Final Lifestream Overall Summary, and Week 12 Summary Inclusive

This is the final and lifestream overall  summary, now that we are at the end of week twelve. This week has been spent checking links and ensuring that my lifestream content follows the contours of the course as closely as possible, and I have been in discussion with my tutor, Sian finalizing the final assignment title, which is: ‘Digital culture and language learning: a critical perspective on “community’.


Over the course of the past twelve weeks the journey has been one which has a led me by the end, to better understand the point at which we started and other points along the way. In block 1 we considered issues of identity, embodiment and the way in which we cannot really separate ourselves from notions of technology in a total historical sense, and raised interesting questions about what it is to be human. My artefact (within my lifestream) for this block expressed the idea of ‘techno cultural’ ecologies (ecology 150-0001),  (What’s the matter with ‘technology-enhanced learning’? (Bayne, 2014) and questioned the way in which we function as ‘community’ in our relationship with (digital) technology, if it is just simply understood as a ‘driver’. This in turn had implications for the role of technology in education, and raised my awareness about the dangers of determinism or reductionism in terms the relationship between technology and education.


In block 2 we of course focused on the idea of community directly, in the context of an on-line learner community: for my mini ethnography the National Film and Television (NFT) Mooc. Here again, the idea of social and cultural ecologies (Bayne, 2014) appeared important, particularly as in the case the community which I studied (and participated in) they evolved interactions and relationships beyond the architecture and formal scope of the NFT Mooc, setting up their own film making co-operative, on a third party social media platform (Facebook).


The cultural and geographic diversity of the group was manifest here, which perhaps made the idea of ‘ecologies’ appear more critically significant. There was also the processes inherent in a group film making project itself, which seemed to be demonstrative of this idea of social and cultural ecologies, and the development of streams for sharing film content and create something from the different contributions of the members, a ‘patchwork’ as it was described by one member. This experience had an enormous effect (as did the process of creating my ethnographic artefact for this block) on my ideas for the final assignment, which will focus on community in the context of a year long film making project with a group of language (English) students here in Tokyo.


In the final block (3) we focused on algorithms and specifically the relationship between these and the application of analytics in the measurement of learning and the management of learners, and education per say. Here I learnt the value of lessons learnt in blocks 1 and 2, the importance of non reductionism or determinism and the value of processes inherent in education for the learner (as much where the on line is concerned as the off line). Jeremy Knox was very influential here for me, in terms of his paper ‘From MOOCs to Learning Analytics: Scratching the surface of the ‘visual”  (Knox, 2014), also again separately in his paper Abstracting Learning Analytics  (Knox, 2014), and ultimately this block itself, led me back to think more carefully about the significance of what I had learnt in blocks 1 and 2, as indicated above. Similarly they have had an effect on the way that I am going to approach the final assignment, where to put it very briefly, the binary between the on line and off line might be seen as a false one, and this view has its root for me in block 1, a view refined by revisiting the themes at the conclusion of the course.


Finally, I would like say a few brief words about the IFTTT protocol, and the automated nature of the lifestream itself. I have to say, I did not find that this came naturally or easily for me, however learning should not always be a comfortable experience. It has enabled me to curate in a way which is ultimately more encompassing and in real time, and interestingly in a way in which ideas are shared as a matter of immediacy, particularly if via a social media platform such as Twitter (which was central to my lifestream). Rather as with ‘tweeting’ as I mention in my blog, I still have a lot more to learn and require greater mastery. Certainly this remains as a learning point. My Twitter comments did become more articulate (a little I hope) as time went by. Actually the whole idea of ‘fragments’ has been challenging for me, the article in my lifestream post from just this week is interesting to reflect upon: ‘Too Fast Too Furious’. Delicious has become more prominent in terms of the content for my lifestream, as it progressed, and has been profoundly useful. However the way that I have created my lifestream, has been to lay the process or ‘stream’ bare, to show development and the processes associated with its creation. I’ve had some technical problems, in so far as Youtube ‘likes’ would not work via IFTTT, and so I had to link my Google+ account and Youtube (possibly this a regional issue seems to be the view). Similarly embedding Twitter posts has created a mirror, but I included the embed as it should help with more ease for assessment (deleting the IFTTT post may have removed meta data associated with the IFTTT protocol, and this a reason for leaving that embed in the post).


Of course it has been great to be a part of the EDC community, real relationships have emerged here and there has been a great collegiate spirit. Also, I can’t thank Sian and Jeremy enough for all their support and input and wonderful insights.





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