My lifestream blog contains a blend of sourced and composed resources that reflect the key themes of Education and Digital Cultures. To fully explore each theme I conducted a series of practical exercises to gain insight from both an institutional and individual perspective. The content of my blog highlights many different points of view on each theme and is reinforced by experimentation that ultimately allowed me to construct knowledge of each topic through experience.
I was intrigued by cybercultures and the concept of posthumanism. It would appear that the human race is no longer satisfied with colonising digital territories and now seeks to infuse technology with our minds and bodies. I learned of an ethos that digital is better and that mechanical intervention will inevitably lead to progress whilst acknowledging the antithesis and realising that this may not always be the case.
The political and economic factors (Lister et al 2009) influencing digital education also intrigued me. This was most evident in my micro-ethnography where economic gain was the driving force of the MOOC in which I participated. My micro-ethnography would suggest that there are indeed limitations within a LMS that contribute to the perception of online community cultures, but that they only exaggerate circumstances that often originate out-with digital spaces.
As with most scenarios where the physical and digital worlds intersect there are inevitably ethical considerations to acknowledge. I noticed that ethics was a recurring theme throughout each block of the course, be it the ethics surrounding cyborgs, online communities, and analytics and big data. I learned that that no matter how great and efficient digital cultures make us, we are still human beings with qualities and principles that cannot be expressed digitally – ethics and responsibility being the two most relevant to the course.
Throughout the course I have questioned if, as human beings, we are supposed to benefit as individuals from digitisation – particularly when studying algorithmic cultures. In studying my own performance and analytical data from an online learning activity, I gained experience of the impact that exposure to learning statistics has on students. I realised that whilst big data and analytics support the notion that digital is better, within education this may only ring true for the institution and not the individual. This was an invaluable experience in connecting my understanding of the course themes to the content of my lifestream blog.
My lifestream blog shows the ubiquity of digital cultures in business, politics, education and everyday life. Our internet browsing trends, shopping habits, and social media interactions are being shaped and influenced by digital trends set by computer interpretation of our behaviours and actions. Education is merely another strand of life that is being made more efficient, accessible and available by digital intervention.
On conclusion, one could also observe a shift in digital culture over time. In the early stages the purpose of digitisation was to assist humans to do basic tasks. This gradually evolved into doing machines performing complex tasks and exceeding the limitations of human form. In the present, we are using technology as an alternative form of intelligence and as a tool for efficiency and predicting the future. Certainly, if transhumanism and cyberpunk ideologies come to pass, then the human form will play a lesser role in both education and the wider society.
Lister, M., Dovey, J., Giddings, S., Kelly, K. (2009). Networks, users and economics. In New media: a critical introduction. M. Lister (Eds.) (London, Routledge): pp. 163-236.