Adventures in E-Learning and Digital Culture

My Digital Artifact – A Souvenir #edcmooc February 27, 2013

Digital Artifact #edcmooc


Tiki-Toki’s script does not work with WordPress, spent too much time trying. This will get you there.

Hope you enjoy my artifact as much as I enjoyed making it.


Week 3; Video Reviews; Humans in Control … Just #edcmooc February 16, 2013



One minute of well executed, advertorial brilliance on many levels.  Clear contrast between real and dystopia or technological … Digital driver in digital world commentary – “there is no “alive” in this town, just pixels, pretence and driver assist.”  His reference to alive indicates that he knows what real is.  Was he formerly a non-digital human?

The real car is concealed, hidden and only available to those who know where to look and have inside knowledge.  Digital driver arrives with a suitcase (prepared to leave digital world) and goes to a shop full of old things, books, with lots of light bulbs – all illuminated (metaphorical “seen the Light” experience).  Here reality exists in contrast with the grey uncluttered world he left, digital shopkeeper is eating a real hamburger, there’s a real plant … the car is the only thing hidden.  On revelation of the real car and on driving it Édith Piaf starts singing “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,”   (No I don’t regret anything) dedicated to the French Foreign Legion (how deep should we go here?) – a well-trained military service with a high (human) ethos of morale.

Morale (also known as esprit de corps) is the capacity of a group’s members to maintain belief in an institution or goal, particularly in the face of opposition or hardship.  Morale is often referenced by authority figures as a generic value judgment of the willpowerobedience, and self-discipline of a group tasked with performing duties assigned by a superior.   Wiki

Happy face now he’s driving, goosebumps (human response), “feeling” alive.  No going back once experienced driving this car, past Danger end of World sign and then revs through a wall which happens to made of glass (so well done) into nature and the real world “Once you feel it no going back”.  Triumph of the real over technology – of the human over the digital.


Great Ad for BT landline and a Real Human Encounter.  Funny the son who is physically present asks the guy who is away if he has talked to Mum.  Why doesn’t the son?  “Yes we talk all the time”, says Adam … NOT.  He meant digitally not for real.  Text and techology are no substitute for voice contact and conversation on a telephone, the ad tells us.

“Something is up with Mum” initiates a phone call from Adam.  She still looks pensive during and after the call, as if she has still not divulged what is going on with her as she pats her tum.

The fact that, even when he rang, she didn’t tell him could indicate their relationship’s “real life” neglect, built on shallow technological exchanges, could have adversely altered things. Or she may be pregnant and not sure how he will take the news, preferring a face to face meeting to tell him.  Or.. she could have an ulcer just worrying about everything.


Man builds a replica (not original in the true sense), artificial world similar to Italy.  Starts with blocks, adds detail, colour, trees and flowers, smell, movement etc to evoke an emotion in a woman (he loves). It turns out he does all this to get a photo of her loving the smell of flowers.  She is really in a hospital bed lying unconscious.  Somehow he accessed her imagination.  Nodules on her temples may have given him access to have her imagination to allow her travel to this world with all her humanity, touch, sight, feel, happiness, puzzlement, smell intact.  But why couldn’t he jump out of the door way?  Was this really just for his photo opportunity rather than her needs?

I think (?) this is technology provides a lovely gesture in this instance but awful in the wrong hands.  After he got his photo the world dissolved in a way that did not make her happy although he comforted her in the hospital bed later and brought a flower that existed in his artificial world (could have been a 3D print out).

An example of humans in control of technology with the ability to manufacture images for other humans to experience (unwillingly or not) subconsciously and parts of those images can become real.  With that technology they could surely cure her?

I don’t like that he could organise this artificial experience in her mind generally but have often felt people in comas are trapped in their bodies – you communicate intuitively but never really know if that is for you or them (in a similar way we attribute human emotions to our pets) – it would be wonderful to be able to interact with people in comas.  Oh dear, I just said, “you never really know if it’s for you or them”  … like the man’s photo shoot.!

They Are Made Out of Meat

Alliteration and repetition of the word meat became appalling to the point that I could smell meat and wanted this video to be over.  Aliens visit to decide whether to engage with us – reasonably impressed with humans(meat) ability and our achievements, thinking, dreaming, talking, inventing machines but for our constituency – MEAT.

In the meantime the students living and being around them are really, really enjoying themselves, friendship, love, food, play.  Meat made Machines, Meat does the thinking.  Their view to me is repellent, although funny.  The aliens could not get past what we were made off (meat) and so to them we were worth erasing.

“Who wants to meet meat”.  The aliens could get past the meat to define humans – it was a tainted classification.  We are not told what the “meat” represents to them – poison, food, a caste system in their own community?

Luckily the aliens’ viewpoint has no relevance to how humans define themselves.  Happy they rejected us.  They do, in this video, provide a unique and humourous viewpoint – humans as outsiders might see them.  “Who meets with Meat.”  Take “heart” the body is amazingly complex and unique to humans, as is our character, mind, spirit and intuition.!


Still feeling a little behind but more in a rhythm and less frenetic about web tools and flicking around new digital sites.  Loving some of the other things I have read and Week 3 Digital images.  Wish I could get a handle on GMT for the meetings.  I am trying a clock on my computer.

Am hearing completely foreign things now ref: Prof Steve Fuller on being human but some great blogs are helping me interpret.  Saw the note about the time commitment needing to be reviewed if this course is run again – feel very relaxed about this and trust #edcmooc staff can too.  We are talking about a great learning adventure not honours and I feel privileged to be part of it….


Week 2 Future Shock & the Resistance Movement. #edcmooc February 14, 2013

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.


Week 1 Review; Videos and Experiences #edcmooc February 10, 2013

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.


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?