Jun 062017

Today I am at the CILIPS Conference 2017: Strategies for Success. I’ll be talking about our Digital Footprint work and Digital Footprint MOOC (#DFMOOC). Meanwhile back in Edinburgh my colleagues Louise Connelly (PI for our Digital Footprint research) and Sian Bayne (PI for our Yik Yak research) are at the Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme Forum 2017 talking about our “A Live Pulse”: YikYak for understanding teaching, learning and assessment at Edinburgh research project. So, lots of exciting digital footprint stuff afoot!

I’ll be liveblogging the sessions I’m sitting in today here, as usual corrections, additions, etc. always welcome. You’ll see the programme below becoming 

We have opened with the efficient and productive CILIPS AGM. Now, a welcome from the CILIPS President, Liz McGettigan, reflecting on the last year for libraries in Scotland. She is also presenting the student awards to Adam Dombovari (in absentia) and Laura Anne MacNeil. She is also announcing the inauguration of a new CILIPS award Scotland’s Library and Information Professional of the Year Award – nomination information coming soon on the website – the first award will be given out at the Autumn Gathering.

Keynote One – The Road to Copyright Literacy: a journey towards library empowerment Dr. Jane Secker, Senior Lecturer in Educational Development at City, University of London and Chris Morrison, Copyright and Licensing Compliance Officer, University of Kent

Jane: We are going to take you on the road to copyright literacy… And we have on our tour shirts – these are Copyright exception shirts… They are a parody Guns and Roses tour shirts…

Now, we want to ask you: How does copyright make you feel? [cue some voting] Mostly confused…

Chris: When we’ve done this across the country people have said it made them warm and fuzzy, very happy, but also worried, anxious or confused and faintly cautious…

Jane: Now Copyright get Chris and I really excited… But what gets us even more excited… Star Wars! When they were working on the prequels to star wars, George Lucas’ advice to the young film makers was “Don’t be Afraid”…

Chris: Fear leads to a fight or flight. That’s not what you need… you need to work through it calmly and diligently…

Jane: So lets take this back a bit…

Chris: I was a musician, so I thought what job can I do around music… So I started working at PRS – who handle performing rights for music… Then moved onto the British Library working on copyright…  Music turns out to be less glamorous than I expected, libraries turned out to much more glamorous than I expected! My life changed, I moved to Kent and now work at University of Kent as Copyright Officer, and they are brilliant in supporting me to do things like this!

Jane: I went to Aberystwyth, worked with old newspapers – out of copyright so really it wasn’t my thing… I works at the National History Museum…. Then at the British Library… When I moved to UCL to work on digitising lecture materials and course materials copyright became my thing, researching this area… Then onto LSE, working with staff on training, working with academics around copyright literacy… And just recently I moved to University of London in a lectureship role, again educating people on Copyright.

Chris: Now, in 2014 we finally saw some reforms to Copyright Law following the Hargreaves Review…

Jane: When that review came out in 2011 I needed a speaker, someone mentioned Chris… And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship really… A few years later I was at a conference in Dubrovnic and heard about a concept called “Copyright Literacy” and I wanted to run some research around that – 600 of you completed that, and actually research on copyright literacy took place across 14 countries..

Chris: Out of that work we started looking at resources, including designing Copyright: the board game (CC licensed) which helps you to work out

Jane: Chris and I are part of the Universities UK Copyright and licensing group. We also have a book out: Copyright and e-learning: a guide for practitioners (second edition). One thing that came out of our first research was librarians being nervous and concerned about copyright… We wanted to do more in this area… So we decided to do some work on phenomenography and Copyright as an experience, as a phenomenon, to enable us to understand appropriate educational interventions.

Chris: We categorised the experiences in various ways:

  • category 1: copyright is a problem
  • category 2: copyright is complicated and shifting
  • category 3: copyright is a known entitute requiring coherant messages
  • category 4: copyright is an opportunity for negotiation, collaboration and co-costructuion and understanding…

Jane: Copyright is a problem… The idea of copyright as an imposition… and not well aligned to goals of librarianship, of making material available to people…

In category 2 it’s about copyright as complicated, shifting, changing… “for non-copyright queries the answer is yes, or no, or a series of instructions but for copyright questions it’s maybe, or maybe, or maybe…”

Chris: In category 3 it’s about behaviour change, compliance, avoiding getting into trouble with publishers or the law.

The fourth category is about copyright as an opportunity… It can be about being assertive. When you look at what you share or publish… It can be easy to make sweeping assumptions… So you have to have conversations to reach a shared understanding of copyright… It’s best practice in the industry… And it’s important to also bring that to the profession…

And now that the one minute silence for London is observed… It’s Jane and Chris’ Don’t be Afraid Quiz Time… I won’t blog this as it is fast paced and there are prizes at stake! However… I have learned that HG Wells’ work only came out of copyright this year… 

Jane: So, what does this all mean?

Chris: What would the world be like without copyright literacy?

Jane: It would be a sad world… But why… Without copyright people don’t want to share things, people don’t know how to advise people… We can end up being risk averse – playing it safe and saying no… There are works in the public domain – if we don’t know what we can and can’t do, we see a reduction in what is available. And actually for libraries that would increase costs – rights holders will happily sell you licenses that you may not need – you may be able to use works under copyright exceptions…

Chris: So, we’ve been trying to find ways of bridging the gaps… It’s clearly a complex subject in a complex environment… We want to connect the practitioners to the activists. Some of us are really aware but there is  a gap, people working in the profession but not focused on copyright. There is also the concept of creators and consumers, and copyright enables that… But the realities of that distinction is unclear… Automatic copyright can be useful but also challenging.. And then we have rightsholders and libraries, and the need to work together to address barriers… There is also a thing about legal language, and the idea that copyright can only be explained in legal jargon, but there are ways to communicate it in a clearer way…

We have been doing work on the role of the copyright officer – and are analysing data from a survey on this…

Jane: To come back to copyright literacy, and critical copyright literacy… We have traditionally focused on training, and one day training events… I think we need to think differently. I spent some time with Prof. John Naughton in Cambridge.. He’d use the example of “think about your children at school and sex eductaion… Do they need education, or do they need training?!”.

There is balance between training and approach.. We want to develop people to think individually and find their own answers.. It’s about avoiding binary questions and become comfortable with uncertainty. There is no one way to Google, or one way to explore a catalogue, and there isn’t just one answer in copyright.

Chris: To put this into practice Jane and I have been setting up groups and get togethers in our local and London and South East f0r communities of practice around copyright.

Jane: And that’s also about rethinking copyright education for librarians… Bridging the gap between a one dat course and a PG Diploma in Copyright law, focusing on what librarians need to know about copyright, focusing on the copyright queries we work with. And we have to talk to library schools about the copyright education young professionals are getting during their qualification…

So, that leads us to the point I wanted to make: Copyright literacy is a journey not a destination (“Morrison and Secker (with apologies to Ralph Waldo Emerson)”). And you have to be comfortable with all that uncertainty.

So, some take aways…

Chris: Copyright is about knowledge, money and power. It is also about privelges, in all meanings of that word.

Jane: Copyright literacy means sharing and working as a community.

Chris: Librarians! Copyright belongs to you, own it! Indeed it belongs to everyone – not lawyers, but everyone.

Jane: Our next tour stop is Manchester! Join us! Now, we don’t expect you to love copyright. We want you to not be afraid, confused, baffled, but to see it as an exciting opportunity, and something that as a librarian you have some special priveleges…

Find out more at: https://copyrightliteracy.org or on Twitter: @UKCopyrightLit


Q1: When I was a copyright librarian the question was “will I be sued”… ?

A1, Chris: It does come up when I speak to copyright officers. Copyright is civil not criminal law. Your organisation is often where responsibility lies. But rarely does anything go to court, usually it is demands for money, you pay it or deal with it in a process to make your case… That process is crucial as it makes it an efficient and helpful process.

A1, Jane: That does seem to be a major fear for people… Not many actual court cases though…

A1, Chris: There are very few.Though one in Australia on photocopying, few recently though… There’s not a lot of money in suing libraries… But there is a risk to be managed, and libraries need to show they are doing the right thing…

A fab opening session from Chris and Jane – not a surprise (the fun factor – always some copyright surprises and learning!) based on previous experience of their talks and workshops but delightful nonetheless… 

Parallel Session 1: Overcoming disability and barriers: Using assistive Technologies in libraries A joint presentation from

  • Craig Mill – CALL Scotland and Edinburgh Libraries award winning Visually Impaired People Project
  • Jim McKenzie – Lifelong Learning Library Development Leader – Disability Support,
  • Paul McCloskey – Lifelong Learning Strategic Development Officer (Libraries) and
  • Lindsay MacLeod – Project Volunteer

Craig Mill: I am from CALL Scotland one of the things we do is to provide an equipment pool for schools and children, so that they can be tried out. For instance we provide Augmentative and Alternative Communications devices and tools – traditionally these were hugely expensive but there are now inexpensive iPad apps that do much of this.

We also have learning resources, many of them supported by funding from NHS Scotland.

We also provide Books for All, which includes texts prepared to be accessible for those with additional support needs… Students can search for books, download them, and use them on their own devices. These are curriculum books, they are provided as PDF in a variety of formats, including large print for visually impaired students… You can magnify, adapt, and you can use preferences to alter document colours for high contrast, you can activate read out loud… You can customise to meet childrens needs. Lots of our Scottish Government funding goes towards the Books for All database.

We also have adapted digital assessments. When you have the SQA physical past paper, you can also now use this service to download and use digital past papers. Again these are a PDF type format with answer boxes. The pupil can go in, type in answers… And you have annotation tools… Including notes/sticky notes… These can be reduce costs by thousands for scribes… Can just have a student with a laptop and headphones now…

We also have Scottish voices… Traditionally they have been quite mechanical… We have a collection of Scottish synthetic voices: Heather; Stuart; Caitilin (gaelic). We have students using these in Scotland in schools, colleges, HE. And if you have a computer voice, you need something to read that…

We also have a tool called “WordTalk” that sits in Word. It just sits there and reads back to you as you type, it’s a free text-t0-speech plugin.

As well as that we have lots of information on assistive technologies. We are asked a lot about supporting pupils with dyslexia. So we now have quite a comprehensive resource on writing, reading, some case studies as well… e.g. Hamish uses OneNote, Notability, iPads… Some really useful stuff here.

And under our downloads section, if you are looking for resources, you’ll find the posters and leaflets – which we’ve become popular for. The most popular by far is our iPad Apps for Learners with Dyslexia resource.

Finally, my colleague Allan recently wrote a blog article on scanning pens and reading pens. These are now much much more accurate than they used to be. He wrote a comparison of the reading pens. In England there is an “exam pen” in exams… But it doesn’t have dictionaries etc. built in. Whereas the C-Pen reader has lots of features added in, including dictionaries… They are the market leaders. Allan compared these with apps that do similar things.

Paul, Jim and Lindsay

Paul: I’ll talk about how our work ties to local and national priorities. Then Jim will talk about the project, and Lindsay will give his experiences as a user.

Our message today is about helping visually impaired people to be empowered to be self-sufficient, with technology enabling access to information. Over 180k people in Scotland are effected by a significant level of sight loss. And the aging population and rise of diabetes mean that this is expected to double in Scotland in the next 10 years.

Blind and partially sighted people can feel isolated. In work on users needs, in their own words, they gave their priorities. VIP supports three of these:

  • That I can access information, making most of opportunity that technology can bring.
  • That I have someone to talk to.
  • That I have the support that I need.

And VIP helps support citizen engagement, community participation and participation in the library.

Jim: We can purchase equipment, but we also provide expertise and the time to get people set up. Four years ago Apple was leading the way with technologies… Setting it up wasn’t the easiest in the world. We had an existing resource centre that people used regularly. We had new users… We wanted to get new users engaged – posters in the library wouldn’t cut it. So we went out… To the RNIB Cafe, where we set up an audio book group, we talked to the eye hospital, we talked to guide dogs, we talked to the thriving macular degeneration group in Edinburgh. We concentrated on these groups and worked hard to develop those relationships.

We thought hard about location. We had 28 libraries, we set up in 10. We looked at safety in crossings and roads. We looked at the location of bus stops – we started a group in one location but no-one came as the bus was too far, crossings weren’t good. We also looked at facilities, and we looked at staffing. We gave some training in what we were offering. We got them to set up a patron, show them how to use wifi – if they could do that, it would be fine. Not all apps are accessible, but many are. There are podcasts. There is the RNIB Tech Talk podcast. Apple has Blind Vis, a group for those with visual impairment. There are apps for VO – Voice Over – to get you used to the interface.

Things we have to guard against included not spreading ourselves too thin – hence 10 not 28 libraries. We have used volunteers and champions. And we had to stay up to date, technology changes really really quickly. We get asked about books and newspapers. One group were asked what they really missed – one guy missed poker… Surprisingly hard to find an accessible app. We eventually found one – Theta Poker (where money is not involved) and I actually recommend it as an app designed for a visually impaired person.

