I am currently working my way through S Bayne Academetron, automaton, phantom: uncanny digital pedagogies, and I am enjoying it so far. I am still bringing these ideas together into a coherent space, but for now I want to talk about some of the quotes that have jumped out at me so far and that I feel I have really connected with:
“For in working online as teachers and learners, we are working in ‘destabilized’ classrooms, engaging in spaces and practices which are disquieting, disorienting, strange, anxiety-‐inducing, uncanny.” S Bayne pg 2
This definitely spoke to me of my own experiences early on in this module which is illustrated in my week 1 summary. I found the early weeks extremely ‘anxiety -inducing’ simply because it felt so strange. Many of the MSc elearning modules encourage us to manage our own learning, but there is always a framework in place for us to to ‘hang our learning hat’ from. But not here! No comfortable wardrobe to follow instruction, not even a rusty nail to hang our learning from. Complete freedom – a very scary concept!
“to make the unfamiliar familiar, to ‘normalise’ to an extent the uncanniness of the digital text”
I wonder if this is why I still print out all of the course readings, and make notes on them in biro. Is this me ‘normalising’ by turning the virtual into pen and ink reality?
Bayne quotes Meyer and Land (2005) stating that:
“the insights gained when the learner crosses the threshold [into understanding] might also be unsettling, involving a sense of loss”
I am not sure about this. When I pass over the threshold from not understanding to understanding (experienced recently after some help with Haraway), I find it is like a light going on in my head. I feel a sense of relief, and release, but in a positive sense, not release in terms of losing something.
“Teaching inthis vision becomes focused on ‘the production of human capacities… for the personal assimilation and creation of strangeness’:
“Such a conception of ‘teaching’ looks to a fundamental break with conventional pedagogical relationships and look to curricula that present awkward spaces to and for students. Through such spaces, they will realize for themselves their capacities for assimilating and even for producing strangeness.” (Barnett 2005)”
When I read this I thought “ahhhh! I see why they have done this all to us now!” The initial ’strangeness’ of this course has been aimed at forcing us to think ’strangely’ and produce our own ’strangeness’! An example of this would be the early piece of work that we all created for the digital artefacts. Giving us very little in the way of guidance, and not having the opportunity to really discuss it face to face ensured that we all produced completely different artefacts. With no preconception of what was expected, we all let our imaginations roam and generated some weird and wonderful output. If we had seen examples prior to creating them, I am sure that it would have influenced what was generated and the results would have been far less interesting.
Bayne quotes Barnett (2007) when describing students as being:
“asked to submit to the strangeness of new worlds opening before her. If they were not strange worlds there would be question marks over whether we were in the presence of higher education, (pg7)
Is Barnett suggesting that this is the point of higher education? Is it called ‘higher’ because we expect to see higher reasoning and higher brain function as a result? This also suggests to me that all education prior to this could be classified as ‘lower education’.
So far the sense that I am getting from this piece is how discomfort is thought to encourage original thinking. I am not sure about this yet – perhaps I need to find myself a cold,wet piece of concrete to sit on and think… would that be uncomfortable enough?