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Final Summary

This final summary will reflect on the whole process involved in using a lifestream to pull together all the digital fragments of knowledge generated by my studies over the last twelve weeks and on the reflection it provides regarding my digital activity and learning process.

I started this lifestream with a high degree of reticence both in terms of the level of public exposure involved in learning in such a public space on the Web and in terms of the lifestream activity in general, not being very technically, multimedia, gadget or application minded or greatly active on the web. I had never engaged with many of the technologies encountered during the course or created much user-generated content myself. The activity initially seemed a rather chaotic experiment which I suspected, when coupled with my own chaotic style of learning, would surely lead to ineffective activity and confusion.

Throughout the whole process I felt generally ill at ease, uncertain and disorientated. Each time I submitted an end of unit artefact to my lifestream I was jubilant and surprised at the level of creativity which I managed to harness to aid my expression, understanding and visuality, only to face yet more discomfort as we moved on to the next part of the course. Feeding the lifestream on a constant basis encouraged me to take a multimodal approach to vary the content appearing there and to make the most of the freedom to experiment licensed by its use and style of assessment. Reviewing the activity each week revealed a certain level of spurious, atomised, fragmented activity which when viewed over a wider timeframe does actually present a relatively coherent presence, where occasional patterns and interests emerged, ideas and like minded individuals intersected and coalesced.

In the early stages activity was orchestrated and controlled, I was keen to feed my lifestream only with course related activity and as I was not a very active ’social networker’ or ‘content creator’ this was a relatively easy task. However when assignments were posted and the interests of my course peers’ emerged commenting and the recording of relevant links and notes via Delicious and Tumblr or Wordpress blog posts began to feed the lifestream prolifically. The inspiration of others and the high level of visibility associated with this type of public learning led to enhanced and expansive activity whilst the lifestream was expansive enough itself to cover the ubiquity of learning that was taking place outside the classroom so to speak, neatly following the geographies, rhythm, tempo, fluidity and modalities of my learning life over a twelve week timeframe, recording when and where my learning was actually happening, my passage, connections, ‘time out’ and periods of accelerated learning.

The whole experience of learning in such open spaces, outside the classroom has been exhilarating, often without fixed compass positions and occasionally rudderless yet because of that all my assignment topics have drawn from ‘the moment’ and not a pre-disposed interest and the lifestream has presented a nexus-like perspective on my learning rather than a container-like output in response to ‘predictable assessment’. If we were to metaphorically construe the lifestream as representing a visionary classroom, following Leander et al. (2010:382) we could consider it a ‘dynamic place-in-the-making’, a space acting as a ‘node in the network’ capable of spawning further nodes as ideas and people coalesce, recording not classroom activity but ‘point[s] along a complex learning trajectory’.


Leander, K.M., Philips, Nathan, C., Headrick Taylor, Katherine (2010). The Changing Social Spaces of Learning: Mapping New Mobilities. Review of Research in Education, 34, p.329-394

Week Twelve Summary

Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/1073/3168706204_296f464e04_b.jpg on 2010-12-12
Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/32022858@N00/3168706204/ created on 2009-01-04 16:25:13
Trevin Chow CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I write this summary rather sad that it is nearing the end now and that this will be my last summary reviewing my weekly digital exploits and footprints, cultural adventures and learning trajectory on this course. My final summary will be a reflection on the whole experience and process involved and this I will write a little later.

I was uplifted however this morning when, again by serendipity, fluke or just plain stupidity (though I dispute this last option :-) ) I mis-typed the google URL into the address bar of my default home page within my web browser (ie http://www.bbc.co.uk/www.google.co.uk) and stumbled upon the BBC error message! This led to a rather jubilant blog posting (pre this one) on ‘pre-digital’ error messages, linking back to the inspiration which fuelled my very first digital artefact.

The rest of my lifestream activity is tied up again with the forthcoming final assignment with many additional delicious links and tumblr quotes or notes being tossed into the flow. Additionally several conversations via blog comments and twitter with my peers on this course have manifested this week, where much useful information, views and thoughts to assist with assignments have been shared. In particular my conversations with James, Jeremy and Sharon, who have all explicitly written about aspects of my assignment topic in their blog posts or other shared digital based activity. I hope to widen this by producing a couple of questions for others to respond to if they wish. But this may be a little late now, we will see.

