An intellectual mash-up artist:
-Purposely selects what they interpret as meaningful content and creates something new
-Creates new identities from old identities
-Takes the most popular (often polar) content from different communities and produces artifacts that express the resulting meaning-making from the collective content
ex. Overlays Rap (Wenger) and Country (Anderson) and makes a mash-up (Dan)
Real life example: Edward Tufte examines visuals - data, displays, photographs, graphs, and other visual forms - to "lead to new levels of understanding both for creators and viewers of visual displays." He overlays or combines the collective data into a new visual frame. (see: www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/index).
We'll start with a simple check in on where you are with your next two Occupy Learning assignments. Also, are we prepared to publicize our #occupylearning assignment to the Internet? From there, we'll switch gears and do the following:
Break off into your teams and craft a reaction to the following guiding question and post it to the class blog:
What does it mean to be an intellectual mash-up artist?
We'll react to your posts and then take a break ...
When we get back we will switch up the physical arrangement of the room ... Cole and Scott will occupy the back of the room. Letting you drive a discussion using the following as guiding questions:
Do learning spaces have an identity?
Is there a "core" identity that we have that is somehow community independent? How easy is it to change your identity?
Brokering is something that makes us valuable from one community to another. We are all brokers to some degree. Is one of the ways we recognize boundaries (and communities) by their reaction (interaction) to/with us around the same information (boundary objects)?
If we (as teacher) ask students to participate in ways that are in conflict with their "core" identity in order to become part of a community of practice is that ethical?
Often Wenger's notions of communties of practice are interpreted as a theory that indicates some kind of reform of classrooms as they are not "authentic" communities of practice. If not, then what are they?
[Related to the above are the issues with the apprenticeship model - teachers are not practitioners of the field they are teaching to their students, we may want students to have learnings and experiences that are in areas that they will not be direct participating members in so that they can make other civically important decisions (not all school needs to be something that students will "use" directly).]
Out of Class
Next week is spring break -- no class
Finish the Occupy Learning posts
Read Wenger pages 188 - 229
Read Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things -- available in Yammer.
This week, we decided to use collage to illustrate our (re)reflections and (re)understanding of the concept of design. In this blog, our medium is the message. We believe, particularly as it pertains to design, that the visual and physical can be understood and interpreted in ways that textual and theoretical cannot. We draw heavily upon the Slotta reading because we perceived his chapter to have more relevance to the concept of design than the reading segment assigned in the Wenger. Although we use Wenger's ideas to inform the images we selected, we did not pick our themes explicitly from his work. Our three themes are: (1) design as cooperative knowledge construction (Slotta, 2010, p. 232); (2) design as collaborative groupware (Slotta, 2010, p. 233); and (3) design as architectural decisions that enable themes 1 and 2 (Slotta, 2010, p. 231). We intentionally do not provide much text to accompany each collage--just one quote that reflects one segment of our understanding of the theme--because we want to give the chance for our images (and the interaction between images and collages) to be read without many boundaries.
Theme 1: Design as cooperative knowledge construction.
"True change in such a community can only evolve through a continuous process where all participants negotiate new meanings about why they are present and how they should conduct themselves" (p. 231).
Theme 2: Design as collaborative software.
"...cooperative groupware is more sophisticated, where each member of the group receives a different interactive tool, and those tools are monitored and synthesized by a separate learning object that includes a programmable agent" (p. 234)
Theme 3: Design architecture that enables themes 1 & 2.
"The pedagogical architecture is essentially a set of specifications and capabilities to group students with peers provide those groups with detailed content, learning goals, instructions and feedback" (p. 231).
Note: For a list of our image references, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The file is too large to attach to this blog.
From the Cluetrain Manifesto's 95 Theses Community: (95) We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.
Communities are constantly forming and connecting ideas. They are not standing still, or waiting for someone to tell them what to do; they are making a difference. Occupy Learning is attempting to link to other communities that may have the same concerns as we do. We're moving forward as a community to try to connect with these other communities by posting an assignment and watching for others to join us.
Identity: (16) Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.
Authenticity and identity are inextricably connected. We can recognize "phoniness" and do not care to be part of its perpetuation.
Design: (85) Your product broke. Why? We'd like to ask the guy who made it. Your corporate strategy makes no sense. We'd like to have a chat with your CEO. What do you mean she's not in?
This thesis speaks to the gap between who decides design (the CEO) and who the design is for. Tied to our discussion about Occupy Learning today, we need to begin considering the voices of those who the design is for (of spaces, of products, of tools) instead of only the voices of those in power. When those who use the design want to their voice to be heard, often the decision-makers are not present, don't want input, and resist change because it's not their idea. This strikes me as true but backwards.
