It’s already three days, in New York. I am well settled at the Palladium, NYU’s residence of old dancing memory, I am told. I finished working on my last things just by the end of past week, just in time before leaving San Juan. Still, there is some old work to be done here, too.
But the main purpose of my stay here -as Scholar-in-Residence at NYU’s Faculty Resource Network- is to complete a research on the myths surrounding teaching & learning, technology and media use. I began a series on this blog which was called like that: The myths of teaching & learning. Here I start from there, to continue that line of thought but also to pursue it further. In fact, I want to write something: Starting from the myths, I can then describe the chances technologies afford us when learning or teaching, if we can manage to see them. In fact, checking out the myths allows to discuss and comprehend what learning wants! Yes, paraphrasing Kevin Kelly’s title “What Technology Wants”, I am asking what learning wants!
Then, since the wildest of our technologies, the Web, is obviously a change triggering factor of several orders of magnitude, I must conclude that it has the potential not only to change but to redefine learning and teaching. Possibly never before, since the start of the industrial Revolution or since the birth of the idea of Liberal Arts Education, had we experienced such a changing world, with respect to everything: media, arts, politics are changing fast, and such changes fall upon education, also. Thus education changes (or has to) from two forces: one, direct, is the power of these new technologies to subvert the conventional order, and to ask new questions. The other, indirect, is the force brought by the other changes (in politics, arts, etc.) that complements the first force.
I will then be able to conclude with a sort of “best-practices” scenarios that derive from the above analysis. And provide a synthesis of diverse ideas that have sprung: Open Education, Open Access, Edupunk, Connectivism, Cognitive Surplus, Personal Learning Networks, etc. I so hope to finish this publication with something that higher-ed educators may find useful and interesting, and that may spin off more change.
I hope so, and this is in its essence the (perhaps arrogant) task I gave myself. But, in New York, seek New yorkers. Thus, I am going to interview a few souls, face to face, and ask them questions inspired by these thoughts. And I will try and learn a bit of what they have to say: experts on media, technology, science. I have a few already lined up. Yes, I will start with nonetheless than Clay Shirky, and continue with a sort-of-focus-group that friend Mikhail Gershovich, DIrector of the Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute and a Coordinator of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program at CUNY’s Baruch College is helping me to assemble. Than I have Paul Levinson, the writer, musician and media observer, who just recently keynoted in Barcelona at the McLuhan Conference. Then, I am just waiting for my friend Jim Groom to be interviewed when he approaches Manhattan later this month. And so on and so forth. When I am gone back home, in August, I will try and interview other people on the phone.
Last, one detail I want to investigate is also about science. I have one question: Does science (here, I refer to the so-called hard science) need to be taught (and learned) in a different way than, say, literature of law? I mean, apart from the obvious idiosyncratic stuff each subject is made of, starting from its own language, methods and practices, etc.
I started today with the Kevin Kelly book: What Technology Wants. I have a good month of work here in front of me.
For this project I’ll be using the #NY11 tag on Twitter, and this blog to post reflections and segments of said publication.