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Welcome to Needle, HASTAC's Information Commons

Welcome to Needle, HASTAC?s Information Commons!

Here you will find the latest on the HASTAC community: press releases, blog posts, upcoming HASTACevents, fellowship and job opportunities, calls for papers, reviews of newsoftware and new social networking and bookmarking sites, as well asannouncements of news and events of general interest to the HASTAC community.

This is a collaborative site that any HASTAC registrant can use to get outthe word to a worldwide community. Special thanks to Mark Olson (HASTAC?s media designer and Director ofNew Media at the JohnHope FranklinCenter at Duke) formaking this as easy, quick, and efficient as possible. HASTAC registrants simply log in on thehomepage, click on Needle, go to the bottom of the relevant section, and clickon ?Post.? You can upload contentthere. Done!

For those not yet registered, you do that on the HASTAC homepage too. It takes about three minutes, and you arethen part of the HASTAC network. Any registrantcan contribute content as long as it supports the HASTAC mission and, ofcourse, abides by the social rules of the HASTAC site.

We know from the overwhelming response to the HASTAC/MacArthur Competitionthat our network reaches almost everywhere over the globe, from communitygroups to distinguished research centers, across all the academic fields, fromindividual entrepreneur game designers to massive supercomputing centers. HASTAC is yournetwork.

(And, in case you missed the pun, this is the Needle in the HASTAC. Get it?)  

And as a bonus today, here's a FANTASTIC video sent by Tyler, via YouTube, about students and digital learning today.   Enjoy!



I know Cathy's post is about the Needle, but this video really has me thinking about my experience in the classroom. Typically I have fewer than 20 students in my classes, often closer to 10 or 12 which allows me to operate on a performance model: not only do I know all their names, we do physical exercises so that they know each others' names, from the first day. We use the chalkboard as a group. We are constantly moving the furniture and reconfiguring our use of space (and getting in trouble with maintainence). There is no posssibilty for anyone not to participate. Ever.

I integrated digital media in the classroom as much as I can, but get frustrated because it doesn't move with us. I hate having to run back to the keyboard to get more information. Students like to bring laptops, but their peers can't write all over them in class. My dream: some kind of Wii-like set up, where we can access information and read and write wherever we happen to be standing. To meld the digital network with the in-the-moment, face-to-face connection.


Celeste Fraser Delgado



The video is indeed well done. I posted it in my blog in a hope to start a discussion. That didn't really happen, but paraphrasing one the few comments i got: Personally, I fail to see a problem with many of those
statements, with some exceptions. I mean, half of them make me say


Just checked out the comments on your blog, Dima. There seems to be a blame-the-student assumption. My mother -- a lifelong teacher -- calls this the "I'm teaching, but they're not learning" syndrome. But, as she points out, if they're not learning, you're not teaching.

The idea behind HASTAC seems to be to harness people's actual tech behaviors in order to better deliver/inspire/foment knowledge and to better understand where learning is taking place in a digital society. The video points out the stark disconnect between the traditional classroom and the contemporary pursuit of knowledge.

I contend that delivery is less important than engagement. Students can be utterly engagaed in a traditional classroom and utterly passive in sufing the web. Whatever the form of delivery, it takes more work and more collaboration to make students responsive and responsible.

Celeste Fraser Delgado



You right. I can see how the comments on my blog can be viewed as
"blame the student". However, i do think that higher education
is a two way street. I think there is a difference between high-school
learning experience and a college one. An important part of that difference is
that college student has greater responsibility for the learning process
compared to high-school process. It is a much more open and diverse
system that requires making decisions as well as showing maturity and
dedication. This of course does not take away from the responsibility of
the teacher, but it requires two for tango.

I can see how the students in the video express their lack of satisfaction
with their institution / learning process. But what are they trying to
tell beyond that? I would disagree that their main point is about
"contemporary pursuit of knowledge". Writing a blog may or may
not be a way of pursuing knowledge, same with sending an email, less so however
with poking on Facebook. Does an assumption that "When I graduate, I will
probably have a job that does not exist today" give an excuse to dismiss
prior knowledge? And beyond that all, what are they actually suggesting? Not offering an alternative I think
undermines whatever point they are trying to make.

I do agree that possibly the new generation has a different way of interacting
with technology and i do think that there are opportunities lying there to improve
the learning process. But i seriously doubt the contribution of
particular video to this cause :)





I think you're absolutely right about the two-way street. What the video (although you're right, not only the video) reveals is what students have always done while being lectured at: checking out. As long as the lecturer is just delivering information, then there's not really an opportunity for students to take responsibility; all they can do is receive and later regurgitate, too often on scantron sheets. I also agree that not all noodling about on the web is instructive; that's more than evident from the poor quality of info my students often bring back as research. So maybe now, more than ever, the teacher's job is to direct students to the wealth of valuable information on the Internet -- and to structure interaction both in the classroom and online that demands real responsibility: actually participating in the production of knowledge and not just sitting there while its hurled at them.

Celeste Fraser Delgado



Celeste--Make sure to check out HASTAC on Ning (you can get to it now from the HASTAC homepage) if you haven't already. Mechelle and the others in the Ning network are doing a great job of posting about pedagogy. I believe Mechelle is also in Florida. Happy thanksgiving, Cathy