Media in the future of education

As children are spending more and more time watching TV, playing video games, and using the internet, where will reading fall when we become teachers.  Will a switch to media use be necessary in the classroom?  What kind of reading habits will be enforced if students use e-readers for school?  Should the use of this new technology replace books as younger and younger children move to technology?  Would an e-reader keep a child more engaged because of the desired use of media?

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Miller’s Apocalypse

It is true that English assignments in schools aren’t keeping up with the changing world.  Forget English assignments; the most modern news I received in history classes took me up to the end of World War II before we ran out of time.  I did not understand what Vietnam or the Gulf War were fought over until I was well into college.  It seems like schools are satisfied – no, afraid of teaching anything that hasn’t been synthesized, dissected and painted with the right perspective.  Our past, but on a thirty year delay.  Miller’s project of “making thought visible” is a very cool concept, especially because we have been trying to visually represent our world since the cave paintings and words still come up short describing everything in our world.  So he invites the world to follow in his students’ adventure trying to use film and video for a new purpose.  I think it’s a fantastic idea, because video is accessible.  We are used to visual story telling, and the immediacy it offers.  Students can go online to find clips they would like to edit into their projects from the night before, not thirty years before.   But how practically applicable can we make an expensive project lab such as this in high schools across our nation?  How can the technology required to create such thought be accessible on a national level?  We already sit in a very unstable and unequal education environment,  see Jonathan Kozol’s article for a glimpse into the new apartheid of education:

Basically, how can we move into such a new realm of thought-processing and sharing in a classroom setting where schools cannot even currently afford books?  Or to re-plaster breaking walls?  Or will this project lab idea be another way to economically separate students before they even have a chance?  Can we afford to transition into a new subject and medium for synthesizing thought?

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Hybrid Classrooms for Generation M

Hayles defines “deep attention” as the “cognitive” ability to concentrate on one particular task at a time, often for long periods of time.  Contrastingly, “hyper attention” is the skill that allows a person to mentally multi-task, “switching focus rapidly” on many “different tasks” (187).  Of these two cognitive abilities, which are you?  Are you clearly one or the other (such as people are often drastically either “left” or “right” brain) or do you see yourself as a hybrid between the two?

Hayles also claims that neither “deep” nor “hyper” attention is “better” than the other (188), particularly because she has a difficult time defining what it means to be “better” (194).  What do you think?  Is one mode of thinking truly “better” than the opposite – in an overall sense (not just in particular situations, such as those Hayles lists)?

Finally, last Wednesday in class we spent a while in our groups coming up with different syllabi for imaginative courses.  Since most seemed to enjoy that activity, do something similar here: given what you have said about the two above questions, how would you structure a classroom?  Would you lean towards one style over another?  Or again, would you find a hybrid mix?  I think this is a major consideration given that we as teachers (most of us, at least) will be teaching “Generation M.”

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justin bieber memoir meme

I mentioned something in class about this link, and so if you’re inclined to absurdism and internet humor, here you go:

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Gin, Television and Cognitive Surplus

Hey everyone! If you’re curious about the idea from Clay Shirky that Miller references in “Reading in Slow Motion,” you can read more about it here:

There’s an updated, more polished version in his book, Cognitive Surplus, but the concepts are the same, and I remember being very struck by the idea when he first posted it a few years ago.

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Too what extent can we reasonably read in slow motion while tendering to our other undergrad learning needs as well?

I am very excited and intrigued by Miller’s teaching philosophy, but it certainly raises a lot of applicability questions.  It seems like there are myriad positives to reading only one text for a class, allowing for the expansion of thought into other possibilities, trying to inspire excitement and movement to action in students.  But this pedagogical philosophy can’t be applied to all classes can it?  How would we ever learn enough in four years of classes like this?  Also, do you think that this kind of class could be taught in other disciplines as well as the humanities?  How would this work for a science class or a math class?  Maybe it can’t?

So I guess my main questions are, is this teaching philosophy applicable outside of say, having only one or two classes like this in four years of undergrad study?  And if it is not, if it cannot be applied to several or all classes, then how do we choose what one class would work best under this methodology?

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One reading a week?

Do we agree with this? This class is  reading intensive and blatatenly going against Miller’s “Reading in Slow Motion,” who states that his classes only meet once a week for three hours and are only assigned fifteen to twenty pages. In a society that focuses and revolves around efficiency and information, is this conducive to our education? Would you think and accept that only reading a limited amount is worth our time?

Would you consider taking one of these classes? Would is be less beneficial for your education to take a class like this?  Would a professor who went along with Reading in Slow motion be considered a “easy” professor on because of the lack of reading load?

I just asked a lot of questions–please feel free to answer as many as you like!

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Where are the teachers?

In the article entitled “Reading in Slow Motion”, Richard Miller discusses the process of research. He distinctly labels two different perceptions of research: experiential and procedural (6). One of Miller’s main goals through his class is to get his students to view research as experiential. In other words, he wants them to form their own questions and research the answers which should, in his opinion, create some sense of thrill within the students. After explaining this, he gives the example of his student, Alice, who asked a question in class which he did not know the answer to. She promptly went about the task of researching the answer to her question in her own time and posting quite a few worthwhile articles, etc. on the class’ website providing a great discussion opportunity. Now, my question is this. While personal research of this kind is quite desirable and necessary, what kind of light does this specific example put the teacher in? The majority of the people in our class our seeking out careers in education – making a living out of passing on the knowledge they already possess onto their students. However, could the availability of the internet and the resources it provides allow teachers to become obsolete? As Miller points out, is there a potential for teachers to become mere “information monitors” rather than the original presenters of information? What are your overall thoughts on this?

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Optimism or Pessimism?

Miller writes, towards the end of “Reading In Slow Motion” that “writers have long dreamed of being able to bring the other arts into the reading
experience. Now that a laptop is a movie studio, a recording company, an atelier, a
study, a publisher, and a global distributor all wrapped up in one, the act of composition
has changed. How well prepared will our students be, as readers and as writers, to
confront such a world? How well prepared are we?”

While I would love to solicit answers to those final questions, it’s fairly clear from the preceding portions of the article that Miller asks them rhetorically. It seems obvious that we haven’t been adequately prepared for our increasing hyper-connection. Last week cinnabarhorse expressed his misgivings about the effects our internet habits have on us/him. I suppose then, the question I ask is it desirable to embrace the world Miller depicts, or are we better off as tech-skeptics, like Carr or cinnabarhorse? I’m not asking who makes the better case, but who you agree with, on a gut level. What do you feel about this increased, constant access to information, to one another?

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Could “Reading in Slow Motion” be the answer to our “fast and efficient” student issue?

After reading Carr’s article last week, a number of us expressed a fear of being or becoming a “fast and efficient” student, lacking the capacity for engaged thinking and thorough reading.  Although Miller’s article doesn’t offer a full on societal solution, do you think those entering a class like Miller’s “Reading in Slow Motion” would leave with enough tools to navigate through the vast world of technology surrounding the texts we read?  Do you think that a class like this with such strict 1 book per semester, 15-20 page per week restrictions might run the risk of missing a good portion of the students?  Is it possible for all students involved to find themselves engaged enough in one text to hold an entire semester’s worth of interest?  Do you think the coupling of this kind of deep reading and “public” sharing of the ideas in the text provide a better understanding than the private reading of a text?Lastly, out of curiousity, I was wondering if anyone here has ever had a college class where only one text was read and discussed thoroughly in class (not just a textbook used as a supplement, but one text used and discussed at length)?

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