It can be challenging to find and keep great volunteers, but when you find a great one it makes all the difference… On which note, over to Lindsey…

Lindsey: My personal involvement was back in 2014, through an introduction by the RNIB to Jim and what he was doing. I wanted to bring my experience in econtent into volunteering, and the Edinburgh Libraries were doing exactly the kind of things I wanted to do… When you are blind or visually impaired there are fewer choices but the Apple products are really great – not an advert, others are available!

I was really impressed by the groups I met… But the speed of progress is variable. The demographics of blind and partially sighted people tends towards older people and it takes longer to learn later in life, so we work with that. There were differences between blind and partially sighted people. The latter group can try to grasp onto what they are used to doing – and have to be convinced that with a blank screen they are still getting the functionality. That was a learning curve for me but I’ve had a great mentor. Abilities vary… And people’s familiarity with technology varies – the swiping idea can take many back to year zero though.

With these groups we do ask what they want from these devices. Some want to make a change. Some want just emails or audiobooks… But they learn there is virtually no limit to what they can do with an electronic device. The learning is not a linear classroom approach – given the mixture of abilities. So it’s more like a learning spiral, revisiting basic techniques, ensuring they understand what devices can do.

The local library environment is largely great. There is privacy. The staff are very welcoming. And ease of access is important – it’s daunting to navigate a new city without a guide. Libraries should be a universal space, and the things we learn require face to face interraction. Group feedback is essential, to tailor to needs, and to know when to revisit things and refresh them.

As a volunteer this has been a hugely rewarding experience, and I thank the libraries for that.

Paul: I hope Jim and Lindsey have given you an idea of the service. Right now we are looking at evaluating the programme, using RNIB and Online Today. We are also working with them to reach a wider group. We are seeing growth in volunteer, and we are seeing growth in capacity as important. Having a dialogue with our service users has been crucial, for instance deaf-blind families. The reinforcement and training have to continue, be refreshed, almost continually refresh the project, in order to reach a point of sustainability. It’s also brilliant that many who came to use for support are now leading the classes…

Traditionally people with visual impairment have been behind with technology, but with this project that is no longer the case. We’ll be running Six Steps courses over the next few months – see http://www.readingsight.org.uk/ I’m going to conclude with a video of Christine Morris – probably our best speaker of the bunch but sadly she couldn’t come along today!

Chris: I became partially sighted then blind and because of that didn’t do much and didn’t feel as able to leave the house… Then I got an iPhone… I went to the City Library and was shown by Jim how to use it… I then moved to using the Craigmillar library… At a certain point a number of us moved to iPads… It was a big jump but we all made steady progress… It was quite challenging as new people kept joining the group, but volunteers came in to help… Then I couldn’t make the same journey… I now go to the Stockbridge Library – much closer to home – and go regularly.

The technology has changed my life. I can now use email to stay in touch with friends across the world, I can listen to music, listen to the radio, I can download podcasts – The Archers, From Our Own Corespondant, and Inside Radio. And if you have a little sight you can use the camera, and the iPlayer – not useful for me… But I gather I can now record it with audio descriptions so I will try that!

Jim tried to make it that we didn’t just use the technology for practical things, but for fun things too… games and whatnot. I really like doing crosswords – I still do the Daily Telegraph crossword every day with my husband but I can’t do it on my own. But Jim showed me a crossword app I can use on the iPad on my own.

I think it’s so useful for people like me, who would otherwise be quite isolated. It has been a lifeline and I hope to go on and do much more with the technology!


Comment: It’s great to hear first hand from a service user.

Paul: We presented to the COSLA judges a year ago. We had Chrissy and she was great – I’m sure that’s why we won! She highlighted things that seem small but can be a big challenge – like the crossword puzzle.

Chair: Some of you may be aware that a digital strategy piece of work has taken place, with a survey. One question on assistive technology only 11% of libraries claim to have assistive technology… But that may be about understanding definitions… So we will come back to that…

And now it’s networking lunch and exhibition time… 

Parallel Sessions 2: Spotlight on research – Papers on: Linked Data

Opening Scotland’s library content to the world (Dr. Diane Pennington, University of Strathclyde)

Thanks for coming to hear about linked data right after lunch! I will give an overview of Linked Data for those of you who may not be sure what it is…

So, a quick note on the evolution of the web (1989-now). We started with Web 1.0, hand-coded HTML pages, accessible and reliable, but not interactive; then web 2.0 with Facebook and Twittter, everyone can post, share and respond without extensive technical knowledge. Web 3.0 or the Semantic Web is about new ways to imagine and combine information on the web…

When Tim Berners Lee outlined the Semantic Web in terms of using URIs as names for things – so Strathclyde’s name on the semantic web is http://www.strath.ac.uk/ for instance.

When someone looks up a name, provide useful [RDF] information. Think grammatically here in terms of understanding relationships in a structured way. And we can include links to other URIs so that people can discover new things.

Anyone that uses Google is using Linked Data. When you see that panel – the Knowledge Graph – that is based on linked data from wikipedia, YouTube, etc.

So that’s the based of linked data, open data..

In 2015 the Scottish Government published an Open Data Strategy. They want any public service creating non-personal, non0commercially sensitive data to share it as linked data. ANd then the Scottish Government’s “Realising Scotland’s full potential in a digital world: A Digital Strategy for Scotland” (2017) this is further reinforced. And there is an official Scottish Government open linked data statistics page.

But this isn’t all where it should be… And what about libraries implementing linked data… Why should we do it? Well because peoplw can more easily find library resources on the web – through Google not (only) through our catalogue; more cerative applications based on library metadata; opportunities for cataloguing innovation and efficiency.

Back to Tim Berners Lee’s star rating of linked data… We are a long way from 5*s now.

So I have been doing a survey of Scotland’s Linked Open Data, with over 120 responses… A lot more people know what “linked data” means, rather than “semantic web” – a very related term. When I asked what it means, they knew it was about resource sharing, linking, availability and connectedness…  When it came to what “semantic web” means themes were around improved web searching, more structured online data for better organisation… But many of the definitions were not really correct…

When we asked if libraries had implemented, or were planning to implement any linked data… Not on the whole, which is unfortunate. Some concerns and limitations was about licensing constraints – permission needed from database providers to link. Teach practitioners what linked data can concretely achieve… Lack of knowledge – decisions made further up the chain? Potential loss of control of data. Concern that digitisation is linked to monetisation… And what to link to…

Despite that wider set of government strategy priorities, and NLS actions in this direction, there remain barriers to implementation… Lack of awareness, lack of time…

This is ongoing research, and I’ll be publishing the survey analysis at some point. I will be looking at Scottish library websites. I also want to do interviews around those plans/lack of plans… I also want to increase awareness among the ILS community around linked data and semantic web to potentially increase uptake..

Towards an information literacy strategy for Scotland (Dr. John Crawford)

Brief background here. I directed the Scottish Information Literacy Project (2004-2010). We built up a great network of contacts and collaborators. After I retired we shifted to the Right Information Community of Practice, founded in 2012. We communicate by blogging, email and twitter with meetings twice a year.

We bring together a diverse range of library sectors and representatives from education and skills bodies…

We have done various things… Including activism. In 2014 the Royal Society of Edinburgh report on Spreading the benefits of digital participation interim report came out… And we submitted a lengthly response which duly ended up in the final report. It outlined the role of libraries, and of information and digital skills… And the need for those skills to be embedded throughout the lifespan. These are all good, but hard to do.

We managed to meet with the minister in June 2015, we focused on democratic renewal for a better informed society. There was a further conference in 2016. We were able to improve links with other relevant bodies. The minister wanted a focus on “digital literacy” rather than “information literacy” which means she wouldn’t give us money…

But we live in a different world now. Many opportunities to vote and, in some cases in Scotland,  that included 16 and 17 year olds, bringing information literacy to a new group in a new way. After the referendum there was an increased interest from young people in politics and engaging in that type of debate.

Another area here is “health literacy”… This is tough information to get our heads round, and it matters greatly. 43% of English working-age adults will struggle to understand instructions to calculate a childhood paracetamol dose… That’s very basic and crucial literacy…

One of the things I tried to do when chairing the information literacy project was try to focus on particular innovation area – including Konstantina Martzoukou’s work with refugees that was presented this morning for instance. That was supported by an information literacy organisation… And connected information literacy to background policy documents…

Bill Johnston chairs the Older Person’s Alliance looking at older people and literacy around good health, pensions, recreation, etc. Lauren Smith is working on political engagement of young people, and the role of school librarians in political information literacy with young people. And we have making it easy – a health literacy policy for Scotland.

How do we evaluate services like this? And what kind of performance indicator can we use? It needs to be precise, and be a genuine indicator of success. I had a look at the literature… And it kept coming back to a special issue of Library Trends that I co-edited around 2011. Particularly work by Andrew Whitworth, which included “information literacy policy documents should be about information literacy and not something else” – sounds obvious but often they are actually about something else, e.g. IT skills. He also stated that such policy documents should have some sort of government support and relevance. They should be fully cross-sector. They should be informed and preferably led by the professional bodies of the countries concerned, and should be collaborative across organisation.

The other paper was by Woody, where he presented his “ten commandments” which included: patience and perseverance; find an in-house champion; link to the 21st century; resistance to change; don’t bite off more than you can choose, etc.

Whitworth’s criteria, particularly that one of information literacy being muddled with the digital agenda, have proved quite thorny. From Woody’s work the issue of champions has been partly addressed by attracting support from professional bodies, other professions and activities. Aiming for the top has been more problematic. Linking information literacy to specific long standing goals and reforms have been key to our activities. We’ve done our best to pilot test and experiment objectively deliberate on that.

If you want further reading I will recommend that 2011 issue of Library Trends, 60 (2). Strategic policy making issues in information literacy, in Library and information research, 40 (123), 2016 which includes articles by Lauren Smith and Bill Johnstone.


Q1 – me) I was part of the RSE Inquiry Committee and we did have a lot of discussion about the relationship between digital literacy and information literacy – in a way it is all information literacy and we were aware of that, but also keen to focus on the specific challenges and issues around digital in that report. But I’d agree that information literacy is the fundamental set of skills.

A1 – John) It took so long for CIIPS to be interested in information literacy is the predominent skill set. IT skils and digital literacy skills, do naturally lead onto information literacy. I think we failed to make our case a number of years ago, and should have done.

Q2) Why wouldn’t the minister fund information literacy?

A2  John) If you speak to a government minister you have to look to those around and behind them… Civil servants do have an agenda of their own, and they do present that to the government ministers.. They have successfully presented the digital literacy agenda to ministers… Something that was encouraging was that the minister – Fiona Hyslop – did connect the idea of digital literacy to wider information literacy.

Q3) What is the kind of potential for linked data in libraries?

A3) Say all of our libraries in scotland shared catalogue records in linked open data, then it would also appear, not just videos and that type of content, when someone searches Google for e.g. “Loch Lomand”.

Comment 4) I work for the Scottish Government civil service. I would say it is a bit more positive now, with the digital strategy launched this year. It has taken us a while to make that link between information literacy and digital literacy. Slow progress but it is happening…

Q5) For small public libraries what is the first small step we should take?

A5) I would say what is the unique thing in your library, and focus on that, the quick wins… and make it available as linked open data.

Q6) How do we prioritise linked data over other issues when we are strapped for resources and have many priorities?

A6) Partly its about accountability, findability, transparancy to those that pay for our libraries through taxes, council tax, etc. A public accountability approach can be helpful.

Parallel Session 3: If I googled you – what would I find? Managing your digital footprint Nicola Osborne, Digital Education Manager, EDINA 3.15-3.35pm Refreshments and exhibition

Slides from my session will be available on my presentations and publications page shortly… 

Keynote 2 – Securing the future: where next for our community in 2018 and beyond? Nick Poole, Chief Executive, CILIP

This has been such a good event, it always has such a good buzz, and it is such a privilege to be part of. I’m talking about securing the future, but it’s not about us securing the future for ourselves, we’re securing the next generation’s right to learn, to be informed.

Two years ago there was a presentation here from IFLA about Sustainable Development Goals. These are th ebigger context for the work all of us are doing. Whatever the outcome of 8th June it will be a fresh start for your daily work, to make sure there is opportunity for these people.

We are living in a future that is transformative, and we are the people to make that happen, whether we realise it yet or not. We are a powerful community of information professionals. We are not just librarians, we are information managers, we are data professionals, we are knowledge managers. And it is so important that we are united in our values, and so excited about where we go next as a community.

CILIP members are embedded across the spectrum of public sector, private sector, third sector, all types of organisation. There are over 60,000 of us. And the CIBR estimates that 100,000 jobs for knowledge professionals in the coming years.

So you may have seen Securing the Future, our action plan 2016-2020. Our goal stated there is to “put library and information skills at the heart of a democratic, equal and prosperous society”. We want talented, creative library and information professionals everywhere. To should about what we do. We have three connected goals around being stronger and more inclusive as an organisation.

