[phd studentships: multidisciplinary new media learning]

KTH – The Royal Institute of Technology – in Stockholm, Sweden
School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC) seeks
3-6 PhD students in Human Computer Interaction and
1 PhD student in Media Technology

The department of HCI conducts research within Human Computer Interaction, which is the study of the interaction between humans and computerized technical systems. The subject is multi-disciplinary and embraces computer science methods and tools to design system functionality adapted to the user, human science theories and methods to understand, evaluate and improve computerized technical systems for human use. It also includes methodologies for design of interactive computer systems.

Anticipated specializations
1. Perceptualization
2. Processes of change
3. Mobile digital services
4. Visualization
5. Computer supported cooperation
6. E-learning

The Department of Media Technology and Graphic Arts is a multidisciplinary group focused on technology and methods for supporting human communication over distances in time and space. This includes a wide area of media, from printing and publishing to digital interactive media, from broadcast media to mobile social media. Our education and research also cover the implications and effects of using media technologies from human, social and design perspectives.

Anticipated specialization
7. E-learning

Application deadline: May 17, 2010

For more information, please visit:

Labels: , , , , , , ,


[DMSC Governors Challenge Virtual Institute Summer 2010]

Participate in the DMSC Governors Challenge Virtual Institute Summer 2010 by submitting media from your students and faculty representing your institutions and by registering to judge the media during our Institute using our semantic assessment model.

We also ask you to kindly forward our link to your networks to help us recruit participants: our website is located at www.sandboxnetwork.org 

Essentially, Engaged Technology is a marriage of academic service learning/civic engagement and educational technology. Our method integrates active learning and action research in the process of building e.portfolios for students, faculty, institutions and communities based on validated multi-media and service equity.
Over the past four years of our academic media tournament, The Governors Challenge, we have evolved a guided system of:

1. Omni-disciplinary research and production of multimedia (text, audio, video and image),
2. Assessment with our semantic assessment instrument,
3. Analyze/Revise
4. Publish

Bringing those two resource bases together is an underlying design for our efforts. Partnering with the University of Virginia, UNC-CH, and Tennessee higher education, we will begin our Summer 2010 Virtual Institute for the fourth iteration of the Governors Challenge, which has been sponsored by FedEx Institute of University of Memphis, Apple Inc., Microsoft, emma, Echo, and Cisco, Tennessee Board of Regents, University of Tennessee systems and the Tennessee Campus Compact, among others.

Our vision of evolving partnerships would form a strong oversight body for an NCAA-like model of engaged scholarship. With multi-media conveying the content innovations created out of these partnerships and assessment provided from other stakeholders, personal learning spaces can be networked for capacity-building in many different areas and many different ways.

We seek to help evolve educational practice by reaching a broader talent pool of ‘flat-world outliers’ who want to create life/work options that leverage dreams, visions, and potential of heretofore silo-ed talent pools. This NCAA-like model of engaged scholarship embeds the guided learning system that will also function as a platform to engage local pre-k-12 public and private (including faith-based schools) systems to form P-20 Pathways for life-long learning.

Read more here

Labels: , , , , ,


[assistant prof. in victoria bc]

I would go for this position if only for the superb location near Victoria BC (it's actually on the Hatley Park National Historic Site):

Communication - Instructor or Assistant Professor

Royal Roads University

Location: British Columbia
Date posted: 2010-03-05
Royal Roads University, Limited Term Core Faculty, School of Communication and Culture within the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences.

We invite your interest to explore our exciting new two year limited term position (at the Instructor or Assistant Professor level) at Royal Roads University (RRU). Located in beautiful, Victoria, BC our mandate is to solely offer professional degree programs with a focus on applied research. With a reputation for innovation, RRU is a leader in online delivery and primarily attracts learners who are working professionals.

The School of Communication offers three degrees in communication studies which are focused on the theory and practice of professional communication in a wide range of contexts including media, organizational and intercultural. We stress a critical-professional educational approach and we invite you to view our website for more details.

The successful applicant will have demonstrated teaching experience at undergraduate and the graduate levels in the field of communication studies, an ability to work as a team member within an interdisciplinary outcome-based curriculum, and administrative experience and abilities preferably in a University academic setting. The successful applicant will ideally have experience teaching communication theory at the undergraduate and graduate levels. A Ph.D. (or ABD) in communication or related fields in the social and applied sciences is required along with a broad theoretical understanding of communication. The following would also be strong assets in the position: applied research experience, an ability to employ adult learning and applied learning principles with mature learners, and experience in distance education teaching.

In addition to a collegial learning community, RRU offers a comprehensive compensation package to core faculty, with a salary based on rank, qualifications and experience. The term of this position is from 15 July 2010 - 15 July 2012.

For more information and to submit your application, please visit http://www.royalroads.ca/careers

 Note: Image from Royal Roads University.

