I was surprised by how Colin Lankshear and Michele Nobel ended the book New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning . They provided two large scale examples of social learning in formal education. I found these two examples to be interesting but too drawn out. In my opinion, there was not enough information about the results of either of the learning activities. L&K spent such a great deal of time talking about the programs and not necessarily the long term scale of what was to come with them. I think that this book needs to be revised to add all of the things that have been happening in the last four years since the last book was last published.
I read somewhere long ago that technology changed in a relevant way every four years. While I am not sure I agree or disagree with that idea, the book itself could use some updating. First and foremost I think classes like the one I am currently enrolled in should be mentioned. DS106 is such an open, collaborative approach to learning that is so different than any other class that I have taken. The relevance to the future of education is constantly being challenged in classes such as this that are completely molded by the student.
I focused this review on the first approach which was teaching a novice group of individuals with almost no interaction with technology how to be masters at reviewing literature. I understand the value of trying to mold a group who has no knowledge of reviewing literature but I cannot possibly believe that some of these members in this study did not know how to turn on a laptop. If the student participants in this group are teachers, I find it horribly sad and discouraging that they would not know how to do simple tasks with computers or using online programs. It is a disservice to the students if they are not able to keep up at least at some basic level with the students’ knowledge of current software and or technology.
I am wondering if this study was done several years ago as I did not see a date posted. One more factor in this dynamic that was strange was they let the participants chose their own teams. The randomization of teams would have forced a more real life experience in my opinion.
These individuals were expected to feel anxious and nervous about their assignments. This resonated with me especially after the few weeks of being in this class. I do not think that Remi could have possibly warned us enough (without scaring me off I suppose) about how stressful the first few weeks were going to be. I would assume anyone with more experience using online social media found this class to be a breeze, but for the rest of us, it was sort of traumatizing at first.
The group of students chosen were supposed to look at their peers for guidance. In a more traditional classroom setting, where I was able to meet my classmates, I can see the value in asking my peers for their opinions about various projects. In an online setting, I don’t feel the same way. I looked a lot at what my fellow classmates were choosing in relation to DS106 projects but I never thought to email or tweet them to ask them questions about class. If I knew more about my classmates, I would have felt more comfortable in doing so. It would have been helpful to know a bit about each person and maybe what programs they were more familiar with so I could get a sense of who to ask for help.
Weeks into the class I am more aware of who may be better at various software, but I would rather google my questions rather than ask an open air audience who could help. I guess this is just one of the potential drawbacks to not having the same social interactions as face to face classrooms bring (for me at least). Maybe I just need to warm up to the idea of getting feedback from my classmates, but it is difficult because this is my first class I have taken at CU.
Overall, I found this chapter to be a bit vague. I was hoping for more of a glimpse into the future of social media, or at least more of a concrete picture of what L&K foresaw. Instead, the last chapter was a bit of a letdown for me especially in regards to the depth of information and clarity chapter 7 provided. L&K did accomplish making me want just one more chapter!
New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel. McGraw-Hill Education 2008.