Archive for category Lit_Review

A transformative digital literacies pedagogy: Thomas (2011)

Thanks to @malynmawby @benpaddlejones and @Vormamim for engaging in tweety-chat today about play-based learning and transformational play.

There was an article that I wanted to post the full reference to – this one by Angela Thomas (@anyaixchel)

Thomas, A. (2011) Towards a transformational digital literacies pedagogy. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy. Vol. 6 pp. 89-101

You can see the abstract for the paper with my own annotations, above.

In it she argues that there are:

a number of significant characteristics of digital literacy that are imperative to include in a pedagogy of digital literacy in order to make it a transformational pedagogy.  These include: explicit understandings of multimodality, opportunities for play and experimentation, participating within communities of practice, and critical engagement with text.

I had picked this article up to read Angela’s findings about digital pedagogy, but it was a timely read.  I am a big fan of the work of Paulo Freire, and of his work to empower communities through literacy.  By bringing in Freire’s notion of ‘transformative pedagogies’ this article reaffirmed the need for critical, participatory and dialogic practices to be woven into the digital learning landscape.

I’d love to hear of other readings and resources along these lines, if you know of any…?

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REVISION

ONTONOLGY

ASCETICS

DEONTONOLGY

TELEOLOGY

Revise.

Foucault's Nietzschean genealogy: truth, power, and the subject By Michael Mahon

and…Heidegger paraphrashed: It is not that we first begin from an inner subjective sphere (a la Descartes) and from there go out to meet things in the world; rather, we are always already ‘outside’ among things. (Kisner, W. 2008: ‘The Fourfold Revisited’)

Sheesh. Philosophy. Any ideas anyone?

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JOLT: Balancing Quality and Workload in Asynchronous Online Discussions

Of interest to teachers struggling to keep up with online discussions with their students!

Goldman, Zvi (2011) ‘Balancing Quality and Workload in Asynchronous Online Discussions: A Win-Win Approach for Students and Instructors’. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 7:2 pp.313-323

ABSTRACT: The challenge addressed in this article is how to achieve a win-win balance between quality and workload for students and instructors participating in asynchronous online discussions. A Discussion Guideline document including minimum requirements and best practices was developed to address this need. The approach covers three phases: design and development, setting up expectations, and launch and management. The goals of the approach, based on a commitment shared by all full time and adjunct faculty, are high quality of education as well as retention of both students and qualified instructors.

Further explanation of the research challenge from the introduction: “When discussions are regarded as critical components of learning, and administered as such, they impose a significant workload on both students and instructors. In applicable programs targeting practitioner adults, discussion sessions, during which much of the evidence-based learning and experience sharing occur, can easily consume half the course workload (Goldman, 2010). The reality is that neither students nor instructors can afford to dedicate an unlimited amount of time to fulfill course requirements or teach a course. Therefore, as a matter of practicality, discussion sessions should be carefully implemented to balance pedagogic quality and workload for students and instructors alike.”

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Finding Arthur Applebee

It’s only now that I’m finalising my thesis that I’m finding the work of U.S. curriculum studies researcher Arthur Applebee.

His works include his first book Tradition and Reform in the Teaching of English: A History (1974) and the later Curriculum as Conversation (1996).  These are focussed on reviewing the teaching of English in the United States, but the historical connections he makes are invaluable to all of us in the field.

Here’s a clip from Curriculum as Conversation:

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Foucault THAT.

I have a confession to make.

Lately, I’ve been cheating on my blog.  (In a good way, I promise!)

A colleague at my university, Clare O’Farrell, has an established Ning that is home to members of the Poststructuralist Theory ‘Special Interest Group’ of AARE.  Established it so well, in fact, that it is one of the few Nings I know of (along with the English Companion) that continued to have happy users after stupid-Ning made its stupid-serivce un-free.  Hmph.

Anyway, I use my space and profile on the ‘Ed Theory Ning’ to brain-vomit about (on?) theory that I don’t understand yet.

And it’s proven #very illuminating.

Increasing my activity in various groups on the Ning has also proven fruitful.  Particularly in the ‘Daily Writing Club’ (we have to do exactly as it says…!) and now also from browsing the ‘Foucault reading group’.

