May 2008 Archives
Here I am...who should play me? You decide...
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I was in a meeting last week and the small group of us realized that we had a question that someone else outside of our group could answer. The team leader suggested that he would email that individual after the meeting and let us know how he responded. As our meeting was in the same building--in fact the same floor-- as the individual in question was housed, one of us suggested that perhaps the leader could just go knock on his door and ask while we were all there. A stunned silence filled the room. "I could," he replied. And off he went. We chuckled after he left about what the reaction of that individual might be when the knock came at his door. If I were him, I probably would have been thinking "What the hell are you doing here? Answer a question? On the spot? To your face? Are you kidding me?" As bizarre as that sounds, it is becoming more and more commonplace in meetings that I'm in to do exactly what happened in the scenario described above. I believe we are becoming (if we're not already there) averse to face-to-face interaction, and developing the same attitude to voice-to-voice interaction as well, because of our reliance on email to communicate. As a sample size of one, a quick comparison shows that in the last week, I received over 300 emails during the workweek, and about 60 phone calls during the same time period. I imagine the ratio is similar to the number of emails I wrote vs. calls I placed. It seems bad. It seems like we are becoming too isolated at work. But is it just that communication channels are morphing and this is just the result? 75 years ago, would someone have tracked similar stats for the increased number of telephone calls and decreased number of face-to-face visits in the workplace and proclaimed the death of communication in society? The rest of the story is that our fearless leader returned, having successfully cornered the individual, and secured a very non-answer to the question. So, we ultimately were no farther along than we were before, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Oh, and that individual is apparently going to email us when he has more information.
Wow-- so hard to reconcile the use of Facebook groups described here with the typical "I got hammered at the ZTA formal" groups (not that I ever got hammered at a ZTA formal-- oh wait. . . yes I did.)
Here is a blog entry from a teacher using technology (particularly blogs) as a way to explore education. She is outraged that NYC DOE is now preventing teachers from sharing their blog URL!
Someone has this man on the right track. Let’s see some Initiatives to improve beginning teachers competence with diverse and urban classrooms. Also, let us not forget the issues are just as compelling in the rural areas of PA. At least someone is touting tech as a supplemental, if not mainstream method of reaching all kids in some way to scaffold them. GO Obama at least for this issue.
It is Tuesday, the night that for the last 15 weeks I have been reading 25 plus blog posts and sifting through the amazing outpouring of intellect and reflection that has been evident in the CI 597c spaces. In true Web 2.0 fashion, the blog was an interactive space. Seems I am the only one…now. But that is ok, because writing is not about who is reading. For me, the writing is a form of expression that I have embraced. I never had much luck with a journal, because I would misplace it, make mistakes, and get frustrated. This electronic medium is perfectly suited to my style. As I am leaving Penn State, I need to gather my toys and take them with me.
I will, with Brandon’s help, move this blog back to my blogger site, and hopefully continue. I want to let my identity reestablish itself during this process as I touch new communities…I am in for a ride, but I believe the blog will be the creative outlet I need to navigate the next set of adventures. I have not looked for a job in 27 years, so this is terrifying and exciting at the same time. So, if you are reading, hang in there. If you are not, and this is a solo pursuit, it will serve as a record of how I navigated “the change”…
Friday, April 11th, 2008 at 9:53 pm
By Daniel Beatty, DVM
Are you on Twitter? It is one of the fastest growing websites on the internet today. It is a way of keeping in touch with people. At first I did not quite get it now I do and so I am inviting you to follow my twitter - http://twitter.com/DrDanDVM which is my professional twitter. I will be posting quick tidbits about dog and horse health here and you can really make comments back ask questions really interact with me very quickly anytime I am in front of the computer. Almost instant access, because I have a small program called Twhirl which keeps me connected to my twitter account anytime I am on the computer. It is excellent. So go ahead follow my Twitter @DrDanDVM
daniel beatty, Twhirl, Twitter, veterinarian
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One day out of class and I'm STILL posting links. . . is that dedication or what?
