Feed on

Throughout this course there have been a lot of times where I didn’t think I would make it to the end of this course! It seemed that if it wasn’t one thing it was another and between technological issues, lost computers, lack and self esteem and my ill health I thought I was going to get to write this final submission.

When it came to keeping a lifestream I felt like a complete digital immigrant.  Just the word lifestream was completely foreign to me, returning to study and feeling out of my depth (hence the loss of issues surrounding my lack of confidence) and trying to ‘keep up’ made the words digital immigrant strongly resonate with me throughout the course.

Are there things I would do differently?  Absolutely!! I would have loved to write more blog entries and added more into my lifestream about what I was reading and doing.  Each time I read an article, blog or tweet I pondered on whether each was worth sharing in this lifestream.  Was it relevant?  Was the emphasis going to be to far removed from my role as a student and to close to my role as a nurse and lecturer?  In retrospect I wish I had just included absolutely everything instead of being selective, as now I could have removed those that certainly were not relevant!

I feel it is easy for me to focus on the negative, there are however a number of positives about my lifetstream.  Managing to get to grips with some of the technology that was needed to complete a lifestream led to me feeling empowered.  While my lifestream will never win an award for being the best, I am extremely proud of what I have managed to accomplish.

Using twitter, although it still hasn’t quite become a second nature to me has been great.  Using my account #golizgo27 to feed interesting and relevant ideas and articles has been enjoyable.  I love words and the English language, fitting an idea or concept into 140 characters was at time a challenge and at times I have to look twice as to whether what I was trying to communicate has been successful.

Commenting on blogs, both my own and other peoples, I found challenging.  There was always a little voice in my head which was saying, everyone can read this, what you are saying may be of no value.  Facing my own demons I attempted to complete this task.  This is one area where I see gaping holes and where I would have liked to have done better by commenting more and instead of personal reflection should have written something down!

Most of all I have enjoyed the creativity that has come with completing a lifestream.  The projects of a digital artefact and digital community have been interesting and using a range of applications I feel these were well supported throughout my lifestream.

This has been a steep learning curve but one I have enjoyed.  The digital activities have been many and the learning process one I will build on and never forget.

I have nearly reached the end!  It’s time to start thinking about the final assessment.  When I think about the aspects of the course I have enjoyed the most it was certainly the block on virtual communities.

I think I find this so interesting as firstly, it makes the most sense to me.  I like that a virtual community doesn’t have the same rules, norms and customs that are associated with a traditional community.

There are two areas I feel I could focus on here.  The first relates to my group of students that I tutor.  They have never met face to face and rely solely on the virtual community for support, encouragement and feedback.  The second area would be to look at the key points from literature surrounding what a digital community is and add in examples of such communities to highlight this.

The latter is appealing to me as it would mean I would get to have a good look around at a number of digital communities and link it back to literature.  I found Rheingold particularly fascinating and agreed with a large number of his ideas.  I am going to take the plunge and begin to focus on this area!

My lifestream has a large focus around social eLearning.  I was pondering whether the social element of learning is what is needed to ensure success through participant buy in?  This will be an area I hope to be able to include in my final assessment so I am going to read up and see if it applies or if I am barking up the wrong tree!

When cyborgs attack?  I thought a cyborg was one of the characters in Doctor Who!  The past couple of weeks have set me straight on what a cyborg actually is and explained the concept of being posthuman.  It is an idea that I really like.

I have related the thought of being posthuman back to learning.  I couldn’t help but think of the Indian commonwealth synchronised swimming team.  There was no synchronised swimming coach in India, unphased by this one individual began to train with the dream of getting to the games.  Her coach became videos that she had viewed on Youtube.  The end result was that she got to compete at the games, unfortunately she finished in last place.

Although I am beginning to sound like a broken record, due to my health playing up (again!!) I wasn’t able to get my posthuman exercise completed.  My old friend of self esteem made another appearance as well and I wondered if I was even talking about the right thing!  I did manage to look at some of the work of my fellow classmates and some were spectacular, especially those that looked at space as a concept.  I did notice that one other person looked at learning to swim via youtube, I was kicking myself.  If I had trusted my instinct and pulled myself together, I to could have added something to this discussion!

I am still meant to be focussing on the posthuman and cyborgs and I am still struggling!

