Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Time space and e-learning

Over the weekend I actually read (rather than skimmed the first 2 pages) of Peter Goodyear's "Technology and the articulation...time, space and e-learning" (very long article title) from Continuing Ed July 2006. Have to say the most valuable part of this was actually the stuff about knowledge and has a fabulous critique of simplifications of knowledge conceptions. Here the discussion is careful and clear, ensuring we understand and appreciate the subtle differences between knowledge types.

Having read this part of the paper I was expecting great things...like a compressed version of Stephen Kern's culture of time and space (2003) only re. e-learning. But there was a combination of a couple of disturbing things, a couple of useful things and one confusing thing.

1. Disturbing things: A very bold and apparently incontrovertable declaration that there has (only) been two time-space compressions...though when I realised the first one was from 1850 all the way to 1914 this is a little more plausible. But the very sweeping approach to the developments in time and space in the 19th and early 20th centuries and the relationship of this to distance education made me think there were potential relationships there that could use a little more thoughts and investigation.

2. Useful things: the very thoughtful and insightful discussion of the value of co-presence, the trade-offs and the need for flexibility was excellent and beats those of us over the head (ie. me...) who have wide-eyedly (is this a word...can you wide-eyedly do something?) declared flexibility is clearly better than not-flexible. Also that anytime/anywhere may not mean all that much (another area requiring further investigation I felt)

3. Confusing thing: I can't figure out what the relationship is between the knowledge types and time and space. Maybe I didn't read as well as I sort-of tried to (like whipping out the article in the moments I sat alone waiting for lunch to arrive and things like that...).

Friday, 24 August 2007

Politics and technology

OK I think so far we can call this a blog of random thoughts, and certainly not evolving into a thorough thing. Probably suits me best anyway (and where are you supposed to put all those random thoughts? Or should I be guarding myself against random thoughts...?). Anyway, on with it.

Thinking after today's news about how the Prime Minister's office has been editing Wikipedia to get rid of things that might harm the government (although it made a better headline than article...it seemed to amount to boring things like adding "allegedly" to stuff. But still pretty funny). There has been stacks around this election about "understanding" technology - Howard got slammed because he used, but clearly did not "understand" YouTube. Kevin is a hit in Facebook and then there is the Kevin07 debate about whether it is so kitsch it is cool ... or is it just kitsch (I am leaning on the cool side, but I normally do when it comes to kitsch and technology...plus, Kevin...)

This is making the social networking tools something like the taunting cool crowd, telling Howard he just doesn't get it (and this is reflected in Howard's "blog", too...). But of course it is also a way of declaring Howard to be out of touch with the "real" world by telling him how out of touch he is with the virtual one. Think this is new.

But it is Friday afternoon, so that is as far as the thoughts go.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Liberal and useful knowledge

I am just about to return a library book that has been recalled: Bruce Williams' Liberal Education and Useful Knowledge (2002) is a tiny history of the University of Sydney that describes (among other things) the constant tension between "academic learning" and "working knowledge", a discursive dichotomy regularly referred to by Peter Goodyear (eg Goodyear 2000).

The coincidence of needing to return a book on the subject and currently reading "Technology and the articulation of vocational and academic interests" (Goodyear Studies in Continuing Ed, which I am reading just because it distracted me when preparing for the Distance Education workshop this week...), makes me think about the role of this dichotomy in history and now in practice - and wonder what changes if we do not have it. Clearly needs more thought.