Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On the cutting edge, there's blood on the floor

I love learning in a virtual world, its teaching in it i hate.

The control embedded by 'you cant do that...the rooms had to be booked a year in advance' has changed, yay!
But such vinegar is now in new bottles...
It has become you cant do that because it all has to be the same...every course....looks like this...put up notes a week in advance.... make the readings this size, this shape, from this book...make the ppts using this template...that way when its 'beamed out' the 'live head' wont obliterate what you want the students to know, see...and make sure that whatever you test the students on can be answered from the ppts...
And at its worst it is about surveillance; being watched, kept in check, controlling for sameness and creating mediocrity.
At best it might be about a lack of resourcing that presents a method as resource efficient. What's really dumb is its not resource efficient if the learning is only a regurgitation. And I dont want vomit!!! I dont like vomit. Not my own nor from students.

I want learning to be about freedom, and am a tad gobsmacked because it's what took me into teaching in virtual spaces in the first place; the escape from reality that was constraining.
Now i find the constraints have caught up and i now need to plot my escape from unreality.
Reminds me of snoopy...
jumped over the fence to escape the pound but still in the world *sigh*
Or the man dressed as Snoopy in worst jail break ever...

How to change?
'Cause Im certainly not resistant to changing this...
Am looking forward to hearing from Steve Wheeler next week, he's authored a provocative chapter titled Teacher resistance to new technologies: How barriers to Web Enhanced Learning can be overcome.
Heh? I dont like what's being done to me, I'm happy to work with technology and others so long as its about nurturing the freedom to learn. Its the current imposition that needs the two fingered salute.

And since I started my thesis for these very reasons, change and resistance therein in teaching and learning, I've been thinking a lot about shaping the digital spaces to be more responsive to human needs. (see Peter Sloterdijk and Bruno Latour's)
As does my reading of Kenneth Gergen,in his book on relationality, where there is also a chapter on ANT.

It is through relational process that whatever we come to view as independent beings are given birth. ...whatever we think, remember, create and feel, we participate in relationship...
We carry with us traces of myriad relationships, past and present, existing or imagined. These traces equip us with multiple and often conflicting potentials for action. (p397)

I think the only way is to get relationality back in to the picture.
Whats held in place by relationships can also only change by relationships.
Back to rereading Machiavelli's the Prince, which btw is freely available courtesy of the Guttenberg Press and the wonders of technology, web 2.0 and people who want to help people...
Strategising how to win friends, fight the battles that matter, and make some change happen.

Having got that rant out of the way, i might now be able to get back to marking or maybe the thesis...
Gergen, K. J. (2009). Relational being: Beyond self and community. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Latour, B., & Sloterdijk, P. (2009, February 17). Networks and spheres: Two ways to reinterpret globalization. Presentation to the Graduate School of Design [Video webcast]: Harvard University. Retrieved from
Machiavelli, N., &. (1998). The Prince: Retrieved August 19, 2010, from Project Gutenberg, (Original work published 1532).

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