Stuff I read and what I think about it: Week 6 Reading Response

Stuff I read:

What I think:

This weekly reading response will be structured a little differently in the “What I think” section (i.e. the section you are reading at this very moment). More specifically, there will be three subsections: Reaffirmations (of previously held understanding), Expansions (in which my thinking expands), and Questions (for future consideration). I’ve grown accustomed to just writing whatever I thought without excessive use of categories/sections, but I think this will make this post seem a little more organized.

The readings for Week 6 were successful in solidifying the concepts and beliefs I’ve encountered in previous readings, expanding my grasp of the implications of learning with digital storytelling, and introducing new concepts to which I had not experienced prior exposure.

Reaffirmations: It sure feels good to think you’re right. Since beginning this course, my understanding of digital storytelling and literacy development has been ignited and expanded. This week’s chapter of Lankshear & Knobel featured a lot of content that confirmed my previously held beliefs (based on previous weekly reading). Above all else, the sociocultural aspects of education and knowledge are more apparent than ever. Literacies (digital or otherwise) are developed communally through interaction, participation, and sharing. With this in mind, it is no secret to me (or many others) that the traditional “brick and mortar” format of collaborative learning restricted to higher education is no longer addressing societal needs.

sleeping in class

In my selected reading on “Reference Education”, I encountered another example of how collaborative learning is being recognized as the new norm. In library education, future librarians are prepared to address the research needs of patrons (academic, public, etc.). Since the future of education and knowledge development is collaborative and relationship-based, practices like these should be the classroom standard. Much like the people they serve, librarians must “learn to be” and actively participate (pull) in their education in order to assist others as they do the same.

Discouraging, however, was the COLTT open letter and responses (well, the responses were INSPIRING, to be fair). As Remi Holden-my instructor for this course and a big promoter of online collaborative learning via twitter- was reprimanded for his proposal to COLTT conference. Apparently, his tweets were not matching the “tone of COLTT” (whatever that is) and they felt he needed to “adhere to the content” proposed for his sessions. As I read this letter, I spent the entire time trying to determine what’s so offensive about his twitter activity? Due to my confusion, I see this as an example of “Push vs Pull”. The source of the unwarranted comments seems offended by social media activity in general. The responses, however, demonstrated the boundless ocean of support.

Expansions: Beyond providing support for previously discussed concepts/theories, my Week 6 readings have expanded my understanding of education and literacy development in many ways. A specific example of this is the ways in which social learning is present in the world around me. The KPS Initiative, an educational measure applied by several schools in Australia, provides an excellent example of how academic institutions can embrace relationship/communal-based learning.The most fascinating aspect about these schools is the emphasis on community participation which seems to embody the “learner expert” concept (i.e. we are all students and experts).

The section of the Lankshear and Knobel chapter on “push” and “pull” demonstrated to me the ways in which individual participation is the soul of collaborative learning and literacy development. The fact that platforms are continuously being developed to accommodate social learning is especially encouraging. For the ones that already exist (Wikipedia, SIMS development, other affinity groups both on and offline) vividly depict the “pull” aspect of acquiring knowledge.

dolittle1

The “pull” or self-initiated aspect of learning is further displayed in The Importance of Being Along in the Digital Era. In this article, the author discusses what it means to be alone and how it positively impacts us psychologically. In the digital age, we are seldom alone due to smart phones, internet, and all the sources of information and relationships that leave us with little time “alone”. Much like education and literacy development, one has to initiate “being alone”. Users have so much access and so many outlets for connecting with the world, but we also must “pull” for regular alone time.

Questions: I have a couple of questions that have been brought to the surface by my readings (see below, keep reading)

Is “learning to be” involuntary?

As I develop new skills through weekly assignments, I only became aware of “how” I was learning through assigned course readings. I often wonder to what extent the average user is aware.

What does the future hold for expertise?

I understand that we are becoming “learner experts” in that we acquire knowledge and skills through self-initiated participation, but what about the traditional model of expertise. More specifically, I wonder how society will determine who “gets the credentials”. I would rather have an MD as a doctor than someone who spent hours searching PubMed in lieu of a traditional education (despite my support for the “pull” model). Of course I understand that real expertise can be (and often is)acquired outside of the “brick and mortar”, but I wonder how we will tell who to go to when sick (in this example).

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