Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Digital Artifacts and more #edcmooc

E-Learning and Digital Cultures

The final project for this Coursera MOOC is to create a digital artifact. 
My blog post from Dec. 3, 2013 is my digital artifact.  My blog post includes:

slideshow link
    Presentation (Google Drive)
videos are embedded in the presentation,but they don't play automatically so you can find the direct link just for the YouTube  videos here on the blog page if you wanted to view separately .

  • Further discussion of select class themes, select examples from class videos and other examples continue on my blog page below.
I think the Google Drive presentation could probably stand on its own as a digital artifact. I wanted to share more thoughts and examples below to demonstrate how I have interpreted some of the class material to complete my class experience.  I hope you will join me and leave comments.
Humans, Machines, and Animals
through the lenses of agency and anthropomorphism
I want to share some thoughts on the two videos from the class resources that meant the most to me, "Thursday" and "Robbie".
For "Thursday" I want to explore the idea of the bird as a metaphor for agency and consider feelings of happiness and unhappiness.
In my discussion of "Robbie" , I explore Robbie's feelings  including happiness and unhappiness in the context of being part of something bigger than oneself.

I started this blog to explore in greater detail some of the class material for E-Learning and Digital Cultures #edcmooc a Coursera MOOC I am taking.  I  truly enjoyed the class and appreciate the chance to continue with my education.  All the learning tools and resources are amazing, but I do love  the use of the short videos.  The videos are selected carefully and are extremely relevant.  I love how the videos are thought-provoking and how reactive and personalized my response is to what I observe.  In one of the class blogs , "Thursday" was that person's least favorite. "Thursday" was my favorite and most meaningful.  


I was struck by the connection between agency and happiness.  The bird can seemingly do what it wants and is happy (except for the constraints of the street sweeper and limitations of the window of course).  The woman is a freer spirit and is happy because she has agency and is adaptable to a situation.  The man displays some impatience and is not adaptable because he has less agency. He seems to need routine and structure that is confining to the freedom of spirit.  He is greatly annoyed at the limits of technology, but the salvation of his happiness is in the human condition and connection with the woman.  I think this underscores the limits of technology and is a great place to start examining being human. There are limits of technology as well as the limits of nature.  "Thursday" also cleverly demonstrates the mimicry between nature and technology. The ability to adapt allows limitations of both to be stretched towards utopia.


After watching the Corning and Intel videos in the second week resources, my mind came back to the "Thursday" short video again.  I am just starting on this idea, and it might be stretching a little... but looking at the continuum that blurs the line between nature and technology/machines:  1) nature compared to technology,  2) nature through or with technology, on to 3) nature surpassed or overcome by technology and then 4) nature endures.

Examples to further explain or illustrate.  In "Thursday" it is this great engineering feat to travel up and float in space meanwhile the bird is seen effortlessly in the sky as a result of nature.  For nature through technology, in the Corning video the emphasis on learning about nature and the natural physical world with technology, especially augmented reality, sets up on interesting juxtaposition.  In the Intel video and the bridge building I see the bridge as a symbol and possibly a metaphor for overcoming nature and about technology creating the physical (3-d printer).
I see this continuum again in "Robbie" where first Robbie is just a robot, then he is part of the team, then there is just Robbie, and in the end nature endures.  Robbie demonstrates all the feelings and behaviors (including mistakes) that we consider human.  Towards the end, Robbie tells us it is ok, because he is part of something bigger than himself.
We are all part of something bigger at any given level within a complex and dynamic interconnected system. What do you want to contribute to the system?

Other Interesting Notes
  • New York Times article
Racing Pigeons and Smuggling Cigars
“This petition asks this court to issue a writ recognizing that Tommy is not a legal thing to be possessed by respondents, but rather is a cognitively complex autonomous legal person with the fundamental legal right not to be imprisoned,” the court filing says.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

#EDCMOOC Sal Khan - "sage on stage" or "guide on side"

E-Learning and Digital Culture
Today I am reflecting on Bonnie Stewart's article about massive courses and digital literacies/participation.  http://jolt.merlot.org/vol9no2/stewart_bonnie_0613.htm.  She included these terms "sage on stage" and "guide on side" while discussing the evolving role of a teacher in online courses.  After reading this, I happened to see a promotional video referencing a past event on the Google+ "Technology and Education Community" page  for a conversation with Sal Khan. 

So what do you think?  Where does Mr. Khan fit in... sage or guide?  Where does Mr. Khan fit within the online learning community?   What does the Khan Academy represent? Is it just presentation from an expert, is it performance-tutoring, or is there a higher level of epistemic engagement ?  Can it be all three?  (Terms from Week 1 resources- Going the Distance with Online Education, Jorge Larreamendy-Joerns and Gaea Leinhardt).  Is the Khan Academy centralized expertise or open network?  Does it live up to the description of a global classroom with a global community- About Khan Academy.  I have read articles about the Khan Academy, I have watched some of the videos, but I haven't used the Khan Academy in a systematic way, or as a student.  What I have seen, I am very impressed with how engaging, informative, and open the materials are for anyone with Internet access.  It may truly change education through empowerment of students and teachers.

For that matter where does Google fit in with their Technology and Education Community- is this just a further extension of an "open and networked" class or is it something different, evidence of the sociocultural shift in digital literacies?  Or is it just a reincarnation of a Usenet newsgroup ?

Stewart defines and explains the history and examples of cMOOC and the xMOOC models.  Does the MOOC model and its success depend on the subject matter (mathematics and science  versus education and literature)?

 So many questions, is technology still the answer?...

image from openclipart
I also hope to write a separate blog soon about my experiences with AdaptedMind Math.  I think of this website as an example of adaptive online  learning/tutoring .   AdaptedMind Math is a website with a pay model (monthly subscription).  The site uses some of the Khan videos as well as their own for "lessons".  As a subscriber they did offer me a month free for blogging about the company, and I might take them up on that.  You can post a comment if you would be interested.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

#edcmooc Blogs the new Geocities?

So... I am blogging now...
Much to my chagrin, I have had some difficulty getting my blog up and running as part of the class feed (E-Learning and Digital Culture).  I am hoping I am all set now, after some help from Andy Mitchell, Coursera Community TA.  I remember trying "blogging" a few years back to see how it was being used for distance learning classes.  At the time I didn't see much difference between the blog and an online forum.  I follow a few blogs now and I realized they were much more evolved; mini web pages instead of text posts. I am looking forward to using more of the tools available in future posts.

As part of my class #edcmooc we are supposed to create a digital "artefact".  After seeing some fantastic blog posts, I decided this was the platform I wanted to use. 

I started teaching distance learning courses in 1998.  I set-up web pages, I had my own domain, the whole bit.  I started incorporating student projects into my classes and encouraged the students to use technology to present their projects.  There were plenty of powerpoints, burned to CD, but there were also a lot of wonderful web pages hosted most often on Geocities.

For all you youngsters out there, want to see a true digital artefact? Give this link a try.  An interesting online article/post by Jessica Roy

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thoughts on Technology #edcmooc

This blog is about course material for E-Learning and Digital Culture- a Coursera MOOC #edcmooc

Technology has limitations.  Nature has limitations.  Adaptability helps to stretch the limitations of both towards your utopia.

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