Posts Tagged Bayne
This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series weekly summaries

ff7_dc_lifestream05

I began my lifestream with a sense that I would be saving ephemera.  In my early blog posts I played with the ‘why?’ of the activity.  Was I creating commonplace book, a scrapbook of nostalgia, the virtual clippings and travel stubs to remind me of my journey? Or a bower bird, attracting a mate?  If so who was I flirting with – my tutor, my classmates or a wider public?

As the course progressed and the group bonded we looked more seriously at our role, were we curators creating our own cabinet of curiosities or wunderkammer.  I enjoyed Jen and Tony’s discussion, particularly Tony’s articulation of his concerns, in that it set the collector apart from the collection, not with appropriate academic detachment but a tinge of imperialistic superiority.  This was further explored in the ethnography project – should we observe, or engage?  Here I began to see the emergence of a more useful position on lifestreaming: as a record of engagement.  Much of the internet is ephemeral – I don’t see the point in saving your tweets and Gordon Bell’s decision to digitally archive every detail of his life disturbs me. Yet the experience of creating a lifestream helped me understand how maintaining a selective record of your engagement is a very valuable academic or developmental act that has a performative value.

Interestingly the lifestream did not for me contribute to the social aspect of the course.  As a group we interacted well, but primarily through the blogs and Twitter.  I visited other students lifestreams initially to get a sense of which feeds they were using, but once I felt satisfied with the balance of my own feeds my visits to others’ pages was limited to their blogs.  For this reason lifestreaming for me was a personal act (albeit in a public space) which relieved me of having to worry about the appropriacy of what I was selecting.  I chose to link not only websites, images and quotes directly relevant to my work, but also more tangential associations; blog posts which examined how the net and digital technology is changing who we are – social media’s contribution to the emergence of a posthuman population.

Finally, as I moved towards choosing the topic of a final assignment I looked out how disconcerting online spaces can be for both teachers and students.  In a Second Life talk Nik Peachey discussed how in a virtual world a teacher was often left wondering what their students were doing.  Were they paying attention or reading emails?

Usher (1998) talks of (dis)location:

a space and a non-space; a (dis)location – something that is both positioned and not positioned, (dis)placed but not re-placed, a diaspora space of hybridity and flows where one and many locations are simultaneously possible.

Similarly Bayne (forthcoming 2010) notes:

At the same time, the ontological blurring of being and not-being, presence and absence online, are crucial in considering how distance modes re-position the ‘thereness’ of learners and teachers, rendering us in a sense ghost‐like

The lifestream is a response to this enigma of absence/presence.  We become present through our streams.  This is why I noted that the act of selecting gained for me a performative value.  It represented my engagement.  Initially I was concerned with populating my lifestream in order to prove I existed (and was doing valuable work), but as I grew more comfortable with it I allowed it to give voice to my absence.  When mystified by Haraway (2000) I avoided the stream for a few days  as a way of expressing my confusion and need to retreat and resolve myself as a learner.  Similarly, I allowed myself to be playful – to add threads of whimsy: my personal skepticism towards the skill of multi-tasking for instance.

In this way my lifestream became another form of embodiment, and presumably a way for my tutor to gauge my presence and engagement in a non-threatening way.  It gave a little solidity to my phantom self as I haunted our virtual spaces.

Bayne, S. (forthcoming, March 2010). Academetron, automaton, phantom: uncanny digital pedagogies. London Review of Education. [revised version uploaded 10 November 09]

Haraway, D. (2000). A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late 20th Century. in D Bell and A Kennedy, The Cybercultures Reader. Routledge.

Usher, R. and Edwards, R. (1998). Lost and found: ‘cyberspace’ and the (dis)location of teaching, learning and research. SCUTREA 1998, Exeter.

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This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series weekly summaries

uncanny

Our new pedagogies may be uncanny but it was with a sigh of relief I returned to the familiar realm of education.  The jaunt through cultural studies has been extremely interesting, but I was getting a little lost without a peg to hang it all on.  It was the readings for this block (especially Bayne and Usher) that made everything fit into place.

I understand the dislocation of online learning, and it is the strangeness that draws me.  I find it liberating – the lack of fixed rules that melt away with the disappearance of classroom walls and chalkboards.  I am interested how this uncanny nature disconcerts some and exhilarates others.  I have never been convinced the the native / immigrant divide that we explored way back in the days of IDEL – if it is that simple then why do I feel so at home in this virtual world, when I didn’t have an email address until my boss begged me to get one in 1997 (the same guy who took me shopping to buy my first computer in 2000 – I think he knew I would never get my Dip TESOL finished without one)?  As I was pondering these issues I kept coming back to Bayne’s paper on smooth and striated learning spaces, which we studied in the Course Design module.  Maybe a posthuman student (and indeed teacher) must be a little in love with chaos, and strange learning.  We have to get comfortable with alternate democratic sources of knowledge.  I remember when it was announced (on the internet of course) that Wikipedia was as reliable as the Encyclopedia Britannica – I have no idea if it was true and no intention of researching it’s veracity – other than googling it (here, see? 2005 – it must be EVEN more accurate now) but I got a thrill of smug vindication when I first read it.  Maybe this is what makes us cyborgs – becoming posthuman is a leap of faith, not technology.

Bayne, S. (2004). Smoothness and striation in digital learning spaces. E-learning 1(2): pp. 302-316.

Bayne, S. (forthcoming, March 2010). Academetron, automaton, phantom: uncanny digital pedagogies. London Review of Education. [revised version uploaded 10 November 09]

Usher, R. and Edwards, R. (1998). Lost and found: ‘cyberspace’ and the (dis)location of teaching, learning and research. SCUTREA 1998, Exeter.