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notthisbody
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Notthisbody
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digital cartographers, narrative realization. image workers & pixel [re]searchers. emographers. memetic mappers. space cadets. polytopians.
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    (75:18 min, 192 kbps, mono mp3 – 51.7mb, DL it HERE)

    “that’s some pretty trippy shit, Mr. Ishan” – a student



    This is a lecture I gave on May 25th to a class of 14 year old high school freshman. For the last 4 months I’ve had the opportunity to teach three levels of Film courses in high school as a long term substitute, with about 100 students from 14-17 years old. In this time, I’ve asked them to take a closer look at the ongoing sophistication of our relationship with media as consumers and creators, and the roles of story in our identities and existence, individually and collectively – a conversation that is sorely lacking from the education of today’s youth.

    I see outdated paradigms worm their way through the plasticity of the minds, solidifying the worldview of these students and I know that its not too late. That if we have the conversation together, they are open, willing and able to reframe their understandings. These Millenials, these Digital Natives (of which I suppose I am one) have an inherent flexibility to adapt to new paradigms – we update ourselves with each new generation of technology that emerges, migrate social networks and services, and live a life of multi-linear existence – its native to our OS.

    But this multi-linear existence is being forced to inhabit an old paradigm of knowledge gathering, learning, and perception of the world around us that is propogated by the current system of education. It’s this dichotomy which kills the ”culture” – distractions reign. Since we’re not being told what changes technology brings to our models of reality, we tend to fall into a passive understanding of the world around us based on outdated consensual understandings.

    Yet – and the hope is strong – I’ve learned that if you can have the conversation with the youth – tell them something that breaks apart their conceptions and provides a basis on which to build them anew and embrace other points of view – …well, that’s all that you can do.

    We have to have the conversation when the youth is young. To implant ideas and concepts in their minds when they are still fresh, models of mind that allow the inherent plasticity of mind that comes with that youth to extend through our lives - that which so many who have lost that plasticity work so hard to overcome.I’ve had the luck to learn from these students during the process of sharing with them – its forced me to learn to communicate my own points of view simply and clearly; it’s deepened my understanding of the reality I’m living through with them. This is a thank you to all my students who have been open and willing to share with me.

    In my humble opinion, every teacher must learn to have this conversation with their students – to contextualize what they teach to students with the flow of knowledge and events surrounding us, in our daily existence – to learn how to learn with them, not to teach from a static information ecology, to embrace the fractured flow of information coming from each mind and mutually co-create the narratives our of existence.

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    Wildcat     Sun, May 30, 2010  Permanent link
    listened to you yesterday giving this talk, very interesting indeed. question is: do you think that you managed to 'educate' these young humans into the intricacies of the modern hyperconnected reality of the infocology they exist in?
    notthisbody     Sun, May 30, 2010  Permanent link
    i don't know what "educate" means. what that carries with it. and what requirements constitute education.

    i shared with them. engaged them in conversation. did i manage to impart all the intricacies of our hyperconnected reality? no. i don't think i know them all, so i can't expect to teach it to them :)

    was i able to impart a glimmer, a shadow, an outline, a hint? enough to spark curiosity? enough to stick with them consciously or subconsciously? enough that these ideas become difficult to ignore?

    this same group of kids came in the next class, and several asked me "Ishan, can we have another talk today?" no one objected. two students even deleted their facebooks after the lecture - now I didn't suggest they do this, and I will be questioning them on their rationale.

    I'm preparing another conversation for the very last class. It takes time and repetition to make a lasting impression. i do strongly think i've managed to influence how they think. But the most important point, is that NO ONE is having anything that approaches this type of conversation with them. I shared with them a fresh perspective, and that I know sticks, perhaps not with all, but most of these students will never forget it, I'm sure - especially because of the context that I gave to most of it. when they begin to recognize what I've shared with them in their own environment, independent of the classroom, perhaps some of their own infocologies will extend their restructuring, or destructuring, and their narratives will expand anew.

     
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