We have come a long way together as the four CILIP regions. A lot of what we speak about, our campaigns, are about delivering real, measurable change in the opportuniities for and status of librarians and information professionals.

I just wanted to pause to thank everyone for the fantastically effective #LibrariesMatter advocacy campaigns. When you win here, it benefits the wider community across the UK, it is media coverage and impact and meaningful stories of how we make a difference that I can take to government to explain what we do, that we can do these things too.

I really admire that in Scotland you have a little big of swagger and confidence about your libraries and where you are going, and we want to learn from it. And it makes a difference. In the local elections every single party made an above the line commitment to libraries.

And that has led into a national school library strategy for Scotland by the deputy First Minister for Scotland. We know that is words, but it can make a real impact, it is happening, it is hard to go back on. And I can take that back to UK government and make the case for England too .

As you may know we have been working with Chris Riddell (@chrisriddell50) to build our arguement about the huge importance of libraries and schools for literacy, for early years.

We have just launched, after announcement of the election, the #factsmatter campaign, calling on all parties to use evidence based campaigning. Most have signed up, though one – I won’t name them – said “that sounds like a trap!”

Facts DO matter. We shouldn’t tolerate fake facts, fake new, in our politics. Big Issue founder John Bird has advocated for us and continues to do that. We have celebrities and public figures backing this.

We have the “A Million Decisions” campaign demonstrating how librarians make a difference to healthcare, the lives and money saved because of knowledge and information. Coming to the NHS England commitment to libraries. We are absolutely delighted that there is a sister campaign – “A Right Decision” – in Scotland with NHS Scotland.

We are starting to look at how we develop a skilled workforce for the future. We do see retirements and redundancy, but we also see a huge influx of new entries to the profession. We have to develop skills, to ensure transferable information skills. I want young kids to say “I want to be a librarian” and for their parents to be proud of that!

So, we have to develop solutions and routes into the profession that opens us out…

Some announcements here. In our event in July in Manchester we will be launching a sector-wide Ethics Review. We will also launch a Public Library Skills Strategy for England, partnering with the Society of Chief Librarians. And that’s all about opening up the pathways.

Finally, how do we become a bigger, better, more inclusive professional association. Right now we represented about 15% of the sector. Other professional associations represent more like 23%. So to do that we need to make membership more accessible, more affordable, and make sure we champion equality, diversity, and truly represent the sector.

We will build our member networks, we will work on new standards, communities, and publications. And we will continue to build partnerships with organisations and companies that help us achieve our goals.

Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, says “When librarians get together, something great happens”. We know that, we believe that.

And we aren’t securing the future for ourselves but for that new generation, for those that need us to be there.

Thank you to all at CILIPS, and here’s to CILIP and CILIPS working together to make the difference to 2018.


Q1) You said information skills are at the heart of a democratic society… Isn’t it the case that CILIP has been a bit of a latecomer to information literacy. You and I were on the board in 2011 when we were asked to endorse the Alexandra Proclamation, which had been published 5 years previously… We are catching up but … We’ve had a Scottish and a Welsh Information Literacy project, when will there be a CILIP-led Information Literacy.

A1) Great question. We had three asks of political parties: to support public and school libraries; to acknowledge that the future is data driven; and that we need to have a workforce with information literacy skills to prepare them for the world. I think information literacy will have impact when there is an article in Tesco magazine. Facts Matter has been a really good opportunity to do that. And we need to build something after the election.

Comment) I think that whole campaign is spot on, and it’s great that that has tied into something so current and bigger than the sector, and created new opportunities.

A2) I’d like to say it was long plotted… Honestly I was on an ebay shop doing badges and decided it was the right slogan. Two organisations came to us on the back of the campaign, including the Royal Statistical Society, as they saw real opportunities to work together to build an information literate population.

President’s closing remarks – Liz McGettigan

I won’t go into huge detail but I have to thank Kathy and Sean for making such a brilliant seamless event. Thank you our sponsors, and Alex and our AV team who have been spot on. Most of all thank you to all our speakers, you have inspired us all. There have been fabulous presentations across such useful areas over the last two days. We have been impressed with projects on working with refugees, working with health information, such a range. When people say “libraries are just about books”, think back on all these amazing projects you are all delivering out there! I never cease to be amazed by what you are doing. I hope you go home inspired and galvanised. And it’s not about Sean, Kathy, Nick and I, it’s about all of you advocating for what you do, getting out and talking to media. So get out there!

Jul 132016

Today I am again at the European Conference on Social Media 2016 and will be liveblogging the sessions. Today is a shorter conference day and I’ll be chairing a session and giving a poster so there may be a few breaks in the blog. As usual these notes are being taken live so any corrections, questions, etc. are very much welcomed. 

Keynote presentation: Dr Sue Greener,University of Brighton Business School, UK – Unlearning Learning with Social Media

I wanted to give you a topic this morning about my topic, which is learning. But not just learning in Higher Education, but also learning in the workplace. I encourage you to tweet throughout, do tweet me @suegonline.

Life is about learned behaviours. We learn habits and once we learn habits, they are hard to unlearn. But at the same time we also love new novel things – that’s why we love social media. You could call this a dichotomy – between habit and the new. A lovely aphorism from Maria de Beausarq: “The power of habit and the charm of novelty are the two adverse forces which explain the follies of mankind”. We see this dichotomy in psychology all the time.

Davis (1999) talks about habit as a barrier to creating thinking and innovation – the idea that “if someone did it this way, they must have had a good reason”. Glaveanu (2012) writes about “habitual creativity” – where expertise and master is brought about through the constant sharpening and adjusting of habitual practice to dynamic changes in context. As in learning a piano, or a language – practising all the time but gradually introducing flourishes and creativity.

Now, you may be wondering about whether this talk is about learning, or about skills… But I think both are very similar. Learning involves a whole range of skills – reading, note taking, evaluation, etc. Learning is a skill and has a degree of both routine and creativity. And learning is not just about those recognisable tasks… And I want to talk about “unlearning”, something that Alvin Toffler talks about in Future Shock, and he talks about 21st Century digital literacy, talking about learning and unlearning. I was started in elearning and the technology. The technology is what we fit around as habit, as mastery, but it’s all about learning. And when I was looking at Toffler’s work, when doing that PhD work, I was worried about learning theory – they all seemed over-engineered, too formal, too linear almost, too structured as pedagogy. I knew that the idea of learning styles – still in the literature and research – but I think of myself as having a learning palate – which I can pick and choose from, I pick the style of learning to suit the context. I personally learn best by learning by watching, by modelling from other people… Yesterday Britt Allan talked about “advertising literacy” and I hadn’t heard that before, but loved that phrase, it made sense to me, and that’s very much how I learn

Bandoura – triple reciprocal determinism – I found theories of learning I understood. He talked about behaviours, and learning from behaviours, and trialling ideas. That idea of not piling learning on learning, but instead about the idea of learning and unlearning, that makes sense. Hefler talks about organisational unlearning – giving it equal weight to learning. Yes, neural networks in the brain accumulates, but they also die away without use… And unlearning is something else.

So, what is unlearning? It is not negative. And it is not about forgetting/the unconcious giving up of knowledge – although it has been seen that way before in the 80s and 90s – we do forget things but that is not what unlearning is. And it is not just replacing the obsolete. But it is a purposive creative process as important as learning. Unlearning is about taking apart the pieces and reconstructing the meaning. It means we can build the foundations of our knowledge. Much under-researched as an area – therefore enticing. Rushmer and Davies (2004) talk about three things: Fading (over time); wiping (enforced from outside – often happens in the workplace, not comfortable); deep unlearning (from individual surprising experience producing inconsistency, changes of value). That deep unlearning can be gradual, or can be about “falling off a cliff” – when we find something surprising and need to decide to change.

And now to social media. Now, I don’t know about you but much of my unlearning takes place on social media. But why? If we go back to 1997, to the early social network 6degrees.com… Since then we have learned to communicate, to exchange information, assessing and evaluating information differently. Information is all around us, and we absorb it in a very social context. So, how much of our learning is from formal courses, and how much is informal learning? Formal learning is the tip of the iceberg, informal learning is bigger and is about rich tacit understanding. As educators we can try to overly control learning, even in e.g. closed facebook groups. But this is learning that benefits from space to work well.

So, informal learning is social and personal and often informal. Bourdieu (1992) talks about a habitus – a mindset – that is enduring but can be transformed by what takes place within and beyond it. Garrick (1998) and Boud (1999) suggested informal interactions with peers are predominent ways of learning at work. Wenger (1998) talks about social participation in the community as key to informal learning. Boud and Middleton (2003) talk about informal learning as being about mastery of organisational processes, negotiating the political and dealing with the atypical – those are things we don’t always embed in the degree process of course. So, how does this all fit with my idea of social media, this DIY media?

When this conference launched in Brighton in 2014 we had a Social Media Showcase with students, employers, academics, and school children. Last year we did a virtual showcase. And this year we did the Big Bang showcase – in a huge showground in Sussex. Over 8000 students from school children – and we were able to have conversations, have vox pops. Out of hundreds of conversations only 10 students did not use social media. And those that were active, they could write a long list (e.g. 8 or 9) of sites they use. My sense is that for this age range these presences are a little like stickers. For these kids informal learning is massive – from peers, from others, from celebrities. At that age perhaps causing a great deal of unlearning. They encounter information in schools but also from peers – which do they choose to trust and engage with? If ever there was a reason for teachers to understand social media, that was it.

At Brighton we have a “switch it on” policy – we ignore this stuff at our peril! You can always ask for devices to be switched off for a few minutes/a task. To exclude those spaces you are turning away and excluding that valuable informal learning, that bigger context. If we want to help people learn, we have to teach them where they are comfortable. And we must help people to evaluate what they see on social media – that is a critical thing for teachers. And social media is not just for kids… We are increasingly joining SnapChat and WhatsApp – less trackable conversations are appealing to older audiences too.

So, back to Rushmer and Davies (2004) and fading… Snapchat is about forgetting, fading. Wiping will be in place in all organisations but we have to think about how to deal more positively with resistance to change. Hislop, Bosley, Coombs and Holland 2013 – who I don’t totally agree with – have a typology of unlearning which is helpful. My thesis is that social media has some particular aspects – it is personal, ubiquitous and high speed. Data is transmitted in a hugely complex route, filtered through sites, through audiences… We have a huge dissemination of a (any) single story. Speed and serendipity are vital features of social media in action. And the experience is intimate – staring into a screen that makes it one-to-one even if in reality it is one-to-many. These interactions can change our mind. They can change our mind in referenda, they can change our mind in many ways. And they can be central to unlearning. That can be for good, and for bad. We will all have great examples of links, of ways we learn through social media. And it is less predictable than mainstream media, you can find surprises, you can catch enthusiasm – and I like to foster that even if I cannot control it!

So, can social media drive deep unlearning? I think all the signs are there. You should make up your own mind.


Q1) I am not sure I totally understand what unlearning is… Learning is a process…

A1) I would relate this to the concept of cognitive dissonance – where there are two competing ideas that you must resolve and decide between. In social media I connect with people I like and trust, if they raise an idea that I didn’t previously agree or subscribe to, their raising of it has the ability to influence or change my mind, or at least means I reconsider that issue.

Q2) You talked about habitual creativity, and implied that as you get older you may forget/fade. I saw a presentation a few years back emphasising that you can learn by changing your habits – a walking route for instance.

A2) Absolutely. Things like changing your seat in a lecture theatre, changing a route etc. But social media can really shift your understanding.

Q3) I think you talked about two types of learning that don’t mix together. Many go to universities for the workplace to gather formal skills, that you call back on etc. But that requires some structure. And of course informal learning happens all the time. And the people I

A3) I agree that media stacking and multi tasking is not good… But at the same time in lectures, at conference, I find it useful to reflect, to engage with topics etc. that is very valuable.

Comment) In high school I remember girls knitting and learning too and doing very well.

A3) It is possible, and it is skills that we are developing. I’d agree that it can work, and that it can be helpful for students to be active and engaging rather than passively receiving.

Q4) Thank you for your interesting keynote. How can social media make real change?

A4) I’m not a politician – I wish I was. We have a tool that can strike at the heart of people. It can help form and shape opinion, but that can be bad as well as good…

Introduction to ECSM 2017 

The next conference will be in Vilnius, the capital city in Lithuania. Lithuania is one of three large modern Northern European baltic countries. We are part of EU, NATO, Euro etc. Vilnius has around 550K, and indeed Lithuania has 3 million people. We have a lovely old town, listed by UNESCO. We have technology sectors that we lead in, particularly green tech, and we have the fastest public wi-fi in the world, and third most affordable internet in the EU! People are lovely, well educated, and we speak many languages! We have 14 universities, we have research parks etc. Our campus is on outskirts of the city – but we have Uber and public transport – and the city centre is all walkable on foot. And our campus has excellent facilities and you are very welcome there. We have many researchers working on social technologies, and a journal for social technologies. And, to end, a short video…

And, on that lovely video, I paused the liveblog to give my poster on the Digital Footprint MOOC. 

