The two most interesting, and quite important, things I learned were about Papert’s theory of Constructionism and the idea of transmedia. Constructionism is an interesting concept from a teacher’s perspective because it basically takes the teacher out of the equation. Students are to construct their own meaning of knowledge based on their own experiences, shared or individual. I had a difficult time with Papert’s idea that it is not anyone’s place to tell someone else what is important and why, and that the sharing of someone’s expertise can become a block to the learning of another. I fully understand that knowledge is created, in part, by experience, but I also feel that you don’t know what you don’t know and transmission of knowledge is an important step in learning. Individual construction of meaning is still important, but can not be done in a vacuum of given knowledge.
I found transmedia to be fascinating and scary, but I found it most interesting that it fits with Papert’s theory so well.
“Because of its greater focus on learning through making rather than overall cognitive potentials, Papert’s approach helps us understand how ideas get formed and transformed when expressed through different media, when actualized in particular contexts, when worked out by individual minds” (Ackermann, 2001, p. 4).
Knowledge creation is definitely enhanced through experiencing it in various ways, through different media for example. The scary part is that in transmedia, this knowledge is not created by the individual who is learning but by the company who is selling the product. They are distributing the “knowledge” across the media and allowing the learners and prosumers to participate with it in order to allow them to feel like they’ve built the knowledge on their own. Scary and brilliant. My group and I had some great discussions about these two topics.
I also had a wonderful discussion (dialog) with Mandy Genetti regarding the site Killing Kennedy.
We mostly discussed the format of the website, its purpose and goal. We came to the conclusion that the mixed-media format was very effective in making the audience want to continue to make their way through the website, but that the content was sparse at best. The reason for the short bits of information, we felt, was two-fold: 1. To keep the audience interested, and 2. To get the audience to want to watch the show it was based on. We used Zoom for this dialog and it worked really well, smoothly recording our discussion while allowing Mandy to integrate her desktop, therefore the website, to help the audience visualize what we were talking about.
I really enjoyed the daily creates for Week 3, mostly because they were easy but fun. Even though it was basically just text, I loved the Fourth Law of Robots
response. I added a gif to enhance the Twitter experience. I also loved creating the panorama clone of myself around percussion instruments. The third clone, on the right side of the picture turned out to have an extra hand which I kept in because it made the picture more interesting and went along with the idea of needing more hands to play percussion.
Week 4, however, was a different story. Again, the daily creates looked fun and I had some creative ideas on how to respond to #tdc2070, a minute in your life in 2065, and #tdc2074, what’s your super power. I was challenging myself with the media, layering graphics to create a futuristic pair of glasses and creating and enhancing a voice recording to my super power. Each of these took hours of work to create because of the seemingly endless little quirks and rules of technology and its apps.
Sumo Paint, which I used for the glasses, kept cutting out both layers, the glasses and the background, no matter what I tried. I watched videos which told me to do exactly what I was doing. Once I figured that out, Sumo Paint kept saving only a section of my picture. I did finally receive help from a graphic design buddy (I made sure to do the work as he helped explain). In the end, I’m proud of the picture, but the frustration and time it took really took away from my enjoyment of the end product.
The super power audio-turned movie was no less frustrating. I created a fun audio recording, I edited it with sound effects and cutting and pasting, and I was very proud of it. It seems, however, that Twitter does not accept audio files from Audacity. In watching help videos, I realized I could make an iMovie and upload that to YouTube, finally embedding that into Twitter. Eventually, I turned out a short movie using photos, saved it and tried to upload it, but YouTube didn’t like it. I researched more and found out that sometimes YouTube doesn’t like mp4s, but nobody seemed to know why. I did, finally get it uploaded, and again I was proud, but so so very frustrated.
Not to mention the fact that I could not annotate the Teske article. Chrome would not open it at all, so I downloaded Hypothes.is onto Safari and tried that way, but Hypothes.is would not work correctly via that route. It seemed to me that I spent a great deal of time this week getting very little done.
I guess it goes back to Papert’s theory of Constructionism. I wonder, do the benefits of creating knowledge on your own outweigh the frustrations which often go along with it? I will admit that I liked being able to reach out to the larger community for help, which I often did, but mostly the struggle was very isolating. I understand the philosophy, and I definitely know that education must quickly change because the younger generations are moving in the direction of the self-learner, but how far can they get without some tutelage from experts. It’s the age-old battle between creativity and innovation, and the knowledge that some things work very well just the way they are. I’m still stuck somewhere in the middle.
p.s. I did my challenge on Week 2.