Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Digital Me, past present and future

This is a reflective post as part of the first assignment to a course I’m taking on flexible, distance and online learning (FDOL). This is my reflection written partly on the train home on an ipad and then finished at home inbetween sorting the kids out.

Me and the past.
The day I left Art School, the lectures called me in to show me their first mac. The Schho had invested in an Apple 2. They gathered round the object from the future, fearful of turning it on. It sat on a crowded desk covered in papers and books. I'd already been creating a large stainless steel sculpture using computer to help with the drawing, so they knew I would like it. They showed me it as a symbol of how modern they were.

20 years down the line, several careers later, I have worked with the staff in the same department. Although nearly all of my old lecturers have left, and I know not what happened to the old mac, there is still something of that mind set. The new building has less paper filled offices, and the artists and designers use computers all the time to help them create and store their work. But how deep technology has penetrated teaching practice is difficult to judge, perhaps there are limits to the level that it should

Me and the present.
This current course is a reminder that I need to finish my doctorate. My thesis explores the group dynamics of academic programme teams. I'm looking at individual narratives of how the different processes work particularly when faced with change. I've finish 15 interviews and have some really interesting, surprising and a little bit frightening. Frightening because of the workload, and the courage to dive in and write, but also the stuff I've turned up is a little challenging.

I note that those I know taking similar courses tend to be in the digital area, tackling the bleeding edge. Me, I wanted to strip it all back and find out why people push and pull, for and against change. Although I must admit, I think it would have been easier to just pick the latest tech phenomenon, and turned up some results.Perhaps I share a similar technological gloss to my practice as my old lecturers.

Me and the future.
Some days the white heat of technology runs cold through my head. I see re-occurring patterns in the processes, things I have seen before, mistakes running again only in a different format. Other times it is a joy, and the possibilities are real and tangible. This came home to me most recently revisiting old documentaries by a BBC presenter James Burke. This edition of his first TV series captures all that fascinates and terrifies us about technology http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgOp-nz3lHg. This rather pessimistic programme provides a marvelous counterpoint to his recent interview, which is such so amazingly optimistic vision of the future http://www.theanswerbank.co.uk/Science/Question1271792.html

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