Theses of note:
95: We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.
93: We are both inside companies and outside them. The boundaries that separate our conversations look like the Berlin wall today, but they are just an annoyance. We know they are coming down. We are going to work from both sides to take them down.
Community driven networks break down barriers. Education has been about constructivism; the community of learners breaks down the balance of power as we integrate collaborative learning and Web 2.0.
25: Companies need to come down from their ivory towers and talk to the people with whom they hope to create relationships.
The university administration needs to reach out to people using classroom spaces on a daily basis to gather input about learning in particular spaces. Setting up a university Facebook account is not enough to weave student and professor learning experiences into planning learning spaces.
39: The community of discourse is the market.
40: Companies that do not belong to a community of discourse will die.
We envison "companies" as formal organizations. The reason the Internet works is because it distributes human thought among communities The Internet enables human voices to be heard and directed to construct communities in ways that are individually driven rather than being formally directed.
Hi Internet! The students of CI598 in Spring 2012 would like to give you an assignment. We will be asking you to attend various learning spaces on your campus to better understand the affordances of these spaces related to teaching and learning. We are calling this movement "Occupy Learning."
Over time we will collect from you, Internet, small reports on spaces on your campuses. The goal is to produce artifacts that contain text, digital images, audio, and video into blog posts all across the Internet. Here are two examples:
Your contribution to this project can follow the criteria below, but feel free to be creative as you work towards your own Occupy Learning artifact.
Title: University Name, Name of Building, and Room Number
Top Summary: Select the 3-5 most important constraints and affordances about the teaching and learning space to highlight.
Background/History/Location: Including, but not limited to, providing detail about the building in which the learning space is found (location on campus and history of construction or renovation). Provide detail concerning how the learning space is primarily used (ex science lecture hall).
Physical Layout: The overall landscape of the room, including the furniture and fixtures.
Impact on Learning and Teaching
Classroom Ambiance: Environmental and intangible elements such as temperature, light, air quality, noise, smells, etc.
Impact on Learning and Teaching
User Experience: Describe affordances (opportunities & challenges) for teaching and learning activities and interactions; when possible incorporate comments related to actual scenarios from students, professors, and observers.
Impact on Learning and Teaching
Technology: The space includes a wifi network to accommodate mobile devices and/or offers computing devices such as desktop computers or laptops.
Impact on Learning and Teaching
Unexpected Phenomena: What about the physical layout of the room or activities within the space that surprised you?
Improvement Ideas: Share thoughts on how your team might improve the design given the realities of the space.
Tag posts with #occupylearning
When tweeting send to @occupylearning
The Occupy Learning posts are truly amazing ... such a huge improvement. We have shared them around campus and on Twitter to lots of people and the feedback has been very positive.
Today we are going to explore the web as a learning space and as a platform to extend the walls of the classroom. To that end we are going to do some relatively different kinds of things today. We'll open with a reflection of your Occupy Learning posts that we will record and share openly ... we'd like to design an assignment for the open web and invitation for others to join the Occupy Learning movement (yeah, I just called it a movement). Speaking of it as a movement, how would we construct this so that it does emerge as a social movement? Should we "brand" the rooms we've occupied with codes that allow people to instantly be taken to the posts? Should we have t-shirts? Perhaps that should be an explicit expectation of the larger assignment?
We'll then introduce you to the Cluetrain Manifesto and ask you to read the introduction and 95 theses. In your teams you will pull out the three that resonate most with your teams and post them along with a reflection of the web as a learning space. You'll want to frame that around the things we've been reading. You'll then come back and share your posts.
117 Osmond speaks to university learning of the past.
The physical layout positions all attention forward toward a singular lecturer.
The acoustics support sound delivery from the front, and the available electrical and display space are also positioned in the front with a singular lecturer.
The space is not constructed for passive (students using laptops for notes) or active (students using integrated web-based materials during class) digital learning experiences.
This is not a collaborative learning environment, and due to physical layout, further threatens students' sense of safe mobility and personal, private space.
Background-History, Location, Quick Facts
The Osmond Lab is a multipurpose building with a gross area of 137,760 square feet. Built in 1940, the facilities web page lists the building in "poor" condition. It seats approximately 150, 117 Osmond is heavily used for science lectures although other disciplines do use the space.
