Why Hypertextuality Matters

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

Without cutting to deeply into definitions, let’s stiupulate that hypertextuality is about making connections, linking one thing to another thing. How can be left to the creative problem solver.

Let’s also stipulate that good teaching is at heart a creative act. Good teaching is about creating the opportunity for learning to happen. Lot’s of people can learn how to work with layers in Photoshop. Lots of people can learn how to create a link from one space to another in Storyspace. I submit that how and what to link can’t be taught, but it can be learned. It may be a good thing to provide examples of excellence with Photoshop and Storyspace; but what I can’t do is teach a person what to do with those examples in terms of their own decision making. Provide a poet with Donne’s Valediction Forbidding Mourning and the poet will have experienced an example. But I can’t teach someone to write a poem with similar aesthetic and technical virtuosity. They have to do that themselves. What I can do is provide an environment for a peoson to work through their own decisions. The teacher, whatever teacher, cannot “think for” another person. The boss can’t write the program for the programmer; nor can the boss solve the problem that got things started in the first place. That’s the programmer’s job.

One response to “Why Hypertextuality Matters”

  1. Christopher says:

    Teaching is about telling the story. Yes, I agree that a teacher creates an opportunity for learning. A large part of that (especially for a history teacher) is telling the story in such a way that the students start to learn without even realizing they are. Their interest in the material then encourages them to take an active part and learn more.

    I’ve been doing observations recently and I’ve seen some good storytellers and some who can’t hold the interest of the students. I hope to engage my future students.