Week 10 – Back in the loop

This week I concentrated on the course readings in preparation for the tutorial on Skype on the Wednesday of the week. Interestingly there is no way to properly represent the Skype tutorial – which was really useful for talking through some of the post human, critical and uncanny views – in my lifestream so this is probably the one reference you’ll see to it in the form of an additional reading:

  • Shared New Mappings Hauntologies. — 11:00pm via Delicious

And three podcasts that I listened to again when reading about the idea of absence, presence and cyborgism as the podcasts relate to notions of consciousness and self-awareness, of the body as a type of mystical machine:

  • Shared WNYC - Radiolab: Who Am I? (February 04, 2005). — 2:50am via Delicious

  • Shared WNYC - Radiolab: Where Am I? (October 09, 2007). — 2:50am via Delicious

  • Shared WNYC - Radiolab: Memory and Forgetting (June 08, 2007). — 2:49am via Delicious

Also the much more visceral Tetsuo Man – human literally turning to machine – came to mind in this weeks preparation:

  • Shared YouTube – Tetsuo: The Iron Man trailer. — 2:46am via Delicious

But, in fact, many of my notes and collecting for this course are hard to represent here in true “commonplacing” style because, although I do most of my collecting online, I still take quite a lot of notes on paper, particularly on the readings (although you can just about see my camera cord as well!):


I also do some hybrid reading/activity marking up paper copies and notes whilst reading/watching or getting my computer to read me material I’m interested in. That mixture of tangible and virtual is often the easiest way to both take in information and (via a finite number of pieces of paper!) trigger myself to retrieve those thoughts later on. In fact I rarely do more than glance at hand written notes but the physical experience of writing them, where they are on the page, when I remember making them, etc. all enable me to recall information better than a screen that looks the same (or almost the same) each visit. There are digital annotation tools but you can’t embed weird environmental aspects – annotations at all angles, in many pen colours, marks from cups or food (gross but memorable aspects in any marked up page) – that aid memory. I find sound – whether screen-readings of text or unrelated audio also give me a sense of time and place to add to my memory of new information so that I can mentally retrieve ideas more easily and so that I can recall context and the original ideas and thoughts triggered, hence:

  • Drinking chai, getting my screen-reader to help me do readings for #ededc (dulcet robot tones push my reading speed way up!) & pondering bed [suchprettyeyes] — 12:04am via Twitter

This week I’ve also been up to some non-online stuff – wracking my mind for my preferred topic for the digital essay assignment – and then sharing thoughts as I go via Twitter:

  • Food for thought for tonights #ededc and the critical/posthuman view. The net rewires how we think… for the better: http://bit.ly/5uVmpU [suchprettyeyes] — 5:34pm via Twitter

  • @jar thanks ;) Will whip some ideas into better shape for then! :D [suchprettyeyes] — 2:35pm via Twitter

I also hoped to – but wasn’t able to in the end – view the virtual graduations of MSc in e-Learning colleagues via the Virtual University of Edinburgh.

  • Shared Graduates virtually guaranteed a day to remember | 4TM Services for Tourism.— 1:02am via Delicious

  • Delighted to see MSc in elearning virtual graduation getting pimped up on BBC: http://bit.ly/4mUBj8 #ededc #mscidel etc. [suchprettyeyes] — 11:27am via Twitter

Although it wasn’t quite as pioneering there was another interesting culture and technology story getting a lot of press coverage: Desert Island Discs – long running Radio 4 interview show with a twist – emerged as a podcast with Morissey the first guest to become downloadable as an MP3:

  • DID is now a podcast which is as exciting as Mr M’s app RT @media_guardian: Mellow Morissey picks Desert Island Discs http://bit.ly/7j0VTM [suchprettyeyes] — 5:38pm via Twitter

Podcasting certainly isn’t news but the novel aspect of Desert Island Disc being a podcast is that it is one of the most mainstream of Radio 4’s shows to get the treatment and hits some interesting legal boundaries: the show itself is a licensed format (“from an original idea by Roy Plomley”) which was only added to Listen Again this year after discussions with Plomley’s estate; and because the show uses music it also has to grapple with licensing costs/issues it has now been released with reduced music clips (under 30 seconds per clip) to bi-pass the potential legal problems and/or avoid the high music rights costs associated with the number of downloads a BBC podcast is likely to receive. Payment for content, and business models in general, are becoming increasingly important as most web services do not charge for content but few attract sufficient advertising to fully pay for costs. The most high profile commercial case lately has been the fight between Rupert Murdoch and Google over the indexing of original content in News International’s publications:

  • Shared Twitter chief to Murdoch: paying for internet content will not work | Technology | The Guardian.— 5:35pm via Delicious

  • Shared Bing Tries To Buy The News. — 12:59pm via Delicious

Although this case is about who makes money online from content there is also the issue of whether anyone is making any income/offsetting costs of original content. Indeed one of the recurring calls for donations on NPR shows revolves around publicising the costs associated with providing infrastructure for podcasts relying on a direct relationship with audiences. It’s a move that suggests – along with calls for user generated content, comment and participation – a shift towards more open and equal relationships between creator and audience:

  • Shared BBC News – Social media ‘could transform public services’.— 9:45pm via Delicious
    The NHS and other public services must re-organise themselves around the needs of users, say social media activists.

  • Shared Ask the former head of the WTO anything – Boing Boing. - 5:54pm via Delicious

  • Shared BBC NEWS | Scotland | Highlands and Islands | Gaelic TV channel being reviewed.— 4:26pm via Delicious

Although this week I was reminded of the insidious power of making the audience the star in this strange This American Life animation:

  • Shared “People act different behind cameras”: strangely disturbing cartoon – Ewan McIntosh | Digital Media & Education.— 5:42pm via Delicious
    Via Graham Linehans blog and Techcrunch is This American Life examining our attitudes to censorship, citizen journalism and how people change when they’re behind a camera.

