Digital + _______ Talk at University of Regina

March 15, 2019 0 By JR

Alan Levine recently delivered a talk, workshop, learning experience dealy at the UofR and lucky for all of us that missed it he wrote about it (and provided a link to his PowerPoint SPLOTpoint).  The activities and discussions, as Alan described it, would be a format worth considering for future sessions, it sounds pretty fantastic. It is a stark contrast to the kinds of one shot presentations that we got when I was in undergrad. Back then, Facebook was JUST becoming a thing (you still had to get an invite from someone on the platform to join), but instructors were already fear mongering. I recall one presentation distinctly where they talked to us about professionalism and what we posted online (fair enough) but it was not in a citizenship context. It was in a punitive and scare tactic way. I think what frustrated me the most about it were the ‘cases’ that were presented to us of teacher candidates getting into trouble with their schools and colleges regarding what they posted online only focused on the online bit, which after just a little research you would start to see it was one part of a whole set of issues with those teacher candidates.

On the literacy side, I recall a literacy and curriculum course that I took in second or third year. There were about half a dozen Practical and Applied Arts students in this course at the same time as me, and we all were really struggling with what our place in such a course was (it was strictly about traditional literacy and approaches to literacy). The assignments were practically impossible to related to our subject areas because of the restrictive nature of the assignment as well as how the concepts had been presented and discussed in the class and the readings. Not only that, but the way the course materials were curated, none of it really applied to the PAA curriculum. Lucky for us, we happened to be discussing it in one of our other PAA curriculum courses and our instructor (and very much our mentor) said, “hang on, I’ll be right back”. He disappears and comes back with an instructor from what is now the Educational Technology and Design program. He facilitated a discussion on what new literacies could look like and I think cleared the fog for how we as PAA students could engage in more meaningful discussions and presentations of literacy. This always stuck with me, and considering I spent a lot of time reading about modal literacies in grad school I’d say it really shaped how I look at curriculum and the idea of literacy.