Zombie Pedagogies: Embodied Learning in the Digital Age


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Video Preview: http://bit.ly/digitalhuman
There is no one pedagogical strategy that works for all students and teachers or in all situations. The space of the classroom is shifting and dynamic, so we need our pedagogies to proliferate, not to congeal. Like Mary Shelley’s monster in Frankenstein, who is also an amalgam, we are being (re)made online, as our flesh is reduced to a husk, a remainder. We crave, and are nostalgic for, a visceral experience of the body, and our increasing cultural interest in the zombie is part and parcel of this. The zombie is not the villain in this scenario but a metaphorical antidote to the erosion of our physicality. As our reliance on technology increases, the zombie asks us to discover in the digital what remains voraciously humane. As pedagogical beasts, zombies advance slowly and deliberately. They limp, stumble, moan, and clamor as they surge forth, all in imperfect unison, a cacophony of sounds, always walking, always reaching. And so a hybrid digital pedagogy demands we create more collaborative and less hierarchical spaces for learning -- lest we use computers to replicate the vestigial structures of industrial-era education.

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Zombie Pedagogies: Embodied Learning in the Digital Age

  1. Photo by flickr user Robby Mueller Zombie Pedagogies Embodied Learning in the Digital Age
  2. Jesse Stommel @Jessifer
  3. Photo by Zsolt Halasi Video Preview bit.ly/digitalhuman
  4. “I’m utterly squeamish when it comes to watching or reading horror. I scream frequently, and not in a light, non-committal way; my screams are loud and guttural, emanating from the pit of my stomach and rattling in my lungs, windpipe, throat, and mouth. I often find myself unintentionally clutching the person next to me, and, in a few rare cases, I've even begged out loud to be taken home.”!! ~ Jesse Stommel,“Something That Festers”
  5. Photo by flickr user SebastianDooris Monsters are not metaphors
  6. Photo by flickr user kevin dooley “The monster’s body is a cultural body … [Monsters] can be pushed to the farthest margins of geography and discourse, hidden away at the edges of the world and in the forbidden recesses of our mind, but they always return…”!! Jeffrey Jerome Cohen,“Monster Culture (Seven Theses),”
  7. The zombie body is lively, in many ways more lively than our own. The zombie offers something we can’t get from representations, avatars, and emoticons.
  8. Whether living or dead, all human bodies undergo decay.  Our hair decays, our skin decays, the teeth in our mouth decay.The process of decay is, in fact, necessary for the breakdown and eventual replacement of dead matter with new life.
  9. 90% of the living cells in our body are not human.They’re bacteria and critters like this one, the follicle mite, which lives in the eyebrows and eyelashes of most adults.
  10. Photo by flickr user Bistrosavage Many of our technologies live upon us like these parasites.
  11. Photo by flickr user kevin dooley “The physical universe is not all that decays. So do abstractions and categories. Human ideas, science, scholarship, and language are constantly collapsing and unfolding.Any field, and the corpus of all fields is a bundle of relationships subject to all kinds of twists, inversions, involutions, and rearrangement.”!! ~ Ted Nelson,“A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing, and the Indeterminate”
  12. Photo by flickr userYogendra174 For many teachers, the increasing disembodiment of us and our students leads to a pedagogy that is even more fundamentally disembodied.
  13. “Unless the mass of workers are to be blind cogs and pinions in the apparatus they employ, they must have some understanding of the physical and social facts behind and ahead of the material and appliances with which they are dealing.”! John Dewey, Schools ofTo-Morrow Photo by flickr user Thomas Hawk
  14. We need to handle our technologies roughly -- to think critically about our tools, how we use them, and who has access to them.
  15. Photo by flickr user Nomadic Lass Even our digital work is embodied.When we interact via computers, our feet are usually still quite literally on the ground.
  16. all learning is necessarily hybrid! Hybrid Pedagogy is an open-access journal that!
 : is not ideologically neutral;
 : connects discussions of critical pedagogy, digital pedagogy, and online pedagogy;
 : brings higher education and K-12 teachers into conversation with the e-learning and open education communities;
 : considers our personal and professional hybridity;
 : disrupts distinctions between students, teachers, and learners;
 : explores the relationship between pedagogy and scholarship;
 : invites its audience to participate in (and be an integral part of) the peer review process;
 : and thus interrogates (and makes transparent) academic publishing practices.!
  17. Hybrid pedagogy does not just describe an easy mixing of on-ground and online learning, but is about bringing the sorts of learning that happen in a physical place and the sorts of learning that happen in a virtual place into a more engaged and dynamic conversation. Photo by flickr user orangeacid
  18. Photo by Praline3001 “A class is … an independent organism with its own goal and dynamics. It is always something more than what even the most imaginative lesson plan can predict.”!! ~ Thomas P. Kasulis,“Questioning”
  19. “Learning happens at the breaking point of its various containers.The semester is arbitrary.The course is breached. Canons must yield.”!! ~ Jesse Stommel,“The Digital Humanities is about Breaking Stuff” Photo by flickr user crdotx
  20. Photo by EmreAyar “What is broken and twisted is also beautiful, and a bearer of knowledge.The Deformed Humanities is an origami crane — a piece of paper contorted into an object of startling insight and beauty.”!! ~ Mark Sample,“Notes towards a Deformed Humanities”
  21. Photo by flickr user Dirigentens “It doesn’t matter to me if my classroom is a little rectangle in a building or a little rectangle above my keyboard. Doors are rectangles; rectangles are portals.We walk through.”! ~ Kathi Inman Berens,“The New Learning is Ancient” “A course today is an act of composition.”! ~ Sean Michael Morris,“Courses, Composition, Hybridity”!
  22. “Everybody is an intellectual in that we all have the capacity to think, produce ideas, be self-critical . . . [This] demands a new kind kind of literacy and critical understanding with respect to the emergence of the new media and electronic technologies, and the new and powerful role they play as instruments of public pedagogy.”!! ~ Henry Giroux, On Critical Pedagogy Photo by flickr user seier+seier
  23. into a mountainrange;lenses extend! ! unwish through curving wherewhen till unwish! returns on its unself.! ! ! ! ! A world of made! is not a world of born—pity poor flesh! ! and trees,poor stars and stones,but never this! fine specimen of hypermagical! ! ultraomnipotence. We doctors know! ! ~ e e cummings,“pity this busy monster, manunkind"
  24. Photo by flickr user RLHyde Our bodies and flesh have become materials, food for the industrial and social machines.The work of education, and especially of the digital humanities, is to explore the ways in which that flesh fights back.
  25. i Additional Material Presentation based on my chapter,“Toward a Zombie Pedagogy” in Zombies in the Academy: Living Death in Higher Education! ! Jesse Stommel, ! “March of the MOOCs: Monstrous Open Online Courses”! ! Pete Rorabaugh and Jesse Stommel, ! “TwitterVs. Zombies: New Media Literacy & theVirtual Flash Mob"! ! Jesse Stommel,“The Digital Humanities is about Breaking Stuff”! ! Jesse Stommel,“The Decay of the Digital Human”! ! Mark Sample,“Notes towards a Deformed Humanities”! ! Sean Michael Morris,“Courses, Composition, Hybridity”! ! Kathi Inman Berens,“The New Learning is Ancient” @Jessifer
  26. The Humanities Just Won’t Stay Dead
  27. Photo by flickr user Richard Elzey ThankYou!