I have made it very clear to anyone who would listen that I do not get the blog. For me, in this learning experience, I look at the design of the blog as invasive and unnecessary. In the beginning of this class, I played well with others, but quickly began to realize that this is one technology, no matter how hard I try, I cannot willingly embrace.Podcasting, twitter, wikis, etc., much discussed in class, provides us with a tool to spread the word. It is a great way to learn French, listen to 3 guys discuss & bitch about wine or any of a million any other ways for learning and personal development. Podcasting leaves a one way trail of communication while many of the others, with commenting, etc, allows a back and forth of information sharing.The potential anonymity provided by the Internet allows people to shape their identity however the author wants. We have had this argument over and over again throughout the semester which has come down to two different identities. The blogs that we're following can give us a glimpse in to anyone's inner sanctum. It really is my firm belief that identity is not only shaped by the ways we picture ourselves, but the outward projection of our actions and words. So it has come to this. I'm throwing out the blog to end all blogs. This grand experiment has been an eye-opening experience. There are tons of ways that we can use these emerging technologies. For me, blogging's not one of them.
The theme of community was discussed at length on many occasions this semester. Drawing on the readings I have developed my sense of community. I view a community as a group of people with something in common who interact with each other. There is an infinite number of communities in the world, several to which I belong and many more to which I do not. I wrote about belonging to many communities here, describing formal and informal membership. In a community, people come together for a purpose. For
this course, the class members formed a small community, a community of
practice. We met ever Thursday to
discuss disruptive technologies and the assigned readings. We blogged on a weekly basis and used many of the new (to us) technologies to interact both inside and outside the classroom. Participation in the community was mandatory at some levels, but optional at others. The extent to which one participated determined how much the person benefited from membership in the community. The mandatory blog entries were one level of participation. Twitter use was optional, but strengthened the bonds between community members due to increased interaction of a more personal type. Facebook games also served to bring members of the community together even more. Wenger wrote about the claims processors community of practice. The employees became members when they started their jobs. Their community, just like others, featured boundary objects. Such boundaries are reduced by brokering objects that can form links from one community to another or one person to another community. In the community, the claims processors' level of involvement increased as their experience increased. Their status evolved with time and titles and roles changed with promotions. The different statuses of members of the community are highlighted very well by Brandon. He compares Cole to Paul Revere, an influential member of the community whose actions and opinions will sway those of other members. Their support is critical to speed up the diffusion of information, which I blogged here.
The class has been split over the issue of identity. Does a person have one identity or many identities? Who defines one's identity? I think that there are absolute and relative identities. I am a unique individual with my own DNA. No one else on earth is exactly the same as me. The total picture is my absolute identity. The people that I encounter and those who read or hear about me form identities of me that I would consider relative identities which are perceptions of my absolute identity based on the lens through which they viewed it. As I wrote earlier I am many things at once. As Wenger writes, "In practice, we know who we are by what is familiar, understandable, usable, negotiable; we know who we are not by what is foreign, opaque, unwieldy, unproductive." Though I used the word absolute earlier, it is subject to additions and revisions because it constantly evolves as I grow older and gain life experiences. It is the nexus of all the individual trajectories on which we are. All of the individual trajectories influence one another for better or worse. This Army poster shows the same people in side by side pictures. On the left
everyone is wearing civilian clothes while on the right they are wearing
military uniforms. The photos are captioned citizen and soldier. Each
person in the picture is both, but not all people view them that way. To people in the Middle East they would be seen as a military
presence. While walking in street clothes domestically, they would
likely be seen as just other citizens.We choose to align ourselves with other people, groups, parties, and communities. Identification with one community
does not necessarily have a bearing on one's identification with other
communities, though it could. As I blogged here, we are people who think in different ways, viewing some things microscopically and others macroscopically. Wenger states that alignment involves directing and controlling of energy. Our identities are socially organized and
dynamic, allowing us to invest energy to work to improve them.