Young Adults’ Construction of Social Identity on Facebook: A Structural Equation Model – Raheleh Barkhordari, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada and MichaelWillemyns,University of Wollongong in Dubai, UAE

I wanted to look at what impact developing identity in social media had a cognitive or behavioural impact on young people. So my work connects to Social Identity theory – a Social-Psychological theory that describes cognition and behaviour through group processes, across three areas: cognitive, affective, behavioural. Identity is complex as well, divided into Personal Identity – individual’s personal conception of themselves and feelings of uniqueness; and Social Identity – individuals’ knowledge of their membership o a social group and emotions and values of being a member of that group.  Our work on Facebook relates more to Social Identity, but both personal and social identity indicators are evident on Facebook. People define themselves, their demographics, their views etc – personal identity – but also join groups, follow football teams etc. which is about asserting their social identity.

My work is based on two classic works: Erikson (1964) talked about young peoples’ need for socialisation and identity development. We borrowed the idea from Erikson, and suggested that young people on Facebook could be interpreted as identity development. McMillan and Chavis (1986) talks about social identity, the development of sense of belonging or community, and we applied this idea to online group. We argued that online groups, like offline groups, develop ties over time and a sense of belonging. Another stream of research, which was very recent introduced the concept of self presentation – and researchers argued that young people are presenting themselves on Facebook. And in fact in our research we found that one of the most popular activities in Facebook was photo sharing, tagging, etc. and we argue that that could also be a claim on identity.

So we hypothosised that there is a Sense of Belongingness, Online Socialising, Implicit Self Expression all contributed to Online Social Identity.

We ran an online survey of UG and PG students in Dubai, and received 93 valid responses. The questions addressed demographics, the amount of time students spend on Facebook activities, their network and how that is comprised, and popular Facebook activities.

Our participants were mostly 30 years or younger. Facebook is a part of students daily routine – 80% logged into their accounts more than once a day and each time spend up to an hour. They feel out of touch when they don’t log in. They consider themselves to be a valuable member of Facebook community – a marker of social identity. Students belive that their identity of their facebook groups would overlap their personal identoty. Generally our participants was made up of friends and acquaintances rather than strangers (average 200 friends). There can be “fake” profiles on Facebook, but if your network is all people you know it is harder to fake your identity perhaps as there is a connection to offline life. Photo activities were the most popular activities – 70% mainly use Facebook for this purpose.

We analysed the validity for our hypothoses. For Sense of belongingness contributing to online social identity development was supported. Implicit self-presentation – through sense of belongngness – did contriute to online social identity and that was supported in that mediated relationship. For that last aspect of Online socialisation contributing to online social identity was not supported, but it may be that if we had explore this in more detail, with more factors, we may have been able to see some effect.

We found that students engage in online interactions on social media specifically in self-presentation activities to implicitly express themselves. Overtime they develop a sense of belongingness to Facebook and a positive community there. There were other aspects, like self-esteem, that we didn’t include but could/might have.

So, in terms of the cognitive and behavioural component we see a mixture of socialisation – self-presentation; communications; group activities – and knowledge of group membership. And we saw these feed into a sense of belongingness – the affective component. And that that contributes to a sense of Online Social Identity. And we hope that model can contribute to future research.


Q1) What profile aspects did you use for “presentation of self”

A1) We didn’t look at profiles, we asked question. We asked about a list of popular Facebook activities – published by other researchers – and asked about preference/activities, and things like taking photos etc. were part of this.

Q2) I was interested in your comment about Facebook identity being consistent with offline identity… I was wondering if there had been any qualitative data that maybe suggested a lack of continuity, or of self-censorship, etc.

A2) The main argument we had in the paper about profile identities as reflective of offline activities, was about real life contacts and how that provides some continuity/assurance of identity. The paper reports all the questions. The majority of students said they wouldn’t use Facebook to make new connections, they prefer to maintain connections there.

Exploring the Relationship Between Imagination and Creation Performance Among Visual Arts Learners Under the Blended Learning Model in Taiwan  – LiuKuang-Hsia, University of Taipei, Taiwan

I am very excited to be here from Taipei, Taiwan to share my research with you. I’ll summarise my work, with some backgrounds, method of study, and some interesting results. I am a visual arts teacher with 9 years experience in Digital Image Creation, where our course objectives are about gaining photoshop skills, digital skills, and creation methods – it is a mixture of art creation guidance and technical skills. We have lots of challenges. We have 2 to 3 hours of face to face time with our students – which is challenging too.

So, there is never enough time to cover all of the course topics… Part of that is about the tool – Adobe Photoshop now has a huge amount of new features – added in every version. That’s a challenge. And students are keen to focus on skills based learning, and are not as focused on imagination, creativity, aesthetic aspects. And because of timing the tutors talk quickly, that can cause stressed and questioning students. So, blended learning provides a solution here – providing a way for students to learn online to augment the face to face teaching. And the Horison 2016 reflects HE adoption of blended learning. Since 2014 I have adopted a blended learning model, and that shows an impact on the creativity of the students improving.

My study was to understand the relationship between imagination and creative arts and blended learning. My participants are 37 students – 9 male and 28 female. They are all taking the Blended learning module. They had a questionnaire at the end of the course – and it was voluntary and specifically not tied to assessment. Thompson (2008) has an Imagination Scale for Spontaneous Imagining and Structure Imagining(?). We used a 5 pt Likert scale in our research. We also looked at assessing artwork based on four criteria, and three experts assessment of the work.

When we looked at Students imagination performance, we saw slightly higher levels than in the wider populace. Regarding overall performance – male students performed significantly better than female students. When we looked at the dimensions of Theme and Content; Aesthetic Design; Creativity and Use of Skills we see the only significant result between male and female students in the area of Use of Skills (with male students performing slightly better).

I found that visual arts learners have more creativity than a wider range of learners.

Male students have higher imagination performance than female students, but there is no significant difference between genders in creative performance. And in terms of use of skills – highly skilled students performed significantly better. There was no difference between low and medium.

I have ideas for future research: Develop a tool to objectively assess imagination.


Q1) It’s strange to see imagination connected with performance and assessment. Can you say more about triggering imagination?

A1) There is more discussion in the full paper. Imagination in our culture includes: beauty, skill, precision. I agree with you that there is no perfect imagination scale at the moment, but maybe we need a scale for future research. There are many aspects to assess. We have scholars who have developed small scale imagination – but none are perfect. But this is an experimental study.

Q2) Are you planning further studies with a more general population – there are only 9 men here, so might have different results in a wider study.

A2) Yes, I agree. Our students are mostly female though.

Q3) You were comparing the questionnaire results to the students performance in assessment, so I was curious how you avoid gender bias in the marking – as that stronger male performance could be the result of a difference in marking potentially…

A3) It’s an interesting question. The students for the questionnaire were self selecting… And the imagination performance was stronger for those with higher skills – where the male students were significantly stronger. But it is interesting…

Q4) How do you design your blended learning?

A4) I have an 18 week curriculum, 9 weeks online, 9 weeks in person. The digital material, shooting etc. takes place over summer… They are happy to work from home to do that first half of the class of online learning materials. And I am available via online office time for students, especially ahead of assessments.

And not captured above: I had some interesting chat in the between-presentation break, about all of the other complexities with assessing creative arts and imagination. Including some discussion of the fact that those 9 male students may be more motivated or may feel more confident in their expression given their role as minority in the group/space. In particular we were talking about the difference in aesthetics, symbology, etc. which may exist across cultural backgrounds, age groups etc. Can we assess young people’s creativity if their own visual language and styles speak to their peers and not to their (older) tutors for instance? How do we do that and understand the meaning of the work? Interesting stuff. And now onto the next paper… 

Informal Learning Practices Among Academic’s in Malaysia – OmarSiti Sarah, SitiSarawati,Johar Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Zailin ZainalAriffin,National Defence University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

This is a simple study that my undergraduate students undertook. And I would just like to share with you what I’ve found about informal learning processes amongst that group.

Learning not only prepares an individual to cope in life but is the most important factor for success (Harrison and English 2003). Both formal and informal learning have contributed to the growth of the education system. Informal learning has been adopted for a number of reasons. Marksick and Watkins (2003) have a model of the reasons for adopting informal learning which includes: it provides flexibility or freedom for learners; it involves the processes by which people learn; and acknowledges the social aspects of learning from each other.

So the purpose for my study was to identify the level of participation, purpose, content and methods used in informal learning among the faculty of technical and vocational education lecturers. We are one of 9 faculties in a public university in Southern Malaysia.

What is informal learning? It is learning outside of formal structures but has been endorsed and encouraged by organisations, including the European Union, as being beneficial for learning. Telecommunications and technology have dramatically altered the way educators do their jobs and the way students are engaged in learning activities and processes. They are internet based tools that facilitate creativity and information sharing and collaboration among users (Clough 2010). There is an emphasis on sharing and engagement (Lucas and ??).

So in this study I used a descriptive survey to identify how lecturers adopt informal learning in their workplace. It was sent to 100 lecturers and had a 65% return rate. It was analysed in SPSS.

The level of involvement was generally high – with “surfing the internet at work for information about teaching, interests and hobbies as well as general information” the most popular activity but amongst a wide range. In terms of the purpose of involvement in informal learning was spread across five areas: Knowledge of conducting research (top answer), obtain teaching materials, etc. And this is in-keeping with Othman (2005), as did participants use of particular content in online learning. In terms of method/medium, interactive media was most frequently used above other sorts of content.

In terms of conclusions: the level of involvement was high. The purpose was most prominent for research and publications, whereas content of informal learning was ranked the highest for the language of communication (English and Malay), with Areas of expertise in teaching the second most popular answer.


Q1) What was the context of this study?

A1) It was conducted by my undergraduate students for their final project for their degree. They came up with the topic.

Q1) Can I look again at the questions here? I saw some questions here that start “I always…”, what does that mean?

A1) Very often. But yes, I can see that that is open to misinterpretation. The scores are based on the 5pt Likert scale by the way.

Comment) One way to do that is to not include “often” or “always”

A1) I should say that the questionnaire was asked in Malay, which may make it slightly different in terms of ambiguity/phrasing.

Q2) What was the languages of communication question about?

A2) The students wanted to know about the content the lecturers accessed.

Q3) Why did you think that the level of informal learning was high?

A3) The score was 3.87 on that 5pt Likert scale. Which is high since 5 is maximum.

Q4) What do you intend to do with this research next?

A4) Could be extended, to look at gender differences perhaps… Other ideas…

Comment) You could look at preferences across

Q5) A really interesting study for students to take part in… I wondered how you got the lecturers to take part and answer honestly! And what would you do if rerunning again?

A5) I definitely wouldn’t use the same questions and would want students to engage in more complex statistical analysis. This work was 2-3 years ago. But informal learning is definitely still of interest.

Q6) Did you give your students feedback on their work here?

A6) Yes, so learning for them and for me!

Comment) It might be good to compare informal learning to knowledge.

A6) Yes, that would be interesting, to have a look at tacit knowledge…

Comment) That’s a good question to ask as they may read or engage with all of these things, but it’s hard to know if they are learning from them.

And with that, it’s time for lunch… 

The Implementation of Social Media in an Open Distance Learning Context  – LedimoOphillia and NicoMartins,UNISA, Pretoria, South Africa

This is a theoretical paper proposed with my colleague Nico Martins. And really for doing our business we have to be involved in open distance learning, and social media is key to that. In health it is especially important to implement these tools in this environment.

When we look at the concept of social media it is imagined differently, to communicate differently, to engage. And they allow creation and exchange of information that is generated by the users themselves. In terms of the general principles that are required, you need internet and digital context. It is connected and collective. And it describes the way learners learn in the current era. One colleague before lunch talked about social media as a platform for informal learning, for learners to be autonomous in their learning.

So most colleagues would implement social media without looking at the context of their organisation. And we think that actually we think it is imporant to understand the nature of open distance learning in the 21st century, to look at attributes of an open distance learner in an era of technlohu. To consider learner access to tools and resources. And to understand the role of social media in a learning and teaching environment.

Students can’t post assignments to us anymore, our assignments are submitted online, notes are accessed online, that’s the environment we find ourselves in. And we are looking for learners to be engaged more through technology. And these tools allow reach to students in a variety of environments and locations. But social media also helps students acclimatises students into the world of work where they will be expected to engage in social media as part of their practices.

In terms of student attributes, we find the current generation want to study anywhere, at anytime. And irrespective of age – even older learners have embraced the technology and are willing to use it. When you look at current learners, the literature also reflects this, the learners are problem solvers and multi-tasking learners. They want to be, and need to be, active engaged learners. They are very self-regulated and they want to be autonomous.

