The purpose of the course is to investigate how interaction with digital devices is ubiquitous in human activity and yet has become mundane and to uncover how that activity has become aggregated to form part of a growing digital economy. It is designed for us to map our own data and take back the hidden and newly constructed space of digital commons. The possibilities hover between Pink et al.’s (2017: 2) definition of mundane data where things that are initially extraordinary – the ability to track your bio data on a watch for example … ‘become familiar, less strange and habituated – in other words, mundane’. They see data as an actor embedded within people’s lives that is constantly generated and enacted through using affective technologies. Therefore, to make any changes within this dynamic requires an understanding of how and why people generate data – ‘how, in any context, digital data produced through human and environmental everyday processes and activities become active in shaping how life proceeds’ (Pink, et. al. 2017: 10). In contrast, Zuboff in her treatise on surveillance capitalism sees the use of digital data as a means for behaviour modification noting that ‘there can be no exit from processes that we cannot detect and upon which we must depend for the effectiveness of daily life’ (2019: 23). THis course asks you to chart the path in between these differing perceptions by recognising the use of our data for the digital economy but also by recognising our place within in it and the contextual effects our conscious use of the digital could have on our lives and the collective endeavours of humans.
Our curriculum needs to be formed and iterated through interaction with contexts and participants and also be equitable and rights based. The curriculum should be a dynamic, contested and contestable space.
- Base the curriculum on the context of people’s lives and their engagement with the digital.
- Map activities against digital competencies but from the point of view of what people are able to do.
- Decide how participants can develop their engagement with the digital through a rights based framework that allows critical analysis of their relationship with digital life.
- Develop participants’ digital consciousness.
- Develop an awareness of when digital trespass is taking place.
- Rights based digital curriculum design framework.
Scope: Education, Work, Living Standards, Health, Justice and Personal Security, Participation.
Duration 4 -6 weeks
Course Kit information
LO1. Critically investigate your own personal digital activities and trace your data footprint.
LO 2. Critically review an area of digital activity within your own context and develop a resource to inform others (particular groups) about how to either manage their data within that domain or engage in post digital activism within that domain.
LO3. Critically reflect on the process of producing assessments 1 and 2
An idiolect is a distinctive language fingerprint - An individual person’s own pattern of speech is called an idiolect, formed from the Greek adjective ídios “private, one’s own, peculiar.
Function based curricula.
I would like to apply the idea of idiolect to the digital which refers to a person’s engagement with the digital at touchpoints in daily life and through activities that they take part in.
Ubiquity and mundanity.
Digital technology is both ubiquitous and mundane, so much so that we no longer think of it as technology per se rather as things that we do that are not separate from the analogue but enhance and augment our experiences. E.g. Online social fitness networks (OSFNs) (Strava). Weiser’s (1991: 94) notion of ubiquity in computing where the ‘the most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it’. This is similar to Pink et al.’s (2017: 2) definition of ‘mundane data’ ‘the extraordinary or unfamiliar (personal, mobile technologies and their data generating capabilities) … become familiar, less strange and habituated – in other words, mundane’.
Digital surveillance or contextual development?
Zuboff (2019) In her treatise on surveillance capitalism sees the use of digital data as a means for behaviour modification (by companies) noting that ‘there can be no exit from processes that we cannot detect and upon which we must depend for the effectiveness of daily life’ (2019: 23). Noting that data subjects (people) are either unconsciously – generating data or being unknowingly manipulated through other agents. Pink, et. al. 2017 in contrast see data as an actor embedded within people’s lives that is constantly generated and enacted through using affective technologies. Therefore, to make any changes within this dynamic requires an understanding of how and why people generate data - ‘how, in any context, digital data produced through human and environmental everyday processes and activities become active in shaping how life proceeds’ (10). Data is always contextually generated, so digital ideolects are products of individual and group interactions with their contexts of place, people and purposeful associations.
Human Data Interaction
Human Data Interaction (HDI) tenets of Agency, Legibility and Negotiability.
Capability and rights.
The capability approach to human development assumes that all people are capable and limitations on converting capabilities into functioning are always contextual effects.
Capabilities are the beings and doings (functioning), or the ability to achieve and the achievements of a person (Sen 1987), while agency freedom (AF) is how their ways of being and doing are expanded through a choice of options. Nussbaum (2011, p.290) notes that capability means ‘opportunity to select [...] the notion of freedom to choose (AF) is thus built into the notion of capability’. Sen does not define human capabilities or functioning realising that these are contextual, circumstantial, and often delimited by culture. Others have equated capabilities with human rights and equalities frameworks (Nussbaum 2011; Burchardt & Vizard 2009; Burchardt & Hick 2018).
Problem based learning
Savin-Baden (2014) describes PBL practices and proposes an ontology of five curriculum types ranging from type one - Striated – highly bounded and controlled, which might in this case represent the orthodoxy where the type of learning is “routine, preparation and rehearsal” and moves to type five Connectivist ( learning through making connections). Types two, Borderland- control with open endedness and three, Smooth- open, flexible and contested spaces and four Troublesome, where learning is based on dealing with disjunction and uncertainty, perhaps best summarise the how PBL models can and do affect change in learning design and the nature of student engagement. Savin-Baden (2014), also supports the notion that PBL methodologies can open spaces that scaffold the release of personal and collective agency through self-organisation. According to Den Bossche, Gijselaers, Segers, & Kirschner (2006) students work together in such spaces to develop solutions to emerging problems through co-construction of meaning, convergent and divergent discussions, listening and negotiation. The key principles of PBL ( De Graaf and Kolmos, 2003) include: a problem definition process coupled to learner self-direction which builds on learners’ prior experience; activity based learning and decision making, and the interdisciplinary nature of “real world” problems which can extend beyond traditional subject boundaries and methods; exploring complex problems at a system level; and group based activities so that personal competencies are developed and students learn to handle the process of group co-operation in all its stages.
PBL in essence is a scaffold of instructions that students and lecturers can follow intuitively rather than a complex method that they have to learn and internalise. It is this simplicity of form (see Pólya 1957) that contributes to PBL’s fluidity or its ability to adapt to different contexts. In education, the terms scaffold and framework are often used interchangeably, yet in other fields such as architecture and design, there is a clear distinction in meaning. ‘A framework is a complete structure, usually permanent and gives form to that which it supports or encloses or solves. A scaffold, on the other hand, is a temporary structure for supporting something until that something is able to stand on its own.’ (Pendleton-Jullian and Brown 2018: 272). PBL as a simple scaffold supports different forms of adoption and use ranging from academically situated issues to complex problems that do not have a single correct answer. A problem can be theoretical, practical, social, technical or scientific, and is usually based on real-life issues edited to meet educational objectives but can extend to student-determined problems (Graff and Kolmos 2003: 658). Different approaches to PBL can be characterised by the degree of agency they concede to learners and the reciprocal amount of control educators give up. PBL also acts on its participants’ roles and identities (Graff and Kolmos 2003: 658).
The activities that you do each week contribute to the overall assessment. There are three parts.
- The first part is about analysing your own personal use of the digital through the activities that you take part in.
- Part two of the assessment asks you to form a group, minimum 3 people max 7 to investigate and critically review an area of digital activity within a defined context.
The two are available as Micro-Collaborations:
Discovering your data footprint
Researching the concept of the post digital
- Part 3 of the assessment asks you to create a critical reflection of your learning during the course. What have you learned that was most critical for your development? What would you do differently should you repeat the activity? How have your digital skills developed? At this point you might repeat your digicomp assessment and compare with your position at the start of the course. Your reflection can be presented in any format but should not exceed 5 minutes of video or audio.