Design is the theme that received
the least attention in class, but it was what drove the class and interests me greatly. It
was the blueprint for this grand experiment of a course. Scott
and Cole designed the course and wrote the syllabus with certain plans
in mind. This design served as a reification of their ideas and foresight. Design provides a framework. The course drew upon previously existing Penn State infrastructure and internet applications plus ones that were newly set up for the course. The instructors chose to utilize the Blogs at Penn State as the mode of submitting assignments. They introduced the class to social ratings site, Pligg, they had set up for rating and commenting. They introduced us to Twitter, a microblogging tool that allows users to update their status for followers to see. They designed the course to have the students learn, explore, and present new technologies. A conscious decision was made to design the course with student presentations for the last several weeks of the semester instead of instructor presentations. for all teaching design plays a major role. Considerable effort is put into designing courses and the lesson plans throughout the course. Designing curriculum material is no trivial matter as I have learned in a project I have been working on throughout the semester.Each of the technologies presented features its own design. The designs reify the ideas of their creators. The blogs were designed to allow users to publish content on the web without having to learn any of the code. Penn State chose to use Movable Type as the platform for its blogs. The tabs and subtabs at the top of the page are arranged and worded in such a way to help users work with the technology as efficiently as possible. Create, manage, design, and preferences are word choices. A house icon, circular arrows icon, and a web page icon represent home, refresh, and view site. The designer decided to use icons instead of words for those tabs. Each member of the class personalized a blog, choosing a theme and arranging content in a specific way. The blogger had the option to enable comments or keep them disabled. Such ability was another part of the design of the blogs.The Pligg site's design facilitated discussion and comments. All blog entries were aggregated on the site and one could vote for the posts of interest. The highest vote-getting posts moved to the top of the list, becoming published news after a specific number of votes, chosen by the designers of the site to be 3, had been received. Below each post was space for commenting. Replies accumulated in order with the first ones appearing closest to the initial post and the most recent ones at the bottom. There was an option to reply to a reply that led to comments accumulating in the same order. The design did not enable one to reply to a reply of a reply. The design also used PSU access accounts for author names instead of the author's actual names. This led to a degree of anonymity of authorship to members of the class in the beginning of the semester and to outsiders throughout.Twitter is designed as microblogging platform that is akin to AIM away messages. Users create id's and can create small profiles about themselves. They are limited to 140 characters for their status updates. They can make their updates public or limited to approved followers. These options are components of its design. It was designed to be very simple, but open enough to permit new applications to be created to enhance the twitter experience. As the semester winds down I am able to look at design with hindsight and see design elements in a new light. I learned the importance of tagging, a
design of web 2.0, because I had not done much tagging throughout the
semester. With tags, it would have been much easier to pull up my relevant old posts, like this one, which addressed the design of multi user domains in the early stages of the internet that have influenced the design of subsequent sites and MUD's such as fantasy sports. Good design provides convenience and allows for improvement; poor design just creates plenty of problems. I feel the design of the course helped me learn a lot of new technologies which I will certainly continue to utilize for personal use and for teaching where I see fit.
I am a Penn Stater. I can now add that to the list of things that construct my identity. I have gone through so many changes over the last four months.
Our class still hasn't quite figured out a definition of identity. It is the one thing that is the hardest to separate from the other two components of community and design. Identity is malleable and splintered. The elements we choose to reveal are so dependent upon the current moment in time and the context of the situation. When I first got here, I identified as a teacher and a daughter. At this point in time, I am able to more closely identify myself as a student. I look back on my earlier posts and see this gradual progression of alignment with the culture of Penn State. I have aligned my identity to this newly formed community in our Distruptive Tech class. They have assisted in my development as a Penn Stater.
