Ever since I first spoke with Gardner Campbell one fateful evening at an In-N-Out Burger he has been at the top of my wish-list for people to speak on my home campus.
The wait is finally over:
Emily Dickinson once wrote, “If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” Can that experience be true of computing as well? Can the experience of computing reveal metaphors, compelling forms, rhymes, even meter in our encounters with knowledge, virtual worlds, and each other? Do some people resist a deep exploration of computers for the same reason they shy away from poetry? In A Poet’s Guide to Poetry, Mary Kinzie writes, “I believe the craft of writing is actually to entice readers into the same domain as the creative imagination.” Is there a similar craft of computing, a digital imagination no less creative than the verbal, musical, and artistic varieties we have known for centuries?
I believe the answer to all those questions is “yes.”
I will share my thoughts with you, listen to your ideas and engage with your questions, take us through some opportunities for creativity, and seek some provisional conclusions with you. By the end of our time together, I hope you will feel the exploration has yielded at least a few valuable insights into learning, teaching, creativity, poetry, computing, and the schools we have built—and may yet build.
The abstract captures so much of what I love about Gardner… His profound engagement with the concept of digital imagination. His intellectual ambition and daring. His deep and relentless thinking expressed in lovely eloquence. His determination to connect his wonderful mind with the minds of others, to hear and represent their voices.
I would add three qualities that maybe don’t come through so clearly in the abstract, but which are nonetheless likely to be on display this Wednesday:
* Anyone who knows Gardner is aware of what a true teacher he is… I’m struggling for the right words here (with a meeting ticking towards me any minute) but Gardner is as passionate and thoughtful a teacher as I’ve ever met. Lately, Gardner has written a remarkable series of blog posts which demonstrate this…
* Even though we have recently had a mild disagreement on the subject, there’s no doubt that Gardner gets the whacked-out open education thing in his bones. It’s evident in his public education practices like podcasting John Donne poems, and it’s on display in his blog-based courses. He really seems to see openness as key toward a more iterative and real form of schooling that could justify a tag like “revolutionary”. There’s a reason we call him Dr. Glu. I’ve always thought of this talk as the closest thing to a comprehensive grounding of the EduGlu concept that I’ve heard in one place.
* Gardner rocks. He’s the only educational thinker I know that can invoke Lester Bangs as a closer (to great effect). And this talk is something very special to me, for so many reasons. He’s one of my absolute favorite people to talk music with, and if we get to go vinyl shopping this week I just might melt into a puddle…
If you have another appointment, you should reschedule. If you have a deadline, what’s another couple hours later gonna mean? Simply put, this is going to be THE session of the season.