Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Screens, Wikis, Networks. . . and Subversion

My Twittering has taken me hither and yon. I wanted to share some of the jewels I have found serendipitously.

Becoming Screen Literate This NY Times Magazine piece by an editor from Wired has rocked my world. The idea of teaching screen grammar and being able to search for graphics and moving pictures, cutting and pasting them into products is thrilling and mind blowing. It certainly was a rocket boost for a film teacher like myself, and one who has been dabbling in video this semester (See "My Voyage with Video").

The Networked Student This is a wonderfully conceived little video. It's exciting, daunting, and more than a tad idealistic. I endorse its emphasis on critical thinking over mastery of particular tools (they become outdated in the blink of an eye, these days). Teacher as Sherpa is a wonderful metaphor. Even if you don't accept the vision of the networked student, you will have to admit how powerful a simple video can be (worth a thousand words to be sure).

'Don't teach children facts ... they can search online' I stumbled across this little bit of back and forth in the Guardian of London. I smiled because it encapsulated points made at a recent faculty meeting here in Michigan. Read it and comment on where you are in this global debate.

Leary of putting some of your slacker students in the drivers' seats of the own educations? Then check out this little gem that I found: Teaching as a subversive activity Professor Pigliucci reflects on the book by that name which I read in Ed School when student centered education was once before at the forefront. Pigliucci is less inclined than avant-garde educators to believe that students would thrive if only their control-freak teachers would get out of the way: "You see, the fact of the matter is that teachers (when they are good) really do know more than their pupils. A lot more. Moreover, although one could reasonably argue that the world isn't naturally divided into philosophy, science, literature and other such “subjects,” it turns out that human beings simply cannot make sense of the world unless they are allowed to categorize it in one fashion or another." Check it out and let me know what you think.

If you are interested in helping students create their own wikis, check some recent developments at Wikispaces and Google Sites. Good stuff!

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