Monday, May 4, 2009

Instructional Technologies

This course is fabulously designed and provides critical perspectives to Education and Education philosophy and theory. Its major component is Technology and the way in which the radically changing technologies could be harnessed for Education.
It has provided with onhands learning of technologies such as podcasts, wikis and google search.
The entire thrust of the programme is towards the Emancipatory value embedded in Educational Theory and this is taken to full length.
It is one course which could provide Critical ideas - for the use of technologies in the Library and for those who do Cultural Informatics and Information Architecture and Design to be enriched through cultural theory and criticism.
It definitely bears great scope.

You Tube !

As instrumental technology my assessment of the medium gives it some positive value. It does certainly involve sharing both the output and congeniality between users. It has the scope of developing into a proper film making medium.
However, it has structural flows which is not a plus and its search possibilities are not enhanced to whatever causes.
The Internet being a private space and not being provided by the Government as a Public Forum status means that issues of copyright do work against the users.
For making social and political documentaries or films, it needs to be investing into proper equipment which would allow the cinematic justification.

Podcasts as Instructional Technology

Some how I found the idea of podcast and being able to have RSS feeds to one's created piece resonates powerfully as a medium of Instruction. Perhaps it has to do with the auditory rather than visual aspect of the outcome, more akin to a radio.
Alas, it too needs some investment - some good gadgets which would provide high quality sound and end product.
However, for educational training and providing such programmes which could be employed over the Internet, it is definitely one of the powerful pieces of technology.
One could envisage rich socio-historical documentation which embrace marginalised racial, gender and individual voices to provide them a platform to reflect the plight of the human condition.
Or a lighter use for artistic creations as well or for lighter drama and events.
Rather than the end, it is the means to do things which is quite powerful.

Instructional Technologies & Democracy

Instructional Technologies seem to provide means for realisation of democracy. However, the factors of commodification of culture and corporatisation of technology itself are an anethema to this realisation.
The measure of the success of the utility of culture and technology is largely correlated to individuals being able to buy these means. It also depends upon the factor of the Internet - which is largely a corporate entity in which individual groups struggle to create a commons. Unless the Government accords the Internet some specific status such as a Public Forum through its judicial process, the Internet remains to a great degree a huge private enterprise.
The question of democracy vis a vis Instructional technologies is tenuous.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Google Experience - Ceding Memory

The McLuhaneque idea that electronically based machines more than the mechanical ones not only radicalise the nature of information but also mould the human thought processes themselves is apt in understanding Google. Google's booking keeping all agendas, schedules, newscasts or interests, means necessary shift in concentration, behavioural changes individual and collective in relation to information and one's own thinking and contemplation. It is the question of cessation of one's memory to the electronic one. One is confronted with the problem that one is able to accumulate electronic information versus what one actually is able to do with it, whether one uses it or just disposes it off having an impact directly on one's behaviour.
The question of Google also confronts us with the routine notions of efficacy, immediacy and currency of information. A mythic importance is rendered to information, its utility and value. Most information is considered necessarily valid information on account of its facticity and currency. The myth is propounded on the basis of the rapid availability and churning of information.
Whereas information within the processes of the human mind deals with its long term ontological relation through interpretation, memory and history beyond the mathematical and statistical based notions of facticity. Human thoughts and ideas pertain to memory, dreams, collective consciousness and not the expediency of information. Google's ability to react with immediacy to electronic automation, collection, transmission and to say the least manipulation of information is largely akin to an inverted Taylorist instrumental logic - scientific and mass produced. Such Taylorist precepts are replete with the commodification, utilitarianist and efficacy of information which have deeper problematic in view of the ontological relation of information vis a vis the human minds. The functioning of time and motion and mechanical perfection of an inverted form of Taylorist information keeper such as Google is not necessarily the basis of knowledge production.
Two important problems underlying the principles on which the Google scheme is based. Google seems to operate on the principle of the market solution. An example which serves the market solution is the manner in which the scholarly community is affected by the notions of provision of information and its utility. The UCL studies demonstrate the 'promiscuous' nature of scholars relation to information seeking and 'consumers' of their own creative work. Otherwise known as skimming, this nature says the list about the manner in which the psychic and ontological nature involved in one's seeking of information. This view of information is based entirely on instrumental and mathematical logic. The studies themselves which monitor how a scholar applies a rationale for viewing information online are not critically examined for their own methodology and computer generated models. Secondly, a deeper problem of surveillance ensues. Google maintains various tools to retain the researcher's information habits and information sought which in a country like China, it works hand in glove with the Government to obtain and retain this information against its very own citizens. Hence there are challenges to the furtherance of democracy and one's rights.
I veiw Google in terms of the ontological cessation of memory, market solution and surveillance.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Wikipedia and Education

The raison d'etre of the Wikipedia, an Internet based Encyclopedia, is the democratisation, pragmatisation of knowledge through circumventing the hierarchical nature of knowledge in the traditional sense. However, it is critically debatable whether the self-claimed Encyclopedia could be termed as one. True, it does provide a vast spectrum of information about topics under the sun, however a close scrutiny does question whether it subscribes to the provision of Encyclopediac knowledge or simply dubitable factual information. The few positive characteristics give a glimpse and challenge the notions of an Encyclopedia in a traditional sense. Its self-claims are that it is a non-profit organisation and democratic. It supposedly considers the views of H.G. Wells and Frederick Hayek who promoted the notion of social principle of knowledge through 'world brain' which presupposes collaboration and an ahierarchical basis to knowledge against the classical Descartian concept which informed the European Enlightenment. In reality, the democratisation comes only at the stake of rigorous scholarship. The wikipedia begins with not too benign a beginning. It is afflicted by the problem of gender and anonymity. Only a mere 2% of its registered users contribute towards the wikipedia, 80 % of its users are male, operating along the post modernist principles, it sacrifices the notion of Truth and beset with the problem of research and factuality. It rings with the post modern strain that "Truth could be anybody's". Its merit for Educational use ought to be examined thoroughly but its various links and reference citations could be useful. The wikipedia is not in the classical sense an encyclopedia but a few notches underneath it.

SNS Experimentation

There is certainly a qualitative distinction between Popular and Professional SNS. Looking broadly at the popular sites, one comes with the idea the there is a sense of obsolescence, sense of Time fleeting away and a question of Time and Memory. The popular SNS seem to have a place where one can create multiple identities and hence portray a post modern sense of one's own self. It provides the fizz in the ability to use the SNS in its novelty and its sheer possibility of widening the social groups and one's sense of community. Paradoxically it acts as a sword of Damocles, the very reach of multitudinal individuals prohibits the active socialisation. The Professional SNS appear more sedate and cater directly to the point of a particular social and professional need.