End of Lifestream Summary

The lifestreaming process was an interesting one and the concept was something new to me.  I have kept blogs before for assessment purposes but the idea of collecting all related content on course themes together was a useful one.  I didn’t run with the idea of adding content from lots of different areas of online communication to the lifestream simply because I don’t really use an awful lot.  I liked the idea of being able to add content to Flickr and have that appear in my lifestream, but worries about copyright prevented me.  For instance, if I found someone else’s image summed up or represented well something I had been thinking about I can’t have it appear in my lifestream without their permission.  After all, it would not have been my work.  Although I did link to some YouTube videos.  Through the process I found my digital life to be more that of a receiver/collector of information rather than a producer/collaborator.

My lifestream mainly consisted of blog postings, items tagged using delicious and twitter updates.  Occasionally there were also comments I made to other people’s blog postings.  The lifestream became something of a chore and I felt that sometimes I was posting things to it ‘just because’ and towards the end it mainly became a content holder for items I’d tagged in delicious around various course themes.  To start with my weekly summaries were reflections on my engagement with course themes, but my mid-way feedback from my tutor suggested I was doing the wrong thing and I should really be posting a summary of the items that made up my lifestream for the week.  This seems to be a reflection on the volatility of the media we have been using for the course – some bits may have gone missing over the course of the twelve weeks and therefore ineligible to count towards an assessed piece of work.  At times the technology itself was a little bit frustrating, as although I always add descriptions to items tagged in delicious, they have not come through to my lifestream, meaning I am left with uncontextualised links.  The metadata is nearly always a highlighted section of the article I found which in turn gives more meaning to why I tagged it, but for whatever reason this metadata didn’t ever show up even though I had the stream set up to ‘show full description for events’.  A search for the tag ‘edc’ in my delicious account shows fuller metadata (http://delicious.com/tozzle/edc).

In conclusion, the lifestream appears to be an ideal way of presenting a collection of digital research and goes beyond what is offered through a single tool.  I like the way the objects and artefacts collected are displayed in full (for instances images from Flickr are shown, videos form YouTube are displayed) and it’s not always necessary to leave the lifestream in order to get the point about why something was added.  I can see this being a useful tool for groups of learners to present their collective research on a topic.  For instance, if a group had to create a wiki on a particular theme and show in some way their collected research, a group lifestream (groupstream?) would be ideal as sources can be added as an ongoing process, providing evidence of the work a group of students have been doing as they progress through a project.

Week Eleven Roundup

This week’s lifestream activity mainly revolved around my essay planning, and collecting information about edupunks using delicious.

There was also a comment on Tracy’s blog posting about Aimee Mullin’s guest spot on Gizmodo’s This Cyborg Life theme.

Week Ten Roundup

Lifestream this week comprises a link to a BBC news story about SecondLife (what happened to it?), articles tagged in delicious re skunkworks and education, although I think this was mainly a time consuming wild goose chase, and a BBC article about how social media could transform public services – “You are the future of public services not .gov.uk.” (Tom Loosemore, head of 4iP, Channel 4’s Innovation fund).  Read Usher and Bayne and was signposted off to an article by Gray Kochhar-Lindgren (which he was kind enough to email me) that I think might be useful for my final essay.  Posted a link to delicious for his homepage.  And made a blog entry on Usher and his conflicting thoughts about learner-centered and humanistic pedagogies.

Usher and humanistic pedagogy.

Page 4.

What is not “purpose driven” about “externally imposed meta-goals”? To me it seems that it doesn’t matter where the goals come from if an activity is to be purpose driven. He argues, drawing on Lankshear et al (1996) that learner-centered pedagogies, or this particular variety of, are different from humanistic experiential pedagogies, for the reason given above and because the pedagogy is self directed. Then in the last two sentences of the paragraph I refer to describes two essential tenets of humanist education: reconfiguring of the teacher-student relationship; and availability of information through cyberspace.

The only real difference that I can ascertain is the information being available through cyberspace rather than “meatspace” (just looked up the opposite of cyberspace and came up with this rather unlovely term).

There is a purpose to both learner-centered and humanist pedagodies (as juxtaposed by Usher). The teacher-student relationship is changed in both pedagogies. Information is sought on an ‘as required and in the direction I’m going’ basis. Without an overall purpose there would be no pedagogy, would there? Maybe the emphasis in Usher’s statement is on the word ‘experiential’. Humanistic experiential pedagogy. Making meaning through direct experience in a humanistic way. But again, how is that so different from doing the same in a learner-centered way? Maybe the difference is in the presence/absence of the teacher? But by using the word pedagogy Usher still imples teacher presence of some kind for both of the methodologies he proposes. There appears to be no real difference at all.

Week Nine Roundup

Shared a BBC article about the dawning of the age of cyber warfare via delicious. That was it for week nine.

Week Eight Roundup

This week’s lifestream activity mainly centred around cyborgs and posthumanism, having read Harraway and Hayles. Found some interesting videos on youtube and posted them to my blog. Found a really disturbing video about a dog (didn’t post it) and that started me thinking about the science becoming cyborg. Twittered a bit too – again on cyborgs and posthumanism, specifically the question about whether posthumanism extends after death.

Future Shock

…a chemistry professor recently stated that he couldn’t pass todays examinations because at least two thirds of the questions require knowledge that didn’t even exist when he graduated from Oxford in the early 30s…
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The shocking truth of being cyborg

Having done a little bit of YouTubing this afternoon on the themes of posthuman and cyborg it’s really hit home how disturbing the concept of cyborg really is. I’m not talking about the Haraway vision or of the glossy media examples, but the process behind getting from human to cyborg – the experiments and the failures. I’m not anti-science by any means and fully realise that research and experimentation is crucial in gaining scientific advances, but for the most part that’s something that’s hidden. We celebrate the successes and give little thought to how the ‘miracle’ was realised.

Have a look at this article here. (It’s a bit small and you’ll either need to zoom in or squint a lot…).  Fantastic!!  We’ve got a small robot being controlled using the brain signals of a rat!!  Wow, where can I get a robot/body enhancement I can control with my own brain signals?  The article is illustrated by a brightly coloured picture of something techy looking – the picture could even be said to be smiling.  Huzzah for another breakthrough in cyborg science!

The thing here is the rat.  It’s depersonalised.  It’s no longer a rat.  It’s a disembodied provider of ‘brain signals’.  The article goes on to say how ‘neural interfacing techniques’ could be used in all sorts of good ways and *tadaaa* we’ve forgotten about the rat.  The rat is postrattus, but not through any choice of its own.

Kevin Warwick asks why would you not want to be a cyborg?  Afterall, everyone will be cyborg someday.  But at what cost?  How much are we prepared to pay?  How do we deal with the conflict between becoming cyborg and the things that are done in our names if we do?


On becoming a cyborg…

Interiew with Kevin Warwick of the University of Reading.

Kevin has carried out a series of pioneering experiments involving the neuro-surgical implantation of a device into the median nerves of his left arm in order to link his nervous system directly to a computer in order to assess the latest technology for use with the disabled. He has been successful with the first extra-sensory (ultrasonic) input for a human and with the first purely electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans. His research has been discussed by the US White House Presidential Council on BioEthics, The European Commission FTP and has led to him being widely referenced and featured in academic circles as well as appearing as cover stories in several magazines – e.g. Wired (USA), The Week (India).

…to remain human is to become part of a subspecies….

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Why fight ageing?

Do we have a choice in becoming cyborg?

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