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Teaching with Technology

Structure, Authority, and other Noncepts

Ross Priory, Scotland (no sign of ghosts as yet).
Hamish McLeod and Jen Ross are the next presenters (full paper here). They explore metaphors for being an online tutor, and begin with a brief quote from Wikipedia on online tutoring, which presents a very matter-of-fact take on the issue that may not quite plumb the full depths of the question. The potential move of teachers from 'sage on the stage' to 'guide on the side' has been much highlighted, of course, but also doesn't quite cover this issue; traditional positions of the teacher are now much criticised, but exactly what role might come to replace them (if such replacement does take place) isn't very clear at this point.

Difference and Discontinuity in Hypertext

Ross Priory, Scotland (and we're just being told that the place is cursed, apparently...).
The next presentation here at ICE 3 is by Colleen McKenna and Claire McAvinia, who present thoughts on work they've done in getting students to create hypertext assignments. To what extent does some work challenge traditional essay writing, and does it make more visible the features of conventional linear argumentation? Does this work liberate the thinking of these student writers?

There's already a good deal of interest in exploring hypertext writing for non-academic text (fiction, poetry, reflective writing, etc.); however, less has been written about presenting academic non-fiction writing in a hypertext format and assessing student writing of this form. Hypertext might offer a different type of meaning-making which privileges exploration over conclusion, as David Kolb suggests. Such writing claims a factual territory rather than pointing to any one source of truth. Gunther Kress similarly distinguishes between the temporal logic of traditional academic argument and the spatial logic of the image, which predominates in screen-based hypertextual media.

Breaking the ICE

Ross Priory, Scotland.
I'm spending the rest of this week at the ICE 3 conference (Ideas, Cyberspace, Education) in Scotland, having spent much of Tuesday driving up here from my temporary base at Leeds. Really looking forward to this - a small but well-credentialled conference in a very beautiful (if cold) place. We're now about to make a start to the conference proper, having already been welcomed at the lunch session.

The first paper is by Peter Goodyear and Siân Bayne. Siân begins by noting that universities are still deriving much of their status from a base in the printed book (and university crests are a simple indication of this); however, today, it is possible to see the Internet both as culture and as cultural artefact (and Siân focusses here especially on Internet as a separate culture in itself) - the Net changes existing practices and opens up new possibilities for practice which universities may explore. (This doesn't necessarily happen, though - witness the underlying structures of WebCT, for example, which remain based in traditional learning activities, and separate activities into very distinct categories that may no longer be useful. Such learning tools blind us to the other available possibilities in online spaces.)

Coming Up...

The past few days have been nothing but productive, even if I've taken some time off my research for the book. Instead, I've completed and/or revised a number of conference papers and other articles that are due over the next few months - clearing the decks, or indeed the desk, before I fully descend into book mode.

2007 is going to be a very productive year for me, as far as papers, articles, and other publications are concerned. I've managed to combine my stays here at Leeds University and later on at MIT in Boston with a few conferences in the UK and the U.S., respectively, and there are a number of further conferences in Australia and elsewhere as well. There's also a couple of book chapters and at least another journal article, but most those I can't say that much about yet. I have now posted some of the completed conference papers on this Website, though, so please feel free to have a look (and to comment, of course!).

Still Struggling with Producers and Consumers

My colleague Stephen Barrass from the University of Canberra sends on a link to Todd Richmond's models for producer/consumer and teacher/student relations in analog, digital, and transitional environments (via Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs blog) - including images like the following:

Transitional Media

Encouraging Stories from Teaching Wikis

As I've mentioned here before, over the last couple of years I've been one of the directors of a large teaching and learning grant project at QUT, aimed at introducing blogs, wikis, and other more advanced online tools into the teaching environment. Our fundamental assumption in this project is that in a social software, Web 2.0 world, students crucially need to build the critical, creative, collaborative, and communicative capacities (or C4C, for short) to operate effectively, whether in their working or private lives, or in their wider role as citizens. Advanced social software tools in learning environments can help build such capacities, or (where they exist already, as is increasingly the case) further enhance them by providing a more systematic approach to their development.

Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006

On the day before AoIR2006, I presented at the Online Learning and Teaching conference at QUT. I'm happy to report that the two conference papers for OLT2006 that I was involved in have now been published on the conference Website - here are the references:

Rachel Cobcroft, Stephen Towers, Judith Smith, and Axel Bruns. "Mobile Learning in Review: Opportunities and Challenges for Learners, Teachers, and Institutions." In Proceedings of the Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006, Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology.

Teaching the Produsers: Preparing Students for User-Led Content Production - ATOM Conference 2006, Brisbane

Australian Teachers of Media conference, Brisbane 2006

Teaching the Produsers: Preparing Students for User-Led Content Production

  • 8 October 2006 - Gardens Point Campus, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane

My talk at ATOM2006 outlined the produsage concept, with a view also to how educators can aim to enable students to engage in produsage through the development of their critical, collaborative and creative ICT and media literacies.

What Futures for Media Literacy?

Well, that went well - I went a few minutes over time, but people seemed happy to stay on even though the final panel at ATOM2006 was about to start. I got to the panel a little late, and John Hartley is already in full flight - he looks to have begun by noting that literacy no longer means print literacy, nor even mainstream media literacy: indeed, most media education now takes place outside of schools, he suggests. Multimedia literacy has grown up to be totally beyond the control of the traditional education system. Unfortunately, partly because of this, schooling prefers control and order over change and innovation, and imagination and interpretation are reduced to skills and methods. This manifests itself in the prohibition of Google images and the Wikipedia, in the rise of 'critical literacy' (or ideology-watch) skills, or in 'multiliteracy' (or office software) skills, for example.

Teaching the Produsers

My own presentation at ATOM2006 comes towards the end of this last day - I'm one of the featured speakers here. I'm speaking about produsers and produsage (and I'm happy to have seen the term in good usage throughout the conference already) - and of course at a conference for teachers of media, I'm particularly interested in the question of how to shape media education in order to enable the younger generations to be effective and innovative participants in produsage.

I'm including my Powerpoint here - and I'll try to record the talk as well and will add it to this post as soon as I can. the recorded talk is now also online here.


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