Why Now?

Hypermedia: Why Now?
by Jon Udell
…for the most part, publishers can just assume that an internet-connected computer will play sound as well as video. This was a long time coming, but we’re finally there. www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/network/2005/03/18/primetime.html

…merely reading isn’t enough. Deep skill in reading cannot be attained without deep skill in writing. Thus we teach not only attention to others’ words, but adaptive skills and strategies in creating those words ourselves. Now, students are going to film school not simply to land a job in the film industry, but to master the skills and strategies of sophisticated visual and aural communications.
We’re living through a radical transformation of our communications environment. Since we don’t have the benefit of hindsight, we don’t really know where it’s taking us. And one thing we’ve learned from the history of communications technology is that people tend to overestimate the short-term impact of new technologies — and to underestimate their long-term implications….”
…a transition from a world in which the PC really was the computer, to one in which the network is effectively the computer. It has led to the emergence of “cloud computing” … by John Naughton   www.theguardian.com/technology/2010/jun/20/internet-everything-need-to-know

books on a shelf

What’s possible now in education that has not been possible? Each of us can create and publish our own story. We can use text, images, audio, music, and video to our unique purpose. Five years ago we had text. Downloads were impossible in the remote places I was teaching. The difference between reading a text and having the author read to you is, for me, huge in gaining the understanding the author is trying to convey. Now add an image or a movie of the story, accompanied by the music that touches our imagination as we watch and listen. Then share the lecture that tells the opposing view.

The best part of this as an educator is that I can have my students listen and watch the best of the lecturers, the best of the thoughtful practitioners, and the worst. I can comment, make connections, and help students see the difference in the information being presented as true, whether the medium is text or “sophisticated visual and aural communications.” In that conversation, we learn. The network allows many perspectives to be heard in that conversation. We can ask our students to retell the story in their own medium, and remix the concepts to fit their own understanding in context. The network of listeners in the open conversation will be sure to add their opinion if the new story doesn’t fit.

As Naughton suggests, print changed who learned. Books made it possible to hear the conversation when you couldn’t hear the lecture. This new networked “radical transformation of our communications environment.” will certainly change the place where we learn. How will we imagine teaching in this environment??




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