After reading “Decoding Digital Pedagogy, pt. 1: Beyond the LMS,” Morris’ statement “not every teacher is a pedagogue,…pedagogy is a scholarship unto itself,…[and] pedagogy is also different from the study of education” immediately grabbed my attention because a research interest I intended to take up at the onset of my doctoral studies was pedagogy. In my naivete, I assumed pedagogy (or in my mind “how to teach”) would come by nature of pursuing my doctoral degree with a graduate teaching assistantship. Morris’ statement helped me to frame what pedagogy is and its value in the field. I am now left to make a real decision about my pursuits with a new understanding of pedagogy.
I agree with Morris’ concern about learning management systems (LMS) that “classes taught within its structure generally land with a dull thud.” If we think about the discussion board feature, it is not as dynamic as an instructor would hope. In my experience, students are not actively engaging with the discussion board thread to maintain an ongoing discussion about a particular topic. Often, the instructor will pose a question and the students will respond according to the number of times required by the assignment. Maybe it’s the LMS platform and the requirement to log in to see the status of the discussion and provide input. Social media platforms work well because of the notification feature; the sites are designed to keep you engaged even when you’re not thinking about the discussion threads. Basically, discussion boards within the LMS are a “set it and forget it” feature, which begs the question, are students learning from the discussion board interaction? Morris would argue that the LMS, in this instance, is controlling the learning/lesson and may not be the best method for what the learning outcome.
From my understanding, digital pedagogues are not bound by the LMS but taking advantage of the boundless digital landscape to support students’ learning and pedagogical strategies are organic according to what the students need in any given class. Digital pedagogues are willing to take a deep dive into digital epistemologies.
In “Decoding Digital Pedagogy, pt. 2: (Un)Mapping the Terrain,” Jesse Stommel states “the digital pedagogues teach her tools, doesn’t let them teach her.” Stommel elucidates that the digital pedagogue does not conform to the digital tools, like the LMS, but extends the digital tool to help students’ understanding—not allowing the LMS to shape pedagogical strategies. Stommel draws from Fyfe to describe digital pedagogy as a “pedagogy of hacking.” I extend this metaphor in that hackers expose vulnerabilities in systems, and to view digital pedagogues as hackers would mean that digital pedagogues expose pedagogical failures to improve pedagogical strategies in the digital landscape. Lastly, I think it is important to make note that digital pedagogues dismantle educational hierarchies that obstruct the learning exchange between teacher and student. I am curious about ways to grow as an instructor and will incorporate what I have gleaned from Morris and Stommel about digital pedagogues.
“Decoding Digital Pedagogy, pt. 1: Beyond the LMS” by Sean Michael Morris
“Decoding Digital Pedagogy, pt. 2″: (Un)Mapping the Terrain”