Reading: Nov 22 | Week 11: Serious Play
Reading: Kurt Squire. “Critical Education in an Interactive Age,” Mirror Images. Pp. 105-123.
I read this weeks reading with interest. The importance to bring engagement into teaching is important and I feel it is important to also to consider 21st century literacies and that offering video games as part of learning goes beyond the obvious linkages to popular culture. The focus on "nodes" of new media and the examples of Pokemon and the development of multimodal expertise and even second and third language acquisition expands ones consideration of what opportunities exist in areas historically looked at as "just for fun" or otherwise not developing any knowledge or skills. The shift in thinking is very relevant to todays environment and those environments in the future. Learners who have the capability to find and use information across contexts and modes and are encouraged to explore the possiblities are encouraged to learn from failure as well as success. That environment seems so much more conducive and supportive of developing a generation of innovators and if learning through video games begins that transition we should all be onboard.
Suzanne de Castell. “Mirror Images: Avatar Aesthetics & Self-Representation in Digital Games.” DIY Citizenship.Pp. 213-221.
Alison Happel-Parkins and Jennifer Esposito. “Using Popular Culture Texts in the Classroom to Interrogate Issues of Gender Transgression Related Bullying.” Educational Studies 51(1) (2015). Pp. 3–16.
The presentation this week on virtual reality, virtual worlds and avatars is mine. I have been interested in virtual and augmented reality for some time now and the potential for alternate realities to offer non-text based, problem based, inquiry based learning far beyond that which we have yet seen is of great interest.
The readings this week were an exciting consideration in regards to the discussion on the reality that virtual worlds have been created by others, as well as the ability to customize your avatar being limited to what the developers have on offer. I agree that this is currently the state of being however for a technology still in its infancy I can't imagine why this limitation would exist for long. Once individuals become versed in the language of programming, the only limit is imagination.
I think this is why I find virtual, augmented and mixed realities to be so intriguing. In a world where technology can offer out of this world experiences, we continue to be plagued by limitations. Limits on internet access in schools and workplaces exist to "protect" the system from viruses and hackers, that may reside within the system just as likely as outside of.
If we could only ensure the good would outweigh the bad, just what is possible? How can technology provide greater understanding of the world around us? What effect could immersion in another city, another continent, another world have on a learner?
Readings: Mandy Rose. “Making Publics: Documentary as Do-it-with-Others Citizenship.” DIY Citizenship. Pp. 201-212.
Deborah A. Fields, “DIY Media Creation.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 58(1), (Sept 2014) Pp. 19-24.
Educause (2013), “7 Things You Should Know About Makerspaces”:
The DIY and makerspace movement resonate with me as a movement towards individual thought. Today’s culture and education has moved so heavily towards a text-based and test focused environment that we have all but extinguished the inherent curiosity and creative thought. This is not to say that there are not individuals who are creative or curious but rather that these individuals often face challenges in going against the grain or in questioning “traditional” thought or “common” beliefs.
The makerspace and DIY culture is a fitting mechanism to encourage and reward new ideas and out of the box thinking. That this ability to speak up offers a means to discuss social issues seems a natural repercussion of allowing and promoting individual thought and action. Providing a means for individuals to create, make mistakes, and be heard is key to the DIY makerspace movement. Dissemination of this movement into the education system may help to offer mechanisms to lessen the participation gap and enable all the opportunity to be heard through their choice of medium.
Throughout the readings during this Pop Culture class, the use of inference, visualization, satire, etc, to share, promote or identify various issues of social justice, politics, racism etc in our world today have been highlighted. By providing these messages, thoughts, opinions in what is often viewed as a “less threatening” manner, the common thread of all is the ability to “say out loud” things that are otherwise off limits or socially questionable. The question that arises becomes, is it enough to make these statements through these comics, makerspaces, diy documentaries, etc.. Is that enough? Is it working?
Reading: Emery Petchauer, “Starting With Style: Toward a Second Wave of Hip-Hop Education Research and Practice,” Urban Education 2015, Vol. 50(1), pp. 78–105.
Andrew Marantz, “Kanye West For President”, The New Yorker. (31 Aug 15):
Hip-Hop.... A way to offer a voice and mechanism to move forward, perhaps to take a negative situation and turn it into a positive way forward? Individuals who have had challenges in their lives as a result of their race, economic situation, circumstances (ruptures).. and the opportunity to offer a means of communication.
For individuals whose music becomes mainstream - the opportunity to take that voice to the masses and use it as a means to speak up for those who cannot, or aren't being heard. To make difficult or controversial political or social statements. A manner for getting messages to mainstream. A voice and abilty to share a message through a less frightening medium, to provide an inference.. lead in sentence with a pause to allow the listener to follow the thought through..
The Petchauer reading highlighted specific highschool programs for learners who were not successful in other learning environments. The effort to meet the learner at their interest point. Highlights individuals capabilities and works to encourage learners to meet their potentials recognizing and in fact perhaps utilizing their backgrounds and circumstances to move forward.
Reading: Karen Anijar. Teaching Toward the 24th Century: Star Trek as Social Curriculum (Pedagogy and Popular Culture). New York: Falmer Press, 2003. Access through library collection:http://books1.scholarsportal.info.uproxy.library.dc-uoit.ca/viewdoc.html?id=/ebooks/ebooks2/taylorandfrancis/2013-03-10/1/9780203011300
Reading: CHAPTER 4 Klingon as Curriculum: Militias, Minstrel Shows, & Other Language Games; CHAPTER 5 Resistance Is Futile: You Will Be Assimilated into the Predatory Jungle (Pp 142-190)
The readings this week had me thinking about language. The impact a persons language has on their culture and the interpretation of their culture is interesting. I am not much of a trekkie although did watch a number of episodes over my life - usually while sitting next to my dad who really enjoyed the show. The language of Klingon is intriguing and led me to consider all the languages and ways of communicating that exist out there. All manner of languages and dialects, but also language through a computer (aka Stephen Hawking), sign language, and all the languages of those who can't/don't communicate through traditional or untraditional means. What is their language?
