Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Embracing Paradox: Both/And Mentality and Postmodernism

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Some days you find yourself in multiple conversations and you find a common thread between them that you feel compelled to link, to unpack…and for me, to blog. Today was one such day and it was a convo on #techquity on connectedlearning.tv hangout today where we talked about the same use of tech could be seen both as equitable and promoting inequity at the same time; including the convo we were in!

Later I was reading Matt Croslin’s blogpost on metamodernism and heutagogy, and how we need to realize that what seem to be solid answers will vary from one context to another – and from one lens to another. Something we talked about also during the hangout, expanding on it in response partly to a tweet by Jeffrey Keefer saying he started out as a critical educator (and coz I know him, i know he means he leans more towards postmodernism)… So we were responding about how there remained room to be critical in local ways while recognizing
A. How shifting angles reveals different “truths”
B. How intersectionalities makes everything more complex such that it’s difficult to grasp the full picture
C. That ppl without a certain lens may not be able to understand others from a particular lens

My response to Matt was that I agreed with his post but felt it was missing context. As in concrete examples of the paradoxes (and who was it who was talking recently about the need for pedagogy and discourse that embraced paradox? Pretty sure it was a hybrid ped article – oh right, this one by Valerie).

So here are some examples of my own

Take Martin Weller’s post on the role personality plays in MOOCs (and edu as a whole). Foregrounding an educator’s personality in a Mooc or course is both a good and bad thing at the same time depending on many factors such as whether u like the person 😉 and whether they use their charisma for what you perceive as good goals.

Even, cMOOCs themselves can be seen as both subversive and inclusive, but also elitist and exclusive at the same time.

Subversive in how they help challenge the hierarchical status quo of most edu and xMOOCs and inclusive in that u don’t need to be a rockstar to have a voice (i am a big example of a total nobody that ppl now read/listen to coz of social media and cMOOCs). On the other hand they are completely elitist and exclusive – u need digital literacy, English language and a certain attitude to benefit from all this…

Facebook when used in a cMOOC has pros and cons i could talk about all day long. It’s inclusive coz it allows people to engage in a space they might already be (but exclusive coz many don’t wanna be in the space). It engages you social side w ur academic side (or allows ur academic side to invade your social side in a bad way). Facebook allows us to connect seamlessly (Facebook controls what we see when and by whom with algorithms of questionable aims and methods). Facebook is meeting people where they are (Facebook is invading ppl’s private space). It’s nicer to comment on Facebook so ppl can stay in Facebook and not go outside to read comments for everything (it’s nicer to comment on ppl’s blog coz then the blogger and future readers get to see comments in one space). It’s cool that rhizo Facebook groups are open so ppl outside it can read posts (oops ppl forget that is the case and don’t always post stuff they want their families and friends to see). Facebook intelligently shows me posts by ppl i engage with (oops Facebook mistakenly thinks my academic friends are more important Coz i spend more time on rhizo than general Facebook). Facebook helped the Arab Spring (Facebook threatens the Arab Spring as it becomes a mode of surveillance).  And so on! And I haven’t even gotten into the deeper arguments someone like Audrey Watters makes about edtech or how Lee Skallerup Bessette looks at social media activity as service and as both good and bad for our academic careers.

Happy to hear more examples from folks!

It’s not that “anything goes”, it’s “many things go, some things go better in some contexts but not others, and some contexts you Cannot anticipate in advance”

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