“The question is not whether the learning mind must work, but what that work looks like, how it’s encouraged, and what kind of diet it requires.” ~ Sean Michael Morris
“For education to work, there can be no divide between teachers and students.” ~ Jesse Stommel
The hardest work of Digital Pedagogy is that of dialogue — between teachers and learners, between learners and learners, and between teachers, learners, and the digital tools they use. That dialogue is part listening, part interacting, part “crap detection”, but most importantly critical engagement. Paulo Freire writes:
In liberating education, we do not propose mere techniques for gaining literacy or expertise or professional skills or even critical thought. The methods of dialogical education draw us into the intimacy of the society, the raison d’etre of every object of study … The liberating course ‘illuminates’ reality in the context of developing serious intellectual work.
For many, an understanding of Digital Pedagogy means understanding digital tools, even in their plethora rather than their use. “Tool parades” are common features of Digital Pedagogy workshops and presentations; and there are plenty of tutorials and trainings in how to use digital tools. But the aim of Digital Pedagogy Lab has been always to put those tools and tutorials under a microscope, and to examine them within the larger context of praxis — to illuminate them in order to do serious intellectual and pedagogical work.
Digital Pedagogy Lab has grown out of the educational outreach efforts of the journal and 501(c)(3) non-profit Hybrid Pedagogy, and out of the concerns of its leadership about the implementation of critical pedagogy in digital environments in education at all levels. Toward that end, Digital Pedagogy Lab offers a series of professional development opportunities that help prepare learners, educators, librarians, administrators, and others to teach, collaborate, and think with digital technology. And in 2016, we will be expanding our offerings in order to draw together a community interested in thinking about the hows, whys, and whethers of technology in education. Each event we’re planning for this year will be one node in a larger networked conversation about critical edtech.
This is something Digital Pedagogy Lab and Hybrid Pedagogy have endeavored to model in all our educational outreach activities from our very first #digped chat featuring a conversation with Howard Rheingold, through the various incarnations of MOOC MOOC, in the online courses we’ve run in 2015, and in the first Institute we hosted this past Summer in Madison, WI.
The 2015 Institute inspired responses from several directions. Some pieces written in various venues by attendees at that event include:
- Robin DeRosa, “Working in/at Public”
- Maggie Melo, “Debunking the ‘Safe Space’ Myth”
- Stephen Barnard, “Building Castles in the Air: Critical Digital Pedagogy and the Pursuit of Praxis”
- Lisa Hammershaimb, “Forming Hybrid Community”
- Lisa Hammershaimb, “Networks as Relationships”
In one of her two pieces, Lisa Hammershaimb writes, “Networks are ultimately relationships and communication. Though they can be enacted and nurtured via the tools of technology, they can just as easily be enacted and nurtured around a dinner table, outside in a park, at a concert, etc.” Digital Pedagogy Lab is as much a network as a school, suffused with dialogue that empowers learners and educators to use tools they’ll encounter in ten years more than the tools they’ll encounter tomorrow. Our work is at once practical and also philosophical.
Our work is also to help drive the development of educational tools — to recognize that we are never powerless to the systems invented by the Pearsons and the Blackboards of the world. Thus, Stephen Barnard writes, “If the structures we are working with do not engage learners, we must build new ones.” This is our lofty project for 2016 and beyond.
Here are some of the opportunities we have planned. More than anything, our hope is that the participants at the various events will connect with one another (and the larger #digped network) to collectively champion critical thinking about the technologies of teaching and learning.
Save the Date (Aug. 8-12): Digital Pedagogy Lab Institute 2016
The Digital Pedagogy Lab Institute will take place on the University of Mary Washington campus in Fredericksburg, Virginia on August 8-12. As with the Institute at University of Wisconsin-Madison in August 2015, we are planning several tracks:
- Intro. The Intro track will offer an introduction to critical digital pedagogy for those who are just getting started with digital learning and have more questions than answers.
- Praxis. The Praxis track will offer an in-depth investigation of critical digital pedagogy as it shows up both in theory and practice.
- Action. The Action track will provide tools, examples, and inspiration for digital activism — from web site development and Domain of One’s Own, to Twitter, blogging, and more.
- Design. The Design track will be a practicum that explores critical digital pedagogy in relationship to instructional design, both inside and outside the learning management system.
Tressie McMillan Cottom, Sean Michael Morris, and Martha Burtis will keynote. Instructors include, Audrey Watters, Amy Collier, Lee Skallerup Bessette, Jesse Stommel, and Sean Michael Morris.
Registration for the 2016 Digital Pedagogy Lab Institute will open in February. Sign up for our email list for more information as it’s released.
Digital Pedagogy Lab Cairo
Digital Pedagogy Lab Cairo: an AMICAL Institute will take place at the American University in Cairo’s New Cairo Campus on March 20-22, 2016 with an optional unconference March 23. Attendees from France, Greece, Kosovo, Lebanon, Nigeria, and other countries will join faculty and staff from the American University in Cairo for tracks in Praxis and Networks, as well as workshops and keynotes open to the public.
Digital Pedagogy Lab Prince Edward Island
Sponsored by the University of Prince Edward Island, Digital Pedagogy Lab Prince Edward Island will take place on July 13-16, 2016 and will feature tracks in Literacies and Networks, as well as special workshops open to the public.
Digital Pedagogy Lab Delaware
The University of Delaware will host a Digital Pedagogy Lab workshop on May 5-6, 2016 for their graduate students and faculty. The workshop will include a hybrid component to allow for greater community building online leading up to the on-ground workshop.
Digital Pedagogy Lab Courses
In 2016, we will offer a full year of online courses, leading to a certificate in Critical Digital Pedagogy. Some titles to look for include:
- Introduction to Digital Humanities Pedagogy — with Adeline Koh and Jesse Stommel
- Critical Instructional Design — with Amy Collier
- Teaching with Twitter — with Jesse Stommel
- Learning Online — with Sean Michael Morris
If you are interested in any of the events we have planned for 2016, or would like more information, browse this site, follow @DigPedLab on Twitter, and contact Directors Sean Michael Morris or Jesse Stommel. And click below to sign up for regular but not incessant updates.Sign up now for updates