Technology is only a tool if it can be used properly to inspire a student – Anthony Salcito, vice-president of Worldwide Education at Microsoft
It’s a weird set of words to put together – it’s ambiguous, and it’s taken me a few goes of reading through it to understand what it means. (I’m still not sure I do.) But if I were a proper critical posthumanist, what would I make of it?
On one hand, the technology is seen as exclusively material: it’s even further removed from being a ‘tool’, because it’s only a ‘tool’ if it meets certain conditions. So, not only does it require a separation of the material/technological and social, its status is dependent upon its being ‘used’ by humans in a certain way. Ergo: instrumentalist technology.
On the other hand, the technology has a ‘proper’ use – there is a way to use it properly, and if we humans are cognisant of this and able to use properly, it will ‘inspire’ our students. Ergo: determinist technology.
I’m also troubled by the use of this word ‘inspire’ – it’s so subjective, it privileges the human, it’s anthropocentric, and it’s difficult to see how it might escape a value judgment about what ‘learning’ is.
So technology-enhanced inspiration? Technology-inspired learning? No, thank you!
“The cyborg is our ontology; it gives us our politics. The cyborg is a condensed image of both imagination and material reality” – Donna Haraway, from ‘A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century’, in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge, 1991), p. 150.
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2jVrd5n
Including this as a reminder to myself to read A Cyborg Manifesto pronto… but also to consider cyborg ontology in relationship to gender, feminist thought, materiality, political action, and the historical and cultural situation of Haraway at time of writing.
(i) It is really hard (for me at least) to make the ‘lifestream’ parts of the blog (i.e. what is pulled in from IFTTT) look nice. I’ve experimented with a few different applications and judged them practically exclusively on their aesthetics. Tumblr looks nice when you have images with a bit of text. Evernote works well for text. So does Scannable when you’re using photos of things you’ve taken yourself. I wish I could find a Twitter recipe for auto-embedding tweets in WordPress, it’d look so much better.
(ii) I find myself needing to aggregate lots of different formats. Random things I find on the internet and want to store for later. Things that fly into and out of my head faster than I can find a pen that works, and which I sometimes manage to scribble down on whatever I can find: notebooks, post-its, the backs of envelopes. Useful videos I come across (normally accidentally) while watching interviews with the cast of the new Ghostbusters on YouTube. Lists of things I’ve read, want to read, intend to read but never will. Things other people send me, or share, and that I want to collect. It’s been fun to work out how best to aggregate all of these things.
(iii) There are a couple of things I use (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) which I want to keep strictly ‘personal’. It feels like I’m approaching this from an incoherent direction: I don’t want to have strict boundaries on the things I use ‘professionally’, but more that I don’t want academic, sensible things seeping into the streams of cat pictures on Instagram.
(iv) Automating things and thinking about workflow shows me how central Zotero is to everything that I do. I love Zotero; it is my favourite thing. But it’s been a nightmare to automate it – exporting the raw data is easy enough, but exporting it in a useful format hasn’t been straightforward at all.
Bayne, S. (2010). Academetron, automaton, phantom: uncanny digital pedagogies. London Review of Education, 8(1), 5–13. http://ift.tt/2jia4pV
Ross, J. (2012). The spectacle and the placeholder: Digital futures for reflective practices in higher education. In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Networked Learning (pp. 227–244). Retrieved from http://ift.tt/2jIwoFO