Friday, July 1, 2016

A little more Christo; Reading Response week 4

"Right now, the digital is relevant, present, and is that thing that seems to provide the most interesting possibilities and the most contentious challenges in the scholarship and practice of teaching and learning"-Sean Michael Morris, 2016

Wrapped in Reichstag, Berlin Germany- Christo, 1995

I couldn't agree more, in fact I am a huge advocate for the teaching of technology and 21st century preparedness. The simple fact remains, that our current education system, so wrapped up in testing and scores, does not allow for the exploration necessary, the technology to experiment or the professional development for it to be taught responsibly or critically. Leaving our students to plunder through digital affinities without knowledge of responsibility or really understand the impact of their words and images strewn across screens in endless reaching possibilities. Not to mention the ever growing educational gap between social and economic classes, the haves technology and the have no technology. In a world that is changing with such speed, we can not expect an equitable playing field when exposure is so greatly adverse from school to school. Like the early works of Christo, the idea is grand, and beautiful. Digital literacy for me continues to hold a certain mystique and grandeur, an invitation to something that has not been done before, but how long will it last, and as many question the Christo's work and the impact it has on it's surrounding, I too wonder about this 'new literacy'. Will students still become great writers with self editing and publication. I am not sure that our students today even encompass the socio-emotional skills to take and learn from the criticism that will hopefully be posted to their writing. 

Don't get me wrong...

At first glance, one might say that the Parliament building in Berlin was a beautiful building, as it is, and that covering in a sheath of fabric, the end product was not as esthetically pleasing. And here is where we have to dive in deep, just as we do with this digital literacy. On the outside the Reichstag looks like a enormous building, covered and blowing in the wind, the building becomes a political cry for a new Germany, all at once the viewer is transported to envision a new, softer, and complete Germany. It is the background and understanding that make Wrapped in Reichstag so mesmerizing, as is my growing understanding of digital literacies. 
Davies and Merchant explain blogging as a new literacy, the inside look gives a better understanding behind the uses and purpose of blogging, and as the paragraphs unfold, the sheath is removed and my digital literacy experience becomes more like Christo's latest works, where things are not covered, but layered and added to the current environment.
The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005 
 Overwhelmed with the onslaught of newness, it is in Morris's blog that I am able to see the beauty in what digital literacy can be. Like walking through each gate, reading Morris's work helps keep me grounded and understanding, that it is all a choice, and that we are still human, and it is that writing that keeps my gates open to the possibilities of this new era. 

Moving along

Much like navigating the 7,503 gates of saffron fabric through Central Park, Morris's post reminds me that it is me who decides, and though technology is before us, I can choose to weave in and out through the multitude of apps, sites and spheres as I choose. Whereas The Gates have been removed, digital era is here to stay, and like my passion for the arts and widening peoples understanding and acceptance for all kinds of art, I think too, that I will grow to be passionate about technology as it has so much to offer. Through this Autoethnography, I know that there is still much to learn, discover and accept. 

Walking on water, unsure but ethereal

Floating Piers, Iseo Italy, 2016

Echoing through both readings by Morris, and Davies and Merchant, is the shift of power of the educator. This can and has made me a little nervous, navigating through this new experience being allowed to be right or wrong based on my own assumptions, is a bit what people must be feeling as they walk across Christo's latest feature. Sure it is completely safe, but it is something so new, there are so many people doing it, everyone moving at a different speed. I will have to dream about being a part of the Floating Piers, but try to stroll along this adventure in digital literacy with an open mind, which is sometimes hard, as unlike Christo's work that leaves no presence after being dismantled, everything that we do here is this digital affinity seems to be forever. Will everyone like what I write, believe what I post, agree, probably not. Christo has caught plenty of flack in his day for his work, but true to himself and always authentic in his work, each piece through not permanent spans time through peoples stories, films, and blogs. Perhaps that should be the goal of a blogger, that people will remember and continue the story past the digital pages, with the same pride and tenacity for evoking thought, discovery and exploration of the event at hand. 

It appears to be monumental only because it's art- Christo

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