Video Preview: http://bit.ly/digitalhuman There is no one pedagogical strategy that works for all students and teachers or in all situations. The space of the classroom is shifting and dynamic, so we need our pedagogies to proliferate, not to congeal. Like Mary Shelley’s monster in Frankenstein, who is also an amalgam, we are being (re)made online, as our flesh is reduced to a husk, a remainder. We crave, and are nostalgic for, a visceral experience of the body, and our increasing cultural interest in the zombie is part and parcel of this. The zombie is not the villain in this scenario but a metaphorical antidote to the erosion of our physicality. As our reliance on technology increases, the zombie asks us to discover in the digital what remains voraciously humane. As pedagogical beasts, zombies advance slowly and deliberately. They limp, stumble, moan, and clamor as they surge forth, all in imperfect unison, a cacophony of sounds, always walking, always reaching. And so a hybrid digital pedagogy demands we create more collaborative and less hierarchical spaces for learning -- lest we use computers to replicate the vestigial structures of industrial-era education.
Text of Zombie Pedagogies: Embodied Learning in the Digital Age
Photo by flickr user Robby Mueller
Zombie PedagogiesEmbodied Learning in the Digital Age
“I’m utterly squeamish when it comes to watching or reading horror. I scream frequently, and not in a light, non-committal way; my screams are loud and guttural, emanating from the pit of my stomach and rattling in my lungs, windpipe, throat, and mouth. I often find myself unintentionally clutching the person next to me, and, in a few rare cases, I've even begged out loud to be taken home.” !
“The monster’s body is a cultural body … [Monsters] can be pushed to the farthest margins of geography and discourse, hidden away at the edges of the world and in the forbidden recesses of our mind, but they always return…” !
The zombie body is lively, in many ways more lively than our own. The zombie offers something we can’t get from representations, avatars, and emoticons.
Whether living or dead, all human bodies undergo decay. Our hair decays, our skin decays, the teeth in our mouth decay. The process of decay is, in fact, necessary for the breakdown and eventual replacement of dead matter with new life.
90% of the living cells in our body are not human. They’re bacteria and critters like this one, the follicle mite, which lives in the eyebrows and eyelashes of most adults.
Photo by flickr user Bistrosavage
Many of our technologies live upon us like these parasites.
“The physical universe is not all that decays. So do abstractions and categories. Human ideas, science, scholarship, and language are constantly collapsing and unfolding. Any field, and the corpus of all fields is a bundle of relationships subject to all kinds of twists, inversions, involutions, and rearrangement.” !
~ Ted Nelson, “A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing, and the Indeterminate”
: is not ideologically neutral; : connects discussions of critical pedagogy, digital pedagogy, and online pedagogy;: brings higher education and K-12 teachers into conversation with the e-learning and open education communities;: considers our personal and professional hybridity;: disrupts distinctions between students, teachers, and learners; : explores the relationship between pedagogy and scholarship;: invites its audience to participate in (and be an integral part of) the peer review process; : and thus interrogates (and makes transparent) academic publishing practices.
“Everybody is an intellectual in that we all have the capacity to think, produce ideas, be self-critical . . . [This] demands a new kind kind of literacy and critical understanding with respect to the emergence of the new media and electronic technologies, and the new and powerful role they play as instruments of public pedagogy.” !
into a mountainrange;lenses extend !unwish through curving wherewhen till unwish returns on its unself. ! A world of made is not a world of born—pity poor flesh !and trees,poor stars and stones,but never this fine specimen of hypermagical !ultraomnipotence. We doctors know !
~ e e cummings, “pity this busy monster, manunkind"
Our bodies and flesh have become materials, food for the industrial and social machines. The work of education, and especially of the digital humanities, is to explore the ways in which that flesh fights back.