Labels: , , , ,


[assessment in the digital age]

Via hastac:

How to grade, assess, teach, learn and structure the learning experience for students in the digital age?

Many interesting projects are working on this question, and we invite you to share others with us below. For example:

- The Learning Record, a portfolio-based evaluation system designed to emphasize student learning, not product-based outcomes
- Nils Peterson and his colleagues at the Center for Teaching, Learning, & Technology (at Washington State University) have been working on developing new assessment strategies and forms of classroom engagement
- Pecha Kucha in the classroom - reframing the presentation from the unstructured long-form speech to the conversation-starting breakdown
- Digital Youth Research was a 3 year project to investigate how kids use technology and media in their everyday learning. They have reports available on their site, and the group recently published a book, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out
- Re-mediating assessment, a blog considering participatory assessment models in education, authored by Daniel T. Hickey, Michelle Honeyford, and Jenna McWilliams (Indiana University).
 - The DML Research Hub, funded by a MacArthur grant, is supporting two projects. One, lead by Mimi Ito, is called Distributed Learning Research Network, and works on distributed learning that happens in social environments. The other, lead by Joseph Kahne, is called Youth, New Media, and Public Participation Research Network, and investigates the ways that youth, through social and political participation in online communities, affects their capacity and motivation to engage in social and political issues.
 - Cathy Davidson and David Theo Goldberg's report, The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (also available as a free PDF). The report found that students are learning in deeply collective and innovative ways, and that learning institutions - schools - have to keep up or risk obsolescence. They offer ten principles for redesigning learning institutions and pedagogical systems to better reflect the way students learn today. The book-length version of the project, The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age will be coming out in 2010.

 Note: Image on flickr by violet.blue

Labels: , , , ,


[special issue of e-learning and digital media]

Here's a call for papers pertinent to all those educators working with new media (via Chris Joseph's blog):

Special issue of E-Learning and Digital Media, Editor Dr. Norm Friesen

Media today are everywhere. From educational gaming through portable e-texts to cell phones ringing in class, it seems we can’t escape. Nor can we live without media; instead, they form a kind of ecology that we inhabit. In addition, media have an epistemological function: they shape both what we know and how we come to know it: “Whatever we know about our society, or indeed about the world in which we live,” as Niklas Luhman observed, “we know through… media.”

Speaking of media in education suggests a range of possibilities that are different from what is suggested by educational technology (electronic, digital or otherwise). Describing computers and the Internet specifically as digital media casts their role not as mental tools to be integrated into instruction, but as “forms” and “cultures” requiring “literacies” or acculturation. In this way, speaking of media in education brings instructional environments more closely together with the world outside. Explorations of these terms and possibilities have been initiated by the likes of Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman and Elizabeth Eisenstein, and they are also touched upon in research on media literacies. However, more recent theoretical developments and accelerated mediatic change –from blogging through networked gaming to texting and sexting– offer innumerable opportunities for further exploration.

This special issue of E-Learning and Digital Media invites contributions that focus on media, particularly digital media, and their ecological and epistemological ramifications. Specific topics may include:

· School and classroom as media (ecologies) and the changing world outside
· Digital challenges to media literacy and literacies
· Media socialization and media education
· Histories of media and education
· The epistemological character of (new) media

Submissions for this special issue are due May 1, 2010

Length of submissions: generally 6000-8000 words

Further submission and formatting information is available at: http://www.wwwords.co.uk/elea/howtocontribute.asp

Direct comments and questions to: nfriesen[at]tru.ca

Labels: , , , ,


[social media and pedagogy online seminar]

I'm signing up for this online seminar! Social media AND education?! Perfect.

And yes, those are my professional writing students; on computers, with our class blog on the main screen.

Social Media Seminar Series: Trends and Implications for Learning (Online & No Fee)


Friday, October 30, 2009: 9:00 PM Eastern USA

(World Clock Calculator: http://url.aace.org/ft/200910302100)

Faculty: George Siemens - Learning Technologies Centre, Univ. of Manitoba, Canada
David Cormier - Univ. of Prince Edward Island, Canada

Organised by: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)

(http://AACE.org )
Co-sponsored by: Education & Information Technology Library (http://EdITLib.org)

The seminar series, led by George Siemens and David Cormier, is without fee and will include live interactive sessions, in addition to discussions with guest speakers and participants. All sessions are co-sponsored by and will be archived in the Education & Information Technology Library (EdITLib).

Social media and emerging technologies are gaining increased attention for use in education. The list of tools grows daily.

Examples: blogs, wikis, Ning, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, cloud computing, surface computing, mobile learning, and so on.

"Social Media: Trends and Implications for Learning" will explore the impact of new technologies, research, and related projects.

What does it all mean? Do long term trends and change cycles exist in the constant change? What patterns are emerging?

