Metaphors for learning

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Metaphors for learning

  1. 1. Author: Gail Smith Metaphors for Learning
  2. 2. MetaphorsHi my name is Gail Smith from NSW, Australia. In this briefpresentation I will take you on a journey of educational metaphorsthat are commonly used to describe technology and e-learning.This artefact has been created as my final activity for the EdingburghUniversity MOOC - E-Learning and Digital Cultures. It is in no wayfuturistic as many of the artefacts and readings in the course havebeen. This doesnt mean the future has been ignored instead theartefact is more a reflective journal that attempts to consider the pastand the future while linking it to the present.I hope you enjoy the journey.
  3. 3. So what is a Metaphor? This is a graphical metaphor for a global meetingMetaphors are a way of explaining or describing something in a way thatgives extra meaning to a difficult concept by using known words todescribe a concept that might be difficult for you to grasp ... we call thisa metaphor.
  4. 4. Metaphors are used in oureveryday lives. You haveprobably already seen or heardthem in poetry and inadvertising. The great news isyou can use metaphors in yourown writing and even in yourclassroom to make yourlessons and resources come tolife. Climbing the ladder of success
  5. 5. Metaphors are an excellent wayof taking something known andcomparing it to somethingunknown. If you use yourwords in this way you couldmake difficult concepts clearerto those who might bestruggling to understand.
  6. 6. So what is aMetaphor?The image on this pagerepresents a metaphor. Canyou guess what it is?
  7. 7. So what is a Metaphor?Have you heard the term youve got the whole world in your hands?Well thats a metaphor, you havent really got the world in your hands.
  8. 8. Understanding our humannessIn the second part ofEDCMOOC our quest was tounderstand our humannessand what it means to behuman in a digital culture aswell as exploring what thismight mean for education.Many have attempted todefine our humanness but aswe try to it is revealed thatour humanness is in aconstant state of change orevolution. Could the scholarsbe right, does technologyalter our humanness?
  9. 9. Understanding our humannessWhat about the concept of Digitalhumanity? What does this mean? DoesDigital humanity change or evolve astechnology infiltrates and embeds itselfinto our everyday life? Its truetechnology causes boundaries tochange, cultural contexts to change butis our humanity changed? This is not aneasy question to answer. Technologyoffers us a world where possibilities areendless and globalisation is revolutionary..... but does it have the power toconquer us, unite us or divide us?
  10. 10. Understanding our humanness Charlie Chaplin thought more than machinery we need humanity he believed people had the power to create machines, the power to create happiness... and make this life free and beautiful. He challenged us to fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress leads to all mens happiness.
  11. 11. Understanding our humanness No matter what you think of technology we all want a world like Charlie Chaplin describes. Through the use of technology in education it might just be possible to achieve this but the question still remains is this a utopian world or it is a dystopian world?
  12. 12. Technology has long beenconsidered a means torevolutionise education, providegreater connectivity and givepower to the masses through theinformation age.
  13. 13. As you read through the literatureand research available you canthelp but notice the play on wordsthrough the use of metaphors.Metaphors themselves are part ofour digital culture, they shape ourthinking.
  14. 14. Metaphors help us to frame meaning and theyare an important part of a teachers toolkit butbefore we explore how we use them in ourclassroom it is helpful to see how they helpprofessionally and culturally.
  15. 15. Metaphors can also help us frame our ownidentity not just our individual identity but alsoour professional identity. Lynne Thomas andCatherine Beachamp from the School ofEducation, Bishops University, Quebec explainthat developing a strong sense of aprofessional identity for a new teacher couldbe crucial to their personal development andwell-being in the profession. They explain thatmetaphors assist the teacher to frame anddefine experiences in order to create meaningin ones life.
  16. 16. Metaphorsof thecomputerand InterneteraMetaphors are not anew thing. Over theyears you have probablyheard many metaphorsused to describecomputers.These metaphorsattempt to provide away for the computeruser to understandcomplex terms andprocesses.
  17. 17. Can you guess the metaphor – it hassomething to do with a computer? Have you ever had an error message that said must have cookies enabled when you have tried to access a certain website? Did this leave you totally confused? Funny enough this message does not mean that you must have cookies by or even on your computer ..... even though many of you were probably hoping it did. According to wikipedia a cookie is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in the users web browser while they are browsing a website. Next time the user comes back to the same website the data stored in the cookie is retrieved by the website to provide information to the website of the users past activity.
  18. 18. Can you guess the metaphor – it hassomething to do with the internet? When you are asked to bookmark something on your computer it means you should save the link (page address) to your bookmarks (or favourites) so you can easily retrieve it later.
  19. 19. Can you guess the metaphor – it hassomething to do with the internet? Have you heard the term Surf the Web? Surf the Web is a term that is used to describe how an Internet user moves through (or browses) websites. About.com describe the practice as jumping from one link to the other, following items of interest, watching videos, and consuming all sorts of content; all on a variety of different sites. Since the Web is essentially a series of links, surfing the Web has become a very popular activity with millions of people across the world." .
  20. 20. Can you guess the metaphor – it hassomething to do with a computer? To protect computer users from unwanted intruders we use the metaphor firewall to describe the level of protection we can expect for our computers.
  21. 21. There are so many other metaphors used to describe the use and functionality of acomputer, for example: My computer is down - used to indicate the computer is not working or functioning at the moment An electronic filing cabinet - builds on the capability of a physical filing cabinet. The term is used to describe the area files are stored in. What about cut, copy and paste - are you actually cutting anything?
  22. 22. The web is a city Social media introduces us to even more metaphors for marketing and education - but what does this have to do with a city?
  23. 23. The web is a city You will soon be invited to watch a short YouTube by David Meerman Scott to discover how the world wide web can be understood by the metaphor of a city. In this video David uses this metaphor to help his audience to understand how they can participate successfully using social media.
  24. 24. David uses this metaphor to help his audience tounderstand how they can participate successfullyusing social media.David explains that when you assign importantaspects of the web to parts of a virtual city you beginto see how you can function in this virtual city andhow you can be successful in your use of socialnetworking sites. The key of course is .... You have tobe a participant!
  25. 25. Click the image to play the video
  26. 26. #EDCMOOC encouraged us to explore common theories ofhumanism, post humanism and transhumanism to gain adeeper understanding of digital cultures.From this journey it is clear that educational culture as weknow it have and will continue to evolve through the useand application of technology in the learning environment.Using simple metaphors like the world wide web is a citycan assist todays educator to understand their role ininterpreting digital culture and help their learners tonavigate and engage successfully with technology ineducation.
  27. 27. CreditsReading Understanding new teachers identities through metaphorsWebsites Wikipedia AboutVideos Business TV show: Explained - Social Media in terms of the tortured metaphor A message for all humanity: Charlie Chaplin

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