Teaching Naked: a #digped Discussion

This Friday, June 8 from 1:00 – 2:00pm EST (10:00 – 11:00am PST), Hybrid Pedagogy will host a Twitter discussion group under the hashtag #digped on Paul Fyfe’s “Digital Pedagogy Unplugged,” an article which explores how technology can both support, and might prevent, teaching and learning. We encourage participants to read Fyfe’s article, but we hope to keep the discussion open enough to everyone.

In terms of teaching, how do we work towards the learning environments we may have never had before? How do we break the thrall to tools and technologies which may limit the horizon of our pedagogical creativity? How might we even imagine a “digital pedagogy” without the potentially limiting factor of electronics? What if we just started “teaching naked”? [Paul Fyfe, “Digital Pedagogy Unplugged”]

What qualifies as “digital”? Is it possible in today’s academy to have a perfectly non-digital course or field of study? Even without computers in the classroom, even without the use of collaborative hybrid technologies like Twitter, Google Docs, and more, because our students digitally participate in their worlds, our assignments, and their education, we feel the presence of instructional and non-instructional technologies in every classroom.
But on the other hand, is it possible to have a perfectly digital learning environment? While we and our students may toil away at opposite ends of the computer screen, can even the most inventive instructional technologies really capture the whole individual who is participating in class? We live in a hybrid world, where technology and flesh, editable discourse and human vulnerability live always side by side.

This is a world into which the humanities should enter comfortably. Reflexive, self-defined, and centered around dialogue and dialectic, the humanities are a discipline well-suited for entry into the digital and hybrid worlds. In a recent comment at THATcamp Liberal Arts Colleges, Jesse Stommel asserts that digital pedagogy consists of “engaged and reflexive practice and scholarship of teaching and learning through digital technologies.” (The conversation is storified here.) If this is true, then the approach of digital pedagogy and the approach of the humanities to its field run along parallel lines; all the more reason the humanities should find itself cozy in both digital and hybrid environments.

Yet, how much of a digital learning environment, how much of our use of technology, is dialectical? How comfortable are we stripping away technology and seeing our pedagogies as hybrid and digital nonetheless?

Some questions to consider in advance of the discussion:

  • Do you believe that the humanities are particularly well-suited for exploration in digital and hybrid worlds?
  • What are your favorite technologies for creating dialogue – with students, other teachers, administration, authors, colleagues, etc.?
  • How do you balance the use of machine / digital technology with more traditional classroom practice techniques (i.e., when do you use Twitter, and when do you use chalk)?
  • Have you had some creative pedagogical brainstorms or teaching moments outside of the use of tech? What were they?
  • If we are all now always digital, what does it mean to “teach naked”? And are you, or are you not, willing to do that?

If you are unable to join us on June 8 at 1:00pm EST (10:00am PST), we will continue the #digped conversation every other Friday for the rest of the Summer. If you have suggestions for future topics, feel free to add them to the comments on this entry or tweet them to @slamteacher.

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