I have struggled a bit with this one, so I have decided to show something that I originally thought was “posthuman” when I first saw it demonstrated but I know think is actually the opposite!
Back in the early 1990s before I even had an email address, I was teaching English in Poland. My friend, Sara, taught me an activity to help students with vocabulary learning. On pieces of paper the size of your palm, you wrote the word that you were having problems remembering. On the reverse side, you wrote the definition and an example sentence. Then you put the pieces of paper, no more than 10, in your pocket and, during the day, you brought them out when you a few free minutes and tested yourself. If you got the word right, you would transfer the piece of paper to a different pocket until, finally, all the pieces of paper were in the “known” pocket and you could create a new batch of cards.
Anki is a system based on the premise of spaced repetition ie you create learning cards and these decks are set to go off like alarm clocks so that you are tested on your knowledge at regular intervals based on research into the human capacity for recall.
You can download your decks to your phone, tablet, laptop and so on have your decks with you at all times. You can add details to your cards, use images, add audio and customise them to your individual requirements.
We are being encouraged to use these, so I paid for the iPhone version (all other versions, including Android and desk top are free) and now I have access to my learning cards wherever I go.
I thought they were posthuman because of the use of technology and the apparent ubiquitous nature of the cards. They seemed to have taken a simple idea from pre-digital times and updated it in a way that made use of the technology and which integrated human and non-human elements. In the original idea, I had to remember to take my cards with me and I had to prompt myself to use them. In the digital version, I could set it up so that the cards would prompt me, keep records of my progress (including time taken to answer) and present the cards in pristine form each and every time.
After reading Edwards, I felt that these were not posthuman pedagogical techniques at all. The cards were highly representational and were used to “own the language”. The sharing facility is highly complex to use and doesn’t allow for much “gathering”. As Barad, quoted in Edwards says: “Representationalism takes the notion of separation as foundational.” And the disjunct domains of WORDS and THINGS is emblematic of that. The dilemma is how to LINK this to KNOWLEDGE. In language, the idiolect is a key determinant of personality and personalisation of the language. But language cannot be acquired without context. Matter and Meaning are context. If they weren’t, all we’d have to do is read a dictionary to learn how to speak another tongue.
So, is is posthuman or not?
You have to create an account to get access to site plus the sharing decks facility is not working properly. So I’ve added a pdf file with some screen shots to give an idea of what’s going on.