One final thought occurred to me this week regarding the public and open nature of this course when Sue expressed the desire to avoid looking at one of last year’s course essays on her chosen topic, to enable her own individuality and originality to develop without influence and perhaps avoid the confining deflation that comes when you read an assignment that covers your topic well already and results in a possible view that ‘what-ever you write may only repeat it, offering no additional contribution or originality’. Whilst selecting an outstanding point or question from the original and using this to build upon the work is a useful notion and certainly a good way to extend knowledge rather than repeat it, I too felt this ‘deflation’ this week when I read Jeremy’s excellent remix position statement. Remix culture was a possible assignment title for me, however I decided to try and work with a topic which had not yet been covered by the course (discomfort and creativity) in order to continue cultivating a feeling of covering new ground, navigating new waters and charting new territory, as engenered by this course and in keeping with it’s general ethos.

Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/2076/2193299783_ed8dd019fe_b.jpg on 2010-12-12
Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/49503017135@N01/2193299783/ created on 2007-07-28 13:31:02
bgblogging CC BY-NC 2.0

Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/3197/2616695187_943ac2b738_b.jpg on 2010-12-12
Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/99815706@N00/2616695187/ created on 2008-02-23 10:59:15
Jason Cawkwell CC BY-ND-NC 2.0

Parting Shot: An Early Error Message?

Just logged in to write my final summaries and the first thing I encounter is this (BBC is my default browser webpage)

It seems apt I should encounter an error message on the final day of our lifestream activity! I feel like I have stumbled across a ‘pre-digital’ archeological find.

  • What does it remind you of?
  • Remember the test card?
  • Is this the earliest known origins of the error message?
  • Copyright BBC. Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/classic/classic/testcard.shtml

    BBC test cards are identified by a letter. The most famous British test card is Test Card F [above] which incorporates a colour photograph of Carole Hersee (daughter of BBC engineer George Hersee) playing noughts and crosses with a doll, used on the BBC and ITV from the beginning of colour broadcasts in the late 1960s. It was later updated as Test Card J, and for widescreen broadcasts as Test Card W. Test Card F has often been spoofed by comedians.[wikipedia]

    The BBC now offer free downloads of this image for use as a screen saver and interesting the test card also inspired a cult following in its hey day inspiring comedy parodies as well as other work.

    Week Eleven Summary

    This week’s lifestream reflects assignment based activity and records a digital trail which includes a list of shared resources of potential use to others, comments and suggestions around my own identified topics and further delicious or book links capturing further relevant references. Many of the essay topics now selected are very impressive, and I look forward to reading/viewing them.

    Regarding my own assignment, I decided to contact Jeremy on the course. as my tutor recommended and he kindly supplied his position statement on remix culture, which he he recently completed as part of an assignment for another module. ‘Remix culture’ is a developing literacy and cultural activity and as such sits firmly within both the digitial cultures and digital futures module. Jeremy’s position statement covered the remix culture so well that I think I finally decided to focus on my other key topic regarding creativity out of disorientation instead. Revisiting some of the later few weeks reading resulted in a plethora of relevant quotations in tumblr and the following up of a couple of titles listed in article references including Barnett’s (2007), A willl to learn… I was particularly struck by Barnett’s metaphor of the ‘jumper’ and the associated leap into space which learning requires. This I think is particularly apt for the context of my assignment.

    Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/6/9423410_504fbb8433_b.jpg on 2010-12-05
    Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/95636362@N00/9423410/ created on 2003-01-31 14:27:14
    Steve Rish CC BY-ND 2.0

    Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/3174/2759574125_dafde4b22f_b.jpg on 2010-12-05
    Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/22159565@N06/2759574125/ created on 2008-07-26 15:30:23
    James Kim CC BY-SA 2.0

    Barnett, R. (2007). A will to learn: Being a student in an age of uncertainty. Buckingham: Society for Research in Higher Education

    Tools for Expressing Creativity

    Oh just logged on at work and found a blog post highlighting a list of tools that can be used in conjunction with blogs and which aid the expression of creativity. This will be very useful for my course assignment but might appeal to others following the Digital Cultures module over the later few weeks too.

    The tools offer opportunities for setting funny (and educational!) activities for students that they can also embed into blogs and other websites like wikis. The tools appear in a list of recommendations offered by the Digiridoos, a group of Year 4/5 (9-10 year olds).

    Snowed In

    Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/2704/4480703805_af55a28b36_b.jpg on 2010-11-26
    Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/8525214@N06/4480703805/ created on 2010-04-01 10:07:58
    Tony HammondCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    School buses will not venture out, school is closed and two girls are happily excited about it all! Send in supplies!

