viernes, 23 de noviembre de 2012

NIE2012, last task, task 13. Looking back.

With task 5th, I tried to express a very pragmatic approach at the way I plan and perform any action (involves will) in life. Rather than simple activities. If so much reflection is needed I upgrade the term to that level (from activity to action), very likely in accordance with my mother´s tonge as we discussed with Sebastian some weeks ago. I reflected over externalities but marginally those that related to technology, because it was not required to emphasize on these. Of course the means one counts on, were part of the graphic and my fucntional processes I shared, but where not the main focus of my constrains, rather an adjective factor that led me to resolve my problems.
The main externalities were cultural, social, personal and emotional limitations:
I explained: " My approach is teleological. I think abot the possible outcomes first, so I can measure the degree of compatibility of what I want to do or have to do with what I should or am supposed to. Or if it is simply worthy of my attention.
An imperative is to think in advance in which way my activity and the methods I use can affect others..."
When I started reading the course´s main text, it seemed too obvious and almost unnecessary; trivial. However, as we progressed, I was able to assign to it a value, despite the fact that the obviousness is still there, and the excessive use of wordy explanations: it organizes in an intelligent way and produces a rational explanation of what we all experience and perceive at a very unconcious level if at all. I am a firm believer of the capacity of people to grasp all these concepts by themselves, if they just thought and analyzed in depth their own dynamics. I imagine it comes with time: the interest in doing this, the need and the skills to use it and apply it in different aspects of life. I know I can use these to improve my courses, electronic and otherwise. In addition it is important to be up to date with literature of relevance to our disciplines.
I was not so far from what the authors we got to know in this course propose, but I was not acquainted with their model. Each model is valid and trustable if consistently applied. In that sense, we count with yet another option to assess our conduct and produce better results more conciously. So far, I am sticking with my ways, because they are in their way, efficient, effective and reflective. That is all that matters.

domingo, 11 de noviembre de 2012

Task12. NIE2012.

Especially relevant to our team´s subject was the theory we have been studying in this course. The concrete scenario that we need to resolve involves facilitating the learning experience of an hetereogeneous group.
The activity system (the project) was not controlled, directed, coordinated or facilitated by any party. It seemed more an experiment on how the groups would structure themselves spontaneously.
Actors were a mixture of students of different backgrounds, cultures, levels and ages; the main instrument of communication was technology based; a software that shared environments for common creation and editing of texts, comments, messages, and interaction of those who were registered. The object was the creation of a handbook, simplified by the assignation of chapters, that contained each the scenario each team was to assess.
In most organizational theories it is explained how when any group is formed the first step towards effective association is the creative construct of rules and institutions. In the absence of these, formal or informal (can be strict norms or just practices/uses, etc.), no common pursuit can be efficiently achieved. It was manifest and acute the need for structure, guidance and leadership in this project that otherwise was a constructive experience. Two of the participants took a lead and in a disconnected way some others filled out the blank spaces with as much as they could come up with. Meetings were organized in times when most could not attend, lasted short and were filled in the begining with senseless wonderings and socializing alone. Later, when time was pressing people was more commited and contributed more meaningfully to the work. It was very surprising to find out that the theories we are revising, and some others that seemed so standard and obvious to me (activity theory, andragogy, and cognitive distance mainly) were unherad of by the participants that were not from Estonia. None of them had even heard of, or at least in these terms. Our own group was extremely hetereogeneaous, we might not have anything at all in common other than this task.
The technology used was as much as necessary if conflict prevention techniches were applied, if an strategy could have been formulated or people were told in advance these goals. Also, guidance so people would not waste time allowing all these to form by themselves, out of dire need, in time, just few days before submission. I personally felt I wasted a horrible amount of time, only trying to communicate and express the need to make a working plan of reasonable complexity, so the result was not too simple minded. The whole proposal seems to rely too much on the magic of technology. No software or technique can supply for basic human skills on conflict management, group dynamics, communication and facilitation. Technology is supportive to unbelievable extents but it means nothing in the absence of human competence and control.
In this case, no matter how many possibilities existed and we started to use (facebook, google documents, doodle, and the project´s site, in addition to net meetings of Oulu university), people did not show up, or we could not conduct in the begining very fruitful conferencing. Later, the past week in particular it was much better and efficient. The Finish participant edited work that we all contributed with and every one proposed some texts, bibliography and view points. I feel I had to reduce my expectations a lot, not to be too pushy or upset people with excessive criticism.
The checklist of the text by Kapertini and Nardi is so far the most practical and interesting part of the readings in this course. I plan to simplify it and use it to re-evaluate and formulate my lectures next year so the use of technologies by my future students who are not computer literate. The courses and activities must improve with the mediatization, instead of getting too complicated (transparency? ubiquity?).

lunes, 22 de octubre de 2012

Theorizing III. Task 9 (some people numbered it 10). NIE2012.

