Twelve weeks of being open and connecting in a network of learning “located in the connections and interactions between learners, teachers and resources” (J. Knox)
I started my EDC journey on the 5th of January with a tweet, since then my lifestream blog has seen 179 posts from a variety of tools with twitter being the easiest to incorporate into IFTTT and Media Hopper which was impossible to incorporate. During these 12 weeks, my lifestream blog has acted as a “proxy” for my learning experience to show my development in the topics of…
Culture – block 1
I grappled with trans and post-humanism, and I wouldn’t say I overcame but rather the learning continues, I did however really enjoy delving into the aspects of cyborg and the dystopian themes of sci-fi cultures. One of the learning lightbulbs for me in this block came about thanks to a catch up for those of us who missed the together tube film fun, we held out own catch up and one of my classmates commented on all the fear we were seeing in the films and how it was the opposite of how she felt about technology. My artefact on the duality of tech culture was born out of this fear versus promise moment. Unfortunately, the low light of this block for me was finally getting to see Blade Runner. It didn’t live up to the hype .
Community – block 2
We switched from culture to delve deeper into the community, the heart of culture. I found it really interesting to turn the reading of Kozinets and Lister onto my own experiences of being part of the blogging and youtube community and to put this learning into practise in both the netnography we were asked to complete and in my own netnography for fun where I looked a the youtube community I am part of.
Algorithms – block 3
Proved a meaty opportunity to jump into learning analytics and have fun with stats. WordPress, twitter and youtube were all examined and toyed with as I got my head around the big questions of use of analytics, both for good and with the possibility of misuse. The chaos of the tweetorial was fun, and even let me get my work colleagues involved in trying to help me keep up with the conversations in real time. Learning analytics is something I will take away with me and intend to study further.
In reviewing my lifestream for the last 12 weeks, I am happy to see my progress from the very tentative, shy steps of week one, to the exciting blog posts of week 10 and 11 where I am seeing things through different eyes. I stopped fighting IFTTT and let my blog happen organically, although it went against my very blogging soul, but even in that, I have learned. I learned about the use of a lifestream blog to track learning and in itself become a sort of learning analytic, a tool to show progress. I eventually learned that the objective of this exercise was not to produce a blog as such but to provide a record.
Not a wealth of variety for a week 11 summary as this week I haven’t really been on twitter etc so much but this has given me time to think about my final assignment and to read through some of the course materials from the previous blocks which were maybe a mistake as I uncovered so many interesting things I had forgotten about.
This last week also saw a real mix of thoughts from all the blocks of the course starting with algorithms in a different light. Instead of as learning analytics, as fun in a music video. I then dipped into the cyborg again with tales of Elon Musk. Week 11 gave me the chance to visit some of my classmates’ blogs again, which I don’t get the chance to do as often as I’d like, and it’s nice to have random chats on twitter just for fun.
Reviewing my own blog was fun as well, I originally thought about going back to try to fill any gaps I have missed, but instead found new thoughts on topics past, like on culture, my week 11 head saw things differently from the Eli of week 1.
A tweet from a friend also saw me take a look at sci-fi culture through a different lens and understand a little more of Harraway’s (2007) perspective and of course, the quiet has let me thing about my final assignment, panic about my final assignment, give in about my final assignment and back to the start.
With no set readings this week, it has been a thinking week, a week to go through our tweetorial with a fine-toothed comb and try to relate our learnings on algorithms and learning analytics to a real world scenario, chat to classmates about their experiences of our learning and its relation to their world and even the opportunity to consider how being a part of the MSCDE has become an important part of who I am.
As you can imagine, twitter is still very prominent this week as we chat about the tweetorial and its outcomes but the relevance fairy has also been delivering the perfect reading material this week letting me think about learning analytics in relation to my job and analytics in both the big powerhouses like Nasa and in our schools.
I’ve even found inspiration in some of my own photography this week as I think about digital education as a big picture and see the opportunities it creates for those who want the chance to set their own path as educators.