The concept that struck me was just how much of an impact this conversation has for people who have language based learning disabilities, autism, language developmental issues etc. This challenge goes both ways. The individual who cannot be understood is often excluded because they "don't fit in" and/or "can't be understood". This often translates to "they don't understand" so "they don't care". Overall however, when people can't communicate - they have trouble...
Not because they are not valuable members,
Not because the people who love them don't understand / don't want to understand,
Not because they don't have something to say,
but rather because they lack the language to say it.
Social cues, inferences, dual meanings, and the like all pose additional comprehension challenges to the language impaired.
The loss of language as a result of forced assimilation, forced silence, or removal from one's culture highlights the damage that can be done when language is lost. It has given me pause to reflect on how this must feel for individuals without language in our own culture.
Readings: Henry Jenkins. “Fan Activism as Participatory Politics: The Case of the Harry Potter Alliance.” DIY Citizenship. Pp. 65-73.
Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore. The Walking Dead #1:
Special Edition. Berkeley, CA: Image Comics. (May 2008). Comic book.
Watch: Zombie Apocalypse (Discovery Channel, 43 minutes):
Robert Saunders. “Imperial Imaginaries: Employing Science Fiction to Talk About Geopolitics.”Popular Culture and World Politics: Theories, Methods, and Pedagogies. Caso and Hamilton, Eds. Pp. 149-159.
This weeks reading caused me to pause and reflect on the interpretation of media and specifically that of science fiction in relation to world events. It is interesting to read how others have interpreted story lines to run parallel to geopolitical events. As I reflected on these examples I wondered how many of these interpretations are supported by the programs writers as actual correlations, versus interpretations of others who would like there to be correlations. This interested me enough that I have allocated a bit of time to go and explore this further.
I also wonder about cause and effect. In the sense that media shapes perspective, but also that perspective shapes interpretation of media.
Science fiction “the genre of the unknown, but imaginable” (Saunders, 2015) is a perfect tool for such consideration. Much of the world and world events seem to be drawn from futuristic and unimaginable headlines. The interest in bad news has proliferated the media such an extent that we have almost become immune to what was once a horror.
The internet age has provided an avenue for individuals with similar viewpoints to “find” each other and share their beliefs, whether they are of the June Cleaver sort, or the Mad Max sort. How much does science fiction provide an avenue to present an alternate reality or viewpoint that might otherwise be socially unacceptable?
As “stories” are sold as entertainment, and maybe even gather cult following, viewers are desensitized to the global correlations that might be made. When the atrocities of the world are able to be correlated to science fiction it makes one wonder what kind of world we live in where there are so many plot lines which can be aligned to the real world.
Reading - FUNES, V. (2008). CHAPTER TEN: Advertising and Consumerism: A Space for Pedagogical Practice. Counterpoints, 338, 159-177. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.uproxy.library.dc-uoit.ca/stable/42979227
While we continue to discuss the difficulties in integrating technology into classrooms today, technology has faced many of the same challenges for ten plus years now. It is questionable how much ground we have actually gained over that time. There may be “more” technology physically in schools, however it is arguable whether this technology is actually being used effectively, or at all, in many cases.
In exploring advertising and education the pedagogies of Google and Microsoft come to mind. The what? you might ask? Although schools have (and continue to) reject being branded through advertisers like Coke and McDonalds, they have done just the opposite when it comes to technology companies like Google and Microsoft.
Funding is a response as to “why” a school/board etc would brand itself Google or Microsoft. This argument loses ground quickly when one considers that McDonalds and Tim Hortons fund hockey and soccer, amongst other sports, so why not technology? I have not invested much time into investigating why one type of branding is OK, however it would be of significant interest to do so.
From a pedagogy perspective, many learners see technology as an “app” and associate what they know about technology to their knowledge about companies they have experience with such as Google, Apple and Microsoft. These companies have done very well in advertising why their product is the one which offers the tools to support game based learning, inquiry based learning, problem based learning, differentiated learning and the like.
Reading: David Wong and Danah Hendricksen, “If Ideas WERE Fashion.” Mirror Images. Diana Silberman-Keller et al, Eds. Pp. 179-198.
When I began to read this article I felt the purpose of the fashion metaphor was to highlight the use of engagement in teaching and learning. I am a strong supporter of ensuring that instruction is provided in a relevant and engaging format as to aid in transfer. Without transfer, the learner will not remember the information for future use.
As I read further into the article I began to see the use of "fashion" as a learning tool.
It was this reflection which brought me to consider what impact "fashion" had or has on learning.
One example I thought of was the previous perspective that only nerds and smart people wore glasses. There was an episode of Happy Days where the "Fonz" was rejecting glasses because they were uncool. Obviously the impact of glasses on learning is fairly simple when you consider that when you can't read the board, you are likely to struggle. For learners in those days, glasses weren't fashionable and were in fact "uncool". As such, if you wanted to be "cool", you didn't wear glasses.
Glasses have evolved since this time and have become a fashion statement in their own right. In today's society glasses are "cool" and kids today ask for their parents to buy them glasses even if they don't "need" them to see. This change in attitude means those learners who need them are able to wear them without the fashion faux paux concern. The impact on learning for those students is positive as a result of this shift in fashion.