I have made a great effort of turning computer technology, to the extent of my abilities, into more than a medium. My very limited experience has taught me to be very cautious about the expectations I place on it. It is difficult for anyone nowadays to dispute the impact of artificial intelligence, accessible everywhere to most (ubiquity?). Equally hard is to generalize in terms of how refined our maangement of these tools is. We might be at a point where everyone understands these technologies are a medium, but most do not know how to put them at their own service of manipulate them in a way that can influence transformations, tactically to reach ends or purposefully.
Every student is enabled to participate of the digital economy exchange, starting from the email addresses and their information systems at universities, facebook and other resorces available to connect and even associate, I guess the effort we are doing at the co-create project reflects just that. However, when I "force" upon mine to take full responsibility for the management of their tasks, trying alternative producs (mindmap software, net meetings, and even the very same Prezi), they refuse, and get irritated by the need to lean additional and seemingly unrelated skills. Generalizing is not my aim. Some are very engaged and learn fast, feeling confident and doing it very well, but for the most part they get lost and waste a lot of time, protesting openly. At the end, I re-focus onto traditional lectures and the typical readings combined with report like submissions. This is to say that eventhough the potential of these technologies is imense, it remains unexplored by many. Progress and "penetration" of these as tools will take place later, I see it like an evolving process where people first need to learn to the point of being competent enough to be creative. The confidence is still not there.
I´ve studied it from the legal and political perspective and in this context we talk about a new technology paradigm all together (On this a respected and prolific author is Carlota Perez. She talks about the large scale transcitions, and the role of public policy in these processes), one that turns every single known institution (rules, formal and informal of any level) around, reshaping and compromising social, political and economic patterns. Consequently, when I read the author´s reference to this : "No political revolution is comparable with computer based globalization. This urges us to reflect on digital information and telecommunication technologies as catalysts of a new social system emerging."  I can relate very well and understand its actual reach.
I was again surprised to find on the readings sections compatible to what discussed earlier and posted about on one of our previous assignments. I feel relieved at the realization that some ideas that arise when I ponder about these issues are not so alien and extraordinary. For example, in this lecture the author also questions the implicit biased that the political context could have imposed onto Leontive´s works: "Maybe Leontiev got into ideological pressure trying to adjust his theory to the logical constrains of historical Materialism?" (Page 4). He goes about exploring this statement much further exposing the possible contradictions of this theory and further considering leontiev´s context a possible factor to be taken into consideration:  "May be these theoretical restrictions are owed to the social historical situation of Leontiev´s and to the theoretical possibilities or limitations of Historical Materialism in its specific understanding of man and society at that time. It would be a very important and interesting program of historical research to show this." (Page 6).
I was very confused by the use of the word "systemic" in here. Earlier, I viewed it as a growing interdependence among subjects and objects, to a lesser degree that it seems to be explained or suggested in this text. In addition the reference to cognition was not, to my mind, what meant the most if we were to take this approach. To put it differently, I might be misplacing the applicability of systemic development because I clearly get its applications to organizational management and development control but hardly to a single relationship between a technology and individuals unless connected into networks, so again we could say this is organizational theory. I remain confused trying to associate these approaches.
Was the author trying to say in the last section of page 6, that Lompscher claims activity theory incapable of solving theoretical challenges of our times? Is this also a call for transcending the theory?
A bit off track but still interesting to me: Is the following paragraph refering so any sort of communication and hence justifying dialog and dialectical exchange, or even negotiation at every other level of human interaction (different from computer technologies)? Can this be applied to conflict management all together?

"To Luhmann social and psychic systems are forced to communicate their fundamental differences and inevitable contingencies in order to stay alive. To get rid of irritating differences with its environment by destroying environment is no real option to a social or psychic system because this finally destroys the system itself, for there is no system without environment and without difference to it."
Among the most compelling concluding remarks I found the 3 last to be the most applicable to my field of interest and research: 9th , 10th and 11th.


martes, 9 de octubre de 2012

Theorizing II. Task 8. NIE2012.