In terms of access to tools and resources. In South Africa our government tried to introduce an elearning programme without taking into account the history or experience of learners before. You can have tools but without economic access to resources, to internet, it won’t work. So, if you provide social media it is crucial that you provide an equal playing field for all your learners, so that they are able to participate and engage on the same terms. We have a social media tool called My UNISA which all students use, but you need internet access –  but students privileged to have internet access participate, others struggle to engage in discussions and group sessions. So, when you want to make social media as a tool for learner centred approach, it’s important to think about learners access to tools and material.

We also have to talk about how you use it… You don’t just use it because it’s a trend. But looking at the literature we see it can be used for support, collaboration, it’s an easy platform for that. And we are moving from a trend of basic things… We are moving to assessement submission online, exam online, it allows us to teach a large group of learners across a diverse geography. Once your student is supported, able to engage and participate, to do well in their studies. But the content must be managed so that the learner doesn’t deviate too far, that they focus their discussions. Important for students to build understanding, to build confidence, to engage directly with each other and their teaching staff. And when students collaborate and engage with one another, they are encouraged to work harder – and students are more satisfied by group activities and learner activities.

So, in conclusion, we think it’s really important that we facilitate open distance earning through social media. When we think of going fully online it is important to look at those areas – access, usefulness for support and assessment. Although social media has its own limitations… And because contact isn’t person to person… And security of users can be of concern… But benefits versus risk have to be balanced. We as educators have to balance that out in our own approach. And if we use social media we can empower learners to depend on one other and to help one another.

Integrating Social Media into a MOOC: Lessons from the Course on Digital and Social Media Marketing – GatautisRimantas and ElenaVitkauskaite,Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania

I’ll be reflecting on some experience we’ve had. We had a project called JEMMS: Joint European Marketing and Social Media – a very ambitious 3 year project. And out of the project we are publishing a book with Routledge: Digital and Social Media Marketing. And more ambitious still we are delivering a joint masters programme across partners in Europe: The University of Salford Business School; KTU in Lithuania; Lot? University, Poland; WALTT in; and University of Sheffield in the City College in Thessoloniki. And they have agreed to run a MOOC and a joint masters.

And we ran our MOOC – Digital and Social Media Marketing – on the “leading open online course platform in Europe” (apparently), Iversity. We had EC funding so wanted to use a European MOOC platform.

We divided the MOOC into six different topics – why digital and social media is imporatnt, nature of digital channels, buyer persona development, etc. And students could access the course, and continue to access materials for six months afterwards. We had an aim of having 3000 MOOC participants. We did some promotion, and the platform did some promotion too. We asked everyone to introduce themselves on Twitter – also to help market the course. We used the hashtag #passion4digital. We attracted 14,000 students. Un-enrollment level was very low. And the course attracted participants across the whole world.

The evaluation was done in  two methods: Iversity did some evaluation, but we also did some evaluation. This was evaluation of the course as a whole. The Iversity questions were standard. We had 175 participants in the Iversity evaluation questionnaire, the project team questionnaire had around 100 participants.

Our results showed varied acceptance of different MOOC tools and formats. Videos were most successful. Quizzes and additional materials were well accepted. P2P assignments were not as happily accepted. And Online office hours/webinars were not so popular. Discussion forums also not well accepted.

We used two external platforms alongside the course: Twitter and the blogging platform CreativeHive. These supported the course community, also for some tasks in the course. And throughout the course we tried to understand how to promote the course via social media tools. There are different social media tools. The team decided to use Twitter…. The hope was that it would force students to use these tools, and some students did that… This is also tricky part. Twitter is very popular in the UK, but in Lithunia it is not popular at all, not in Latvia either. But we managed to force some students to use new tools – but not all of the project team learned new platforms!

We wanted to limit ourselves in terms of where we, as a team, supported students. We found that students themselves set up presences on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as WhatsApp and SMOOCER – which explicitly supports MOOC completion. And the different content that students produced by participants was quite interesting, and some really interesting work. Overall we had nearly 1000 active users able to receive statement of participation. But they were spread about the world.

In conclusion, two important points. We were trying to limit ourselves to Twitter and CreativeHub. And to focus on active participants. And students actively created their own space.

We had the hashtag #passion4digital and we thought they would just use it on Twitter, but they used it on Facebook and Instragram etc. which let us find their discussions… etc. and consider which platforms to use.

And a good outcome of the MOOC – Iversity asked us to design a 12 week paid professional course (this one we ran was free) so we are going to be doing that.

Apologies, my chairing this session meant no capture of interesting questions and discussions. 

Summary of the Conference
Award to the winner of the Best PhD Paper and Best Masters Paper

Christina: We had really good presentations and papers so this was hard to select – there were so many interesting perspectives in these sessions. The PhD prize is jointly awarded to:

Britt Adams for: Improving Adolescents’ Advertising Literacy Through Education: The Perceptions of Secondary Education (TeachersAdamsBritt, TammySchellensand MartinValcke,Ghent University, Belgium).


KarinHögberg for: The Interpretation of Social Media: Challenges of Adopting Social Media in Organizations (HögbergKarin, University West, Sweden)

And the winner of the Masters symposium is:

Organisational Context and Netiquette: Exploring the Paradox of Control Versus Chaos in Social Media Management CallinanSarah and EtainKidney,Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland (Masters).

The winner for the Masters colloquium is: Sarah Callinan: Organisational Context and Netiquette: Exploring the Paradox of Control Versus Chaos in Social Media Management (CallinanSarah and EtainKidney,Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland)

The winner for the poster is Hanaa Namankani,University of Liverpool and King Abdulaziz University, UK – Social Media (SM) Adoption by Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs): Influential Factors in the Context of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

Sue Nugus: Two small announcements. Next year in Vilnius at ECSM2017 we will have a new competition which will be looking for good initiatives or applications of social media, where academia and business work together. It’s about the story of what happened, the challenges, and what happened at the end/where you are at. Teams of at least 2. And please keep an eye out for that, and tell your contacts and colleagues.

And with that, we are done!

 July 13, 2016  Posted by at 7:38 am Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Oct 292015

And… After a dash across town I’m now at the Internet of Things Edinburgh MeetUp, which tonight is focused on “The Maker Revolution“…

Introduction – Simon Montford, Founder WEB3//IOT @simonmontford 

The theme tonight is the maker revolution – the opening up of industrial technologies to amateaur makers. The maker movement contributes 30 billion to the global economy, so this is a big and growing thing, with Internet of Things at the centre.

18:20 – 18:40 Dr Patrick Hickey (NIPHT)

From the event page: Patrick Hickey is founder of NIPHT and specialises in a diverse range of disciplines including biology, electronics and art. Recent projects include designing LED systems for laboratories, consulting for TV and film, art installations and providing technical expertise for several guerrilla marketing projects. In 2012, Patrick launched a successful crowd funding campaign creating modular enclosures for Arduino and Raspberry Pi, and plans to launch more projects including smart clocks and gadgets built using rare, vintage LED displays from the 1970s and 80s.

I wanted to just show you some of the things that I’ve been doing. I have a studio here at Summerhall, with a wee lab space. I have lots of projects on the go here. I’m from a biological background so a lot of my projects involve biology. I first got interested in maker things about 7 or 8 years ago. I wanted to take images from a microscope and until then I hadn’t realised that you coul dget all this cool stuff with microcontrollers… I love electronics and electronics and bio complement each other very well.

Back when I was working for the University of California, and the University of Edinburgh I was looking at fungal colony and tweaking and hacking the microscope enabled me to find new patterns that were very exciting. After my PhD I discovered microbial species that you can grow and play with in the lab… And using those as indicators…. I’ve now set up NIPHT which encompasses both art and sciences. So, for instance, I was approached to create living micobial art work to advertise Contagion, the Warner Brothers movie – this was the world’s first living billboards… Essentially using a huge petri dish which caused a great buzz. We did that by projecting the image we wanted, placing the bacteria according to the pattern, and they grew up really nicely.

I’ve done a few other projects with Curb media since then… For instance for 12 Monkeys on SyFy… And that started really interesting conversations… It’s all safe bacterial cultures here… The most recent project we did was a brand of soap called Lifebuoy… with the product a clean outline with bugs around it… It did really well on the Chinese version of YouTube (80m views). And we also did work with BBC for the Magic of Mushrooms – lots of timelapse for instance.

I did a crowdfunding project back in 2012… When I started to work with Arduino I was making my own enclosures… So I started a crowd funder for modular arduino enclosures… I didn’t ask for much cash – £1500 to get these laser cut. I got twice what I needed… Really successful project – I met some interesting people, sharing ideas and projects with me. And I still get orders for them… A lot of enclosures are available cheaply from China now, but they are a quality product. They let me test the market, lots of folks were also using Raspberry Pi along with their Arduino… We keep having to adapt it because of the changes to Raspberry Pi…

A few years ago I got a grant for an art project called Dis-Play… I was fascinated for years by LEDs in calculators and watches… Back before liquid crystal displays. My first computers were Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Amiga etc. Witnessing this revolution in computing has been a really exciting thing… But I love this 70s and 80s stuff… So I built up vintage LEDs… Like a clock. Often when you pick these up from eBay they are ex-military so were great high spec pieces… So I’ve been building these up for years for projects… .

I’ve also been making home made LEDs using silicon carbide crystals… One of the first LEDs was Monsanto MV – very dim… Used to be £10-£12 but now pennies! I take pictures of LED tips… And weird and wonderful stuff like Russian diodes… And we have Nixie Tubes – I love them but they aren’t in my collection as I focus on LEDs.

Many many very cool close macro images of LEDs and dissection under microscopes being shown here. 

I’m quite into these old LEDs, the data sheets, images, etc. What I plan to do is to rewrite the data sheets in a simple form so that someone with an Arduino can use these in a very simple way… One of my favourite LEDs is what looks like a prototype, an early dot matrix display… Only ever seen one..

And also smart displays – LEDs with a micro-controller chip. I tend to buy these and then build them into clocks… And you get HDSP Series Intelligent displays, and again I tend to build those into clocks… I will be selling those retro clocks. One of these has a chronodock so that when you unplug the clock, it keeps time… People do ask me why I don’t get PCBs made for these but I do actually enjoy the wiring, it’s very calming… But I will eventually…

So, finally I wanted to talk about some of the hacked devices… The HAL-culator – a calculator that won’t do what’s told. I have the Speak-and-Hell – which speaks profanity, so no longer for children. I did have a great Submarine missile launcher clock – a real one – which I picked up!Really any device can be hacked.

So, finally just a word about Tech Cube… We used LEDs and lighting to install a display here in the building… They are still there… And thats with James from Acus lab – doing very cool stuff with art and science…

Larissa Pschetz  (Design Informatics)

From the event page: Larissa Pschetz is an interaction designer and lecturer in Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. Using examples of projects produced by the design informatics team, she will be talking about how designers are being influenced by the maker movement and vice versa, finally discussing the role of IoT in sustaining this relationship.

What I wanted to get out of this talk was to break the usual assumptions that designers “make things pretty”. I think design has contributed a lot to the maker community. I have recently becoming a lecturer in Design Informatics, and Design Informatics is all about the interactions between design and computing…

Design has had a love and hate relationship with crafts over the year… Design has tended towards mass production – with pros and cons around that. Although Design is beyond the handmade, it is still very related to craft activity… They try things, they craft, and that’s where the relationship to the maker movement comes. And, to note, we’ll be hosting Research Through Design next year, which looks at this relationship between research, making and design.

I am an interaction designer by training and part of that process is about building and trying things out… When I started there was no Arduino, you had to figure out how things work… and the maker movement has partly grown out of this need for designers to prototype… That has revolutionised what we do. Design has helped to promote things, by building cools things and trying stuff out…

And we have the idea of Fritzing, allowing designers to produce PCBs without having to go through a full industrial process. And the MakerBot also came significantly from design needs. So, design loves the maker movement, this new way to try ideas and experiment…

So, how does design work with the maker movement? Well design is a lot about sketching.. In design informatics that’s often about sketching with data, trying things out… For instance looking at countries travel rights without a visa…. showing those with balanced, and those with unbalanced relationships… This was written in a couple of lines of code… But you can quickly grasp the idea…

And another project is more sketching with hardware… In this case a toilet roll holder tracking activity over time… We have also used clocks that can track “family time” where the clock can change to reflect the needs and interests of the family… Our approach is to build something and test it in a real situation. So this is about designing interactions, thinking about future technologies, and imagining the world as it could be… And thinking about how the technology could enables people to keep things for longer… Embedding behaviour in objects… For instance the Long Living Chair… which remembers moment of activities… It captures when it was produced, it tracks how often it is used… This speculates the future of the home…

And of course we have final products too… So, of course designers want ideas produced at a certain point. As aesthetic as you can be, you think about how wonderful it would be to have real people consuming and interacting with your products… I haven’t directly produced items myself, but know people who have tried and found it challenging. A friend has created a lamp with Arduino for some robotic features… She crowdfunded for it (Clyde – the expressive lamp for creative home) and it was funded but it was very difficult to get it made as a product… So there is still a lot more to do to make that stage more easy to do, that leap to production. So design and making have helped each other hugely and both benefitted but there is much more to do to make it a revolution!

