Adventures in E-Learning and Digital Culture

Patrick Lucks Out in Valentine Challenge – #edcmooc competiton February 14, 2013

Filed under: Week Two #edcmooc — essgarland @ 11:28 pm
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Patrick Lucks Out in Valentine Challenge - Week 3 #edcmooc competiton

I disliked Patrick in great Sight Vimeo so took revenge for Daphne and all the others blighted by this Gaming creep. (Link for vimeo in Week 2 review) First go at web tools. Link at if you want to comment or vote on edcmooc competition.


Week 2 Future Shock & the Resistance Movement. #edcmooc

Filed under: Week Two #edcmooc — essgarland @ 3:01 am
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I covered Day Made of Glass on this blog. That and Productivity Future Vision are slick advertorials designed to appeal to their target market, the consumer of their products and services – to them the presentations predictably epitomise a technological Utopia – clean, slick and streamlined designed to make life easier and happy (both included nuclear family happy technical times).  To the edcmooc student the presentations throw up a dystopic world shadowed with issues such as quality of educative software, one dimensional teaching, privacy, restricted availability, likely to those who can afford it and so on.

Day Made of Glass

Productivity Future Vision


Very well made Dystopia that, for me, drew heavily on the serious gamer dichotomy separating what is real and what is not and where does the game end?  I could, however, only imagine Daphne being a Cyborg purchased or won online by creepy, gestapo gamer, Patrick.

“Gratification theory” would ask, “to whom would the technology in “Sight” be useful to?”  It would have to be compelling for people to agree to have technology inserted into their heads, even for power crazy gamers.  The trade-off, on face value, is being in a perpetual gaming state – no thanks.  And would gamers do it?  There is always the threat that someone will be more powerful and you the subservient or loser.  Would they be comfortable with public disclosure of their personal online information?

Hardwired head aside, how could someone manipulate an individual’s free will on the first date?  (unbalanced relationships can develop over time).  I am confident the human’s free will to choose would overrule hardware in the head and the gestapo accent.

Daphne would just keep walking, block him and report him to the software company unless, as stated earlier, she is a Cyborg.

Charlie 13

Covered in a separate blog.  (Be prepared for slow upload)


Another dystopic video showing a disturbing DNA identification system giving full surveillance powers to the authorities.  The hope are the Time Travellers who return as duplicates of existing people to warn the past of the path they are taking and their persistence in spite of a controlling authority who wants to stop their message.  You have to ask why they would not listen unless there was a darker motive.  Crime control seems to be the motivation for people to participate, as in Charlie 13, again the consequences feel sinister.   Plurality!


Competition threw my time frame out and have been left behind for now.  Problem was upskilling on the tools.  I had little background in this.  Loved how the #edcmooc community helps us!  Someone composed a long list of good web tools… but that was another diversion.  Agree that the time commitment for the course should be extended but it doesn’t matter because this is an enjoyable experience.  First Tweet chat last night – was worth hanging around until 1 am for.  So learning a lot technically and also reflecting a lot on the human response to technology after reading/viewing week 2 and feeling positive.


Charlie 13 – Humanity the Antidote to Dystopia #edcmooc February 13, 2013

Filed under: Week Two #edcmooc — essgarland @ 6:18 am
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My favourite Week 2 video highlighted, for me, the distinction between Utopia, Dystopia and Real.   The hope is in Charlie’s ability to reject his dystopic world with its internal chips and control.  Charlie has to choose between the Father and “real world” beyond the fence and Mother and “part of something bigger” which is “safe”, an oppressive and controlling system.  Charlie’s intuitive feeling is that this is not the way things were meant to be and his regular, illegal trips to the fence to spot deserters show his vision is turned away from the system.

The serendipitous series of events line up to strengthen Charlie’s resolve to reject his controlling world; a gift of his Father’s Compass the night before his coming of age – Mother explains a compass is – “how people used to find their way home” he turns to look at the photo of him and his Dad; then seeing his Father beyond the wall after believing him dead, “I have been watching over you for your whole life ..”.   These point Charlie to choose to opt out of the system and take his chances over the fence with Dad – not to utopia but to a real world.

Left behind is Emma, Mum.   After a lonely night drinking herself to sleep on the couch, she is woken by her phone alerting her to Charlie.  She finds his chip bloody on the bench.   She loves her son but believes the system is the safest way for them.  She has doubts when the system deems Charlie and his best friend incompatible, and when the policeman refers to her husband.  These, her love for Charlie and knowledge of her husband’s survival over the fence might push her over too?  Alternatively she might hook up with the “call me Will” policeman?

Reminded me of  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, again where youthful courage, hope and character shine above a warped, controlling system.  Humanity seems to be the best inoculation against Dystopian terrors.


Glossary of Terms (Readings) February 10, 2013

Filed under: Glossary — essgarland @ 3:56 am
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agency – capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own choices.