Some salient thoughts that the reading gave rise to, this week:

-The following paragraph: "The last conclusion implies, in particular, that objects of activities are dynamically constructed on the basis of various types of constraints. These constraints include the needs that the given activity is striving to satisfy; available means; other potentially related activities; and other actors
involved, with their own motives and objects. When some of these
components change—for instance, the importance of a certain need
increases—or new means become available, the whole configuration of
constraints may require a redefinition of the object of activity to meet
the new constraints (see Hyysalo 2005)." is a very relevant one and serves as a feedback to one of the exercises we made with Terje, when we explained how to decide on what to do, when. It seems this reflects very closely what I actually do when acting. See the post on that below, and a graphic summary of compatible elaborations. I do not remember now but I guess I received no individual feedback on these earlier tasks.
-I was moved by the same intuitive need to simplify and regard all of those very interesting, articulated and surely important theories redundant as they put in many more or less words the same analysis that I have been exposed to in other disciplines. It is not unique to these authors to explain these processes, so (heuristic as I like) I kind of relate to them and know that I have already perceived these patters. For instance, what the authors expand on pages 205, 206, 207 seems far too similar to systemic analysis. There is no centralized control or one head thinking all of the data but a person delegating, distributing tasks, TRUSTING others, and therefore reducing redundancy to the minimum. Even if at the end Kaptelini and Nardi find that these are insufficient and should be combined with the rest and even transcended with activity theory. Probably that is a generic claim, that activity theory transcends earlier proposals. (This is about conserving resources and energy, as I see it. Why, if an artifact can be precise of certain tasks one needs to redo them, revise them, etc? Intentionality, though was also mentioned and I would say that the processes of surrendering to comfort and rational distribution o roles is natural but one could OPT for not getting into that course of events, for example, I have always have  a very good sense of orientation, seldom if ever get lost, and can go anywhere without even reading a map, literally. Our family traveled between my country and Peru more than 3000 kilometers without map and back home safely and educated about the geography of 3 countries! I never read instructions when I get new appliances but use common sense, I do not want to loose this resourcefulness and also impose to my children the effort of figuring out where they are, so they observe and pay attention and look around and find clues and signs (as I mentioned earlier I made it a rule not to be connected to any of their devices when in the car, walking with me or strolling around in the city). I will never buy anything to tell me in a silly voice what side to turn to and what street is next. I force my self to keep a notebook even if I have a tablet an android device and a laptop with me. Why to loose that human dimension or debilitate our commitment with the capacity we are naturally equipped with? Why to go to a web page like Luminosity to train the brain on elementary tasks if we could do it without any app teaching, just by training on everyday basis, making intellectual efforts and controlling the growing tendency to delegate it all on technology? Could not we think about balance and moderation?
-I think this is a disservice to his brilliant analysis: "Characteristic of Leontiev’s view of the individual was his opposition to understanding the individual as merely a component part of social systems and processes. When discussing the idea that an individual could be completely described through a set of roles defined by the social context, Leontiev (1978) called the notion ‘‘monstrous.’’But again, I am no expert on his work. I would rather use the same argument I pointed out earlier, that this probably what the person had to say so it fit to ideological constrains. It is refreshing to read that the authors give more credit to the individuality, and more or less can state this is what I try to suggest all of the time. That one plays an important role if one is empowered to do that and committed to control one´s life.
-Subjective refraction that Leontiev mentions (cottage cheese incident, page 210, I have also make some comments on this before)= sounds a lot to me as intuition or tacit knowledge...The reflections on learning are valuable and I would have liked to read much more on that or many more examples on the same field (p.211-214). Phenomenology?
-The sections I would be more likely exploring further start in page 220 (9.4.2).
"To give some structure to those places where we might seek creative
fissures at different levels of collaborative activity, we refer to Raeithel’s
(1996) three-part scheme based on earlier work by Fichtner (1984):
Distributed cognition seems a valuable field to explore since my interest is networked teaching and learning. This happens, naturally, but can one somewhat modify the patterns of distribution? Would this be recommended? Should people be let to learn to the best of their abilities? I would think so, because the result can be genuine and effective development.
-The book reads: "In Spinuzzi’s analysis the workers were active subjects. Traffic safety was the collective motive in the activity. The workers ‘‘made decisions,’’
‘‘transformed data,’’ and otherwise acted as aware subjects. Spinuzzi’s
discourse was not of small adjustments or the application of simple rules.
He described how the workers faced a mountain of narrative data—
filing cabinets full of thousands of accident reports. It is a tribute to their
creativity that they figured out how to transform such voluminous data.
To do so, they employed specialized domain knowledge and conceptual
tools including mathematical and statistical analyses to create more
revealing representations of the data (Spinuzzi 2003)." I thought if it has to do also with phenomenology (page 235: "Phenomenology
responded to the overformalization of science and mathematics in which
the everyday world of practical experience had little place).
Could not we in  a cooperative effort get together and "draw" the theory, adding some data (experiential theorizing) to explore and test the result?
-By the end of chapter 9, in page 234 I found this statement worth commenting: "Such social activity involving complex negotiations and discussions among diverse groups of humans requires a theory that allows for intentional activity enacted by beings capable of imagining and planning the future." Yes, this theory exists and is developed by conflict studies, literature on this abounds as well as methodologies, tactics, models and a diversity of studies. The use of existing studies associatively to integrate knowledge can be useful. At least I see compatibility here. Of course the book cannot be comprehensive of all knowledge available on every aspect they mention.
-Will there be any theory explaining a total synergy between humans and artifacts? Does this activity theory apply to artificial intelligence or will there be a post-activity theory forming for that? I would like to know the reach of these explanations.
-The conclusions of the chapter are extremely clear.

