In this week of my Lifestream, a dominant theme has been the everyday diffusions of digital culture, the mundane data rather than the big data, which are a major conduit for technologies becoming normalised within consciousness and practice. This is no different to technological changes from previous stages in history, but needs documenting and researching, as some of the Lifestream posts this week document.
This also has a cross-cutting tension within it. Technologies easily infuse when they appear to augment ordinary life. Pink et al. (2017) report on fitness devices, and on any Saturday morning of the year, thousands of people will run in Parkruns across the UK, carrying their bar-codes to the finish, many armed with personal data-gathering devices of their own. It’s an ordinary sight in an ordinary site. But, as other Lifestream posts indicate, the simple addition of the suffix ‘-augmented’ can be deceptive for critical thinking and action. The emerging constellation of digital assemblages is too complex for that.
A final theme highlighted in this week’s Lifestream anticipates what I think will predominate its closing stages within the EDC course: looking towards the future. Is there a next stage or, even more, any kind of telos, a goal, in all this? Biggest amongst our ‘digital dilemmas’ is this: what kind of cultures are we making – and, in terms of education – what kind of learning do we want to engage in, and for what purpose? Is ‘expressive individualism’ the future – and can we even dare to ask whether it’s the best kind of future to hope for, to learn for?