The future is bright, the future is cyborgs keeps popping into my head! A world where there seems to be no barriers or limitations due to age, disability or intellectual capacity!  I can remember reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley at school and memories of it came flooding back when looking at the ideas of cyborgs and post-human this week.

In my working career I suppose I could say I have helped to create cyborgs – inserting devices that change the pain pathways to the brain from the base of the spine to assist those with chronic pain.  Assisting surgeons take a huge tumour from a persons leg and then completely rebuild it from the meccano set of titanium we have available, for the patient to then be stitched up and not look any different.  I always found this completely fascinating but never thought of this as a cyborg!  My understanding from Hayles (1999) is that this is precisely what a cyborg is!  I couldn’t however find anything published (except for medical articles which didn’t mention the concept of building a cyborg as that would be unethical!) So for another week my lifestream is looking a bit light on content.

The idea of being posthuman to me is the yin to the cyborgs yang.  Cyborgs appear to be all about the physical boundaries that can be pushed.  Posthumanism seems more holistic and all encompassing as it includes physical, psychological and intellectual aspects.

This week there is mention in my lifestream about finding the delights of google chrome.  I have had some major computer issues this week with internet explorer not allowing me to access MyEd or edit in certain programmes.  A quick talk with a techie in the know has set me on the right path again…long may it last!

I am struggling on the health front again this week!  Everything seems to be unravelling and falling apart!  My lifestream doesn’t take any particular focus in terms of the current topic. 

I did find add to my lifestream a number of articles, the most interesting and perhaps relevant was on how a 3D tool is in use to assist town planners by creating a 3D view of cities.  I found this to be cyborg like as although it did not relate to one particular person it related to a core area.  Will this technological advancement from planners originally using a pen and paper to 3D software lead to further developments I wonder? A pair of 3D glasses perhaps that will scan an area and automatically upload into a computer programme or google maps which will be used by end consumers one day as a navigational tool? I suppose with technology the only limit is the imagination, soft and hardware which could make us all more like a cyborg!

This week saw the publishing of my digital ethnography.  I wasn’t as sure as with the digital artefact as to how I would publish this.  The internet was full of fantastic (and free) editing software, I was feeling confident to use movie maker again.  For this though I felt like I wanted to use something different to get a completely different aesthetic once complete. 

The hardest thing I found about completing a micro ethnography was that it was micro! In a more comprehensive or full ethnography further areas could have been examined and discussed, one of which would have been of great interest were the dynamics surrounding some of the conversations between those established in the cupcake business and those that were starting out.  I could have spent hours looking and commenting on this as it was so interesting in the way that a ‘cupcake language’ of sorts and a blame culture were exchanged.

The focus of a generic overall look at how the humble cupcake had become so popular and looking at one community that was global proved really interesting.  From gaining permission to loiter around the range of sites (In particular the flickr group) and watching conversations develop left me feeling a mix of a cupcake peeping tom, and an private investigator!

Research continued this week for my digital ethnography.  I made the decision to look at cupcakes as this was a reasonably current craze in baking which I find fascinating.  A large number of this weeks entries surrounded the research on this topic.

The rest of the feeds for this week are small articles for personal interest.  One on looking at a range of social media applications I found interesting as I had actually heard and/or seen some of the applications that were discussed.

Following our mid-point feedback this week, I have also revisited all of the items I have added to delicious to include descriptions and tags.  I was just using delicious as a favourites tab that I could access from any computer.  Adding the comments and tags has given me a whole new appreciation as to how good delicious is as a reference tool rather than the list I first created

Its national get online week! 

I thought that the new block that we were to look at – virtual communities and ethnographies, tied in well with ‘get online week’.  When I teach the idea of community to nursing students we look in depth at culture and how this may or may not affect the type of treatment you receive, for instance, those who speak English as a second language are often disadvantaged when receiving hospital treatment due to a lack of translators.  We also examine the idea of the ‘postcode lottery’, where you choose to live can also have an effect on the health care services you can receive.  In terms of an online community does this happen as much?  A number of websites are available in several languages, and there are a number of free translation tools available online.  In addition to this, the idea of the postcode lottery seems null and void, unless extremely rural and even if it is a dial up connection many people have a personal or access to a public computer with internet access.  The thoughts I was having were also discussed in this weeks readings.  In a slightly roundabout way, Pass IT on and the awareness raised by national IT week* only assists in the eventual strengthening of virtual communities as more people enjoy being online.

