Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Showing a prime minister the disrespect he deserves

So, New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key -- aka "the unidentified person," as reported by media covering Nelson Mandela's memorial celebrations -- is trying to stir up unrest over Hone Harawira's taxpayer supported trip to South Africa to pay homage to Mr Mandela's life.

Mr Harawira represents an electorate many of whose constituents and former constituents were among the spearheads of the anti-apartheid protest movement in New Zealand -- including the formidable Harawira family. He absolutely should have been in South Africa for the events. The fact that he should have been there respresenting his constituency is evident from the fact that Mr Harawira had a personal connection with Mr Mandela and, indeed, was invited to participate in Mandela family events while he was there.

The person whose presence at the celebrations genuinely is questionable is, of course, Key: a political non event at the best of times, someone truly worthy of being identified by media as "an unidentified person"; and at the same time, someone whose entourage included two National Party members who supported the 1981 Springbok rugby tour of New Zealand. How's that for a touch of class? Mr Mandela, in prison at the time, identified the anti-apartheid solidarity shown by New Zealand protestors as a ray of light in very dark times.

If there is a touch of class to be had around the occasion of Key's latest mindless bluster, it must surely be Mr Harawira's opinion piece published in the New Zealand Herald. It goes to the heart of the matter and pinpoints Key's spurious politics. Unlike Key's norm for political statements, Harawira's response appeals to a few hard core facts: which, for New Zealand politics these days (at least, as observed from the safe distance of Mexico) seems like a pretty radical stance to adopt.

Well spoken, Hone. There is nothing like showing someone the disrespect they deserve when they deserve it.

In Key's case, there should be a lot more of it.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

New book in our series! "Textile Messages"

Enormous congratulations to Leah Buechley, Kylie Peppler, Michael Eisenberg and Yasmin Kafai on their new book, Textile Messages: Dispatches From the World of E-Textiles and Education (Peter Lang, 2013).

This is a really lush production, chokkas with colour, loads of images and a gorgeous layout (makes such good sense in a book about textiles! And electronics!).

From the back cover:
Textile Messages focuses on the emerging field of electronic textiles, or e-textiles – computers that can be soft, colorful, approachable, and beautiful. E-textiles are articles of clothing, home furnishings, or architectures that include embedded computational and electronic elements. This book introduces a collection of tools that enable novices – including educators, hobbyists, and youth designers – to create and learn with e-textiles. It then examines how these tools are reshaping technology education – and DIY practices – across the K-16 spectrum, presenting examples of the ways educators, researchers, designers, and young people are employing them to build new technology, new curricula, and new creative communities.
Contents include:

This sis a clever, must-read book! Buy a copy! Buy multiple copies and give them as gifts!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

New book in our series! Crystle Martin's "Voyage Across a Constellation of Information"

Congratulations to Crystle Martin and her lovely book, Voyage Across a Constellation of Information: Information Literacy in Interest-Driven Learning Communities (Peter Lang, New York)!

From the back cover:

What do orcs, elves, and information literacy have to do with each others? Find out in Voyage across a Constellation of Information as we take an in-depth look at information literacy practices (how people find, evaluate, and use information) in the massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft and its online community. This book teases out real-world information literacy practices by following players as they solve their information needs through collective activity, relying on and building a set of individual and collective practices within the online community. Voyage across a Constellation of Information offers educators, information professionals, and researchers an opportunity to get an inside look at the new practices of digital spaces, and lays the groundwork for inclusion of these practices into 21st-century education.

And the Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: The Affinity Space as an Information Source: The Constellation of Information
Chapter 2: Information Literacy: A Mechanism for Charting the Constellation
Chapter 3: Tools and Methods for Creating the Compass anNavigating the Constellations     
Chapter 4: An Individuals Map to Navigating the Constellation
Chapter 5: Asynchronous Information as a part of the Constellation
Chapter 6: Collective Intelligence Navigating the Constellation
Chapter 7: From a Constellation to a Galaxy

This is a timely book for U.S. educators and the shift towards a stronger focus on information texts in schools. Highly recommended (of course)!

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