Archive for the 'Weekly Reflection' Category

Dec 11 2010

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Sharon Boyd

Final Summary Reflection

Filed under Weekly Reflection

I’m not sure what this final post should ideally be, but part of me doesn’t want to write it. Is it that I do not want this to come to an end or that I do not want to let it go or set it free?

So I took the easier route and spent today being creative – another artefact to close the course. The Flipbook tool choice was my husband’s suggestion – I had planned a ZooBurst pop-up book but was hitting a problem when it came to representing everyone. He said that it would be better if I had a flip-page image of me transforming into “cyborg Sharon” – tying the end up with the beginning – and so it has become. (Apologies still to everyone – I could only manage smileys and flowers – so you became smiles and rainbows, which is how I think of you – etheric cyborgs one and all :) )

What I hope my lifestream shows is how much creative inspiration I have taken from this course. How the tasks, readings, tweets and Tumblings, music and musings have woven themselves together to create a tapestry of my learning process. I have to remind myself that it doesn’t end here – I have taken so much from this that I wished I had time to spend with, and now I have been given that wish.

Every living thing has a life of its own – and my lifestream is most certainly alive. Looking back on the elements of the lifestream, reading through my offline journal – now updated and digitised – I’m aware of how important this journalling process has been.

Comments I made, notes to myself at the beginning, are far enough from me now in time that I can look and be inspired anew, or reminded of things I thought I would do and have forgotten – or haven’t started yet. This isn’t the past, it’s a guide for the future, for me anyway.

It is not simply that my “digital life” has been recorded here, but more that my thoughts, reflections and collections have taken on their own life – drawing energy from the web when I click the Publish switch. Once that happens, they cease to be “mine” and are shared with everyone, become part of their thoughts, their comments adding to my posts, their observations adding to my work in the same way that I hope my comments add to theirs.

My last Tumbr post for the lifestream talks about the inspiration of the hazel tree. Like hazel, I have delved my roots deeply into my lifestream – others have been like the salmon sharing their knowledge with me, and I hope I have shared a few kernels of knowledge along the way :) Like this reflection, my Flipbook artefact is cyclical (by tool design rather than my ability, but all things are connected!). One key thing our work together showed is that, with culture, nothing is “new”, simply blended with, adding to and building on those that have gone before us.

What we post this year has come from the inspiration of our lives and those students who came before us, and I like to think that maybe this may inspire those who come after us too.

Thank you Jen, Sian and everyone on the course – and see you all in Second Life on Monday!

The picture below is my lifestream given “face and form” – and I think I’m ready to let her go.

Lifestream Elemental

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Dec 11 2010

Profile Image of Sharon Boyd
Sharon Boyd

Summary Flipbook :)

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Dec 05 2010

Profile Image of Sharon Boyd
Sharon Boyd

Week 11 Reflection

Filed under Weekly Reflection

The last weekly reflection – this time next week, it’ll be the final overall reflection. I wish I could have made this course run longer – it feels like we’ve only just started. I know that’s the point, that we’re now supposed to leap in and learn from our personal experiences from this point on (thinking about Marie’s posthuman pedagogy task!), but still I’m going to miss the camaraderie of the course space.

This week, thanks in no small part to Alastair McIntosh, I got my essay title in place, and a rough idea of how I am going to approach it. But that is very much only the start – I’m glad I’ve got another week for discussing and clarifying and fine-tuning.

I shared a link at the beginning of the week to an essay entitled Franken-Rat. This exploration of what it means to become posthuman from the physiologic influencing the spiritual/psychologic state I found really interesting, quite a deep reflection – plus I like the symborg (human-virus symbiotic cyborg) reflection fascinating. Not sure how I can “use” it visibly, but it’s brewing away in my head.

I also posted some other delicious links – including one to the Experience Project, which I spotted as a comment in an article on winter. I thought it sounded wonderful, but I’ve spent some time investigating it since. Many of the “communities” or groups only have a small membership – though I have joined some for nature that may be of use in my essay (nevermind my life). It’s interesting, perhaps not as wonderful as I thought earlier in the week, but then, it may prove me wrong! I did briefly consider it might be an interesting format for my essay – particularly if I went down the mini-auto-ethnography route. Still pending that one, as it would be interesting to see if I had any input – members joining my group and commenting on my life stories.

