Saturday, March 9, 2013

My impression of EDC MOOC

Now that we are done with the E-learning and digital cultures course, here's a brief writeup on what I felt about it. 

- Overall impression: one of amazement at a course that works, despite there being 42,000 students! 
- Learning from students: In fact, a lot of learning happens from student interactions during, and even after the course ends.
- Overwhelming: I was quite overwhelmed at first, this being my first MOOC, but settled down after 2 days.
- Food for thought: Not only did I get plenty of food for thought regarding digital cultures, but learnt about various online platforms that one can use in education and presentations.
- Practical: I am positive I will use the skills I learnt in this course somewhere.

- People who are not very savvy with digital media are likely to be put off, so something should be done to address this. 
- An introductory meeting with the instructors before the course begins, could help.

All in all, great fun. Miss it, now that its over. Still, there are plenty of artefacts to look at, the FB group is still active, and one can still go to 'class', read stuff that one missed out earlier, and participate in discussions there. Am definitely coming back to Coursera for more!

My thanks to the Instructors -- Jeremy Knox, Sian Bayne, Hamish Macleod, Jen Ross and Christine Sinclair, to the University of Edinburg, and to Coursera.  

More reviews here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My digital artefact and result!

At the end of the E-learning and digital media course, we had to submit an assignment using any of the concepts we learnt during the 5 weeks. I did my digital artefact on Thinglink. My first choice was a blog, something I am most comfortable with, but I wanted to try a platform out of my comfort zone, and tried out a few before I decided on Thinglink. I would have liked to have some background music, but I didn't know how to add music. It needed knowledge of HTML, I think. 
Here is the link to my artefact titled, "A very simple idea": 
Anyway, my grade was 2, the highest, and while it really is not important, I am happy!

This is what my peers had to say about my artefact. My thanks to them, for their assessment and constructive criticism.

Overall evaluation/feedback

peer 1 → Excellent job! Enjoyed watching the videos!
peer 2 → Impressive use of the digital means. Clear message.
peer 3 → This stimulated in me a valuable but negative reaction. It reminded me of the power of a digital artifact to provoke emotion. I learned again how we must be mindful of the reactions our communications may create and make skillful choices if we are to be educators.
peer 4 → I really enjoyed the way it was presented and made me think a lot about the questions raised.
peer 5 → Great choice for the artefact, too technological to deliver the message that technology should wait for little kids to grow up and in the meantime they should be in touch with their skills and learn more about themselves, I realy liked the message because above all, love got us where we are now.
peer 6 → I agree with the idea that we should provide children with technology once they are old enough to use it properly. Children need to jump and play before they spend hours sitting in front of the computer. Teenagers and adults do that. This artefact has images, videos and text, and with a simple picture and very meaningful images tells everything about technology and education. The author understood about one of the main topics of this course. It is about limits!

Detailed comments
peer 1 → 1.) Yes, the artefact addresses one or more themes for the course 2.) Yes, the artefact suggests that the author understands at least one key concept from the course 3.) Yes, the artefact has something to say about digital education 4.) Yes, the choice of media is appropriate for the message 5.) Yes, the artefact stimulates a reaction in you, as its audience, e.g. emotion, thinking, action
peer 2 → Interesting and impressive use of the new Thinglink software. Indeed, quite a lot of technology to say one simple idea, and actually a mirror of what happened in this Elearning and Digital Cultures MOOC (at least for me): going through much to a truth that is actually simple. Perhaps, in a way, it's reflection of human life.
peer 3 → The artefact is well-titled “A Very Simple Idea”. The maker uses a Thinglink tool to outline an icon of a question mark with links to videos, articles and text. He raises the question, “Is this your idea of utopia” and proceeds to build a case based on data reporting high internet and Google usage, a magazine article on the need for children to be outdoors, an interview and performance by a children’s singer/story-teller and country singer Johnny Cash, and his own opinion that children would be better off if they were first shown the “real” world, as celebrated by the link to a Richard Attenborough nature video, which is the “point” of his “question.” The maker uses the digital tool well to convey his opinion on the utopian embrace of technology for children. This is responsive to the course theme of “utopian vs. dystopian” views. It also understands the use of connective, freely available digital media for open courses. As an assignment for a university course, the creator might seek to support his or her position with data from more scholarly sources. For example, empirical studies showing differences on educational or developmental outcomes for children given different exposure to nature and technology might be linked. As a one-sided opinion artefact, the work stands up and may appeal to those who agree. As an educational tool, it might be strengthened by some consideration of the other side of the issue before asking viewers to change their minds.
peer 4 → The author of this presentation met the 4/5 points above. Made in a very simple way but very effectively transmitted the message which was his/her questions about the effectiveness of the influence of IT in children's education. However, I believe that the aim of the course was not only towards children's education. Still, the presentation, links and his / her questions were very valid.
peer 5 → In this artefact you can see the worry of getting into a dystopia if we continue the way we are The artefact reflects the understanding of comunications and the power of technology while comunicating something. In this artefact you can see a not so happy part of becoming too digital at an early age In this case I think the choice of media is most appropriate in order to deliver the message. It made me realize that above all we are humans and as humans we need love to move the world and that, it should stay that way.
peer 6 → This artefact addresses to more than one theme, especially the one conected to the video "a day made by glass". We see a little girl absorved by what she sees, instead of playing ouside. The image is powerful, and the short texts as well, I like it, is simple and powerful. The author understands quite well what was the course about. It says a lot about digital education, about limits. And makes a very appropiate use of the media.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Primary education

Digital media attract children because of the 'cool' factor. 
But, young children miss out on the touch and feel learning that contributes to the formation of their personalities in the early years.
The ideal situation then, in my view, is that young children are better off without the interference of digital media.