And, perhaps most importantly, should academics and education leaders respond?

"Social Media" will explore emerging technological and related research trends from a perspective of social and networked learning theory.

Finding coherence in the midst of rapid changes is increasingly difficult. This monthly session will create a forum for educators to gather, present, and discuss the future impact of today's trends.

Links for items discussed during the seminars can be found here on Delicious.


To receive event updates, signup at: http://AACE.org/GlobalU/seminars/socialmedia/
Seminar Recordings: http://EdITLib.org/GlobalU/
Seminar Community: http://www.AACEConnect.org/group/socialmedia

Labels: , , , , ,


[meta meta cognition: the wired epileptic brain]

"A rare set of high-resolution readouts taken directly from the wired-in brains of epileptics has provided an unprecedented look at how the brain processes language.

Though only a glimpse, it was enough to show that part of the brain’s language center handles multiple tasks, rather than one.

“If the same part of the brain does different things at different times, that’s a thunderously complex level of organization,” said Ned Sahin, a cognitive scientist at the University of California, San Diego.

In a study published Thursday in Science, Sahin’s team studied a region known as Broca’s center, named for French anatomist Paul Pierre Broca who observed that two people with damage to a certain spot in the front of their brains had lost the ability to speak, but could still think.


During the several days that three patients at Massachusetts General Hospital were medically wired, Sahin’s team asked them to repeat words verbatim, and translate them to past and present tense.

In the space of a quarter-second, a small part of Broca’s area — the only part read by the electrodes — received each word, put the word in a correct tense, and sent it to the brain’s speech centers.

This tested only one type of verbal cognition, cautioned Sahin, and the focus was unavoidably narrow, but it was enough to show that Broca’s area is involved not only in translating speech, but receiving it. That role was considered specific to part of the brain called Wernicke’s area.

More broadly, the findings may represent a general rule for Broca’s area, and perhaps other brain regions: Each part plays multiple roles, rather than performing a single task (emphasis mine)."

NB: Image by Ned Sahin on the Wired site.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


[teaching grammar]

As I craft an exciting lesson to help my students cope with the three-hour session, I came across this funny ransom note generator. After discussing what comparatives, superlatives, direct objects, indirect objects and predicates are, I'm going to ask my students to create their own ransom note. I've asked them to bring in newspapers and magazines and I'll supply the scissors. In the end, they'll have used all of the grammatical elements we've learnt.

Labels: , , , , ,


[Transliteracy in my Classrooms]

Ok, so I'm halfway through the second week of lecturing.  Classes seem to be going well (students are coming to class and participating! yay!) and essays, stories and grammar theory are being studied.

As I flip through the syllabus and note my "blog comment" assignments and "blog post" reflections the word transliteracy flits back and forth in my mind.  Transliteracy of course isn't on the curriculum but neither are blogging or media literacy per se.  Though transliteracy is always under development, I'm feeling a strong pull to encourage students to see their movements from writing essays in class, group presentations, blogging, reading online narratives like Inanimate Alice, and designing posters (tweeting comes later on) as examples of being transliterate. I wonder if they can name their behaviour, their learning might have even more resonance? 

I remind my students that we're participating in the online environment and honing our new/social media (and transliterate) skills because when they enter the workforce, they'll need to be prepared.  Librarian by Day gives some good life examples on the necessity to be transliterate:

"Government agencies are no longer issuing print forms, you have to access them online.  Your health insurance plan was a website and you have an account, when you call they will tell you to go there to get information. Banks are sending alerts and account balance information via text messages. Facebook privacy settings are complex and change frequently. The price of computers is dropping allowing more people to own one. Free WiFi access points are increasing, allowing more people internet access."

If our students don't experience these kinds of movement, from offline to online, how will they learn to be literate (not just trial and error or basic proficiencies)? I feel more and more strongly that helping to develop these transliterate skills needs a place in a classroom (though some, of course, are better equipped than others).  

There are lots of ways to begin. Students can use blog posts as reading or reflective learning journals. They can add comments on to the teacher-managed class blog as a way of interacting in class discussion, sharing ideas and even doing pre or post-reading activities.  The Future of Ed. site suggests venturing into transliteracy by:

  • Viewing or posting a video around your lesson plan or around an educational component on TeacherTube
  • Trying e-learning for your own professional development
  • Learning how The Transliteracies Project is designing technology to improve the experience of reading for people of all backgrounds
  • Exploring how archaeology and media can be used in your next class at MetaMedia
  • Downloading courses from Stanford University on iTunes, MIT OpenCourseWare, or another open access sites for use in your classrorom

    Also from the Future of Ed. site, this video with director of Media X's (at Stanford) Chuck House on the 21st century workforce:

    Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


    I found this super article via Gerry McKiernan at Reference Notes. Have a read:

    New York Times / August 19, 2009, 1:08 pm / Updated: 1:29 pm / Steve Lohr

    A recent 93-page report on online education, conducted by SRI International for the Department of Education, has a starchy academic title, but a most intriguing conclusion:

    “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”

    The report examined the comparative research on online versus traditional classroom teaching from 1996 to 2008. Some of it was in K-12 settings, but most of the comparative studies were done in colleges and adult continuing-education programs of various kinds, from medical training to the military.