I’m looking forward to the next two weeks where I can really get my teeth stuck into some extracurricular reading and start thinking about the direction I’d like to take for my final assignment, do I want to push myself to develop my knowledge in an area where I feel my knowledge is weak or is there a particular area which I am interested in and would like to explore further, and that’s before I consider exactly how I will present this.
Let’s get rid of the elephant first, this week I did a lot of tidying up as the tweetorial took over my blog. Twitter dominated and it was messy, I can’t have disorder or mess. You can now read all the tweets in one nice, neat post.
Adventuring through classmates’ blogs this week also gave me a couple of smiles, Claire and I have a TV show in common and Renee found a brilliant infographic which I stole. I also enjoyed some recommended readings which tied into an article I shared from my pocket.
Youtube fun was to be had with a video talking about algorithms in the financial sector and how they are causing physical changes to our world and there was excitement as I had a play with IFTTT to try to show the potential pitfalls of humans interpreting algorithmic data. Then disappointment as it didn’t work but still a valuable thought. I pinned a great picture of a digital footprint to talk about the information we harvest from students here at Edinburgh and how we might be using it and I joined Helen in celebrating our real lecture, like “proper” students 😉 which served nicely as a chance to challenge course design for all and not the assumption of a student.
This week has felt balanced and productive and I feel I have progressed with some of my digital choices, learning their benefits, was that the point of making me use IFTTT perhaps and I had space to contemplate and to share thoughts. A successful week.
A different purpose for this week, previously it’d been a mishmash of “treasures”, random thoughts, and comments. I started this week looking at what an algorithm actually is and this led me to write an algorithm of sorts for myself on how my blog would be used this week. Constructive, definite and planned (my blog was to be a study aid, not a social toy).
I’ve only shared readings which I felt connected to a certain aspect of knowledge I needed to enhance or wanted to take further, using pocket, (my favourite being the BBC bitesized “what is an algorithm”). I also used pinterest to add a graphic to act as a reminder of something I wanted to write about at a later point, a bit like scribbling a note to yourself. I liked this new use and may use it again. Always learning!
I restricted twitter to experiment. Although I occasionally popped in, I tried not to get sucked into it this week as I’ve found it detrimental in other weeks. So instead I focussed on some self-directed study sharing things I thought were representative of my week.
This week’s blog isn’t fun, full, or my usual lifestream but it is a much truer reflection of my study habits, I had been artificially filling it so that it fitted my interpretation of what a lifestream should be. This week’s is a truer reflection of my footprint for this course. I won’t continue this as it is less fun for my classmates (as can be seen by the lack of interaction this week), but it was an experiment that was valuable for me as the student.
This week’s adventure has had 3 main focus points: community, IFTTT and our ethnography task.
I have tried to tie the theme of community into my thoughts by exploring those I’m part of and relating them to our work on this course, so YouTube got an outing. I shared a video called numa numa which was one of the very 1st viral videos on the web and is something YouTubers still recreate 10 years later, the 2nd is a brilliant lecture on the anthropology of YouTube. On the post where I shared this video I have also tried to give my thoughts on how YouTube is directly connected to our studies of community for this block and even to my netnog.
I am still battling with this for blogging, however, I accept that we are using it outside the context for which it is meant and therefore testing its limits. I shared a request on twitter to ask for advice from our group on tools for IFTTT sharing which have been successful to help the group (as in our skype chat this week we discovered we have all been advised to use more tools). New tools I’ve tried this week are YouTube and Pocket. I shared some useful articles about IFTTT using Pocket (oh look more community).
Netnog (as we are calling it)
Wow, my netnog on Adobe Spark created a heap of discussion and so there is a wealth of wordpress activity in the form of a stream of discussion using comments.
- Adobe Spark
Off lifestream tools
- facebook chat
I ended week 5 saying that week 6 would be about focusing on readings and reflection and my thoughts. Didn’t happen, work and life have just got in the way and week 6 has been a blur of trying to keep up. I feel like I am especially behind with my readings, they just aren’t going in no matter how often I read them.
