Fasten Your Seat Belts. It’s Going to be a Bumpy Night.

All About Eve

Made available under Creative Commons Licence

Phew. What a ride. Compared to where I was at the start of this adventure I now have a much greater understanding of the concepts and technological trends that are inevitably shaping our lives from the semantic web to the internet of things. Until I started doing this course I didn’t really think much about the consequences of my actions in and on the digital economy.

Over the course of the last few months we’ve covered a wide range of concepts and practices. This has allowed me to focus on topics that are of particular interest to me. It gave me the opportunity to research web personalisation, the filter bubble and digital privacy. Whereas previously I was far from familiar with the range of concepts and practices we’ve covered over the last few months, I now have an understanding of many of these concepts and can quite comfortably hold an intelligent conversation about the digital world.

I’ve been interested in technology for many year now but I’ve never really had much of an opportunity to reflect on the extent to which technology is and has shaped our lives. In some ways, this subject has allowed me to reflect on some of the assumptions I have made over the years. I’ve done a phenomenal amount of reading over the last few months and the result of that reading has been to make me question some of the things I’ve been taking for granted for a very long time.

I had never really questioned my actions when searching for information on the internet using Google. It had never occurred to me that by using Gmail to send and receive emails I’m effectively giving my permission for Google to read my emails. The same goes for my use of Google Drive to store my stuff. By using Google for just about everything I do on the internet I’m making it really easy for them to build up a very detailed profile of me. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I know I’m not as paranoid about all of this as Eli Pariser in his The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You. I’m currently reading Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s The Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy which references Pariser’s book but takes a totally different point of view to Pariser’s. Anyhow, I’m loving the fact that I’m being exposed to so many different points of view. You could even go so far as to say that I’m about to burst my filter bubble.

I find the concept of global connectedness as espoused by John Seely Brown to be quite revolutionary. Moreover, I am enthralled to think that huge changes are taking place in learning and education due to global connectedness and the idea that “data, information, information technology and knowledge are intertwined in our digital world. It seems to me that old-skool education (pardon the pun) has had its day and is quickly being replaced by something which is much more dynamic, flexible and fluid. Education is no longer a one size fits all product. 21st century education comes in many different shapes and sizes. Learning is no longer confined to the classroom. Today’s technology makes learning possible anywhere and everywhere 365 days a year from social learning and informal learning to eLearning and mLearning. There are absolutely no limits.

Finally, before embarking on this subject I knew about gamification but not the theory behind it. I had played several games over the years including Civilization and SimCity but I had never really given much thought as to why it was that I derived so much enjoyment from doing so. It wasn’t until I read Jane McGonigal’s book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World that I became aware of the psychology of gameplay as well as positive psychology and the developing field of cyberpsychology.

In summary, whilst I found doing two subjects concurrently and working fulltime to be really hard work, I’m thankful for all that I have learned over the last few months. It’s been an amazing journey and I can’t wait to get back on the bus.