    Over the 12-year span, the report found 99 studies in which there were quantitative comparisons of online and classroom performance for the same courses. The analysis for the Department of Education found that, on average, students doing some or all of the course online would rank in the 59th percentile in tested performance, compared with the average classroom student scoring in the 50th percentile.

    That is a modest but statistically meaningful difference.

    “The study’s major significance lies in demonstrating that online learning today is not just better than nothing — it actually tends to be better than conventional instruction,” said Barbara Means, the study’s lead author and an educational psychologist at SRI International.

    This hardly means that we’ll be saying good-bye to classrooms. But the report does suggest that online education could be set to expand sharply over the next few years, as evidence mounts of its value.

    Until fairly recently, online education amounted to little more than electronic versions of the old-line correspondence courses. That has really changed with arrival of Web-based video, instant messaging and collaboration tools. The real promise of online education, experts say, is providing learning experiences that are more tailored to individual students than is possible in classrooms. That enables more “learning by doing,” which many students find more engaging and useful.


    “We are at an inflection point in online education,” said Philip R. Regier, the dean
    of Arizona State University’s Online and Extended Campus program. Mr. Regier sees things evolving fairly rapidly, accelerated by the increasing use of social networking technology. More and more, students will help and teach each other, he said. [snip]

    “The technology will be used to create learning communities among students in new ways,” Mr. Regier said. “People are correct when they say online education will take things out the classroom. But they are wrong, I think, when they assume it will make learning an independent, personal activity. Learning has to occur in a community.”



    Full Text Available At


    Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


    [new teaching resource: online learning communities]

    Of interest to educators: a new release from IGI Global (they published a paper, "Transliteracy as a Unifying Perspective," written by The Transliteracy Research Group - of which I am a part).

    Online Learning Communities and Teacher Professional Development: Methods for Improved Education Delivery
    ISBN: 978-1-60566-780-5; 354 pp; August 2009
    Published under Information Science Reference an imprint of IGI Global


    Edited by: J. Ola Lindberg, Mid Sweden University, Sweden and Anders D. Olofsson, Umea University, Sweden


    In today's society, the professional development of teachers is urgent due to the constant change in working conditions and the impact that information and communication technologies have in teaching practices.

    Online Learning Communities and Teacher Professional Development: Methods for Improved Education Delivery features innovative applications and solutions useful for teachers in developing knowledge and skills for the integration of technology into everyday teaching practices. This defining collection of field research discusses how technology itself can serve as an important resource in terms of providing arenas for professional development.



    • Collaborative online professional development
    • Computer-supported collaborative learning
    • Education delivery
    • Knowledge management in education
    • Models of online communities
    • Online learning communities
    • Online pedagogy design and development
    • Pedagogies afforded by technology
    • Teacher professional development
    • Virtual environments

    For more information about Online Learning Communities and Teacher Professional Development: Methods for Improved Education Delivery, you can view the title information sheet at http://www.igi-global.com/downloads/pdf/34727.pdf

    To view the Table of Contents and a complete list of contributors online go
    to http://www.igi-global.com/reference/details.asp?ID=34727&v=tableOfContents.

    You can also view the first chapter of the publication at

    Some other texts also on pedagogy and online learning communities that may be of interest (but n
    ote, some might require institutional access):

    Labels: , , , , , , ,


    [*becoming* technologically iterate]

    On ‘Becoming’ Technologically Literate: A Multiple Literacies Theory Perspective/p>



    This article uses a multiple literacies theory framework to explore the processes of ‘becoming’ technologically literate through a year-long ethnographic study of two Master of Education pre-service second language teachers, a Latina woman and an African American woman, who learned how to use computer technology to teach Spanish at a large Midwestern university. The case studies of these two women are analyzed to gain insights into how teacher education programs can support racial minority pre-service teachers in ‘becoming’ technologically literate. First, the authors provide an overview of the multiple literacies theory developed by Masny. Second, the stories of the two pre-service teachers are presented. Finally, curricular and pedagogical recommendations for second language education Master of Education programs are provided.

    Labels: , , , , , , , ,


    [e-books for e-ducation]

    A British Columbia school is trading in books for e-books:

    "It’s about as big as a day-planner and much, much lighter than 300 textbooks.

    Flicking from virtual page to virtual page, teacher Devon Stokes-Bennett deftly navigates through her electronic book, highlighting passages of Marley and Me. She looks right at home in this brave new world of education.