Discussions with Jeremy on his shamanistic posthuman pedagogy task have been great – that shamanistic aspect of learning has touched something for me – that blending of ontology and epistemology perhaps that is echoed in my own essay topic choice. The feedback from others on my posthuman pedagogy task was so profound. I love that – I love how other people’s comments help you to see and understand your own work so much better.

Tweets sharing good resources and commenting on Michael and James’ superb essay idea and poll to #ededc, but also “personal” tweets (i.e. not to #ededc) with two examples of the use of social networking to reach larger groups. The first – a “rethink” of journalism using social media and crowdsourcing. We’re already using this to some extent, but it was good to see it in one article. The second, a man who was deeply affected by stories of the rape and resulting trauma undergone by women in the Congo. He didn’t just think “oh that’s dreadful” and then leave it at that – he ran, he tweeted and posted and raised awareness. He visited, he took action – and he hasn’t given up. So many of us think and reflect but don’t “do” or let a feeling of helplessness overcome us – “what can I do, what difference will it make?”.

On a lighter note, more tweets on the weather – and the joy of the snow compounded by impacts on work (working from home, loss of electricity and internet connection) and home (oh my poor plants!).  I thought the picture below summed our week up nicely… :)

 pooh and piglet thinking in the snow

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Nov 28 2010

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Sharon Boyd

Week 10 Reflection

I started this week commenting on the hydra-connections in our reading on Tumblr. I love the warm fuzzy you get when the ideas you have, the images you see, are shared by others – that feeling of confirmation – that your “aha!” moment was spot on. A community of understanding, like-mindedness, shared thoughts perhaps?

The JISC newsletter brought great inspiration on Tuesday – good ideas, opportunities, items that connected with earlier and current discussions or thoughts in my head. It was great to share them with the group.

I posted my posthuman pedagogy task on Tuesday, mindful of the fact that there was only a week, and I needed to get something “up there” early on. Biesta’s article, though requiring a double-read, helped a lot with my topic – as did looking at the tasks we had been given before and “borrowing” (ahem!) the structure.

By Tuesday also, evidence of my change in essay ideas come to the fore, with links to e.g. Earth as Art. The last three weeks had taken my original idea for an essay and turned it on its head. I’m still pondering, with an “almost there!” feeling that the final idea has nearly arrived. I had earlier been thinking about environmental activism online – it had been part of my original idea for my ethnography which, likewise, had to undergo a topic change. The last three weeks, our work on the cyborg, the soul/spirit of the machine reflections, have got themselves all tangled up like spaghetti wires. Strongest comes that sense of posthuman responsibility – which again appeared in our reading this week.

And so, the latter part of this week was spent lost in thought.  Like the image below, I can see the edges, the surface, but haven’t seen the whole. It is an incomplete vision, but like my lifestream, coming into view :)

invisible woman

Separate from the course, we ran face-to-face exams this week for candidates who we only knew online before this. The candidates travelled from around the UK, bringing their own stories, plans for the weekend, traveller’s tales and it was that wonderful mixing of the person you have come to know online, with the chance to get to know each other all over again… and have real instead of virtual biscuits for a change! Invigilating exams and coordinating rooms, exam scripts, examiners and candidates is immediate and time consuming, but does have the benefit of leaving some parts of your mind whirring away and processing essay thoughts “behind the scenes”.

Like the invisible woman, I was here, but not here!

Plans for the coming week: while there are no specific course readings, I really need time to catch up with the reading I have downloaded around the topics we have been covering, to gel the final essay plan and to spend time looking at other people’s pedagogy tasks – and being inspired and awe-struck as usual, I have no doubt!

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Nov 21 2010

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Sharon Boyd

Week 9 Reflection

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What a week!

There is quite a bit of music this week, as I was working on developing interactive stats examples for one of the courses I work on (the statisticians did the stats – no idea what it meant, but it looks good :) ). I find it easier to work on something like that with music input too. The adaptations for the lifestream saw me sifting out tunes to leave the remaining songs reflective of my thinking this week on animals/plants/humans/machines – most of which are in my previous post (Technopagans and Cybershamans).

I also had my first XtraNormal experience, leading to my first YouTube movie – wowee!! I took an original poem, The Mystery, which I renamed “Amergin’s Poem”, which connected themes and resonated with this week, and I added a few lines to direct it a little more. It was important to me as it brought my Irish cultural heritage into this lifestream, something which, considering our reading on “hidden” race online (e.g. Nakamura 2008), I felt was very important (see also the inclusion of Clannad).

