Sunday, January 12, 2014

Choices, Perceptions and Consequences - A Story About Technology


In a recent post, +Peter DeWitt debunked many of the myths associated with the take up of technology. This included such accusations as technology is just a tool, it is stupid and the Internet cannot be trusted. What this highlighted to me is that we all have an influence over the success and failure of each element of change that may occur in education and it starts with the way we choose to respond.

As I have explored before, there are often so many choices that we are faced with on a day to day basis. For example, in my previous post on digital literacy, I touched on social bookmarking. There are so many options out there, whether it be Pinterest, Diigo, Delicious, Educlipper or Evernote. Clearly, each offering something that bit different, but all providing a space to share your bookmarks with others in some way or another.

In addition to selecting a different application, there are also different perspectives associated with how we approach various applications. Take Twitter for instance, although there is no debate that it is a micro-blogging platform, what that actually means for each person is another thing. Here are some examples of different perspectives, some positive, some negative, but all different ...

  • Rhizomic: Unlike a tree which has a central root system, a rhizome has no centre. That means no hierarchy, no-authoritive voice. Tweets, favourites and retweets create the content, with complete control belonging with the user.
  • Hallway with an Endless Amount of Doors: Although there is little detail in 140 characters, each tweet often opens the door to a whole other world, a new beginning, another connection.
  • An Endless Party: Some people are there for themselves, while some are there for others, but in the end everyone is there for a conversation.
  • Second-Hand Goods Store: If I want to find the answer to something, why would I trawl through someone else's opinion when I can use Google to go straight to the source.
  • Smorgasbord of Ideas: Whether it be a point of commentary, a link to some other content or an answer to a question, it is all there waiting to be picked into at your own pace.
  • Pearls of Wisdom: Although not everywhere, if you're willing to put in the effort, go diving for them, willing to pry them loose, there are a great many pearls to be had.
  • Real Life Game: Who can get the most followers, who can get the most re-tweets, who can get something to trend. A game of intetaction for interactions sack - nothing more, nothing less.
  • Digital Billboard: Whether you're spreading an idea or spruiking a product, everyone is flogging something. So often a follow equals follow me back just so that the user in question can spread their brand that bit further.
  • Nothing but Noise: More is less. With so many conversations going on, how can there be any clarity or cohesion?
  • Online Agora: A global place to meet, debate and exchange, minus the togas and the slaves of course?
  • Fast Flowing River: Although you will never keep a drift of everything that is going on, you can at least dip your feet in when you feel like it. So often, great ideas will pop up again and again, so if it is worth finding out, someone is always re-sharing it.

I am sure that there are more perspectives associated with Twitter, but you get the point. The bigger question though is what impact do you think your perspective has on the way you engage with various programs and applications? I am reminded again and again of +Seth Godin's assertion that attitudes can be learnt and are not a gift. So much about success comes down to how we choose to respond and associated with this, the perception we have on things.

So, how do you respond when you are told to use one application over another? Do you think that your mindset influences the outcome? Would love your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter.