Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Yale (turquoise band)
I thought this was a pretty good picture, but now I’ve discovered Juliet Rose who makes these beautiful works out of everyday objects. Her work is ‘concerned with the mundane manufactured debris of what it is to be human.’ She explains how ‘I use objects that may easily be left behind or abandoned, but can equally become totems of emotional significance. Inspiration comes from testimonies, photographs and archival material from refugees, people who have had to leave their homes behind. These objects in some small way explain our individual 'human-ness' as well as our part in a larger society, the cement of our routine existence.’ She’ll be showing some of her work at the Air Gallery, Dover Street (Mayfair), 4th-9th December. I’m going to try to get along. And the link with yesterday’s post is….

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The violence of writing

Old one
Michel deCerteau describes the role of writing in the Christian West from the Puritans onwards. Writing becomes a kind of rewriting, a power of reform and repression. 'Writing acquires the right to reclaim, subdue or eradicate history. It becomes a power in the hands of a "bourgeoisie" that substitutes the instrumentality of the letter for the privilege of birth, a privilege linked to the hypothesis that the world as it is, is right. Writing becomes science and politics, with the assurance, soon transformed into an axiom of Enlightenment or revolution, that theory must transform nature by inscribing itself on it. It becomes violence, cutting its way through the irrationality of superstitious peoples or regions still under the spell of sorcery.' (deCerteau, 1988:144) I wonder what or who are the modern victims of the violence of writing?

Monday, November 27, 2006


I’m still a fan of the BBC. I think they’re always working to keep up with new innovation. Their comprehensive listen on demand service is impressive – that’s how I caught up with this fascinating piece of experimental radio based on the Alhambra tiles. You can see the tiles here, read about the programme and listen here. Great stuff! Then by chance, browsing around as you do, I found I was mentioned and quoted – did I say that? Wow!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Double lock
The first free weekend for a long while, so I'm in the mood for something different. If I had time I'd do some moving image work (I keep on thinking about it), but for now here's someone else's. And then if you're into something with a gothic feel, try this - I really enjoyed it. Finally, you should visit Victoria at Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industry for something a bit different. This caught me at first, then intrigued me, and then I found that it just went on and on. In fact I didn't get to the end of it at all!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Hunting and gathering

Cherry picking

Here’s a collection of loosely related things. Loosely related, like Danah Boyd - defining social networking sites; some heavy number-crunching research on Facebook; and Clay Shirky on Social Software and the Politics of the Group. And then, guess what’s in Barbara Ganley’s bag? Travel Notes, of course!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tools for writing

Exchange rate
I spent most of today writing, and by that I don't mean 'writing' which is usually shorthand for something worthy and academic. I mean I did a diagram in Powerpoint, loads of emails, a table in Word, made some appointments on my Palm using the stylus and, later on, some notes (with a biro). I've just been annotating some student work (onscreen) and then I looked for more stuff on 'tools for writing' - an ongoing interest - and realised that 300 hundred years ago, maybe less, it was all so complicated, so special, so different.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


We knew a while back that the cost of Olympic developments in the East End was going to escalate, but now Tessa Jowell claims that ‘if you go into any primary school in the country’ you’ll find kids who can’t wait. A serious misjudgement, surely – I wonder how many kids know about the 2012 Olympics and how many kids really care? And, in case yesterday’s picture had you confused, it’s a sneak preview of the new Sheffield indoor bouldering facility, billed as the world’s biggest bouldering wall (it just has to be S10!). Climbingworks is featured here, and, guess what – they’ve got their very own blog. But I must say it’s not a patch on this blog!

Monday, November 20, 2006


Well, they finally arrived
As entertainment goes OK Go was pretty funny when I showed it to friends here. We creased up! Last week Dr J and I were talking about YouTube and whether it’s within the scope of the new book. Probably not…but anyway, here’s Henry Jenkins with some reflections on the Vaudeville Aesthetic in YouTube. Entertaining, at least....

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Break out

Break out
I've been reading something different. It's called 'Teacher identity discourses: negotiating personal and professional spaces.' - that's right, it's got all my favourite concepts all in one title (identity, discourse, space)! Alsup's book looks at the narratives of identity constructed by 6 pre-service teachers in the US. She traces the discourses against which these emerging professional identities are played out, looking at discourses of tension, embodiment, networks (friends and family) and what she calls 'borderland discourses'. Some of her research techniques, such as students assignments involving role-play, visual metaphors and identity discourse mapping are fascinating. Amongst other things she argues that teacher educators should involve trainees in overt exploration of professional identity issues. Not a particularly demanding read, but nonetheless very interesting and carefully grounded in theory and first hand experience.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Clarence shouted

'YES!' so loud it rocked the City Hall when Shirley walked the stage at Conferment. She was one of six international students to get their Masters degrees today. She'd brought Clarence on his first visit to England. It was cold and grey, threatening rain all day, but he thinks it's a great place!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Future realities

Woods End
I forgot to post about how this article blew me away. Keith Stuart talks about the coming together of CCTV and robots as the next generation of gaming: ‘When surveillance and robotics collide, you pretty much have the future of gaming - a hyper-reality where android beings are sent out into the real world, viewed and controlled remotely, interacting with each other and us. The Sims, but real. It's going to happen.’ I was 50% excited and 50% scared. I comforted myself by reading Bruner – I know the connection is tenuous - ‘I have argued that it is through narrative that we create and re-create selfhood, that self is a product of our telling and not some essence to be delved for in the recesses of subjectivity. There is now evidence that if we lacked the capacity to make stories about ourselves, there would be know such thing as selfhood’ (2002: 85-86). I told myself that it was safe. That it was OK.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Digital times

This is Sciadas’s paper called ‘Our Lives in Digital Times’ from Statistics Canada. The paperless office is, as we know, a myth as more and more paper is printed off. New technology just shifts the cost of publication around. OK, this is fairly obvious, but I like the way the changes in communication are summarised: ‘The reality is that people are talking to other people – whether to the person next door or to someone thousands of miles and time zones away. …People make the choice to expand their associations and move from geographically defined communities to communities of interest. As well, they are willing to pay for their choices. ICT spending is on the rise and, within this higher spending, substitutions take place in favour of newer ICTs, such as the Internet, and against older ones, such as the telephone. The willingness of people to pay can also be seen by the fact that many low income households choose to spend a relatively higher proportion of their income on ICTs.’ This is consistent with other sources which document the thickening of existing social ties, supplemented by the development of distributed networked individuals in affinity spaces.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


So a new book project on digital literacy and social networking is slowly coming together in what promises to be an exciting development. During the day I changed my mind and now want to add music-sharing and have an idea of how to go about it! I was also interested to come across this software which works alongside your existing i-Tunes library - a nice idea. Later I decided to check out administrator privileges in the virtual world only to meet up with a former student in Trinity's cafe! That was a pleasant surprise, just a little strange because I'm better at faces than names, and all I had to go on was a test avatar. My name tag gave away my identity straight away!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Strange days

I had to escape from the virtual world today, as I was in danger of being seen! I was invisible, hiding behind a wall, but still the AWEDU browser shows my name tag…I didn’t want to blow my cover: strange. And another strange thing is that I discovered about my daughter’s new tattoo on a blog comment (here)…now that’s strange, and the way she links from the bumfight comment is also interesting. Following on from yesterday’s topic, I’ve posted a picture of ‘my learning space’ – teaching space to follow.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fishtank blogs

my mate
The reflective practice masters course I’m teaching seems to have a lot of potential. (I forgot to take my camera so I can’t show a picture of the group - so you'll have to make do with Prescott-in-Marmite). On Saturday we introduced blogging as a way of recording ‘reflection-in-action’ field notes. Probably most of the blogs will be fishtank blogs, published within our VLE and only accessible to that particular community. I’m slowly coming round to the idea that that’s OK – it’s not really dumbing down blogging, it’s just narrowing the one-to-many dimension to one-to-some, and doing that for a particular purpose. I’m interested in the take-up. Of course doing this means that I’ve had to open another blog. Hey Ho! We’ve also got a use for another piece of software (I can’t publish the details yet) – but the inter-sessional task is to post a picture of one’s own teaching/learning space. I can’t wait for the final results!

