The thing is…

October 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

that our collective attitude toward technology in our lives might be compared to a colonial attitude toward the Orient or the East. Technology, and digital technology, are percieved with ambivalence, both as a solution to our ills, and as the causation of those ills. Who among us does not owe our life, or the life of a family member, to a technological intervention? And yet, our collective attitude toward technology is consumerist, reckless and disdainful, especially when we consider the life cycle of a piece of digital technology, that it will end up, in fairly short order, creating a toxic mountain of cast off plastics and metals. Forming yet another underclass in the service of gleaning value from the waste.


Tools For Thought: Colonialism / Postcolonialism?

October 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

We are reading texts on colonialism and post colonialism right now and much as I hate to entertain the idea, it seems they might be pertinent to a Foucauldian analysis of approach and attitude toward digital technology.

Or is this just my over active imagination looking for a meaningful connection to texts that I am required to read and write about?

I’m working with the idea that we don’t actually change our minds when we want to change our perspectives, we change our memories. In any given moment, we are accessing memories – semantic, affective, short term, long term, emotional, to make sense of our current experience. Educational consciousness is bound to be layered with memories that are communicated through induction processes from one generation of teachers to another. The most subtle and non-conscious aspects of these memories are going to be conveyed below the radar of conscious thought and language. The level of communication is going to be carried out at the level of countenance and comportment, the smallest nuances of expression and body language evoking a history of ‘common sense’ or cultural tradition.

Research in cognition and consciousness are showing that in order to change one’s implicit associations with objects and people, it is the memories that need to be addressed, not the present moment thought construction. It has been found that people can change their implicit associations to race and stereotyping if they experience non-stereotypical encounters with racially marked individuals (see Malcolm Gladwell, Blink, Banaji, Bargh).

It seems to me, that if I am going to look at the formation of acceptance, resistance and opposition in teachers attitudes toward digital technology (change), I am also going to be looking at the formation of memories that contribute to the beliefs that underly the attitude. In order to look at the formation of those memories, I think I need to use colonialism, and post-colonialism, as a way to understand the contexts of those memory formations.

It would be entirely unreasonable to expect education, educators, and educational institutions to have been able to purge themselves of ‘five centuries of studying, classifying, and ordering humanity within an imperial context (Willinsky p. 2). It is much more likely that layers of imperialist intellectual frameworks continue to operate and will remain in place unless we understand the conscious mechanisms that would dislodge them.

Where in the world does this fit in my overall scheme? It seems to rear it’s ugly head like a pimple before a date. What I had so neatly laid out as a conceptual framework is disturbed and disrupted by this ugly troll hiding beneath my bed.

Now I must get to work…

October 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

Aha! Another way of processing the data – I just figured out. I can take pictures of my pages of notes with my camera – it is that sharp for the close ups! I’m glad I bought the camera, even if I can ill afford it. I’m using it today to begin to build my data bank from readings, discussions, etc. that will contribute to my writing.


October 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

I have just finished working for a couple of hours mapping my research processes which kind of turned into mapping my projects and tasks, which turned into thinking about timelines. I have a lot of thinking, researching, and writing to do! Just to finish this term. I hope my process design is going to work because if it doesn’t I don’t see how I am going to have time to re-think what I am doing. Looking forward to the digital pen and the speechwriting software. God. I hope they help me get this stuff done. Now I finally feel ready to get some writing done – that is, writing from my notes. I do have a plan in place for processing texts. I have so much work to do!

