It's Diablogical!
A Collaborative Diablog on Feminist Pedagogy
Some rambling thoughts on sharing
Categories: More stuff to read

In Share This!, Deanna Zandt discusses the important role that sharing (particularly in the form of sharing stories/information/experiences) plays in social networks and social justice. At one point (I haven’t quite figured out how to cite kindle books yet…anyone?), she writes:

…we’re not just consuming information; we’re sharing it, immediately and constantly.

I like how the idea of sharing enables us to think beyond the binary of consumption and production…Hey, KCF–could this be another binary to bust? Actually, I’m not sure how much this binary gets discussed in technology and pedagogy (something to research perhaps?); all I know is that in a lot of the reviews I have read about the iPad (did I mention that I love the iPad?), the writers complain that the iPad is not that useful, at least yet, for the classroom because it encourages students to be passive consumers (consuming media images/videos) instead of active producers (creating our own videos/images/texts, etc).

Anyway, getting back to Zandt’s notion of sharing, it is fundamentally about access. Using social networks to spread more information and give more people access to each other and their stories. Sharing through facebook or twitter (I think blogs fit in here as well), enables us to map new relationships and allows us to disrupt/shift or “dissolve the information hierarchies that have existed for thousands of years” (must look up how to cite from kindle…). So, we have more access to knowledge and more access to each other.

In her Chapter Two, “Are We There Yet?,” Zandt discusses how social networks are still dominated by the same few people, what she calls the “Pale, male, and stale” (Not sure I like this phrasing? What does this stale refer to?). Again, this brings up the question of access–who has it, who doesn’t. In this chapter, she suggests that social networks have the potential (and in some ways have already started) to challenge hierarchies and the idea of the Expert. Sounds a lot like fem ped and the de-centering of the teacher-as-authority. But as many have suggested, particularly feminist scholars of color, giving up authority isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes teachers need to be positioned as experts. There are many ways in which to articulate this problem in relation to the feminist classroom; here’s one way to think about in relation to a feminist who does a lot (and for me, most) of their writing on blogs: If anyone can blog and blogging isn’t about being an expert, what kind of academic value (expertise) can/should be granted to blog writing? How do we balance the need to publish (for promotion, for being taken seriously) with the desire to share and disrupt hierarchies/bust binaries?

Okay, just one last bit ‘o ramblin’. I got really excited when I read Zandt’s discussion in chapter two about the connection between access and cultivating “new media literacy skills.” Check it out:

Even if we are able to ensure universal access to the Internet, however, it wouldn’t be enough to create a world that works for all. Users also need the appropriate skill sets to get the most out of the Internet. Access and expertise are inextricably  intertwined….we’ve begun to think about media literacy, but we need to add Internet-related processing skills to the mix. Youth of color particularly are being left out of the digital literacy conversation, compared with their white counterparts…Without providing the new media literary skills that come with the technology territory, we are leaving youth in the lurch for both their current social and learning needs, and their professional futures.

For me, the need for new media literary skills  is an extremely important part of our discussion about access (and a big reason why I use blogs in the classroom). Who does/doesn’t have access to those skills? How is access shaped by race, class or gender? How do we teach/cultivate these skills? Okay, that’s it.

Note: This entry was a lot easier to write than our assigned entry (which is still a half-finished draft at this point). Was it easier because it wasn’t assigned? Wow, I must have a really strong aversion to restrictions. I think that is another reason that I like writing in my blog–there aren’t as many restrictions as other forms of writing. I am sure that students feel the same way–I think that cultivating that sense of a freedom to write about what you want to write about (within reason, of course) is important for making blog assignments a success. More thoughts on this topic later…

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