Community, community, community. Even after four months of endlessly
discussing this concept in not one but TWO classes (see also: IST 402H Community Informatics), and reading countless blog entries via Pligg,
and even more blog entries from Twitter friends about the role of
Twitter in community building, I am not sure how or where to even begin
synthesizing my thoughts on 'community.'I suppose I can start
with a few good definitions I have heard, and then relate them back to
CI 597C. First up is from my blog entry, A Sense of Virtual Community, which I made in response to a reading assignment in my Community Informatics class. The four criteria that McMillan and Chavis (1986) use to define virtual community are:Feelings of membershipFeelings of influenceIntegration and fulfillment of needsShared emotional connectionYou
may recall that I joined CI 597C late, in week 3 of the semester. Even
though the group had only physically met once at that point, I felt
like an outsider, like each of you were intimately acquainted. This
probably had less to do an assumption of bonding over two weeks as it
did with my incorrect assumption that the entire class was in the same
graduate program, but nonetheless I felt like an outsider, a College of
Ag student walking through the dangerous woods of the College of
Education. I certainly did not experience feelings of membership,
influence, or a shared emotional connection, as suggested by McMillan
and Chavis. It was not until I had a role in what would later be known as Team Tweet
that I began to feel any of these things. It was my ability to find a
place in this smaller community that let me feel like a member of the
bigger CI597C community, when I had something to share as I recapped
what Team Tweet had discussed and decided. It was when I saw a blog
entry on Diffusion, Paul Revere, and Cole Camplese
receive a still-standing record 11 votes that I felt I had influence
over the community. I also felt my influence when I offended a member
of the larger community in a blog post about Have Nots that I felt I
had influence. And when members of my group told me they disagreed
with that entry while also publicly defending my right to express my
thoughts, I felt a shared emotional connection with them and the classmate whom I had deeply offended. When
reflecting on these moments, I realized that CI 597C is a community --
for me anyway, because I engage in the community. I also realize that
I am only comfortable calling CI 597C a community from mid-February on,
as before that I (or it?) was lacking McMillan & Chavis's elements
of community. Then again, if these elements had already existed for
other classmates, does that mean it could be a community for them but
not me? This seems to relate to engagement and Wenger and those sorts
of things?Second up is Lawrence Lessig's keynote speech at the 2008 TLT Symposium.
I particularly like the part where he described mashups and YouTube as
the modern equivalent of "young people together singing the songs of
the day or the old songs." Donna further expands the metaphor of a
community gathering on the porch via office chairs and computers in her
post, "Community: Sitting on the Front Porch."
I feel very fortunate to have had a group of intelligent, motivated
people with whom I could sing the songs of the day or the old songs.
The creative energy at my house in early April, when Mike, Liz, Donna
and I were working on our discussion/preso for Twitter, was absolutely
electric. I have never been a part of a team that worked
together so well so quickly. Each of us recognized everybody's
respective strengths, and immediately we started creating and accepting
roles that suited our strengths. It must've been a neat scene to see:
Mike has two computers open to work on video and audio, to create the
Caveman transitions and other fun things we had planned. Lis is on her
computer, creating wiki pages for the hands-on activity and other
discussion questions we planned to ask. I was on my computer, finding
and creating the images and materials we needed for our backchannel.
Donna, who still refuses to acknowledge her technological prowess when
around us, brought forth her mastery of academic literature by
dissecting Wenger, and even found a gazillion Twitter applications for
us to explore. It was a community of practice, a group of young people
sitting around and creating new songs to sing and enjoying the simple
act of creation. We even expanded this later in the week by meeting at
Otto's for dinner, drinks, and trivia -- and two more hours of
brainstorming for our discussion/preso.Third is Becci's question about the community membership status of
Carla, the physical lurker in our class, which she raised in her post "Is Carla a member of our CI597 community?"
I expanded her question to not only examine Carla's membership in our
community, but also the membership of my fiancee, other classmates'
family members/roommates, and other lurkers (hello, if you are still
reading this!), in my post, "Re: 'Peripheral' Community Members, like Carla, Lurkers (hello!), and My Fiancee."
Interestingly -- or fittingly -- this conversation happened before
Twitter became a part of our lives. I imagine Becci's question would
have looked different had we been able to include micala, reginaldgolding, stevier, robin2go, and apetersen
in the discussion, given the emergence of the Twitter community. I
also find it interesting that Carla has not been to any classes since
Becci's post, and none of us have pointed this out. Did anyone even
Finally, with relation to Twitter and community, I am preparing to end
my time as a student here at Penn State. One of the options I face is
moving back to Philadelphia, where I was born and raised. While I am
excited at the possibility of physically rejoining friends with whom I
can only communicate via phone, I am also saddened that this scenario
means I will not be immediately, physically connected to people who
share my interest and passion for technology and innovation, such as
the PSU Twitter Community. I wonder if I will be able to create, or
start, a similar Tweet Meet group in Philly. I currently only follow
one person from the Philly area, and there is no connection between us
other than somehow our Twitter paths crossed. In terms of trying to
fit in professionally in Philadelphia, I wonder if she is part of a
bigger network of Twitterers, or how to find/join that community. I
know that the PSU Twitter Community will still be there to share Week
In Photos, interesting articles, and ideas, but I wouldn't be able to participate in
the Tweet Meets and we have all acknowledged there is something
beneficial about face to face interactions.
