The Florida School: In Search of Electrate Reasoning

14 November 2006 at 2:46 pm Leave a comment

In my previous post on “Embodied Mathematics,” I promised to comment further on my return to an academic research program.  I recently had a proposal accepted (titled “Autocartography: Medieval Map-Making Practices and Imaging Virtual Places“) for the Invent-L 2007 Imaging Place conference.  According to Greg Ulmer’s website (which includes instructions for how to subscribe), “Invent-L exists to support discussion among educators, artists, students, and other interested parties concerned with the apparatus of electracy.” 

As a former student of Ulmer, I am a “Florida School” graduate of the University of Florida,  a school which engages in an experimental approach to cultural studies in the search for the institutional practices of schooling appropriate for an electronic apparatus.  Ulmer’s approach to teaching at the level of higher learning is unique insofar as he not only invites students into a research paradigm but also provides a “heuretic” practice of invention.  The various practices he invents (the “CATTt”–“contrast, analogy, theory, target, tale”–in Heuretics; the “image of wide scope” and “the pop-cycle”–in Internet Invention; the “mystory” in Teletheory) all provide ways to engage in constructivist meaning-making.  Ulmer intuitively recognizes the need to write oneself into knowledge creation, this being the fundamental tenet of constructivist educational theory, which is discussed more in education schools and in K-12 education than in the upper eschelon of higher education.  His methods of electronic composition all allow for one’s self story to be juxtaposed to theoretical and disciplinary knowledge (as well as other significant social institutions) and thereby become a source for intellectual discovery.

It is an exciting moment of transition in cultural and institutional practices–the transition from literacy to electracy–and, rather than creating intellectual clones (which in a more cynical view of the academy is what happens in institutions of higher learning), Ulmer’s theory and practice invites all students–undergraduates (as witnessed in the Freshman English text book titled Text Book) as well as graduates and professionals–into the process of inventing these new practices. 

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Entry filed under: academia, electracy.

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