The Osmond Laboratory is centrally located on campus near the HUB and generally accessible for students and faculty who walk or ride CAT buses to campus
117 Osmond is a large lecture hall located on the first floor (see video link below for a video tour)
As a lecture hall, 117 Osmond is dated in appearance and reflects a flow that restricts movement for entry, exit, seating, and activities during classes. Our observations and student respondents rated the fluorescent lighting as low quality. Natural light is not apparent in this space. The colors are dated with orange plastic seating, off-white walls with gray acoustic rectangular panels, and mint green trim and front wall. Most of the flooring is tile except for the balcony which has old, worn carpet. Two staircases with handrails visually dominate the seating area and cordon the space into distinct sections. Entry and exit pathways are highly restricted due to the location of the stairs and the small, restricted seating. Observers and students did comment on the drafty nature of the room.
Students and professors using the space first comment on the severe slope in the room (see images on this page and the video tour link below). One student interviewed noted that the classroom is called the "cliff classroom." A state of vertigo was common for all, and some students indicated a fear of falling when entering the room with a loaded backpack (see quoted student comments below). None of the interviewees looked forward to learning experiences in the space (8 interviews).
The seating is narrow with limited personal space and limited work surfaces. The classroom may have been adequate for a single notebook, but does not appear to accommodate the space needed for students to work with laptops. This is an issue due not only to the personal preferences of today's college student, but also to the nature of lecture notes - most of the students' professors post PowerPoint presentations on Angel which the students are expected to access and follow during lecture.
Due also to the limited mobility (from the slope, attached seats, and tight fit), none of the observed classes or interviews exhibited collaborative work. Students are generally focused on one large screen in the front of the room or on the professor who may attempt a demonstration. The acoustics are variable: sound appears to carry up from the lecture area but not down to the lecturer or around to peers. Hence, participatory exchanges are typically unproductive. Sight lines from the open seating area are typically unobstructed; however, one observer commented that visibility was limited in the balcony area due to the rail. Students and the observer in this area had to lean forward for the entire lecture if they wanted to see the lecturer or demonstration/notes. Observers and students noted that there is limited to no accommodation for seating for students who need nonstandard access (wheelchair, crutches, etc.).
Technology use is highly limited in this space. There are no power outlets available for student use. The room is oriented to a one lecturer format with overhead projector or displayed PowerPoint type notations.
The use of film was not observed nor was it a part of student interview comments. Verbal communication from a central lecturer was the most common format. Shared technology for student groups would not be possible with the current physical configuration. Students cannot move the seats, nor turn around in them. Students cannot move through a row of seats without all other students standing. Consequently, integration of technology in this space would likely require a floor plan change. The space does have 'old school' technology: the blackboard.
Student comments regarding health and safety issues were unanticipated. An observer entering the room will certainly notice the extreme slope; however, through the interview process we did not anticipate the level of discomfort that students would communicate regarding ease of movement and violations of personal space due to the cramped, fixed seating. Further, the 'vertigo effect' cannot be underestimated. This physical aspect appears to have a negative psychological impact on professors and students in the space. All seem 'to settle' knowing that teaching and learning opportunities will be limited. If the adage is true, 'we are only as strong as our weakest link', 117 Osmond does not portray what learning can be at Penn State.
Long term, a physical redesign of the space is needed with changes to the seating that allows ease of access and exit for learners, power supplied to individual seating areas as a part of learning styles that now use digital electronics as essential note-taking apparatus, and a redesign of physical slope and acoustics.
In the short term, seating could be added immediately outside of the lecture hall for students to confer immediately before or following classes and for professors to meet with students when classes are changing.
Seven students contributed to this review and offered to include their stories. The following quoted sections reflect 'lived' experiences in 117 Osmond.
... When walking down the stairs, there is a genuine fear that you may fall--and land all the way at the bottom in a matter of seconds. The steps are steep, and the tiered seating doesn't help much either. When watching the lecture, I feel as though vertigo is setting in. It is incredibly hard to concentrate because you are constantly looking down. It is so bad that it makes you not even want to go to class.
...Speaking truthfully, I was always afraid that navigating to an empty seat would result in me tumbling, most likely fatally, down to ground. Given that it is predominantly physics classes being taught in there, it almost seems cute that they would use a room that makes you blatantly aware of the gravity acting on you before you even have the chance to sit down.
... Personally I do not care for this classroom at all. To put it bluntly, it is my least favorite classroom on the entirety of campus. I got to the point where I would show up early and grab a seat along the aisle just for the extra leg room.
... When thinking of 117 Osmond, poor thoughts and feelings immediately come to mind. It is a terrible classroom, and very unpleasant to be in. There is a type of reverberation of whomever is talking, and it makes it difficult to understand.