Funny how 4 months ago I would have laughed at the thought that Twitter would be a worry of mine in case I move to Philly, and laughed at the idea it could be such a powerful tool of community. But that is a small example of how largely my thinking and perception has changed as a result of the Spring 2008 semester.
I still primarily adhere to the view that our group
settled on back in February. That is: Identity
is a complex nexus or layers of self perception which may possibly be affected
by the communities in which one is involved and the perceptions of those
communities' feedback. To me, this
places the locus the negotiation of one's identity solely in the
individual. This is in contrast to
Wenger's social theory, where "identity serves as a pivot between the social
and the individual" (pg. 145). Wenger
states that the "building an identity consists of negotiating the meanings of
our experience of membership in social communities," to which I agree but would
that is not limited to. Not all
meaningful experiences that shape our identities occur in social situations or
involve the communities in which we belong.
This, I believe, is where I deviate from Wenger's conception; in that
the negotiation of identity is a "mutual construction between individuals and
collectives." Other peoples' perceptions
of my identity might influence my further negotiate of my identity, but do not
constitute my identity. Scott has said "People make judgments about me based on
my outside appearance and that is part of my identity" (sum16). I completely, and respectfully, disagree with
this statement. Other peoples' judgments
are only perceptions of who I am; they do not define me, however, might affect
how I view myself. I do not deny the
social impact on identity, and I agree with Wenger when he states that "we
cannot become human by ourselves," but to me, my identity is mine and its
construction and negation lies solely in my control.
definition of community from back in February seems to be a good general view. A community is a group of people which have
a sense of belonging through common circumstance or interest often including
interaction; the level of interaction and participation exists on a continuum
from passive to active. I think that
we caught most of what Wenger says about communities in general. However, Wenger's focus is on learning is a
specific form of community, a 'community of practice'. A 'community of practice' is one in which
members are united in a common enterprise or goal for which various practices
are integral to its functionality. Thus,
learning occurs as members (new and old) negotiate the meaning of information,
practices and relative position within the community. The community of practice
is the fundamental unit in the broad nexus of constellations of communities
that interact with each other for reasons of mutual interest.
While I like Wenger's conception of communities of practice,
I sill wonder if social and mutual negotiation of meaning is necessary for
learning to occur. I expressed view
a headache. I still believe that one
can 'learn' or negotiate meaning in the absence of social interaction. However, I also consider that the 'best' way
to learn is in a situation in which one is participating, usually in some
limited capacity, the actual practice that is being learned. I can teach myself how to cook simply by
experimentation, but it would be a better learning experience if a
knowledgeable chef (thus a member of a cooking community) demonstrated
techniques and assisted during training.
Our class has not discussed design in great detail. Most of what we have talked about is the
design of Web 2.0 technologies how they present affordances. This is in the same line of thinking that our
group produced (organizational method of attributing affordances). Wenger's
biggest impact on my thinking was in the statement "learning cannot be designed; it can only be designed for , that is,
facilitated or frustrated" (pg. 229). As
a teacher, I can only design the experience (opportunity) that the students
will have and the reification that they will be given and need to produce. I cannot guarantee or know in what way the
students may negotiate the meaning designed lesson. The primary consideration during the design for learning is that learning is
primarily a social undertaking. As I
discuss in my post on Community, supervised application practice is the best
and most efficient environment for learning. This is the basis for teacher guided inquiry;
where students participate in a limited version of practice they are learning
under the assistance and guidance of the teacher. Wenger summarized this idea
in saying that "learning takes place not so much through the reification
of a curriculum as through modified forms of participation that are structured
to open the practice to nonmembers." Furthermore, he says "there is a
big difference between a lesson that is about the practice but takes
place outside of it, and explanations and stories that are part of the
practice and take place within it" (p100).