With that sidestepped thought out of the way, this week began to see me researching ideas for examining my virtual communities.  I was torn, I had two communities that I would like to look at.  I was almost certain there would be a community which consisted on New Zealanders living in the UK.  As I mentioned in my blog post that accompanied this topic, there are so many New Zealanders in the UK all wanting to share ideas on the best way to get started when you first arrive in the country through to the true ex-pats who had made the UK their permanent home.  After substantial research I was left disappointed, no such communities appeared to exist.  I did however add some of the more useful and non dating related websites I found to my lifestream.

* This years national get online week saw over 30,000 people get started in using the internet.

Hello lifestream, have you missed me?  I am sorry I haven’t been in touch lately or bringing you lovely offerings from the worlds of twitter and the rest of the web but I haven’t been feeling the best this week.  Usually I would still manage a little bit of information for you but due to a lovely 5 star hospital experience I am afraid everything I write will be of little value due to a drug cocktail which has left me feeling floaty and lovely, but incapable of doing anything to note here.  I will do as the doctors say and rest, fingers crossed I feel better soon!

Not feeling well left me with a huge gap in my lifestream.  It had however left me with lots of time to try and reflect on the ideas of popular cyberculture and digital literacies and to sum up how I would visually create this.  I looked at a number of options (which I wish I had added to my lifestream!)  I had heard great things about Prezi.  I signed up for an account and began trying to create something.  I am not sure whether it was my less than 100% brain not functioning well or if due to my limited capabilities I just could not get a presentation to ‘work’ here.

I decided to focus on my personal inauguration into popular cyberculture as a focus topic.  I landed in moviemaker quite by mistake; I liked the idea of being able to mix up images, words and music to illustrate key points.  At first I was concerned that this may look like a glorified power point presentation, it took a lot of thought to decide on content that wouldn’t give this impression.  I truly felt that in the few short weeks I had been exposed to this new ‘world’ of applications the digital migrant in me was beginning to cross over to being a native.  I felt that the whole digital artefact was a huge accomplishment.  I had managed to create something using a variety of media that portrayed my past and current feelings.  I had then managed to upload and share the artefact onto you tube (more than a bit nervous doing this part!) and as a piece de résistance commented on a number of my fellow classmates productions.

Although this week began in the worst way possible, by the end of it, although still sore I was thrilled at what I had accomplished and that my perceptions of the topic seemed to be correct.

As I had spent much of last week reliant on my mobile phone, my first lifestream entry and tweet of the week had to relate to mLearning!  Although it was a rather vague article on the benefits of mLearning it was more of a timely article that fit in with my personal mobile use the week before! 

I took the opportunity this week to start using delicious properly; I added a number of eLearning tools that I thought were all interesting and valid.  Flexible Learning Toolboxes I found interesting on several levels.  This site contained a number of short eLearning courses that were created by a number of TAFE’s (technical colleges) It was refreshing to see a collaboration and expertise of the authors being made available to everyone at a minimal cost.  I knew that the toolboxes had been developed in Australia so a lot of language, cultural issues and legislation made them unusable anywhere but there, but then I noticed that when the toolboxes were purchased you could modify these to suit your own needs.  I was so impressed; I know that in education everyone talks of collaboration and sharing information so as not to ‘reinvent the wheel’, but this was the first time I had actually seen the sharing of educational resources done in this way.  Why develop a course that you technically give to your competitors? Higher education is after all run to a business model with students buying your product.  Does it matter then that such a product isn’t unique?  This is a question that will leave me pondering for some time I feel!

The one thing that I felt confident about this week was the use of Skype to discuss this weeks readings.  While the lifestream is not the place to discuss the readings, I wanted to mention it as it was the first application I felt confident about using.  I knew how to access it, I even knew how to type at relative speed (thank you typing classes at school!)  I was feeling confident as earlier in the day I had undertaken a number of firsts with twitter, learning how and what a hashtag does and how to directly tweet someone!!  What I didn’t expect to feel during the skype chat was the gut wrenching and emotive self doubt creep in as I thought ‘what am I doing here’, everyone seemed to have so much to say, intelligent conversation surrounding each of the readings.  Although I had read each of them I felt incredibly stupid all of a sudden and my initial fear of not wanting to use such applications for fear of not saying anything worthwhile was a firmly entrenched thought.

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