Sebastian, I do talk about many aspects on every post instead of counting 5 or 3 and sectioning the flow of thoughts. I am not really thinking about the quota necessary to pass the task. I hope this works out well this way. In fact I could divide this alone into 6 parts. Let me know please if that is needed.

sábado, 29 de septiembre de 2012

NIE2012, Task 6. Theorizing.

Instead of simply making a summary report of this reading, I very candidly tried to put thoughts as they arose, in writing. This below is the transcription as if I could engage in dialog with the authors. I thought, at the end, that the last section was enough and much less ambivalent that the rest of the text. If I could anticipate there was a logical outline and brief of the reading I would have started there and then back to the full text (effort of info. better be heuristic). On to my impressions:
-The reference to anthropology is valid and persuasive; it made me think another discipline could be observed in its developments and also substance: behavioural economics. This, in turn, may help analysing ways in which people assesses information and the way in which processes could be expedited and effectivized.

-Would not this be stated to justify its general applicability instead of as a mean to explain its validity? "Sacks et al. suggested that ethnomethodological work is ‘‘context free, yet context sensitive’’ (quoted in Button and Dourish 1996)."

-Ethnomethodologists themselves have suggested that ethnomethodology has had a limited practical impact on interaction design because of what Button and Dourish called the paradox of technomethodology. BUT OF COURSE! This paradox of Technomethodology affects every science now. There is no point where one could stop and begin theorizing without missing to continue, but this should be again a call to theorists to promote choice in the innovation process as I mentioned before. Options will not be available if we are all embarked in an unstoppable and fast growing pace of development; it is like trusting technology to dictate what is to happen and how we must live our lives, ultimately the main actors in the technology development processes: states as promoters and engineers as enablers, or managers or means themselves. If only Moodle is available to students, then everyone would use it, if it is updated every year it triplifyies teacher´s work and complicates the life of students having to learn a new system and still stay with some courses in the old one while operational. Then if additionally several other developments are imperative, then life will all be about getting technical and keeping up with technological advancements. We would stay in the methodological level forever unless we stop. And somewhat sacrifice being updated, just to handle some tools very well and devote time to their study.
-Theories are already made. The technology is a medium, that adds factors to the social sciences existing methodologies for analysis and theories but in general creating a new discipline seems an entitlement understandable but unnecessary. In addition, it is possible to have theoretical intuitive approaches and realizations (the power of human brain!) without even reading about experiment number one or data and statistical analysis. We are all equipped with reason, that, coupled with talent, devotion and experience (age included) would be quiet enough, I think the science in general the way it is developing has little to do with knowledge and defeats its own purpose. In my fields of interest, there is plenty of apparent ground breaking doctrine that when I read leaves me 100% unimpressed. Reasoning and explanations so banal and obvious. Issues, proposals, assumptions and solutions I have thought about for tens of years already...The theory is needed for theorists. Maturity and experience is needed for practitioners. Nobody is a better parent out of reading manuals. One is a better parent by being a conscious parent: involvement. Being a parent.

-We believe that theoretical frameworks will facilitate productive cooperation between social scientists and software designers. Not only can such approaches help formulate generalizations related to the social aspects of the use of technology and make them more accessible to designers, they can support reflection on how to bring social scientists and software designers closer together, much as cognitive science and computer science found common ground in a shared model.
-Every discipline needs to be sensible to culture, to audience and to sample groups or actors. Principles are always applicable to certain subjects. Nothing new on this! How this makes it any independent? Ethnic methodologies are available long ago, and all sharing the same challenging visions...I still believe that activity theory can borrow or adapt from other theories and use what has already been researched about. Also that a new one is welcome, but not fundamental, because this theory has to be verified, and time has to pass, and then, it could be discussed amongst theorists again, to be able to be simplified for popular application and use. Theory is not to grow in complete detachment from practice. With learning, practice seems more effective.  For me the question is, are these authors suggesting that theory is constitutive rather than declarative? Why only the doctrinal validation would be important for a discipline to flourish and develop?

