What is the Pedagogy Project?
In 2014, more than 75 HASTAC scholars came together to create The Pedagogy Project, a collection of over 80 projects, assignments, and in-class activities that can be easily implemented within many different classroom contexts. These digital and/or collaborative projects range from small-scale suggestions for approaching the first day of class or motivating student use of the library, to more extensive digital projects such as the incorporation of student blogging, the construction of digital archives, and the facilitation of researched academic debates, to name a few. (There is even one called “Zombie Survival Plan”...I’ll let you check that one out for yourself.) In short, The Pedagogy Project was a great success and generated an amazing archive of pedagogical resources for the HASTAC community and beyond.
While these resources are still valuable today, several of us wondered how we might reinvigorate this conversation about digital pedagogy? Could there be a way to encourage current scholars to (re)discover this great archive of past work? Or, is it possible to (re)create a space to share new ideas and innovative approaches to digital pedagogy?
Our answer: A Twitter Chat!
Last month, we revisited the Pedagogy Project through our Pedagogy Project 2.0 Twitter Chat. Organized by Hannah Phillips (see her blog about that organization process here), and facilitated with the help of Kalle Westerling, Corinna Kirsch, Kylie Korsnack, Frankie Mastrangelo, and Rebecca Parker, this chat sought to explore how digital pedagogy in humanities classrooms has changed, developed, or remained the same in the years since the original pedagogy project launched in 2014. Moreover, we were curious to see what new ideas and pedagogical approaches our community has developed in the past few years.
In what follows, we offer a synthesis of that conversation as well as a reflection on the experience of participating in the Twitter chat itself. Finally, we extend a call to all and especially those who were able to join us during the Twitter Chat, to help us expand upon the original Pedagogy Project archive by adding their own assignments, projects, and in-class activities to our collection. Instructions for how to submit a post to the Pedagogy Project can be found HERE.
Twitter Chat Recap:
From graduate students to postdocs, educational technologists, and tenured-professors, our chat brought together voices from a variety of institutional contexts and from a wide range of academic backgrounds. The result was an interdisciplinary conversation about the role of technology within postsecondary classrooms. Some participants revisited the HASTAC pedagogy projects that served as inspiration for their own classroom design, while others introduced us to exciting new projects that they are currently developing as part of their courses. Quickly, the conversation turned to ideas for fostering digital literacy, while also highlighting the importance of collaboration (often between instructors and students) to digital projects. In regards to the former, one participant suggested a multi-dimensional view of digital literacy as consisting of content, computation, and context, while others shared their own visions and attempts to activate student engagement with online literacy.
Several expert voices in field of digital pedagogy also pushed our conversation in important directions. Spurred by Cathy Davidson’s suggestion about the too often disconnect between “ed” and “tech,” we discussed larger systemic issues related to the replication of privilege and oppression by the power embedded within digital structures. And perhaps most surprisingly was our chat's turn towards self-evaluation and the role that failure plays within the development and implementation of digital projects. As Julian Chambliss reflected: “To be honest, we should talk about failure if we talk about digital in the classroom.” This comment made us wonder how many of our own pedagogical successes were originally inspired by stories of failure.
Time Flies…!: Or, some of us are better at Twitter chats than others
For several of us, this was the first Twitter Chat that we had ever taken part in. And boy was it a whirlwind! Thanks to the guidance and experience of HASTAC Scholars Director Kalle Westerling, we were able to get organized at the beginning through the use of multiple messaging platforms. Through a combination of email, Google docs and Slack, we conducted the necessarily prep work asynchronously in the weeks leading up to the Twitter Chat. And on the day of the chat, we switched to a private message forum on Twitter so that we could communicate synchronously in real-time. Once the chat began, we took turns initiating our predetermined questions to help keep the conversation moving forward. The hour flew by, and we had so many different threads of discussion emerge from our opening questions.
We also met several challenges as well. Leading and following the Twitter Chat required an unexpected amount of concentration. For future chat leaders: you might consider finding a quiet physical space to complete the chat, far away from outside distractions. You might also consider composing some of your Twitter responses prior to the chat. Individual thoughts can be surprisingly difficult to grasp in such brief sentences, so having a few ideas thoughtfully crafted before the chat might make for a few incredibly fruitful opening threads. Finally, be prepared to miss a lot! (and that's Ok!) With so many different threads of conversation, it is impossible to follow all of the chatter simultaneously throughout the hour.
While it was often difficult to keep up with the conversation, the great thing about the Twitter Chat format is that the conversation remained intact even after the hour was up. Some threads of the conversation even continued on long after the conclusion of our formalized event. Personally, I found myself returning to the #pedagogyproject thread later to explore the interactions that I missed during the initial conversation. In looking back over the conversation now, I am struck by the number of different voices that contributed to our conversation and at the variety of institutional contexts and disciplinary backgrounds represented by those voices.
Project Pedagogy 2.0: Let’s expand the archive!
Although we all learned quite a bit from the Pedagogy Project 2.0 Twitter Chat, we do not want to the conversation to end! In fact, we hope that our chat might simply be the spark that reignites our community’s interest in continuing to expand the Project Pedagogy archive. Do YOU have a successful assignment, lesson, or in-class activity that you would be willing to share with the HASTAC community? If so, we invite you to contribute that idea to the project by writing a blog post! Tell us about the pedagogical strategy, practice, or assessment in a way that would be accessible to a larger audience. Then, we can create a link to your contribution within the Pedagogy Project’s existing collection of resources. We look forward to learning from you all!
More detailed Instructions for how to submit a post to the Pedagogy Project can be found HERE.