The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

The Original Technology

Hands, originally uploaded by Weird Beard.

We typically view technology as something separate from us. Technology is a process or an instrument we employ apart from ourselves. Yet, just look at our hands.  They are some of the very first instruments we see and use as infants.  Our minds never stop employing our hands. The paradox is that we see technology as something separate from ourselves even though we are inherently technological.  We say that we are one thing and technology is another. But doesn’t technology really start from our imaginations employing our bodies to fulfill an idea or a need?  All machines and processes are manifestations of our thoughts.  We give birth to technology.  We have a deep kinship with it and more…   McLuhan took this notion to its extreme when he said, in relation to our harnessing of electricity, “electricity may be said to have outered the central nervous system itself.”

We are the original technology and we have a deep and organic kinship with all the technology we create.

Marshal McLuhan, Understanding Media (reprint, Cambridge, Mass: MIT, 1994), 247.

September 11, 2009   1 Comment

technology of Alphabet

Naval Signal Flag Alphabet, originally uploaded by ibdesignsusa.

Hello all,

My name is Laurie Trepanier and this is my eighth class in the MET program. I am hoping to complete all degree requirements by April, but this may be difficult as I have just completed a move from Borden, Ontario to Cold Lake, Alberta. While the move was not very difficult, my new job is becoming a little more hectic each day.

For those who I have not yet had the pleasure to meet, I am a Training Development Officer in the Canadian Forces (CF). My job while in Borden was to instruct CF members on the Systems Approach to Training (SAT) used in our system and to assist tradespersons to become instructors within our schools. My new job is to advise Command on the acquisition of training technologies (simulators, software, etc) and to oversee the training of the technicians who maintain the CF-188 Fighter Jet (Hornet). The technical background that I require to be effective in my new job leads me to spend many nights reading information concerning airworthiness, safety systems, weapons, airframe structure and electronic systems and sub-systems. Thus my dream of completing two courses this semester has been placed on hold.

Being a Navy gal, the picture I have selected is very significant to both my military career and my idea of communications, text and technology. While the signal flags are considered old, it is just as effective in both military and civilian marine operations today as it was in the time of Nelson. My opinion of technology is basic; is not just a computer or a PDA. To me, it is a means of communications – regardless of the age of the tool. Text is what results when technology is used. Technology is the tool; it is the object that can transform thought into symbols that others can understand.


September 11, 2009   1 Comment

The Red Umbrella Mixed Media Collage

Making Sense of It All

I chose this mixed media image as it summarizes many of my personal and professional interactions with text and technology. It seems like the young lady is seeking answers from the ancients in the horizontal script while new age pieces of data are falling upon her from above.
Yet, given her attire (umbrella and rain coat) she is prepared to meet the challenges of meshing the old with the new i.e., creating synthesis. I believe I am beginning to find this place of synthesis with my old world skills and attitudes and my new age Web 2.0 abilities.
I also find the juxtaposition with this transpiring out in nature to be a vivid reminder of our connections to the natural world and this is something we must never loose regardless of our reliance upon the new technologies.
My name is Drew Ryan and this is my final course in the MET program. I have been living and teaching on the West Coast of Vancouver Island for 14 years with my wife Christine and sons Tylan (3) and Tayte (15months). My passion is the integration of technology within the K-12 system focussing on First Nations learners. I look forward to this course and its completion:)

September 11, 2009   3 Comments

Technology can be beautiful………

Paper Garden, originally uploaded by Smithsonian Institution.

I chose this picture because it demonstrates that technology can be used to create something beautiful. Technology has been successfully integrated into many aspects of society, including the Arts, (textiles, paintings, sculptures, etc) and Humanities. Without the advancements of techniques, the different textures of the paints, the design of the paintbrushes, the construct of the medium, etc., this beautiful mosaic could not be made. Simple, yet beautiful. Technology does not have to be complicated. It can be simple, but at the same time sophisticated and elegant. I generally find that people make it more complicated than it really needs to be.

Hi, my name is Deb Giesbrecht. I have been a nurse for 21 years. I work in Winnipeg and I teach nurses how to use computer programs within their working environment. Many nurses have difficulty with new technology, including computer programs that are designed to assist them in their daily tasks. My role is to support and educate them in this process. Electronic charting is a few years away, however, we are beginning to get nurses acquainted in using computers in their own work environment – which is challenging enough! I have recently implemented a Learning Management System, which allows learners to do online learning prior to face-to-face classroom time. This has proved to be challenging and enlightening all at the same time.

