Boldly Go: An Essay on Technology and Reflection

When I close my eyes, and picture what reflection looks like, I imagine time and quiet solitude, much as Ellen Rose (2013) describes in her book on reflection. I picture myself sitting by a window on a summer afternoon, gazing outside.

I would not last long beside my window. I would move into my garden, to listen to the wind and birds, smell the lavender, feel the cool grass, and the warmth of my cat against my shin. Under the shade of the ‘Hobbiton’ tree in our backyard – like the tree under which Bilbo Baggins’ long-expected party takes place[1] – I might recall how it was this tree that sold us on this house seven years ago, after seeing the bald lots of so many new-build homes. Listening to the nearby seed-cleaning mill, I might think about how much farmland surrounding my town has been lost to residential development, whether the seed-cleaning mill will soon be displaced, and what all of this means for food production and timber consumption. I might recall the clear-cutting I’ve observed driving through Swan Hills, Alberta. Is that timber used in Canada, or is it exported? Is it the same in New Zealand, where the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) movies were filmed? In these adaptations of Tolkien’s work, director Peter Jackson infused a critique of New Zealand’s deforestation (Jackson, Osborne, & Walsh, 2003). What do we lose in exchange for (perceived) progress? I might wonder if the Hobbiton tree had to be CGI’d[2] into the LOTR movies. I have my tree, in my backyard, and it’s the real thing. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of photos preserve my tree, along with the context of each moment. Would a virtual reality (VR) rendering better preserve, or change, these for me? What if I created/programmed the VR myself?

In contrast to Rose’s (2013) description of sight separating observer from what’s observed and thereby creating a space wherein reflection may occur, my reflective experiences are typically immersive. All four of my senses are catalysts for reflection, opening pathways to meander and explore. For me, reflection would be diminished without the sense of hearing, in particular, complementing the sense of sight.

In an EDDE 801 forum post, I shared my idea of “hyper-symbolism”, imagining how 3D/4D[3] VR could change the role of symbols in human-object-knowledge relationships. Rose (2013) describes how advances in spoken and written language translated knowledge into abstract symbols, enabling people to imagine, reflect and communicate, disconnected from concrete experience (p. 47). With advances in VR technology, I speculate knowledge is being repositioned to reside within high-fidelity proxies of objects, still abstracted, but providing richer data to inform experience and reflection. Would a VR garden provide more paths for me to explore, versus the garden imagined in my mind? Would the enriched data experienced in a VR garden foster an extended and semantically deeper reflection?

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Aristotle, Descartes & Bloom: (Fr)Enemies? or BFFs? – On Philosophies of Technology & Education, and Taxonomies of Learning

My presentation on Philosophies of Technology & Education, and Taxonomies of Learning… (somewhat esoteric in spots, apparently 🙂

 

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It will be “Dr” after all…

It was a long path, but… I will begin my doctoral studies this summer (2017)!

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Webcomic No.1

Could there BE a better way to spend Family Day than creating webcomics with your daughter? NOPE!!

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Ambient manga…

Had to share… My daughter and the floor-to-ceiling manga wall at our new favourite Dorinku restaurant.

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Teaching Social Justice and Democracy Through Young Adult Literature and the Pedagogical Approach of Critical Literacy

America has a problem. Presidential candidate Donald Trump galvanized his supporters, using the campaign slogan ‘Make America Great Again’. But ‘great’ by what yardstick? The 1940’s or 1950’s era? America has never been great, not for anyone but white (Christian) males. Since Trump’s election victory on November 8th, 2016, diverse groups across the country have expressed their fear for a growing imbalance in power relations, further marginalization within public domains, and discriminatory intrusions on their personal and collective freedoms (including restrictions on their movements). But perhaps a positive outcome of the 2016 election is that this problem – reactionary response against the dismantling of white (Christian) male privilege – has been brought out from the secret corners of the country into the light, now publicly visible where it can be addressed collectively towards a resolution that works for America’s diverse multicultural population as a whole. This same problem has also come to light in Canada since the US election, challenging Canadians towards a collective fix. How do we do this?

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Journal Blog on Young Adult Literature (LIS 515)

Here is the link to my journal blog on young adult literature: https://bookmarkedx.wordpress.com/

This journal blog explores my reactions/responses to my selected young adult titles, and defines my framework for collection development.

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