Technodiversity: Lessons Learned from a Diversity Exchange

Technodiversity: Lessons Learned from a Diversity Exchange

Kimberely Fletcher Nettleton (Morehead State University, USA) and Lesia Lennex (Morehead State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-198-6.ch005
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Abstract

What happens when technology, culture, and education intersect? How does culture of place impact technology communication? How does this affect baccalaureate education? While examining cultural awareness and diversity in two separate projects, the researchers discovered key elements to understanding technodiversity and its impact on the exchange of ideas. Morehead State University in eastern Kentucky and Western New Mexico University, near the Mexican border, participated in joint project about privilege. Using a technological platform, issues impacting technodiversity were discovered. Understanding and harnessing the principles of technodiversity will impact distance education, online communities, and the use of technology as a conduit for communication. The diversity exchanges formed future ideas about curriculum providing baccalaureate candidates not only with a remarkable background in developing goals and assessments of achievement but also with technology and diversity tools to enable teaching in diverse circumstances.
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Introduction

Thousands of years ago, in a small valley, tribal leaders were concerned about a young woman whose badly healed broken leg condemned her to an inactive life. The elders, at a loss for what to do with the young woman, finally came up with a solution to the problem. Gathering the small children of the tribe, the elders placed them with the young woman in a deep recess of a cave, carried in a few rocks for seating, provided a torch, and left, adjuring her to prepare the children for their future roles in the tribe. By the light of the flickering torch, the young woman, alone with several children and without resources, looked around the crowded cave. Spotting a small rock, she picked it up and began drawing pictures on the wall.

The first instructional tool was created.

How far have we come since the cave? From the scratched drawing on a cave wall, blurred by smoke, to Power Point presentations enhanced by movie clips and sound in a fluorescently lit classroom, teachers have been adapting and choosing tools to fit their instructional needs. The responsibility for interaction with instructional tools or technology has been placed on human shoulders (Negroponte, 1995). The way tools are used determines how learning is mediated (Vygotsky, 1978). Although technology or a tool may appear to be neutral until used, Cuban (2001) claims that computers are not neutral because of the expectations people have attached to them. One reason technology has not transformed education in the ways reformers hoped may be due to what Rogers (1983) and later Cuban (2001) refer to as

. . . the classic S curve in adopting new technologies: The enthusiasm of a few innovators is followed by early adopters, leading to a gradual acceptance among mainstream professionals, and then a slow embrace by the last holdouts (p.146).

This chapter will investigate the use of instructional technology in two different cultures by examining culture of place and identity, cultural receptivity, and cultural programming, as well as make recommendations for implementing an improved instructional technology integration curriculum.

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Technodiversity

A new culture is emerging from the easy connection of the internet, texting, blogging, and chat rooms. The potential of this new culture is untapped and what is emerging is often incomprehensible to outsiders. A new language for communication is developing through iPod applications (apps) and texting (Crystal, 2008). Technology is the new means for connecting with people. Instead of paying social calls and leaving a card, introductions are made through “friend” connections. This new frontier is much like the wild west before the church ladies moved in; an untamed wilderness that has yet to fall under the spell of civilization. In this new environment, there are few laws. Although some regulations are beginning to be instituted, it is difficult to police this global territory. Currently, advertising and merchandizing appear to be the civilizing influences. Every time a new, free application appears on the technological horizon, advertisers are quick to move in and take over.

Technology has rapidly changed the way people communicate. Before the advent of the technological age, a musician sang or played on a stage before a live audience. Traveling musicians went from town to town, singing and carrying news. Later, singers could hit the vaudeville circuit and move up to concert halls to perform. Individuals could move up the ladder of success by showcasing their talent. In nightclubs and restaurants, bands and singers made names for themselves and performed for the public. When radio first emerged, live shows were a broadcast staple; bands and singers had a new medium to explore. The recording industry changed radio and later, the advent brought in a new technological medium to navigate. As the industry became more and more packaged, creative outlets dried up.

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