My wife's great-great grandfather remixed for narrative effect.
My wife’s great-great grandfather remixed for narrative effect.

I was putting together a presentation I am giving soon at the University of Edinburgh via Second Life. It is on multimodal composition in the Humanities via mobile technology, which as luck would have it is the subject of my thesis. Basically, I am discussing my thesis. If you are interested and happen to want to toy around in Second Life, please feel free to come. It is on February 20 from 7:30-9:00 PM. We can be found here in Second Life. I will be dressed as best as I virtually can

Presenting Meaning through Imagery: Stacking Complexity

As I was compiling the presentation conventionally enough in PowerPoint, I found myself removing all text and concentrating on clusters of images and icons to push along the narrative. I am also toying with icons acting as primers, signaling to the viewer what they are seeing or in what context they might consider seeing it. Without text or an applicable context, it will seem like gobbledegook (mostly). But I see a general inching towards storytelling of this kind. Not merely images as the prime conveyer of meaning, but imagery as a composite of text. It is a level of abstraction built over a complexity. Sounds>Letters>Words>Texts>Icons. One layer of complexity built on another. I think we are nearing that stage of cognitive evolution where the conceits and customs of our current meaning-making tools (writing, primarily) are insufficient to present such volume and such breadth of meaning. Or perhaps it is more a case that text isn’t the most efficient vehicle for that type of meaning.

I say this to my own chagrin as I love writing. I also say this fully aware of the irony involved in me presenting this to you as text.

So I created this presentation on my research. I used little iconic primers in the lower left corner of each. I toyed with assemblies and frames to present a meaning. Essentially, it tells the story of me and my journey from Ohio to here (physically and intellectually). It presents my research topic and the theory behind it. It presents how all of this started as a family history (my wife’s family and Seo Sang Don 서상돈) and morphed into presenting meaning in novel ways. It presents learning as sometimes purpose-driven and sometimes playful flânerie. Both, as the images hopefully suggest, excite and inspire me.

The presentation is below. I also included some of the individual collages from the presentation itself as they are significant onto to themselves. A presentation made up of collages made up of individual images. Complexity layered on itself. I have collected some of the collages used in the presentation on my Flickr account.

[slideshare id=16310681&w=550&h=425&sc=no]

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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