Not much on delicious – just a couple of links of the many I visited re: shamanism online – fascinating! Plus a link to the website where I found the image I shared on the Wallwisher – it took me this long to figure out what I was going to put there! I love that Haraway-associated image – that medicine-woman image, and, even if the term is outdated (a little like me!), cybershaman.

I have booked time with the scanner this coming week, so my scribbles can be updated and I am a little lost about this coming week’s activity. But as with the rest of the course, you just dive in and learn from the experience – woohoo!!

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Nov 13 2010

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Sharon Boyd

Week 8 Reflection

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Thank heavens for the bliss of good old Tumblr! Spent ages trying to get Wordpress to take a Google presentation, no joy – stick it in Tumblr and in it goes, easy as pie.

This week, I’ve spent time sharing and discussing links with my brother – my guest for the week (and hopefully next week too :) ). He shared a really interesting link on developing robots that think “ethically” – slightly worrying mind you – a little too “big brother” with the medication support – made me think of I, Robot – “you shall take your medication” – eek! He’s been looking at some of the ethnographies too, and I look forward to sharing his thoughts.

I tweeted a really neat internet infographic – simultaneously superb and every so slightly disturbing (how many emails?!)

Two visual artefacts this week to sum up my thoughts on the reading – one a presentation of images that I pulled together as a result of reading Haraway, Hayles and Shields, and which had been bubbling away in my mind all week. The second is an image of me as a hydra – with each head representing one part of the online mosaic that is me (and the zoologist couldn’t help but tweak the Latin name :) ). Helpfully enough, the picture had seven heads and I repeatedly use the same image in multiple locations – result!

What was most important about this was both the need for every online representation of me to be part of the larger whole – multiple “heads” for in truth I do act differently in each virtual location, yet all are “me” – and also for there to be the mythical quality that rears its head (appropriately) in so much of our reading. I had a chance to include the horse as one of the heads, the icon I use for my main work FB and Twitter account, and something that is not included in this lifestream, but where most of my tweeting (well, retweeting!), takes place. It was tempting to create a whole different creature for my SL “selves”, as one avatar appearance is not enough.

Here be Dragons

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Nov 06 2010

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Sharon Boyd

Week 7 Reflection

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How can it be the end of Week 7 already? I find I’m missing the chat when I’m not in here or can’t have my Tweetdeck going – what am I going to be like when it finishes – arrgh!

Last week, I really enjoyed the discussions and the preparation for the ethnographic work, this week, I have sat in awe of the presentations people have produced. That’s what I can’t fully capture in my weekly blog – the inspiration, the creative possibilities, the wonderful tools that people use or tweet/blog about (thanks Sian for that Digital Is link!) and that I really want time to play with – very much the long-term result of taking this course that I wish I could flash forward to evidence. At least this week I was able to use Michael’s Prezi/Tumblr tip to achieve something that I can thank him for now – I’ll just have to take this opportunity to leave my thanks for everyone else’s inspiration here.

My posts this week see me jumping hither and yon to other ethnographies, and making a complete twit of myself in the process by either reply-tweeting to the wrong person, or using the wrong name in an ethno comment. Ah well – the joys of not having an edit button has for sure provided evidence of the dangers of not re-reading my posts in my usual over-cautious manner – speed-posting is not for me :)

It is amazing how our ethnographies mingle, knit together in our EDC community, nevermind the wider communities (sub-groups) we are members of. Now I know who the Terry Pratchett fans are on the course (Noreen and her family), that Dennis and James have similar loves to my own (community fruit maps and bees), and the power of Lego to unit people (thanks Mark!). Linda’s got me hooked on Downton Abbey and Marie’s encouraged me to get a phone that can take pictures – I now know I’m not alone with taking pictures on the sly either.

In planning for next week, I’ve asked my brother to join me as my class visitor. I sent him a movie that James tweeted as an enticement – and now I’ve got Hugh’s Call of Duty ethnography to, I hope, seal the deal!

What a fabulous week :)

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Nov 01 2010

Profile Image of Sharon Boyd
Sharon Boyd

Week 6 Reflection

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This is a little late this week, as BT decided we didn’t need broadband for the weekend.

That said, it has been a wonderful weekend, as we’ve left British Summer Time behind and are back to what I fondly refer to as “proper time”. So excited am I by the hour change, that I’ve even put a link in Tumblr :)

Week 6 was a brilliant week – a chance for me to get more involved in the “real-time” of the course, with my TweetDeck twittering away at me. I felt so much more connected.