The concept of community has been a topic of much discussion throughout the course of this class. Although reading Wenger's work was difficult for some of us and enjoyable for others, it no doubt provided some substantial theoretical foundation from which we began exploring and understanding community of practice in the context of our class/room/experience. To clarify some of the discussion we were having about Wenger's conceptualization of what counts as community of practice, I posted Taking the Bus: A Community of Practice? to suggest that the points he uses to help define it can be applied to everyday situations as a sort of community-of-practice-defined litmus test. Making meaning of Wenger's concepts by applying them to real-life scenarios was the goal of Paul Revere was a Peripheral Participant with Multimembership on a Boundary Trajectory. Here, the idea was to connect the abstract concept with the concrete historical event in order to develop an illustration of how Wenger's theory might work in a given situation.
Throughout class discussion on the concept of community a general trend toward loose definitions seemed to emerge. Examples of communities in question were often considered specifically, yet with a wide range of defining parameters argued by various class members. Even after weeks of discussion about community, it still seems as if the question of what community is (or can be) has left much for us to talk about. This is why (and when) I find Wenger's concepts helpful- I can put them to use (operationalize them) in the course of conversation so that I can develop my own understanding out of them and in relation to others'. In other words, Wenger's concepts of community of practice, network, and interrelated practices, for instance, operate in relation to one another and are helpful in providing a language with which to further explore and annunciate ideas of community.
Identity has been another hot and contested topic of discussion throughout the course of this class. Ideas of identity as multiple and fractured, as an umbrella term under which multiple sub identities emerge, and as situated on a continuum from personal to social have been re/negotiated in community conversations many times over in a relatively short time. That these conversations occur really brings into question the stability of our conceptions, our notions of identity. What is identity anyhow? Fractured, whole, personal, social? Remember our conversation about Twitter and schizophrenia? Where is/are the location(s) of meaning?
In Performing Identity and Architecture and Identity meaning is proposed as something made in relation to the world we live in. That ideas of identity cannot be captured and fully articulated in any one moment suggests the dynamic complexity of its negotiated performativity. As negotiation and performance of identity are profoundly social phenomena, in the context of our learning community, identity has been per/formed and re/negotiated in many ways. Identity is per/formed and re/negotiated in self-reflection, as well as person to person, self to group, self with group, self as group, and group to group relationships, for instance. Because of our conversations about identity in community, we have come to understand the inherent difficulty in defining boundaries among, or between, our ideas of self, group, and other. In conversation, we have experienced our negotiations and performances of identity overlaid, interwoven, and imprinted upon one another throughout courses of assimilation, appropriation, and resistance.
Design was the least overtly discussed concept of class discussion, yet it inevitably permeates all of our interactions, whether intentional, recognizable, or not. From discussion of the intentionality of design in Distributed Intelligence and the Built Environment to the recognizability of it in Interpreting Affordances of Designed Objects and the Influence of Context, my main interest has primarily been on design throughout the course of our conversations. Why design? Because design is about the creation of points of intersection between and among all of our worldly interactions. Designed points of intersection are points of mediation and negotiation. They are the designed things we put out into the world that allow us to make sense of ourselves and each other as part of it.
How we think about design, or don't, is of paramount concern for teaching and learning- it is teaching and learning- and it is in the doing of design that evidence of both identity and community is located. Design is the signifier of the signified. When we observe something about someone- when we read their performance as a text, as a re/presentation of themselves (their identity) made noticeable though sign and symbol (reified objects) created in communication with/in the world- we are reading and interpreting de/signed identity. When we design our personal appearances, our classrooms, our neighborhoods, our families, and our laws, we are creating reflections of our own understanding of life and living. What are the implications of this design? If we live in a designed world where we are designers, why does it matter?
