Unit 2 Summary

This blog has always felt like a personal and representative site. You can go through the process of making it more personal, but even the most abstract and basic uses of the WordPress themes feels personal because the content is personal. Different blogs may share the same look and theme, but the content is inevitably different and personal.

I didn’t spend too long messing around with different themes. I chose the Twenty Ten theme for its retro look. It looks old fashioned, but the wide and narrow header and simple layout is appealing. I created a custom header by taking a photogragh with my smartphone through my office window overlooking the canalised section of the River Soar in Leicester in Bede Island. Prompted by the sight of a blank white van I quickly added ‘DS106 LTD’ to the side of the van as a nod to the subject fo the blog and the course.

I added a couple of widgets – a Twitter feed and a blogroll of blogs that I follow.

I can’t say that I enjoyed the material on ‘Personal Cyberinfrastructure’ (PCI). I think the term itself is a bit of a mouthful and retrospective in the sense of the rise of the term social media and the interest in ‘digital literacies’. My interpretation of the concept is that it shows a concern for making the internet and the web work for you rather than having it packaged in a way that is likely to stunt your ability to thrive online and be affective as a storyteller, curator or archivist. My only ‘nugget’ was with the concept of ‘openness’ around 26 minutes into the main video. Inviting students in to take ownership of their learning and to be open with each other is a challenging invitation for students and myself as a teacher.

The materials presented on this topic are very long and I would think from a student perspective quite offputting. Shorter edited versions might be more effective. This seems like the world of teachers and their concerns and hopes about the future of education and new technologies rather than about students and what they think. Where is the student perspective about  pedagogy and the future of education of the kind that is more visible in the work of Michael Wesch?

I think this section of the ds106 open course could be redesigned to incorporate a wider set of views and perspectives about the topic of opportunities about being yourself online. If this section is about the theoretical and practical framework of ds106, it needs to be more engaging and questioning about what that might be.

I understand the concept of the ‘digital facelift’ to be a criticism of strategies where old media adopt new media technologies without really considering the affordances of new media, such as when a newspaper is put online as a straightforward remediation. The limits of such criticisms are that often the radical potential of new technologies are often over-stated. We must be wary of a technophilia that can distract from things that are already working well and can’t necessarily be improved by using new technologies. If paper and pen works well in some contexts, why use electronic text?

Why do people not want a ‘bag of gold’? They may not see it as a bag of gold. If it was an actual bag of gold, they would want it.

I did a couple of Daily Creates. I am still struggling to do more and fit them into daily routines of being creative. They are enjoyable, but still feel too much like chores. I really liked the ‘Say It Like Peanut Butter’ assignment because I am a big fan of animated GIF culture. I didn’t do the GIFfight animation because I am less interested in making static images into animation.

It is good to be beyond the setting up of the platform and to get deeper into the course. Hopefully I can make the space and time to be more daily creative.


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