And now… Pizza break…

Lorna Crawford (IBM BlueMix IoT Hosting)

From the event page: Lorna has been with IBM for the last 17 years and currently manages the Software Business Partner Channel and Global Entrepreneurs for IBM in Scotland. Her presentation will give an overview of IBM’s strategy in the IoT space and the availability of IBM programmes to support IoT and tech start up businesses.

Thanks for asking us to speak to you, people who are the makers and take it to the next level, which is where see this stuff. Over the last few years, particularly the last 18 months, we’ve really realised that developers, young people, makers outside of industry are really shaping future ideas…

IBM are doing various things in the Internet of Things space, about harnsessing data, what IBM can help you achieve – things to play with!

Several years back we had a campaign called IBM Smarter Planet – about instrumenting things, capturing data, and seeing how that data analysis can make business change. For instance…

In wineries (e.g. E&J Gallo) we use high res satellite data on soil moisture, weather data, sensors at an individual plant level, and systems that deliver water accordingly – which saves 20% water as you only provide water where needed…

If you’ve heard of the Fatberg… We have Victorian drainage trying to meet massively more demand than it was ever designed for. Dealing with the build up and reduction of the fatberg is a huge issues. Again we’ve put sensors throughout the system to carefully plan, forecast, and time maintenance to tie in to other road digging, or to less disruptive periods. That again has had a massive impact.

21st March 2015 we announced spending of £5bn on Internet of Things – not only at IBM, but also enabling makers, other etc. So we have invested in Industry wide IoT Ecosystem – for instance using vehicle data to customise insurance policies based on your personal driving and car use. We also have the IoT Bluemix – it’s IBM’s platform, our own flavour of a development platform – APIs and services to play with, and experiment. It’s an Internet of Things foundations services… You mentioned Watson – cognitive computing capability… Plugging in your sensor devices into those could give a real competitive advantage. And we have IBM IoT Cloud/Open/Platform for Industries. Over the last few years we’ve seen the route to market change hugely here… and our offering reflect that, and the ways in which scaling and development moves now.

So, Bluemix you can find at https://console.ng.bluemix.net/catalog/ – a range of tools to try out for free! And if you are looking to get started, and get some help, we’ve made essentially recipe cards for getting started, also on that website. It’s really easy to use – I’m not technical and I’ve used Bluemix.

In Gartners report they started there are 4.9bn connected things, and that’s rapidly rising! That’s a huge opportunity – $69bn of opportunity this year according to that work. Take something to market, there’s such opportunity…

So IBM are building a working IT Alliance ecosystem… Trying to make free and open innovation spaces, IBM programs for HE and FE (Bluemix free for this market for 6 months). And we have a Global Entrepreneur programme for small technology start ups – do come on board. We’ll give you $1000 per month of Bluemix usage – for private server or virtual server… If you have a great business proposition we’ll give you up to $120k per year… We also give you access to the IBM Software Access Catalog, and support, Bluemix, IBM Watson.. And IBM, as a massive procurement organisation, have discounts that we’ve negotiated and share those with business partners too. And we have IBM Smart Camp – to pitch your ideas… A local girl, Victoria, has been using our hardware to develop her shortlisted idea for a recent Smart Camp, and she’s now working with some of our clients and business partners. We have expertise, people connected to customers in areas you want to work in -get in touch.

So, what we are saying here… Harness intelligent data… If you buy a washing machine, the people you brought it from know nothing about you and what you’ll do with it… An intelligent washing machine using sensors, who brought it… You can understand the actual usage versus your prediction – maybe it’s people always washing their dog blankets – and also predictive maintenance and quality work. Applying that technology to real life examples.

PhotonStar are a British organisation working on connected devices. They have a light project, called Halcyon, using intelligence wireless lights… And Nasa invested $12m to design products for the space station… PhotonStar apply that technology to household solutions – and they are an IBM partner using our technologies.

So, do go try things, engage with the community that are also using this technology. We have staff that can help with finances, business planning, etc. And if you want to get your own kit… It’s cheap and easy to get started!

We play in all these areas, please do get in touch!

Dr Benjaman Schogler (Skoog)

From the event page: David Skulina and Ben Schogler, and their small team of creative-developers, have spent the last 4 years demonstrating their ‘music for everyone’ concept (in the shape of Skoog 1.0) in the world of education. Tested, honed and developed internationally, Skoog 2 is the evolved result: a nifty, wireless, thing of beauty that everyone can play. Ben will give an overview of their journey so far, including raising investment, manufacturing, crowdfunding and more…

I’m Ben from Skoog! We were founded in 2009… We make this, a Skoog, a musical instrument. It was originally for kids with disabilities but we’ve just launched new Skoog. We started before crowdfunding, we did classic University spin out fund raising… But before I talk about this, a wee bit of video on how Skoog is used, and I’ll be ending on a demo on new Skoog!

Cue some awesome video of Skoog in use, e.g. being played with an orchestra, enabling play, playing along to Rush and such… 

You saw a range of different people using Skoog… Young people, old people… People with cerebral palsy, autism, paraplegic people, and able bodied people too. The mission was to create a new musical instrument. I love and am a passionate musician… If you can’t play an instrument you already have a disability, and it’s harder still if you also have a physical or mental impediment too…

So our first prototype was pretty crude – its harder for you guys now as the expectation of prototypes is so high now! But we worked with schools, hospitals, through the University and really built up relationships with our communities… Crowd funders can be quite isolating in a way, that creates challenges… You need to get your product in the hands of users, to understand your audience… Those crowd funding schemes are great but you need that connection with community, share ideas, speak to people, get out there… We spend 2 years researching… We had a block of foam… It worked…

Part of the thing of the maker revolution… People look at Skoog and ask if there is an arduino inside… No! We were working before that… But that meant using off the shelf sensor products, and working within the constraints of what was available. But that did allow us to go to market quickly – it was all tested and ready for market… But it did mean we were tied to one supplier… A problem when pricing changed… There is such vibrancy for creating now, but that brings its own challenges…

Anyway we went to market in 2009, with this cube, with squishy bits… Now just to note that musical instruments of any type is technology – technology isn’t computers. People can be protective of their instruments – but I always say anything you can make music with is an instrument, and that’s defined by people not by the technology we use. So Stomp for instance is a brilliant example of that – they make a matchbox into a musical instrument!

So we evolved this new approach,  thinking about what do we need to enable access to music… Needed to make a sound, be tactile and engaging. We went to market, we had the product… Manufactured in the UK – expensive but real benefits to having it local, so when we have to make a change we can pop over to Livingstone and ask them to make the change. We went out to traditional equity investors… People see Skoog and say “Go on Dragon’s Den!” but that’s just a programme using a well worn real world idea – and we have brilliant networks for start ups, for VCs… Things like Link. Anyone looking for capital to start these things… Go to Business Gateway, go to Scottish Enterprise, just get out there… So we did that, we raised about £800k through that… And we were very much a business to customer organisation.

There are about 2000 Skoog’s out there but they cost about £500 each, so more an educational purchase. Many of our sales have pretty much been face to face, we had coverage, BBC Scotland news etc. But on the business side I’d say that people will offer help and mentorship… You may be quite suspicious of them but actually having more experience around you as an entrepreneur… Having them on your board… They are so valuable, can help you monetise your idea, think about new opportunities… Be open to offers of help. There are also a lot of people trying to make money from you – marketing etc – that’s just how it is, they are just trying to make money.

So we make the Skoog and we also make software… But because our product was equity investment based they wanted us to get out there and sell them and ship them… That meant feedback, developments, improvements… interaction with users. So that got us to a place where we knew what we wanted to do next… Children and young people have no set idea of music and how you take part… So if you can learn and try rather than learn a musical instrument… So then we had two specific uses, one for increasing access to music for people with significant disabilities. But in parallel we had people who just loved playing it for fun! And to do this stuff you need to know what notes you need… We use pentatonic tuning, tune it to the right scale, then you can jam along to Taylor Swift…

So, we found out where we wanted to get to… Rather than equity route we decided to go on IndieGoGo – we’ve run 3 campaigns… Failed spectacularly… Then had a successful one… Then some small ones. Its a great space to test ideas, get feedback and interaction… One thing about IndieGoGo and KickStarter… If you are thinking of doing one there is so much good help there… But be careful with traffic, PR and marketing… One of the best ways to improve your ranking is to up your conversion rate. Our first campaign had loads of press and interest, but actually few purchased… and that messed our ranking. So do a lot of marketing offline, send just those you know you can convert. Press coverage isn’t the thing – that can be difficult – you need that niche that will buy your thing… Equity great for expertise, advice, etc. Crowdfunding is so quick!

Finally, a quick demo.

Old Skoog had wires… New Skoog has blue tooth which connects to iPad… People don’t buy music anymore… they subscribe, stream etc… So now you can play along… So on my iPad I’ll pick a tune… And that tunes the Skoog to your favourite tune… Everything is interactive… I can play, mess with this stuff… And you can now work with Skoog in GarageBand too… Allows loads of stuff but it’s fun, it lets kids play with stuff they want – age appropriate and culturally engaging – but that has evolved quickly from our product…

Panel Discussion / Q&A 

Q1) When did Skoog start?

A1 – Ben) We started 2006/7, then participatory design from 2008, trying them out getting feedback, developing the idea. Then 2009 we went into production, at first entirely in house by hand. But Skoog 2… That still has taken maybe 2 years to develop, with new technology, software, etc.

Q2) How do people get hold of what you are doing… Do you make or protect IP first… How does that work?

A2 – Ben) Just get on with it… In academia you are very protective of your ideas… That slows you down… In our case, with Skoog… Just go see a lawyer. The people we worked with needed the PR for what we’d done – announced that an article will go in the Times… So, panicked that it would go in the public domain so we couldn’t patent it and make revenue from it, so we had to do a patent in 12 hours… Which is possible… And we got it and it was granted. But, just do it, ask for advice but you can solve that issue if you need.

Simon) In the start up community, ideas are a dime a dozen and it’s easy to replicate ideas so it’s not always worth it, especially internationally…

A2 – Patrick) If you are expecting to make 50k when it could make 100k it’s probably not worth it… But if you’d be missing out on 10 million, its worth it.

A2 – Ben) For us the benefit of the patent was about investment, and it was therefore worthwhile.

Q) Has anyone copied it?

A2 – Ben) Not yet!

Q3) With the maker movement it’s vibrant, energetic, and engaged but how do you see the future… Do you think as costs go down further, do you see collaboration falling off?

Simon) At the moment we have collaboration by neccassity… so what do we think about that?

A3 – Larissa) It’s hard to have great ideas you need a team…. To be truly creative you need that interaction.

A3 – Patrick) I keep looking for an excuse to buy a 3D printer but I really can’t, I’d rather talk to guys who have that kit and engage and share ideas with them…

A3 – Ben) There is a really vibrant community of start ups, there is a shift there of sharing manufacturing issues and solving those – seeing highly specialised hardware startups setting up to address that. Princeton has an internet of things startup of that ilk.

Simon) Some of those take equity in exchange for that help and support, but that’s often worth it. And often supported by retained profits from innovation funds.

Q4) For Patrick: how many LEDs do you have?

A4) The actual figure is in the millions! In terms of unique displays maybe 200 different types – some I have 1 of, some I have hundreds of!

Q5) I’m a marketer, used to be an industrial chemist working in electronics. On crowdfunding I think that’s elegant for testing designs and ideas… But those platforms are not there to connect up market and products… I’ve asked about that… You are supposed to bring market and product – this was IndieGoGo. Is there scope for somebody to crowdfund, crowdsource a makers community… To actually match up those makers and those people who will be interested.

Simon) I blog in this area and am pretty connected… I want a dashboard to track all the interesting projects across all of the sites…

A5 – Lorna) Build it on IBM, We have Watson personality intelligence, that can analyse someone’s Twitter feed for instance!

A5 – Larissa) I think one of the problems of crowdsourcing issues is that when people want a product, their expectations aren’t always aligned with how long it can take to actually get through the design and manufacture process…

Simon) So, some quick announcements…

Jeff Ballinger) People into internet of things, are always interested in mobile. Our next Mobile Monday will be on making money out of mobile. We have some great speakers, it’s on 23rd November – Google Mobile Monday Edinburgh.

?) I am run of the directors of Hacklab, we’re based here at Summerhall… We have 3D printers, laser cutters, kit to play with – all the stuff you might want to play with. We have 45 members who can help you with your ideas. Open nights are Tuesdays 7.30 onwards, or check the website. And we have a reasonably active IRC channel as well. We tend to be more about physical hacking, rather than software but do come along!

