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 hot.ee; 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!