Pencils, Pixels, and Social Pedagogies

The POD Network is holding its annual conference this October in Seattle. The theme is “Pencils and Pixels.” Here’s an excerpt from the conference website:

With this year’s theme, Pencils & Pixels: 21st Century Practices in Higher Education, we invite an informed exploration of the unprecedented array of technologies, both high-tech and low-tech, in use at institutions of higher learning. New technologies continue to arise, faster than most of us can assimilate. Some are seductive. Others seem to be more trouble to learn than they are worth. Some may seem frivolous, but upon closer examination have exciting applications for teaching, learning, and professional and organizational development. At the same time, many of the very best pedagogical technologies are neither new nor digital. It is probably no coincidence that the growing interest in contemplative practices and “slow teaching” is occurring simultaneously with the current smart phone and social media explosion. How are digital technologies affecting the way students learn? How can we support faculty and students—many of whom wear their smart phones like appendages—in selecting appropriate technologies for the work at hand? When, if ever, is it appropriate to insist that students, faculty, and even organizations disconnect entirely from digital tools and social media? How do high-tech and low-tech pedagogies inform each other?

As you might imagine, I’m really looking forward to this conference! I expect there will be a number of interesting sessions on both educational technology (pixels) and visual thinking (pencils). The keynote speakers are Michael Wesch (whom I blogged about a couple of months ago) and Alex Pang.

I’m contributing a session on social pedagogies, tentatively scheduled for October 27th at 3:00 p.m. Here’s the abstract:

Social pedagogies (Bass & Elmendorf, 2010) are those in which students construct knowledge by representing that knowledge for authentic audiences. Although these pedagogies can be implemented without technology, they provide a useful framework with which instructors can determine how digital technologies can support teaching and learning. In this session, we will use this framework to consider how social media (course blogs, social bookmarking, Twitter) can be used to connect students with authentic audiences, including their peers and the rest of the world, in order to motivate those students toward deeper learning.

I’m also taking the lead on the Sunday morning anchor session which will, if all goes as planned, combine the pencils and pixels sub-themes with a little “wisdom of crowds” in an engaging and informative way. More on that session later.

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