Thinking About 21st Century Multiliteracies, 2.0
by Michael Benton (2008)
I found this edition of Michael Wesch's lecture by mapping it in in a keyword request on Time Tube and finding it on Stephen's Lighthouse. Of course as the logo tells us it originated from a You Tube posting and it is a lecture from the University of Manitoba. Thanks to Kevin Kelly for mentioning Time Tube, a great time waster and useful tool for learning, in his essay in The New York Times Magazine: Becoming Screen Literate and this essay was referred to me by the film news site Green Cine Daily [which I surf daily] and now I am referring it to you on this weblog Dialogic and so it goes.............. all of this after a Friday Bluegrass Community and Technical College special faculty meeting to brainstorm on how we could emphasize traditional reading skills in our courses/college. I mentioned that we need to develop mulitliteracies, not just print-based literacy? Michael Wesch is a Cultural Anthropologist whose emphasis is symbolic anthropology and I listened to the video [and stopped to watch it and review certain parts] while packing over seven bookcases of books in my current residence, for moving to my new place. This is a difficult task for me because I am a bibliophile and constantly end up sitting cross legged on the floor reading one of my books. Last night I gave a lecture to two hundred students on "The Politics of Film" with 23 pages of notes on the subject and 40 film clips. On Wednesday, I showed the documentary Lake of Fire on the abortion debate in the US for the Bluegrass Film Society and on Tuesday I showed the Turkish-German film Head-On to my International Film Studies students [I noticed earlier today I've already received email-responses to the film from students in the course, but I reserve Tuesday for reading and responding to them]. I just got off the phone with my girlfriend Laura who is producing a comparative photo-essay of a project she did last weekend when we traveled to document the presentation/audiences at fossil site-museums at Big Bone Lick, KY/Falls of the Ohio, IN in contrast to the Creation Museum in Northern KY [I must confess, I snuck in without paying to this one -- twice]. This afternoon I discussed a special issue on Religion and Culture that I am editing for the journal Reconstruction with Nate Hinerman who teaches the Philosophy of Religion at the University of San Francisco and asked another friend Jonathan Vincent who is a PhD candidate in American Studies at the University of Illinois if he would review Chalmers Johnson's book Nemesis for the same journal. I am the review editor. I have only met one of my editorial members and managed to put together a section on International bloggers, for a special issue on Theories/Practice of Blogging, which featured over 40 bloggers from around the world... none of them I had met: Why I Blog. I will see Nate and Jonathan when we meet in San Francisco in the Spring with a group of comrades from around the nation (CA, IL, KY, NC, TN) who have joined together to form a Special Interest Group for CCCC called "Using and Generating Student Archives"--eight of us are presenting papers at the conference. During a fantastic lunch at the local Mediterranean restaurant Sahara's -- the owners are three brothers from Jordan -- this afternoon I read my copy of Robert McChesney's new book The Political Economy of Media until I met Ron Duke, who asked to sit at my table, and I found out he is a buddy of the history professor Jake Gibbs at my college. The two of us discussed economic theory until I had to leave to go the special faculty meeting at my college. A large part of my leisure time this week was spent researching the Russian theorist Mikhail Bakhtin's [or the Bakhtin circle's?] concept of Ideological Becoming and viewing films for my Spring 2009 International Film Studies course [Blue; Kiss of the Spider Woman; The Quiet Town]. When I clean my house, do laundry, surf the Internet, or cook I listen to podcasts on my computer. I even bought a pair of little Bose speakers so I can hear it throughout my home while working, my favorite episodes I share on Dialogic. I don't watch TV, I guess this has replaced it. My IPod was used for one week, I despise the device and gave it to a friend because it shuts me off from the world when I am outside, but I love the aggregator [September 2, 2012 note: I have another IPOD, and have become quite attached to it as I use it to listen to political/cultural/historical podcasts while walking back and forth to work.] I recently put Feedjit on my blog because I like seeing what people are visiting and because it reminds me of earlier posts on the blog. Sometimes I revisit them when I notice a visitor has gone to that page--and no kidding, as I write this someone from Davenport, Florida popped onto Dialogic to view an earlier post, that I had forgotten, on Michael Wesch's earlier classroom project World Simulation Video ... and so it goes... what is literacy in the 21st century?)
Michael Wesch: A Portal to Media Literacy
Presented at the University of Manitoba June 17th 2008.
"Many of you have probably seen Kansas State University prof Michael Wesch's thought-provoking video, "A Vision of Students Today". You Tube
Recently Dr. Wesch spoke at the University of Manitoba where he explained the the basis of this video in a talk entitled, "Michael Wesch and the Future of Education." I found it fascinating! He describes how he so naturally incorporates emerging technologies into his courses from the smallest seminar type to the largest lecture theatre filled
More importantly he not only talks about the technologies but how he encourages extraordinary participation and collaboration from his students by engaging them in meaningful learning activities.
Cope, Bill and Mary Kalantzis. “Designs for Social Futures.” Multiliteracies. Ed. B. Cope and M. Kalantzis. NY: Routledge, 2000: 203-234.
How, then do we describe meanings? Following is just one suggestion, examining five dimensions (representational, social, organisational, contextual and ideological) across five modes of meaning (linguistic, visual, gestural, spatial and audio). It is simply indicative of the kinds of questions we might ask ourselves in order to add depth (systems and structure) and breadth (cross cultural) dimensions to teaching and learning about the meaning of meanings. (211)
… literacy is in its nature multimodal—a matter of visual as well as linguistic design. And multimodality itself is becoming more significant in today’s communication environment where, from multimedia desktops to shopping malls, written text is represented in a dynamic relation to sound, visuals, spaces and gesture. (234)
Yet multimodal meaning is also much more than the sum of linguistic, visual, spatial, gestural and audio modes of meaning. It also involves processes of integration and moving the emphasis backwards and forwards between the various modes. At the heart of the process of integration is the inherent ‘multiness’ of human expression and perception, or synaesthesia. Meanings come to us together: gesture with sight, with language, in audio form, in space. And, we can shift our meaning-making emphasis, through processes of transduction or transcoding. We can describe in words scenes that otherwise might be represented in pictures, or represent three-dimensional spaces visually in two dimensions, or represent through the gesture language of signing what might otherwise have been said in spoken words. We visualize a thought before the words come. Or we hear a word and a whole lot of visual and audio senses seem to fill our minds. It is revealing how naturally metaphors from one mode of meaning slip over to describe meaning processes in another: ‘imagery’ in written text, or ‘perspective’ in oral argument, or ‘visualisation’ of alternative word-centered ‘points of view’. (211, 217)
Dimensions of Meaning …
Representational: What do the meanings refer to?
Social: How do the meanings connect the person they involve?
Organizational: How do the meanings hang together?
Contextual: How do the meanings fit into the larger world of meaning?
Ideological: Whose interests are the meanings skewed to serve? (212-216)