The where is more important than the what!

I remember having to learn where every country was in the globe for a map test my freshman year of high school, or memorizing the periodic table for chemistry exams. I always failed these types of exams, because I knew how to access this information, but my brain is not wired to remember all the information that I read or study. Memory tests have been and always will be hard for me.

I have loved reading A New Culture of Learning by Thomas and Seely Brown, in which they discuss the importance of process of learning and how digital media can advance these processes. Further the network that students are building while engaging these materials and the contribution they are making in the digital sphere is incredibly important. This quote from the text this week stood out to me and got me thinking about the teaching practice that I am going to employ in my classroom, Thomas and Seely Brown stated;

“Only by understanding the where of a piece of information can we understand it’s meaning. This perspective also reshapes the notion of expertise. In a new information economy, expertise, is less about having a stockpile of information or facts at one’s disposal and increasingly about knowing how to find and evaluate information on a given topic. Again, this is a where question, both in terms of where the information is found and in terms of where it is being deployed to communicate something.” (Thomas & Seely Brown, 93).

They go on to discuss the importance of video games. Not having been a video-gamer myself, I had a hard time tracking. But what really stood out to me, and what I have gained to understand is that these students while playing video games are gaining skills in the  retrieval and interpretation of mass  information. They are gaining skills in research and dissemination of information on a variety of platforms. We as educators can take these skills, going as far as talking about video games in class, and help students relate the information and skills that they are learning with the video games and translate this information into research or distillation of content in terms that they understand. Helping them understand that the same skills they are using in video games are helpful and needed in academics.

I want my students to play, I want them to interact on media formats and most importantly I want students to learn the where of the content not necessarily the what of the content. If we can teach them how to access, translate & transform it, then disseminate the information I think our job as educators are done.

What are some topics/games/media’s that you have talked about in your class in trying to help students learn the where of information instead of the what?

Music Weekly Play

This week for my weekly play,  I engaged with the music mixing app that our professor posted on Twitter. I literally laid in bed for hours playing with it because I was having so much fun thinking about what songs connect well with each other based on tempo and lyrics. It was a creative way to fall asleep and an outlet for me to engage something completely out of my normal realm of faculties. I am not musical at all so I though this was the coolest thing ever, the next day I showed my friend who is musical and he thought that it was poorly done. It is interesting how our ears are different based on our musical abilities or disabilities in my case. Here is the link to the website you can mix and match. My favorite combination is Get Low and How to Save a Life. Have fun! 


The Black Internet?

Would you have thought that there is such a thing as the black internet? A community of and subsection of the internet that people who are black associate with each other. At the same time there is the white internet that gazes upon the black internet and draw clear distinctions between the two realms. This is exemplified in the article, Poor Meme, Rich Meme where the intersectionality discourse of how memes show the differences that exists between the black body and and white body. Further this article points out that there incredible injustice perpetrated by the white community through the white gaze of these memes, “through the aggressive circulation of videos that document black death or violence in general against black people. These videos proliferate alongside memes, brushing up against each other on the same platforms. Further, black death and black joy are pinned to each other by the white gaze, and if we see their intersection anywhere” (Dean).

I urge you to read the full article by Dean, Poor Meme, Rich Meme.

My question that arise is how can these injustices be better attended to? Further what ways could this knowledge be useful in the classroom and how do we teach students their ethical responsibility to stand up for injustice online?

New Learning & School/classroom independence

In New Culture of Learning, Thomas and Seely Brown articulate the growing need and demand for technological responsive pedagogy. In their description, there is a very specific place for these technological cultures to take place in the classroom space, stating, “We believe that this new culture of learning can augment learning in nearly every facet of education and every stage of life. It is a core part of what we think of as “arc of life” learning, which comprises the activities in our daily lives that keep us learning, growing, and exploring” (Thomas & Seely Brown, 18).

Historically, education in the United States has been purely mechanistic, meaning process oriented to create a finished product. Students taught this way, have learned the steps to develop a finished product displaying their learning. This style was designed to out of the industrial revolution and the need to workers in the United States to operate and work in the mechanical workforce. Since then we have always taught in this same fashion.

By implementing a digitally responsive pedagogical style we can begin to break down this mechanistic style of learning and allows students to engage in different and fun styles of learning.  By providing and teaching students digital tools, students have stepped out of the classroom dependent learning setting and the mechanistic learning style into now facilitating their own learning, and thus becoming classroom independent, the goal of every educator. We want each student to desire to learn and be able to learn material without the necessity of having a instructor constantly giving the  information. This can be achieved through culturally responsive pedagogical practices as well as the use and development of digital tools that empower students to become learners of new information.

Once students are empowered to learning in settings that are meaningful and substantive to them the goal of education has been achieved, school independent learning in ways that engage their interests both intellectually and creatively.

What are some culturally responsive and digitally responsive pedagogical ideas/lessons that have engaged students creatively?

So much cooler online…

The use of social media and really all media forms allows one to approach our idenity in a more complex and meaningful way. Rainie and Wellman in Networked, that the identity development can become a more complex and interesting with the use of digital media forms. One can actively participate in a multitude of groups engaging different parts of a person’s identity.

“Over time, more people will take at least a few steps to manage their identities by segmenting pieces of themselves—in effect, embracing a networked self in which different parts of themselves are on display to different audiences in their networks. It is not that they will have separate selves for different segments of their networks, or for online versus offline interactions. Rather than different personas, people’s selves are networked: There is a core, but different aspects of that self get emphasized in different social situations.” (Rainie & Wellman, 269).

I do this all the time. I will engage in media practices that are different in each sphere that I am in. For example at school, and on twitter I engage in intellectual discussions. My identity changes then when I hop onto facebook where I am engaging with friends from church and my social life, talking about personal life discussions, such as where I just ate or who I am hanging out with. I think that the development of social media really brought through and helped solidify the idea of intersectionality in the sense that a person can be someone different in each platform they are using.

This whole discussion reminds me of a song by Brad Pasely… Go ahead and laugh with me about this one…

Rainie, Lee, and Wellman, Barry. Networked : The New Social Operating System. Cambridge, US: MIT Press, 2012. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 16 February 2017.
Copyright © 2012. MIT Press. All rights reserved.