Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Symbolism, Interpretation, and Media

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Rambling post ahead.

So Simon Ensor recorded something on audio, about needing audio as a break from  imagery in #clmooc, several people responded on audio, and it got me thinking about my own preference for text/audio over visuals.

It occurred to me that some people see visuals as a common denominator, that it reaches more people quicker. To me, visuals are time-consuming because they involve layers of interpretation. It exhausts me. Particulary the beautiful thought-provoking images used on Hybrid Pedagogy (I think they are meant to be intellectually stimulating rather than straightforward, and I try to follow this approach in the first slide of any presentation i give now, but sometimes it really exhausts me to find them. And also to look at them).
Then again, it’s an illusion to think of text or audio as having fewer layers of interpretation, right? Read Simon Ensor’s blog, it’s so deep and so beautiful – then tell me you know what he means by every word, every sentence, every time. I only *think* I understand Simon when I read and talk to him regularly, when I have an idea what he’s thinking about outside of the particular blogpost. Otherwise, I love the beauty of his prose but am not always sure what he means. I feel smart when I think I know what he means 🙂 I loved hearing his voice (not the first time) – what does hos tone of voice mean? what does it mean that he’s recording himself folding laundry? To my own mind, it means he’s home, he’s reminding us he has kids, he does his share (or some share) of housework (i think my husband doesn’t think he knows how to fold laundry, and has forgotten how to run the washing machine though he’s done it before…guess he grew out of it?). Simon talks about his kids’ laundry as if he doesn’t have his own. It sounds odd but is symbolic of parenting, where your own needs and existence fade into a background of your childrens’.

Which reminds me of kids. How my daughter is going thru a phase where hse hits to play. I want to teach her not to do that, but i know its different from hitting in anger. My parents never hit me as a kid, but i was a tomboy and enjoyed rough play. Recently Jeffrey Keefer wrote about a migrant to Germany whose house was searched by police coz some neighbor saw agun. Turns out it was a toy gun. This post made me think of two important but divergent threads:

  1. What does it mean that the neighbor was suspicious of that neighbor. Could it be coz he is an immigrant and e.g. “Looks” foreign? What is the call to the police, the actual search, a symbol of, beyond what it appearsto be on the surface?
  2. Why have toy guns at all? What does it mean that we teach kids that playing with guns is actually fun. The rough play, we see baby cubs and baby animals of all kinds play that way, but guns are a different matter. Aren’t they? And of course video games and such, and all the violence and misogyny you can get exposed to while playing them

Speaking of guns. #TakeItDown re South Carolina’s confederate flag..now that’s just weird and sad and frustrating. It makes having Obama as a Black president seem more tokenistic and symbollic than progressive (i guess it is) – if the leader of a nation if Black, nearing tje end pf his second term, and still there are state that have a flag that symbolizes oppression like that… How did no one asl to take it down before now? It should not have taken these recent deaths for  this to happen. Something is really wrong.

But speaking of hashtags, #LoveWins shouldn’t matter to be but it does. Because there are ppl i care about who are gay and married and it’s good they can feel their marriage is recognized in their country, not just their state.  It should not matter to me because of my religious beliefs. But my religious beliefs call against drinking alcohol, eating pork, and sex outside marriage. And yet i have friends who do all of these (Muslim and non-Muslim) so it doesn’t matter. And my religious beliefs explicitly say “you have your religion and I have mine” – so basically, live and let live, unless i am being attacked. It’s not “turn the other cheek” but it’s something.

Speaking of love. Another term that is loaded and interpretable. I am baffled by the use of the word “love” to explain the feeling parents have towards their kids. It is so much more complex thanthat, and I don’t know why no one has come up with something else. But it is proof that some things are not articulable but they exist.

Speaking of connotations of words, we’ve been discussing connotations of words like exclusion and network on Twitter. Exclusion carries heavy baggage. I mean it literally but recognize that a Person feeling it probably feels it with the negative connotation not intended by excluders (in cMoocS i mean). Alsothe term network vs community. It would seem the term network implies looser connections so yu can’t exclude really coz there is no “belonging” to begin with. It’s loose ties that intersect. But it does not give off that warm and fuzzy feeling of community, that sense of belonging. But yeah, that automatically means some people are in and others are not. Then again, do we all want to be in every community? i don’t.

So what do we mean then by inclusion? By wanting to be inclusive? It reminds me of the term permeability which…who mentioned it? Terry? Jeffrey? Thst if someone wants to do the saem thing people are doing ,that they feel free to join. So e.g. #clmoocuke (it rhymes) – if u don’t play the uke, it’s FINE , but if you do it’s COOL. It,s also like the ppl at #hpj101 who discoverd they liked punk music. I had no idea what that was about but i was happy to publish gz’s post on punk and edu on edcontexts. Still not one of “them”. But it isn’t something that bothers me. Does that make sense? So it should be ok as long as ppl in a woder community don’t say “if u haven’t done this u aren’t part of the community”.

Thinking back to #rhizo14 i am sure some of us felt facebook was where it was at. Realizing many ppl aren’t there made me careful not to respond to blogs on facebook (which i used to do for blogger coz it does not like my iPad) but on the blog itself. I also like the permanence of that, vs transience of a facebook comment. But i get why other ppl do it diferently.

I think Vanessa Vaile was saying how diff media take diff levels of importance in diff MOOCs like a moving Venn diagram. Vanessa was suggesting one participate in blogs + one other social media. Remind me of what Stephanie Loomis was saying on Twitter, re her use of twitter to connect, blogs to learn.

Also we need to be cognizant of what it means to participate in diff spaces and how it influences out interactions with others. Conversing on someone’s blog is diff from twitter is diff from facebook. Bring on the #ANT Jeffrey!
Too lazy to link anything or embed tweets. Shoulda been aslep an hour ago. Will be up again soon though 🙂 inshallah

5 Comments

  1. I imagine your mind as a shambling dot matrix printer getting inputs from deep in your deepest mind and spitting out ink and words and posts, tired but carrying on. Rest.

    • Lol @terry! I actually remember dot matrix printers so this is even funnier than u think. A few years younger and i would have noooo idea what u were talking about 😉

    • P.S. Someone once told me that my (unfilrered) speech is like a screen dump of my brain. Screen dump on dot matrix printer is what comes to mind right now

  2. Still mulling over why these terms of network vs community matter. Been mulling for years now and can’t find satisfaction with the terminology and the meaning and the implications. Perhaps I am worried about leaving people outside the door who want to come in (not everyone wants to come in).
    Kevin

    • Right. I don’t know if we can find an answer to any of that. But “door” implies community rather than network. “in” and “out” implies community. I think. I need to think some more to articulate what went thru my head when i read this. Not coming out clearly right now.

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