Week 5 [Mon Feb 6 BLENDED] Situated Learning: Technology, New Media and Production Pedagogies Learning through Making, Design and Creative Production.

Production Pedagogy (Video). Connecting Production Pedagogies Theory to your ‘Media Tools Project‘ 

This week’s readings and blended learning task examine challenges and opportunities for new ways of teaching and learning. Suzanne De Castelle’s video, “The Pedagogies of Production” speaks about educational innovation through design, production and play, relating to ludic epistemology. De Castelle emphasizes designing and advancing education that is authentic to its time, as well as maintaining and raising educational standards through the production of meaningful materials.

Much of what De Castelle stated about there being a relationship between mental and manual production and its importance for 21C education – “learning through purposeful making”, pedagogy of being “doing” rather than being “done to”, resonated with me as both a young educator, and as a student. De Castelle mentions that learners build knowledge structures when they can design or construct things – when they have a thoughtful & critical audience. I connect this point with this week’s Media Tool’s Project (see video below). I chose to use iMovie to depict related, juxtaposed  videos of some of the greatest civil rights leaders and speeches in the history of the United States, with Donald Trump’s current doings in the political world. My goal was to show a stark contrast between what civil rights leaders like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King wanted for the future of their country, and what the current reality is. When trying to start my New Media Tools project, I thought about what’s currently important to me – what stays on my mind often: the muslim ban and Trump’s racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic rhetoric. I immediately knew that I wanted to work on something that held purpose for me and when thinking about which technological tool I wanted to use to explore some of my thoughts, I found iMovie to be rich in opportunities for juxtaposing video. Knowing I was creating for an audience that is thoughtful and critical, I didn’t worry too much about the nitty gritty details (like adding labeling, captioning – which would be done had this been a polished piece of work), and focused on what meaning I could draw out of this project. While I was retrieving videos to use, I didn’t know what I wanted the end product to look like, but found that as I started creating, engaging critical thinking with the real world, and “doing”,  the video found its path – starting and finishing with Martin Luther King’s speech titled, “I Have a Dream”. I came out of this project with deeper learning and a sharper sense of “what have the American people done”, having seen some of the greatest civil rights speeches in American history, and Trump’s destructive and hateful rhetoric.

Relating the project to De Castelle’s video, production pedagogy is characterized by producing something that is useful to the students, which transforms the relationship between the work that they do and the products of that work. When they have no control over their own activities, students can feel alienated from their own learning. Production pedagogy maximizes “use” value to producers of what they produce and isn’t interested in market value. Ultimately, I had the opportunity to play with what I found meaningful in my current life, and found myself situated and invested in my own learning. The only constraint of iMovie that I found was the fact that I could not make the project interactive – it was much more a view and listen project for the audience, and I would have liked to offer them a more interactive experience.

That leads me to Blikstein’s article, Seymour Papert Legacy: Thinking about Learning; Learning about Thinking (2016), and Papert’s vision that children should be programming computers rather than being programmed by them. Blikstein comments that “many children are held back in their learning because they have a model of learning” in which you have either “’got it’” or “‘got it wrong’” (2016). But when its someone doing the programming, its almost never right the first time – which means the person has to do some trial and error, and play to get the media as they want it. Blikstein reflects, and I agree, that if we looked at our education system, its content, and pedagogy from the same lens, we would have individuals who would be much more likely to think about real-world problems (like Trump, wars, environmental sustainability, human rights violations to name a few), as a puzzle to be programmed and solved, or at least, approached without the fear of being wrong. We would have individuals who are far more critical in their thinking, and therefore, actions, than in current society.

Professor Thumlert, in his article titled, “Affordances of Equality: Ranciere, Emerging Media, and ‘The New Amateurs’” (2015), discusses a method of equality that “detaches learners” from traditional, curricular education and enables them to engage in their own learning through “artistic/intellectual challenges” (p. 120). Professor Thumlert reinforces the idea from the previous reading, video and my own production project that enabling students to take on an “embodied learning adventure” makes learning their own, which ultimately allows for deeper learning and critical thinking to be applied outside of the classroom, without the presence of the teacher. Professor Thumlert also mentions that traditional curriculum has “driven a wedge between learning and pleasure” – disengaging students from learning in the classroom and on their own, which takes away from the quality of our lives as global citizens (2015, p. 120).

Watch my Civil Rights & Donald Trump iMovie Video Here

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