    WestShore Centre for Learning and Training, part of the Sooke School District, is introducing 50 e-books to its students in an attempt to give learning a push into the digital age.

    “These kids were born in the digital era. They came out of the womb knowing how to use technology,” says Daphne Churchill, principal of WCLT. “(For students), going to a building and trying to access information out of books, to copy it down ... doesn’t make sense in their world anymore.”

    WCLT is the first school in the province to adopt e-books as a vehicle to deliver part of its curriculum, mainly novels for English class. The pilot project — called Teaching for the 21st Century — has also caught the attention of the University of Victoria’s digital humanities department.

    Before full rollout, a few WCLT students are “beta testing” the electronic book technology — the main roadblocks are SD 62 security features conflicting with online digital libraries. The educators admit they depend on students to flush out problems. Kids are driving how the technology is used in the classroom, not the other way around, Stokes-Bennett says.

    “They play around, take intuitive guesses. They just poke away at it,” she says. “We’ve got to listen to the kids to find out what works. This can’t be imposed from the top-down.”

    Stokes-Bennett and fellow teacher Dawn Anderson launched the e-book project after being awarded $75,000 from the Times-Colonist Raise-a-Reader fund. Part of the grant went toward 50 Sony Reader Digital Books.

    E-books are part of the inevitable evolution of education, the teachers say.

    Virtual books can’t be lost or damaged, allowing more money directed into student resources (although electronic readers are about $400 each). The most basic e-book can collapse dozens of heavy textbooks into a 200 gram computer. Buying the rights to digital copies is half the price as physical books, Stokes-Bennett says.

    On the learning end, e-books allow students to integrate study with online social networking, blogging and almost instantaneous access to information that has become the norm. Ultimately, it’s supposed to help students become better readers and more creative thinkers.

    UVic English professor Ray Siemens, the Canada Research Chair for Digital Humanities, said the WCLT project will allow his lab to better understand how electronic media influences learning.

    For instance, if a high school student reads a Charles Dickens novel, they would normally tap into associated online social networks, dictionaries, wikis and information, which enhances and encourages the learning process, he says. Take that resource away and the students are less likely to succeed.

    “Kids of this generation are very intuitive. They quickly realize the benefits of working this way,” Siemens says. “I’m interested in learning from those who are emerging readers, where all the computer skills reside. This is a generation who doesn’t know the world without computers, e-mail or networking.”

    It’s still early days, but Siemens says e-book technology, book publishers and the reading public have finally found an equilibrium. “E-ink” technology is easier on the eyes and more people are reading with electronic media. He expects the next generation of kids to almost exclusively use electronic reading devices.

    The e-books at WCLT are black and white and have rudimentary graphics, but the educators say they are the future of education. Stokes-Bennett described it as teaching kids skills for the future instead of obsolete methods of the past.

    Churchill expects to iron out the kinks and see what sets of problems emerge using e-books, but ultimately they would like to see the project expand across the district.

    “This will fundamentally change the way we do education,” she says."

    Labels: , , , , , , ,


    [web 2.0 tools and education]

    I've been reading the JISC report on Web 2.0 for Content for Learning and Teaching in
    Higher Education
    and on pa
    ge 8 the authors have this useful list of ideas on how to use certain web 2.0 tools to facilitate learning. None of them are new to me but still good ideas. I'd be interested to hear what innovative uses other educators are coming up with.
    Podcasts can be used to provide introductory material before lectures, or, more commonly, to record lectures and allow students to listen to the lectures again, either because they were unable to attend, or to reinforce their learning. Podcasts can be used to make lectures redundant while still supplying (possibly didactic) presentations of learning material by lecturers.
    · Vidcasts can be used to supply to supply videos of experimental procedures in advance of lab sessions
    · Podcasts can be used to supply audio tutorial material and/or exemplar recordings of native speakers to foreign language learners.
    · Distribution and sharing of educational media and resources. For example, an art history class could have access to a set of art works via a photo sharing system.
    · The ability to comment on and critique each others work; including by people on other courses or at other institutions.
    · Flickr allows for annotations to be associated with different areas of an image and for comments to be made on the image as a whole, thereby facilitating teacher explanations, class discussion, and collaborative comment. It could be used for the example above.
    · For Flickr, FlickrCC18 is a particularly useful ancillary service that allows users to find Creative Commons licensed images that are freely reusable as educational resources.
    · Instructional videos and seminar records can be hosted on video sharing systems. Google Video allows for longer higher quality videos than YouTube, and contains a specific genre of educational video
    "Education in every country and in every epoch has always been social in nature. Indeed, by its very essence it could hardly exist as anti-social in anyway. Both in the seminary and in the old high school, in the military schools and in the schools for the daughters of the nobility [...] it was never the teacher or the tutor who did the teaching, but the particular social environment in the school which was created for each individual instance" ~~Vygotsky

    Labels: , , , , , , ,


    [web 2.0 apps for education]

    As always, I've been browsing the web looking for handy tools which let me (easily) link social media and web 2.0 with life-long learning.

