Comments for Kevin's E-learning and Digital Cultures Blog http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh part of the MSc in E-learning at the University of Edinburgh Fri, 09 Dec 2011 12:41:34 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.1.1 Comment on Posthuman Pedagogy by Jeremy Keith Knox http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/2011/12/08/posthuman-pedagogy/#comment-258 Jeremy Keith Knox Fri, 09 Dec 2011 12:41:34 +0000 http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/?p=432#comment-258 You highlight some of the significant issues that posthumanism raises for education here Kevin, and some really well chosen video clips. 'First we must agree on what the definition of a post-human should be'. I like part of what you imply in this point, but not sure that we need to *agree*. For me, agreement seems to imply that the posthuman should be pinned down, quantified, rendered ostensible, made generalisable, and I'm not sure that kind of tactic embraces the mutability and flexibility of the theory. Where assumptions about the rational and bounded human being are put into question, the posthuman seems to become an act of definition, but definition in the sense of a contextual and temporal specification. Posthumanism often embraces the idea that the human is performed, in a particular place and in a particular time, rather than being comprised of pre-existing stable foundations. What I mean here is that we might be able to define the posthuman in practice, but not in principle. *Agreeing* on a universal definition for posthumanism would seems to create the very foundational assumptions that the theory attempts to destabalise in humanism. If we consider the (post)human to be something that is persistently created through action and performance, it can have no foundation. Furthermore, the act of definition becomes a constant, integral process. The posthuman *is* the definition. We might say that the posthuman is 'unknowable' in principle, but 'knowlable' in practice. In this sense, I think your post highlights some fascinating ways in which the human (and hence the nature of knowledge) is culturally defined. It is interesting how knowledge is portrayed as quite alien and dangerous in these clips. In The Matrix, the knowledge associated with flying the helicopter is not only disembodied but transmitted from 'another world'. The other clips seem to reveal a fear of knowledge, is if it is something that can invade the 'mind'. Knowledge is viewed with great potential, but also as a significant danger, a view which appears to situate 'knowledge' as a kind of separate substance, upon which the superior 'rational' and 'moralistic' faculties of the mind can act. Dualisms abound... You highlight some of the significant issues that posthumanism raises for education here Kevin, and some really well chosen video clips.

‘First we must agree on what the definition of a post-human should be’.

I like part of what you imply in this point, but not sure that we need to *agree*. For me, agreement seems to imply that the posthuman should be pinned down, quantified, rendered ostensible, made generalisable, and I’m not sure that kind of tactic embraces the mutability and flexibility of the theory. Where assumptions about the rational and bounded human being are put into question, the posthuman seems to become an act of definition, but definition in the sense of a contextual and temporal specification. Posthumanism often embraces the idea that the human is performed, in a particular place and in a particular time, rather than being comprised of pre-existing stable foundations. What I mean here is that we might be able to define the posthuman in practice, but not in principle. *Agreeing* on a universal definition for posthumanism would seems to create the very foundational assumptions that the theory attempts to destabalise in humanism.

If we consider the (post)human to be something that is persistently created through action and performance, it can have no foundation. Furthermore, the act of definition becomes a constant, integral process. The posthuman *is* the definition. We might say that the posthuman is ‘unknowable’ in principle, but ‘knowlable’ in practice.

In this sense, I think your post highlights some fascinating ways in which the human (and hence the nature of knowledge) is culturally defined. It is interesting how knowledge is portrayed as quite alien and dangerous in these clips. In The Matrix, the knowledge associated with flying the helicopter is not only disembodied but transmitted from ‘another world’. The other clips seem to reveal a fear of knowledge, is if it is something that can invade the ‘mind’. Knowledge is viewed with great potential, but also as a significant danger, a view which appears to situate ‘knowledge’ as a kind of separate substance, upon which the superior ‘rational’ and ‘moralistic’ faculties of the mind can act. Dualisms abound…

