Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology and other Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague

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Technology and the Promise of Enchanted Objects

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
― Arthur Clarke, quoted by David Rose in Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire and the Internet of Things

David Rose describes the balancing act between human-to-computer interactions in his book, Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things.  Rose, an MIT Media lab scientist, begins Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things with an intriguing question: In 50 years, what will computers be called?

One answer might address a McLuhan-esque perspective of enchanted objects as extension of ourselves. Another answer might be Asimov’s approach of subservient worker to overseer. Rose asks the question, “Are computers more human or are humans more computerized?” I think as technology becomes more invisible that there might not be any name used at all, but, I was never one to name my car.

Rose clusters his discussion of enchanted objects in six categories of promised benefit: Omniscience, Telepathy, Safe-Keeping, Immortality, Teleportation, and Expression. He writes that between 50 billion – 1 trillion devices will be connected to the Internet in the current decade, resulting in a $14.4 trillion economic impact. His website, Enchanted Objects displays some of the most enduring and enchanting devices. I wanted to see what my colleagues on LinkedIn, PBS TeacherLine, and Facebook would choose as the technology with the most enchanting and enduring legacy.** I designed a one-question survey to collect their responses. Here is the survey link: http://tinyurl.com/teaguetech

Survey726qrcode

For mobile access, I created a QR-code for my survey. Survey Responses confirm Rose’s contention that we rely on, and perhaps revere, the enchanted objects in our lives. Among outlier responses was one from my dad, who at 88 years, pitched the innovation of air-conditioning as most enchanting because it “changed everything.” People shifted their routines and schedules since they were not confined by avoidance of the blazing sun. Another outlier, a colleague in Singapore, reflected pride of enchantment by listing his website.

The responses in my unofficial survey parallel the often contradictory aspect of dialectic interplay.  We need these objects but resent their intrusion and our own dependence on them. Rose writes an eloquent meditation on the effect of our “interruptive” gadgets. He writes, “I want the computer-human interface to be an empowering and positive experience-to minimize the interruption, annoyance, and distraction of our so-called smartphones and glass-faced tablets” (p. 3). Click here  to discover Rose’s choice for the least “interruptive” enchanted object.

Another instructive section of the book describes the design process progression of items on their way to Enchanted Object status. According to Rose, an object vaults to the status of enchanted when it empowers rather than weakens its user. Rose describes this ascension when tools align with our thought processes and when they ascend to become the storytellers of our lives. For example, iPhones record our everyday calls, numbers, photos, and notes. These become our daily stories. Director Cesar Kuriyama even used his iPhone to take a daily one-second video and collected them into this TED talk.

Time-traveling away from its 2014 publication date, Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things could be the second volume in the trilogy between The Design of Everyday Things and Convergence Culture. It is available as a dead tree book, Google Book, Simon and Schuster ebook, Amazon Kindle book, and an Audible book recording. This book is a thought-provoking book and I recommend it.

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This blog post and survey are part of coursework in Emerging Technologies course, EDLT 726

References

Rose, D. (2014). Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things. Simon
and Schuster.

Link to this Book Report Blog Post: http://tinyurl.com/TeagueEDLT726

Teague Survey Link: http://tinyurl.com/teaguetech

 

 

**Optimistically, I also posted information about my survey on this blog to invite the few people not related to me who read also this blog.

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Weekend Ed. Quote~December 21~Nature of Media

“Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which humans communicate than by the content of the communication.”

Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage (1967)

 

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More Ed. Quotes

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Participating in an online community~Week 6 Post 2

Disclaimer: This post is part of course requirements following this assignment: Extend your identity in the direction of your career path and participate in a new online community. Interact online using your projected identity for at least six weeks. Think deeply about identity and learning and blog twice a week about your experience. Take time to analyze the meaning, power, and constraints of the community on your learning. ~~~~

Week 6, Post 2

My online group chose The Long Earth as its December book choice. Its authors are Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter and it received the Goodreads’ Choice Award in the category Science Fiction in 2012. I found out about the book choice from the weekly emails and discussion forums composed by our Science Fiction and Fantasy Book group’s moderator. Included in the picture below is a sample of our discussion forum, the moderator’s post to seed the discussion, and my response. Within a few minutes of my post, other posts also appeared.

science fiction groups' post

Science fiction book group’s posting with personalized data redacted.

