We need a remix for that books ending!

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. ipad

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.

personThese 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. pencil tree

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!

 

Citations

New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel. McGraw-Hill Education 2008.

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2 thoughts on “We need a remix for that books ending!

  1. Annie,

    Thank you for being critical about the Lankshear and Knobel text. I considered popping some popcorn while reading your response because there were lot’s of fireworks! I would like to respond to some of the things you commented that really struck me as interesting.

    “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.”

    1. I don’t think Lankshear and Knobel intended to suppose they could predict the future of technology, and what people would necessarily do with that technology and how it would be applied to education. Nobody can say for sure because the systems and overlapping complexities are immense. Instead they suggested the idea of “trajectories” which students may sail upon to deliver themselves to a destination where they are ‘literate’ in ‘new literacies.’

    “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.”

    2. You are right. It is unfair that one may go to school and be taught by someone who is essentially computer illiterate or illiterate in terms of ‘new literacies.’ Both are essential to navigate knowledge, connect with the world, and create projects that deliver meaning or solve problems. Unfortunately, as you may have learned in this course, the breadth of knowledge on the web is so large and constantly evolving it’s hard to keep up with technologies. Additionally, some schools do not have workshops to support their teachers in order to be ‘current.’ Also some teachers do not wish to be computer literate and they are stuck in their ‘old ways.’ I cannot speak for all faculty members of a mature age, but I have found it is incredibly difficult for them because they did not ‘learn to be’ through technology, rather, they are more hands on and face to face. This does not mean these instructors cannot teach or do not have value, quite contrary, however, it may mean that they deliver assignments that do not have as much meaning or impact to their students. It lacks some relevance to them. This is a touchy subject… how do we come up with solutions to make this better? Suggestion: Why can’t students like us in the ILT program create workshops and develop curriculum alongside ‘old hats’ to facilitate relevant pedagogy and instruction? There has to be some way to get grants to support this. There are plenty of community colleges in Colorado to try it out.

    “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.”

    3. I thought it would have been nice maybe to require each student in week one to make a screencast talking about themselves and showing others some of their talents. This would have made it a little bit more comfortable for me and I would have known the various talents of other students where I could direct specific questions. Although, I did ask a couple ‘open air’ questions on Twitter with #ds106 and #cudenver15 and the responses were extremely helpful.

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  2. Annie, great post! I found myself impressed that these case studies actually put social learning into effect but I was left wanting for more details – especially about the second case study with grade school kids. I wanted to know how they received instruction or even learned their times tables. I can see the benefit of a pulled information platform but I wonder if some basic baseline instruction would be beneficial. In this masters program I do wish that I had received a little more instruction on certain tools and a little less “go learn it on your own”.

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