the other part of this is that I am in a highly competitive situation

October 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

where my work needs to distinguish itself from the others. I can see now that bringing my studio processes into my writing processes is going to give me the edge I have been needing to bring all this chaos of thought into some sort of coherence. I have figured out that I can use Inspiration for my outline drafting and idea development. There is actually a freehand drawing function in the program. Now that gives me the combination I have been looking for, to be able to quickly type and draw in one application and not have to fuss with layers or overly complex programming. The digital pen will allow me to quickly shift between typing and drawing without the encumberance of needing the tablet hooked up to my laptop. The speech recognition software will allow me to speak my writing, which I think will contribute to reducing technical jargon and bring my writing into a more accessible form. I’ve been thinking, too, about using Dennis, as an imagined audience, to write emails to, but never sending the emails. This gives me a way to write to someone who I have huge respect for, who I will polish my prose before sending. In this way, I can have an ideal audience and write in the email form. At the same time, I get the words out as a communication to a real (though imagined) person. The email format works well because it divides the content into discrete topics. I really should get going with my housework now, but I am stoked! A walk to see if I can pick up a camera would be really good right now. And then I will clean house, I promise.

Here is the silly bit

October 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

I didn’t realize how many kinds of papers I was writing until today: research proposals, thesis papers, conceptual frameworks, dissertation chapters, research questions, thought papers. All these papers have different ways of approaching the writing process. I kept looking for a one size fits all approach and it isn’t going to work that way. That becomes the topic of the work, what is the topic, what is the genre? Same ideas apply to a drawing or a painting. If I am going to paint a flower arrangement, what paints am I going to use? Am I going to use white? Or just a white background? Do I research the right to add white later to highlight areas that got lost during the painting process? How many colors am I using? Is it monochromatic? Or am I providing an approximation of local color? I am excited to jump into writing, using this approach. The other thing I just discovered is that Inspiration has a freehand drawing function. So I have everything I need in that software application to continue developing my ideas. As I learned from my discussion with Matt on the drive to Portland, writing out the sentences and paragraphs is the last thing I should be doing. Long before I settle down to that part, I want to have my topics, sub-topics, arguments, and author quotes ready. I have been trying to accomplish too much in the writing itself. No. That is where I think my inspiration files are going to take on new significance. One thing I haven’t sorted out. I have these notes from Berger and Luckmann in my notebook. I made them reading on the bus, something I pretty much have to do. The point is, that the reading process includes putting pen to paper for the reading. After that, I have to transcribe those notes and the relevant quotes. It is the only way I am going to get the content chunks into my computer so I can organize and sort things for writing. Where do I put those pieces? That is another good question. Emails with attachments? Here in this blog sorted by categories? Oh. Yes, I think that is it. The text becomes searchable, and it is stored where I can always find it. These journal postings, these random thoughts, these free-writing sessions could all be categorized as free-writing. That could be the default category. Then, when I am working with a specific text, that gets it’s own category. When the texts come in as pdf files, I can use scrivener and put the screen captures of text into a file for that particular text. That way, when I name the file by the author and year, it can be easily catelogued beside the .pdf. Which is recorded in Endnote. That would be the best way to do it. For sure, then when I am looking for something, they come up in file searches on my computer. It’s a good question and I am ready to put my files into a new order to prepare for this next phase.

I bought the camera

October 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

It is a nice little Nikon coolpix L18, very small, fairly lightweight. It fits in my belly pack. I’ve shot the flower arrangements and I am pleased with the photo quality. I’ve started looking at everything as metaphors for papers. I’m liking my new perspective. I put together a conceptual framework for the Tools for Thought paper and sent it off to Don. Of course, he wrote back asking me for the dreaded purpose statement. Well, I’m not going to get suckered into that wrestling match again. I’m going to set up a structure and start plunking things in, when I feel ready, then I will write the, “In this paper we will…” statement. Honestly, I don’t know what the purpose of the paper is yet, I want to lay it out a little more thoroughly before attempting that. This has been my mistake before. Trying to write that purpose statement when I really didn’t have a clue. When I think about the use of the term ‘tool’, I don’t have to venture far before I encounter a memory or a blog posting that uses the term to represent something. I think, what I need to do now, is start scanning media and scholarly references for uses of the term. Just what are we calling a tool, anyway? I’m hoping my speech recognition software arrives this week, so I can start using it in my writing. I think it is going to help. That and my studio practice, creating metaphors for writing research and thesis papers.

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