lørdag 3. januar 2015

Digital dieting. Please read this book!

I encourage you to read Digital Dieting if you are a teacher in higher education. Or work in a library and/or work with information literacy. Or if you're simply interested in the combination of technology and education. Tara Brabazon writes in a language that will appeal to you. I promise! (Sort of ...)

This blog is a sorry chapter in my online presence. What started out as good intentions, ended up with just that - good intentions. It's been two months since I last wrote anything useful. Which is not good enough, I tell myself. But the truth is, I probably won't do any better this year. My workdays are far too busy to allow much reading or writing. And in the evenings, I'm usually too exhausted to be creative. But fortunately, Christmas is perfect for reading, so I managed to finish this book - which I started early in the autumn.

Brabazon is a professor of education at Charles Sturt University in Australia. I've never seen her live, but there are plenty of material online from vodcasts, lectures and presentations, all showing her as passionate and deeply engaging teacher/speaker. She writes as she speaks - with fervour and passion, but clear and rational.

Digital Dieting wants us to stop and think about the technology we use in our teaching. Brabazon does not want us to stop using technology, but to limit it and make informed choices when we do use it. Some might say she exaggerates a bit. She rages against the iPad for instance, against our society of waste and devices we don't need, against PowerPoint, against bad teaching and lazy students, and not the least, against HE managers without the necessary competence.

One of her important messages is to maintain the quality of higher education on a level which produces the best possible students and citizens. Which means not dumbing down to make students’ lives easier. Which means maintaining a clear divide between education and leisure, between education and entertainment. Education should not be like Facebook, where everything is about mundane status updates and clicks and likes. Education must make students struggle, meet challenges, break barriers. That is when learning occurs. Students need to be told this. And teachers need to teach accordingly. I couldn't agree more!  

I don't necessarily agree with everything she writes, but that's not the point. Being technology friendly myself, the book has made me reconsider some aspects of my own information literacy teaching, and hopefully this will benefit the students.  

Brabazon, Tara (2013): Digital Dieting: From Information Obesity to Intellectual Fitness. Ashgate, Farnham.