Thursday, January 6, 2011

First Impressions

This is my second course blogging experience, for Teacher and Technology. My first was for a class last term about classroom management. Anyways, it's nice to be back online, and here goes another term of blogging up a storm.

My first impressions of the course were largely guided by the media presented in the first class, namely a Norman McLaren film by the name of Opening Speech. This was an excellent way to open a class about technology, because it presents some of the difficulties of living in an age where teachers rely on technologies to be effective in presentation. In this particular context, it was effective and rather charming to be welcomed in a humorous way. The film consisted of a man attempting to make a speech, but being fought by his communications technology. First, his speech notes were crumpled and out of order, so he abandons them. Then his microphone seems to take on a life of its own, and we are treated to a Marx Brothers type of slapstick comedy as the microphone evades every attempt the speech-giver makes to speak into it. Ladders, nails and pure strength prove ineffective against the reticent device, and he is forced to abandon (read: kill) this communication aid as well. Next, he takes a bigger leap, and physically jumps into the projection screen, where we see the content he had attempted to get across in a speech on film. This is where the context becomes important; the film was originally made for the Montreal film festival, where the power of film would have been the message to that audience. To our class, however, without the context of “film festival” we see that technology gives us options about how to communicate information, and that we can explore different options. It also encourages us to be tenacious in our attempts to use technology.

I am enjoying the discourse on Information and Communications Technology theory in the course thus far. Hearing something that we all know in an intuitive way described so academically is somewhat like an out of body experience, but it is an interesting perspective to come at ICT from.


  1. Ben, your background reminded me of Hoth until I realized it was the sky. You made my tonton imagination fly...
    Anyways, back to the task at hand. I think blogs like yours have inspired me to embrace technology a little more, as we are currently not the best of friends (me and technology, not me and you. I consider you a dear friend!). I enjoy your positivity!! :)

  2. Ben,

    I agree with your interpretation of McClaren's film out of context of the 'film festival'. Technology does become a varied and vast means for us to communicate information in a way that can access many individuals.
    I will however contend that we often use these varied forms of technology to the detriment of ourselves, or the information we are seeking to communicate. Oftentimes the "medium is the message", and we lose the nature of our original message. For example, many of our students are more interested in posting their latest status on Facebook, than what information they are actually posting.