Friday, September 26, 2008

Future Chalk

Mimi Ito has launched The Futures of Learning Blog, which looks beyond her own well-known empirical research on digital learning among young people to report on work being done in the current transnational critical milieu by other scholars considering how ubiquitous communication, gaming, file-sharing, and public writing for the web are reshaping both what can be considered the pedagogical environment and the larger context in which teaching and learning takes place. "Empirical" is obviously an important word for defining the kind of research that the blog will cover, but otherwise it plans to presents a wide variety of subject matter relevant to how digital social media facilitate peer-t0-peer learning and amateur cultural production.

I’ll be among a really great international group of researchers, who will be taking a few months to do reading on research and practice in the area of new media and learning, and also to visit different institutions and projects in the US and elsewhere that are innovating in this space. Along the way, we will be using this blog as a way to share some of what we are learning, and to solicit feedback on our work in progress. We will be posting book and article reviews and reports from our visits to various sites and conferences.

In the past I've complained about how Internet research is often disproportionately focused on the activities of the young, and my Sivacracy colleague Siva Vaidhyanathan has expressed his own skepticism about the very existence of a distinct "digital generation" separate from their analog elders. But I've always admired Ito's work for its willingness to explore counterintuitive possibilities and its hesitance to jump to one-dimensionally celebratory conclusions. For example, some of her work about the ideologies of educational videogames undermines easy equations of technology with more sophisticated learning techniques. So I'm delighted that she has joined the Humanities Research Institute at UC Irvine on my own campus.

One particularly noteworthy aspect of this blog project is its emphasis on its multilingual team of researchers. As Geert Lovink has noted in the case of German critics of new media, too often relevant work is not disseminated, because it is not translated into English. For example, the blog already includes work by researchers who are publishing in Korean and presses based in Asia rather than the United States.

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Blogger Lupton said...

I checked out Ito's blog when it was announced last week and was very impressed, as you are, by its international scope.

6:43 AM  

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