2 areas where I have seen success this week however are in community building and managing to catch up with the blogs of my classmates. This takes the edge off my annoyance at myself slightly.
I’ve consciously tried to join in with the twitter chatter this week and managed to have a couple of conversations, although I have missed so much more that I wasn’t even aware of and I really enjoyed a skype chat with some classmates this week where we discussed the ethnography assignment and mostly took the micky out of Linzi.
I’ve blogged a little more this week, and followed Daniel’s example when he shared some drumming from his MOOC course and I have shared some of my photos. I realised that just because I have a large digital footprint, doesn’t mean my classmates see the things I share, so I made the conscious effort to share them here where they are easier for my classmates to find.
The theme I am taking from this week is opinion. I’ve confronted my own unconscious bias this week and discussed our assumptions based on singular perspectives so I will be taking that with me as I look at my netnography.
Week 5 already, where has the time gone?
I’ve maintained my decision to reduce the twitter chatter on my blog as I am not a massive twitter user normally, however, this is difficult as it continues to be the main community interaction for this course, even with 140 character restrictions, instead I have tried to create dialogue using our blogs with some success. This week we discussed our MOOCs and how some of them are really interesting and well created. Some of us are being sucked in and enjoying them a little too much.
I shared a photo to celebrate the continuation of our IDEL community, a small group of us formed a strong bond which continues. This week also saw me on a workshop as part of work with one of them, teaching them how to plan and create online programmes. The community theme was widened as one of the other participants on the workshop was an academic from Moray House. Small worlds, large communities?
Last week saw us enjoy each other’s artefacts, there were a lot of positive comments and questions about mine so I thought it only fair to write a short post to answer these.
I tried something new this week, I created a shared google map and asked people to pin their locations to create a visual identity of our EDC17 community. Some folk joined in. I plan to use this as a visual prop for “community” in the coming week.
Quieter on my lifestream this week but had lots of fun seeing the visual artefacts of my classmates and chatting about them.
It all started with a tweet from Matthew about the fun of reading my personal blog and getting a bit of an insight into his classmates which raised a discussion about how comfortable some of us are in being ourselves online whilst others have created a persona just for this course. I wondered what the impact of this was in the sense of communities, does it hinder the creation of community to have people hold back? Or does it only hinder if you know they are holding back?
I pinned a bit of an experiment this week, I am trying to go paperless in comradery with the academic community at work who are being forced to go paperless.
Twittersphere this week is awash with our ethnography project, is it good to have previous knowledge of the subject or does that hinder? I instagrammed a photo of my desk showing my chosen mooc and my camera as a prop.
A change to this chain of thought was Helen’s post about technology in education sparking a conversation between us about how technology has always had it’s nae-sayers and the same arguments regardless of the technology, from blackboards to printing presses to computers.
Philip has been exploring self-directed learning and I commented on my need for connection to my peers. Linzi felt the same way so we broke the isolation with a skype call.
Week 3 has been less hectic on my lifestream as I have deliberately tried not to use twitter as a communication tool for my classmates as much and when I do, I don’t always hashtag it to share on my feed but my lifestream blog has been getting some attention. Getting spammed led to my thoughts on learning to communicate through a blog and deal with the change in audience. I even shared some guidelines with an open license.
Dirk stated the obvious but it made me feel warm and fuzzy, he commented that my use of digital education tech to teach others how to use digital educational tech was well digital education.
A tech review on youtube prompted me to consider what constitutes learning and teaching and how does this fit into the digital culture. From that, I used this blog to put out a digital education challenge on the twitter hashtag.
I tweeted a wake-up call to anyone who thought my job was a cool techie job and explained that the reality is less than cool and not very techie.
Movie club got me thinking about the fear of technology in education and related that to last week’s post about information and “1984” and to work I have been doing this week on lecture capture. That post has the potential to be a discussion that I may explore further as a practice piece on critical thinking.