Monday, September 20, 2010

Goals for the Course
C&I 600: Methods of Instruction w/ Technology
Dr. Michael Thomas
Spencer Striker

Goals for C&I 600 – Methods of Instruction With Technology

General Goal

I’m terribly excited about this course. I entered the PhD program at UW-Madison in Educational Communications & Technology in order to study on the deepest level the theory and practice of designing cutting edge 21st Century Learning Environments.

ELPA Core - Prereqs

In the Fall and Spring of 2009 - 2010, I satisfied my 12 credits worth of ‘deficiencies’ in the formal study of Education, by taking four courses in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, including an excellent class, ‘Financing Postsecondary Education,’ with former UW-Madison Chancellor, John Wiley. I enjoyed immersing myself in this ELPA core while simultaneously engaging hands-on with the development of the Media Arts & Game Development program at UW-Whitewater. My studies, discussions, and reflections in ELPA directly informed and complemented the types of administrative work I tackled at UWW, including program development, marketing, conflict resolution, resources allocation, and budgeting. My administrative service to the university included helping build the Advisory Board, helping build a 21st Century multimedia lab with a $100k lab modernization fund, and executing a social media optimization marketing campaign to build a community around the program.

While I enjoyed this work, I simultaneously learned more about myself, becoming more self-aware of my intrinsic fascinations and goals. In the end, I found it a welcome relief to begin my formal studies in the area of Ed Tech, this being the area that drew me to study at UW-Madison in the first place.

Designer of 21st Century Learning Environments

To be totally honest, I have been looking for a clear definition of what I want to achieve/be in the world. My Master’s Thesis at Indiana University, GameZombie TV, has proven a pretty darn successful project, all things considered. Bragging points include: millions of video views around the world, hundreds of students positively impacted, and four Webby Awards. But I must consider where this work stands in terms of a larger agenda, a bigger mission and purpose. I always wanted to keep GZ in the university—it has always been my instinct. Though we positioned the web video studio to achieve escape velocity from the university, perhaps my unconscious yearning to keep the project connected to academia prevailed.

Now I find my propensity for hard work pushed to the max, but in a good way. My core commitments include: PhD student in Ed Tech at UW-Madison, faculty in MAGD at UWW, and Exec Producer of GameZombie TV, (which is now run simultaneously out of Wisconsin and Indiana). But in the big picture I see these three threads cleanly converging on the single purpose of becoming a leading designer of cutting edge 21st Century Learning Environments.

Expertise in the Field of ECT

The most obvious goal I have for the course is to develop my formal expertise of the field, building mastery of ECT’s key works and primary themes. Beyond this, I want to zero in on important, unanswered research questions that I can attack. I’d like to formulate a preliminary dissertation thesis as well as begin deep research of the topic and resource organization. The two topics I have most seriously considered are:

  • how multimedia technologies and immersion are affecting the way we think, work, and live
  • and the successful development and implementation of project-based digital multimedia learning environments.

Conferences, Journals, Grants, CV
Critically, I would like to begin to attend the important Ed Tech conferences around the country, read the most important journals, (and begin to develop works for publication), as well as research and develop grants, (both for my doctoral studies and my applied work at UWW). I would also like to remaster my CV—and web presence—repositioning myself as a scholar/designer of Ed Tech. I would like to do all of this while remaining sane and not damaging my body by too often neglecting sleep. I’m teaching five classes at UWW, (all of which I have personally developed), taking two classes at UW-Madison, and overseeing GameZombie in two states. I’m living and working in a liminal zone where I honestly don’t know if I can deliver the goods, but the challenge is the type of masochism that puts hair on your chest and makes you stronger, in the Nietzschean sense of the word.