I am worried about this quote. If true, where does that leave us? A world where, as teachers, we might just be coming to a gunfight with a knife? How are we, as teachers, building a consensus for action instead of just a holding action of skepticism and resistance? I suspect we ain’t.
I have been seeing more and more in my media flow a call for massive, non-violent, passive resistance as the only consensus for action from people like Chris Hedges. Is that the consensus we need to be calling for in our learners? If we don’t, will there be anybody left to teach? I suspect not.
A very interesting and useful blog post on curation and student learning in the context of digital literacy by Ibrar Bhatt. I have stripped out the parts that were relevant to me and commented below in an attempt to come to terms with curation in my composition classroom.
“The term [‘curation’] has usually been employed to describe such work which is carried out in museum settings, and has now evolved to describe what is often done in digital environments and online spaces.”
I think it is interesting that we always come back to the idea of digital spaces. Well, of course we do, but do we ever define what these spaces are? Is it clear that digital spaces and real world spaces are distinct from each other?
“[P]ractices that people tend to do in “information thick worlds”.
I love this embodied description of information as being thick. It is also textured and noisy and redolent with smells and awash in movement and colorful and…tasty. Three and four dimensional, too. Like a drama on stage. Tufte is trying to bridge the gap between digital and real worlds. It is all one thick informational reality.
“Select, edit, single out, structure, highlight, group, pair, merge, harmonize, synthesize, focus, organize, condense, reduce, boil down, choose, categorize, catalog, classify, list, abstract, scan, look into, idealize, isolate, discriminate, distinguish, screen, pigeonhole, pick over, sort, integrate, blend, inspect, filter, lump, skip, smooth, chunk, average, approximate, cluster, aggregate, outline, summarize, itemize, review, dip into, flip through, browse, glance into, leaf through, skim, refine, enumerate, glean, synopsize, winnow the wheat from the chaff, and separate the sheep from the goats.”(Tufte, 1990, 50)
Great Tufte quote re-defining curation as an ‘umbrella’ term inclusive of all the skills/verbs he exhaustively lists. I wonder how useful it is to make the term carry so much freight.
“Anthologising older content to produce new content and creating a new experience for readers, by giving a new life (or new ‘reality’) to an older text. This is curation as a digital literacy practice.”
Ibrar Bhatt’s take on Tufte and on defining digital curation. According to Bhatt, everyday curation includes retweeting, liking, plussing, faving, storifying, patch writing. He contrasts that kind of curation with the exemplary writing of Maria Popova in her blog, Brain Pickings. What does she do that is such a model for others to follow? She ‘re-contextualizes’ by collecting and interpreting and creating a new experience for the audience with the curated text. Bhatt then redefines curation as the “process of problem solving, re-assembling, re-creating, and stewardship of other people’s writing.”
The image above amounts to a template for curating a digital space:
Why does this matter? If curation is all that Tufte and Bhatt say it is, then why aren’t scaffolds like these being used more often for training and in learning systems? I am using the curation tool Scoop.it to do curation with my freshman comp students. They use Scoop.it as their introductory platform for beginning to acquire the skills Tufte enumerates above that are part of the academic and business spaces they will eventually live in. I am hoping they will demonstrate why it curation matters as they seek-sense-share their way to long and short form ‘texts’ that they will be writing all semester. That will include essays, tweets, G+ community posts, blog posts, research papers, emails, plusses, favs, instagrams, zeegas, slideshares, pictures, and a massive mobile presence from their own digital spaces. Wish me luck.
I stumbled over these handy user experience maps this morning and thought about how useful they might be in my teaching, learning, and research.
Empathy maps: designed to help folk understand the mind of the user.
I could use this at the end of the semester to understand how my students navigated the semester-long research paper we write. I have no idea how my “users” experience the most time-consuming and constraining activity in the course. This could help.
My department could use this in exploring how our students adopt the English major and how that journey works from inside the student. I suspect that the journey we lay out for them and the one they actually follow are quite different, complementary but different. We just revised our curriculum. This might be a qualitative way to evaluate whether the path we are requiring is one that those who are taking it signed up for.
Service blueprints: much like the customer journey maps, these apply to teachers/employees. These maps help to uncover the how and where we ‘touch’ our learners/customers. They would work in conjunction with the customer journey maps.
We could use these with new teachers to help map out where they see these ‘touchpoints’ and compare those maps with what the department sees as the touchpoints. I think these maps might be fleshed out using tools like Dave Snowden’s Cynefin Framework/SenseMaker techonology.
Experience maps: these take customer-journey maps and apply them across user types and user products. You use these maps to make generalizations about user experience. In this image, the experience mapped is “pregnancy”.
Since the purpose of these maps is to understand a general human behavior, I might use them to explain the arc of a course and the learning behaviors it might generate in students. The follow up would be whether those behaviors were actually generated in the users. This map is quite a bit fuzzier and more abstract than the others, so perhaps it might be used in planning or revising a course syllabus and then making readjustments on the fly to the course as required. Used in conjunction with empathy maps?
Maps like these are often guilty of the sin of ‘making complexity legible’. Or as James C. Scott says, they destroy the “metis”, the local knowledge, or at the least they valorize this legibilizing over local, folk knowledge and concepts. Entering with an awareness of this bias, I think that what could be revealed would allow teachers and admins insights that might lead to a ‘re-messification’ of the various ‘fields of users’. We could make our blind spots legible with the end goal being to make the relationships more natural, more like what we find in the margins of fields. Rich. Diverse. Messy. Convergent and divergent.
That is the idea I took from this foray into UX. Anybody need a really interesting research project that might be turned into a consulting business? Maybe this is it. There is a UX conference in Washington, D.C. in April. If I can find $5000 I might go. A big investment, but maybe a worthy career move.