Defining Tools for a New Learning Space

The abstract of a paper pub­lished by a pro­fes­sor of For­eign Lan­guage and Lit­er­a­ture at Whit­man College:

This paper uses spe­cific issues sur­round­ing course blog­ging to pro­vide a series of reflec­tions regard­ing the artic­u­la­tion between ped­a­gogy and tech­nol­ogy in cre­at­ing a next gen­er­a­tion learn­ing space and dis­course com­mu­nity. It inves­ti­gates the under­ly­ing struc­ture and nec­es­sary con­stituent ele­ments of a suc­cess­ful blog assign­ment and exam­ines the notion of nat­ural and unnat­ural vir­tual envi­ron­ments and the roles of the reader and the writer-reader. It sug­gests that blog assign­ments may not suc­ceed equally well in all sub­ject areas and gives a num­ber of pos­si­ble rea­sons. Fur­ther­more, it posits a more nuanced cri­te­rion for the def­i­n­i­tion of goals and the eval­u­a­tion of the suc­cess of a blog assign­ment as a learn­ing com­mu­nity beyond the pres­ence or absence of comments.

I can’t help but be cyn­i­cal when some­one writes a paper like this that is dis­trib­uted online and yet shows utter incom­pre­hen­sion of the online medium. Per­haps it was the journal’s edi­tor that is to blame, but here’s my list of gripes:

  • elec­tronic sources that are cited and linked to within the bib­li­og­ra­phy but not within the actual text
  • utterly dense lan­guage that makes it nearly inac­ces­si­ble to a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of stu­dents that may be inter­ested is read­ing about using online tools in the classroom
  • repeated use of the term “web 2.0″

Ulti­mately in order to cre­ate a “next gen­er­a­tion learn­ing space and dis­course com­mu­nity” we’re going to need to open up that com­mu­nity to those of all apsects of life, includ­ing peo­ple for whom this text is just plain unreadable.

3 Responses to “Defining Tools for a New Learning Space”

  1. Part two: there are so many con­ver­sa­tions about the tools that would be bet­ter suited as con­ver­sa­tions about the means.

    • I like the idea of blog­ging classes and assign­ments. Maybe I’ll exper­i­ment with that at the begin­ning of the semes­ter here and see where it goes.

      I totally hear you on the frus­tra­tion over con­ver­sa­tions that should be about means but are about tools. I think it’s a result of it being “sexy” to talk about the tools instead of actu­ally dis­cussing what’s needed, which is the means to accom­plish something.

      I’m con­sid­er­ing doing my Pol­i­tics the­sis on Twit­ter, blogs, et al and if so am going to make a con­certed effort to keep the focus on means instead of tools.