This is my 4th MET course and I am looking forward to seeing what kind of positive impact this will have, not only to me personally, but also in my own classroom. I am always looking for new and varied ways to get messages across to the learner, and I have found that my previous courses in the MET program have equipped me with skills that I than pass along to the learners. I am eagerly anticipating what new skill set I will be acquiring this term!

September 11, 2009   No Comments


Computer Mountain, originally uploaded by draikar.

When I saw this image of old hardware stored, the thought of how fast we run through different gadgets and fads immediately came to mind. It’s pretty amazing how “new” technology or technological artifacts become obsolete- giving in to something faster, better and simpler. I think that text has also gone through some transformations and stages, giving way to new delivery modes.
I’m Cecilia Tagliapietra; I live in a small USA-bordering town in BC, Mexico and I decided to take this course because the title and content captivated me when I first read them. This semester I’m taking my 6th and 7th courses with the double degree program with UBC and ITESM; I’ll probably ask for a lot for help, since we’ll be working with new, different tools I haven’t had the chance to try before. I honestly hope I can learn from all of your experiences and comments.
I’ll be reading you around 😉

Ceci Tagliapietra

September 11, 2009   No Comments

Space vs Meaning

woven journal, originally uploaded by ereneta.

The concept as text being like words woven together really made sense to me. This being my 8th class in the program, I am more drawn to different definitions of text than of technology. The relationship between language and meaning can be so complex, that it’s possible for text to be created merely for the sake of filling space without really conveying meaning. The picture effectively illustrates this possibility.

My name is Ryan Bartlett and although this will be my 8th course in MET, it is my first course directly through UBC. I started the program 1.5 years ago while teaching foreign/second language methodology and EFL at a private university in Oaxaca, Mexico. Since then I have been taking courses online administered through the Tec de Monterrey in Mexico. So long story short, I’m excited to see how UBC works online not to mention very interested to take a deeper look at the complex relationship between language and technology.

September 11, 2009   1 Comment

Hello from Sarah

Rotary Telephone, originally uploaded by Dave Ward Photography.

I selected this image as I have witnessed (and taken part) in many discussion within the MET community as to what exactly is technology?1?! This summer in trying to organize a large BBQ we had emails/texts/Skye going and finally I picked up the phone and it worked wonders…

This is my 7/8th MET course and I am also taking ETEC 590 this Fall. I took ETEC 565A this Spring and it was awesome. For those of you who have a few electives left I would highly recommend it!

For the past five years I have been working fulltime in Vernon, BC as a Computer/Drafting/Home Ec teacher and this year I have taken a LOA to try to get on in the Kelowna district. So if you live in Kelowna and you need a TOC you know who to call…


September 11, 2009   No Comments

Woodblock Print, Part 7

Woodblock Print, Part 7, originally uploaded by dailyartmasomenos.

Hello, I’m Carmen Chan. After graduating from UBC four years ago, I packed my bags and flew to China to begin my career as a teacher. I taught in China for four years and is currently teaching in Cairo, Egypt.

One of China’s four greatest inventions is the invention of woodblock printing. The photo above is a modern version of a woodblock print which originated in China. The Chinese woodblock was used for printing on fabric first then later on paper. I selected this image because this invention started China’s print culture. Since then communication and interaction has never been the same.

I look forward to learning more about how text technologies such as the woodblock printing transformed reading and writing.

September 11, 2009   No Comments

Keyboard From Stone Age

Keyboard From Stone Age, originally uploaded by elka_cz.

I have selected this image for several reasons.
I think this image evokes feelings of where we have travelled through the democratization of print. The keyboard literally opened pathyways to new knowledge essential for increased knowledge creation. The Internet is wonderful, but knowledge would have been shared with great difficulty were it not for the keyboard!

My name is Erin Gillespie. I am an elementary teacher currently teaching grade 4 (age 9) in Hong Kong at an international school. This is my 9th MET course and the reason I entered the MET program! I can use a keyboard, but now I prefer touch screens with icons.

When I was teaching in Japan (1998-2008), I heard about a course from UBC that had won an award, which led me to an article written by Teresa Dobson entitled “Technologies of Text: Reflections on Teaching, Learning, and Writing with/in Digital Environments” (JCACS, Fall 2005, Vol 3, Issue 1). I was hooked and I searched out the author, which led me to 540 and to the MET program at the end of 2007.

Reflecting on my journey into MET, the image I chose and our readings this week, I feel humanity has come through many ages (the Stone Age, the Bronze Age..etc) and I’m happy to recognize that I am a contributing member of the Information Age.

Erin Gillespie

Image courtesy of Elka Cz (2006): Keyboard from Stone Age

September 11, 2009   No Comments