    Week Ten Summary

    This week my working pattern on this course has been a bit random and sporadic due to illness. Indeed, I feel I might well meet myself coming back the other way shortly due to all the to-ing and fro-ing I have been doing and my erratic here and there presence or absence. I have finally responded to some outstanding comments and am still trying to catch up having only just shared my ideas on a possible final assignment topic. I suppose this experience resonates with the ghostly online presence as discussed by Bayne (2010) in this week’s core reading. As an experience it certainly falls into the ‘time out of joint and text out of place’ category.

    Though I have not blogged at all on this article, there are a couple of thoughts that have kept me company throughout the week, teasing me and haunting me you could say :-) (I actually read it last weekend). Namely the notion of a ‘rolling present’ and the ’spectrality’ of digital existences.

    In a previous end of week summary I noted that I had decided to weave in and incorporate a couple of relevant blog posts published whilst following other course modules over the last year and a half. I originally wondered if this was an acceptable thing to do as it extended my lifestream beyond the time-frame of this course, however decided to go ahead as the posts were relevant to the topics under discussion and the interlinking helped me weave or knot related streams together at relevant junctures. Having read this article, I no-longer view these past blog posts as historical but consider the process a ’successive linking of presents’ and so an extension of the lifestream seems fitting in this regard.

    As regards the ’spectrality of digital exsitences’ Bayne (page 10) notes that the submission of the lifestream as part of this course is an attempt to capture the spectrality of embodied absence and disembodied presence and the ghostliness of place associated with online learning engagement or activity and as such, looking back over the last 10 weeks, I believe that it does. It records my here and theres, my presence and my absence, my ‘gatherings’ (Edwards 2010) like a ’shadow’. However one ghostly trail it seems to overlook or is unable to capture is the ‘ping-back’ or trackback. Above all others, the ‘ping-back’/'trackback, I believe, demonstrates the ghostliness of an owners presence online in that it is, in essence, an owner’s disembodied footprint(s) manifesting without the bidding, planning, initial knowledge or authority of its owner. It could be described perhaps as an equivalent to a cited reference in digital habitats, eminating when A N Other refers to an author’s blog post in their own post and incorporates a direct link back to the original site (Original post URL). This link back then notifies the original post owner that some-one is refering to some of their writing or ideas by appearing as a comment on their original blog entry (if ping-back notifications are set up or allowed by blog owners). Such comments are useful notifications to blog owners who are able to follow how far their ideas have spread or are used across the internet.

    Trackbacks are a way to notify legacy blog systems that [another] has linked to them. If [we] link other WordPress blogs they’ll be notified automatically using pingbacks, no other action necessary (WordPress).

    Whilst URLs for other blog types can also be added during the drafting of the post using the WordPress template. However, unfortunately these ping-backs/trackbacks do not appear in the lifestream of the author being referred to.

    These new steps or footprints are ‘fainter’ and more ghostly as they are often taken in the absence of the owner (ie not being online); the weight of the owner is not behind them (often its not the owner who takes the new step, rather it’s others linking to it, identifying with the idea or post and taking it forward); the posts are sometimes adapted, interpreted by others (secondary sources) or fed into their own thoughts and resulting footprint/publication or can spread fleetingly and cover a lot of ground if many pick it up and relate to it in one way or another (sharing with friends, replying, commenting, liking it etc). This all reminds me of the stretch of an elastic band and the feedback jolt you get when its twanged!

    Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/2559/3992623857_42be522a12_b.jpg on 2010-12-01
    Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/34887679@N00/3992623857/ created on 2009-10-08 16:50:57
    Pewari Naan CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/2714/4413792604_53fea0ab8e_b.jpg on 2010-12-01
    Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/30916505@N08/4413792604/ created on 2010-03-07 18:29:14
    Scintt CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Other lifestream activity included delicious book marks recording further sources of potential use to the final assignment project and a couple of blog posts relevant to our end of unit post-human pedagogy task on cybernetics and Pask’s theory of conversation in particular.

    Cyborg theory, online pedagogy and course design. Exploring the theory of conversation further

    I decided to submit my previous post covering Pask’s theory of conversation as my end of unit artefact and example of a posthuman or cyborg pedagogy. The post includes information as to why I think the theory could be considered posthuman and how it can be incorporated practically into course design however it might be worth exploring it a little more in light of this week’s reading, particularly in relation to Edwards’ (2010) ‘gathering’ or postulation that responsible experimentation is post-human pedagogy; that a post-human intervention points to a constant material entanglement of human and non-human, places ‘the thing being gathered’ centre stage and in so doing, decentres ‘the knowing/learning human subject within educational practices’ and as a result heralds the end of lifelong learning which in comparison focuses on human learning and the knowing/learning human subject.