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Comment on TransHuman by Jeremy Keith Knox http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/2011/11/22/technocalyps-part-i-transhuman/#comment-138 Jeremy Keith Knox Wed, 23 Nov 2011 14:17:43 +0000 http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/?p=412#comment-138 Interesting post here Kevin, and you highlight the Transhuman themes of disembodiment, scientific progress, emancipation, and…well…what I would consider an obsession with heads. I think it is fascinating how Transhumanism justifies itself on both religious and scientific terms, as you describe, yet the theological and the positivistic could be considered opposed to one another. These head-swapping transhuman endeavours seems to be a clear expression of science; justified by the doctrines of progress, human betterment and the quantification of life, yet they are also legitimated by the rules of the Catholic Church. Fantastic inclusion here of the Pope’s address, which for me, emphasises the Transhuman adherence to an essential ‘life’ that must exist behind the material of the body. The acknowledgement a ‘soul’ would seem to justify the kinds of experiments described here, as does a privileging of humans over other animals. All this talk of heads and brains must have some implications for learning, and education. How do you think the transhuman themes of disembodiment, scientific progress and emancipation-from-the-material play out in education? If a soul does indeed exist, is it that which learns and not the body? Is there a difference between learning of the body and that of the mind? These all sound like fascinating questions to take further. Great post Kevin! Interesting post here Kevin, and you highlight the Transhuman themes of disembodiment, scientific progress, emancipation, and…well…what I would consider an obsession with heads. I think it is fascinating how Transhumanism justifies itself on both religious and scientific terms, as you describe, yet the theological and the positivistic could be considered opposed to one another. These head-swapping transhuman endeavours seems to be a clear expression of science; justified by the doctrines of progress, human betterment and the quantification of life, yet they are also legitimated by the rules of the Catholic Church. Fantastic inclusion here of the Pope’s address, which for me, emphasises the Transhuman adherence to an essential ‘life’ that must exist behind the material of the body. The acknowledgement a ‘soul’ would seem to justify the kinds of experiments described here, as does a privileging of humans over other animals.

All this talk of heads and brains must have some implications for learning, and education. How do you think the transhuman themes of disembodiment, scientific progress and emancipation-from-the-material play out in education? If a soul does indeed exist, is it that which learns and not the body? Is there a difference between learning of the body and that of the mind? These all sound like fascinating questions to take further. Great post Kevin!

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Comment on Ethnography… by Grace Elliott http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/2011/11/15/ethnography/#comment-117 Grace Elliott Sun, 20 Nov 2011 16:40:18 +0000 http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/?p=362#comment-117 Hi Kevin, Great ethnography and one I can totally relate to. So that's how a Prezi presentation looks when done properly.... really like how you did it. Have to agree with Austin, the video is hilarious. Btw, have you booked an aisle or window seat??? Hi Kevin,

Great ethnography and one I can totally relate to. So that’s how a Prezi presentation looks when done properly…. really like how you did it. Have to agree with Austin, the video is hilarious. Btw, have you booked an aisle or window seat???

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Comment on Block 2 Summary – Virtual Communities by Jeremy Keith Knox http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/2011/11/17/communities/#comment-97 Jeremy Keith Knox Fri, 18 Nov 2011 12:41:17 +0000 http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/?p=379#comment-97 I really enjoyed this post Kevin. You caution towards participative and 'ideal' communities is a really valid point to make I think. The popularity and general acceptance of social constructivist theory, particularly in education, combined with the hysteria of 'web 2.0' technology and the supposed interaction that it affords, has created a general acceptance that communication, openness and sociability are the only things that are important in knowledge production. This part of your post got me thinking about how that act of 'connecting' is not enough in isolation. It is notable the number of times I come across discussions that focus on community formation, how to get people connected, yet assume that once this happens the job is done; as if useful knowledge production is automatic once people are connected. I think you raise some intricate considerations of community here, and I would say that your critical stance is certainly warranted where these discussions of community, agency and participation are given a lot of emphasis. Is boiling everything down to 'lurker', 'insider' or 'newbie' really enough? The dissatisfaction with established notions of community that I sense in your post here gets me thinking about how we should perhaps be rethinking a lot of this stuff. Haven't we always been connected anyway – in a posthuman sense of interdependence? Surely looking at communities (simply people that we interact with) is rather superficial way of understanding the broader processes and flows in which we operate? It is perhaps the less obvious, invisible, connections between people, systems and non-humans that may be more important in understanding knowledge production. Stimulating stuff, thanks Kevin! I really enjoyed this post Kevin. You caution towards participative and ‘ideal’ communities is a really valid point to make I think. The popularity and general acceptance of social constructivist theory, particularly in education, combined with the hysteria of ‘web 2.0′ technology and the supposed interaction that it affords, has created a general acceptance that communication, openness and sociability are the only things that are important in knowledge production. This part of your post got me thinking about how that act of ‘connecting’ is not enough in isolation. It is notable the number of times I come across discussions that focus on community formation, how to get people connected, yet assume that once this happens the job is done; as if useful knowledge production is automatic once people are connected.