... Having such a steep slope to the seating gave a sense of distance from the professor. Therefore, I always found myself less engaged and more likely to attenuate to something other than the lecture material. I think looking down on the professor and not being eye level with the professor contributed to the lack of engagement I felt from the class.
... If someone told me I had to go there, I would think, oh man, the cliff classroom
Julie wanted me to upload this animation I was working on too. It is sort of a rough draft. The website I used wouldn't let me create a video longer than 2 minutes so I had to record what I had with another program. Consequently, the audio is not as good. I'm sorry for science people who are upset with my molecular representations.
These rules were given to me by a member of the Rules and Regulations Committee. Some are more humorous then others. I left her commentary in for effect.
THON Rules in general:
-No sitting. If you must sit for medical reasons, you need a wristband from R&R.
-No caffeine for dancers or committee members, not everyone follows this rule. Cheaters.
-During "drunk shifts" - late night Friday and Saturday - only Gate B is open. No drinks allowed in at all, even if it's obviously just water.
-People are not supposed to crowd on the concourse. Pass line (portal 14) is supposed to stay near the wall. This area is a mess.
-Dancers should not know what time it is. Dancers on medications that must be taken at the same time everyday have their medication taken from them. They will be called to the Meds table at the appropriate time.
-Mopping of the floor occurs 3 times during the weekend. The dancers are roped off into sections, making them very hot, crowded, and agitated. OPP races to finish mopping very quickly.
-Slides of strength will happen 3 or 4 times during the weekend for massages, but there is a massage hallway for dancers if they start to get cramps.
-Committee captains usually have 2 sleep shifts during the weekend, both happen while their committees are also on a break. The sleep shift room is monitored by THON and R&R. It is downstairs.
-If a dancer passes out, R&R committee members on the floor at that time (3 R&R committees on the floor at any given time, on the left, right, and directly in front of the stage) must form a crowd around the fallen dancer to not discourage other dancers until EMT gets there.
-If a dancer hallucinates, committee members must not say, "That's not real. There is no one here in a chicken costume." Just go with it.
-Dancers may go outside if they are feeling like they need fresh air, but only with their moraler in case they bolt.
-If a committee member is late to a shift, their captain has to leave the zone to get them in committee storage and escort them back to the rest of the committee. This is considered a huge slap in the face.
-Comm committee members may sit down in the information booths. This is unfair and upsetting.
-Committee members may not sleep in committee storage or hang out there between shifts. They can stay at THON but have to stand in the bleachers like everyone else.
-Dancers may lean and receive piggy back rides if needed.
-Balls cannot be thrown between the floor and the stands.
-The pit is an area where the bleachers extend onto the floor left of the stage. People will try to pass their floor passes back and forth. This is obviously not allowed. They can bring toys and snacks to their dancers.
-Floor passes expire. There are many colors of floor passes. They will expire by color to make sure it doesn't get too crowded. Especially during the pep rally, dancers hate other people being on the floor because it is too hot.
-Committees have to arrive to their shifts a half hour early, no exceptions.
-Four Diamonds families have passes and wristbands. They will try to sneak these to members of their orgs for them to have their special privileges, which is nice but not allowed.
-Committee members who smoke cannot do so around the Bryce Jordan Center, in their committee shirts, or between shifts. It is offensive to families whose kids did not get cancer by their own unhealthy habits. If they must smoke between shifts, they have to shower and wash their shirts before coming back to the BJC.
-Committee members will not have time to wash their shirts that they wear the whole weekend, so they wear undershirts. Gel inserts and comfy shoes are encouraged.
-They must have their student ID, which they exchange for an on-shift badge. They can have their IDs back when they finish their shift and turn in their badge.
-Committee members with leadership positions underneath the captain are always marked in a way that other committees understand. For example, OPP LT's (lieutenants) might have drawstring bags that say LT. R&R SL's (security leaders) may all wear the same color bandana on their arms.
Spicy Nodes is a concept mapping tool that can be used in many different ways. The home site offers suggestions for educators interested in using it as an instructional tool. Basic membership is free. The tool showcases relationships among details of a concept, requiring the user to work with an "economy" of words to communicate the essence of an idea. These nuggets of information take the reader on a synergistic journey, exploring connections among key ideas.
For this week's blog post around Identity, Team Tiger looked for those nuggets of information nestled in the text that spoke to each of us about identity. We chose several to reflect upon and have shared those with you in this Spicy Node presentation. We hope that it creates a storyline for you about identity, which may, or may not, leave you with the same message that was intended by the Tigers. After all, we each process text in our own way based on all of our life experiences that have influenced our identities.
