[Digital] Expression

[Digital] Expression

By now many of you have seen the new Holiday advertisement from Apple, “The Song.” It follows in the wake of last year’s Apple Holiday ad that brought many people to tears (at least the ones who appreciate Apple). This year’s ad follows a similar, but perhaps less controversial path — a young woman discovers a recording made by her Grandmother for her Grandfather presumably before he is deployed for the war. The discovered recording is on a record — you remember those things, right? I could go on, but here it is …

I liked the ad instantly for a lot of reasons — I am an Apple fan and have been since the very early 80’s, so it is easy for me. But, the thing that I really liked was how much it leaned on the notion of digital expression. The last 10 years of my work has been focused on a couple of core concepts and one of them is the notion of digital expression as a new form of scholarship. This line of thinking actually came to life to me many years ago while working as a part of an Apple advisory board called, the Digital Campus. My assertion was that it wasn’t enough to just sell students technology tools, instead we need to combine the tools with new forms of pedagogy, physical spaces, and support to create an eco-system that can systematically support digital expression as a form of scholarship. Actually, if you’ve ever heard me give a talk, I typically wrap up with the following slide …

Slide

Recently I watched the behind the scenes production of, “The Song” made by Apple. Take a look and notice the use of a specific type of technology enhanced creation space.

Last week I came across a story for the One Button Studio concept that we built at Penn State as a piece to our Media Commons initiative. Many of you have heard me talk about that studio and the ideas behind it. I am trying to get our first one built here at Stony Brook to advance our focus on digital expression as a form of scholarship. We have to see that the physical space is part of systematically supporting that notion — you need to craft a value chain of sorts. Faculty development, pedagogical awareness, instructional design support, and physical spaces that can enhance, inspire, and promote digital expression across multiple curricula.

I say this knowing full well that our students are creating more digital artifacts of their learning every single day. I also know that more and more of our faculty are interested in assigning new types of assignments that are pushing our students to have new skills to tell new kinds of stories. Connected to that are the skills we as technologists need to grow to help develop that eco-system. Just like in, “The Song” we need to pair the technology with inspiration, create forward facing spaces that promote this type of work, and deliver platforms that can easily promote the idea that digital expression is in fact an important part of the teaching and learning landscape in higher education.

3 thoughts on “[Digital] Expression

  1. Nice read. I find that this is the most critical part to accomplish “…we need to pair the technology with inspiration…”. We, technologist, must partner with our faculty, as most weight heavier on the inspiration side than the technology side. Now, when we match well-balanced staff to well-balanced technologist (i.e. Jobs-Wozniak)… ahhhh, the music! 🙂

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Shady. At the end of the day it is people — people making connections, taking risks, and moving things forward together. Developing that type of community takes time, but will pay a very different type of dividend in the long run.

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