Reflections on ETEC540

As we close the term, ETEC540 has certainly evolved into more than the sum of it’s parts…. it’s many, many, many parts. Reading the syllabus prior to registering, and then looking through the prefatory materials during the first few days, did little to prepare me for the absolute growth that I’ve experienced over the past thirteen weeks. From Plato’s Phaedrus to Xanadu, the combination of my personal notes, the collaborative blog, the wiki, and the two sections’ worth of forum postings is a trip down memory lane, if memory lane is the Vegas strip or Tokyo’s Shibyua Crossing (and coming from a villager of Haida Gwaii, that is saying a lot!)

Throughout this course I have continued to think back of the Global Objective #5 listed in our Prefatory Materials: Students will consider how the “information explosion,” caused in part by the development of increasingly efficient vehicles for the creation and circulation of text, has modified human understandings of what it means to be educated.” 

What does it mean to be educated? As Bolter mentions in his ninth chapter, I feel that the process of “being educated” involves an ongoing remediation of the ways in which we think about and interact with the world and the “definitions” around us (Bolter, 2001, pg. 189). It now seems that I can’t go a day without coming across some piece of news that links to this course- For example, this month’s Popular Mechanics magazine predicts after tablet computers will come scrolls (pg. 80). After learning about the field of haptics, I now consider the tactile sensations that come with using writing tools. When I hear of new words, I almost compulsively look them up in the OED to learn about their roots and connections. The sensations that come from interacting with language and literacy, as it continues to be remediated by technology, is almost a synesthetic experience – stimulation in one medium immediately evokes that of another, and that experience continues to cycle. We no longer just hear audio, we visualize it; we no longer just read text, we hear it, we no longer scribe letters, we type them, but at the same time we hear the click of the keyboard, see the mechanical motion translate into an electronic creation, and then remix that as well in a continual loop. I feel like I will be “making connections” between what I’ve been exposed to in ETEC540 for a long time to come.

Bolter discusses writings of different types of minds – Analytical, Cartesian, electronic writing and the postmodern self (Bolter, 2001, Ch. 9). One unexpected product of this course was that it acted as a technology-assisted text showcase – Especially during Rip.Mix.Feed which was, of course, more current than any of our assigned readings could be (for example, many of the tools listed in Alexander’s (2006) article were no longer in existence). With thirty nine MET students between our two sections, the break out of so many useful textual tools in ETEC540 only makes me wish I had more time to explore them all. The insane thing here is that despite all of the resources that we can pool as a group of learners, each of our own classroom or work context would likely produce at least as many, if not more tools; many of which would be different than the ones contained in the present work. The potential textures of writing that this collection could create is again, an explosion, but one that we are becoming accustomed to.

References

Alexander, B. (2006) “Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning?” Educause Review, 41(2), 34-44. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM0621.pdf

Around the corner: 2012-2022. (2012, December). Popular Mechanics, 189(12), pg. 80.

Bolter, Jay David. (2001). Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print [2nd edition]. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. ISBN: 0-8058-2919-9

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