For the best view, begin by choosing "full screen" (2nd icon from the left) and, because it is a large presentation, it might be best to adjust the "overall zoom level" to 1-2 bars (the small round magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the screen). Then choose the arrow pointing right to begin the show. Be sure to give the Spicy Nodes time to load. Enjoy! TT Note: If one node is covering the text of another node that you are attempting to read, simply run your mouse over the node (don't click on it) and the node will be moved to the front for easy reading.
Is designed to educate more students, not necessarily educate students better.
Is designed for teacher-to-student transmission with little personal interaction between students or teacher to student.
Is teacher-centric. The technology, physical design, and acoustics seem designed so the instructor can be heard, seen, and understood and less that the students can be heard, seen, or understood.
Assumes a positivistic approach to learning and teaching.
Located in the Eisenhower Auditorium area of campus, Thomas Building was named after Joab Thomas, former president of Penn State. Offering seating for over 700, 100 Thomas offers sophisticated multimedia and computer technology for professors and students along with technical support for its use. Orientation and training sessions are available for all room users, both university faculty and outside parties interested in renting the space. 100 Thomas is used extensively each semester by University classroom courses, but is also available for student organizations, colleges and departments to reserve through the Student Activities Office in 125D HUB. Physical Layout Description
Comfortable seating, wide aisles, easy access to well marked exits, storage areas, and more. In terms of ADA accessibility, the back row of seats can accommodate a wheel chair or other mobility-enhancer, however not one of those who used them had any visible impairments. They seemed to fill up faster than other sections of chairs (esp. the front rows). The space is a wedge-shape, with about a 60 degree angle to the front of the room. It has one large screen at the front, and two podiums at the very front. The walls are different rectangular modules of green and white. There is also a ADA section in the front row of each side. You may notice that there is a single chair on the aisle side. This is to "mark" the row and give the wheelchair person someone to sit with if desired. The wheelchair can take the elevator down to the bottom level and come in the side door. There is certainly a unified "vanishing point" of instruction that would exist behind the screen at the front of the room; this is where the instructor is supposed to be positioned. The clock is located there, and the projector and sole computer are locked in the line of that vanishing point.
Impact on Learning and Teaching
In this video, Dr. Shannon Sullivan, department head of Philosophy, discusses the challenges, the benefits, and the implications for student learning. She discusses her difficulty accessing/engaging students in the back of the room (where, in our observation, most students sit), her navigation of the room's technology, and the inherent limitations of a amphitheater-style lecture room.
Based on our data, the room seems to be best fit for transmission-style, direct instruction from teacher to student. As addressed in the video, student-to-student interaction and teacher-to-student interaction are made difficult by the space, although there are certainly examples of ways to make the participation and engagement with and between students wide-spread.
Classroom Ambiance Description
The classroom has no windows, and was kept somewhat chilly on a cold winter's day. Many students kept their hats, scarves, and/or jackets on. Others placed their outerwear in empty seats, taking up extra seats. Fluorescent overhead lights made the room incredibly bright, washing out the screen projection. A sign on the inside door of the classroom demanded "No Food or Drink Allowed," but multiple trash and recycling containers were placed around the room. Sounds resonated and seemed to echo across the large space, making coughs, sneezes, and murmurs easily audible.
Impact on Learning
While the space is quite large, the lack of natural light creates a bunker-like atmosphere. Perhaps the colder climate and bright lights are meant to keep the students alert and focused (instead of falling asleep, a very likely situation in a large lecture hall--see Penn State Meme below). However, the lighting washed out the screen projection, making it more difficult to see digital presentations. The sheer number of trash cans and recycling bins easily accessible across the room challenged the no eating policy. Bodily functions are never pleasant to hear, and the profusion of coughing and sneezing was quite jarring.
User Experience Description
Comments about the use of the room vary among students and instructors. One student felt that for a large lecture hall, the wide aisles and upholstered seats made the space quite comfortable. She suggested that if you choose to sit close to the front, it had the feeling of a smaller classroom. Another student felt that there were only certain parts of the room that are conducive to participating (the front rows of sections), although the GAs roam around the room with microphones so student responses and questions can be heard. When taking an exam, students were given alternately colored test booklets and after only 30 minutes, students began to get up, hand in their exams and walk through the hall to the exit.
