And then, among other things blogging means being intellectual in front of other people, and helping to broaden the definition of “intellectual” in ways that are, in my view, desperately needed in higher education and at large.
Marshall McLuhan's central insight: new modes of communication change what can be imagined and expressed. "Any technology gradually creates a totally new human environment. Environments are not passive wrappings but active processes. . . . The 'message' of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs."2
When I first heard Gardner Campell 's talk ECOLOGIES OF YEARNING I was blown away, it was during #edcmooc E-Learning and Digital Cultures, which was my first experience in being part of a positive learning community with almost no set rules. An open community committed to exploring and sharing the experience of learning. Gardner's talk (you can find it at the bottom of this post) reminded me of the excitement I felt the first time I understood that you can use the web for learning. The freedom and possibilities, the people one could "meet" (as in read, listen to, watch, or indeed talk to). This feeling of discovering an enormous treasure.
I started my first blog 2008, because I felt it was such a waste to discover all these amazing links only to loose them in my bookmarks somewhere. My friends in Argentina, where I stayed during that time, taught me a lot about how to use the web as a resource. But there was a freedom and fearlessness in using this resource that I didn't feel back in Germany. I even hid the blog for awhile, because in Germany there is no fair use. I feared the pics and links I shared because I felt they were worth sharing, and which I had put up never thinking about if I am infringing any copyrights, would cause me trouble. I stopped because the idea of blogging with few to none pictures and visual representations of my treasured links didn't appeal to me at all. (Plus as you can see here, I love to collect sometimes pretty long quotes or whole transcripts of talks I like to remember, and there was this whole discussion in Germany about how many words are allowed to quote without infringing) It didn't work for me. But I missed my online journal of gems and interesting things ever since (and even more when google reader shut down, still feeling crippled by the lost connections to blogs everywhere).
I never wrote much, it was more about collecting interesting things and thoughts of other people. It's amazing when you think of something, you thought about before in a different context, and then can go back to this "room" representing all the links (doors, portals!) and thoughts you collected before about this topic. A wonderland of connections. Thinking is so much more fun that way. And even if I didn't understand all of Gardner's words, I for sure did understand the yearning. I also understood that I should write more and why.
Yesterday on twitter this forum discussion with Gardner Campell popped up. Learning for me is the special sauce to life, what keeps me hopeful. This man is on fire, and I wish all teachers would radiate such warmth and passion.
If you prefer reading here you can find a short summary:
Redefining Student Success in a Digital Ecosystem
"In a digital ecosystem, we are talking about shared private goods that contribute to a public good," Campbell continued. "That is what we need to emphasize if we mean to have meaningful civic engagement in this medium in the years to come. If we don't, we are not going to be in good shape as a polis, as a democracy. We won't have what I think of as truly lasting student success, which is effective participation in this digital commons or in the largest commons of all, civilization."
"...Many students may not be disposed to reflection, but giving specific instructions about reflection is going to produce compliance, not true reflection. "I want room for things that are not simply complying," he said. "I think it is important to encourage students to make connections — by that I mean hyperlinks on the web across the courses they are taking. The interaction is not defined as just the student interacting with the teacher, but the students as a community of learners indicating their interest and the relevance of what they are learning."
Gardner Campbell - Ecologies of Yearning
"(This lecture)...serves as a warning that what we really want - our utopia - is not necessarily to be found in the structures we are putting in place (or finding ourselves within)."
If Learning, teaching or sharing plays an important part in your life or you find yourself wondering what knowledge is about, listen to Gardner's ideas, they are beautiful:
Until one speaks a language, a word is only a sound (an enactment). Until one reads a language, a word is only a picture (an icon). Until one writes in a language (or medium), one cannot imagine or experience or help build the portal to the thinking-together, the macro-cognoplasticity, the networked transcontextualism, the planetary double-take, that represents the next dimension we need (and desire and dread, too).
Our goal is to become first-class peers for each other. Conceptacular colleagues, not just rowers in someone else’s galley."
If now you feel like making something on the web, #ds106 daily create is a great place to start. DS106: Enabling Open, Public, Participatory Learning
To find out how utopian dreaming about Education can go wrong visit:
Hack Education - The History of the Future of Education Technology by Audrey Watters
#edcmooc was sadly my only entirely positive experience in Moocs. The old system is still build in there, it's the dangerous goal oriented utopian dreaming that's been implemented, instead of the diverse and directional utopian dreaming Steve Lambert talks about. It's depressing to hold the utopian possibilities against the complexities and problems behind simple solutions. But that's the thing about directional utopian dreaming, it leaves space for dealing with these complexities. It's not "what ever will be better than what we have now" to avoid dealing with questions and problems of access and equality as they arise, but it's a way of exploring the possibilities of what actually would be better. It's asking, what does better really mean?
Audrey Watters - Ed-Tech, Frankenstein's Monster, and Teacher Machines
"Internet technologies are not simply generative or supportive; they can be destructive. But this, all of this is an ed-tech issue. It is a technology issue. It is an education issue. It a societal issue. It is a political issue. We cannot ignore it. But that’s precisely what most people in ed-tech seem to do."