Read this paper titled, "Unplugged schools" by Dr Lowell Monke. assistant professor of Education at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.
He says: "Unplugged schools would get children deeply involved with nature and community; they would give a prominent place to the expressive arts; they would determine tool use according to developmental readiness; they would study technology explicitly; they would give children time and space to look inward; and they would rely on assessments that are rigorous and multifaceted rather than reductionist and multiple choice"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"New media" and "The machine is using us" #EDCMOOC

New media: In this Argentinian short film, the visuals and the music are very eerie. It looks like doomsday with machines having taken over human beings and their surroundings. In Bendito Machine III one sees machines just entering human lives and beginning to influence them. Here they have completed their mission to rule the human world. In Bendito Machine, there are still some warm colours. Here it is all grey, symbolising the total lack of hope.

The machine is using us: As I watched this amazing video, I felt that I was watching the internet being born, growing up, becoming complex and complicated and really coming alive! I think the millions of human beings who worked on making this happen were left out of the story...the keyboard seems to work on its own, overpowering the human element. It is exhilarating but at the same time, scary. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

"A day made of glass 2": slick and utopian #EDCMOOC

My first reaction to "A day made of glass 2" was one of slight unease. But as I watched it, I began to like it. It is in a way, awe-inspiring like any other futuristic film. Everything looks so cool and everyone looks very happy, as in all advertising (irritating!). More than talking to each other, people communicate digitally. But, despite all the swiping, human life seems pretty much like it is now. Some indicators of this are the comic book at the foot of the child's bed, the children getting into the car all giggly, playing and enjoying the music in the car, their naughtiness and the father's indulgent look -- all these constitute happiness in our world.

In the school, the teacher looks content teaching the children, who seem very involved. Smart boards and smart tables are shown to be fantastic teaching aids. The children are shown learning about colour in a most enjoyable way. But then, children would learn about colour just as well (maybe better), if they are given boxes of paint and asked to finger paint. In fact, they would love it! Where is the fun of the touch and feel, getting hands dirty, washing them, getting the sink dirty, getting screamed at...but then, yes, the virtual colour palette and what they do with it tempts you to have a go at it!

The nature of communication in the world that is shown is mainly digital...people are swiping all the time, passing on information from tablet to tablet (this terminology would be an 'accent' according to Prensky...I wonder what they would be called then), tablet to wall, tablet to gadgets and so on.

There is a dominance of the utopian in this slick film. If the new technology can aid medical research and save people, then it is utopian. If the changed education system has resulted in enhancement of learning and teaching, it certainly is utopian. Thankfully, the human element is there too, as seen in the walk to the park, where the dinosaur is a projection, but surely, the finding of a Roosevelt elk footprint is real. The mother and children sitting together to watch the video and the bowl of popcorn are signs of happy times, as also the mother helping the child with homework (on a 'tablet) and then kissing her goodnight.    

And yes, in all this, one also learns about electro chromic glass, optical fibre glass, and the such, that Corning makes!

Friday, February 1, 2013

"Thursday": Nature's loss, human's gain? #EDCMOOC

Thursday: Mathias Hoegg's futuristic short film, "Thursday", with its motherboard-like landscape seemed nightmarish to me, especially because I am a nature lover. The little black bird has no trees to build a nest on, it has no grass or straw with which to build its nest, and alas, it has no food to give its young! Human beings are mechanical and are totally dependent on gadgets for their every movement. So much so, when the bird takes a small piece of red wire from a network for its nest,  it makes all systems come to a standstill, and human beings are left with nothing to do!

The film presents a dystopic view of technology, yet the humans in the film look happy (perhaps they don't know better), and interestingly, the bird and its chicks seem determined to survive against all odds. Nature's loss seems to be human's gain, but is it really so? The film shows straight lines, said to be invented by humans; and there are no curves as in nature. The star-gazing every Thursday seems to be their only tryst with the natural world, but they are also in awe of their own creations as they are seen simultaneously city-gazing.

It seems like it is the human beings who have 'agency' in this film, that is, their capacity to make the choice to embrace technology. For all practical purposes, they have conquered nature. However, when the film ends with the family of birds taking off vertically, you want to ask the question, "Have they, really"?

A stark, effective and thought-provoking film. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Inbox" - utopian with some ifs and buts #EDCMOOC

"Inbox" is a very well made film in my opinion, and touches upon many issues in a very short time. The film soon establishes the background of the protagonists, the quick discovery of a new medium (the red bags) by two young people as only the new generation can, the efficient use of the medium resulting in their meeting, albeit aided by a little luck, and just before that, the shortcomings of technology. The ending too is realistic as the two continue communicating by writing notes because that is what they are used to!

A utopian view of technology in my opinion, but to come to this conclusion, one should look at their communication in the context of their backgrounds.