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I wanted to respond to Becci's synthesis post, A Comment on Identity. In it, Becci describes the pride she has for her name despite having no control over it, and how she felt when she changed her last name due to marriage: both saddened and liberated. Reading this reminded me of a thought that is more prominent in my head at the beginning of semesters: the way we introduce ourselves to a new class, work group, etc. Some people say "I am [name] and I am from Department X" while others say "My name is [name] and I am from Department X." I first noticed this as an undergrad, when these types of introductions became regular, and I actually started to go through a mini-debate in my head ("I am" vs "My name is") when I was faced with an upcoming introduction. This internal debate soon became the norm, almost a personal joke for which I was recognizing the setup and making personal note of the punchline delivered by each of the other group members. When my turn came, I would simply introduce myself. The funny thing is that this brought me yet another connection between identity and community. I eventually realized that I was subconsciously being very consistent with my introductions about myself, and that the group was as well. You see, when I was introducing myself to a brand new group of people -- such as I did on the first day of IST 402H -- I introduced myself as "My name is Brandon and (blah blah blah)." But in a recent committee meeting I attended, where most of us were already familiar with each other but introduced ourselves for the benefit of the few new members, I introduce myself as "I am Brandon and (blah blah blah)." Apparently the "blah blah blah" is always relevant.My familiarity and role within the community affects the way I present my identity. To a new group, I say "My name is Brandon." It's as if I am saying, "All I can tell you right now is my name, and that is the basis of my identity to you. Hopefully, through our community's actions and our interactions, more of me will emerge so that I am more than just a name to you." But when introducing myself to a group where relationships already exist -- you know, the awkward type that I described above -- I say, "I am Brandon." But I am really saying, "Hi friends, I've been a part of your community for a while. I am Brandon -- yes, that Brandon. The one who did [embarrassing incident] and is responsible for [task or action that saved or brought joy to the group]. You already have linked these events and my actions to the name "Brandon," so I am merely telling you that I am Brandon."Funny how much thought can come from someone expressing the joy and sadness they experienced when losing their last name. And funny how my fiancee has expressed similar thoughts regarding the upcoming end of her life and identity as a Ventura, despite the added benefits of moving up further in alphabetical order when she takes my last name. And funny how she and I have started to create a new identity for ourselves through a portmanteau of our last names: Rubentura. Is Rubentura our identity or is it our more adventurous and public alter-ego, as some of our friends have described it? I can 'answer' to that question comes from an excerpt of my post on identity that Donna included in her entry: My identity is who I am , or is it simply who I perceive myself to be? It is who I am to others , or is it simply who others perceive me to be?
Design has been the last topic of discussion for us CI597Cers. My focus has primarily been consumed by identity and community, but as I turn my thoughts to this concept, I feel that the three are inextricably linked. I see design as the greatest catalyst, in that design impacts community creation, which in turn impacts identity construction. In a post, Steve comments on design issues in teaching and learning, saying that curriculum should be constructed first and technology should be matched second. I wonder which one Cole and McEd considered first: curriculum or technology, when they designed the course. When I consider the design of our class, I believe that to some extent there was a method to their madness and to some extent their method evolved over time as a result of their madness. Brandon posted a thought on his blog regarding this topic when discussing Cole's intentions regarding the expanse of disruptive technologies through change agents, implying that we, as CI597Cers, might be such gatekeepers. Only time will tell if Cole is really Paul Revere.My post entitled "Nobody Likes Me..." created some interesting dialogue on Pligg. I truly believe that this grand experiment was designed to investigate how the "design" of this course would impact the notions of community and identity both on a group and individual level. Using this class as a model, it confirms my theory regarding design as the instigator. Our personal designs for our own identities, communities, and lives and those designs we create for others in our communities and those who are members-in-waiting have an impact. To get philosophical (and possibly inspirational), we control our lives by how we design them and how we maneuver, negotiate, and interact with the designs others have created for us. Despite its importance, design can be taken for granted due to its invisible nature, yet design determines destiny. What is success? No matter how we define it, could we say that those who are "successful" have designed their lives in such a way to create success? Effort and careful attention needs to be paid to design in order to maximize the potential of success for those people whose lives we touch.
Last week I went to a PDS party, and played this board game called 'black & White'I never played this game before and didn't know what the rules were. So I was pretty hesitated to play (of course i wanted more booze and stuff :)) but some how got to play the game. The game made no sense to me, I was building and trying to match colors of the pieces which really didn't make any sense. I didn't know the rule, and there was no point of winning? I couldn't find the goal to win and no connection with the pieces. After for a while, someone explained the purpose of playing the game and something stroke my head that night thinking about it. "Aren't we, as teachers to used to methods, models and approaches that we seem to be boxed into this design curriculum in schools?"How you feel so uncomfortable with something that's not structured and it can lead to thoughts that there is no point doing it. As some one who studies Vygotskian philosophy, moving away from the design is something that I've learned in the class. Not totally agreeing but how Wenger pointed out the learning can't be designed is something to remember.
