Absence makes the heart grow fonder, yet being offline with a learning management system has a more troubling effect on a learner’s heart and mind. From a simple login error to a system-wide shutdown, the panic of not knowing what to do next seemingly sets one up for failure even after the connection is restored. My experiential presentation tells stories based on the start of my career an education technologist for the College of the Rockies while faculty, staff and students recover from the lockdown phase of COVID-19 pandemic. For many across the province and around the world, online learning became a necessity: for some, a Faustian compromise of teaching practices during a time of global crisis, for others, a Mephistophelean embrace of digital technology in place of the in-person classrooms became part of the new normal.
Three professors in UBC’s Master of Educational Technology program offered a third perspective, about a decade ago, when they began a research project that became the SOUL intervention. They asked online students to take a two-day break from their screens and reflect upon this absence of technology from their studies. While some struggled to break away from digital devices, others grew to appreciate the meaningful acronym of Slow Online Ubiquitous Learning and its positive impact on for students’ and instructors’ sense of wholeness and wellbeing.
Flashing forward to the current moment, this presentation takes a different perspective on this mindful SOUL intervention, a view from the Top of the World Provincial Park in the East Kootenays. I share reflections from the experiences of instructors faced with a juxtaposition of online, ubiquitous learning options and the soulful acknowledgement of the place-based learning that are often challenging to digitize or put in a shiny-surfaced box. Slowing things down every further, this discussion will be presented in “unimodal” format in order to counter the “fast capitalism” proposed by the New London Group in their Pedagogy of Multiliteracies more than two decades ago, which has only seemed to have increased its reckless speed due to the advent of social media. Please turn off all cellular and mobile devices during the presentation and come with an open mind for the sake of our collective SOUL.
Kyle Stooshnov, PhD
Education Technologist | College of the Rockies
Kyle Stooshnov works as an Educational Technologist at the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at the College of the Rockies. In 2019, he completed his PhD in Literacy Education from the University of British Columbia, where he had also completed his Master in Educational Technology earlier that decade. Part of his doctoral thesis was recently published in a special Art-Based Research issue of the online journal, Transformative Dialogues, and he continues to explore the intersection of performing arts and digital spaces with his company, Spacious Mirror.