blogging about blogging



a contemporary project

I read this piece as I read the aera piece Lankshear & Knobel wrote – they cited this work, and I was intrigued.

Cope, B., Kalantzis, M. & Lankshear, C. (2005). A contemporary project: An interview. E-Learning 2 (2): 192-207.

This interview by Colin Lankshear of Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis outlines what Bill and Mary feel are “things” that are distinctive about the digital era (see especially pages 198-201) including the raw materials you are now able to work with (pixels instead of textual letters)… “It’s all a visual manipulation game… Text and image are made on the same plane.” I love this quote:

Give human beings the capacity to communicate in any way and they’ll take it up (p.200)

Perhaps the most relevant aspect of this interview to our work are the comments made until the subheading “Technology in Education – The role of e-learning” on page 201. Mary argues that teachers teach the “technical stuff” about literacy practices by reproducing it when they define ways for students to engage in their learning (for example, regarding book literacy, students are asked to construct sentences and paragrpahs.)

They are arguing that there are now NEW ways of meaning making “that allow for other things.” Bill follows up by describing three implications the affordances of these new technologies make for schools: 1) we need to work on new forms of abstraction (I’m not very clear on this one); capitalizing on multimodality – bringing the visual and textual together (building on the “synaesthetic” capacity students bring to schools that schools currently “knock out of them;” and 3) the need for schools to engage in the global environment that is “deeply multilingual, deeply about crossing discourses, deeply about dealing with difference.” (p.202).

Like all technology it just opens up human capacity to do things better and to do things worse, (p.203).

They write about how now learners can be engaged as both a knowledge agent (“which is about building things yourselves with the stuff that is around you”) as well as a knowledge recipient – it’s a”dialectical thing”

The real challenge is to reconfigure the social relationships of the classroom, and that’s nowhere near so easy. The key isnot the technology, therefore. The key is the teacher (204).

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