Flesh and Bone: Information Literacy, Teaching, and the Connected Classroom

Professor Kathleen Margaret Lant
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In western education over hundreds of years, we have stepped deliberately and enthusiastically from situated gatherings of scholars and students to the cyber classroom of our own time, moving further and further from physical presence to disembodied learning — touted as effective, egalitarian, convenient, and inspiring by proponents of online education. The argument that the ability to learn anytime and any place fosters a kind of liberation must be examined closely, for virtual learning may, in the final analysis, be ephemeral learning. In fact, in leaving our bodies behind, in becoming disembodied scholars and intangible students, we may have lost far more than we have gained.

The author examines the practice and the effects of online learning, arguing that the disembodied classroom may preclude "deep learning," may prevent the formation of a responsible learning culture, and may render impossible the kind of real risk taking that learning requires. Using such thinkers as Manuel Castells, Jerome Bruner, Hubert Dreyfuss, and Bill Readings as a base, the author argues that physically situated learning, the creation of a physical classroom culture, and the ethical demands placed on learners physically present to one another must be part of all education that is to be meaningful and moral.

Using her own experience as well as the ruminations of others, she forwards the blended classroom as the best pedagogical environment we can offer our students in the early twenty-first century. She explains as well that information literacy — the ability to identify, manage, evaluate, and use information in any field — is at the base of all learning and that only by modeling our use of information in a classroom setting complete with the technology we use daily can we teach our students well.

Keywords: Body, Mind, Teaching, Learning, Online teaching
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Flesh and Bone

Professor Kathleen Margaret Lant

Professor, English Department, California State University Hayward

Professor of English, formerly served as Director of Technology and Teaching at Cal State Hayward and Coordinator of Instructional Technology at Cal Poly.

Ref: T05P0017