Sunday, March 13, 2011

Blog Post 8

This Is How We Dream.
Richard E. Miller
This video lecture was created by Richard E. Miller, an English professor at Rutgers University. Dr. Miller discusses, in part one of the video, the idea that we are at a pivotal point in the history of communication. We are on the brink of a fundamental change from communicating through mediums that are written and read to ones that are watched and heard. He starts with the shift from paper publishing to electronic publishing of printed texts. The main benefits of electronic publishing being that the information is more widely available, easier to access, and often more permanent. The next step in the evolution is purely electronic composition and distribution of information including text with video, audio, and pictures. This enhances the value of the information and makes it more interesting and more fitting to the way we actually communicate. Dr. Miller states that we are at a point now where we are able to publish on youtube and in forums such as wikis so that we are collaborating with people all over the world.
Part II of the series investigates what the future of communication and publishing might look like. Dr. Miller shared the work of Jonathan Harris who is creating amazing works with the internet as his medium. Dr. Miller talks about Harris's We Feel Fine. project. I'm finding that I lack the vocabulary to describe what this is. It's an aggregator. It's an art project. It's a statistics tool. Harris says that his goal is to make the internet a more human place. To make our technological future a future that brings us together in a world in which we want to live.
I was intrigued by Dr. Miller's hope of uniting the humanities with the sciences. Much like Randy Pausch he is working towards interdisciplinary collaboration. This seems like the way to get to this future of communication. We have to teach our kids to collaborate. We have to help them find their skills and learn to share them and mix them with the skills of their peers. By providing our students with classrooms where cooperative learning is encouraged we can provide them with so many more ways to express themselves and bring their ideas to life.

The Chipper Series is about a misguided EDM310 student's experiences and discussions with Dr. Strange. Chipper feels that EDM310 is too hard and requires too much self teaching. She drops out and tries several different careers none of which work out. She finds in the end that the requirements and work required in EDM310 are required in real life. EDM310 for Dummies is a commercial for a book that will help you make an "A" in EDM310. I think the book "EDM310 for Dummies" in the video represents the instruction manual for EDM310 and the idea is to encourage careful reading of instructions when completing projects.
If I were to make a help video for EDM310 it might be on the subject of proof reading. It would explain several different methods for proof reading and also explain the importance of proof reading when writing. The video would also provide resources for improving your writing such as the writing workshops available on campus.

Changing to Learn. Learning to Change.
yellow road sign with black print reading Change Ahead
This video is a discussion about the needed change in the way we educate our students. The people in the video view our current system as a system of educating where the teachers are the owners of knowledge and it is dispensed, in standardized doses, to students who are bored and uninterested. They feel we must create a schooling environment that provides a system for learning. In this system students learn to gather resources and then collaborate with others and share what they have learned. This change in education is required because there has been a change in our culture. What is important now is not what you know but what you can find out and how well you are able to put together ideas and create something new from the information you gather. What is important now is how well you are able to express your ideas and share the information you have found.

RSA Animate - The Secret Powers of Time
I love RSA Animate videos! This video is an animation of Professor Philip Zombardo's lecture on the effects of how we perceive time. The video suggests for educators that our students live in a fast paced, interactive world which they create and control. We then ask these students to sit and watch, for seven hours a day, someone talk at them about things they can't relate to. The solution to this is finding a way to make school interesting. Make school a place where students create things and understand why they are being taught math and science. A great point made in the video is that students are often hedonistic and want to do what is fun right now without regard for the consequences. Telling them that learning this information will be useful in 5 years is not enough to motivate them. We have to make learning the most interesting thing in the room right now.
RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us.
This video is an animation of a lecture by Dan Pink about what motivates people. He discusses the methods of motivation that are effective in motivating people to think and create. The first motivator is self direction. People who are able to decide what they are working on and how are going to be more innovative and produce more interesting products than those who are constantly being managed. The second method of motivation is mastery or the desire people have to perfect a skill. People gain satisfaction from accomplishing things and improving their skills. The third motivator is purpose. This is the idea that people want to work on things they care about. In order to get our students motivated we have to let them find their own way, let them work on their skills and help them to find a purpose for what they are learning so they will want to come to class each day and do their best.


  1. I visited Jonathan Harris's page and boy-- I thought his introductory page was so oxymoronic. I expected something growing with life, pictures of life, photos of "real life" art, images of things we love: food, play, landscapes... but instead it was white. It was white with black, typewriter text. I ended up loving his blog because of the shock factor.

    As I sit outside the UCOMM building finishing up my comments for y'all. I am beginning to feel so conflicted. I feel the cool, but not cold breeze and the warmth reflected off the side walk as if the sidewalk were some adjustment medium where nature meets the sound of cars drowning out the birds' songs and the leaves racing across the asphalt. If I were to design my own technological space for a more comfortable experience...

    would be sunk into
    the inner walls of a hollow tree.
    The branches would look like caves for
    beds and cabinetry. My warm lights would
    be in the shape of suns, moons, stars, and
    clouds. Where there weren't lights there
    would be windows. And although my
    technological refuge would be
    sound-proof, my windows
    will peer onto
    the quickly
    moving city
    my uniquely
    natural, yet
    getaway. I
    will love it
    because it's
    reflective of me. Thank
    you for letting me
    be silly on your

  2. When I wrote that above, it was a tree. Next time I know to use periods instead of spaces :-(

  3. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the changing to learning and learning to change. We have to adapt with the times... I think it is embarrassing when you go into a school and the they are still using textbooks from the when we were in school. The idea that parents and faculty do not want to or attempt to help their students and children learn from more modernized tools amazes me. They should want their children and students to get the best education they can get in either public or private school. The information you use in your classroom reflects the kind of student or person they are going to be in the real world.

  4. @Anthony, That's a very nice concrete poem you've got there. It at least looks like half of a tree.
    @Leslie "The information you use in your classroom reflects the kind of student or person they are going to be in the real world" So right! Being technologically literate is such an important skill.