Gregory Ulmer University of Minnesota Press, 2005 Library of Congress LB1044.87.U44 2005 | Dewey Decimal 371.3344678
While corporations, governmental groups, and public relations firms debated the best way to memorialize the event of 9/11, sites of commemoration could be seen across the country and especially on the Internet. Greg Ulmer suggests that this reality points us to a new sense of monumentality, one that is collaborative in nature rather than iconic.
From a do-it-yourself Mount Rushmore to an automated tribute to the devastating annual toll of traffic deaths in the United States, Electronic Monuments describes commemoration as a fundamental experience, joining individual and collective identity, and adapting both to the emerging apparatus of “electracy,” or digital literacy. Concerns about the destruction of civic life caused by the society of the spectacle are refocused on the question of how a collectivity remembers who or what it is.
Ulmer proposes that the Internet makes it possible for monumentality to become a primary site of self-knowledge, one that supports a new politics, ethics, and dimension of education. The Internet thus holds the promise of bringing citizens back into the political equation as witnesses and monitors.
Gregory L. Ulmer is professor of English and media studies at the University of Florida, Gainesville.
A leader in educational technology separates truth from hype, explaining what tech can—and can’t—do to transform our classrooms.
Proponents of large-scale learning have boldly promised that technology can disrupt traditional approaches to schooling, radically accelerating learning and democratizing education. Much-publicized experiments, often underwritten by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, have been launched at elite universities and in elementary schools in the poorest neighborhoods. Such was the excitement that, in 2012, the New York Times declared the “year of the MOOC.” Less than a decade later, that pronouncement seems premature.
In Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education, Justin Reich delivers a sobering report card on the latest supposedly transformative educational technologies. Reich takes readers on a tour of MOOCs, autograders, computerized “intelligent tutors,” and other educational technologies whose problems and paradoxes have bedeviled educators. Learning technologies—even those that are free to access—often provide the greatest benefit to affluent students and do little to combat growing inequality in education. And institutions and investors often favor programs that scale up quickly, but at the expense of true innovation. It turns out that technology cannot by itself disrupt education or provide shortcuts past the hard road of institutional change.
Technology does have a crucial role to play in the future of education, Reich concludes. We still need new teaching tools, and classroom experimentation should be encouraged. But successful reform efforts will focus on incremental improvements, not the next killer app.
Michelle D. Miller Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress LB1028.5.M548 2014 | Dewey Decimal 371.33
For the Internet generation, educational technology designed with the brain in mind offers a natural pathway to the pleasures and rewards of deep learning. Drawing on neuroscience and cognitive psychology, Michelle Miller shows how attention, memory, critical thinking, and analytical reasoning can be enhanced through technology-aided approaches.
Let’s start with two truths about our era that are so inescapable as to have become clichés: We are surrounded by more readily available information than ever before. And a huge percentage of it is inaccurate. Some of the bad info is well-meaning but ignorant. Some of it is deliberately deceptive. All of it is pernicious.
With the internet always at our fingertips, what’s a teacher of history to do? Sam Wineburg has answers, beginning with this: We definitely can’t stick to the same old read-the-chapter-answer-the-questions-at-the-back snoozefest we’ve subjected students to for decades. If we want to educate citizens who can sift through the mass of information around them and separate fact from fake, we have to explicitly work to give them the necessary critical thinking tools. Historical thinking, Wineburg shows us in Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone), has nothing to do with test prep–style ability to memorize facts. Instead, it’s an orientation to the world that we can cultivate, one that encourages reasoned skepticism, discourages haste, and counters our tendency to confirm our biases. Wineburg draws on surprising discoveries from an array of research and experiments—including surveys of students, recent attempts to update history curricula, and analyses of how historians, students, and even fact checkers approach online sources—to paint a picture of a dangerously mine-filled landscape, but one that, with care, attention, and awareness, we can all learn to navigate.
It’s easy to look around at the public consequences of historical ignorance and despair. Wineburg is here to tell us it doesn’t have to be that way. The future of the past may rest on our screens. But its fate rests in our hands.
In an information age of youth social movements, Youth Media Matters examines how young people are using new media technologies to tell stories about themselves and their social worlds. They do so through joint efforts in a range of educational settings and media environments, including high school classrooms, youth media organizations, and social media sites. Korina M. Jocson draws on various theories to show how educators can harness the power of youth media to provide new opportunities for meaningful learning and “do-it-together production.” Describing the impact that youth media can have on the broader culture, Jocson demonstrates how it supports expansive literacy practices and promotes civic engagement, particularly among historically marginalized youth.
In Youth Media Matters, Jocson offers a connective analysis of content area classrooms, career and technical education, literary and media arts organizations, community television stations, and colleges and universities. She provides examples of youth media work—including videos, television broadcasts, websites, and blogs—produced in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, and St. Louis. At a time when educators are increasingly attentive to participatory cultures yet constrained by top-down pedagogical requirements, Jocson highlights the knowledge production and transformative potential of youth media with import both in and out of the classroom.