    Here are a few keepers:

    Top photo of a computer lab by Amber Coggin and found on classroom 2.0.

    Labels: , , , , , , ,


    [assessment in the 21st century]

    Along with helping students learn and develop skills suitable for the 21st century, our assessment techniques should also correspondingly change.

    "In too many schools, too many students suffer an education of drill and memorization but are deprived of high-level thinking activities, of intellectual discussions, of opportunities to synthesize information and respond creatively—elements that form the basis of education for other students in other schools."

    Labels: , , , , , , ,


    [texting = mental "brownout"]

    My initial reaction when reading claims such as "Life's issues are not always settled in sound bites" and "if a teenager is reading Shakespeare when a text message comes, 'Hamlet's going to fade in and out in a ghostly fog'" is...but seriously? Though, the ghostly fog might well signify Hamlet's own state of mind and his visions... (and yes, I have talked about this before). The first quote is from a "worried parent" the second from a psychology prof. at an American University. Follow these quotes with the suggestion that "addiction to the Internet and text messaging be included in the diagnostic manual for mental illnesses."

    Reading the American Journal of Psychiatry article which suggests that too much texting is appears as a
    compulsive-impulsive spectrum disorder, I wonder if these kinds of reactions (seemingly research-backed or not) are similar to those which emerged alongside other technologies such as the book (remember Socrates' worry that writing destroys memory and weakens the mind) , tv, computer games or rap music - the latter now seen as actually "a forum that addresses the political and economic disfranchisement." It seems that these kind of (visceral) reactions to young (because it's usually the teenagers isn't it?) people's use of new modes of technology reduce hci (human computer interaction) from a complicated interaction with (surely) many different levels at work to something *flat.*

    There are some "experts" who suggest that sms-ing is synonymous with "declines in spelling, word choice and writing complexity. Some indicate that too much texting is linked to an inability to focus." But, there are also studies which show that students learn when actively involved. Having students txt answers to the teacher would be just one example of how sms-ing can be used in the classroom to promote reflection and synthesis. I've used twitter as a (free) way of checking student progress during lectures and as a way of encouraging reflection and interaction.

    I see these kinds of technologies as having positive uses, as
    Carla Meskill notes, they can be a "spring-board and catalyst for active hands-on...learning."

    If we sway too much in the direction of worry and anxiety, we'll lose our chance of harnessing the positive, pedagogical and empowering opportunities that come with technological developments. Especially when other research points to increases in learning, language aquisition, maths and other development. Additionally, studies have shown gender differences in txt messaging including one that shows "Females are more skillful in writing complex, long and lexically dense messages than males."

    Here are some gender examples from a Norwegian study:

    "Where men offer comments such as:

    I think that there is something with SMS [= text messaging] . . . I can’t really do it. It is such short things (Bjørn, aged 40)

    Buy a hard disk (Male, aged 23) kjøp en hardisk

    The pub doesn’t open today (Male, aged 32) Pubben åpner ikke idag

    [Women write:]

    super! Now we have landed at Steilende and the hot dogs are on the grill. The first landing from our own boat. M&MandT greetings. We are looking forward to saturday. :) (Female, aged 29) supert! Nå ha vi lagt til på og pølsene ligger på grillen. Første ilandstigning fra egen båt. M&MogT hilser. Gleder oss til lørdag. :)

    Hi! Are we still going to meet today? I don’t have more $ on my mobile after this msg. Just say when and where we should meet! (Female 19 years) Hey! Skal vi fortsatt møtes i dag? Har ik mer $ på mob etr denne mld! Bare si fra når og hvor når u vil møtes!"

    The conclusions noted from this study seem to parallel those reached in studies of written and CMC and gender:
    "Young adult women seem to be to the chattiest. Females under the age of 34 have the highest median number of words per text message. Women over age 35 use about 10 fewer letters per message than their younger counterparts. By contrast, males of all ages – aside from those over age 55 – are relatively stable at about 15 – 20 letters per message."
    There are also case studies which illustrate how "
    group-based text messaging enables continuous social awareness, group coordination and smart convergence on social events." In fact, mobile 'phones, rather than encourage disassociation or lack of "presentness, " can engender "intimacy and a feeling of being permanently tethered." There are lots of levels/areas to take into account.

    Sure, doing something "too" much might have negative implications but there just isn't enough research to justify sweeping claims. We could also ask questions about why certain teenagers might put more energy into texting rather than, say, family game night (because there might not be family or game night etc...). It's a complicated matter and I vote for focusing on the potential.

    Top image is a cartoon by Chris Madden, the bottom image is by scion_cho on flickr.

