Don Krug collaborates with teachers (K-16) in formal and informal settings to conduct research and create virtual social media spaces. His research examines relationships of education and technologies within the contexts of emerging forms of pedagogy (learning, literacies, teaching), curriculum, cognition, leadership, technologies, social media, and professional learning communities.
Don Krug’s scholarship reaches across dimensions of interdisciplinarity in academia, investigating the complexity of the arts and sciences that include the interplay of social and ecological justice and critical curricular, pedagogical, and knowledge integration. His research articulates linkages within complex webs of relationships that include the study of aesthetics (representation, communication, and values), ecologies/cultures (identity, place, diversity, sustainability, and social justice), and information and communication technologies (analogue and digital media) and formal, informal, and virtual educational settings (face-to-face, hybrid, and distributive). More specifically, he is committed to conducting and interpreting theoretically robust research that is critical of important social, cultural, technological and ecological issues but is represented through communication practices that are pragmatic, meaningful and relevant in undergraduate studies, teacher education, continuing professional education and graduate studies.
In 2007, Dr. Krug established the iTEC lab (integrating Technologies through Education and Cultures) in EDCP to critically examine the pervasive and emergent conditions of social media, technology literacies, information and communication technologies (ICT) practices, and ICT integration in K-16 education. In K-12 and higher education, the integration of ICT is still not a reality within most BC private and public schools. There are some districts that have been successful in using ICT within certain situations. However, most educators still do not feel comfortable, confident or have they received adequate continuing professional education to adapt their pedagogy and curriculum to using ICT learning activities in their particular teaching contexts. Teacher education programs are also struggling to provide cohesive ICT leadership for teacher candidates, course instructors, faculty advisors, sponsor teachers, and school administration.
As the coordinator of the Digital Learning and Curriculum (DLC) cohort in EDCP, Dr. Krug collaborates with colleagues (Dr. Stephen Petrina, EDCP; Dr. Shawna Faber, ECPS); Graduate Research Associates (Khadija, Ghaza, Centre for Digital Media; Mahtab Eskandari, EDCP; Madalina Wierzbicki, Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program; Ashley Shaw, EDCP) to teach and conduct research within a cohort of twenty-one K-12 teachers from across the lower mainland in BC who are completing the two-year Technology Studies Education (TSED) M.Ed. program. These teachers are examining conceptual, ethical, and practical issues of pedagogical, technological, and content knowledge associated with using ICT in their specific teaching situations. The DLC cohort members are seeking to develop better understandings of what they already know and they are striving to enhance their knowledge specifically about learning and curriculum as mediated through and with the use of digital technologies.
In 2005-2006, Dr. Krug began a pilot study called the “Seeds of Possibility: Integrating Information and Communication Technologies through the Two-Year Elementary Teacher Education Program.” This research was initiated through a partnership with the Deans Office and the Teacher Education Office and examined how teacher candidates acquire technology literacies as they progress through the TEP. The “Seed’s Program” was completely voluntary and served over 200 teacher candidates, 60 faculty, instructors, and sponsor teachers, and 15 graduate students from across the faculty.
Based on this pilot study, from 2007-2010 Dr. Krug conducted the SSRHC sponsored “Seeds of Possibility: Mentoring K-12 Teachers ICT Ecologies of Cognition” research project (Co-investigators: Stephen Petrina, EDCP; Bruno Zumbo, ECPS; Valerie Irvine, UVic), (GRAs: Jenny Arntzen; Bonnie Wen). The purpose of this research was to examine if beginning teachers’ could study their own evolving ICT knowledge and practices as a means to increase their ICT pedagogical self-efficacy and leadership in classroom situations. This three-year study was conducted over the teacher candidates two-year TEP and their first induction year. Our research team found that by developing reciprocal mentoring relationships with eight teacher candidate researchers (TCR), they were able to share their ICT pedagogical and curricular knowledge toward helping themselves, their peers, and in most cases their sponsor teachers. The research results suggest teacher candidates will learn to acquire and use ICT if the TEP provides both stand-alone ICT courses and articulates a relational programmatic ICT curricular organization.
An ongoing passion of Dr. Krug’s is studying the intersections of education, ecologies, cultures, aesthetics, social media and activism (social justice). He examines social media communication practices across academic, popular, aesthetic, and scientific discourses about sustainability and the world we live in. For example he examined critically the 2006 Dow Human Element ad campaign and some of the social justice issues of ecology as mobilized through media convergence. Media convergence has increased in the past ten years as broadcast and digital media have been integrated in unique and unusual ways.
