Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Believing, Inventing, and Implementing Technological Pedagogies

In Richard E. Miller's presentation, he talks about post production. Mr. Miller says that today's society rightfully expects all meaningful productions to be beautiful compositions, "... that are compelling, that pay attention to the auditory details of the experience." I agree, but due to time restrictions I should warn you that this post has very limited post production editing. However, I do believe his video is important and I hope my notes that I am about to share with you are "compelling" enough to convince my world wide audience that these clips are worth watching.

This video was made December 28, 2008 in San Francisco. The fact that I am already watching it on the Gulf Coast is a testament to the rapid evolution of our creative culture. Miller asks, "How has writing in our culture changed?" and his simple, yet powerful answer is this, "We now have the capability of communicating instantly, globally." He expounds on this idea by describing the way in which people (students) are able to create literature collaboratively from multiple continents simultaneously thanks to shared document programs like Google Docs.

Miller goes even further with the notion of our rapidly evolving writing culture to say that writing is no longer enough. Sure, novels are still appreciated-- look at the wild success of the Harry Potter series, but then look at what they became-- The Harry Potter film series. Think about The Star Wars films... would they have been as wildly acclaimed without the combined creative genius of revolutionary screenwriters, directors, and producers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg?

We are now in a time when producing creative messages extends beyond entertainment; competitive business proposals are expected to be captivating, convincing, even interactive-- employers are using social networking sites and search engines to research their applicants-- scientists and economists who live on two or even three different continents are winning Nobel Peace Prizes because they can share multiple mediums of data instantly. This leads me to conclude that if the real world now requires technological savvy to create engaging compositions, we MUST confidently prepare our students for the evermore competitive lifestyles of today. Reading and writing is no longer adequate-- multimedia production is essential.

I really appreciated Miller's insight regarding incremental versus fundamental change when it comes to how we use technology (more specifically, the internet). He describes a time when people were what I loosely call "copy/ pasters." About ten years ago, people used the internet as a free, vast encyclopedia. They read what was available, pasted it into their minds and moved on to the next resource. Now, we are reading/watching, criticizing or praising publicly, and recreating a unique version that reflects our perception of the most current and relevant resources. Miller points out that internet enables us to see who is behind each publication and read what other people and companies are saying about it. Even better, we can compare it to an infinite amount of other resources with the click of a tab.

Everyone has something to contribute. The more people are exposed to, the more their wheels turn. The more ideas that are circulated, the faster our communities can change and our thoughts can flourish. Unfortunately, becoming an agent of change by recording one's thoughts uniquely on any given medium is not as easy as it sounds. Just as a musician must learn how to strum a guitar to make music, media producers must learn what Miller calls, "visual literacy." Students must learn how to compose for today's audience. We as teacher's of tomorrow must be able to teach our students this visual literacy.

Currently pedagogical resources for visual literacy are limited because of its relative modernity. Miller emphasizes, "The limits and the restrictions are largely ones we place on ourselves." He goes on to say that educators are responsible for creating and enabling,
1.) pedagogues that foster creativity and collaboration
2.) inspiring teachers of new media composing
3.) ubiquitous composing technology.

I believe it is an educator's responsibility to help their students discover what they love. In order to do so, we must digest Miller's notion that ideas belong to no one. My favorite part of his presentation is the small detail at the very end when his copyright symbols falls and breaks in two. It's scary to admit this in such a great and capitalistic society, but isn't that what humanity should strive for-- less competition and more collaboration?

***Notes and Quotes
1.) At 3 minute mark, Miller defines the movement from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. At the end of this presentation, he states his thesis argument that Rutger needs to build a space that enables students to learn how to produce multimedia compositions.
2.) I like that he encourages the use of local resources to compliment global (internet) resources.


  1. So do you not want to pick up and move to Rutgers?
    I love how fluid he is in his presentation and his understanding of what can be achieved today. I was a little spell bound going through the Martin Luther King material and then the new media building proposal. The detail he could do in his presentation was almost as positively uplifting as the message itself. Great Blog Anthony.

  2. I am embarrassed to share that I have not completed this blog yet. I just posted the videos so that I could reference them easier. I will add my analysis soon though! Thanks for the encouragement anyways!

  3. I am not taken by the building. I think the tools need to be in the hands of the learners. But I am positively excited by the examples of writing with multimedia. I hope we will make it happen!

  4. Hi Anthony, I'm accepting your invitation to respond to your post. This very experience shows just how much has changed and how quickly this change has come about: you are correct that I made the "This is How We Dream" presentation on the 28th of December, less than a year ago. My collaborator, Paul Hammond, and I then took the sound file for that talk (made with an ipod and a mic adapter) and, working in Final Cut Pro, put the sound and the presentation together. We then posted in on Jan 15th of this year. And now you, your peers, and your professor are discussing it.

    A few years back, I gave another presentation at the MLA. I read a paper to an audience of 100 folks or so, as did the other folks on the panel. I gave the talk in Dec. 1988; it was selected for publication in the MLA's annual record of the conference and appeared in print a year later. My guess is some people read it, but that's just a guess: “‘Let’s Do the Numbers’: Comp. Droids and the Prophets of Doom.” Profession 99, 96-105.

