cultural production [as] vehicle for thinking about integrating technology and learning

Janet Isserlis

This is the page I'm developing as part of an inquiry group (visions for technology) during an extended workshop in 1999 at theLiteracy Assistance Center. Our discussion board traces some of the process of our work as a group; this page explores my own questions and speculation about integrating technology and learning.

Although I've worked on a website for a long time for Literacy Resources, this is a place where I'd like to explore using the web for other purposes - for sharing information about sites and ideas that ultimately relate to adult education but are not necessarily about adult education, per se. I suspect that utilizing web based resources to learn more about things that interest us is a big part of integrating technology into adult education and life long learning, generally.

I see cultural production (as defined/illustrated through many of the sites below), as a means through which we can think about using technology in varying forms to learn not only about [your topic here] but also about how to gain access to information, resources, people, images. The processes of learning about poetry, or photography, or prose or painting, and about the people who make those things, can be integrated into the learning we might do with and about technology itself. Follow the links at the bottom of this page; send feedback, please.

This page is being updated in July, 2001, after two years of lost access to the server.

Here's a link to my day job at Literacy Resources/RI

Here are some other sites related to learning, culture, cultural production and literacy:

- documentation of a mask project created by students at Roger Williams Middle School with their teacher, Julie Nora and very capable students at the RISD photo department, including Lindsay Kelley.

Part of the East End Festival site , including Words from the East End.
The site is an extraordinary example of what a community can develop when it expresses itself on line. Pages focus on current events, community history and creative expression and elements of community life.

  • Pete Hocking

    Young Chicago Authors" GirlSpeak

    This posting appeared on American Library Association's list on 4/29/99 from John Lionheart, "a private individual, a semi-retired general contractor (CA lic#539705) and disaster relief worker, with little experience in literary or literacy programs, but I think I've created a pretty nice online vehicle for promoting adult literacy...

    This new art and poetry site was created with the homeless street poet in mind (street poets, at least in SF, offer photocopied poetry in lieu of panhandling). The site is by, for, and about the 'i'tinerant poet (the 'i'poet) past, present, future. Theoretically, these poor poets would be able to access the site through the internet terminal at their public library. There they could read works by other itinerant poets, submit their own works for posting, and find access to other online resources. The site is designed to helpful to other users too, of course. It's a colorful site, with good poetry." Have a look.

    The Times Square Photo site, images from homeless and underhoused people, as well as links leading to more locally-created cultural production - photos, poetry, narrative writing - seems to have died.
    Here's another site, TImes Square Gallery.

    "Founded in 1989, REPOhistory investigates and re-contextualizes historical representation through site-specific public art works. Based on the concept of re-mapping urban landscapes, our goal is to create works that intervene in an anonymous city-scape by drawing attent to the forgotten or suppressed narratives while revealing the spatial relationships inherent in power, usage and memory."

    Paper Tiger looks at cultural production in/of communities, as does the Journal of Ordinary Thought and many of the learner-generated sites at NALD. I'm interested in how we can use technology AND direct encounters-- writing groups, community meetings, other 'naturally' occurring ways for people to come together -- in order to talk, think, reflect about communities/neighborhoods. How do people make meaning, express hope, ideas, joy, frustration, the need for change? What action is taken? How does change occur?

    Is anybody out there?

    In an article in Bright Ideas, fall, 1998, I wondered about the value of a website for practitioners with little interest in or access to the internet. As part of this Institute, I have been made aware of websites I'd not known about, and reconsidered in a new light others with which I'd been familiar.

    Our inquiry group, Visions for Adult Technology, has been fragmented; Charles Callaway has developed a clear notion of what he'd like to develop with learners in his program. In discussing this work with him, I've considered what a vision of technology could look like in my own context, that of state literacy resource center in the nation's smallest state.

    The resource center (Literacy Resources/RI) has had a website since 1997. Although a small number of learners and practitioners have added content to it, the site has developed over time as a place where those visiting may find both what they've come to look for, as well as the posibility of being lead into new areas, related sites that might induce them to (re)consider adult education in different ways, to shift thinking, to make new connections. Thinking of this as an interactive medium, utilizing its dynamic and dialogic (if I may) possibilities is part of the larger challenge of thinking about what we mean when we talk about learning and when we talk about cultural production.

    I still believe that this is my own vision for adult literacy/technology -- that the technology serve as a tool enabling those who use it to reach the goals that they determine. However, in order to shape goals in which technology plays a part, it is necessary to understand the scope and limitations of what technology can provide.

    I'm thinking about these things:

    Technology as vehicle
    Technology as content
    Technology as tool.

    This page was created by Janet Isserlis on Thu Jan 21 16:56:43 1999

    I am grateful to Nancy Cooper, Hal Adams, the New York City Subway, the LAC and NCAL for access and exposure to many of the sites and ideas informing this work. Last updated November 12, 2008