The Digital Pedagogy Institute was a very intense week-long experience. Here are a few concepts that were highlighted/reinforced (I took the track focused on on identity).
Regarding identity and privilege…
1. Listening is super important. You must actively listen to people and acknowledge what you have heard, without interrupting them, in order to create a classroom that is respectful and caring. Side note: ‘Safe spaces’ are impossible to achieve and it’s important to openly acknowledge that fact in class with your students while impressing the importance of respectfulness.
2. Taking the time to set up guidelines for respectful discourse will pay off. Likewise, if you neglect this step, you will waste a lot of time on emotional turmoil/breakdowns, and potentially turn students away from concepts you had hoped to promote.
3. I walked away with some great examples/illustrations of how students might think they know someone just by looking at them or via limited online interactions, but it’s really important to withhold judgement based on visual markers of identity or other un-confirmed assumptions. This is such a key concept for students to internalize as early as possible so they can avoid hurting others and embarrassing themselves.
Regarding ‘the digital’…
3. Balance is always key. You need to balance your goals as an instructor with the goals of your institution (in terms of assessment and accreditation). It is also important to balance digital approaches with live approaches.
4. Serious play is gaining appreciation as a pedagogical approach. I spoke on this issue at MACAA in 2012, when I co-chaired a panel entitled Making Bullshit: Serious Play and Failure in Arts Education and Professional Practice, a few years ago. So that’s neat!
5. The take-away I’ll be returning to again and again is this extensive list of tools/projects provided by Andrea Rehn from Whittier College, and a variety of shared Google documents created during the conference.