    Labels: , , , , , , , ,


    [employment: senior researcher future lab]

    This position will be of interest to those working in education/pedagogy and new media research:

    Jobs at Futurelab Education

    Senior Researcher


    Futurelab aims to transform the way people learn by using technology & innovation to create educational resources that are involving, interactive & imaginative.

    We are currently looking to recruit a senior researcher to join our educational research team

    You will manage a small team undertaking programmes of desk research, consultation, events & publications activities in order to make significant evidence-based contributions to debates on education in the 21st Century. We're looking for either a field researcher (ideally PhD or equivalent) with teaching experience or an educational practitioner with research experience.

    As a manager of research project teams and programmes, you will work collaboratively to ensure effective delivery of research objectives and timely reporting to clients. You will generate new ideas for R&D activity & will bid for financial support for these ideas.

    You will have experience of both producing & editing high quality, accessible written outputs, and have presentation skills that engage a range of audiences. You will build partnerships and represent an organisation with a reputation for inspiring educational innovation & change.

    This role demands a versatile, hands-on approach from a team player with a genuine enthusiasm for education & new technologies.

    Interest in the aims of Futurelab will ensure you make your mark in one of the most dynamic organisations in the education arena.

    Application packs (sorry, NO CVs) for both roles can be downloaded from:

    Futurelab , 1 Canons Road, Harbourside, Bristol BS1 5UH
    Tel: 0117 915 8203

    Closing date for both posts is Sunday 25 January 09

    Labels: , , , , , ,


    [collective indigenous memory and digital archiving]

    Gail Maurice says "Every step I take is with my ancestors; my memory in my bones..."

    With this quote echoing in my head I'm wondering how this kind of cultural valuing of memory appears in a world where technology can ensure a kind of *archiving* of memory. Is taking a step with ancestors the same or even possible if new generations have access to digital memories? How does the passing on of stories, ideas, warnings, histories change if elders can include recourse to multimodal or hyperlinked creations?

    This musing led me to "Designing digital knowledge management tools with Aboriginal Australians" by Helen Verran, Michael Christie, Bryce Anbins-King, Trevor van Weeren and Wulumdhuna Yunupingu. The article can be found in Digital Creativity, 2007, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 129–142.

    In the article, the authors explain that "A significant number of indigenous and
    non-indigenous people respond with horror to the idea of using digital technologies to do collective memory in indigenous communities." This "horror" seems to stem from a belief that computers are anathema to a collective memory that is created together, in person, alongside nature/land. "Computers are actually more harm than good." There is a worry (understandably) that technology (or at least the way it is used) can help inculcate notions that indigenous knowledge is a commodity.

    Verran et al call on feminist discourse to help negotiate the role of technology; there is an emphasis on the always-already provisional and partial view of knowledge (via mechanical means or otherwise):
    "Located accountability is built on what Haraway (1991, p.191) terms “partial, locatable critical knowledges”. As she makes clear, the fact that our knowing is relative to and limited by our locations does not in any sense relieve us of responsibility for it. On the contrary, it is precisely the fact that our vision of the world is a vision from somewhere, that it is inextricably based in an embodied and therefore partial perspective, which makes us personally responsible for it. The only possible route to objectivity on this view is through collective knowledge of the specific locations of our respective visions." (Suchman 2002, p. 96)

    The article goes on to flesh out some ways of combining technology with the need to archive cultural memories. There are some interesting projects which, I think, can be quite appealing to students - especially aboriginal.
    Take for instance the TAMI database: "a fluid file management and database system which carries no Western assumptions about knowledge, and which maximises the possibility for the user to creatively relate and annotate assemblages of resources for their own purposes." This means that there are no hiearchies built into the system, no author, then subject etc... but rather: "The only a priori ontological distinction at work in the database is the distinction between texts, audios, movies and images. Apart from that there are no pre-existing categories (as there are in other database where metadata are sequestered into fields such as ‘author, ‘title’, ‘subject’). This provides a certain ontological flatness so indigenous knowledge traditions are not pre-empted by Western assumptions." Image cited in journal article. A project in a classroom might include students using google pages or delicious (though the latter might seem more "western" with the emphasis on text) to craft their own database of memories or experiences - perhaps focused on an emotion, story or single memory and from their build a multimodal archive. Also, rather than searching TAMI with a text string, as we do in google and delicious, users can scan thumbnails of each resource. Sounds a bit like some visual search engines. What the authors note at the end of the article is the ever-necessary importance of "digitally-canny outsiders" who know how to use the technology and are culturally sensitive.

    See a map of UK memories here: http://www.nationsmemorybank.com/memorymap/

    The image at the top of this post is of Cliff Island,
    Institute for Northern Studies fonds, University of Saskatchewan Archives, Institute for Northern Studies (INS) fonds – F2100. Binder 10. II. Slides – 4501 to 5000. Database ID: 20263

    Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


    [digital literacy, learning and kids]

    Youth "can be 'always on,' in constant contact with their friends through private communications like instant messaging or mobile phones, as well as in public ways through social network sites such as MySpace and Facebook."