Impact on Learning
If students have questions about the course content, asking can be difficult. You have to first have your need to ask a question acknowledged, then you must get the attention of a GA with a microphone. However, there are those bold enough to shout out a question from their seat, which two white males were observed doing. Would others be so audacious as to shout out? Two students interviewed, however, said that they had a good relationship with their instructor, having met with her on several occasions during office hours. The space, arguably, does not allow for close contact with the instructor. The lecture hall also does not lend itself to small group discussions.
Some professors have invited students to talk to the person beside them or stand and turn to a partner, but with 700 students, debriefing these experiences are difficult to personalize. When taking an exam, there were distractions as students finishing early begin to move to the front to hand in their testing materials and then exit to the rear. Thirty minutes into the exam, there was a lot of movement, clearly creating a distraction for those still working. From the instructors point of view, those who utilize 100 Thomas are often interested in using different types of media as part of their presentation. Professors, such as Sam Richardson, are able to use the space quite effectively by being willing to "walk" while instructing, asking for student participation and getting in close proximity to students. Amina, a teaching assistant in philosophy, illuminates these points from an instructional perspective.
100 Thomas offers a wide assortment of technology choices for instructors. A PC and Mac for projection purposes can both be running at the same time while also taking a texting survey. Music can be playing from an iPod or similar device as class is beginning by merely "plugging in" upon arrival. There is a microphone on the podium and also lapel mics are available. An interactive touch screen allows instructors to monitor their computer screen and interact as needed. The computer monitors are password protected for added safety. There are speakers behind the porous front screen, a large center channel speaker above the screen and two rows of round fill speakers embedded in the ceiling in the back to balance the sound throughout the space. Tools such as a digital document camera and laser pointers are also available. Clickers are also utilized in this space, but must be purchased by students. Settings to control the lighting have been modified to make the adjustment settings more user friendly. Outlets are located on both sides of the room and are also embedded in each student chair and in the ADA table space in the back of the room.
Impact on Learning
The plethora of technology available definitely provides an enhancement to learning in such a large space. Although there is often a significant amount of whispering and murmuring, the professor's voice is still very audible through the microphone. PowerPoints are usually easy to follow, although one student shared that occasionally the PowerPoint doesn't project properly and when that happens, it's very difficult to follow the instructor's lecture. Students are often able to purchase printouts of the PowerPoints ($20) but they are not eligible for buy-back. Clickers also impose a financial burden on students. Overall, the technology plays a central role in delivering the content and setting the stage for instruction in 100 Thomas.
Unexpected Issues or Positives Description
The sheer number of students visiting 100 Thomas every day makes it a target for solicitors. During one visit on a Thursday afternoon, a young woman from a sorority (who was not in the class being held) stationed herself at the front door and passed out fliers to a charity event. Her organization assigned different members to this duty on different days. The cavernous room was also once home to a bat, and animal services had to be called and classes were canceled until it was captured. Much of the room's equipment is publicly accessible, and the supervisory technician spends time reorganizing the setup before classes start in the morning. The space is first come, first served when classes are not scheduled. Since outside scheduling is completed separated from class scheduling, double-bookings occur.
Impact on Learning
Although we are constantly bombarded with promotional materials, students may feel uncomfortable fending off hustlers while entering a classroom. On the other hand, this method of advertising appeals to those who block out other means of communication. Catching a bat is one of the coolest reasons for canceling classes, although professors may not have been as amused with missing course time. Movable and accessible equipment also has its shortfalls. The supervisory technician recalled a time when the tables and podiums were moved and one of the wires broke. One quick fix that could easily solve a common issue is instating a better scheduling system that avoids double-booking the room.
Embed an amplification mechanism for student voices to be able to speak across to each other and be heard easily (ceiling mics/mics that pick up sound built into the railings, perhaps). Students need to be heard as much as being able to hear. This problem is illuminated by Jimmy, an undergraduate student.
Create an aisle through the middle of the rows. This means more one more column of space and more access for instructor, professor, and teaching assistants to students. Students and instructors can have more one-on-one contact if space would enable it.
Develop swivel and lock mechanisms on the chairs so students can easily create small groups between partners/trios/quartets within the spaces they are in.
There's a glare on the white board/paper projection that makes, based on your position, the board difficult to read. The light reflects at particular spots based on your angle. Perhaps put the lighting toward the front of the space on a dimmer.
Several students in the back of class commented on their difficulty reading the board: "What's that say? I can't even read that"; "Can you make it bigger?"; "What's that on the bottom left say?"
There are long, wide tables in the back with built-in plugs in the back. These tables could easily be used for places of collaboration if they were smaller and had attached, swiveling chairs.
