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In a digital double bind

Reflections on technology, education and the EDCMOOC experience
by

Duncan Lees

on 27 February 2013

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Transcript of In a digital double bind

dystopian
visions The
unsettling reality But where was my space in such a massive, nebulous community? Could I still be an open and active member while considering Twitter to be anathema? Gardner's mention of Bateson's schizophrenic responses to the double bind hit home: the hebephrenia of lost hours flitting aimlessly between links and posts, adding glib comments I later regretted; the paranoia of wondering why a video I'd linked to regarding reification had been reposted without any mention of me; the
catatonia of giving up
posting altogether and
remaining mute when
too many of my thoughts
seemed to have gone
unanswered... Losses and collateral damage in the new digital environment The utopian
promise of the MOOC How could someone
involved in education
not be excited by the
"massive" and "open"
aspects of MOOCs, and the
prospect of people from
around the world coming
together to learn,
unhindered by barriers
of background, location
or economics? Hoping to
find new ways to help
my students - and not
wanting to be a Luddite -
I jumped right in... We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. utopian
visions In a digital double bind Reflections on technology, education and the EDCMOOC experience In Week 2, Gardner Campbell's keynote
address drew on Bateson's notion of the
"double bind" to explore the seemingly irreconcilable demands and desires experienced by students and teachers as they try to make sense of the opportunities and challenges of open(ing) learning in a digital world. As an educator and a student I've found myself torn in many different directions during my time following EDCMOOC... But isn't there
something to be
said for sustained
reflection? What
else is being lost
in this new
digital world of
hyper-connectivity, multitasking
and compulsive sharing? As
Cheryll Barron asks at Post-
Gutenberg, how would introverts
such as Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett have
survived in the age of social media? What I needed to do was step outside the classroom mentality, and my comfort zone, and embrace the opportunities for learning new things in new ways offered by technology. I learned how to use new software, and signed up for more MOOCs, including the MIT Media Lab's Learning Creative Learning http://learn.media.mit.edu/ This featured a talk from
Joi Ito on how informal, interest-based learning and new technology can help people turned off by traditional education to achieve their potential and form vigorous communities to respond to real world problems... http://post-gutenberg.com/2012/01/09/how-would-introverts-like-beckett-and-wittgenstein-kafka-and-p-g-wodehouse-have-survived-social-media/ New types of learning for
different types of learners
- and a new world The technology of the future is about empowering and enhancing the individual Technological determinism is so 20th Century... The new technology isn't obtrusive or oppressive. Rather than it controlling us, we control the technology, and as it becomes more customizable and more seamlessly integrated into our everyday lives, it becomes more and more an extension of our individual selves. The new opportunities
won't be open to everyone Still in a bind... Will new technology offer its
opportunities only to the few, while
simultaneously exacerbating the digital
divide? And as technology enters ever
more areas of our daily lives, when does
its ubiquity become a form of coercion?
When does opting out cease to be an
option? Confusion rather
than resolution... I've found EDCMOOC to be a fascinating, frustrating, disillusioning and enlightening experience. I haven't reached too many firm conclusions about technology and its relationship with education. However, at least I am no longer so concerned about not having reached many firm conclusions, which would surely involve being closed to something which is open, and opening. In the spirit of continuing to explore and experiment, rather than summing up I will second Gardner Campbell's admiration for the following lines of T.S. Eliot: - "Little Gidding"
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