And I may have been a rather gullible participant/audience member in taking part in what seems to be a study (with involvement from the University of Kent) – indeed a work of digital anthropology – but is very much presented on the Talk Talk website as a sort of advertorial “What Tribe are You” quiz. The downloadable report is a little better:

  • TalkTalk anthropology work on digital tribes (old news but new to me ;) . #ededc. http://bit.ly/3XOeqO [suchprettyeyes]— 3:35pm via Twitter

I found out that I was Digital Extrovert btw. Here’s how the study broke down the tribes:

Talk Talk Tribes

But it could all be one of the rash of somewhat dubious (social) science studies designed to market brands as legitimised by research :

  • Shared BBC NEWS | Programmes | More Or Less | Junk maths. — 4:36pm via Delicious

According to a piece I read in the Independent this week that 10+ hours of internet a day and endless over-sharing that makes me a Digital Extrovert may mean good things for my brain (in contrast to the press items about Susan Greenfield was making earlier this year):

  • Shared What the web is teaching our brains – Features, Health & Families – The Independent.— 5:35pm via Delicious

On a related note I was tweeted a video about groups, networks and both technology and in person teaching practice – it relates to the ideas of social networking and tools and ideas about pedagogies for classes and groups of students. It’s a mash up of comments on line and in person at the 2008 Connectivism and Connective Knowledge conference (CCK08):

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This week I did also find a worrying piece, however, about how absorbing computer games can be – I found this fascinating and again it seemed to link back to the idea of being fleetingly absent and present in online and offline space (although here online is digital but not necessarily networked). The relationship between the virtual, the physical and the emotional seemed fascinating here:

  • Shared Advisor: My husband has a virtual girlfriend – Boing Boing. — 1:00am via Delicious

And there have been some interesting petitions emerging this week as those with a close emotional and personal investment in the web protest against proposed changes to cut down on illegal file sharing activities with a zero tolerance 3 Strikes And You’re Out policy that would see the internet being disconnected from offending households. In UK law there are special provisions to ensure that water, electricity and gas cannot be cut off from homes even when bills are unpaid to ensure the well-being of residents, it seems that we are increasingly in a world where the internet may be added to this list of vital utilities for participation in modern democracy which would certainly make the proposed rule changes look draconian and in the interests only of those perusing income from rights fees:

  • Shared Britain’s new Internet law — as bad as everyone’s been saying, and worse. Much, much worse. – Boing Boing. — 4:37pm via Delicious

  • Shared Pirate Party UK – Blog – Questions for Lord Mandelson. — 4:32pm via Delicious

As I am not only working on this module but also getting myself organised for the next module – which will be Digital Game Based Learning – by keeping an eye out for digital gaming/culture crossover articles:

  • Shared BBC NEWS | Business | Playfish hooked by EA for 170m. — 1:53pm via Delicious

  • Shared Learning Games. — 1:07pm via Delicious

  • Shared A farewell to SLEx – Eloise’s thoughts and fancies. — 1:04pm via Delicious

  • Shared OER in Games, Sims and Virtual Worlds Learning Games. — 1:03pm via Delicious

Work also regularly overlaps with my lifestream since everything I do is digital these days. Two links I thought were particularly interesting this week were a presentation on visualisation which I saw recently and has now been posted to the web:

  • Shared giCentre presentation at Edina, November 2009. — 6:13pm via Delicious

Here the visualisations are used in interactive and informational ways which highlight something surprisingly new to the web – the power of the visual. Although graphic design has been important on websites for years it is interesting to see graphic design mix with mash-ups and programming on data to build powerful infographics – a corner of design previously used almost exclusively in television news/production and textbooks but increasingly emerging as a useful and widely used method of discovering information. However there are good and bad infographics and well scaled interactive examples – as featured in the link above – give a great ideas of how visualisation can be used in more demanding educational or research contexts.

I am almost coming to a close here but I did want to flag up an interesting logo I spotted and followed links to this week:

  • Shared Green Certified Site | CO2Stats. — 12:06pm via Delicious

This is a site which will calculate the CO2 impact of a website automatically (it’s not exactly clear how) and allows you to display and offset this through regular payment of carbon offsetting fees. I flag this up mainly as so-called Green IT is becoming a key issue particularly for educational and public sector organisations. For now there is a persistent perception that the internet is clean and non polluting as, unlike technology such as the petrol engine of a car, the sense of pollution is far removed from the physical experience. Politically the issue of access to the internet seems to continue to be seen as a priority in improving educational achievement, and environmental issues are a clear priority (especially when events like the Copenhagen summit are destined to be such big news). I therefore wonder if raised awareness of the environmental impact of data centres, charging ubiquitous devices, etc. and the apparent emergent trend of those not using the internet (a major group within non-internet users in this years Oxford Internet Survey) will gel into a social and political movement. Digital exclusion offers some tricky challenges but as that becomes more and more about personal choice rather than cost and/or opportunity there will be more difficult social issues raised about what access does or does not mean for participation in democracy, culture, education etc.

Finally, I thought I’d finish this week on something much more frivolous though it also illustrates both some of the first films we saw in this module, some of the vibrant fan culture work I saw in my digital ethnography, and the versatility of Danish construction toys (which I’ve also recently been buying for young nephews and nieces):

  • Shared The Matrix in LEGO – Boing Boing. — 1:08am via Delicious

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