I began this assignment on September 2, 2013. Although uncertain as to the actual path my future work life will take, I knew that it would involve new ideas and that I would somehow help people integrate the change which accompanies new things. On Sunday, August 25, 2013, I made a big change and joined the Science Fiction Writer’s Group. I was warmly received, invited to participate, encouraged in my posts, given book recommendations and even a few plot spoilers. Along the path of this assignments, applications from authors McLuhan, Adams, Carr, Jenkins, Shirkey, and Dijick stood out like freshly dressed soldiers ready for inspection. (a complete list of authors is included below.)

Change is scary. Just watch how the performer Bjork describes her encounter with television:

Bjork explaining TV

 

Change is scary for me too. I discovered that since change is scary for many of us, these gently encouragements served as a cushion to my new experience. Also, the quick replies to my questions and posts from the moderators and group members helped me to move from outsider to peripheral to occasional and almost to active status, as Etienne Wenger predicted in Communities of Practice.

CofPLevelsofParticipation

And it all began with Etienne Wenger. Hearing him speak along with his wife was a highlight of this semester. Communities can be achieved in face-to-face settings and online protocols as long as the people within each of them continue to participate.

Thank you for reading these posts! And thank you, Dr. Paul Sparks for these invitations to explore and change!

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Comprehensive Source List:

Adams, D. (1995). The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Del Rey. Link

Carr, N. (2008). Is google making us stupid? The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/

Couros, George. The Principal of Change Blog. Retrieved September 15, 2013 Link

Dijck, José van (2013). The culture of connectivity: a critical history of social media. Oxford University Press. Link

Gerstandt, Joe. (2012). Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com. Link

Gray, D. E. (2009). Doing research in the real world (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Link keywords=Doing+research+in+the+real+world

Jenkins, Henry (2008-09-01). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (Kindle Locations 3040-3041). NYU Press. Kindle Edition. Link

McLuhan, Marshall (1967). The Medium is the Message. Gingko Press Inc. Link

Pratchett, T and Baxter, S. (2012). The Long Earth. Harper Collins. Link

Shirkey, Clay. (2010). Cognitive Surplus How Technology Makes Consumers Into Collaborators. Penguin Books. Link

Shirkey, Clay (2010). How cognitive surplus will change the world | Video on TED.com. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/clay_shirky_how_cognitive_surplus_will_change_the_world.html

Simmons, A. (2013). Facebook has transformed my students’ writing—for the better. The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/11/facebook-has-transformed-my-students-writing-for-the-better/281563/

Sullivan, D. (2013, September 26). [Lurkers And Superfans: Why You Need Both In Your Facebook Communities]. Retrieved from http://allfacebook.com/crowdly-dan-sullivan-superfans-lurkers_b125468

Turkle, Sherry (2012). Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition. Link

Wasko, Molly McLure and Faraj, Samur (2000).  It is what one does: why people participate and help others in electronic communities of practice. The Journal of Strategic Information SystemsVolume 9, Issues 2–3, September 2000, Pages 155–173.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice, learning, meaning, and identity. (1st ed. ed.). Cambridge University Press. Link

 

See all posts

 

 

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Participating in an Online Community~Week 4 Post 2

Disclaimer: This post is part of course requirements following this assignment: Extend your identity in the direction of your career path and participate in a new online community. Interact online using your projected identity for at least six weeks. Think deeply about identity and learning and blog twice a week about your experience. Take time to analyze the meaning, power, and constraints of the community on your learning.

Week 4, Post 2

Thinking about Marshall McLuhan and Etienne Wenger today. I am excited about the news that Wenger will be speaking to our doctoral group in just a few days.

