The start of this course was the toughest part (so far, at least). Not having a single online “home” left me feeling a bit lost as evident in the earlier stages of the first page. Whilst finding my feet, and even beyond that, I resorted to what I knew: spending time (being frustrated) with the presentation layer, IFTTT, wordpress, pintrest et al, categorised as “meta”.
Progressing past that stage was important. Doing so focused in on Twitter, despite my initial misgivings, as it was most efficient at dealing with images, youtube, links. Using Twitter to get across my thoughts and (hopefully/sometimes) substantive points in less than 140 characters soon became a lesson in brevity. I’m sure this new experience will serve me well throughout the MSc and beyond.
Typically there were four stages to each of my posts: 1 – read it; 2 – post it; 3 – fix it; and 4 – tag it. It became a streamlined process. Engaging with the content this way forced me to digest the reading or videos, consider the author’s intent; look for hooks; review it; and consider merit and clarity in my postings on the matter as well as the presentation. What worked well through the weeks was specifically referencing the point from the reading alongside my comment. I might have done more of this to explicitly tie my thinking back to the readings. Although some of my favourite posts did not: Community and creativity; Flipped Classrooms and the one about technology building sausage machines in education. I was also inspired by virtual reality, in part thinking I would focus my digital essay on the subject (which did not come to pass), but also because it seems suitably cyberpunk.
The course’s community events such as TogetherTube and the hangouts were also of great benefit to hearing different paths towards understanding. With more time, I would have liked to do more reading of, and commenting on, other students’ blogs. When I did do that, it presented some new ideas or helped toward confirming my thoughts. Some blog discussions never really took off, so I continued to favour Twitter
The process and outcomes of creating the artefacts was satisfying. Looking back, I’m proud of each one.
We are not here to merely to learn by reading or watching, we are here to learn by creating, considering, comparing, critiquing and communicating. The lifestream is a document of our investigation in to issues surrounding culture, technology and education. The lifestream activity achieves that in a way that’s so different from traditional essay writing. I have learned to enjoy the lifestream process. Least of all because the activity directly represents elements of debate I have on a daily basis in my job at a university, the feedback from which motivated me further in my blog. So too did satisfaction from feedback from fellow students and the blog tutor.
The journey of this stream, as I keep reminding myself, is important to ensure I arrive somewhere. And as it started, so too does it end.