Happy Valentines Day to everyone! Today is the first rotation through the Occupy Learning assignment, so we'll spend some time reviewing those entries. It is also the first time both teams stepped out onto the edge with their weekly posts in a different format ... let's work to unpack what you each decided to do and what this means for our ability to collectively make meaning from the posts.
Present your first Occupy Learning artifacts.
Get in groups ... outside the room and discuss Wenger and the weekly posts
Come back and share your posts and overall thoughts
Out of Class
Focus on Identity this week.
The next round of Occupy Learning kicks off with two new classroom assignments. Team Dragon will occupy 8 Mueller and Team Tiger will occupy 202 Chambers.
Read Wenger 103-163 & two chapters from Classroom for the Future
The following video, set in film trailer format, employs Wenger's thoughts (the text portions) with imagery and music to communicate several core notions about communities of practice. The images that follow each text frame provide various examples from contemporary society. The video is intended for viewers familiar with Wenger.
So we are not able to be in our classroom today ... we will hopefully find a group study room to hang out in. What we feel like we really need to do is start some discussion about what we've been reading and where that is taking us collectively. We've been reading your posts and are interested in talking through your ideas.
Occupy Learning Check
How's it going?
Any early insights to share?
Let's watch this 10 minute video ... take note this has quite a bit of explicit language in it. There is a reason for this.
Some talking points:
What's being disruptive in the video above?
How did you view the production of your own videos as an educational task?
Did you prepare or think about the task differently than a traditional written assignment?
What is it about the youtube medium that deserves different types of thinking?
From McLuhan (The Medium is the Massage, 128) ... "The main cause for disappointment in and for criticism of television is the failure on the part of its critics view it as a totally new technology which demands different sensory responses. These critics insist on regarding television as merely a degraded form of print technology."
consider that in the context of our course conversation and do a little editing ...
"The main cause for disappointment in and for criticism of [youtube] is the failure on the part of its critics view it as a totally new technology which demands different sensory responses. These critics insist on regarding [youtube] as merely a degraded form of [television]."
Do you find this as out of control as we do?
We'd like you to revisit your videos and within the context of what we've discussed and see how you might reconsider your design.
Consider this as a synthesis ...
Discuss the video assignment
Discuss progress on your first Occupy Learning assignment
Share your synthesis of the three themes.
Out of Class
Finish and post your first Occupy Learning Activity
The groups we identify with negotiate common language, values, and ways of interpreting meaning (Gee 1999). Our identity groups spring from our social and cultural contexts and influence the ways we engage socially (boyd 2009) Identity is the sense of belonging that develops from the collection of meaning making experiences we have while participating in a community of practice. Identities allow us to negotiate how we see ourselves in relation to our communities of practice and to the world (Wenger 1998).
Communities of practice are multiple in our lives; we are simultaneously a part of different communities of practice with each separate group sharing mutual engagement and joint pursuit of negotiated goals and social processes (Wenger 1998). Communities of practice should be free to assess the ways that they may utilize distributed social and digital intelligences to participate in those communities in a manner that helps them to fulfill mutual goals (Pea 1992). However, there may be struggles depending on the makeup of particular communities and the ways that they define and respond to innovation (Rogers 2008). This is to be expected according to Wenger who asserted that discord or opposition is a part of communities of practice.
Educators and designers need to move beyond thinking in terms of binaries when it comes to deciding on whether or not to implement social technologies. It's far too reductionist and simplistic to think in terms of a technology being "all good" or "all bad." Effective integration of these technologies necessitates careful consideration of how particular communities of practice interpret and design meaning for particular audiences and purposes. Similarly, advocates of social technologies need to remember that diffusing innovations is an incremental, gradual process and that in order to encourage success should be analyzed in light of specific criteria such as:
· relative advantage
· compatibility with the existing context
· the complexities associated with the implementation trialability (think "beta" iteratively)
The community determines the parameters or boundaries of these criteria. Based on a CoP's intimate familiarity with their own context, they determine how those four criteria are defined and applied (Rogers 2008).
As educators, we should be considering and defining the practices that define communities of practice. We must design learning spaces to allow students to participate in these practices. Learning spaces should allow students to develop identities in relationship to how they see themselves in relation to participating in communities and the world. Our mission is to honor individual and community identities and the ways that individuals and communities interact to accomplish social goals and negotiate membership.
There's something to be said about simplicity. In a week when we have been asked to synthesize our knowledge of three complex, everchanging, highly contextualized themes [community, design, identity], and how they relate, connect, or complicate each other, we chose to represent our understanding in three simplified models. We do not want to imply that the interaction between these three themes is a simple, circular process; rather, we think simplification can establish an anchor from which we can analyze the complexity of the interaction.
