Are we ready?

Time flies! We are already on week 6 of this academic year’s Art Gallery and Museum Studies MA programme and while our students are spending this week working on their essay and portfolio, I’ve found an opportunity to do some maintenance work on our website, this blog and the delicious museology bookmarks that staff and students collaboratively edit.

Since last year I’ve been following the work of Prof. Michael Wesch and his students in the Digital Ethnography blog. Their videos have been inspiring and thought provoking and include the:
The Machine is Us/ing Us and
Introducing our YouTube Ethnography Project

Prof. Wesch has recently uploaded two more videos: one on the changes in the way we find, store, create, critique, and share information…

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and one that summarises how students today learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime.

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Wesch argues that learning is collaborative and that ‘we no longer just find information…Together, we can make it find us’, and asks ‘Are we ready?’ Are we ready as learners and as teachers to respond to the challenges of the information explosion, challenge and rethink our practices of teaching and learning and use the new (digital) tools creatively and usefully?

Here at the Centre for Museology, we have decided to take up the challenge. The Digital Heritage blog is on its 8th month already: It started as part of the Digital Heritage optional course (which was taught during the second Semester of 2006-7 for the first time) and was greatly received by both the students who took the course and others. Since then, it has continued as the MA programme’s blog, still focusing on topics around digital media in museums and galleries, but also opening up to other museological issues. Speaking of which, I’d like to welcome our two new ‘bloggers’, Alia and Joanna, Art Gallery and Museum Studies students 2007-8, who will be blogging from time to time.

The delicious museology bookmarks have also been very well received. They count currently 82 web links, specifically bookmarked by staff and students having in mind the topics and issues we discuss in the MA programme. Many thanks to all of our students for using and updating the bookmarks. Keep bookmarking guys!!!

Parts of the Centre for museology website are also being developed as ‘one stop’ site for students looking for journals, museum links and other resources.

…So, going back to Prof. Wesch’s question, ‘are we ready’? Of course, a blog and a bookmarking site are not themselves the answer to the challenge. The informed use of those tools to enhance and improve the teaching and learning experience is the task here. ‘Are we ready?’ Well, we are definitely getting ready and if anything, this is going to be one heck of a journey that we will enjoy the most.

See you aboard!