This research showed how the Dow Hu (Human) Element ad campaign was used to (re)present a corporate identity through media to promote hidden social, political, aesthetic, and ecological issues. But social media activist have countered these kinds of communication practices using remediation, a process whereby contemporary media (i.e., digital media, virtual reality and the Internet) appropriates and refashions earlier media (i.e., painting, photography, television, and film). Before Dow unveiled its Human Element campaign, The Yes Men performed the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) hoax. It was in response to Dow’s outright denial of any responsibility concerning their subsidiary Union Carbide Corporation (UCC). It coincided with the 20th anniversary of the UCC chemical disaster in Bhopal.
Satinath Sarangi (2002) wrote, “On the night of December 2-3, 1984 the chemical disaster at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, left a half million people surrounded by deadly poison clouds while they slept. The disaster killed more than 8,000 people in its immediate wake (Morehouse and Subramaniam, 1985). The death toll today is well over 20,000 and rising (Dinham, 2002), with over 30 survivors dying every month (Madhya Pradesh Government, 2001). Today, well over 120,000 survivors are in desperate need of medical attention for chronic exposure-induced diseases (Dinham, 2002), including breathlessness, persistent cough, early-age cataracts, loss of appetite, menstrual irregularities, recurrent fever, back and body aches, loss of sensation in limbs, fatigue, weakness, anxiety, and depression. Thousands of families are on the brink of starvation because the breadwinners are dead or too sick to work.” Various points of view regarding misinformation can be easily published and distributed through digital media and the Internet.
The BBC contacted The Yes Men through their imitation Dow webspace (http://www.dowethics.com), not realizing it was fake. The Yes Men invented Jude Finisterra, aka Andy Bichlbaum to act as a Dow spokesperson and hinted to the BBC that he had an important announcement to make during the broadcast. On December 3, 2004, Finisterra, appeared on the BBC and claimed that Dow “takes full responsibility for the very real Bhopal tragedy of December 3, 1984.” He also claimed Dow established a $12 billion fund to compensate victim’s families and survivors of the disaster. [i] The hoax garnered world-wide attention to Dow’s negligence in Bhopal, where a contaminated industrial site remains derelict, and the health issues of the disaster continue to plague both survivors and current residence. As a result of the BBC interview, Dow’s stock price dropped and they had to publicly deny that any funds or other resources were allocated to help in Bhopal. From this inquiry, again we learned why Dow invested so much time and money into its new ad campaign.
The Dow — Chemical Company on the Global Playground (dowethics.com) webspace [ii] was also created by The Yes Men. It imitated the Dow webspace layout, graphics, colour scheme and fonts and included Dow’s logo. Dow press releases were juxtaposed with subversive documentation and transgressive innuendo. For example, “We understand the anger and hurt,” Dow spokesperson Bob Questra said and arrogantly added, “But Dow does not and cannot acknowledge responsibility. If we did, not only would we be required to expend many billions of dollars on cleanup and compensation—much worse, the public could then point to Dow as a precedent in other big cases. ‘They took responsibility; why can’t you?’ Amoco, BP, Shell, and Exxon all have ongoing problems that would just get much worse. We are unable to set this precedent for ourselves and the industry, much as we would like to see the issue resolved in a humane and satisfying way.” [iii] On the first page of the webspace, a satirical tagline read, “Did you know… Dow is responsible for the birth of the modern environmental movement. The 1962 book Silent Spring, about the side-effects of DDT, a Dow product, led to the birth of many of today’s environmental action groups.”[iv] Obviously, Dow does not claim this accomplishment. This research articulated relationships among three aspects of digital media (representing, remixing, and remediation) and five web-based examples to give a sense of the complexity of conception, production, and distribution taking place through digital media in relation to issues of social and ecological justice and education.
Don Krug traces contemporary activist communication practices related to the arts and sciences and trajectories of interdisciplinary work concerned with ecological sustainability and restoration. In 1998 he formed a professional learning community (PLC), the ecoartnetwork, with internationally recognized ecological artists, scientists, curators, environmentalists, etc. This PLC social media space provides a global forum for members to mobilize ecological knowledge and to discuss issues concerning the practices, ideas, and information pertinent to social and ecological justice. It has since expanded into one of the largest active international online social media space dedicated to the practice(s) of ecology and aesthetics. Membership encompasses people from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, and North America.
Krug, D. & Arntzen, J. (2010). Articulation(s) of Culture(s): Mobilizing Knowledge, Ecological Justice, and Media Convergence. In Fay Sudweeks, Herbert Hrachovec, Charles Ess, (Eds.). Seventh Annual Conference on Cultural Attitudes Toward Technology and Communication. (pp. 263-276).
[i] See video at: http://www.spike.com/video/yes-mens-dow-apology/2658655)
[ii] Retrieved from http://www.theyesmen.org/hijinks/bbcbhopal on January 12, 2009
[iii] Retrieved from http://www.dowethics.com/ on December 6, 2009
[iv] Retrieved from http://www.dowethics.com/ on December 6, 2009