Weekly Readings: October 8th

Thoughts on pages 3-8 of :

Jenkins, H., et. al. (2007). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Found at: http://www.projectnml.org/files/working/NMLWhitePaper.pdf

Something that I have generally considered to be conventional wisdom is that “online life” must be more superficial and thus les meaningful than life lived in the “real world.”  I am beginning to understand that this distinction might be somewhat meaningless now.  My own experience reflects this, and yet I had not re-examined this core belief.  Facebook is an example.  I have been using facebook for several months now.  Through facebook I keep in touch with people I know in real life.  This includes my brother and his wife, who live a few miles away.  Rather than make us more distant and less likely to spent time face to face, it seems to have enriched our relationship.  I am more aware of the details of their daily life, just as they are of mine. What this tells me is that at the least there is a disconnect between my actual relationship to technology and the way I perceive that relationship.  Beyond that, I think there are some major implications here for how I will need to approach teaching.

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Thoughts on:

Brown, J.S. (2002). Growing up digital: How the web changes work, education, and the ways people learn. Boston: United States Distance Learning Association. Retrieved from http://www.usdla.org/html/journal/FEB02_Issue/article01.html

The developmental psychologist Jerome Bruner made a brilliant observation years ago when he said we can teach people about a subject matter like physics-its concepts, conceptual frameworks, its facts-and provide them with explicit knowledge of the field, but being a physicist involves a lot more than getting all the answers right at the end of each chapter. To be a physicist, we must also learn the practices of the field, the tacit knowledge in the community of physicists that has to do with things like what constitutes an “interesting” question, what proof may be “good enough” or even “elegant,” the rich interplay between facts and theory-formation, and so on.

This to me is one of the key descriptions from the article.  This is how I learn best.  Over the last five years I’ve spent much of my work time training coworkers, and I have found this to be true of them as well.  In trucking it’s an accepted fact: a CDL means that a person knows how to move a large vehicle down the road and has some basic theory on how to manage as a driver.  But it’s during on-the-job training where one truly learns to be a driver.  As the manager of the technical support department at a small software company, we also relied on the same problem-solving/storytelling strategy that the Xerox technicians used. This kind of learning was both very meaningful and effective from my point of view.

What I haven’t figured out yet is quite how I might organize my classroom and lessons to make this kind of work possible.

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