I always love the chance to chat to Steve, and see what he’s up to on his blog. He mentioned at ALT-C that he’d reviewed this book, which I’d be interested to read:
Steve Wheeler is convinced that we need new approaches for digitally remastered learners
We are constantly reminded that we live in an age in which digital media, mobile phones and social media are profoundly influencing communication, business, entertainment and learning. Not a day goes by without some mention of Facebook, Twitter or smartphones in mainstream media. The pace of change fomented by these technologies is rapid and unrelenting, giving rise to new and emerging literacies, connections, behaviours and risks. And of course many academics wish to know how these changes will affect university life.
Clearly, technology in all its forms is playing an ever-greater role in the lives of young people. Universities therefore need to pay attention to the impact that the appropriate deployment of digital tools can have on extending, enhancing and enriching the student learning experience, both on and off campus.
Moreover, sustained exposure to such a range of digital media demands a different kind of attention than we have previously required. This is the premise of Now You See It, whose author, Cathy Davidson, may be remembered as the Duke University academic who caused a bit of a stir in 2003 when she promoted the free distribution of Apple’s brand-new iPod devices to an entire first-year population of 2,000 students. There followed an inevitable outcry from more conservative quarters of the academic community, who voiced the opinion that giving students “just another device for listening to music” was a profligate waste of money. Many argued that the iPod had no serious pedagogical application, while an editorial in TheChronicle, the Duke student newspaper, declared: “It is an unnecessarily expensive toy that does not become an academic tool simply by being thrown into a classroom.”
There were no conditions attached to the free iPods, says Davidson. Students were simply asked to think up new learning applications for the device and then to share those ideas with teaching staff. The results of this experiment suggested that Davidson was right and her detractors in the academic community were wrong, for the iPod experiment turned out to be a perfect demonstration of the power of disruptive technology. New learning applications were discovered across all disciplines, and the iPod was instrumental in “flipping” the classroom, devolving from the staff to the students power over where, when and how they could study. These findings were later exemplified in the rapid worldwide success of iTunesU.