Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The "It's All Starting to Sound the Same" Factor

There comes a time in every PhD student's life when reading the same research articles that used to WOW one into ecstasy start to bore one into a near-coma. The very same words that used to seem pumped full of new ideas and creative organizations of concepts seem to be just singing the same old tune, perhaps slightly faster or slower or in a different key, but the same tune, nonetheless. For me, that time is now.

Let me make this clear. I am by no means an expert into digital literacies or technology in the classroom. There is an overwhelming amount of work that is being done/has been done that I am totally clueless about. And don't even get me started on how clueless I am regarding my own personal uses of these technologies I have professed to be so interested in. I don't even Twitter or text, for goodness sake.

But if I hear/read/think the words "collective meaning making", "multi-tasking", "digital native" or the importance of "reflection" one more time, I could very well do something that would be quite shocking and inappropriate. (Such as only SKIM, rather than fully read the rest of the week's readings.)

I'm hoping my new cynical attitude can just be chalked up to sleep deprivation or being stuck in "summer mode". I'm hoping that I can regain my passion for reading theory, which by definition tends to be over-generalized, uncontextualized, and kind of presumptious. I'm hoping all of this, because the articles this week in class about New-Millennial/Web 2.0 Learners were good. Really good. I believe in the power of WHD's to promote fluency in multiple media, collective learning experiences, and reflection founded in experience. I'm glad to hear that, according to the Speak Up survey, principals and administrators are supportive about technology integration. (Where are these principals and administrators? I've certainly never worked under them.) And I agree that the "Net Generation" is unique, and am left wondering if I am part of this generation since I was born during 1982, not AFTER 1982.

I'm reminded of the feeling I had when I was in the first trimester, pregnant with my now two-year-old, and I saw a piece of chocolate cake or a doughnut. "I know I used to enjoy that immensely, that I used to eat these things constantly, but all I want to do when I smell them now is vomit." Perhaps not the best way to start to a semester (comparing the assigned articles to nausea-inducing subjects) but, then again, the first trimester isn't a great start to motherhood, and I'm pretty darn happy with it now: chocolate cake, toddler, and all.