20 February 2010

So What Do You Do?

Every so often I get asked this question, often in a social encounter: "so what do you do?" And my response is always the same: I create great environments of engagement so that all participants can have the opportunity to achieve their own aspirations. As for me, I want my own aspirations to have at least two of three principle attributes - they should be interesting, important, and fun - and hopefully all three. All of that suits my role* (natural mode) of educator and is a nice place to live for how I hope to earn my living now that "this thesis thing" is coming to a close.

Why do I bring this up this morning? I just received an email from some students who attended my lectures and playshops last fall during my annual trip to Högskölan för Lärande och Kommunikation (the School of Education and Communication) at Jönköping University in Sweden. I love these opportunities to engage with first-year communications students and introduce them to the thinking and approaches of Marshall McLuhan, especially including the Laws of Media tetrads as an analytic tool for both reading and writing the culture, as many of these students will eventually do. In particular, these engagements with the students are always interesting and fun, and being able to inspire students to new thinking about the world is, perhaps, among the most important of human endeavours.

The students shared with me a lovely video project they created in their Visual Communications course for which they used the tetrad approach to help them construct the piece. As will all good craftspeople, you can't see the tools left over in the final production, but the cleverness of it demonstrates to me that there was some advanced creative thinking that went in to its design. The video is a fabulous example of a cool medium - on in which the audience must become involved to complete the work. Watch it twice.

(Thanks, and congratulations, Johan, Sanna, Sara, Ida, Robin and Jennifer!)

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