The hybrid class in hypertextual learning environments throw light on the importance of some specific features that are fundamental to it as structural-based elements. In addition to technical aspects of instructional design, the imagery composition of the integrated complex of hypertextual learning environments, in addition to the basis of all its visual identity, is also what gives support and body to a class that is in “place of”, therefore, is a representation. Hybrid in Education takes form in parallel to the development of a concept of Education understood as “image of”.
This is a field of investigations still lacking in contributions. In most of available studies on educational trends, image is usually taken as a decorative instrument, or as an illustration. Even in the area of Distance Education, studies involving the use of images or videos do not assign them status of an allegory of the teacher’s class, but refer to them as a didactic instrument. None of these cases may be comparable to the teacher’s class in formal education, which is the primary object of the Laboratory of Hypertextual Learning Languages and Environments. Currently, Laborat has been developing experiences on the constitution of the image, more particularly, of photography, which gives support and body to the hybrid class of the teacher; not photography as a support for teaching, but this itself as a representation of the class in the complex of integrated hypertextual environments. It is not a matter of starting point, of course, because photography reunites a vast literature on issues that involve from the most specific technical aspects, to the most complex sociocultural and aesthetic aspects since the nineteenth century to the present day – days of instant photo and video, digital, hypertextual, living and popular as oral culture.
However, it is still challenging to transfer this photograph that absorbed at the same time as was absorbed by the spontaneity of oral culture, to a field of extreme formality such as the teacher’s class. What concerns us in Laborat is precisely the experience of contemporary photography as structure and representation of the hybrid class. What is the language of an image that is at the same time an expression of a hyperspatial culture and anchor of a space that is a metaphor of formal education?
Professor’s class has a minimum duration of 60 min uninterrupted, but can last up to 240 min, also uninterrupted, in the case of graduate courses. For the student, the conditions of permanence in class are different when in a face-to-face environment and when in a virtual environment, even in situations of real-time streaming or teleconferencing. Several formative aspects developed in the classroom-class process are affected in non-face-to-face virtual environments, whether synchronous or asynchronous, especially the ability of attention and concentration on a single object for a long period, one of the most central formation objects in formal education. Image plays a fundamental role in the rebuilding of the student’s conditions of permanence in the hybrid class and, consequently, in the development of the expected formative skills in the course of the different levels of formation.
Image: unity and body of the class
Photography as strctural basis of a complex integtrated HLE
Across the spectrum of images that makes up the hybrid class, photography is one integrant part of its instructional design and visual identity. However, the photography of the class adds to its image all the dynamics capable of provoking the immersion of the student in a virtual reality that emulates the experience of face-to-face experience. As said by Claudio Marra, photography leads us to live in a world that is no more than representation, exploring the dichotomic relation between presentation x representation (Fotografia e pittura nel Novecento (e oltre), originaly in Italian, by Mondadori Ed., published in 2012). Photography is, therefore, the resource which provides us with the experience of structuring hypertextual learning environments coordinating the presentation of the real and its representation as a phenomenon of a class and a teacher who will always be ahead of him. In Laborat, photography is understood as a product and producer of context and this context is the hybrid class that merges into a complex system of hypertextual learning environments.
All types of photographic experiences are relevant for the structure of the mosaic of images, as well as presentation and representation effects in integrated hypertextual learning environments. This includes product or object photography, all styles and objectives of human photography, photo-documentary and historical, architecture and interiors, great perspectives, all kinds of photographs.
Presenting and representing: the allegory of an image-class
Photography properties as hybrid class strucure
Photography has the property of conducting the look of the one who reads it, exploring the objectification resources of the subject as in a game of seduction, warp on the ways of presenting or hiding saliences, forming or deforming contexts in perspective, showing or suggesting. Such property, which derives from the fusion between technique and expression – or, between presentation and representation – results of greatly interesting in the experiences developed in the Language and AAH Laboratory, because the dynamics of spectators gaze seduction suggest that it is a resource with potential to meet the question concerning student’s permanence and attention throughout the duration of the hybrid class. Therefore, it´s also interesting as a resource in the development of formative objectives related to the length of stay of the student in class.
The interaction between reader and photography has been yet analyzed from various points of view, since specific approaches of general Poetics dating from the mid-last century, with the pioneering works of Aesthetics of Perception and European aesthetics with names such as Luigi Pareyson. In photography, many works on the symbiotic identity of photography in relation to its reader, derived from contemporary readings of names such as Roland Barthes and Walter Benjamin, or from studies motivated in the psychoanalysis of Jacques Lakan and others. In the experiences developed in the laboratory, technical resources are explored as regulatory devices of the student’s permanence in class, especially regarding to their ability to guide the eyes that observe and follow the class in process.
The class as a process consists of the time chain of events that follow teacher’s performance, in his presence or at a distance. Currently, the experiences in development in the laboratory have been exploring the resources of the photography of the class for the emulation of student’s gaze in a classroom, in search of a definition for what can be defined as a dynamic photograph of the classroom. One of the aspects already under investigation is the use of the mapping of focal points and depth of field, with which a dynamic effect is obtained even on fixed tables such as the figure of a teacher in the classroom, using minimum technological resources.
Also concerning the demarcation of class temporal chain in coordination with student’s eyes, different resources have been explored in the laboratory, which can be used by the teacher himself in the introduction of visual markers. The following figure brings together time markers in dynamic photography contexts served in broadcasts by teleconference and the streaming channel.
Photography and Professors figuring
Figure, focus and permanence in class
Among all the resources of the photography of class, none has a greater impact on the student than the representation of the professor, not as a character, but as an author and active agent of the formation. There is a strong link of reliance between the professor and his student, within the framework of a presumed contract of someone who has the role of teaching and someone, that of learning. This reliance is inherent to the class in formal education. Experiments already carried out in the laboratory have found that the risk of loss of class attendance increases substantively every time the student loses direct contact with the figure of the teacher.
Professor’s photography is one of specific objects of ongoing investigations Language and AAH Laboratory. Considering professors figure, it´s important to investigate not only how to photograph, but also what to photograph in his figure and how to make it focal object throughout the dynamics of the class.
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