Sunday, July 24, 2005

Open Tech 2005

Open Tech 2005 took place in London this weekend.

Last year's forum focused on unexpected uses of technology; this year's was more focused on online activism with a particular focus on copyright issues with forums featuring, for example, Cory Doctorow, European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontiers Foundation.

Ted Nelson (inventor of hypertext) gave an overview of the development of computer software. At one point he noted that computer software in it's current form was the result of "psychological concessions to what we are used to rather than what we need" and at another that "today's computer world is based on trekkie misunderstandings of human thought and human life"

Ted's regret is that computer software has evolved to simulate paper rather than becoming something much more useful and empowering. I found this insight really interesting in relation to debates over kids' use of digital media. See also Kevin Kelly's article in Wired Magazine - he reports on Ted and his vision of hypertext.

Key phrases:
geeking out (waaay to much geek-speak)

passive aggressive modification (what IT people do to you when you you want something and they don't care)

Key fashion:
the UTILITY KILT was the must-have male fashion item.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

My life as a pokemon -- online quizes

You'll be pleased to know that if (and i repeat 'if') I were a pokemon, I would be Magikarp. Sadly, this species is in decline. Hopefully, I was an ancient Magikarp rather than a modern one. How do I know this? I took a quiz. Quiz sites are BIG NEWS these days. [Brief aside: There are some people who bemoan the drift of kids towards online/digital texts and away from print. Good news: the internet is FULL OF TEXT. These quizes are just one genre]. If you're interested in doing one (and how could you not be?), try Quizilla.

129: Magikarp - In the distant past, it was
stronger than its horribly weak descendants
that exist today.

Of the Original 150, Which Pokemon Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

This digital world

Many of us are arguing that children and young people are what Marc Prensky called 'digital natives'. That is, that kids are growing up in a world saturated with digital media and digital texts and as a result are developing skill sets around digital literacies in ways that earlier generations did around print. We oldies remain, sadly, 'digital immigrants', always attached by an invisible umbilical cord to the mono-modal literate practices of our own school days. Personally, I have started to think of myself as more of a 'digital asylum seeker'.

Reflecting these issues, there's a debate (see Boing Boing) over how young the youngest MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) is with claims being made for kids as young as 8.

The photo is of an 18 month old who can already pull down her favourite website from the bookmarks and is almost in full control of the mouse! You go girl! In case you're interested, her favourite site is CBeebies and within that, the Balamory pages.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Digital Literacies Research Day

Wow.....if you missed it, poor you! The UKLA research day on digital literacies (held at Bath University on 7th July) was brilliant (if i do say so myself). The day's speakers were all phenomenal (Mimi Ito, Julian Sefton-Green, Carey Jewitt, Kerri Facer and Jackie Marsh). Each of them tracked key issues in the move into digital media and digital literacies. For a full report on the day stay tuned to the UKLA website!