-Focus of activity theory is on  purposeful, mediated, human social activities. A fundamental insight of the approach is that the understanding and design of technology should be based on analysis of its role and place in activity. The concerns of interaction design can include moral and ethical issues (Friedman 1997), cultural diversity, social implications. I though the same when I was completing the past task.

-Critical analysis (Muller 1999), emotions, feelings, and spirituality (Muller et al. 2001). With its developmental perspective on purposeful mediated actions in a social context, activity theory plausibly addresses the widening purview of interaction design.
More questions:
1. How activity being the object of this theory differs from Conduct (behavioural sciences and law)?  a. What activity? Conduct is a purposeful interaction in law, activity is merely a happening. Is there a need for this differentiation?
b. Maybe because the activity is considered in this context as a source of development for the subject? Well, one could say that experiences are always constructive, people inevitably learn this way.
2. Agency: activity and need to act? This resembles the definition of negotiation. Organic.

-Where to leave the unconscious, Freud and other theories about the way in which we act? Why detaching mind and activity should not be valid? Sometimes we act out of being disciplined enough, regardless of thoughts aims and purposes. Sometimes one can see that exactly in the works of students who merely comply with a task, even reluctantly, but purposefully.

-On the historical influence from the 20s. Well, yes, it affects but I would think the society of proletarians did not really make a claim for theories of this or any other type; this was probably supplied to replace an economic theory that could be associated with “unacceptable” ideologies. That seems plausible, and as much as many other elaborations could have appeared as creative minds can always stretch concepts and turn data into relevant, important object of study. Later we realize that it was after all worthy of revision. If for nothing else, one needs to validate any though. However,
I still see no persuasive reason to believe this is needed when other theories can help well enough. Maybe I need to see the evidence and putting these many words into action, to be used to improve what, by the way: activity or networked activities, or development or the subject and its internal purpose selection mechanisms?

-On the social being: Marxist, and more. This is also inferred from sociology and widely discussed, reflecting on systemic approached to interaction like organizational theory. I wonder why this is studied in isolation, maybe for the reasons mentioned above? To make it ideologically correct and present it as unique in its own context? The social being approach is understood from times immemorial. Greeks already developed the notion (was later formulated in clear statement and legal doctrine by romans) that rules and patterns appear when society if formed and that there was no reason to develop regulatory systems for an individual alone. So it is not really a borrowed idea, It rather seems we all talk about the same phenomena, and arrive to similar conclusions but like to assign to processes distinct taxonomies and terminology to give relevance to the science of our choice. Strangely enough, despite the separatist underlying tone that I perceive in the text, the same says later that the most prominent figure relevant to Activity theory itself considered unification of theory a possibility: “Vygotsky’s ambition was no less than to lay the foundation for a new approach that would allow integration and generalization of psychological knowledge.” Pag. 39.

-Evidence and characteristics of psyche: response: biological (cold chills) and sensitivity, intuition. This is a deep way to tell we need awareness when we propose interactive mechanisms? Is there a psyche to an organization? Need triggered sophistication so adaptability could follow, so can we imply that whatever we do to interact will ultimately work out as people adapt? It could be so! Bu I am no psychologist, it simply seems logical.

-Objectless activities: Sometimes we propose when it is about beautifying or innovating with no purpose. Also what about a drive, an urge such as that of adolescents that act much faster than what they think? I mean if to accept this one would end up saying every activity makes sense because we are rational…

The development of the human mind was a radically new phase in the evolution of the psyche. For animals, mind is an organ of survival; it increases the organism’s fitness regarding its natural environment, just as claws or fur do. Through assuring the survival of the fittest, evolution stimulates the development of mind in animals. But with the emergence of human culture and society, biological evolution ceased to be the main factor in the development of the mind. The survival of an individual living in society depends on economics, politics, and technologies, rather than fitness understood as the body’s ability to adapt to the natural environment. Accordingly, the nature of the human mind is determined not only by biological factors but also by culture and society…”

Leontiev specifically analysed three aspects of culture that have a fundamental impact on the mind: tools, language, and the division of labour. Departing from here, and if to think about the way I conceptualized my activities, where in this explanation the section of wishes (whimsical most of the time) and a sophisticated ethical analysis on whether the realization of my wish would affect others and how positively, would fit? When it relates not to labour, that is, the disassociation between motives and goals as explained in the document (page 59).

-I was glad to identify some elements of my past assignment present on this text, given that my first approach is to determine whether my activity responds to a need or not. Stretching the concept of urges, one can state that everything can turn into a need, be it because one needs to sustain life with it or emotional balance, or else…According to activity theory, the ultimate cause behind human activities is needs (page 60). Also the explanation about activities, actions and operations seem familiar although operations do not necessarily seem to happen improvisedly all of the times, What if people try or train to strategize? I recalled my old lectures on theory of knowledge and logic from first year of law school, too many years ago to mention. They started by describing the relationship between subject and object and the process of appropriation.

