Lifestream summary, week two

This week I’ve managed to keep the Lifestream going, despite personal and work commitments pressing heavily in. I’m thankful for that. Surveying the week, I distill the following currents:

1. At the start of the week, I sought to look at the wider, material world, to try and include a global perspective in my stream. This consciousness helps prevent my own thinking becoming totalising, and keeps it sensitive to my own positionality. Digital technologies also feed back into my wider life in this regard – see the final post before this one.

2. I’ve engaged with the set readings more this week, both in commenting on things I’ve encountered online, and in a longer reflection on Sian Bayne’s article. Next week, I’d like to write a similar piece on Donna Haraway’s essay, which I’ve found to be the most challenging reading I’ve encountered for a long time. As mentioned this week, I’d possibly like to work on a theology of posthumanism for my dissertation, so this might well become an ongoing feature in the Lifestream.

3. I’ve sought to tie readings and digital encounters back to education. This isn’t always easy to do, given the diverse nature of digital encounters, but I’m trying to do it, and trying not to let the educational angle limit my Lifestream too much.

4. I’ve enjoyed working with the films, and look forward to some more of that. Watching film is a refreshing change, and interchange, with reading the printed word. By training, I’m more a word person. It’s great to be stretched a little.

5 Replies to “Lifestream summary, week two”

  1. Hi Matthew,

    “3. I’ve sought to tie readings and digital encounters back to education. This isn’t always easy to do, “.

    I’ve been wondering about this too. I have a working exposure to the connection between education-tech and education (IDEL in the first semester helped greatly with this), and I have a similar grasp of the interface between entertainment technology (films, games, VR) and society. I’m now piecing my thoughts together to try to get the connection to flow through the readings, my own experience and the educational context.

    I’m wondering where the evidence is of the past 20-30 years of educated thinking on these subjects has actually got us in UK higher education. There are pockets of excellence in the UK HEI sector, and there are pockets of excellence within individual institutions, but the baseline level for education tech improving the attainment of our students? In my experience, it seems to first be used as a means to increase the numbers of students, and only after that has reached a steady state, does the thinking change to drive strategy to actually improve participant’s understanding and ability.

    1. cmiller, thanks for the interaction. Two responses I would make, I think. First, I guess not all our digital engagements will be directly appropriate to education per se, but we’re trying to engage with digital cultures and so breadth of digital encounter is going to be important. But a tension – hopefully a generative one – between these two horizons. Second, I wonder whether ‘pockets of excellence’ might be better framed contextually: something like ‘practice that works well in this or that setting’. For myself, I find that easier to work with than a decontextualised sense of excellence. I wonder if that will help us frame our experiences more fruitfully too.

  2. Hello Matthew (and Colin) – interesting conversation here.

    Your comment Matthew about ‘practice that works well in this or that setting’ immediately reminded me of the Manifesto for Teaching Online from the Digital Education team which argues that:

    ‘There are many ways to get it right online. ‘Best practice’ neglects context.’

    Just as you (and Colin) say, when we bring a critical eye to education and technology, we begin to unsettle some of the commonly put forward ideas, whether that’s to do with education necessarily aiding learning, or the notion of there being a single ‘best’ way of doing things that we strive for. As you suggest, things tend to be more complex and thus call for a more nuanced approach.

    In case the Manifesto is of interest or new to you:

    Thanks for the interesting conversation.

    1. Thanks, James – I knew I’d got it from somewhere. It had stuck as an idea, which is – I guess – a big part of a ‘manifesto’. Great to be reminded of the source: especially since context matters!

  3. And more generally in response to the weekly summary and you’re blog over the last week, well done on trying to make the connection between content and course themes, whilst at the same time bringing in some of the ideas from the literature. I’m going to comment separately on some of your other entries, beginning with your reflections on the Bett show video which I’ve been thinking about.

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