What have I learnt from E-Learning and Digital Cultures? If the slides are too slow, click to the next slide
How to be creative… Understand the differences between utopia and dystopia Discover other social media to express yourself Being philosophical again!
Learning new ways to create artistic photos Joining in the discussions on Twitter feeds Finding out what is still out there Learning to overcome other tech boundaries
Utopian claims Dystopian claimsInformation technologies based on Information technologies possesselectronic computation possess intrinsically de-democratizing propertiesintrinsically democratizing properties (the Internet and/or worldwide web is(the Internet and/or worldwide web is an autonomous formation with ‘in-an autonomous formation with ‘in- built’ anti-democratic properties orbuilt’ democratic properties or dispositions).dispositions). Information technologies areInformation technologies are intrinsically neutral, but inevitably lendintrinsically neutral, but inevitably lend themselves to control by de-themselves to democratizing global forces democratizing forces (hardware andof information creation, transfer and software ‘ownership’ equals anti-dissemination. democratic control).Cyber-politics is essentially a pragmatic Cyber-politics is essentially one ofor instrumental task of maximizing resisting and perverting the anti-public access to the hardware and democratic effects of the technology insoftware thought to exhaustively define question.the technology in question.
Ideas and interpretations CoreJohnston, R (2009) Salvation or destruction: metaphors of the internet. First Monday, 14(4). http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2370/2158Johnston draws from the key work of Lakoff and Johnson to highlight the important work thatmetaphors do in shaping our thinking. She identifies two broad categories of metaphors drawnfrom the titles of editorials about the internet in late 2008 - those that take a utopian perspective(salvation - transformative and revolutionary) and those that are dystopian (destruction -attacking and supplanting). Last week we explored how to identify and consider deterministpositions about digital cultures and e-learning. Noticing the sorts of metaphors that are used todraw comparisons between the unfamiliar and the familiar, or the abstract and the concrete, can beanother very useful way of understanding the assumptions that people are making about e-learning (the ‘native’ and the ‘immigrant’, for example). In the next ‘perspectives’ section, we willlook at some MOOC-related articles, and this will be a great opportunity to do a bit of metaphoranalysis of your own. What examples of both ‘salvation’ and ‘destruction’ metaphors can you find inthese, or other MOOC reports and editorials? How does Shirky’s metaphor of the MP3, forexample, create a certain kind of story around the MOOC?
Transhumanism is very different from the more critical modes of posthumanism that were touched onlast week, in the Badmington article in particular. Where critical posthumanists see posthumanismprimarily as a philosophical stance which, among other things, draws attention to the inequalitiesand injustices often wrought in the name of ‘the human’, transhumanists in general see ‘humanvalues’ as a good, though incomplete, project. For transhumanists, ‘humanity’ is a temporary, flawedcondition: the future of human evolution is in the direction of a post-human future state in whichtechnological progress has freed us from the inconveniences of limited lifespan, sickness, misery andintellectual limitation. Transhumanism, in summary, is to a large extent based on the extension of thehumanistic principles of rationality, scientific progress and individual freedom that criticalposthumanists would question.This article by Nick Bostrom (Oxford University) - whose work is at the more academicallyrespectable end of what can be a fairly uneven field - does a good job of summarising thetranshumanist position, though it’s important when reading this to understand that he does not usethe term ‘posthuman’ in the sense that, for example, Badmington does. What is your own response tothe ‘values’ he proposes? Do you find them attractive or repellent? On what basis? Bostrom mentionseducation a few times here: what might his vision of transhumanism mean for the future of education?What would a transhumanist theory of education look like?