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#Domains 19 Day 2 Lunch Keynote with Amy Collier

For the Day 2 lunch keynote, Amy Collier talked to us about Ambitious futures for (digital) education: Perspectives from Tropicália.

Abstract: Brasil’s tropicália movement was a revolutionary expression of resistance to authoritarianism and nationalism through art, music, and theater. In this talk, we’ll travel back in time to 1960s Brasil, quaking under a military dictatorship, to explore how the key goals of the tropicalia movement connected to the educational/pedagogical approaches of Paulo Freire. We’ll tap into songs from tropicalia’s greatest musicians (e.g., Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, and Os Mutantes, etc.) while diving into Paulo Freire’s writings. As we explore those connections, Amy Collier (whose heart still lives in her home country of Brasil), will draw us back to the present moment and point to how the tropicalia movement can be an inspiration for our digital work in higher education. “Seja marginal, seja heroi.” (Helio Oiticica)

More information can be found here.

Amy put together a couple of pages to help with names and places in her talk:

I loved Amy’s presentation of the history of tropicália, the work of Paulo Freire, and how they can inform our current work in Ed Tech. Tropicália was about imagining new futures in the face of oppressive forces, and I think the audience was quick to see the applicability of this history to our own “time of intense polarization.” Amy called on us to embrace Tropicália’s work in inverting the colonizer and colonized relationship to recenter the students in education.

Amy began her story in Salvador, the epicenter of the Brazilian slave trade where as many as 5 million African people were brought into Brazil. Throughout the twentieth century, Salvador has been a center for African-Brazilian culture, and it was the birthplace of Gilberto Gil and Tropicália music.

Tropicália was a reaction to the Musica Popular Braileira, a nationalistic music that rejected American and European influences. Instead, Tropicália embraced anthroprophagia, the cannibalism and remixing of cultures with local inflection. It was in its conception a protest against the nationalistic music culture, the Brazilian bourgeois’s complacency, and the repressive Brazilian military regime.

In her presentation, Amy presented a close reading of the lyrics and music of early Tropicália, pointing out the allusions, satire, and direct challenges to the status quo. At a performance of “É proibido proibir” by Caetano Veloso in 1968, Veloso called out the youth of Brazil, the audience, for the lack of aesthetic taste and their political complacency. The crowd booed and turned their backs on the band, and the band turned their backs on the crowd.

In the March of 100,000, protesters called for culture from the bottom up and a rejection of “high culture” and “finished art.” Amy left unsaid the connections between these protests and our (the audience’s) similar shared beliefs in educational technology from the bottom up as opposed to expensive corporate enterprise solutions and surveillance capitalism in the classroom.

From her history of the Tropicalistas, Amy jumped forward to today, and how Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has praised parts of this militaristic regime and is seeking to erase the legacy of Paolo Freire and others that promoted rebelliousness under the old regimes.

Both Freire and Tropicália celebrated what Veloso called “the right to imagine an ambitious intervention in the future of the world, a right that immediately begins to be lived as a duty.” As educators, many of us have read Freire and worked to implement his visions through our work. We need to extend this work from traditional pedagogy to be an explicit goal of our work in ed tech, recognizing the potential for oppression in ed tech.

Amy’s talk was wonderfully interdisciplinary. Because of my own background, I think of it as a history of technology, but she tied together the cultural history of music with the history of education and educational technology. The audience really enjoyed hearing about a culture that most of us knew very little about, and we understood and I think all accepted her arguments for the connections and applicability of these histories to our current work.

#Domains 19 Day 2 Breakout Session 3: Embedded in the Fabric

Georgetown Domains and the Master’s of Learning, Design, and Technology

Speakers: Lee Skallerup Bessette, Randal Ellsworth

Abstract: The mission of the new Master’s of Learning, Design, and Technology program at Georgetown University is “to give our students a deep foundation in the tools and theory of learning design, technology innovation, learning analytics, and higher education leadership, a foundation on which they can create engaging and innovative learning experiences for all students.” Working in and with Georgetown Domains is a key part of this engagement; the students learn about and create their domains during the opening week-long foundations course, and build on it throughout the duration of the degree, ending with a final portfolio on their domain of their work. In between, the students have the option of taking a one-credit course in Domains, as well as showcasing their coursework and projects on the site. For some, their personal Domains specifically and Georgetown Domains more generally have become the subject of their research and study. What this allows is for students to engage directly with the technology, as well as questions of accessibility, privacy, surveillance, and tools. They learn about and apply these lessons as they move through the program, perform and reflect on their research, and build their sites. But most importantly, this allows for students to own their own intellectual property, as well as provide the tools to apply what they have learned in a practical and holistic way. The e-portfolio requirement at the end of the degree highlights this commitment to students’ intellectual property as well as professionalization, while also providing an experimental and reflective space for students to connect their work. This short presentation will discuss curricular examples (Intro week, Domains course, Studio and Studio Capstone) of how Domains has been integrated into the program, sharing some student sites, projects, and portfolios.

My Notes

Georgetown is integrating domain creation into the curriculum for their Master’s for Learning, Design, and Technology. The metacognition of designing a domain and also thinking about how you would help others design their domain is “a Trojan Horse for thinking about ed-tech.” As Lee said, “Why domains and not an LMS?” This message reflects one of the core goals of the broader domains community in using this technology to get students thinking about digital identity, digital ethics, digital making –> digital literacy.

The program has a 1-hour intro to Domains course, taught by Lee, but this is really just a jumpstart for a broader curricular integration. And while domains are encouraged, some students have chosen to use SquareSpace or even paper. The open-ended design of the capstone project is platform agnostic, centered around a way of thinking rather than particular technologies.

Randal shared the story of several students in the program. For many of the students, building the domain helped them develop their thinking not only on ed-tech but on learning more broadly.

Lee mentioned in the Q&A that UMW has domains integrated in their Communications and History programs.

I’m really looking forward to exploring these projects and then talking with our Graduate college about thinking about domains and portfolios at a more systemic level than as compared to the one-off workshops or short learning communities that we have offered to this point.

#Domains 19 Day 2 Breakout Session 2: Weaponizing Your Website

Speakers: Jennifer Hill

Abstract: There is a war a raging in our cyberworld and it is time for you to join the resistance. Cambridge Analytica stealing Facebook user’s data, white supremacists getting verified on Twitter, and child pornography on Instagram. The list of atrocities continues. We as technologists know the inner workings of social media platforms more than anybody. We see the hypocrisy and the evil of social media platforms in a way that most people do not. It is time for us to awaken from our passivity and take a stance against our corporate social media overlords. Weaponizing Your Website will give you ideas, or ammunition, to fight against our broken social media world. This bootcamp will include learning how to utilize the strongest weapons in your stockpile; your voice and your website. With me, Jenn Hill, a University of Mary Washington student, at the helm I will prepare you for taking up arms and battling the corporate social media tyrants.

My Notes

tl;dr: Social media is killing the personal website.

Hill argues that we need to become less reliant on social media by using our own websites to host our voice. This ties into the POSE (publish once, syndicate everywhere) idea that Jim and the Domains community has been pushing.

Avowedly ironic twitter embed:

In Q&A: what kind of reception do you get for this message? Hill said that freshman in digital identity workshops take FaceBook and other social media at face value. It takes work to help students see the ways in which their data is being sucked up.

I didn’t get a chance to ask, but I’d like to hear more about the differential impact of having a student like Jennifer advocate for students to make their own web spaces as opposed to having staff or faculty make the same types of arguments. I really like the model UMW is using with their students, and I would love to see some discussion / analysis of their peer-to-peer work.

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