Academic European Instructor Evil Robot

WHOA! I know, I know, I’ve totally been slacking on my “Blog Every Single Tuesday” rule. I’ve been busy. Really busy, and I haven’t had a chance to actually think about what I wanted to write. Thus, I’m doing a roundup post. Here’s some brief insight into what I’ve been thinking about and doing:

  1. Linking Past and Present
    I’ve been reading a book about German Reform Pedagogy (really brief, dirty definition): the thought movement that happened circa 1900 to 1930s that changed the face of education. A LOT of the ideas we believe in for education, like learning through making, collaboration, interested-based learning, etc were being talked about in this time. A parallel thought movement (does the name John Dewey say anything to you?) called “Progressive Education” was happening in the US. They’re NOT considered the same movement by the German educational academics (even though they happened at the same time, and they were talking about the same things and concluding with the same conclusions. Also, if you click the English button on the Wikipedia article Reformpädagogik, you get the Wikipedia article on Progressive Education…) Anyway, I’m thinking about the connection between the discussion happening NOW and these movements from the 1900s. Specifically, I’m wondering if Georg Kerschensteiner, one of the leaders of the German Reform Pedagogical Movement, actually conceived the pillars of digital and/or new literacies in a time when RADIO was new fangled and cool.
  2. Cultural Clashing
    I live in Europe, so I’ve been looking at the landscape of web literacy and learning programs here on the home front. I talk to people a lot about the work we do at Mozilla, and I keep wondering how we can get the awesome energy of the North American continent’s movement in the educational realm to percolate here in Europe. There’s tons of good programs happening, but it seems like the cohesion of our community here is faulty at best. There are pockets of innovation happening, but we’re not yet playing the role we’re championing in the US and Canada. In London and Berlin we’re finding ways to bring web literacy to a number of different groups, but what about the rest of Europe?When I talk to people about web literacy here in Germany, they’re sometimes skeptical, something I find pretty unbelievable. There seems to be a lot of people that still believe that web literacy skills will be gleaned without guidance, that these skills are somehow given, not learned. This misguided idea that the new generation are “digital natives” seems to be influencing the learning landscape, and I want to step up and change that notion (with a little help from my friends, naturally).
  3. Guiding the Guide
    Been doing tons of thinking and work on helping informal instructors access Mozilla content. Lots of people are wanting to run their own hack jams and teach this or that techie thing to youth and adults. A lot of these people need a little help, so we’ve been creating materials that give them step by step guidance and activities that will help them hit the ground running. Call it curriculum, call it learning materials, call it hacktivity kit 2.0, the point is we’re trying to make some resources that help those active community members run their own events and teach people things without having to go crazy figuring out the all important “what will we do!?” question. We currently have a wiki up. It’s just temporary, not all slick and beautiful, but we needed a holding place for some of this stuff. You are welcome to edit and add to it!
  4. Introduction to Web Native Film and StoryCamp
    StoryCamp planning, preparation and production is coming along. We’re all over it like white on rice, and we’re building some kick-ass stuff. What’s really cool is that with this theme, I get to spend a bit of time looking at crazy films from the 50s, and that is a load of fun. I also get to repurpose a robot I drew a few weeks ago.

WebPageMaker Open Web Nice Robot concept drawing:

StoryCamp Robots Invade Everywhere Evil Robot concept drawing:

Muwwwhahahha! Actually, this whole project is awesome and awesome fun, having a blast! Here, check out some of our mockups And don’t forget feedback is always welcome!

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  2 comments for “Academic European Instructor Evil Robot

  1. May 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Good post. One comment here re. Cultural Clashing (webmakers in Europe). I’ve done lot of thinking, reading (especially on education movement, culture, media literacy in US) and had plenty of conversations w/ various people in the last 2 years.

    I don’t think that’s the leak of energy, simply that is needed a different design approach (starting w/ Learning Networks to the very webmaker community). Europe is herself different, with dozens of different cultures, regions, languages etc. It has also a stronger focus on language, culture, mutual respect, trust.

    Well, actually, apart of Berlin and London, there are things happening in Barcelona, Madrid, Romania, Paris and lot of enthusiasm and actions in small cities in Balkans region. And may be happening in other places as well (but we don’t know about – and that’s fine).

    I’m also inspired by the energy that’s going on in US/Canada. Is great! I’m sure that there are plenty of people here inspired as well.

    The problem here is not about copying methods and models, but about adopting/forking, optimizing the current, local ones.

    Oh, and a diverse team and community (in both cultural and linguistic terms) helps a great deal establish certain levels of trust and connectedness.

    That’s a long meta-conversation I hope we could have soon :).

    Meanwhile, I’m just identifying some things here in Europe that could help webmaker movement become even better, stronger and community based ;).

  2. May 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Laura, I just wanted to pick up on your second point.

    I don’t think the lack of interest (or the assumption that web literacies need to be taught) is particular to Germany – or, indeed, to web literacies.

    In the work I’ve been doing with JISC, and with the work I did on my thesis, I’ve found that there’s a really big assumption that young people are (in that horrible, inaccurate term) ‘digital natives’.

    Unfortunately, the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon is allied very closely to this which, in effect, abdicates all responsibility for helping people (youg and old) deal with the Web and other digital technologies.

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