    Kids' Informal Learning with Digital Media: An Ethnographic Investigation of Innovative Knowledge Cultures" is a three-year collaborative project funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Carried out by researchers at the University of Southern California and University of California, Berkeley, the digital youth project explores how kids use digital media in their everyday lives."

    Project Objectives
    The first objective is to describe kids as active innovators using digital media rather than as passive consumers of popular culture or academic knowledge. The second objective is to think about the implications of kids' innovative cultures for schools and higher education and to engage in a dialogue with educational planners. The third objective is to advise software designers about how to use kids' innovative approaches to knowledge and learning in building better software.

    Research Summary
    Over three years, University of California, Irvine researcher Mizuko Ito and her team interviewed over 800 youth and young adults and conducted over 5000 hours of online observations as part of the most extensive U.S. study of youth media use.

    They found that social network and video-sharing sites, online games, and gadgets such as iPods and mobile phones are now fixtures of youth culture. The research shows that today’s youth may be coming of age and
    struggling for autonomy and identity amid new worlds for communication, friendship, play, and self-expression.

    Many adults worry that children are wasting time online, texting, or playing video games. The researchers explain why youth find these activities compelling and important. The digital world is creating new opportunities for youth to grapple with social norms, explore interest
    s, develop technical skills, and experiment with new forms of self-expression. These activities have captured teens’ attention because they provide avenues for extending social worlds, self-directed learning, and independence."

    Go here to download a two-page summary of the report.

    Go here to download the summary white paper.

    Go here to access the full report.

    Go here for the press release and video being hosted by the MacArthur Foundation.

    Photo from Old Shoe Woman on Flickr.

    Labels: , , , , , , , ,


    [blogging rubric]

    Thanks to Nancy Bosch's post at classroom2.0 I found Andrew Churches' Blog Journalling Rubric focusing on the "understanding" level of Bloom's Taxonomy.

    I wonder what this rubric might look like if we focus instead on knowledge, evaluation or application rather than the comprehension level of Bloom's taxonomy. Churches does have examples of rubrics that fall into other taxonomic categories.

    A handy resource for educators and students.

    Labels: , , , , ,


    [visual literacy periodic table]

    Interesting visualisation tool over at visual-literacy.org. I can imagine employing this tool as an educator, as a way of modeling to students how they might go about addressing problems or working through essay development etc... A good exercise might involve asking students to pick two "elements" of the visual literacy periodic table and apply them to the same problem to see which tool works best for the problem and their learning style.

    Usefully, when clicking on each element an image appears with an example of the visualisation element. For example, clicking on the RI (Rich Picture) Element brings up:

    Similarly, clicking on Tr or Mi elements brings up:


    Try it yourself at http://www.visual-literacy.org.

    Labels: , , , , , , ,


    [aboriginal pedagogy and language]

    I've just started reading Robert Bringhurst's The Solid Form of Language. A fantastic read and the book itself is a beatiful artifact, all texture and typography, just demanding to be touched.The image of the book on the left is from phil dokas on flickr. He's done a great job of capturing the texture of the book. "Drop a word in the ocean of meaning and concentric ripples form. To define a single word means to try to catch those ripples. No one’s hands are fast enough." ... poet, typographer and linguist Robert Bringhurst presents a brief history of writing and a new way of classifying and understanding the relationship between script and meaning.

    Beginning with the original relationship between a language and its written script, Bringhurst takes us on a history of reading and writing that begins with the interpretation of animal tracks and fast-forwards up to the typographical abundance of more recent times. The first four sections of the essay describe the earliest creation of scripts, their movement across the globe and the typographic developments within and across languages.

    In the fifth and final section of the essay, Bringhurst introduces his system of classifying scripts. Placing four established categories of written language – semographic, syllabic, alphabetic and prosodic – on a wheel adjacent to one another, he uses the location, size and shape of points on the wheel to show the degree to which individual world languages incorporate these aspects of recorded meaning. Bringhurst’s system is based on an appreciation that indeed no one’s hands are fast enough and that no single script adheres to or can be understood within the confines of a single method of transcription."

    As I'm reading this book on typographic and linguistic developments I also have learnt that First Nations peoples of Manitoba (I wonder if this is true for all First Nations peoples?) prefer to use language as their main identifier:

    For me this seems to highlight the importance of an oral culture and the tradition of passing on history, stories, teachings - a kind of "collective memory" that wouldn't get passed on if there wasn't the knowledge of language.

    Image above of "Plains Cree Inscription" at the Forks Park in Winnipeg, found on wikipedia.

    Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,