EDER 697.25 – Week #1 Blog Post

The readings and the video this week provided me with a great sense of what this course is really all about.  Digital media has become a powerful collaborative tool which cannot be ignored, especially as educators.  It is a preferred, efficient and engaging way to communicate.  It allows us to be creative with our ideas and share them with people instantly.  It allows us to reflect on what others have to say and change our perceptions.  It allows us to understand our new globalized and much smaller world.

Digital media is requiring us to re-think communication in a fundamentally different way.  This fundamental shift is explored in the video “The Machine Is Us/ing Us”.

The video portrays text on a piece of paper as a linear and rigid way of communicating.  If we really think about it, this rigid and linear way of communicating has been around for many thousands of years while digital media has been around for less than 50 years.  It is fascinating to think about how the potential for human data consumption (knowing and understanding information) is growing at an exponential rate.  Is text on paper now becoming a primitive way to communicate?  After considering the following, I am leaning towards “yes”.

The flexibility and power of digital text can now take an idea and bring it to life.  This is done through hyperlinks connecting a word or idea with other words and ideas creating a sophisticated web of information we can then use to create our own viewpoints, knowledge and emotions.  As more we create the information and connections to this information, the more we evolve the “machine”.  The “machine” takes the information and categorizes and organizes this information into a useful, efficient and powerful way for “us” to communicate with each other.  “We” are the “machine” creating something that transcends the individual.

References

Wesch, M. (2007). [Video] The machine is us/ing us. Retrieved from  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLlGopyXT_g

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4 Responses to EDER 697.25 – Week #1 Blog Post

  1. rslobodian says:

    Great blog entry Rob. I really enjoyed Wesch’s (2007) video and the message that our digital stories make up the essence of the social web and how “we” just isn’t my school community or local connections, but rather an expansive global audience. But, this video also got me thinking about who “we” really is. Being on sabbatical, and away from Calgary has given me a chance to socialise with a new group of people, and it turns out a less-wired group of people. Most of my friends and family have cellphones and computers at home and work, however, many are not part of the social web. They seem to use the net for the basics; email, checking the weather forecast, sports scores, and maybe a funny cat video or two. But, even my friends the same age as me, were not in tune with the idea that the social collective seems to be changing culture or changing the machine. I think we sometimes take for granted that wired means plugged into the pulse of internet culture, rather than just basic use of the web. I am even marvelled at how many of my students have told me that they aren’t “computer people”. They use their phones to text their friends non-stop, however spend very little time on the web. I think we all make an assumption that the younger generation is adept and very involved navigators of the web.

    So this makes me wonder, is the digital divide not just who has internet and who doesn’t, but who is involved in a way to see that it is changing us, versus those who use the net simply as a tool? I guess it’s the age old question about how we get more people to become involved in their changing world, rather than just a passenger along for the ride. More and more of the public voice is now measured by on-line participation. Polls regarding important questions that are reported on TV usually come from on-line newspaper polls, and very often are derived from Twitter. Look at reports about the upcoming US election, often news reports refer to Twitter and trending topics in their broadcasts. This makes me wonder if only the voices of people who are skilled in using the social web will be heard in the future. Are we moving towards a digital divide that is separated by those who use the net to discuss Honey Boo Boo versus those who use the web to discuss the Arab Spring? Wesch’s (2007) video is such a thought-provoking piece and I agree with you Rob, such exciting times we live in to actually live through an evolution of text in our lifetimes.

  2. gnjorgensen says:

    Great to read your blog Rob, I found your thoughts on print versus digital text to be very intriguing. Your assertion that communicating through printed text was becoming a primitive method particularly resonated. Currently I spend about half of my working day in our school’s Learning Commons and get the opportunity to observe students in unstructured break periods, such as Nutrition Break and Lunch. In the Learning Commons I have placed many iMacs throughout the space along with the traditional collection of print books that would be associated with a library. A bit of background first; In designing the space, I operated from a viewpoint that echoes your expressed thoughts on print text and its growing obsolescence, so I made sure that there were lots of computers so that students could freely access to information on the internet. I also added printed material but did not really think that the books would be that in demand given the high numbers of computers. I was surprised to discover that in the unstructured times, many of the students opted to ignore the computers and pick up an interesting book instead. In fact, at times more students were reading books as opposed to working on the computers. I began to ask students during these unstructured periods why they chose to read a book over using a computer, and the general responses were “I just like to hold a book” or “I like the way it feels” or even “it smells good”. From these observations and informal conversations, my feelings toward print media has changed and I now see the power of print.

