things), have a selection of flashdrives, and a connection to Google Docs.

I have to say that it's not bad. I like it much more than making overheads/copies, tapes, VHS, posterboard and so on that was the norm when I was learning to make presentations, in undergrad, but how nice would it be to walk into a classroom with my iPad, have the projector automatically recognize the iPad, establish a connection (with log-in), and allow me to type, draw notes, show videos, play audio, all without cords, remotes, or a big console?


Good- Community of Discoverers
One of the most exciting parts of new technologies is the growth of supportive communities towards the use and maximization/enjoyment of their use.

I remember the weekly Amiga BBS/SysOp meetings at the University of Delaware campus that we'd attend. We've all seen the continuance of such communities for longer periods too (motorcycles, HAM radios, classic cars). The iPad seems to have some potential towards these sorts of connections, and I'd like to share a couple:

One, is the TWIT network's iPad show, "iPad Today" (if the link is not active, it's because it is blocked by Websense, which is causing some problems). The Twit Network is an interesting podcasting network helmed by Leo Laporte, who I first saw 10 years ago on Tech TV. More interesting than the weekly show alone is the establishment of live, chat communities, wiki's, Buzz's, twitter accounts, blogs, and other outlets that grow up around it.

Second, is the "ideaplay" website that a friend at the tech and Ed, PhD program at Michigan State turned me on to.

These sorts of discussions and communities not only serve to teach one the rules and possibilities of the central subject, but they also test those rules and abilities. We can weigh the costs of "jailbreaking" an iPad without having to put yours at risk (not that there's really a big risk). In other words, they establish boundaries but also push against these, or at least they do in the best of potential worlds.

Mobility

The potentials to move and interact with content is really excellent with the iPad. The screen is clear, sharp, and just begs to be touched. I don't find the keyboard overly difficult to type on for most purposes, although I do wish a wider shift key and more ready access to number keys. I'm sure that different keyboards will come in time. The sheer portability and design profile of the iPad make it very easy to pop into a bag, even more so than a laptop or netbook.


Accessibility
The use of the iPad is very simplistic (overly so in some's opinion). There are a select number of apps per page arranged without much variability. Clicking in and out to single applications fits most uses on a daily basis and simplifies a work-thread in a way that might be advantageous for a creature that cannot truly multi-task.

Pure Potential
There is nothing really innovative to the iPad. As many have said, the tablet PC is not new, and others have actually done it better in some ways. What Apple provides is a a convergence and synergy that makes the iPad a potential and simple locus for almost all connection/access, in a similar way to what some Microsoft people have seen with the XBox 360 with Zune-pass.

I cannot wait to see where things go and test out trails going forward.

Post source: JoMama Meets the New Media

I really regret not being able to be in class last Friday for the discussion of  Ted Nelson’s Computer Lib / Dream Machines.  When I read “This book will explain how to tell apples from oranges and which way is up” I actually was eager to read on!!

Then:  “Any bright highschool kid … should be able to understand this book, or get the main ideas.” OK, I was a reasonably bright high school kid once, and even had my moments in college and graduate school – so this should include me. :)

It spoke to me on so many levels – teaching, technology, communication, and more – with straight English (mostly – but more about that in a moment) and humor!  How refreshing.  I liked his style.  He seemed non-proprietary, both with the advice that the reader might not need or want the first half of the book at all – and with the statement

“Most of what is written about computers for the layman is either unreadable or silly.  (Some exceptions are listed nearby [on pp. 6–7 of the first edition, not reprinted here];  you can go to them instead of this if you want.)” In other words, I am NOT indispensable.  This is an attitude not often seen in academia.

He stomped all over our toes, while showing an odd kind of respect and what I saw as a lack of rancor.  His attitudes toward education are right on, in my opinion.  Maria Montessori said many of the same things and put them into practice – but her methods are certainly not in widespread use.  Most will acknowledge Montessorian wisdom and effectiveness, but balk at putting it into widespread use.  After all, she (like Nelson) decried the worth of traditional testing, and the legislature is the tail wagging that dog.

But on to computers … Having been on the “slow learner” end of the technology continuum, I have struggled for years at the hands of computer experts who, when asked a simple question, go off into the nuts and bolts of HOW it works, leaving me with neither an answer to my question nor an understanding of how it works.