    The value placed upon ‘the thing being gathered’ by Edwards bears some affinity with Carpenters (2009:144) value of the hybrid text, which he depicts as ‘Salt’: a ‘chemical bond, where two elements join, lose their individual properties and take on new properties different from the entities that comprise that bond’ and the theory of conversation. The dialectic process depicted by the theory of conversation clearly recognises two elements at play and recognizes the new properties that occur when the two elements join and successfully bond.

    Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4064/4618409199_2922751b1b_b.jpg on 2010-11-29
    Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/46275067@N05/4618409199/ created on 2010-05-04 09:10:55
    EMSL CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    In addition, surely ‘a constant material entanglement with the human and non-human’ is a never ending dialogue which also attests to the ethos of lifelong learning? Experimentation and interaction is very much part of the dialectic put forward by Pask, however the theory also humanizes science as a conversational research process (enabling learners to act as personal scientists and action researchers or be recognized as dialectic scientists), values lifelong learning and respects the individual as a unique meaning constructing self organising learning entity (Thomas and Harri-Augstein 2001). Indeed Thomas and Harri-Augustein (2001:922) comment that

    ‘applied scientists have gradually been forced to recognise that they each need to re-think their methods of research, development and implementation if they are to do more than exploit… new breakthroughs’

    and argue that mankind have attempted to apply the ’scientific method’ to investigations in many areas of human knowledge including biological studies, anthropology, social and economic studies, cybernetic and psychological research and found it a difficult application, with many researchers eventually having to adapt, change or recreate their own form of ’scientific method’. Books have been published on the topic of dialectic scientists and science,for example Charles Darwin and his theories of evolution are covered in texts on dialectic biology/biologists.

    On science and the nature of human learning Thomas and Harri-Augstein (925) highlight that whilst physical scientists have historically exchanged their understandings about their ‘inner conversations’ with the physical world, conversed with one another about which criteria to adopt to aid selecting from the different meanings they constructed for subsequent consensus, sharing and circulation, our modern educational processes have come to ignore and devalue this systematic, reflexive, conversational meaning constructing process in favour of teaching by experts to the less expert as a means of efficiently and economically achieving academic standards. As a result ’something essential is being lost’ and following Payutto (cited in Thomas and Harri-Augstein 2001:925)

    ‘Theory, experiment and socially effective applications have parted company, to the extent that they cease to feedback effectively one into the other. The conversational process has broken down, to be replaced by the popularisation and exploitation of scientific knowledge’

    Finally as Thomas and Harri-Augstein’s research progressed it became clearer to them that (927)

    ‘the work of each scientist as a socially productive human endeavour could be usefully re-construed as a specialised form of life-long learning conversation; and that science can very usefully be seen as an effectively-communicating system of many such life-long learning conversations’

    Carpenter, R (2009) Boundary negotiations: electronic environments as interface. Computers and Composition. 26, 138-148.

    Edwards, R. (2010). The end of lifelong learning: A post-human condition? Studies in the Education of Adults, 42/1, 5-17.

    Thomas, L.; Harri-Augstein, S. (2001) Conversational science and advanced learning technologies (ALT) Tools for conversational pedagogy. Kybernetes, 30 (7/8). P.921-954

    Ideas for Assignment

    Au Secours

    Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/182/483169860_5c2366d07c_b.jpg on 2010-11-26
    Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/35468151759@N01/483169860/ created on 2007-05-04 00:05:59
    Kevan Davis CC BY-NC 2.0

    I am drowning in half baked ideas for my final assignment.

    Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/3573/3418082203_a18fdcb55d_b.jpg on 2010-11-26
    Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/30036930@N03/3418082203/ created on 2009-04-06 17:37:27
    Rachel Carter CC BY-ND 2.0

    I have known for a while how I want to present it (using Xerte Online Toolkits- available at the university of Nottingham but also opensource) but have not been able to land on a topic to present, so below is a stream of consciousness in the hope that your interaction and/or inspiration will illuminate my path ahead and help me see the wood for the trees.

    Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/2704/4480703805_af55a28b36_b.jpg on 2010-11-26
    Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/8525214@N06/4480703805/ created on 2010-04-01 10:07:58
    Tony HammondCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Digital literacies, online spaces and communities of practice were my original draw to the course. All my other assignments have unconsciously manifested from my direct engagement with the course and so I have been waiting for a ’sign’ (in keeping with the semiotic nature and approach used by this course) to guide me. I am interested in

    • spatial literacy and disaggregation – its place in online learning and cultivation of multidisciplinary ‘coming togethers’ – I think Michael has homed in on a great topic there – I didn’t like the literary device of the flaneur but see great potential in his reworking of the concept as a mobile space ’sensor’;
    • ————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    • the engaging of emergence, nodes in networks, community ecologies and digital habitats, role of reciprocity in communities and network weaving that came out of my ethnographical study and which also relate to online learning spaces; I quite like this idea but feel like I am trying to pull loose threads together here and will it really take me beyond what I found out by conducting my ‘lightweight’ ethnography? I listened to the digital habitats eluminate talk last night that I shared via twitter – very insightful.
    • ————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    • the manifestation of creativity from discomfort, unfamiliarity, ambiguity and as absorbed from the semiotic, distributed communication approaches harnessed by or designed into a course. The discomfort and uncertainly that I have felt in following this course for example has resulted in an ‘explosion’ of creativity – its drawn out a creative side that has long been buried in me I think. I am really warming to this topic which is ‘new and emergent’ for me yet ’situated within my own course experience’. However I am unsure where to find information on this topic to back me up or guide me;
    • ————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    • Remix culture, legitimate piracy and looting in the 21st century via creative reuse. Is sharing a one way street? to what extent does what gets shared get used? – I like this topic too which in some respects extends my work on Open Educational Resources and the workshop I co-run which covers re-use, remixing and adaptation – though perhaps this topic is not ‘new’ enough for me

    My reasons for choosing Xerte Online Toolkits for presentation are:

    • I have used it before to produce course companions and project publications however I have often mused that this would also be a good tool for student generated digital essays and so using it myself for essay production will be a good test of the concept.
    • Also the tool caters for multimodal text. I can incorporate images, videos, text, graphs, sound etc quite easily and with minimum techie know how and it caters for both a linear reading and multiple entry point selections via its contents page navigation!

    Week Nine Summary

    This week we have still been engaging with the concepts, notions or myths of the post human or cyborg and considering how our understanding of gender, race, power and subjectivity is affected by our engagement with the digital domain. If I imagined myself to be a cyborg or posthuman I think I would describe myself as a hologram, a multidimensional (wo)man-machine hybrid which in reality is an interface, projected image and illusion only. I do not plug myself in and am not wired up to the network but I do interface.

    Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/2169/2353972859_d585fba83b_b.jpg on 2010-11-22
    Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/7402902@N06/2353972859/ created on 2008-03-22 20:14:57
    Franklin Hunting CC BY-ND 2.0

    I have posted several thoughts on ‘being posthuman’ to Wallwisher (though the feed to my lifestream does not reflect the most recent editions) and most of my ruminations have centred on aspects of cyborg theory, online pedagogy and course design. Several of my blog posts and subsequent discussions have been on this topic. Discussions with Dennis and Mark led to further insights and ideas, though I did not venture out far myself this time to comment on others’ blogs and I have wondered why.

    The subject is still quite challenging and new to me so commenting as a novice to the subject is not all that easy. In previous courses we have had a central discussion board where we have been able to chew over our ideas and debate our understanding or misunderstandings of difficult material. I have often found these discussion boards very useful in this regard. This distributed nature of peer’s thoughts on the blogs and the open publication to the web does not foster, I feel, a collated discussion on difficult topics. It’s more difficult to absorb and digest the chat following our distributed blogging and commenting set up. So, for the first time I have missed a group discussion board and feel the discussion this week was negatively impacted and fragmented for the lack of it. I guess you could say I am feeling a little lost and dislocated this week, a theme picked up in our week 10 readings (Usher & Edwards 1998).

    I am also feeling lost and dislocated due to the fact that I have still to decide on a topic for my final assessment and my lifestream reflects this also. I have ventured off the beaten track and gone off piste in search of inspiration. Much hunter-gatherer activity has taken place with many delicious links charting my pathways and trajectory and recording sites of potential relevance to a number of different assignment possibilities. I really must decide which way to go this week!

    Taken from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4112/5195719706_2c30bbdbca_b.jpg on 2010-11-22
    Original URL – http://www.flickr.com/83512654@N00/5195719706/ created on 2010-10-24 01:44:45
    pierre gros CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Usher, R. and Edwards, R. (1998). Lost and found: ‘cyberspace’ and the (dis)location of teaching, learning and research. SCUTREA 1998, Exeter.