I also had time to play with the feeds I wanted to use more – on Monday, this meant listening to some of the music mentioned in papers or on other blogs (thanks Hugh :) ). While waiting to hear from my contact regarding my ethnography, I also did a search on the gardening theme, and pulled up some interesting options on Spotify (including a lot of audio files on gardening practice – superb!).

Unfortunately, no reply from my first contact had me rethinking my ethnography on Thursday and shelving the work I had done so far. Terry Pratchett came to the rescue, and as this week progresses, I’ll share that here with everyone.

Finally – what a joy to have an “inner child” vibe this week – with Mr Benn in James’ blog, and an in-depth Lego (and Eddie Izzard) discussion courtesy of Mark, Jen and I.

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Oct 24 2010

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Sharon Boyd

Week 5 Reflection

Filed under Reading, Weekly Reflection

This week, I have been visiting other artefacts, reflecting on the connections between our work, and reading, learning and pondering my ethnography focus. I’m still not certain I’m “there” yet, in so much as I feel I still have a lot to understand about creating an ethnography, though I have made my choice. However, I do believe that, like everything in the course so far, it is the experience that teaches.

I shared a picture this week that my husband took of me in my favourite reading spot on the sofa – and as the tag says, very much lost in a good journal :) and I also share a Barn cartoon, because it made me laugh and had a “technical” theme. It’s as close as I could get to something that brought together my daily life, my sense of humour, my work at the vet school, my love of animals and this course. A big ask perhaps, but Rory came through.

Because I spent so much time looking at artefact’s this week, my tweets, Tumbr post and references echo this – thinking about what it means to be a community, what we “see”, what it means to see (what is perception?) and what technology allows us to see more clearly.

Reflecting on global community, last night, I saw Kodo, a taiko drumming group from Sado Island, Japan. This is part of my weekly reflection as it is as integral a part of my week – if I could have posted it “live” to my lifestream, I would have, as it ties in with everything we have been discussing for me and seemed to bring the week together in one event – it is my weekly reflection in experience.

Their music draws on inspiration from their island home, seeking to “find a harmonious balance between people and the natural world”, from their traditional culture and from their experiences of travelling to and learning from other cultures’ traditional music forms.

They state that “similarities and differences prompt the group to take pause and reflect upon the importance of the varied and rich cultures that color our world. These life lessons permeate the Kodo members’ very skin and become an invisible source of our expression.”

I come home and find I can “visit” their island home through film and images they share on their website, listen to excerpts of their music, watch them on YouTube, follow them on Facebook and MySpace, and become a Friend of Kodo. I am part of the Kodo community without leaving my home.

We both remain rooted in our own cultures, but appreciative of, and learning from, each other, our individual creativity inspired anew – a “one world culture”. Globalisation in a good way, strengthening our individual “tribes” and our appreciation of traditional ways of life, rather than “detraditionalization” – Rheingold’s “knowledge potlatching”? (Bell, 2001)

Good inspiration in my exploration of online community and its actions and affects offline too.

This movie reminded me of Jeremy’s artefact, so I include it here, a balance of nature and technology, with the age-old sound of the shinobue flute.

YouTube Preview Image

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Oct 17 2010

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Sharon Boyd

Week 4 Reflection

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This week, I felt as if I had entered an art gallery: walking, looking, thinking and reflecting on everyone’s work. Rose (2007) spoke about the importance of the “site of audiencing”. At the moment, our normal calm work space is being shared with the STV film crew and we have lost our usual peace. I can’t reflect with music or noise in the background, and I couldn’t focus on anyone’s work long enough to make a comment. Instead, I stepped back, took time each evening to visit and think, in calm and peaceful surroundings, and started replying today.

My thoughts led me to take a photo of a needlework project I’m working on. The thought of how our work is connected – to the course, to each other, to our families, friends, histories, interests, cultures – this was the easiest way to “image” that to include the personal craft element that was visible in all the work we shared.

I was determined also not to influence anyone’s interpretation of my image with any additional text – admittedly something I discovered from reading Rose to be highly unusual. I just needed to see what other people saw – and sat back and was amazed by the results.

Again, I collected links to tools I thought looked exciting – promising myself I’d make time to play with them :)

Finally, having played with Issuu and Scribd, I went with the latter and scanned the first part of my journal – good to get this on here to join my offline with my on-

Digital Culture Journal

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