Wednesday, January 30, 2013

More First Impressions #EDCMOOC

The connections that avail themselves to us in a digital world are as I mentioned earlier both a wonder and a curse.  I love that a Tweet from a stranger piques my interest and I'm led to an article that has me contemplating the future of education.  But the problems, off the top of my head, because I'm just stream of consciousness-ing here, as I see them are:

1) The excess of Tweets, Blogs, websites, FB groups, etc. etc. etc. - there is just so much content that it creates a virtual cacophany of digital noise.  Choice is lovely when you're choosing between chocolate or vanilla ice cream.  Then along comes someone offering 31 flavours, and suddenly your 20 second decision has been compounded immeasurably.  Now digitize your cone and pick your flavour from every connection the internet has to offer.  The choice can become overwhelming, to the point of paralysis.  Or you can choose to not choose, purposefully choosing nothing.

2) Each connection brings you to another.  And so on.  Down the rabbit hole.  Not in a one pill makes you larger sort of way, although that would be implied in point 1.  This is a turning and twisting and jumping that starts you out researching organic flea repellant for your pooch and finds you 20 minutes later exploring the cultural practices of the ancient Incas.  It can be hard to stay focused because there is just so damn much out there, available at the stroke of a few keys.  So many choices.

3) That medley of information, for me at least, lacks cohesion.  So while I am grateful for the resources that allow me to research both organic flea repellant and Incan culture, I often find myself without any clear path for where I am going and what I am trying to achieve.  It is distracting.  It's great for Trivial Pursuit, but I must admit I haven't played that in awhile.  My point is that while the tools for exploring and learning and understanding any topic are there, there is so much noise that often nothing is accomplished.

4) The sheer volume of content while seemingly a positive thing, also means that it becomes harder and harder for the content that has true value for anyone is harder to find.  How do you get your content noticed?  Not a new problem as any marketing executive will readily tell you.  But the fact that the barrier to entry for adding digital content to world wide web is almost completely absent means that the volume of content is incalculable.

So there you have it, for now anyway.  My struggles with the content creators, the infrastructure itself and then the actual content.  Utopia/Dystopia.  Two sides of the same coin as someone already tweeted.

I also want to explore the parallels between the topics we are discussing here in #EDCMOOC and the Game Theory course I'm currently taking through Coursera as well.  Specifically, I'm just going through some game scenarios where time and choice are coming into play.  It was interesting for me that there was this intersection of topics in two very different courses that I am currently involved in.  But more on that later.

Another area that interests me is the idea of The Matrix.  I'm not a huge fan although I think it was a fine movie.  What intrigues me is the premise.  I'm also not a conspiracy hound, but I enjoy the idea of it.  So while I don't think there is one secret world government that oversees the internet and uses it to keep us all down, I like exploring the possibility that there could be a veil that might be pulled aside at some point to reveal the Truth.  Note the capitalization, courtesy of Plato.  More on this later too, possibly.

See, this is what I'm talking about.  And this is where the Being Human topic for #EDCMOOC comes into play.  Like the internet, we humans are both physically a set of connections and options (organs, bones, nerves),  emotionally/socially (see my ramblings in my Why? post) and intellectually (I'm exploring the primary themes of this course but now I've got at least 3 distinct areas of interest that I can explore further).  FOCUS KID!

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