    This year, since I presented on the President's panel, I was invited to submit my talk for publication in Profession 2009. I explained that I didn't have a written talk to submit; I spoke extemporaneously and had posted my remarks along with the presentation on youTube. I asked that Profession consider publishing the url. I received no response from the editor.

    Profession 2009 has yet to arrive--it usually shows up sometime in November. In the meantime, "This is How We Dream" part 1 has been accessed over 6K times; part 2 about half that. I say accessed rather than viewed, because it is important not to overstate the significance of the numbers associated with the videos. Your class is clearly working carefully with the material; the fact that only one out of two viewers continues to the second half suggests that 15 minutes is more time than some folks have. That's a factor that Paul and I must contend with now that youTube has a maximum 10 minute/per video constraint.

    The fate of the proposal for the building will be of interest to you and Professor Strange. Although the building was originally selected as one of six showcase projects for Rutgers' capital campaign three years ago (which is why I was invited to make the presentation to the BOG, "The Future is Now"), in the intervening time a new dean has come on the scene and neither the building nor this project are priorities for him. And, of course, the economy has crashed.

    But, Paul and I only ever thought of the building as a thought-experiment--a way to make our dream of a center committed to revitalizing both the work and the teaching of the humanities visible. With the increasingly successful transition of networking to the "cloud," the urgency of developing pedagogies for this new environment and training teachers to work in it has moved to the forefront for us. The peek you've provided me into you course is just one more example of the fact that this is a project that is being pursued across the country.

  5. Wow! How amazing that we can carry on this conversation so thoroughly and so rapidly! The reactions of the publishers Professions 2009 are indicative of the ways in which the profession of academia is rapidly fading from importance, replaced by the likes of YouTube. The extent to which the video message is listened to and heard versus the printed talk of 2008 emphasizes again how the reading/writing culture of Old has become the listening/watching culture of Now (and hopefully with contributors who write in multimedia as Dr. Miller has so eloquently demonstrated as an art form and as a form of communication).

    Another question that can be asked is what "credit" for publication does Dr. Miller get from the YouTube videos? He would get very little here at South. How about the print materials deriving from the talk to 100 people? Here he would get a lot of "academic credit" for that - because it was published in print form. It is very likely the same at Rutgers. Totally backwards in my opinion.

    And then take the faculty meeting scheduled for Thursday of this week in which the faculty are prepared to voice their opposition to the increased emphasis on the use of multimedia in the delivery of instruction. I admit the primary motivation may be $ rather than improving instruction. But the opposition of the faculty is not based on that objection, but rather that they might have to learn something new, that they think they own some commodity (lectures?) that has some value when we can see that information has already moved from scarcity to abundance and as this happens the price must move toward free.

    When will the institutes of learning change? In time to avoid their replacement or not?

    Thanks, Anthony! This is REAL learning.

    And I will try and contact Dr. Miller. That would be wonderful if we could get him to Skype the class. If not this semester then next!

  6. HI Anthony,
    My name is Marissa in TT11 at South Alabama. You got a lot of attention from your post. It is really good. Like you said, "I believe it is an educator's responsibility to help their students discover what they love." MR. Miller's video touched on this point, which is what I loved.

  7. Dr. Miller and Dr. Strange,

    I admire the dedication that you both have despite the seemingly inexhaustible backlash of opposition you face on a daily basis. Stifling the creativity of anyone, because of a limited desire or ability to adapt, borders on asinine behavior and makes a hypocrite of any educator.
    We are taught to be life long learners and to find creative ways to apply our knowledge and capabilities in the classroom; only to find that some instructors do not follow the example they teach and do not give us the hands on experience we need and crave.

    As a dedicated student, thank you for continuing to believe that change is ahead. If technology is evil, as so many of your peers seem to think, then it is a necessary evil. Technology used in conjunction with outstanding educators (and every instructor at the University of South Alabama has been) could produce a candidate that enters the job market as a major asset for any district. Embracing collaboration between technology and lecturing will only make you survive as a educator.

    Anthony Capps,

    I learn as much from you as any person online or in the classroom. I am amazed on a daily basis by what you are able to find, accomplish and share.
    The voice thread that you did this week was extremely thorough and easy to follow. You inspire people to learn and that is a gift that I hope my children will experience in your classroom one day. If any professor or organization wishes to argue the value of incorporating technology and learning how to use it, they need only look at your blogs.

  8. Anthony, you are going to be a great teacher!
    You're a rock star!
    or should I say "blog star"??

  9. Dr. Strange, imagine a man who mines gold for a living when suddenly gold becomes a free and easy thing to get. Don't get too upset with your colleagues, they just don't know how to go from the old economy to the new.

    Anthony, you have come a long way in the last few months. Your progression has matched that of Dr. Strange. I have been amazed by both of your evolutions.

    Mr. C

  10. Dear Anthony, This is a very well put together blog. I'm envious of your talent and you are correct about the change that is here now. Some people will accept the change, others will not. Once again, great blog.

  11. Anthony,

    Your work is amazing! I can't believe you got Mr. Miller to respond to your blog! Wow! Keep up the good work. Your blog is so well defined!

  12. Wow, now I see how my competition is! Viewing your blog has really encouraged me to blog even better, but I will be keeping up with your blogging. You have interesting ideas and thoughts. Keep up the good work!!!