-Activity theory holds that the constituents of activity are not fixed but dynamic (page 86). So clear, it could have been just stated as such, no need to wonder around.
So this was all. I wonder if any of my questions will be even discussed by some of you, read, or answered…

jueves, 20 de septiembre de 2012

New Interactive Environments. Task 5. NIE2012.

Mediated activities like all others require certain level of organization to be efficiently performed, even if intuitive or unnoticeable. There is most of the times a pattern of behaviour that even if not too rational gives a lead onto how people do as they do and how.
My approach is teleological. I think abot the possible outcomes first, so I can measure the degree of compatibility of what I want to do or have to do with what I should or am supposed to. Or if it is simply worthy of my attention.
An imperative is to think in advance in which way my activity and the methods I use can affect others. First, those who depend on me (my children, my students and my colleagues primarily) and second those who could be affected by my actions (third parties, neighbours, relatives, etc). For instance, I do not commit to any responsibility that would prevent me from being at home when my youngest son returns from school. I also do not do Facebook while writting an article. I do not ever connect to social networks when having a face to face conversation or participating of face to face interactions (while driving is talking time with kids, nobody should be connected to anything at the time we pay attention to eachother, while working out the telephone is off, while sleeping all equipment is off, etc), and also made it a rule at home.
Then, whenever an outcome is needed, wished, convenient and compatible with the rest of my life, then I look for tactics, or ways to make it happen, including digital technology, and different other analogous tools. Finally I plan the sequences, schedules, places necessary and act or perform my duties.
In short it all starts with self interest: a need, own or imposed by duty, goes through some economic thinking (cost/benefit/resources/management) and considerations. That is self interests again, and ends up happening if available, possible and innexpensive (in many ways, not only monetary).

The most important resource at this point for me is time.

Unable to produce a sound theoretical model I decided to make yet another graphic outline.

martes, 18 de septiembre de 2012

New Interactive Environments. Task 4. A comparative review. NIE2012

Mhhh so this is getting more complicated (delivering opinions openly is quiet a commitment!), and also interesting. I just hope some also could read my post and comment on it.

After visiting most of the registered blogs of the rest, it was clear that mine was really different and probably sidetracked. It could also refelect the fact that my background is on laws, as well as how I manage the part of sharing and publishing about myself. I look forward to eventually integrate into the group, even if my interests are so specific, and the conceptual connections I look forward to establishing differ from those of the group. I was very tempted to post again to follow the pattern of the students at IMKE, but opted to leave it as it was. Next time I would wait and see how the group behaves, to avoid distractors.

In general, people focused more on showing what they do with their time (exactly what I tried to refrain from doing) instead of touching upon the issue of how thechnology has affected or impacted our lives and cultures. I was really interested in reflections of this kind and some discussions. In some ways I think that the electronic formats for learning and exchange facilitate some aspects of the process and inhibit others. It seems in here we try to explain more about ourselves to give indications that are otherwise obtained by direct interaction from the context, appearance, attitude. Can one have an attitude online? Can one be perceived as positive, letagic, lazy, constructive or smart with accuracy using these mediums? Should this be possible? My students do the very opposite, as they are so much younger and inexperienced. They want to hide and keep as uncommited as possible, and this course really makes me wonder. I made an experiment and posted on my courses´ blog a task for electronic submission and discussion. After 2 weeks only 4 out of 30 students have dared participating. I hope someone here can comment this.

On the study plans, I noticed most are familiar with the same tools, but I could learn about the way they organize and make ideas accessible to others in a grafic ways, and also tried some of the technical solutions they mentioned. This was a great exploration I am very glad about. Thank you for sharing!
These are the postings that I can briefly mention, because they called my attention on different levels.
Darja´s contribution was extremely clear for me, I almost did not need to read the legend. It was intuitive, readable and very appealing. I am curious about the graphic software she uses. An excellent example of organization skills and appeal. Beautiful.
Rando´s postings are worthy of discussion, in that they offer some arguments that I would be interested in commenting about. The mindmap was simple to understand.
Mattias`s graphic was also submitted very early in the week together with Darja´s and mine, and so I wanted to have a closer look at it. It was hard to visualize it all together, and the flow was not so clear as the others, eventhough it was more complete than the previous.
Carla also uses the same approach as the rest, and outlines her responsibilities in the simplest way possible. It seems unclear for me how can she work 8 hours and be registered for that many courses at the same time, as I barely have any left o sleep if to care for my 3 kids, and keep up with the responsibilities of a full time job and as a student with only 3 registered course this semester. Maybe we all should learn to budget the time with an hourly account as she proposes, so we could be more efficient. I would.
Last, on Tiina´s study and time management plan I learned about Graffle. Hers was a little more complicated to follow because it had direction and implications, but these are the most informative of all conceptual maps and outlining methodologies.

