What is ‘reality’ anyway? #edcmooc

This week in edcmooc, we were directed towards five films which made me think about my own attraction to, aversion to or indifference to technological utopia/dystopia. These films really made me think.

Film 1: A Day Made of Glass 2. (5:58)

Film 2: Productivity Future Vision (6:17)

These two films are adverts in which two different companies try to invite us to join their utopian vision of the future in which their product is indispensable. It looks as if the future is perfect – everyone is smiling, the sun is shining and the technology works 100% of the time.

I was hooked on A Day Made of Glass and felt myself ‘sucked in’ and hoping that the future would be like that then a bit of critical thinking kicked in and the ‘what ifs’ started to come up.

Film 3: Sight (7:50)

In my opinion, Sight presents a dystopian view and a sinister and depressing vision of the future. I found the blankness of the apartment (without ‘Sight’) sad and soul-less. The fact that the characters were not actually present in their own reality was thought-provoking. It made me think about what reality is for me and how reality might be different for someone who might be next door playing an immersive computer game. What is reality anyway?

Sight was clearly very different from the first two films. It wasn’t ‘selling’ a vision- it was presenting a possibility and by doing so could be regarded as utopia and dystopian depending on your interpretation of the characters and the situation as well as your own preconceptions.

Film 4: Charlie 13 (14:20)

Watching his film about Charlie (13) who is about to be tagged for life, I thought about Facebook and the fact that the age at which social networking sites usually allow children to join is actually 13 too. In the film, most of the adult around him are insisting on tagging, ‘for his own good’ but he finds his long-lost dad and attempts to exit the system and to try to join his dad.
I wondered about the parents who monitor their kids through technology and I know that some kids to take the ‘Charlie ‘ option of two Twitter accounts, two Facebook accounts etc to try to avoid constant parental surveillance. It seems a bit depressing to me that they have to have two identities to ‘escape’. Is there no place for people who want to move with freedom to escape to? How many people would want to ‘do a Charlie’?
Even as a teacher, I can see when my class are on the school system, for how long, what they’ve been successful at and what they are finding difficult. While that seems helpful from my point of view, maybe children need to be able to make mistakes in private without having to think that every score will appear on a spreadsheet somewhere. Hmmm…

Film 5: Plurality (14:14)

Plurality is about a future in which people attempt to ‘jam’ the surveillance systems by inserting multiples of themselves in to the system. At first, I though this film was far-fetched but on reflecting on my thoughts about ‘Charlie 13’ , perhaps Plurality is here already but the surveillance system doesn’t yet see all the duplicates!

Also very interesting this week was

Bleecker, J. (2006). A manifesto for networked objects — Cohabiting with pigeons, arphids and Aibos in the Internet of Things.

Perspectives on education
Shirky, C. (2012). Napster, Udacity and the academy. shirky.com, 12 November 2012. http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2012/11/napster-udacity-and-the-academy/

Bady, A. (2012). Questioning Clay Shirky. Inside Higher Ed, 6 December 2012. http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/12/06/essay-critiques-ideas-clay-shirky-and-others-advocating-higher-ed-disruption

Campbell, Gardner (2012). Ecologies of Yearning. Keynote at Open Ed ’12, October 16, 2012, Vancouver BC. (63:19)
Watch on YouTube
I am still thinking about the ‘opening’ of learning as I go through this week.

Optional extra material for this lecture:

Audrey Watters’ Storify notes: http://storify.com/audreywatters/ecologies-of-yearning-and-the-future-of-open-educa

Richard Sebastian’s blog post: http://edtech.vccs.edu/openness-the-double-bind-and-ecologies-of-yearning/

Anderson, N. (2012). Elite education for the masses. The Washington Post, 4 November 2012. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/elite-education-for-the-masses/2012/11/03/c2ac8144-121b-11e2-ba83-a7a396e6b2a7_story.html

Carr, N. (2012). The Crisis in Higher Education. MIT Technology Review, http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/429376/the-crisis-in-higher-education/


2 thoughts on “What is ‘reality’ anyway? #edcmooc

  1. Found this while I was wading through my readings and videos for Week 2 on #edcmooc. Well written resume of the weeks work. Thanks Jan Hillman

    • Thanks, Dave. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure how useful a blog like this would be to me but it does help me try to be a little more precise and to articulate my thoughts whatever they are. I really like reading other people’s too.

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