part of the MSc in E-learning at the University of Edinburgh

Lifestream reflections – Week 1

Setting up my lifestream at the beginning of the course seemed to go pretty smoothly. I am a regular user of Diigo the social bookmarking tool, so that was my first choice for a stream to include. I like the richness of metadata that you can attach to a Diigo bookmark although I sometimes skimp on descriptions, and highlights. I resolved to make better use of those features in this course as I’m well aware of the old computer programming adage – “garbage in, garbage out!”.

I tweet from time to time, mainly in connection with conferences or events. Twitter useful for noting down a question that I want to follow up on later or for sharing and harvesting links but it is a fast moving stream and if items aren’t plucked from the ‘flow’ and stored elsewhere then I find that they are lost in the ‘froth’. I noted that there was quite a lively twitter stream with IDEL so I resolved to try and participate more in this course and included a feed from Twitter as well. I also wanted to try out mobile Flickr uploads so included that in my lifestream too. The lifestream seemed to me to be offering an opportunity to try out new technologies so I responded to Jen’s recommendation and set up a Tumblr account and tagged a talk by Maria Anderson.
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In ‘Where’s the “learn this” button?’ Maria speaks about the sheer volume of information that bombards us all the time and the fact that it rushes past us without really giving us a chance to think about it let alone learn anything from it. Her proposal is for adding a learning layer to the internet that would enable us to not just note down questions and answers around a source of interest but also have these items pushed back to us for review and reflection. The lifestream on this course seems to be trying to achieve something similar, by funnelling the flow of sources that have caught our interest, including notes and tags, back into our blogs we can revisit and reflect on them. Perhaps this lfestream will help me to ‘drink’ from the hydrant of internet information without drowning.

I was enthusiastic to make and early start with the course and my lifestream as I knew that in a few weeks time things would get busy at work and finding time for the course would be more difficult. I began to establish my lifesteam by making collections of examples of digital culture, in order to clarify in my mind exactly what is meant by the term. I also looked for broad connections to education. Even before the course officially started I was drawn to Leetaru’s (2011) article about Culturomics and fascinated at what new insights could be extracted from digital archives of news stories. “Recent literature has suggested that computational analysis of large text archives can yield novel insights to the functioning of society, including predicting future economic events.” It seems a small step from there to advising about what to learn in order to function in the world that is just around the corner. I wonder what predictions could be made from analysis of our lifestreams amassed as a result of this course – both individually and collectively? What future prediction/guidance could be made available for individuals about their future learning? Interesting stuff indeed!
Leetaru, K.H., (2011) Culturomics 2.0: Forecasting large–scale human behavior using global news media tone in time and space.
First Monday, Volume 16, Number 9 – 5 September 2011

Posted by Geraldine May Jones on December 5th, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

One Response to “Lifestream reflections – Week 1”

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