I think you raise some intricate considerations of community here, and I would say that your critical stance is certainly warranted where these discussions of community, agency and participation are given a lot of emphasis. Is boiling everything down to ‘lurker’, ‘insider’ or ‘newbie’ really enough? The dissatisfaction with established notions of community that I sense in your post here gets me thinking about how we should perhaps be rethinking a lot of this stuff. Haven’t we always been connected anyway – in a posthuman sense of interdependence? Surely looking at communities (simply people that we interact with) is rather superficial way of understanding the broader processes and flows in which we operate? It is perhaps the less obvious, invisible, connections between people, systems and non-humans that may be more important in understanding knowledge production. Stimulating stuff, thanks Kevin!

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Comment on Ethnography… by Jeremy Keith Knox http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/2011/11/15/ethnography/#comment-96 Jeremy Keith Knox Fri, 18 Nov 2011 11:47:29 +0000 http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/?p=362#comment-96 I liked the ways in which you used Prezi here Kevin, to focus in on particular elements, and to link images and ideas. There were some nice instances of this, particularly when you emphasised the image of the globe next to the Cayman News Service logo – an image oriented to have the islands in the centre, yet still referencing the rest of the world – mirrored in the movement between images in your first few slides, which was a great visual way to communicate the community/world question you discuss. I thought it was fascinating to bring in some definitions of 'citizen', and relate that idea about active and responsible participation to notions of community. It struck me that many of the definitions of community participation found in the digital literature seem to tend towards a more passive, loose and accommodating definition. The anonymity afforded by the digital seems to be the antithesis of accountability – and you highlight this really well. Is the responsible and accountable citizen an ideal to which community members must strive, or a basic requirement? Does a community require a certain number of accountable 'citizens' to function and be recognised? How do the constitutive roles with communities vary according to cultural context? These seem like very interesting questions to me, thanks. Overall I thought the use of movement with Prezi was excellent here, and really got me thinking about how a narrative can be accommodated through gesture. I liked the ways in which you used Prezi here Kevin, to focus in on particular elements, and to link images and ideas. There were some nice instances of this, particularly when you emphasised the image of the globe next to the Cayman News Service logo – an image oriented to have the islands in the centre, yet still referencing the rest of the world – mirrored in the movement between images in your first few slides, which was a great visual way to communicate the community/world question you discuss.

I thought it was fascinating to bring in some definitions of ‘citizen’, and relate that idea about active and responsible participation to notions of community. It struck me that many of the definitions of community participation found in the digital literature seem to tend towards a more passive, loose and accommodating definition. The anonymity afforded by the digital seems to be the antithesis of accountability – and you highlight this really well. Is the responsible and accountable citizen an ideal to which community members must strive, or a basic requirement? Does a community require a certain number of accountable ‘citizens’ to function and be recognised? How do the constitutive roles with communities vary according to cultural context? These seem like very interesting questions to me, thanks.

Overall I thought the use of movement with Prezi was excellent here, and really got me thinking about how a narrative can be accommodated through gesture.

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Comment on Ethnography… by Austin Tate http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/2011/11/15/ethnography/#comment-95 Austin Tate Wed, 16 Nov 2011 20:34:52 +0000 http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/?p=362#comment-95 The video was hilarious The video was hilarious

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Comment on Ethnography… by Kevin Shawn HUDSON http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/2011/11/15/ethnography/#comment-70 Kevin Shawn HUDSON Wed, 16 Nov 2011 14:55:11 +0000 http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/?p=362#comment-70 Thanks Austin, I actually feel the same about frivolous FOI requests as I am responsible for building the university website to log them and disclose the relevant information. In the case I mentioned however, the premier did not disclose the information willingly, and has tried to deny similar requests on other occasions... the information was not available elsewhere, it was only released after the fact. Thanks Austin,

I actually feel the same about frivolous FOI requests as I am responsible for building the university website to log them and disclose the relevant information. In the case I mentioned however, the premier did not disclose the information willingly, and has tried to deny similar requests on other occasions… the information was not available elsewhere, it was only released after the fact.