He warned against computer-assisted instruction which, when used repetitiously and thoughtlessly, would be as deadly dull and uninspiring as traditional instructional means.  Witness “death by PowerPoint.”  I do have serious reservations about his statement “If the student were in control, he could move around in areas of material, leaving each scene when he got what he wanted…” IF a student is to be given a “variety of interesting materials, events and opportunities” then a teacher is obviously going to have to be a part of the mix.  Having observed a local high school where everything is done on the computer, at the student’s own pace, I see this as all that Nelson warned against.

I was intrigued with his image  of a tree branching out, and  the fluid and endless possibilities of discovery.  This made me think of the newest type of searching made possible in EbscoHost – their Visual Search.  Students have been excited about this method of searching – it helps the thinking process and is quick and clear.  If anyone want to take a look at it, just go to the EbscoHost advanced search screen and click on Visual Search, which is located just under the three search fields.  A tutorial will begin automatically.

Post source: Gail'sNew MediaBlog

I loved Kay’s and Goldberg’s vision that everyone should have their own personal computer (their Dynabook) and that they should be simple and used efficiently even by children. It was interesting to see their mock-up of the Dynabook, which looks like the modern day notebook or netbook computer, except it looks like the screen lies flat and slides to cover the keyboard.

While thinking about their idea that the Dynabook should contain some general, commonly used tools so that people don’t have to recreate the wheel but that beyond that, people should be able to design the tools they need (and it should be so simple that they could do this), I am reminded that today, there are SO MANY tools out there already, that if you need it, most likely, “there’s an App for that”.

Thank goodness for their work in this area  of personal computers and their belief that this was better than more powerful timesharing of computers. Yuck!

A question

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Post source: JoMama Meets the New Media

Surely there have been some posts since the class on Friday! I have been looking forward to hearing something about the class discussion that I missed, but no new posts have appeared since Gail’s on last Thursday.
??

Post source: Gail'sNew MediaBlog

This was an interesting article, and it was nice to read something not so technical as our recent readings. According to our reading’s introduction to Ted Nelson’s Computer Lib/Dream Machines, Nelson, like Thomas Paine’s with his Common Sense,  spurred the public to rally around the cause of demanding that computers be designed to do what we need them to do, and not accepting the excuse that they don’t work that way. He proposed, (yeaah!) that designing computers should be a creative process designed with the user in mind, and that the end result should be simplicity of use.

It was interesting to read his words and see much of what he said come true. For example, he says, “computers will be embraced in every presentational medium and thoughtful medium very soon” , “not only will computers be much cheaper, but their usability will improve”, and “when the real media of the future arrive, the smallest child will know it right away… That…will be the criterion. When you can’t tear a teeny kid away from the computer screen, we’ll have gotten there”.

Also intriguing are Nelson’s ideas about education – that we have squeezed all the natural curiosity out of students by boxing them into structured subjects that can only be looked at in prescribed sequences. Nelson proposes starting with the big picture and allowing the student to pick and choose which path to take in satisfying his or her natural curiosity to learn about life. Nelson does acknowledge this would be challenging to teachers.  Hmmm. Discussion of this should be interesting this week.

The Social Network

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Post source: mccmktg

What a great movie! I drew some parallels with things we’ve been talking about/reading. First, Zukerburg was a technology geek.  He went home after a botched date and created a very complex site “Face Mash” used to compare co-eds.  I could not help but think about how he would probably thoroughly enjoy the “Research Center for Augmenting Human Intellect” article that I had struggled through. Just like I had very little understanding of the article, Zukerberg’s programming baffled me.

I did appreciate his desire to keep The Facebook (original name) pure from advertising.  His partner, who bankrolled the network with an initial investment of $1,000, early on was looking to create advertising revenue.  Zukerberg resisted and insisted that advertising would cause it to lose the “cool” factor and would therefore kill the young network. As we read in the article,  Xerox could not find commercial use for the ARC work and it just sat.  Facebook timed commercialization perfectly and hit it big.

If you haven’t been, go see the movie.  It was fascinating to see how Facebook evolved.

Post source: Gail'sNew MediaBlog

I’ve been sick this week so I’m a little behind, and the dog ate my homework! know everyone has moved on thankfully to the next reading. I had the advantage of being able to read everyone else’s posts before I read this week’s reading and so was forewarned.  That said, I agree with others that Engelbart’s technical writing is very dry and not aimed at the general audience (us). However, I kept reminding myself to imagine I was reading this in 1968 and to remember the Wow factor that was there at that time. I was still impressed with his use and vision of using the computers for  work and also with how he superimposed users’ faces on the terminal with their data so that one user was seeing the second user’s data and image! Now that’s pretty cool for 1968! Pretty cool for 2010!