Chris Bigum

Hello, I am your tutor/teacher for this trimester in the course 7131EDN.

I have worked in tertiary education since the mid 1970's and yes, I am that old! My website has something of my current research interests and additional ways of contacting me if you like to use online messaging systems. I keep a collection of papers and versions of book chapters I have written here. My site currently runs on Wiki software.

I am trying a modest experiment this semester. I am going to try and keep a public learning log, a kind of 'what the heck is in that crazy guy's mind who is teaching this course?' kind of thing. It's what I call public learning/pedagogy, i.e. making public how one goes about learning1. Am I learning while teaching this course? I hope so. Otherwise I have been replaced by a machine and they are still really bad learners. So best call the police!

I began my academic life as a scientist with a keen interest in computing and related technologies. I shifted into science education and then, in the mid 1980's into education. I have a broad set of interests. Recently, I have been fortunate to work with a terrific group of Principals and teachers who have interests in doing school differently. These are schools that have been exploring the notion of schools as sites of serious knowledge production. I have kept my interest in computing and related technologies and how formal education systems come to terms with them. I am also interested in a broader set of technologies and in particular the impact they are likely to have on the lives of the young people entering school. These are what Kevin Kelly calls GRIN technologies2. My other interest is in the way change is thought about/theorised in education. I also have interests in contemporary ideas about leadership and management, particularly in education.

To me one of the key questions and issues facing formal education is what some might call the rise of the machines. I use the term machine as a catch-all for software, robots, algorithms, smart devices, basically stuff that automates. It used to be the case that the impact of theses developments were restricted to making things like automobiles. Not any more. I think there is a question that all teachers need to think about, a question that could be asked by a parent:

Why are you teaching my child to do things that machines are good at now3 or soon will be?

I live an un-retired life on the Gold Coast that allows me good access to swimming pools and surf beaches the year round. I like to cook and grow vegetables. I have a long standing affiliation with a particular AFL football club and enjoy sampling particular products made from good Australian grapes!

I am really looking forward to working with you in this course concerned with digital culture and games in education. I hope it will be enjoyable, rewarding and, most of all, fun.