Ben) We are hiring at the moment, looking for digital marketing, iOS development, get in touch!

Finally we have a presentation from ChangeCard winners of ProductForge4, John, Johnny, Liam and Pavel (their fifth member couldn’t be here today).

John and Johnny (switching between each other): We were working to a brief of digital participation and the idea we came up with was donation to the homeless, in a way that would ensure that your donation would make a real difference every time. So we came up with the idea of the Change Card, a card to help you give to the community. This will allow you to buy a card in a store, then the homeless person can pay for what they need.

We need social and political change to solve homelessness, giving money isn’t always useful, particularly when those requesting money have drug or alcohol problems. And we are also entering a world of contactless payment, so we don’t have change to give these people… Last time you saw a homeless person begging, did you give them money or did you not have change? Or worry about safety or how any money would be used. What if you could go and buy a coupon, a card to give that person, that could be use only to buy specific goods. We know not all homeless people have drug or alchol issues, many don’t. And we know that homelessness is far greater than what we see on the street. But this is a means to make a difference and help.

The card will have expiry dates, and any money left on card, will go back into the community through Shelter, and support projects including elearning skills for these same communities. That fundraising for the wider homeless population will have even greater impact.

For shops, for companies, this helps them meet their Corporate Social Responsibility, and to be leaders in this area. And data gathered through the card can feed into government policy and interventions.

For consumers – those buying the card – they can see the difference their donation has made. And with that lets look at our website… Which includes various areas including a “Change Wall”. When you buy that ChangeCard you get a receipt that you can scan and add that to your social media profile, to show and share your contribution. And we’ll have some graphing and maps to encourage an element of competitive giving between areas.

The idea is to use the guys in the street to help them AND the wider homeless community at the same time.

Liam: And now over to Liam… We had 24 hours to build end to end… We have an API for our sales to interact with, we had an Android App point of sale app for buying, and also redeeming the card – and we have a demo video here… So a card is purchased… And then that goes through… The user logs into the website… and adds to their profile.

Pavel: We’d like to thank everyone at ProductForge for helping us get here. And chat with us and follow us on Twitter: @changecardpf.

Simon: We have a wee prize from our CEO of Tusi, a startup specialising in speedy text entry on smart devices, particularly smart watches!

Quick aside: I had the delight of being a mentor at ProductForge4 on Sunday and it’s awesome to see this team presenting their finalised pitch and to know it’s going forward with development! For more on ProductForge see: http://productforge.io/

Simon: And our next IoT Edinburgh event is on 30th November, on the future of drones – see you then!

And with that I’m calling it a night here too! 

 October 29, 2015  Posted by at 6:51 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Mar 042015

Today I have been liveblogging Professor Sian Bayne’s Inaugural Lecture “The Trouble with Digital Education”. There will be some links and corrections to follow, but hopefully this gives a sense of her talk…

Prof. Jeff Hayward is introducing Sian, who he’s “delighted to say kind things about”. Sian is known nationally and internationally as a deep thinker on digital education. Sian undertook her undergraduate degree here at Univeristy of Edinburgh but went on to undertake her PhD at Queen Margarets. That work on culture in cyber space has informed her work since. She established the MSc in eLearning, now the MSc in Digital Education which is one of the most renowned online MSc programmes.

Sian has worked with museums and galleries, she has held many different research grants, keynotes, etc. Her inaugural lecture, the Trouble with Digital Education, with live musical accompaniment, is sure to be stimulating. And she welcomes your questions.

So, over to Sian:

The music you heard when you came in was specially composed for this inaugural lecture (by Stephen ?), and it is quite dark as I think that he was picking up on the “troubled” part of my description. So, I want to start with lots of thank yous to all of you to my family, my wonderful colleagues on the MSc in Digital Education, my extended colleagues from the programme. And I’ve been very fortunate with my mentors here and before, for helping an academic career feel an actual feasible proposition. Thank you to all of you [Not all names captured here, hopefully Sian will comment with the full roll call].

So… from colleagues to [pictures of] cactuses. And most of what I want to say is to talk about what it is to think seriously about teaching in digital education environment. Digital education has always been a field surrounded by various promoses and threats, from ideas of efficiency, increasing scale and reach, increasing relevance to upcoming generations, personalisation… And then on the other side the threats or the things which appear threatened by digital education as a concept: co-presence, embodiment, community, surveillance, de-professionalisation… There is a case to be made for all of these but they are driven by a very specific idea of the relationship between the social and the material.

I always go back to Hamilton and Friesen 2013 and their two ideas of Instrumentalism – technologies as neutral means employed in our needs; and essentialism – that technology drives social practice and change. These positions suggest a strict separation of the social and the material, of technology and people. But it’s not as if we don’t have other positions here. We have science and technology studies, post modernist criticism, etc. to draw upon, we have ways to think about the relationships and dependence of people and technology. But these ideas haven’t really trickled down to the world of education.

Hamiton and Friesen (2013) talk of educational technologies as contingent forces and (Fenwick and ?)

We have this sense of promises – speeding things up, efficiencies, etc. Threats suggesting that we reduce human to human contact… And with both in mind I want to focus on the idea of human automation… And I want to kick off this section with a clip from the Matrix [the helicopter request scene]. SO we see this narrative in popular and educational culture about technology speeding up education, making us efficient, terminology of “technology enhanced learning” (see Laurillard 2011), a recent Horizon 2020 call also refers to educational technologies for “more effective and efficient human learning”. But the drivers aren’t always economic, it is about improving learning but in a very particular type of way, with a particular understanding.. Sigges(?) idea of everyone having an “Aristotle on our shoulders”.

Arthur C Clarke, in “Electronic Tutors” talks about technology in education, that it is nothing new… and that the ideal would be a teacher at one end of a log, a student at the other end… and that the world is “not only woefully short of teachers it’s running out of logs”. But that suggests that it is like running out of oil, but we have the means to change that,

What Clarke really didn’t get right was the idea of electronic tutors happening any time now… That “no social or political” etc. system could withstand technology whose time has come. But actually Underwood and Luckin (2011) found that there is still a real absence in take up because there is also a lack of  understanding of what technology can do.

So, where is the criticism here? Well Neil Selwyn (e.g. 2014) challenges the neo-liberal efficiency take on digital education. Clegg (2003) talks about a need to refocus away from the functionality of e-learning environments back to the core relations between students and teachers and the condition in which they find themselves. So we get to Feenberg (2003) and the idea of the mobilisation of the human touch… But maybe we don’t have to choose between the mateerial and the social. And this is the point Andrew Pickering (2005) makes here… seeing the non human and human at once (“we should ride the Ostrich with more conviction!” [see image!]). Going back to Clarke for a moment he had this idea that a non human teacher would be better than any human teacher [much laughter], and I think we’ve certainly moved away from that.

So, now to a diversion. And Twitterbots. These are computer programms that tweet of their own accord (Dubbin 2013) and it is estimated that 8.5% of all active users that may be bots in this way (Twitter 2014). Some generate spam, but not all of them… So I want to talk about Twitterbots as a cultural form. So I am going to take you on a quick tour of Twitterbots…

For those not familiar with Twitterbots we have @DearAssistant is a bot that just answers questions… You tweet a question, the bot tweets a response. This bot interrogates Wolfram Alpha. Another here is @earthquakesLA, there are many variants of this sort of bot… It draws data from the US Geological Survey and when there are alerts for earth quakes, it shares an alert. Those are quite earnest ones… This is more playful.

@StealthMountain is a bot that trawls Twitter looking for people spelling “sneak peak” wrongly, correcting them that it’s “sneak peek” – there’s a whole paper on this. Another here is @oliviataters who tweets as a teenage girl… She searches Twitter for “literally” and “embaressed” and other such teenage girl phrases and remixes them into new tweets, often to

@theDesireBoy (by Felix Jung) are all tweets about “I just want” tweets, often very poigniant tweets here… And there is also the @PottyBot – which just swears whenever The Archers comes on Radio 4. Which is a lot. Someone replied to that bot with a version of Radio 4 that is slowed just enough to evade the Archers!

So you can see there is a huge variety here. And as Mark Sample (2014) argues you can also have a “bot of conviction” tackling social issues. He has set up @NRA_Tally which pulls together information on shootings of more than 4 victims, and those events are tweeted with NRA headlines to make a potent point.

Kazemi (2013) writes about @TwoHeadlines, which is about generating jokes in the future by stitching together two Google News story.

So, a serious point about Twitterbots is that they foreground the influence of automation on modern life, and dymystify the process (Dubbin 2013).

When we talk about ideas in the digital education we always get the “but what the implications for practice?” and whilst that can be mildly deflating at first, actually that is about thinking more widely about what these ideas mean… And the expansive thinking of this team. And that is such a positive critique to have there.

With that I want to talk about the Teacherbot, and firstly to thank all involved in that initiative. The context here was the E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC, which was on it’s third run and we wanted to do something different. These are huge courses, this one had around 12000 students. They are very active students, very receptive, lots of tweeting and discussion. And so Hadi(?) developed our teacherbot for us. We as a teaching team generated the data to feed it. We had a simple web form in which each of us could develop rules. One was developed by Christine and Hamish (or the Christine/Hamish Assemblage) and they would enter terms and synonyms, dates and deadlines, and instructions of what the bot should tweet… How this worked was that any tweet with #edcmooc would trigger the bot to go looking for a rule, if it found a rule then it would go ahead and tweet the appropriate text.

So, when we designed our rules – which is actually really quite difficult to do well… Effectively we divided it up. Jen and I did content tweets, Christine and Hamish did process orientated rules, Jeremy did more socially orientated tweets… And they had interesting responses… The bot didn’t always get it right of course. But we did want the bot to be both playful and genuinely helpful – so we had it tweet extracts from readings… And we found students replying and then commenting on why on earth they were replying. And in one case Teacherbot getting into a loop… but bringing it back at the end… We also had some loosely pastoral exchanges too… Fabienne tweets about a connection between a fim and a text, teacherbot jumps in misunderstanding and worrying that she feels lonely.

We didn’t pretend that teacherbot was real… But we wanted to sneak out the information… But when first switched on… it tweeted hundreds of times a quote from Melissa Terras’ which looked a tad threatening at that scale.  But you can see the teacherbot was really central to the #edcmooc community. And we had a great student blog post talking about teacherbot as “ambush teaching”! But was our teacherbot a “bot of conviction”, a bot with purpose (Sample 2014), he talks about bots of conviction needing to be:

– Topical – morning news not lost love or existential anguish – not sure about twitterbot

– Data Based – which ours was

– Cumulative – the aggregate of those tweets gain power

– oppositional – takes a stand – teacherbot kind of did…

It took a stand about what it was that we think we want in digital education. It didn’t work on a deficit model of a lack of teacher time or compatibility, or digital education as performance or instrument. But with teacherbot we were working with excess. We weren’t working with supercessional model, it was about entanglement and how the teacher could achieve something via that entanglement. And it played across the embrace/resistance technology in education binary, blurring those lines. And it moved form what works?, to what do we want? So I think it made the move towards a bot of conviction…

Now when I wrote this abstract I could have talked about any number of the Digital Education projects, particularly the MSc in Digital Education programme… But I want to leave you with our Manifesto for Digital Education, and commit myself for the next 10 or 20 years of my career to thinking about what might be a “A digital education of conviction”.


Q1 from Sian’s daughter Ula: You know the woman with the helicopter, why can’t we do that…

A1: I’ll tell you later… but I know it’s a cop out..

Q2, from Jen from Twitter: Some of these bots seem to have more empathy than human teachers… and maybe you can say something about empathy and conviction?

A2: perhaps if the bots come from a place of empathy that is enough… But we can think critically about whether empathy has to only be a human trait…

Q3: The chief engineer at Google calculates that in the 2040’s computers will be self aware, could be seen as an essentialist view… He doesn’t know how they will respond but he thinks they will demand respect and rights… So what happens when we have self aware computers?

A3: I think that digital education has prepared itself for several decades in popular culture how we might engage with that idea… Not that big a jump to have respect for an artificial intelligence, doesn’t seem particularly problematic stance to take.

Q4: I was wondering if you could say more about presence… For my students Google Hangouts without video can feel like “warm bodies” but feedback may not… The bot seems to feel like warm bodies

A4: Yeah, this idea of whether actual presence matters, or just the perception of presence matters, is frankly all up for grabs

Q5: There seems to be an issue of currency and attention… Now in a world where there is a lot of currency but perhaps a scarcity of attention?

A5: We haven’t come close to cracking that yet… That idea of how we manage attention online. A real challenge for scholarship. Totally dependent on the online world for our work and research but also totally open to distraction in those spaces – and that might be email as much as Twitter etc…

Jeff: As always Sian has provided some extremely interesting food for thought, some of which reminded me of initial conversations about teacherbot… when we talked about whether it would work and, in a sense, that it didn’t matter as long as we learned something… and it seems that we’ve definitely learned something from that.

[me] And with that we end an excellent Inaugural Lecture with much applause and thanks to Sian.