    That doesn’t mean that we can’t improve the print model though. I see the future of print being a blend of print and digital technology, perhaps using augmented reality and mobile devices. In fact this option already exists and has begun to be commercialized, as evidenced in by such products as produced by Popar and Marvel Comics. Both companies produce printed material that utilizes mobile devices and augmented reality apps to produce augmented content that expands the content and user experience. I see this as the future of print material, where several forms of digital technology are combined with the kinaesthetic experience of printed text to create a truly immersive reading experience.

    References

    My fox 10 phoenix on augmented reality children books . (2012, September 28). Retrieved from https://popartoys.com/2012/09/my-fox-10-phoenix-on-augmented-reality-children-books/

    itunes preview: Marvel ar. (2012, September 28). Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/marvel-ar/id510956864?mt=8&nav=1

  3. teedee says:

    Hi Rob,

    I really enjoyed your post and your thoughts about digital media this week. It really did give me a lot to think about.

    When I first read your post I was surprised by your thoughts on how paper may be becoming a primitive way to communicate. This statement caught my attention right away, if only because I have a deeply personal preference to print and print media. Even in a class focused on digital media, I have to admit that I printed out all of the readings so that I could make notes in the margins and scribble thoughts on the page. To me, there is just something inherently different about ink on paper; it is hard for me to describe but it just feels more “real” than digital text.

    But after I thought about it more, I realized that I had to admit that paper is a very rigid way to communicate ideas – it is not easily changed or edited. Once it is printed, a document becomes static; it cannot be changed, edited, or added to without creating a brand new document. Once I got over my initial defensive response to hearing that paper is primitive, I realized I have to agree that there are many areas that digital text and digital media formats are far superior and advanced than printed words on paper. It is so easy to connect people with ideas and knowledge using digital media; you can communicate, connect and share with just a click of a button. With a computer, I can find a cool resource and instantly share it with people around the world through e-mail. I can also post a document online and share it with multiple people, allowing them to make additions and changes to the document in real time.

    When you really think about how much we use a computer every day, I think that there are very few teachers who would honestly say that they would still prefer to use a typewriter or digital projectors. Even though I love printed paper, there is no way I would want to write an essay by hand, or search through a card catalogue to find a book in a library. But, even though we are trying to use more technology in our classrooms and move more of our services online, it seems that schools still rely a lot on print media and paper forms. For instance, at my College, we require all students to purchase paper copies of textbooks – even if they could download a digital version for so much less money. We also keep paper copies of all our student files – even though these could be easily archived and stored online. Why do we take the time and resources to print handouts and file paper forms when there are so many other options available online? With so many privacy and copyright issues, is it really possible for schools to ever truly become a paper-free institution?

    Great post Rob!

  4. monicachung7 says:

    What an interesting post, Rob! One thing that stood out for me in your post is your question, “Is text on paper now becoming a primitive way to communicate?” in which you answered yes. This question made me think of the text on paper and how it can be used to show sentiment because we have taken the time to pick out a card, time to think about what we want to say and then handwrite a message that shows that we took the time to think about the person and sent them a message.
    The times we are living in now is where e-cards can be chosen and short messages are the way to show that we thought about them and can be done in less than a minute. This allows us to write to as many people that we know to wish them a happy birthday or congratulations on a new job, etc. Through flashy e-cards or other media, we are able to choose the message, click and send, so we are showing we cared in a fleeting moment. Technology and media has even brought us to a time where gift cards are now becoming old fashioned, and e-transfer of money is a better gift because it directly allows them to recieve it in their bank account and use the money given for what they want to use it for. Is technology improving our communications with others in one aspect of our lives but hindering it in others?
    Your post has led me think more about the other aspects of media and what effects it has on the balance of our lives. Thanks for a great post!

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