In preparing this new site to accompany my teaching of the Research Seminar in Educational Technology, I am back to asking myself a familiar question that Lisa Panayotidis once asked: “How do academics represent themselves on the web?”
In seeking insight, I meandered to look for the authors’ websites of the TPACK chapter we read for class: Mishra and Koehler. Both sites have a white background and simple black text, but that is where the similarities end. Two co-author’s could not convey such different messages in their academic websites. Mishra’s website invited me to learn more. Koehler’s website made me want to move on.
Mishra’s site conveys a message that is academic, fun, broad yet focused and he includes his family in developing some of the content videos. His eccentric and fantastic page called “Gallimaufry” – which according to Google, means “a confused jumble of things” really hooked me in — That and the spinning ambigram of the work ‘Creativity’ that points you to links to his work titled “Creativity in Math and Art.” His latest article “Embodied Thinking as a Trans-disciplinary Habit of Mind” also looks like it is right up my alley. I cannot wait to read it. It just gets better with the Deep-Play Research Group. How do I join? Mishra’s site made me feel like I could like him if I ever met him and that we have lots in common – both academically and personally.
In contrast, Koehler’s site elicited the opposite response from me. Koehler’s home page opens to a huge portrait picture of him. The picture takes up more than half of my large Thunderbolt screen. A column of his latest tweets to the right reveals 4 more smaller versions of the same picture. Unlike Mishra’s site that promoted his academic work and play, Koehler’s homepage suggests that the site is more about him than the work.
Koehler’s next page features TPACK’s Venn diagram model and a merchandising link so you can show up at your next conference with the latest TPACK gear. The TPACK game instructs the player to “consider how Technology (T), Pedagogy (P), and Content (C) work together by randomly choosing two of the three (C, P, and T), and thinking deeply to find the third that makes them all work together in a “pedagogically sound way to teach the content.” If only it was that simple: C+P+T = Effective Teaching.
I wonder how seeing Koehler’s site might have influenced how I examined their chapter we read for class. At first, I know I did not question why they preferred the survey methods – I took their explanation of validity and reliability at face value. But then… I looked at who conducted the survey research — Koehler himself. Next, I decided to count how many times he quoted himself — 18 times from 14 references. The paper is 10 pages long.
Websites most certainly can have different goals. Mishra promotes the exciting research and mathematical play he engages with. Koehler promotes himself. My goal is to provide a digital archive of my research and of my teaching. Initially, I am starting with providing a digital archive of the readings the class is delving into for EDER 771 & EDER 679. This site is about the work. However, I would like to make my site inviting and have the cyberflâneur peruse for a while.