Thursday, November 06, 2008

bad teaching made worse; a fascination of fatal proportions with the machine that goes ping

Technologies according to Ursula Franklin, are 'just the way we do things around here'. So of course they evolve.
The way we do things evolve; sometimes because the purpose shifts, and sometimes because the means shifts.
Sometimes such shifts make what is done, significantly worse.
Bad teaching gets to be so much worse when the teacher relates to the machinery and to no one else.
Sometimes its not so bad that the connections of the electrical/technological/mechanical kind fail. Such failure in the material connections cab be a good thing, because it forces thinking on means as well as ends.
When IT fails, it provokes a reminder to consider 'what are we here for and how might this be done'. As Latour and john Law identify, sometimes its not until things do not run smoothly that the (net)work gets exposed. The work in teaching is about engaging, if this fails, it all fails.

After a series of presentations taking 2 houra on the machine that goes ping, I am truly glad that some of the links did not work when it was my turn. Not only had I decided what i was not going to do, it forced me to consider if blackboxing also happens inside of people's heads, and what it might take to open this up.

On being trapped in a monty python sketch. A shared moment, despite the passing of years and a few hundred kilometres of geography, Tare Brabazon and the person next to me in a lecture theatre both comment on the experience of geing caught in a Monty Python sketch.

Cue the meaning of life; At the 'miracle of birth', the medical administrator remains most impressed by the machine that goes ping rather than the arrival, before his eyes, of new life. Then fast forward with a universal remote - Cue in powerpoint, elluminate, a variation on blackboard with bells, whistles and ping. Repetitive ping.
For further reading I strongly recommend a dose of Tara Brabazon (2002). Digital hemlock. Internet education and the poisoning of teaching. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press Ltd.

Nancy White from CCK08 talk this week:" You can’t usefully apply the technology unless you understand the teaching. Understand the teaching, then look at why it’s important. BUT sometimes looking at the technology first can spark an idea."

In this instance, looking at the technology sparked rethinking purpose.

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