This paper looks at exploring a pedagogy which tackles the knock-on effects of the digital on education- teaching being ‘defamiliarised’, and our notions of place, body, time and text challenged, where previously they had been dependable ‘certainties’. The adjective ‘uncanny’ is well suited, for the effect that cyberspace can have on us- the familiar becomes unfamiliar (unheimliche), and traditional boundaries are blurred. Two possible ways of responding are suggested for the moment- either trying to articulate and make sense of the unfamiliar and therefore make it familiar, or to embrace the uncanny for what it is and think of it as being beneficial to teaching and learning. I’m not sure how possible it is to make the unfamiliar familiar though- that is to assume that what is unfamiliar now will remain relatively static, allowing time for analysis and incorporating it into some program or curriculum. Technology is difficult to predict, especially now that it is user-driven. The second option seems more viable to me, maybe even inevitable as I don’t think there is another choice, but might be a bit of a journey before such a pedagogy is accepted and incorporated into education across the board.

At the same time I wonder about this ‘uncanniness’. Might be contradicting myself a little here, but if the familiar is unfamiliar, who is it unfamiliar to? People who are experiencing this for the first time and trying to make sense out of it by comparing it to what they know? Are ‘traditional’ boundaries part of a mindset that will die out with an older generation? So maybe it could be possible that the unfamiliar eventually becomes familiar.

Central to this new pedagogy is the aspect of digital temporality – teachers and learners having a ghost-like presence. Bayne says that a suitable pedagogy needs to embrace the new ways of contact or online representation that the digital allows- a half real/half virtual presence. Not an easy road either, but again probably inevitable. I would see issues with people validating their identities online for exams etc. Considering the university itself, its’ online representation and functions may move toward ‘being’ the university itself.

It’s also suggested that this pedagogy would reject the model of an online replication of a classroom, instead being ‘confident in its own direction, using multiple, disaggregated and public nodes. I don’t know if I totally agree with this. Whilst I do recognise that such a pedagogy would be totally new, and would need to be ‘confident’ to succeed, I find that in general online activity benefits from real-world modelling. Not necessarily trying to replicate the real world, but using some sort of familiar structure that people can relate to. For example at our uni we set up a Ning site for some teachers to work in and named different areas after real rooms or places at the uni- by doing this, even though some of the teachers weren’t very tech savvy, they could identify with, and expect certain activities to happen in certain areas. Likewise with this new pedagogy, even though a lot of the activity couldn’t actually happen in real life, I think some grounding (even if it’s just the terminology) would benefit those involved.

Online identity is also talked about- people having to ‘double’ their identities by registering for different things all over the net and spreading themselves out. By this selfhood is ‘duplicated, divided and interchanged’. People get the opportunity to fabricate or play with identities and leave traces of themselves, or ghosts, across the web, like ‘embodied absence’, or an ‘uncanniness of presence’. I think that having to register for lots of different things across the web is one big drawback at the moment- I would hope that a common login (maybe more successful that Windows Live ID) would be standard in the near future. If governments are looking to provide access for everyone via things like citywide wi-fi, maybe the next thing they will look at some sort of individual secure online ID for citizens (or maybe not!!) So what I’m trying to say is… maybe this spreading out of a person’s identity will be less in the future (although the option will always be there for multiple or anonymous  identities etc.). I do get the sense of uncanniness or ghostliness from peoples presence though- at the weekend I read an old travel blog that my wife had written a couple of years ago- it felt like a ghost-town- a place where there had been so much activity from lots of people not so long ago, and now it felt deserted, just living in a corner of cyberspace for evermore! As well as the disjunction of body, there is also one of time. So concepts of ‘past is present’, present saturated with the past’ or a ‘rolling present’ are useful to describe the phenomenon. Visually, thinking about it reminds me of some of those old 80’s videos with special effects of the day where people are moving and ‘trails’ of previous movement follow them, a present with a record of the past.

So the pedagogy would incorporate, amongst other things,- synchronous and asynchronous activity, allow students and teachers to make use of different modes of representation (text, video, voice, avatar) and use the cyberspace machine and its tools to constantly dis/re-aggregate online activity. So like the lifestream for this course, the ‘spectrality’ of your existence is recorded and examined as a testament to your learning. It is interesting to see your online activity from different sources fed into one place, you can trace the learning path and ‘see’ everything before you. One downside I have felt is a decrease in the social aspect of learning- with different peoples’ identities, comments, blogs etc. spread out across different sites and applications, I didn’t feel that any particular place had a ‘buzz’ about it that comes from constant interaction, somewhere that you knew everybody else would visit in the next day or two. I suppose Twitter had the most activity but I don’t really see it as a ’space’.