Advances in Adoption of New Ways of Knowing

The Guardian offered an article that caught my attention with this:

Just like Augustine marveled, in the year 400, at the sight of Ambrose reading in silence, many members of academia marvel (or react with rejection) at the rapid changes in the production and dissemination of scholarly work and interaction between academics and those “outside” academic institutions. Thousands of scholars and higher education institutions are participating in social media (such as Twitter), as an important aspect of their research and teaching work.

Now, I’m all about the technology, because I do believe that, to some extent, that is where we are going.

But the part of this that really got to me was Augustine marveled, in the year 400, at the sight of Ambrose reading in silence

Augustine marveled, in the year 400, at the sight of Ambrose reading in silence…

Augustine marveled, in the year 400, at the sight of Ambrose reading in silence…

And that is where we are with technology, except that tech is different. Yet, we are, in fact, involved with marveling at the sight of students doing/using tech in different/new/odd/unique/unfamiliar ways. Like Denise Horn’s comment:

they can text with one hand, under a desk, without looking.

Back to the original article:
As we all know, tech is “new” to us, though not new to our students who never grew up without it.

New technologies have slow adoption cycles, and often the learning curve is steep. Those already using these tools within academic contexts should not be considered a priori as “the converted”; perception and usage of social media varies wildly, and due to the inherently fluid and malleable nature of the platforms themselves we are still in the process of assessing all their possibilities.

The most hopeful sentence in the article, for me, was this:

the 21st century scholar has the tools not only to publish and disseminate, but also to facilitate the development of specialised audiences, and therefore of what is called “impact”: people read, and in turn write about your work, which is in turn read by others.

Then there is this:

For higher education, social media is part of a process of democratisation. Its effective use can lead to an ethical shift towards active efforts for engaging new audiences and widening participation beyond the Ivory Tower’s walls.

What do you think of that?

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