Professor, Educational Communication and Technology
"New media offers us a unique opportunity to change our perspectives by experiencing and validating other people's points of view, what I call the points of viewing theory."
Ricki Goldman is convinced new media can help us develop innovative responses to the world and its most important issues. "We are at a critical juncture where we need to see the world from different perspectives and to learn how to become global citizens" she says. "New media offers us a unique opportunity to change our perspectives by experiencing and validating other people's points of view, what I call the points of viewing theory."
As an educational digital video ethnographer, Goldman has devoted twenty years to establishing a new methodological approach for conducting educational research using video and online video analysis tools for making meaning of learning in rich mediated environments.
In her book, Points of Viewing Children's Thinking: A Digital Ethnographer's Journey (LEA, 1998) <http://www.pointsofviewing.com>, she demonstrated and began the process of laying the foundation for how video records aid the research and learning process.
"Working with middle-school students and their teachers on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, we conducted a three-year study of a local endangered rain forest. We went on field trips, interviewed loggers, fishers, environmentalists, and local towns people. Students and researchers videotaped their own learning process, becoming video ethnographers. Then, in my research lab, my design team built an interface for collaborative viewing, uploading, commentary, and analysis of the video clips called The Global Forest."
Goldman has led the design of seven different video analysis environments, starting with Learning Constellations, a tool that aided the evaluation of her video data in her advisor's (Seymour Papert) Logo Project in a Boston inner-city school. For her innovative digital ethnography with video analysis tools, she received her doctorate from the MIT Media Lab in 1990.
Goldman has just completed her second edited volume (Goldman, Pea, Barron, and Derry) that explicates these methodological innovations: Video Research in the Learning Sciences (LEA, in press). "This collection of essays by leading scholars in the learning sciences is perhaps the most comprehensive collection written by educational researchers using video. The section I edited explores the epistemological and ethnographic issues of using video as data. My cornerstone chapter examines how we can understand and also critique the nature of these new representational forms to improve our understanding of the learning process." This falls directly in line with much of Goldman's research, which demonstrates how video records provide educational researchers with insights into their theory building.
Goldman's current National Science Foundation research project is called "An Online Digital Video Tool for Community Memory." The idea is to study how her current video analysis tool called Orion™ advances community memory for conferences by enabling both attendees and virtual attendees to virtually participate before, during, and after a conference. She and her doctoral students are in the process of initiating the design study.
Goldman and colleague Jan Plass (she is co-director, with Plass, of CREATE - the Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technologies in Education, which Plass founded) are collaborating on the evaluation of an NSF supported study to study girls and games. The game, Rapunsel, was created by Mary Flanagan from Hunter College and Ken Perlin from the Computer Science Department here at NYU. The game encourages 6th grade girls to change their attitudes toward programming. "Girls and boys create dance moves for the characters in the game which they can then share with each other." Goldman points out that the girls are not just creating a dance, they are also learning to program as they design new dances.
Relatively new to NYU, she feels right at home. "The Steinhardt School has made a difference to how we understand media and technology, dating back to the seminal writings by Neil Postman and others who now continue to push the boundaries. At NYU, there is also an historical context to explore how media can be used as a tool and a partner to create shared perspectives on critical issues of social justice and diversity. The gates between NYU and the New York cultural, intellectual, and business community are open, even invisible. I like that kind of fluidity and elasticity as a base for thinking about the future of how learning will change in the context of advanced technologies."