That’s where I was reminded to check out Clare’s actual blog, Refracted Input, which I hadn’t done for ages.  This month she is discussing a quote by Foucault about ‘race and colonialism’, and in it I can see a relationship to contemporary discourses around changing technologies.

The term ‘folklore’ is nothing but a hypocrisy of the ‘civilised’ who won’t take part in the game, and who want to hide their refusal to make contact under the mantle of respect for the picturesque…
Man is irrevocably a stranger to dawn. It needed our colonial way of thinking to believe that man could have remained faithful to his beginnings and that there was any place in the world where he could encounter the essence of the ‘primitive’. (trans. Clare O’Farrell)

Michel Foucault, (1994) [1963] ‘Veilleur de la nuit des hommes’ In Dits et Ecrits vol. I. Paris: Gallimard, p. 232.

You see, I’ve been worrying about the ethics of what could be seen as meddling with teachers or students who are comfotable in their print-material ways, trying to prod them along to explore new technologies.  I have wondered, ‘am I being selfish?’, ‘what if they have it right?’, ‘what if I’m destroying something important?’, and ‘am I wrong to advocate for my view, should I just wait and see what happens instead?’.  But then, Clare’s wise words:

One cannot buy into the romanticism of the primitive – which is assumed to be so much closer to pure truth and ‘nature’. Conversely one cannot make the colonial assumption that one civilisation or one period of history (now) is more advanced and more evolved than another.

That’s right.  I don’t need to worry about whether I’ll ‘wreck’ anything, unless I’m thinking of the people I’m meddling with as OTHER.  And I was using pronouns to construct myself in opposition to other through all those damn self-doubts.  I don’t need to do that.  FOUCAULT THAT!

*Sigh of relief*

NB: Clare also curates a website on Michel Foucault, which includes a glossary of KEY CONCEPTS and other wonderful gems (thanks Clare!).

 

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Call for Papers: English in Australia 46.3

CALL FOR PAPERS: THEMED ISSUE OF ENGLISH IN AUSTRALIA

A new English? More of the same? Or something still unknown? Past, present and future reflections on English teaching and new technologies

This special guest-edited issue is an opportunity to look back at the way English teachers have responded to the many iterations of ‘new’ media and to also grapple with how English teaching might respond to the here and now of our students’ increasingly digitally mediated lives, as well as looking forward to imagine the possibilities for English education. What are the challenges and opportunities presented by various forms of ‘new’ (and ‘old’) media, and by various ways of understanding the ‘new’? What things might need to change? What might be best left as it is? How might English teachers best respond to new and emerging digital texts and contexts?

We ask for contributions that share ways forward for powerful practice in English education, both in terms of the texts that might be studied and the curriculum work English teachers might do. Submissions might explore students’ relationship with multimodal texts and practices or examine digital learning environments and their connections with ‘traditional’ classroom spaces. They might explore new conceptual and theoretical ground or they may address issues of long concern for English teachers such as creativity, engagement and social justice. We are keen to receive classroom-based accounts and action or practitioner research or any other relevant studies conducted within professional contexts or as part of higher education research degrees.

Guest editors: Kelli McGraw (QUT) & Scott Bulfin (Monash)

Download the Call for Papers and guidelines for contributors.

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Books in the In-Tray

My pre-end-of-tax-year book orders from the bookdepository.com have now all arrived and are awaiting my reading and attention!

(Does anyone out there have a strategy for making sure you factor reading into your work day?)

Photo L-R:

  • Pedagogical Encounters, edited by Bronwyn Davies & Susanne Gannon (2009)
  • Understanding Media: The extensions of man, Marshall McLuhan (1964)
  • Meeting the universe halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning, Karan Barad (2007)

My recent trip to Melbourne also led me to collect this stunning book combo:

This collection is the result of walking through a weekend book fair in the Atrium of the NGV in Melbourne.  I’ve started my reading with the Marquez…I didn’t like Love in the time of cholera, but I hope I like this.  I would like to like his writing.  As for the others?  Well, I’ll get to them eventually!

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The medium is the message

The medium is the message” is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived. (from Wikipedia)

The more I think about this issue of medium, the more unsatisfied I am with the way that medium of production is dealt with in the English curriculum.

