Tuesday, April 13, 2010

the last post for #IUP574?

So it looks like this is the last post for the semester. I guess I should reflect on my model and how it's changed.
Here's the original:

This was meant to be a metaphor of how time and timing is of utmost importance in implementing technology in classrooms. It also represents the cyclical nature of iterations. And as a bonus each of the pictures is a model of it's own. The light bulbs aren't only ideas but also thoughts.
Thoughts or principles like in the Computer Clubhouse we read about this week. The Computer Clubhouse was founded as an after-school center for inner-city low SES youth to gain experience with technology in a responsible and profesional manner.

Then I made this new model last week. It is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, which most people understood. But for those who didn't let me emphatically state that this is very satirical:

Here you can see the children of the world, a very peaceful and happy world, full of joy because they all have iPads. First of all, the iPad isn't really designed for empowering users to create media, it is much more about offering a unique and familiar way to consume media. This is the model is the opposite of the Computer Clubhouse. But look how happy those kids are!

I think there is merit to the iPad like this model claims. I think it would fit in very neatly with the technology described by Nichole Pinkard who designed software to boost African-American elementary age reading abilities. The games in the study are Reading Rapper and Say Say Oh Playmate. These games have users develop abilities with rhyming and rhythm that transfer out the ability to learn new words. In the words of my undergraduate mentor, "The more words you know the more words you can know".

I think both of my models address what these authors are pushing. Meet the students where they are. This sentiment is the root of all recruitment too, just a fun little fyi for you. If knowledge, or education rather, is about an enculturation into a dominant discourse then bringing students into that discourse, as effective as possible, is learning. If that means taking in extra-curricular interests like social media (as in my research) into the classroom to boost student engagement and standards based analysis skills, then that is learning. If having students mimic rappers to which they aspire to become, and in the process learning new words, then this too is learning.

The purpose of the model, be it classroom model, technology model, curriculum, or implementation plan, is to streamline the efficiency of said learning to the prescribed standards of the dominant discourse.


Reading about Say Say Oh Playmate made me crave some step dancing videos. So I did a little fishing and found some. Then I went ahead and thought about dominant discourse some more. It seems, in my novel yet fledgling research, that every discourse has some kind of fancy footwork rhythm dance style here is a few:

Stepping with the ladies of Z-Phi

Clogging at the Florida State Fair

Irish Step Dancing

If you haven't seen a Breslover dance, this is just the tip of the iceberg


  1. I know your updated model is intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but I'm not sure about the EXTENT to which you intend it as satire. Are you embracing the Computer Clubhouse model (in which tools are made accessible but are not forced into students' hands)? Or are you truly rejecting it?

    I read an interesting post this morning over at Technollama about "technophilia." (It's at http://www.technollama.co.uk/beware-the-technophiles.) The author urges us to remember that the iPad will not solve everything and that it's just as dangerous to fall in love with a new technology as it is to hate it on sight. He writes:

    "There is a certain conceit in the assumption by young American elites that everyone thinks the same everywhere. Please, do not paint us all with your Apple fanboy brush."

    What do you think?

  2. The EXTENT of satire is that the difference between the iPad and the Computer Clubhouse is, as I understand it, the Computer Clubhouse is a center for students to gather specifically with the intent to create. To create robots, media, and pretty soon iPad apps if Mitch Resnick ever returns my calls (just kidding). The iPad, conversely, was specifically made to be a consumption item. To consume news, mail, messages, to shop, and to "lay on the couch and read a book", and watch movies. I have a sense that if a student went to the Computer clubhouse everyday to watch Family Guy on Hulu, sooner or later they'd be asked to create something like an animation. According to Bloom's taxonomy, the highest order of thinking is creation. The iPad fails at that. But golly have you seen the pictures of the 8 year old girl hugging her iPad at the Apple store?! OMFG how cute is that?!

    Now I think the comment "Please, do not paint us all with your Apple fanboy brush" is a lewd euphemism. Other than that I agree with the author. He seems to suggest the same as Bonnie Nardi, being wary of the technology as a panacea argument. I don't completely follow that american elites assumption piece, could you say more about that?

  3. I find really interesting that you chose to post step dancing videos at the end of your entry. I think it fits almost perfectly the theme of this week's readings: culture, identity and learning.

    Your videos reminded me of the creation of transcultural spaces, mentioned by Black in her piece about Fanfiction. We all definitely have our different cultures and backgrounds; and maybe yes, we can learn better if new things are introduced based on familiar things. But we also have the capacity to contribute with our culture and our experiences to the construction of a transcultural space, where we can all forget about divisions and boundaries and see ourselves as "learners and users of multiple social languages and Discourses".

    So I agree with Pinkard in making the learning process more engaging by relating it to the learner's cultural background. But I also believe that, in order to allow multiple cultures to coexist, it is as important to introduce a person to different cultures and offer environments where each one can contribute to fashion their own cultural identity.

  4. Jeff, your comment that the purpose of a model is to streamline the efficiency of learning in the dominant discourse sounds a lot like the word 'enculturation' which yes is a form of learning, but is it the purpose of models. Should we also develop models that don't enculture us into the dominant discourse but perhaps provoke us to ask critical questions (remember Nardi and O'Day's lists of important questions to ask) of technology, or for that matter critical questions of the dominant discourse (as some learning theorists worried about power and marginalized forms of discourse might push for), and what else might a model want to do, besides streamlining efficiency?

  5. Untwitterable,
    I think when folks reflect on the best teachers they have had in their pasts, and what made them great, they do exactly what your question poses:
    "provoke us to ask critical questions"
    I believe the purpose of these models, and I may be wrong - I'll be sure to let you know after class, is to create a space wherin technology can fit seamlessly into classrooms. It is what we chose to do with the technology where progress and learning lies. I'm of the view that models represent the logistics of the interventions. What happens when the teacher takes over and does what good teachers do can't be expressed in a model, but maybe a concept map or flowchart to get at that critical literacy that provoke us to ask questions and read between the lines.

    But then again our professor used the term "model" to be purposely vague. So a model could be aythign and represent anything. I do belive that the model you suggest might fall under the category of Frere-ian models.