Each of these models are shown below. We briefly explain each model and provide justification for its construction based on our readings from this and previous weeks. Our purpose is to propose three of the infinitely-possible lenses of how to understand the interaction between community, design, and identity within learning spaces.
One way to read this model is "Communities form out of shared Identities and are reflected by Design that organize the Communities." Alternately, one could read this model as "Designs that organize the Communities form out of shared Identities and are reflected by Designs." In either case, we would like to emphasize that communities can be constructed due to a shared identity. We realize that the process of community formation is highly contextualized and -- as pointed out in class -- not always an intentional process, but we believe it is one way a community can come together.
Part of Wenger's Social Learning Theory portrays identity as a means of "talking about how learning changes who we are and creates personal histories of becoming in the context of our communities" (1998, pg. 5). Wenger argues that, through social interaction, we create our identities that, in turn, creates our community space. In her manuscript, boyd (forthcoming) discusses the two origin stories of Facebook and MySpace. MySpace formed as a place for indie and hip-hop music fans to share their enthusiasm, share music, and discuss their shared interest. To this day, it has largely retained that identity, primarily being used by urban youth. Facebook's origin story is different; it emerged out of a shared identity, being a Harvard student, and eventually spread to only include those who identified as Ivy League students. According to boyd, these identities -- which formed and shaped the online communities -- are salient today. The prevalence of white and Asian youth on Facebook and black and Latino youth on MySpace illustrates this divide.
Regarding the role of design, boyd (forthcoming) writes: "Just as physical spaces and tastes are organized around and shaped by race and class, so too are digital environments" (p. 3). We believe this is why such emphasis has been placed on prioritizing digital environments that are "exciting" for the typical web designer and not necessarily accessible for a larger group of people. Designers create what they know and like -- which, in itself, isn't a bad thing -- but it may not be an inclusive environment. Often, inclusion and exclusion is based around the users' constructed identity within that space.
Synthesis #2 can also be read in multiple ways. One way is, "Identities are constructed by Communities and are organized, shaped, or enabled by Designs that represent their Identities". Alternately, "Designs that represent [their] Identities are constructed by participation in Communities and are organized, shaped, and enabled by Designs." This model is slightly different than model one in that it suggests identities can be constructed by communities, and design can organize and shape people's communities that reflect those identities.
Wenger argues that learning "is the vehicle for the evolution of practices and the inclusion of newcomers [formation of community] while also (and through the same process) the vehicle for the development and transformation of identities" (Wenger, 1998, p. 13). boyd talks about how digital communities (myspace, for example) constructs identity (e.g. MySpace is for 'ghetto' people; Facebook is not), and even how division in physical spaces (e.g. students of color may all be in one track of classes together, white kids are in another) also constructs identity. Through Discourse Analysis, Gee (1999) illustrates how the language of a community (i.e. discourses) can be deconstructed to represent a speaker's personality and values (i.e identity). Communicating new knowledge through language enacts a specific representation. At the same time, the words we use shape what we are able to transfer to others. In each of these examples, the authors suggest that involvement within communities and community spaces can shape, influence, transform a person's identity -- both a person's own perception of identity and others' perception of that person's identity.
In this model, we also draw upon the work of Pea (1992), who argues that design is what makes life easier for us; it fulfills our desires. In this sense, design is both a reflection of identity -- it represents the desires and values of the community -- and a organizer of communities. He relates this to the notion of distributed intelligence which is the way in which we use a design (or recrafting of the environment) of multiple affordances to accomplish tasks. Gee's focus on discourse includes discussion on how spaces are designed with patterns that influence/organize how one interacts in that space. When discussing the "real Indian", ideas explored are "always in the context of actual situations" (p.25).
Our final model is one that could easily be seen as a 'cop out' model. It does imply that each theme interacts and influences with each other equally; however, it also may be our most accurate depiction. The interaction between the three themes is certainly not a clean, simple, circular process or the same in every context. We believe community, design, and identity influence, change, and demand things of each other in non-linear, often spontaneous ways. That being said, once in a while, we believe it is important that we 'hang our hat' on a particular conception (as represented by models 1 & 2) to anchor our learning.
An interesting view of teaching with iPads ... disruptive or not?
I had high hopes when I handed out iPads to students in my graduate seminar this semester. I wanted to explore the possibilities of tablet computing and see firsthand how tablets might be used in higher education. I also wanted students to see for themselves where the iPad might fit into their lives and their careers - and into the future of media and communication.