Sunday, February 11, 2007

Another Look at a Book in the Hand

This YouTube video gives us another way to look at the "book question" that Bruce Schauble raised and that I wrote about earlier. While I really enjoy the video, I wonder if there's a way to know about the creator and context. Call me an English teacher, but I want to know those things. Otherwise, my knowledge feels incomplete, and I'm hesitant to pass on something that may have connections or implications I'm not sure of. I think that there may be some grounds for discussion of the implications of distributed knowledge and even what constitutes knowledge, but watch the video and let me know what you think.


Bruce Schauble said...

First thoughts:

1) It's hysterical. Thanks for posting it.

2) It does point out in a very pointed way how features of new technology which are straightforward and obvious to one person may be completely mysterious to another, for any one of a number of reasons ranging from simple unfamiliarity to blind spots in one's thinking to willful and sometimes belligerent ignorance.

3) One implicit challenge is to all of us who are trying to find our own way through new technologies, much lead others down that path, is how to find the patience and good humor to stay with it long enough that the new technology becomes as much a part of the pattern of daily life as, say, opening a book. As recently as two years ago there were teachers at my school who were refusing to access their email accounts because they couldn't see the point of doing so. Now I think pretty much everyone "gets it." But blogs? Wikis? Daily use of laptops in the classroom, starting next year, when all of our freshman students will have them? It's all terra incognita. Here there be tygers.

As far as the question of what constitutes knowledge, you may want to look at this wiki, which I just received a link to today:

evan said...

i think to some extent, the massive amounts of uncredited or vaguely-credited knowledge (especially if you consider the categories of knowledge described in the knowledge wiki bruce mentioned) distributed to each of us through any media from billboards to blogs forces us to become more critical of mass-distributed knowledge. louann, your apprehension over passing along messages of unknown origin is valid, since any assumptions or knowledge we have of the source necessarily impacts the way we interpret the message, and thereby acts as our basis for assigning value. however, often we misinterpret messages/knowledge because of the assumptions and oversimplified critical processes we employ.
as scott mccloud writes in his graphic text, Understanding Comics, "that's why i decided to draw myself in such a simple style." [eyeless glasses, solid hair, 2-dimensional, no shading] "would you have listened to me if i looked like this?" [realistic self portrait] "i doubt it! you would have been far too aware of the messenger to fully receive the message!"

in an increasingly collectivist world, doesn't it make sense that we should accept more and more information from the world at large, rather than demand source identification so we might store these sources and their messages in convenient pre-labelled containers?