Monday, November 15, 2010

Activity / information streams and conversations

As a follow up to last week’s blog I followed up on George Seimen’s blog on ‘activity streams’ that proposes the internet as the new way to communicate after the phone, fax and email.

Linked to the above is dana boyd’s Educause Review article on ‘streams of content’ and the keynote from Prof. Agnes Kuklska-Hulme at the recent mlearning 2010. Dana links Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of ‘flow’ to the current ‘flow of information’ through social networking. Agnes discussed the concept of ‘social network’ as a form of conversation and how, for instance. Tweets, may be seen as ‘conversation starters’ and directors.

Of note is dana’s summary of how technology affordances, collide with current social mores. Four areas are democratisation of information, stimulation / attention, homophily (where people connect with others who are very like themselves) and power. Some good ideas to think through as we assume technology will solve the world’s problems, yet what individual’s want may not be what is better for society as a whole (depending on which side you are on). For example, Prof. Mohammed Ali’s call to researchers to harness their energies and networks to provide education for all through mobile learning is a worthy goal. However, does every government/political organisation support education /democracy for all? How does one package learning (what is education?)? Will education be used to further repressive regimes objectives? Who decides what is learnt?

So again, things are not as straight-forward as they might be! We need to continually test our assumptions of what is appropriate and if we change tack, why and for what reasons. On to another interesting week.