Who are you?is one of the question that raises to me after coming to an end of this class. when we talk about identity, we can say it's a way of presenting ourselves to others. However, it's not always interpreted in the way we present it, but it can have a posture of how some one looks at you. This class we've been engaging with technologies and web applications. Not all but many has a way to express ourselves through media. it can be a form of texts or pictures even movies but we've been interacting with technologies which is a way to disguise ourselves. Some could argue that it's not their identity, which is shown in the internet, but I come close to where identity isn't always something I express. It's also something how someone else might encounter. For example, you have your world of warcraft character. You're a Warlock, blood elf, and female. The way you dress, the way you fight, and the way you express yourself in the game shows who you are. it's quite funny, but if someone else logs in and tries to act like you, your friends can easily see that it's not you and some else playing the game. The character could look just like you but so many other things, such as gesture, language, fighting pattern, etc, defines who you are. Your community member will understand that it's not you, where they interpret with a different identity although in same looking.In this class we all engaged in Pligg, and some how we constructed ourselves' identity in the pligg. my id is yxl228 and some of you will notice it's yxl228 by the way I express myself on the blog. So I guess it seems as the identity structures strongly the way you express yourself and how other people understands it.
Being a visual learner, McEd used an analogy to describe community that, no matter how hard I try to alter or disprove it, his analogy holds true for my definition of community. He described community as the creation of light from a flashlight on a wall. Please keep that picture in your mind as you continue to read this entry. Initially I believed that a community entailed groups of people. While I maintain that stance, I have recently toiled with the idea of the individual nature of community. Let me explain...Each of us belongs to many communities. Each community consists of groups of people who share a commonality be it beliefs, interests, or heritage. The individual's sense of belonging in the particular community is characterized by the individual's level of participation in a community. I believe that as one progresses across the binary continuum of participation, so too does the sense of belonging in the community. The level of involvement dictates the sense of belonging. Referring back to the flashlight image, the more one participates, the closer one gets to the center of the light. The more concentrated area of light equates to the sense of belonging, which is enforced by the level of participation. In order to participate, we must communicate with the other members of the community. Our communication can be verbal and nonverbal, but we must communicate in order to participate. As a lurker or voyeur, we exist on the fringes of the light. Communication exists as the negotiation of our participation to the center or fringes of the light. In order to communicate, the community must have a common language. The podcast, Tweet Talk 1, raised some important ideas and questions. In particular, Minh's comments intrigued me. She raised the question of whether the discourse creates the community or the community creates the discourse. While the jury is still deliberating, I think that a mutuality exists where one influences, impacts, and alters the other. Either way, as the discourse is negotiated in the community, some aspects must be shared for survival. Often times, Darwinian aspects take hold and both the community and its discourse evolve. Technology acts as another participation catalyst. In CI597C, we have been discussing different disruptive technologies. Donna's post, "Can't We All Just Belong," discusses this concept. Using Pligg, we CI597Cers and any other lurkers who are courageous enough to comment are able to tease out different ideas. My comment on Donna's post is still applicable today in that I think that it is the marriage of technology and individual that determines the participation of the couple. (Aside: In this way, I wonder to what extent technology impacts our identity...) When we shine a flashlight, we value the brightest area of light to help us see. I have posed this question before, but I wonder to what extent the level of participation determines the value of that person's membership in the community. My thinking is that they are linked. The more someone participates in a community, the more we learn about their identity. We see their identity through our community's lens and construct decisions regarding that person's status in our perception of the community.The comments thus far have been with regard to community in its pluralistic nature, but I believe that community has an individualistic component that is unique to its owner. If we refer the flashlight image again but instead think about the center and the fringe being composed of different communities rather than the individual, we can see that our individual community (the flashlight) is composed of the multitude of communities to which we belong, with the strongest communities in which we invest our energy in the center to those communities in which we just lurk on the edges to the dark areas containing communities to which we have yet to belong. The aforementioned theories of negotiation in the individual scenario are applicable here as well. The communities to which we belong are negotiated through our participation within them. They traverse to the center from the fringes and vice versa as we continue on the journey we call life. We are impacted by the stops we make and the sights we see on the trip and yet the trip will forever change us and define our identities.