Friday, November 10, 2006


I'd define a tag as a way in which objects are categorised by one or more people. Then a folksonomy is something that is constructed out of aggregated tags. So you can have personal or individual tags, but they only develop into a folksonomy through social networking. That was my contribution to this discussion which, for some reason or other wouldn’t accept my post!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I don’t really go for modifying my photographs in any way, but somehow I got carried away this time and like the result – kinda sci-fi! Anyway, in the spirit of further dissemination, here’s a link to my research review on digital writing (out early next year). Soon I’ll get round to updating papers and chapters on the sidebar – it’s on my ‘to do’ list (honest). Also, here’s a link to the fabulous Comic Book Creator.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Just another day

Writing this morning was like trying to pick up water with a fork. I went back over some stuff and remembered Jen Jensen’s game ‘Contagion’. There’s a press release that serves as an introduction and then you can see the game yourself here. This afternoon I worked on the TDA Impact Report, a rather tedious task, but it’s OK when served up with the originators of Radio mash-up, Negativland. I listened to All Art Radio (from June 23, 2005) available on this site.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I was surprised to find that I could spend so much time getting this strange animated figure to move around! I spent more time on this than on the more sophisticated human face. Both are featured on Ken Perlin's wonderful site. Even more surprising might be to learn that you regularly drive your tractor over the biggest cavern in the country! That's a story from the Guardian which is accompanied by one of their jaw-dropping 'eyewitness' photographs. Here's some more specialist information on the Titan Cave, on a spot previously known to locals as 'The Devil's Arsehole' - charming, but that's Derbyshire for you!

Monday, November 06, 2006


Autumn lane
I must have been out and so I missed this: ‘Meet the Bloggers’ (anyway you can listen again). And then I promised a group of students some blogging links, so here we go! This is Will Richardson’s Weblogg-ed, Ken Stein’s Teacher Blog. And then there’s Edublogs, and Sandaig Primary. You could also look at Barbara Ganley’s and many others. (Here’s a Flickr-based discussion group, from Dr Joolz.) And, here’s our very own Andy, and also his travel blog. At the end of the day, let’s campaign to keep blogging pleasurable, purposeful and powerful. So it’s always good to read Colin and Michele’s chapter, first: 'Weblog Worlds and Effective and Powerful Writing' (in Travel Notes). Worra lorra links!!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006



Thinking about the multiplicity and complexity of contemporary social and informational environments, you can’t help noticing how popularity (ie Google searches or category-tags) can highlight the trivial. Much criticism of the most popular YouTube topics or the large audiences that bum-fights attract has been voiced. There are clearly as many affinity spaces for frivolous as there are for ‘worthwhile’ interests. Is this is a problem? Probably not, but it does raise the question of where we might find or develop an ethical and/or critical perspective in media, communication and information. New ways of knowledge-building and sharing call old ways into question. Pre-existing continuities of discourse are disrupted….. ‘The tranquility with which they are accepted must be disturbed’ (Foucault,1989:25). Popularity-ranked searching, reputation building and the creation of folksonomies seem to do just that.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Riya is a photo sharing and search site that will tag and index your photos automatically using intelligent recognition (there's the Riya blog). Riya recognizes faces in photos, you tag them - it sorts them. There's lots of comment here. You might say this is the ultimate in social networking. It’s in Beta at the moment, but looks pretty impressive. I’m wondering whether this feature would make me abandon Flickr. I think not - after all I was frustrated by the difficulty of getting category-tagging on Blogger, but now it’s here…and all I need is the time to transfer my blog.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mobile presence

On page 76 of ‘Travel Notes’, Colin and Michele present a typology of blogs. I notice that this blog is classed under Wunderkammer/ curio cabinets. That made me wonder whether a blog was necessarily that fixed, and whether indeed this blog would still fit there as it ages and changes. It seems to change its character and focus, but then maybe I’m the last person to really know… Anyway in the spirit of Wunderkammer, here’s an article about the development of a mobile phone with ‘presence’, that can learn about its user’s context. I quote: ‘The system will combine knowledge about where someone’s phone is with his calendar schedule so, for example, it can send incoming calls to voice mail when she’s in a conference. Eventually, the system may turn up her home heating system 10 minutes before arrival.’ (full reference, here).