A question remains, Were we supposed to explain detailed aspects of our time management or how do we make it understandable to others using technology? I thought the second was the case and this is why I posted a mindmap about my study plan (research findings and connections) last year, of course I made no time management or private interests references.

martes, 11 de septiembre de 2012

New Interactive Environments. Task2 and 3 NIE2012

The transition we are living and its impact of the regulatory systems as we know them is what has motivated the writing of a doctoral thesis all together. My observations on that began long ago when the law on sustainable development was proposed in Spain back in 2005, reflecting legislative developments in the UK with its digital act, and in France that passed a law (and was the very first enforcing it) with very similar content. This is the background; not very well know movement that ended up in the widely publicized proposal of a whole new management of our digital rights and an imposition of an outdated ideology on property values. People learned about it much later, through ACTA, SOPA and PIPA and the debate these proposals generated. It has been a much longer process that has not reached an end yet.
I am tremendously affected by the digital reality in many ways. First, I am an instructor on legal issues, a legal scientist with a commitment to liberal principles, and the rule of law. This alone puts me in a position where I have to pay attention to what is going on and contribute as much as I can from the academic perspective. I have to teach legal standards and integrity to students much more vigorously now, as knowledge sources are restricted and dishonorable conduct is so openly facilitated by technology(plagiarism is not a crime; it does not have anything to do with copyrights). I must also contend the wave of "popular knowledge" that has crowded the world by communicating, at least to my students, what are the realistic and reasonable standards applicable to internet and technology governance, whether we really need laws or not and that in fact we cannot be all of the time using legal tools to solve the problems of uncertainty that arise from these thechnologies.
The moment we call the state to intervene we delay, we obstaculize, we create confusion and most importantly, we increase contentiousness in society. I especially feel worried about the notorious sense of ownership people display about their creations or inventions, mainly due to massive misinformation on the fundamental principles of intellectual property law, and to the detriment of the society in general. I think the digitalization of our lives is a reality that challenges most of what we consider important in society: freedoms and property. I have ethical worries in many levels.
On one hand we have author´s rights and those are not patrimonial, irrenuntiable and unlimited. This means that we all deserve credit for what we do (not money, but credit, that is attribution, so what I say remains my say, and not only to benefit me but because I have to be fully responsible for my expressions and the consequences they might bring about). On the other hand we have copyrights that are a FICTION. They are a temporary monopoly that might or not be in the hands of authors and that confers the right to restrict distribution, use and modification of their object. This is so damaging to the economy (liberal ideology promotes free markets) that it is conferred by the state only temporarily, and suppose a gain to the whole society: That more creators will create more creations. That more inventors will invent more inventions. These are not privileges to obtain money and they do not protect ideas.
In schools people are taught to be in love with whatever they do, without screening it on quality of marketability. People are encouraged to fight their copyrights on any piece of gibberish they compose and businesses reflect the same attitudes. This fractures societies, makes out of each one of us a potential infringer, distrusting and hostile to others. This also promotes social and legal conflict. We are put to believe that the only solution to the extensive availability of copyrighted materials is the restriction of our civil liberties: monitoring, surveillance, policing and criminalization.
Of course, this view is not very optimistic and certainly differs from that of the designers and media professionals by far. But we all are users, self regulation is more efficient and friendly than legal disputes, and not all creations are worthy of protection, because some of them are simply trash, just like it has always been. An object is worth anything if people like it, value it, or are willing to get it, not because the law says so. Or are we going to call the legislator to decide on beauty contests and pass laws on aesthetics? There has to be an acceptable standard of conduct reachable by wide consensus, but I have no idea will we live to see it being formulated or found? This is what I think about and write about. In the meantime I am fascinated by the possibilities. It is good to mix competence with caution. I still would like to claim I have the right to be anonymous, and opt for an analogous lifestyle in all respects. It is all about choices now, but one day it will no longer be so. When innovations become impositions then it is difficult not to be disturbed. For instance, why my 65 year old mother, who will not race against time to get updated on lifestyle, cannot maintain her Windows XP Operative system running efficiently for as long as she wants? Why innovation and development imposes her updates that imply expenditures and learning beyond her interests and possibilities? Why some services are fully electronic when not everyone can or want to access to them that way? How to match the demand of technology developments in Finland or Estonia with that of Bangladesh, Zambia or Bolivia? Still they are imposed the same global policies and agendas. Innovation should be made with purpose and on demand, at least when the audience can absorb it, or else it turns into a very expensive waste or cause social problems.
I have not read the articels you proposed but I will, and maybe get back to you with a  more pertinent post. Maybe they would allow me to focus on other aspects and guide me onto other topics. Anyway, the laws are cultural manifestations, so taking about them is always relevant.

