Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Part 1 of the Assignment is complete #edcmooc

Done, with a couple hours to spare.  Barely.  I'm a little disappointed.  You can find it over here:  Your (Corporate) Education #edcmooc.  Aside from being all over the place with my theme, which at first made things difficult to nail down, I struggled with the Prezi software I used.  I was trying to work from a blank template but found it to be very unstable.  I eventually capitulated and went with one of the predefined templates and things worked much more smoothly.  So, me or Prezi; not sure which was the issue but in the end I was able to finish the assignment.

However, it didn't end up being nearly as rich as what I had originally intended.  I had parallels to the Blog, allusions to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, visuals that reflected the idea of the digital rabbit hole I find myself going down when it comes to technology and so much more.  The course was very rich in content and there were so many ways to go.  In the end I'm comfortable with my final submission and I really enjoyed the class.  I'm not entirely finished yet - I still have to review 3 of my peers' work.  Looking forward to that.

I hope to continue this Blog but there are a number of others that have been neglected over the past number of weeks that are wanting my attention.  So until next time.

Friday, February 8, 2013

(2nd) Sight #EDCMOOC

So I've watched Sight again and I find that I like it even more the second time.  It really pushes the message that a Utopian veneer can easily hide a Dystopian reality underneath.  This is such a popular theme in storytelling, both on the page and the screen.

It's a very rich story considering it is less than 8 minutes long.  There are issues of disconnection from society while being exceedingly connected to technology.  There are privacy issues.  Moral issues.  And ultimately, the protagonist is likely a sociopath.  Indeed, just as he can restart a level when he makes a mistake while chopping cucumbers, so too does he feel that a reset is in order when his date decides she doesn't want to spend any more time with him.  While we've all probably been in a situation where we would love to be able to reset a date that has gone wrong, Patrick doesn't just cross a line, he completely eliminates the line.

Whereas the Microsoft and Corning Utopian advertisements push a "better" world, reliant on their technologies, Sight is a moral tale.  It's purpose is not to glorify technology and the benefits it provides; it is quite clearly denouncing the Utopian vision.  Or at the very least, peeling back the curtain to expose what can be wrong with that vision.

Plurality is another short movie about the potential for technology that is purported to improve society actually making it worse.  We don't ever learn what the future holds but the story makes it clear that the benefits of the technologically advanced society do not outweigh the trouble those advances also bring.  I really liked both of these films.  I think I lean more towards this likelihood - that we go into it believing that we have created and adopted something that works for the greater good, but are always ultimately blindsided by something that was out of our scope and ultimately makes the whole thing less beneficial overall.  This is once again where being human comes into play - we believe in the fable of a Utopia that is within our grasp but the reality is even the best intentions will be undermined.  But it's not the technology that will do it; not on its own at least.  It's always us behind it.  That is our blind spot.  Or someone stands to gain. That is our flaw.  And the technology is always just a means.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Just watched this one.  Wanted to quickly throw it up on the blog but I need some time to think about it.  My first thoughts are that it once again shows that one person's utopia can be another's dystopia.  And the theme of pulling back a veil to reveal the Truth is well portrayed here too.  Which has me thinking of The Wizard of Oz.  If nothing else, this course has me making many connections.  More later.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Here are a couple more videos that were provided as part of our Week 2 resources.

Whereas the Week 1 videos and resources had us looking at how we have viewed technology in the past, these have us looking to the (possible) future.  Again, we look at these with a view towards reflections on utopia/dystopia.  In the case of these two videos, my immediate thoughts are that both are presented as idealized futures where technology integrates fully and seamlessly into our everyday lives.  Information is truly at our fingertips.  We are connected to one another by means of this technology.  Everything is clean, smooth, uncluttered.

But these are the visions being created by large corporations that have an end goal of profit.  Profit is not in itself a bad thing, but I see the echoes of the discussions from Week 1 around movies like Wall-E in these videos.  We see the rosy future being advertised without the consideration of potential negative implications.  In Wall-E the advertisements were (still) on a constant loop even after Earth had been abandoned because it had become unlivable as a result of all of the trash (consumables).  Another concern is the power and influence that would come with being a company whose products were so completely enmeshed into the population's everyday life.  Again, visions of Wall-E, where the goals of the corporation supersede the rights of the consumers.  The concern is that checks and balances are abandoned when the level of influence becomes so great.  Security becomes another issue.  With information so readily available, the implications for the security of that information (personal or business-related) increase.

There are another few videos with this week's resources that I still need to review.  I'll post on them as well as exploring the various conversations occurring in other blogs, on Twitter, in the forums, etc.