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How to scaffold your content: Activating engagement v. passive consumption at melanie mcbride online

Melanie has a great post and link to video on: How to scaffold your content: Activating engagement v. passive consumption at melanie mcbride online. I left the following comment, and it is really interesting, because I’d never been able to get this straight in my mind before:

the notion of scaffolding always scared me, and now I know why. Thanks! Scaffolding is about ordered and linear thinking… and it is done based on the hegemonic and reductionist notion that all people and processes are and should be linear. That’s like monocrop farming. Try unpacking the assumptions on which the scaffolds are built… if some of the support members are faulty, the whole thing falls down… and in the end, what does scaffolding do? It creates a large space full of dead air. :)

jason Learning

  1. May 30th, 2009 at 10:39 | #1

    As I said in my response to your comment, the approach of scaffolding is intended to challenge those content producers who simply dump text, video or other media into a webpage with no supporting context or explicit invitation to participate.

    My suggested strategies were intended as guides – with the reader developing their OWN approaches. To that end, it would be helpful if you could:

    A) Identify the specific nature of your own experience of content (text, video, etc) and how that impacts your interest (i.e., how long you are able to engage that content and what that experience is like for you – pleasurable, challenging, disengaging). and

    B) identify some strategies for content producers to better engage different styles of learner. Especially the learners who are not linear. If you have a problem with scaffolding (as i framed it so generally – and I made a point to say that it was very general), then please feel free to suggest an alternative that is more inclusive. The intention of my post was inclusivity.

    Additionally, I didn’t write my post with, specifically, classroom or educational use in mind. I actually directed it largely at content producers – editors and writers – who are still creating works for a “read only” culture model that is not at all inclusive, top down and assumes the most heteronormative, high functioning, linear sort of reader in mind. That’s actually where you should take aim …

    Traditional writers and editors *still* have little to no thought of learning issues or styles. It’s not their job – it’s a component of how they are trained (they’re not trained as educators or even made aware of these issues in any explicit way – I know, I’ve taught in content production programs). They are not versed in these ideas nor are they particularly inclined to care. I know from experience that our “deliverables” are very limited. We’re not expected to create content that anyone or everyone can access or understand. That’s just my problem with it.

    What I’m suggesting is a radical idea that content creators start thinking more like educators. Start *caring* about the variety of learning styles and purposes and cognitive responses to information that are out there. Right now, that’s not really on the table. And that’s why I wrote the post.

    Furthermore, I’m trying to inspire a movement away from a read-only content model that leaves engagement to those who are already oriented to do so – those who are entitled to do so. This is inequitable and accounts for the reason why only 3% of participants in any form take part. Why? because the rest of the people are not particularly inspired to participate – because their styles of participating and engaging are not EXPLICITLY activated. That’s … what I’m trying to get at.

    Again, if you can add to what I’ve written and provide some further context, go right ahead. I welcome it.

  2. May 30th, 2009 at 11:27 | #2

    My apologies. I should have withheld comment, if I wasn’t going to give suggestions, and I’d not planned on it, as I’m not ready to take on the whole scaffolding notion and lessig to boot. Your post just helped me to clarify in my mind what bothered me about it. And it has been haunting me for over a decade. I do not want to suggest something better, because, as you say, you’re working to improve the present case. And you are dealing with ‘industry’ which in and of itself does have a certain social model that is designed to not be inclusive. This is a good thing from an organizational perspective, as institutions/corporations are designed for the efficiencies that come from standardization of roles and duties. It is not a community model, or, I’d suggest a social constructivist model, but an institutionalist/corporatist model. And you have to work with the things as they are.

    I do this in my teaching, but I don’t take up that perspective in my personal blogging/comments.

    What you’re suggesting, moving the notion of scaffolding from the educational institutional setting to a business setting. I think you’re right, this would improve how things get done in business.

    You know me… I shy away from the instutionalization of lived experience. You’re getting people to become aware of the diversity of lived experience, “Start *caring* about the variety of learning styles and purposes and cognitive responses to information that are out there.” while I’m trying to get people to embrace the diversities themselves in their own practice, a notion I don’t think industry is ready for. Perhaps institutions would cease to be if they actually embraced the diversities of the lived experiences of their members, and at this point in our culture(s), I think people still want their industries, institutions and corporate models because that structure and standardization they provide is consistent with the present western world view.

    Didn’t mean to jump the gun… as I said, you’re the one in the field trying to improve the functioning of organization, and I’d agree that that will do much to improve how people interact in and with institutions, and encourage people to reflect on their personal and professional practice.

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