While English teachers continue to be led by debate over the definition and role of Literature in English, and over the best way to teach language, questions of medium have been significantly sidelined.

      iTeach Inanimate Alice

It also seems clearer to me now why subjects like Drama and Media (content areas that technically sit under the umbrella of English, if you accept that English is a study of how meaning is made through language and texts) go off and take up their own space in many curriculum.  It’s not just because those fields have their own traditions and pedagogies that need space, or because they have industries that create an economic drive for the subjects to continue.  It’s also because those field require keen attention to production elements, including issues of medium.

Little wonder that Drama, which often deals with live performance of language, dies a slow death in English classrooms where the curriculum is still dominated by print literacy.

Little wonder that we still can reconcile the gulf between ‘literary’ and ‘digital/electronic’ texts in the Australian curriculum (medium is not a genre!)

To move anywhere with this line of thinking will require some careful thought about the overlap between the words:

  • media as-in-the-artisitic-means-of-production and
  • Media as-in-the-field-of-media-studies.

Thanks to carolyn for stimulating my thinking on this.  Connecting the concept of medium back to the concept of narrative helped the penny drop today!

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Challenges to developing a blended learning course

This extract is from the article Development and Implementation of a “Blended” Teaching Course Environment in the most recent issue of JOLT:

Roadblocks/challenges to Developing a Blended Course

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to developing a blended course is the student fear factor. Many individuals in my class had never crafted a PowerPoint presentation, much less navigated in an online
discussion. Despite their familiarity with Web 2.0 tools like Facebook, MySpace, and instant messaging, the thought of being graded for online participation was somewhat threatening and intimidating. It was also difficult initially for students to understand the rationale for some assignments (such as Second Life). In future classes, more emphasis on business necessity, future usage, and SL current applications will be incorporated into the course pedagogy. Because there were many different types of assignments in this course (including group work, both on and off line), some students also expressed dissatisfaction with having to rely on team members. Use of the Team Agreement did however help to coalesce groups, and to give members a framework for expected behavior. Instructor feedback on the Team Agreement is essential in providing guidance regarding conflict resolution, assignment schedule, and interpersonal interaction among members.

The blended model is a student-centered approach that allows the instructor to behave as a coach, a facilitator, and a cheerleader for his/her students. It is a way to let students lead in an environment in which they’re guided to success. In the words of Singh (2002, p. 476), “To be successful, blended [teaching]… needs to focus on combining the right delivery technologies to match the individual learning
objectives and transfer the appropriate knowledge and skills to the learner at the right time.”

by Jacqueline Gilbert and Ricardo Flores-Zambada

Development and Implementation of a “Blended” Teaching Course Environment
Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Vol. 7, No. 2, June 2011 pp. 244-260

This interests me because I have been considering including an assessment of online PLN participation in my unit next semester.

Given that this study found that “the thought of being graded for online participation was somewhat threatening and intimidating” for students, I’m going to avoid actually grading their participation per se.  Rather, I’ve decided that students must show (in an assignment appendix) participation in their online PLN for the unit to achieve a Distinction (Grade ’6′) or High Distinction (Grade ’7′).  That way, they either do it, or they don’t.  They don’t have to feel anxious about quality.

Has anyone else done something similar to this?  Making students demonstrate their PLN building?  How can I do it – get them to attach a screen shot of three blog comments and five tweets?  Would that suffice?  Hmm…

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List of Artistic Media

Some more thinking about what we mean when we say ‘medium’ in English curriculum…this list of artistic mediums has been helpful in contextualising English as a subject area within a broader notion of ‘arts’:

In the arts, a media or medium is a material used by an artist or designer to create a work.

  • Architecture
  • Carpentry
  • Digital
  • Drawing
  • Film
  • Light
  • Literature
  • Natural World
  • Painting
  • Performing Arts
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Sound
  • Technology
  • Textiles

Wikipedia ‘List of Artistic Media’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_artistic_mediums

Within that list, the medium of literature appeared with the following explanation and links:

Literature

Main articles: Literature and Writing implement

The art of writtenwords and typography is traditionally an ink and printed form on paper or is creatively written with many forms of media.

Common writing media

Common bases for writing

This is food for thought.

The investigation into medium continues…

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