The Gutenberg Parenthesis


Watching this video, made me think the value of having constructive and humble scholarly discussions. How Pettitt hears attentively and takes note of questions, he is asked, considering how the insights of others can shed light on his not fully formed ideas about what is writing and thinking. The penny fall when I saw how the crafting of an idea is an ongoing process and although we have some of those thoughts, some are just not fully formed. Having these scholarly conversations is such an important thing when one is forging one’s own ideas at the start of an academic career. Conversation with interested people that engage in your research is vital for one’s development. Humbleness and wisdom shall go together and guide us through a better understanding of our own idea.
I am writing up the things I will be sharing in South Africa in the OEGlobal conference and a seminar organised by the Global OER Graduate Network in the hope that the conversation I will have will shed some light on my still a-morphs ideas.
Things like performativity, what does intra-action means, what are the implications for practice, the role of language and technology in students’ development, the way to explain the relation between the subject and the object, how not to stay critical and open; reflecting on technological determinism. How can we separate language from the phenomena it is describing, is language an instrument that brings the phenomenon into existence, or is the event happening independent of the instrument we use to re-present it, and so many assumptions I am not yet able to explain. The keel is under construction hence the boat is still in the harbour not ready to depart.

Moving beyond technological determinism?

Sorry for my english…still improving it. But I decide to show my ideas as they are. I am embracing mistakes in the open for 2014  🙂
Thinking while reading lots of posts and literature -still to much to read- about moving apart or beyond technological determinism, maybe it is a reflection of the move society is making from buying things to buying experience. It is about what you experience with what you buy.  So the ‘thing’ is moving from its objective structure or function to a subjective existence. That is why services are taking the place of things and there is the added value nowadays that society is profiting with/of. Why does mobil phones are so popular? I think that in part it is because of the experience you live while using them. Although the affordances it has is part of what you look for when buying it. But at the end what we are searching for is to have an amazing, thrilling, awesome experience.
As Michael Gallagher said in his post, if we want to go beyond determinism we must focus on generating meaning and context and move from the steady status quo and transform habitus.
This reflection he makes  -by the way, a great job he makes to open up all what he does to the world in his learning journey. I am learning from you Michael 🙂 –  I tend to think it’s because of this transformation around the world. I went to a WTF (what the fuck!) workshop at Knowmads in Amsterdam where a very interesting guy representing S2M (seats to meet) gave a talk about this. He was saying the importance of taking care of the experience more than anything.  Starbucks is taking care brilliantly he said of the experience of drinking a coffee and not much about the coffee in its self. It is what customers get out when going to Starbucks for a coffee. (Note: I don’t drink coffee in Starbucks, I prefer the old fashion of drinking coffee, old furniture, old but beautiful coffee cups, old and wicky chairs and slow pace, calm to think about what I would like to have. OLD FASHION).That is what they are doing in Utrecht where they start this business that has been amazing and growing organically hence, harmonically and sustainably. And the most incredible thing is that they started their business with the idea of offering a great experience to people who were needing a place to work and through this positive experience they will build a positive network that would bring in many “business possibilities” and that is how it works still (they have made changes of course, but the core idea is the same) I had the opportunity to go and the experience was incredible. Food for free, good energy, lots of ideas floating in the rooms, possible connections  when and where ever you looked at. A really nurturing place. They have a useful book to download with foundational theory and ideas that feed their project. A good read!
I am reading an interesting book: Cognitive Surplus from C. Shirky. There is something that relates to this. The Milkshake Mistake he calls it. McDonalds was doing a research for improving their milkshakes. The one researcher that succeed did something different than the others, he did not focus on the product he focus on the consumers. He was searching for hints that could give him clues about what where consumers looking for when buying the milkshakes. So he could describe, with all the inputs about the experience, that consumer were looking after when choosing the milkshake.
The first mistake: “[…]was to concentrate mainly on the product and assume that everything important about it was somehow implicit in its attributes, without regard to what role the customer wanted it to play -the job they were hiring the milkshake for”.
It seems that it is more about what role you want that object to play in your life. It’s abut the ‘what’ in terms of experience you are searching to live through this object. And referring to habits he said,  it should be taken into account that habits are also rooted in accumulated accidents. I like this little statement. It is absolutely true.
Thinking in my particular research, education and personalised learning environment, I am slowly realising that my interest is not in the technology per se, but in what it triggers in the learning process. What students can achieve cognitively, intellectually while creating their environment, their context to learn. Is the use of technology taking advantage of this cognitive surplusThe experience that technology in a certain form could offer to students, parents, schools, teachers, – in my particular case, a personalised learning environment. My idea is still in infancy. I am just formalising my proposal, but the more I read the more I think that I want to go beyond technological determinism, although I maybe start it with such a determinism in mind.
One of the great things of doing research is how while reading and getting in touch with relevant “learning experience” that can range from a formal lecture to an informal meeting with an unknown persona. Mapping relevant experiences could be my next task…