The first part of the task is more difficult to complete because I prefer to keep my time planning and family activities private. Of course I would not mind sharing a bit, but could not produce a full reasoning chart to be made public. In general: post graduate student, master on laws from 1995, when I also married to an Estonian man. I am a widow now, with 3 minor kids, lecturer on what I wrote on my first post and a doctoral student. VERY BUSY! Wishing to finish with at least one of these chapters (preferably the PHD) asap so I can move onto the next and become more efficient. Have no free time now, but when I can get it then I would invest it in what I like most: hiking, digital technology, the sea, sewing, visual arts of all sorts, graphic design and illustrations, applied arts, some music, literature and films, Japan, anime, my family here and there, painting, and sleeping!
Please find below the concept maps I would use to explain an article I am busy writing at the moment and how I was developing my studies last academic year:
Does this count?


jueves, 6 de septiembre de 2012

New Interactive Environments

First Task
Hello! I am a lecturer on international legal studies (transactions, comparative legal systems, legislative development and international conflict management) with special interest in the new patterns of internet regulation, and internet governance. This is all related to the way in which technology should be managed. It is my interest to combine what I know, what I have to do, and what I like to learn and develop about, at the same time. This is how I reached here. Also, I am taking this course as an elective towards accumulating points for my doctoral studies in Tallinn University of Technology. I have used plenty of internet based tools from the year 2000 when I first created my course blogs using a program called Front Page. I purchased and learned how to use it by my self. It was an imperative, in my opinion, to effectivize the learning process, to move ahead with the times and specially to engage students in ways that would make them learn substance without almost noticing it. It was fun. On the side, I am an avid user of all kinds of social networks and online products ranging from Zoho, Slideshare, Scribd, Flickr, Prezi, all Google services, Vimeo, Coursera, different playlists and music services, to my latest obsesion: Pinterest. This last I like the most beacuse I can collect and classify information for later use in a simple and immediate way. This is what I also liked to do with my personal blogs (6 so far on different google addresses), to keep a roll of the sites that I like the most.
I shared these interests through my courses on legal negotiation in Colombia (where I am from). I was the first lecturer ever there using that medium and expecting from students to take control of their learning process. It was hard in the begining, because they were a bit too comfortable to be independent and to have to check on developments online. The most common excuses I heard were: "I have no internet connection at home" and, "for some reason I cannot access your webpage." In time they enjoyed the experience. Later, I also used the same methodologies in Estonia, and through; some of the old pages are still up in the web, if you want to take a look at them: Comparativo and introduccion. The most recent are simplified, in a blog format, and mainly up for announcements. They all look more or less like this one. Moodle, in my opinion, is too standardized.
I am very glad I found this course, and afraid I am liking this program so much, I might end up enrolling as a full time student in it!

lunes, 16 de abril de 2012

Last assignment/post

This was the most difficult exercise of all. Since the use of these methodologies is so intuitive for me as I explained in the beginning of the course, this rationalized and organized, compartmented assessment structure has not been necessary. So far, I have evaluated them instinctively: "you know when a concept map is good when you see one." For reporting is convenient, but it takes a disciplined approach that I probably lack. The creative content is impoverished by strict guidelines, or at least it has been my opinion so far. In any event, the activity was extremely informative, and also formative. I will impose to myself the organization of these grading criteria if at least to explain to the students the most elementary expectations that I would consider for a topic to be well covered (reviewed, outlined, reported) using these tools. It should at least help them.

I specially enjoyed the exchange, reading what others had to comment and say, although I regret that I could not attend the contact session, also that we did not engage more actively in discussions. I recommend, for other e-courses to arrange for electronic meetings. Not only it would create a sense of connection among participants, but it could also teach us how to do the same with our own. This is what I would like to learn next.
Since I had to anyway invest time and energy on this short course I am incorporating its message to the development of my lectures: Legal Environment of Business, and the response has been surprisingly positive. Grades are not calculated yet, but the engagement of the students has improved to an extent I can barely believe myself. The use of exciting, different and interesting methods invites them to try completing their assignments. By doing that I can be sure they at least have gone through the class materials. Only that is a plus. What will happen when they all handle these new methods well? How can I make legal topics interesting for non-lawyers? This will be again my biggest problem.
I very much enjoyed the course, and hope to be able to continue much further in the learning of technologies applied to education. I am even considering applying for the master program at Tallinn University...