I’ve been meaning to write this post ( and the following three) incrementally over the past month, but time has been tough on me these last few weeks. I’m getting the blogging DTs being away from the bava for so long, but reading and interacting with the blogs the students in Digital Storytelling have set up and gone crazy with has provided a necessary shot of methadone during my dry spell. And I figure what better way to start blogging in earnest again than featuring some of the stuff that’s happening in that space while trying to talk through my ideas for and experiences with the course thus far. So, here it goes…
The first week was setting the table for logic of the class. The first night was basically my attempt to be as honest and upfront as possible about the course. Namely, the nature of the class will require that their work be entirely open, and they will be required to purchase and maintain their own web hosting space and domains for at least four months. I wanted to stress these facts immediately in the event anyone was uncomfortable with the idea of their work being out in the open, or was intimidated by the prospect of managing their own web hosting space. And, to be honest, I’m glad I did, because the class had at least five student drop after that first night, and ten more came in their stead.
So while the second night of class started out similarly with the necessary warnings that the course was going to be a chaotic experiment and I’ll only be able to see as far as the headlights allow at any given time. (Not sure this is the most responsible or even fair approach on my part, but it’s the truth.) Their first assignments for this class were to read Alan Kaye’s and Adele Goldberg’s “Dynamic Personal Media” essay, Gardner Campbell’s “A Personal Cyber Infrastructure”, as well as watching his “Bags of Gold” performance at OpenEd—a necessary complement to the essay (particularly because this presentation had a hard edge that suits Gardner’s passion for this topic).
But the second night of class was really marked by the virtual presence of Gardner, who was kind enough to Skype in and kick off a class he very much inspired. There was no title to our free range discussion that lasted almost an hour—but Michael Reamy’s reflection on the talk actually indirectly suggests a title I like “A Dangerous Misconception, or why technology is not stuff.” Gardner was on fire, and hearing him go on about Alan Kaye, Doug Engelbart, and the poetry of processing is always something special, but the way in which he frames the metamedium of thinking through and about computers as more than stuff is required listening in my opinion. So below is the audio from his talk and thanks again for “being there” Gardner.
Download Gardner Campbell on the “Personal Cyber Infrastructure”
You can get a sense of the wide range of responses to Gardner’s talk by searching his name on the course blog here. But there is not question that Gardner’s quote from Alan Kaye, “A computer is an instrument whose music is ideas,” resonated deeply with everyone there.