I wonder if Wenger would agree with McLuhan who wrote, “Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which humans communicate than by the content of the communication.” The Medium is the Massage (1967) I tend to nod toward content being king, especially in print media. I received this email just a few days ago. What struck me was the shift in language used by companies offering credit services. In the early days of credit cards, the themed idea centered around extending credit and allowing users to request inclusion in the credit organizations’ community. As potential customers, we were on the outside looking in.

I see a distinct trending difference in media advertisements today. Companies are reaching not only one but two hands to embrace and welcome potentials to their community. Community invitation is built on welcomed engagement. Notice the copy below. What words highlight an enticing community experience?

anexclusiveinvitation

What did you notice? I saw these words: Opportunity/connect/share/issues you face/online community/feedback/impact creation

What was that? “Impact creation”? I am invited to enter at advisor status and impact creation? Pretty heady stuff! The stickiness of the advisors concept matriculates a person from customer to user to account holder to advisor.

Dan Sullivan writes about the fan page of Nilla Wafers, “Validation is the currency of the social Web, and good communities thrive when the actions of the top content creators are appreciated, curated, and enjoyed by passive lurkers.”

In the community I recently joined, e-Learning in Developing Countries, I see that there are a few super contributors and faithful responders. The majority of 10,255 members, though, seem to be lurkers, like me. Dan Sullivan, in his post, “Lurkers and Superfans: Why You Need Both in Your Facebook Communities describes lurkers as “The Dark Matter That Holds Communities Together.” I have been a fan of the potential of lurkers. Last year, I created a curated board on ScoopIt called “Lurk No Longer.” My ScoopIt curated board seeks to nudge lurkers toward active participation with various web tools.

In contrast, the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Club has many superfans and faithful contributors. I am wondering if it is no longer the medium that is the message, but the community that is the message? Is the message only as important as the community that energizes it? No, I think all messages have importance to someone. But these important messages can be lost or fail to multiply in communities that do not foster rich, interchanges and intriguing topics. So, then, is the community only as vibrant as the members that populate it? Possibly. Do online communities need organizers, amplifiers, and faithful participants just as exist in face-to-face communities? Very possibly. Quite possibly actually.

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Sullivan, D. (2013, September 26). [Lurkers And Superfans: Why You Need Both In Your Facebook Communities]. Retrieved from http://allfacebook.com/crowdly-dan-sullivan-superfans-lurkers_b125468

Book Sources:

McLuhan, Marshall (1967). The Medium is the Message.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice, learning, meaning, and identity. (1st ed. ed.). Cambridge Univ Press.

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Green Eggs and Ham and the New Media

“The medium is the message.”
Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, Title of Chapter 1 and of the book by the same name, also by McLuhan

Although this book was written in 1964, when three television channels were the sole source of televised media, much of McLuhan prophecy of media has reached fruition. Ted Cruz’s “fauxibuster” last night (Tuesday night) was a snapshot of the integration of new media and McLuhan’s classification of “hot” and “cold” media. CSpan, a network not in existence when McLuhan’s books were published, carried the entire 21 hour Texas-sized chat. Twitter tweets majoritized the hashtags #CSpan, #KeepCruzing, #MakeDCListen, #StandwithCruz. Senator Cruz read from selected tweets as the night progressed.

But perhaps the most demonstrative example of McLuhan’s foretelling that “the media is the message” came when Senator Cruz read to his daughters, having asked them to tune in to CSPAN at 8:00pm Tuesday night.

keep cruzing

I remember how strange it seemed to me as a child, when I saw my dad on television versus seeing him in real life. On television, he was smaller than me and black and white. In person he was larger than life and in living color! The media of reality and the media in my mind gave a science-fiction aspect to my experience. It is obvious from the picture that Ted Cruz’s daughters feel no such distancing or fragmentation, as McLuhan calls it, to seeing their dad on television. Media extended Cruz’s message, not only to his constituents and the country at large, but also, and most especially to his daughters, who may not forget that Dad read to them from Washington on a school night in September.

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McLuhan, M. (1989). The medium is the message. New York: Simon & Schuster. (first published in 1967)

McLuhan, M. (1994). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. MIT Press.

COMPLETE VIDEO of Ted Cruz Senate speech http://cs.pn/18pJVWV 

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