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Comment on Ethnography… by Austin Tate http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/2011/11/15/ethnography/#comment-69 Austin Tate Wed, 16 Nov 2011 11:43:09 +0000 http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/?p=362#comment-69 Nicely presented Kevin. and the motion did not make me sea sick this time on Prezi :-) I liked the thread about what it means to be a member of a community like that, and the whole issue of anonymous posts, etc. But having been on the receiving end of a couple of truly inappropriate requests for FOI ... which I contended was all publicly accessible information already,. but was told we must respond to... I think its ridiculous to allow requests for collated information to be prepared with much time wasting just to hand over to people who cannot be bothered to look it up,. or want it collated effectively free for them when doing research, preparing an article, or just wanting to cause work for the target organisation. Nicely presented Kevin. and the motion did not make me sea sick this time on Prezi :-)

I liked the thread about what it means to be a member of a community like that, and the whole issue of anonymous posts, etc.

But having been on the receiving end of a couple of truly inappropriate requests for FOI … which I contended was all publicly accessible information already,. but was told we must respond to… I think its ridiculous to allow requests for collated information to be prepared with much time wasting just to hand over to people who cannot be bothered to look it up,. or want it collated effectively free for them when doing research, preparing an article, or just wanting to cause work for the target organisation.

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Comment on Ethnography… by Ania Rolińska http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/2011/11/15/ethnography/#comment-68 Ania Rolińska Wed, 16 Nov 2011 10:59:39 +0000 http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/?p=362#comment-68 Hi Kevin - I like the way you structured the prezi around some pertinent questions about the community, the tensions between the citizen's accountability and anonymity induced by fear of potential retribution, the freedom of press and expression and control. This draws the viewer more into the field, experience what it might be like and also interact with the researcher. I ponder the questions and then confront my tentative answers with the snippets of the info selected by you. I think the power of this presentation is in its simplicity, well-chosen content and also the video at the end which is so playful in its irony. Thanks - it was worth waiting for it! :-) Hi Kevin – I like the way you structured the prezi around some pertinent questions about the community, the tensions between the citizen’s accountability and anonymity induced by fear of potential retribution, the freedom of press and expression and control. This draws the viewer more into the field, experience what it might be like and also interact with the researcher. I ponder the questions and then confront my tentative answers with the snippets of the info selected by you. I think the power of this presentation is in its simplicity, well-chosen content and also the video at the end which is so playful in its irony. Thanks – it was worth waiting for it! :-)

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Comment on Week 4 Summary by Grace Elliott http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/2011/10/19/week-4-summary/#comment-35 Grace Elliott Sat, 22 Oct 2011 07:51:32 +0000 http://edc11.education.ed.ac.uk/kevinh/?p=345#comment-35 Ah! so that's the thinking behind your artefact. Well, I did zone into the Wizard of Oz connection but hadn't figured out your characters. And now I have the answer to my question re what software you used. I like your image of looking at the author's viewpoint from that of our own. Not surprising we differ though as we each have a different start-out point of experiences and perspectives; that will inevitably lead us to different interpretations. But even in shared experiences interpretation can be so different. I've found that my brother's recollection of a childhood incident is completely different to mine. It's fascinating, isn't it, how we 'see' things differently. Ah! so that’s the thinking behind your artefact. Well, I did zone into the Wizard of Oz connection but hadn’t figured out your characters. And now I have the answer to my question re what software you used.

I like your image of looking at the author’s viewpoint from that of our own. Not surprising we differ though as we each have a different start-out point of experiences and perspectives; that will inevitably lead us to different interpretations. But even in shared experiences interpretation can be so different. I’ve found that my brother’s recollection of a childhood incident is completely different to mine. It’s fascinating, isn’t it, how we ‘see’ things differently.

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