–  Structure – influential factors (ie race, religion, gender etc.) that affect an agent and their decisions

“A meme (pron.: /ˈmm/meem)[1] is “an idea, behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.”[2] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.[3]

reductionism – simplistic view (with reference to determinism framework)

reification – making something real, bringing it into being, or making something concrete

social determination – political and economic structures determine technology.

– Propaganda model – IT powerful tool for the powerful

technological determination – technology determines social change

users’ determination – users are causal agents of social action

– gratification theory – gratification sought by internet users defines and predicts use


Week 1 Review; Videos and Experiences #edcmooc

Filed under: Week One #edcmooc — essgarland @ 3:22 am
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Bendito Machines. Dystopia

Brilliant graphic celebration of the next best thing, worship of new, friendly, winsome technology until it’s superceded and biffed with its predecessors.  Implies that the majority are blindly following where the technology leads (technological determinism), highly influenced and passive and neglectful of the world around them.  Some dissension when technology conflicts with individual “comfort zones” or becomes unpredictable (.  The new technology arrives and the hoi polloi drop the old into an open and rush for the next best thing.

Inbox, Utopia

My favourite . Making connections on the net using a clever, unique system of joined bags to illustrate the Inbox.  So familiar, waiting for a reply, reading the message the wrong way, losing the technological link.  Love the adjustment when they finally meet.  Definitely a Utopian view of the relationship for me, the communication breakdown drove them out of the house and when they met they seemed happy.  Certainly a different scenario from the start of the video where they were bored and sad.

Thursday Utopia

Strangely hopeful to me therefore Utopia.  The birds adapt and survive in a concrete world, the man trapped in his bleak routine finds love, technology breaks down – everyone waits to resume work, technology (sophisticated lift system) provides a date with awesome views of the city at night (patterned lights for both the bird and the couple to enjoy.  Even the bird flying into the window and reviving and eyeballing the man speaks of hope.  For me the bird has agency in the film.!

Newmedia Dystopia

Ugly technological world, grey and decaying.  Look What Happened While You Were Sleeping (or distracted by technology while your world dies).  Sci Fi, well made and short.

Week 1  My #Edcmooc Experience

Steep, time consuming learning curve with digital media and then over reading discussion Posts instead of doing exercises or experimenting with digital artifacts. Learning to relax on my blog site (I wonder if all accountants are as fascinated with statistics?). I am tentatively considering embarking on Twitter as it sounds like all the action is there maybe next week? Enjoy meeting participants in a “cyber” way and grateful for those who are interacting and helping me on my journey – thank you. Also delighted at University of Edinburgh for facilitating this enormous digital adventure. Still finding it exciting.


Digital Native Envy February 9, 2013

Filed under: Week One #edcmooc — essgarland @ 9:36 pm
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Completely enjoyed Marc Prensky’s metaphors for pre and post digital generations.  They explain a lot about the difference in learning styles between my teens and I.   The school education they received in NZ is, in the main, Digital Immigrant-taught (versus their self-taught digital one). I realise now, intuitively (and desperately), I adopted a Digital Translator role locating a range of multi-dimensional learning techniques to support, cajole and incentivise my bored Natives through their finals.

If I am honest, I really, really want to be a Digital Native – fast, savvy, hyper-texting as I multitask, gaming and networking and expounding all manner of technical terminology – all accent free, of course.  The Digital Immigrant sounds, by comparison, like a rusty, old tractor ploughing around in a land long forgotten.

Twelve years on and I am hopeful Prensky now offers a more flexible continuum where Digital Immigrants can (l)earn their way towards Nativehood. Digital Translator could be a useful addition offering some dignity to those working at the interface? From #edcmooc discussions there seems valid resistance to tying citizenship to a birth date.


A Day Made in Glass or a One Way Mirror February 8, 2013

Filed under: Week Two #edcmooc — essgarland @ 3:50 am
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A Day Made of Glass is unashamedly Utopian; an advertorial expounding benefits of Corning glass in enhancing the viewers’ seamless, smooth, clean future. Clearly designed for company stakeholders.

The video’s PR intent explains the superficiality of it’s treatment of technology; the children’s learning experience; in the classroom – a highly, exciting visual (only) feast of colour albeit one dimensional learning; in the forest – an exciting add-on connecting with the past and a useful interface identifying flora on-site, later viewed at home has potential; in the hospital – a wonderful cross border tool for diagnosis.

For me, Dystopia lurks around Technology. Highly e-reliant learning depends on the availability of technology and accessibility of internet. Many elderly, illiterate and those who CHOOSE not to conform will be excluded. What are the implications of exclusion and can this be manipulated?

And what about privacy? Ethics around privacy are playing catch up with technological advancement. Social networks already capitalise on our digital information. New technology accumulates more information making our lives as transparent to the viewer as a one way mirror. Who is looking in and can we draw the curtains?