What a New Flippy Phone Leads to…

Just as I started thinking about my experiments with my new camera/mobile phone for the first time this weekend on the drive to Maine in a car packed with extended family (yeah, I’m slow), wondering how this little flippy phone would change my thinking about my upcoming artswriting course and how I had to read, finally, Rheingold’s SmartMobs (yeah, I am VERY slow) I come across Suw Charman’s post on her new Corante blog Strange Attractor where she writes about mobroadcasting and its entrance onto television news coverage. And then I read (funny how reading one blog is never enough) Anu’s post on his Scalefree blog about how he’s wondering about whether different new modes of communication have been graphed in relation to one another.

And on the other side of my desk is James Duderstadt’s article I mentioned in my response to Héctor yesterday, “Preparing for the Revolution:The Future of the University in the Digital Age” in As the Walls of Academia are Tumbling Down. Among the many interesting assertions he makes is this one about our students:

“The traditional classroom paradigm is also being challenged, not so much by the faculty, who have by and large optimized their teaching effort and their time commitments to a lecture format, but by students. members of today’s digital generation of students have spent their early lives immersed in robust, visual, electronic media–home computers, video games, cyberspace networks, and virtual reality. they expect–indeed, demand–interaction, approaching learning as a ‘plug-and-play’ experience; they are unaccustomed and unwilling to learn sequentially–to read the manual–and instead are inclined to plunge in and learn through participation and experimentation…They learn in a nonlinear fashion, skipping from beginning to end and then back again, and building peer groups of learners, developing sophisticated learning networks in cyberspace. In a very real sense, they build their own learning environments that enable interactive, collaborative learning, whether we recognize and accomodate this or not.” (pp.42-43)

My guess is that my students–if I just follow their lead–will let me know how to use moblogging and voblogging, how the modes of discourse intersect and interact to create something larger, more interesting and vital than I can predict at this juncture. I am beginning to see what Sebastien Fiedler is getting at with his smorgasbord course in which he provides the tools and lets the students find and create their own courses, and what he has found in his rereading of George Kelly and how it links to his own writing about “Personal Webpublishing as a reflective conversational tool for self-organized learning”. I am starting to hear “the recurrent themes in the monotonous flow” of my thoughts and what I am reading and discussing as to how to integrate these technologies effectively in the classroom.

Now I gotta hurry up and figure out how to download the photos to my blog (yeah, I’m way slow)…


2 Responses

  1. The excerpt from “As the Walls of Academia are Crumbling Down” hit me square between the eyes. They may be writing about post secondary education, but they are describing today’s middle school students too. It further confirms my belief that reciprocal teaching practice, as difficult and scary as it is, needs to become part of teacher education and development.
    BG, your online reflecting and discussions with Hector are like the stone tossed into the pond. Thank you.

  2. Thanks, Patti, for the encouragement. It means a lot coming from someone who I know has immersed herself in the oft-misunderstood and almost-always-underestimated world of the Middle-Schooler, and who has worked with teachers to use technology effectively.

    I think, in fact, that we college and university teachers ought to sit in some middle school classrooms to see what’s coming down the pike. You are seeing the real changes in the ways kids learn these days well before we do. I know that during the past five years the difference between the seniors and the first-years at Middlebury and their approach to technology-rich classroom experiemtnation and their capacity to adapt to a non-linear classroom model is quite stunning. Two years ago my students thought I was mad for introducing blogs into the classroom; now they don’t bat an eye.

    If the students you see are shifting to this bottom-up, grazing kind of approach to learning, how are the schools meeting their needs? How are teachers daring to change? What kinds of things are teachers doing to incorporate reciprocal learning pedagogy? In other words, what can I, a college teacher, take from the lessons you have learned with kids who are a few years further developed in their experiential, nonlinear learning styles?


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