Category Archives: Blog posts

Shared experience, shared concerns, shared aspirations

I’ve just spent some time skimming through my fellow student’s lifestream blogs, trawling for nuggets of information, such as how to better automate some of the data aggregation for this blog,  and for reassurance that what I’m doing bears some resemblance to what they’re doing.

Helen Murphy’s thoughts in particular chime with my own and I recognise the overarching need to impose some order on the randomness of the format, as well as to make it look nice.  

At some level perhaps that desire to make data aesthetically pleasing is a peculiarly human trait.  Having read Sian’s paper I’m reluctant to use the phrase “isn’t that what set’s us apart from machines?”.  A machines may need its data to be in a format it can deal with, but to me there a difference between that and rejoicing in data’s beauty, symmetry, asymmetry or some other aspect beyond the individual ones or zeros.

This from Sian Bayne’s paper…

So far these extracts from ‘What’s the matter with ‘technology enhanced learning’, sum up some of the big questions for me:

“Yet after science and technology have worked over all human limitations […] the transhumanists claim that something essentially ‘human’ will still remain: ‘reason, intelligence, self-realization, egalitarianism’.   Technology here simultaneously, and paradoxically, enables both the transcendence and the preservation of the human.”
“A critical posthumanist position on technology and education would see the human neither as dominating technology nor as being dominated by it. Rather it would see the subject of education itself as being performed through a coming together of the human and non-human, the material and the discursive. It would not see ‘enhancement’ as a feasible proposition, in that enhancement depends on maintaining a distinction between the subject/learner being enhanced and the object/technology ‘doing’ or ‘enabling’ the enhancement.”
“It is time to re-think our task as practitioners and researchers in digital education, not viewing ourselves as the brokers of ‘transformation’, or ‘harnessers’ of technological power, but rather as critical protagonists in wider debates on the new forms of education, subjectivity, society and culture worked-through by contemporary technological change.”

Sian Bayne (2015) What’s the matter with ‘technology-enhanced learning’?,
Learning, Media and Technology, 40:1, 5-20, DOI: 10.1080/17439884.2014.915851

A posthuman take on The Creation of Adam
A posthuman take on “The Creation of Adam”? The original was a fresco painting by Michelangelo.  Borrowed from


Just in case you’re interested

Nigel Painting
This is me

It’s good to be back after a year away from the MSc. This is my 4th course having completed IDEL, ‘Games’ and ULOE.

I manage and develop a digital academy for a multi-national pharmacy-led retailer, focusing (forgive the pun) on the Opticians part of the business in the UK.  I’m a qualified optician but have not worked in professional practice for many years, having spent over a decade leading internal communications and moving across to learning and development about four years ago.

I seem to remember that our tutor Jeremy Knox isn’t at all fond of the type of corporate mugshots I’ve included here, so there you go Jeremy, just for you 🙂


Late to the party…

Today I jumped ship from the Assessment, Learning and Digital Education (ALDE) course to join Education and Digital Cultures (EDC).   Although I had thought long and hard before deciding which course to take this semester (my last before Research Methods) I still managed to get it wrong.

Late to the party
borrowed from

Thanks to the kind cooperation of the MScDE team I now have all the tools needed to catch up, although as a latecomer it all looks a bit daunting at the moment.  That said, I love the contentedness of it all and it sits well with my love of connected technology and the ‘internet of things’.

I’m a little apprehensive given that I expect to be an outsider for a little while and also because I’ve had a look at some of the other Lifestream Blogs and I can see how much some of the other course participants have achieved already.  I had based my best guess of the amount of catching up I’d have to do on how much we’d done in ALDE so far, but it feels like we were only just getting going over there.

I spent most of this evening deconstructing and digesting Jeremy Knox’s pre-course reading.  I’ve learned more ‘ism’ words in one session than I think I ever have before, such that what looked like five and half pages of reading turned into something of a marathon session, that included finding out more about Humanism, Universalism,  Autonomy, Structuralism, Deconstructionism, Post-Structuralism and Post-modernism, but only really skimming the surface.  Jeremy’s paper also helped me understand the way this course follows the broadly chronological evolution of cyber through community, to algorithmic cultures.

I’ve  deliberately written this before getting up to speed on what Lifestream Blogging is all about.  It might be completely off track but to me it’s always useful to be able to look back and reflect on where I’ve come from.

Right now I know I’ve made the right decision to join this course and, even though it might sound clichéd, I’m genuinely excited about what’s to come.