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Transforming Education with New Media

Participatory Pedagogy, Interactive Learning, and Web 2.0

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Peter DePietro

The possibilities that online platforms and new media technologies provide, in terms of human connection and the dissemination of information, are seemingly endless. With Web 2.0 there is an exchange of messages, visions, facts, fictions, contemplations, and declarations buzzing around a network of computers that connects students to the world – fast. Theoretically this digital connectivity, and the availability of information that it provides, is beneficial to curriculum development in higher education. Education is easily available, democratic, and immersive. But is it worthwhile? Is the kind of education one can get from new media platforms and social media resources, with their click-on videos, rollover animations, and unfiltered content, of sufficient quality that educators should integrate these tools into teaching? This book examines the use of new media in pedagogy, as it presents case studies of the integration of technology, tools, and devices in an undergraduate curriculum taught by the author, at an urban research university in the United States.
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15. The Amorphous Cloud

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15

THE AMORPHOUS CLOUD

The cloud is a big, ill-defined, useful, fuzzy, expansive collection of computers strung across the Internet, which ostensibly allows users to store data at any time, of any size, and in various digital formats, and to access that data whenever they want. The cloud is as much theoretical as it is practical. It is theoretical in that users believe they can store as much data as they want without limitation. It is practical in that it is a collection of interconnected computers and computer systems that are real and finite in their ability to store and transfer data. It is theoretical in that users believe that big, commercial service providers like Google give storage for free. It is practical in that there is a definite cost associated with using the cloud, but it may not be monetary. Like an atmospheric cloud is amorphous, free-floating, and without boundaries, so is the notion of the cloud in the world of computers and new media.

The cloud could be described as a virtualized data center hosted on servers around the globe, where pools of data are stored and accessed by the data’s owner or whoever else is connected to the cloud and can gain access to the data. The abstract nature and vastness of this pool of data can make it appealing in higher education, because the cloud stores a bounty of infor ← 173 | 174 → mation available via the web. Although we educators...

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