Points of Viewing Children's Thinking
Psychology Press – 1997 – 304 pages
This book is about learning and ethnography in the context of technologies. Simultaneously, it portrays young people's "thinking attitudes" in computer-based learning environments, and it describes how the practice of ethnography is changing in a digital world. The author likens this form of interaction to "the double helix," where learning and ethnography are intertwined to tell an emergent story about partnerships with technology. Two school computer cultures were videotaped for this study. Separated not only by geography -- one school is on the east coast of New England and the other on the west coast of British Columbia on Vancouver Island -- they are also separated in other ways: ethnic make-up and inner-city vs. rural settings to name only two. Yet these two schools are joined by a strong thread: a change in their respective cultures with the advent of intensive computer-use on the part of the students. Both school communities have watched their young people gain literacy and competence, and their tools have changed from pen to computer, video camera, multimedia and the Internet. Perhaps most striking is that the way they think of themselves as learners has also changed: they see themselves as an active participant, in the pilot's seat or director's chair, as they chart new connections between diverse and often unpredictable worlds of knowledge.
"…an innovative and multifaceted scholarly work. This book demands attention; Goldman-Segall has defined a space in which new and exciting images of children's thinking and epistemological emancipation can be examined. She eloquently describes a fundamental cultural and pedagogical shift occurring in education through contrasting two schools separated by distance and time….Goldman-Segall has produced a sound work of sufficient depth and scope to engage and sustain the interest of readers across disciplines. Her book will appeal to academics, researchers, and post-secondary students interested in digital ethnography, children's thinking, integrating technology into teaching and learning, and educational reform. They will find this multilayered book seductive and challenging, as will techno-savvy schoolteachers and parents."
—Canadian Journal of Education
"This book makes a very significant contribution to discussions about the mediational role of modern technologies such as digital tools in the cultures of research and school communities. Ricki Goldman-Segall is one of the first researchers to use digital media as a tool for ethnographic research and communication of children's thinking. It works well in that it makes clear to others the richness and excitement of children's minds. This book will be of interest to researchers in the area of media and culture and educational researchers who are actively concerned in the ways in which new technologies can assist us to gain a clearer insight into the ways in which children think and learn."
—International Electronic Journal for Leadership in Learning
"Goldman-Segall's unique contribution involves not only her expanded understanding of the potential role of multimedia in cognition and learning but also her highly innovative use of technology in the creation of her book and accompanying Web site. This is a highly innovative work that represents a precedent setting study in the field and suggests not only some of the new models of technology and education but also some of the new models of scholarship and writing we will increasingly see in the future."
"This fascinating book is written for a scholarly audience and should quickly find a home in graduate courses dealing with instructional technology, anthropology, or educational research methods."
"Ricki Goldman-Segall's book is a gem. It is, without doubt, my 'education book of 1998'….From start to finish, the book fascinates. It is not only Goldman-Segall's multilayered and analytic description of the children's developing confidence with digital technology which pulls in the reader, but her detailed and rigorous consideration of the power dynamics of classrooms and how they work in two very different schools….This is a book that expanded my thinking about the possiblities of children and digital technology. I would recommend it to anyone interested in children's thinking and their 'points of viewing'."
—British Educational Research Journal
"Ricki Goldman-Segall's book affords one of those rare experiences of thoughtfulness infused with feeling, causing us to care for the young people she portrays even as we come to understand through this book how they are putting the world together, and how our best researchers into youthful learning -- and this writer is surely one of the best -- are finding new ways of inquiring into the complexity of that learning. Goldman-Segall's breakthrough integration of text and website exemplifies the intellectual adventure that she offers with this engaging and artful journey into what we can learn from the meeting of children and scholars amid new and old technologies."
University of British Columbia
"Ricki Goldman-Segall has developed a new means of making manifest to others the richness and excitement of the minds of children. She does this through a unique methodology that draws from a literature ranging from Ivan Illich to Clifford Geertz and on a marvelous sensitivity that has been cultivated by contact with film-makers as much as with more formal social scientists. Ricki is probably the first researcher to use digital media as a tool for ethnographic research and communication of children's thinking. She will not be the last."
MIT Media Laboratory
Contents: Preface. Introduction: Pentimento: Patners for Reflection and Construction of Culture Points of Viewing.