 March 4, 2015  Posted by at 5:19 pm Uncategorized 3 Responses »
May 302014
image of FieldTrip GB badges

On 12th June the Beltane Public Engagement Network will be holding their Annual Gathering (#ebag14), an opportunity for those working in public engagement throughout Edinburgh (and beyond) to gather, chat and share experiences.

This year the theme of the event is “Citizens, Research!” and the lovely folk of Beltane have asked me to be part of the event, knowing that I’m interested in crowdsourcing and citizen science, particularly given my role in the EU-funded COBWEB project. So, in addition to doing a wee prezi at the event, we have been plotting a bit of real interactive crowd sourcing around the event itself using FieldTrip GB, and partly inspired by our Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas event last year!

In fact, my description of FieldTrip GB from those posts is still useful:

The FieldTrip GB logo.

FieldTrip GB is a free mobile phone app and authoring tool created by my colleagues. It’s origins lie in the need for those on fieldtrips to have access to good quality mapping (currently of Great Britain but hopefully we’ll expand to cover further geographical areas). So FTGB supports download of a high quality but entirely open source collection of map data.

But Fieldtrips also tend to involve the collection of data and that’s where FTGB gets extra clever with a custom authoring tool that enables you to create whatever data collection you need for your project or research. You set up a form for different data types then you sync your phone (via Dropbox) and, as if by magic, you will instantly find the new form available on your phone and you can save records to the app whether or not you are connected to the internet. Every form records your location but you can also edit this at the time – for when you can’t get quite close enough, conditions are dangerous, or you forget something that you want to add later.

The app and authoring tool was designed with some particular academic uses in mind, but we reckon it has huge potential beyond that…

And indeed it has already had some great usage – the app is being adapted and tested in a variety of projects including COBWEB and Spatial Memories. We know that community groups are using it to collect environmental data in their areas of interest… and we’ve also recently made the code Open Source via GitHub. So, what are we doing with it next month?

The Beltane Annual Gathering 2014 Mission!

The  Beltane community brings together professionals in a huge range of areas of research and practice who all have one thing in common: they are all passionate about public engagement. So, what better thing to crowd source than some information on that very topic!

We are asking those registered for the event (if you haven’t signed up yet, then you can here) to share their, to quote Ru Paul entirely out of context, “uniqueness, nerve and talent” by leaving little moments of public engagement around the beautiful city of Edinburgh, whether in text, image or audio form!

How to take part

  1. Start by downloading the FieldTrip GB App – you can click on this link or use a QR code reader with the image below:
    QR code for FieldTrip GB App

    Download FieldTrip GB via this link


  2. Once you have downloaded the app you will need to login using the shared Beltane details (see email from organisers)
  3. Click “Sync”
  4. Tap on the “Capture” (bottom menu)
  5. Select the “ebag14” custom form
  6. Fill in the form!
  7. Once you have completed the form – one or many times – and returned somewhere with a reliable internet connection/wifi make sure you hit “Sync” again to ensure your records are sent in to FieldTrip GB
  8. Go to http://fieldtripgb.edina.ac.uk/authoring/, login, and click “View Records” to view all the records collected so far! You can view these on a map, a table, as images, or you can download/export the records.

We hope this will be a fun hands on experience for all of the participants but will also build up a great map of the city seen through the eyes of the brilliant, inspiring Beltane Network members and their public engagement work!

And if my mention of that Fringe show has whetted your appetite look out for a new post shortly on the two shows I am involved with in this years Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas programme at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014: What Skeletons Are in Your Closet? and The Internet: A Human Right?

:: Update – View my presentation here, and the entries (so far) on Google Earth with the Beltane Public Engagement KML ::

Useful resources

 May 30, 2014  Posted by at 6:59 pm Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
May 012014
Digital Participation Inquiry Final Report

I am delighted to announce that yesterday the Royal Society of Edinburgh Spreading the Benefits of Digital Participation Inquiry Report was launched at an event in Edinburgh.

I am colossally proud to have been part of this Inquiry and I hope our findings will have a real and positive impact on the uptake and best use of the internet in Scotland and beyond.

There is much more to read, and full access to the report, via these links:

– RSE Spreading the Benefits of Digital Participation Inquiry Report: http://www.royalsoced.org.uk/1136_FinalReport.html (can be downloaded as PDF, ebook, etc.)
Digiscot Inquiry Blog Post on the report
EDINA news item on the release

 May 1, 2014  Posted by at 10:06 am Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Apr 072014

Today and Wednesday I am at the Networked learning Conference 2014. I will be attempting to LiveBlog the sessions I go to but, as I’ve been struck with a headcold, I’m going to make a stronger than usual caveat that there may be some errors, typos, etc.

Sian Bayne is welcoming us to the university of edinburgh and to the city in general. She is here representing the DiCE group, organisers of today’s event. Sian is saying that this is the best research orientated conference in our area, and always a highlight of the year. She is also giving an introduction to the city – some genuine highlights and some entertaining words of caution.

And now over to the conference co-chairs **. They are welcoming us to the ninth networked learning conference, the first was in 1998. Huge thanks being extended to the local organisers, and to those that have been supporting the co-chairs with the programme.

Online pre conference events – hot seats and online discussions pre event and post event. Thank you to those helping to facilitate this. Also note the app, SHED. We have colour coded doors to match the app now. And also a favour to ask. We want to create a book of the papers, and we want to crowdsource opinion on the three most interesting papers that have really stuck you over the event to feed into that. And thanks are being extended to our two keynotes. And a welcome for any feedback, new ideas to engage and promote the conference etc. do provide feedback – and I’m sure that extends to those following online as well…

Christine Sinclair is thanking Marshall, Tim, Phil and jeremy who organised the doctoral symposium this morning. And handing over to Chris Jones to introduce our opening keynote Neil Selwyn.

Neil Selwyn – networked learning in 2014 – why it is crucial to be critical

Neil opens with a referendum joke! He has taken the title of the conference and wanted to give a spin on that. I tend not to go to too many ed tech things, I take a critical take on this stuff… Sometimes I’m kind of wheeled out to be a panto villain but actually from the papers, from this mornings symposium, I think there are some great critically minded people here, so hopefully my talk will be about empowering rather than converting you.

I’m a ferocious self-googler. When I do that I find that my impact is terrible – I get raised early and argued against. Or I have said something sarcastically and it has been quoted without the quoted appreciating the sarcasm – his one Wikipedia mention is in that direction. I should be pleased I’m on Wikipedia… But whenever I google myself it is entertaining. I do see undergrad blogs that are fantastic – students tell it as it is. One student suggested I “just need a cuddle”, it’s amazing to see your work reflected that way.

Social media back channels can be particularly interesting… I was Ed Media in 2010 – an enormous conference. I went on 1.10. Within a few minutes in as being accused of being a naysayer…

So today’s hashtag is #nlc2014… Backchannel with caution!

In one respect I should expect critical responses to being critical. One of the first phrases I learned in Australia was “such it up princess!”. I like the idea of the young people, the who cares “haters gonna hate” attitude. But I get a bit dispondent, I want to do some things better… I want to have more impact, I want to makes. Stand for galvanising the critical mindset. Conversations and questions we should be asking. I want to make a pitch for reclaiming the “c” word.

The digital revolution hasn’t taken place. We live In a world where the same inequalities from thirty forty years ago are still there, to some extent even more entrenched. Educational and networked learning still have a lot to prove. We are beset by the no significant different phenomenon, so questions we have to ask. Education is really digital but it’s often mundane. We use PPT, VLEs, turnitin… But often a digital gloss and education having same radiations, structures etc. we were promised jet packs but all we have is PowerPoint and MOOCs. We have to think carefully about this whole hype, hope, disappointment cycle. The dies of “technology meets classroom, classroom wins”. Take the MOOC. 2008, looks so exciting, idea of cMOOCs, but look where we are now in 2014 where we have these subverted, captured by these different agendas. We seem to be amongst disruption and change… But generally this field is disappointing, be interested in state of the actual, rather than state of the art. We aren’t stupid. We know this. But we tend to turn a blind eye.

If you saw Latchem 2014 railed against the quality of papers being submitted to BJET. Saying “there revolution is always about to happen”.

#2 being critical is not in the ed-tech DNA

I think people in this world tend to be very positive. If any of you follow Lev Manovich you’ll have seen him having a rant in December about how every event seems to be about celebration. I think there are great parallels between contemporary art and our field. Those outside of contemporary art don’t see the point, see it as self indulgent. And those within it feel they are changing the world. A critique here calls out “accomplice paranoia”, the fear of bursting the bubble. Vito Campanella 2010 talks about contemporary at world constantly eluding the possibility of critical judgement, leaving slace only for friendly and convivial sharing of nothingness.

There are two reasons I think some of this is true of our field. Firstly we really want to make the world a better place. “Technology enhance learning” or “computer assisted learning”, making the defecto role of those working in this space is of the positivity of technology, it only having a positive impact. And that’s true of technology and society in other contexts…. The one laptop per child slogan “not every child in the world has a laptop, this is a bug and we are going to fix it”, that kind of mindset can lead to madness.

I think there is a real need to question whether
Are we afraid to “rock the boat”. We don’t want to bite the hand that feeds us. It’s not in our interest to say that this is emporers new clothes. It’s not exclusively technology. Education generally seems to be about creativity and innovation these days, not about criticality at all – see stearn 2013, Communication in critical studies.

So there is much to be lost in being critical. My problem is that (a) education and technology does not seem to be working but also (b) money is averted towards these initiatives. We need to calm down a bit. We need to slow down a abit. Stop being desperate to find the next big thing. And we. Need to grow up a bit. We are stuck in wow land. Or a teen place of wanting to smash it to the man by being disruptive – the open tech community can be particularly guilty of this. We have to be more adult, worldly, cynical. In a positive way. Criticality can be positive, it can be constructive (lovink 2008). I think this idea of being realistic, perhaps even fatalistic can be really helpful, better than current idealism.

But how can we do this? Three approaches…

#1 the dictionary definition (of being critical)

So actually thinking about both merits and faults of the worth. This is being sceptical rather than cynical. It means asking difficult questions. I love these questions from Sonia Livingston: q: what is really going on? Q: how can. This be explained? Q: how can Things be done otherwise?

So I think we. Have to more specifically ask:
– what underlying values/agendas are implicit
– in whose interests does this work? Who benefits?
– what is new here?
– what are the unit tended consequences… What are the second order effects?
– what are the potential gains… What are the potential losses
– what are the social losses being addressed?

#2 in Praise of pessimism

I recommend reading dienstag 2006, getting over the idea that not all problems can be solved. It’s not about being defeatist. But to approach educational technology from the perspective of expecting nothing. Gramscis idea of being a pessimist by intention, an optimist by will. But we should have modest intentions. Try to be more honest about not believing we a re sating a Revolution.

#3 Critical theory

I’ve been getting interested in this, from Frankfurt group onwards. Increasingly interested in thinking about how we can address educational technology from a critical theory perspectives. Ed techs re profoundly political processes. There are issues of power, control, domination, conflict, resistance, struggle. There are concerns with empowerment, equality, social justice and participatory democracy.

Nigel thrift, the philosopher, has these found aspects we can bring to research… Of bringing a powerful sense of engagement with politics and the political, a consistent belief that there much be better ways of doing things than are currently found in the world, a neccassarily orientation to a critique of power and expression…

There is some great stuff on sociology if tech. Christian Fuchs social media a critical introduction? David berry’s critical theory of education. And nick dyer witherfords games of empire. So much in this space, though not in the digital education world.

So what can we really learn here…

#1 power and politics – dominance and equality. The nasty bits that get in the way if our idealism

#2 asking questions, testing limited, pointing out contradictions. Interrogate, poke at these ideas, test the logic. You don’t have to have the alternative answers to critique other work.

#3 doing something and for I g change. It’s not critical in the negative way, you can force change through being critical. You don’t need to solve through a new app. (See Fuller and Goffey 2012 – Evil media). I have a lot of sympathy with design approaches, but you cannot have design as an alternative to criticality. You can’t design your way out of all social problems. Design Asa. Critical act in itself has real merit though.

Let’s just finish with how we might move stop… The five habits of five highly disaffected people if you will..

#1 need to depersonalise how we perceive EdTech – not what your family, your students, your grandchildren do. You’re experiences are not the general experience.

#2 need to be nasty. Or at least disagreeable. Part of why I am drawn to those critical tweets. There should be conflict.we. Shouldn’t all agree with each other. This is why I recommend Audrey Watters on twitter and her hack education blog.. She is snarky and awkward Ina brilliant way. But…

#3 we have to do this with humour and good grace, you can make great points through humour. Audrey’s buzzword bingo for SXSWEDU is great for this. We need to be aware of the importance of language, it’s fun but the underlying point is serious.we. Need to be playful in our deconstruction of the field.

#4 need to be contrary, contradictory, uncertain. Danah Boyd’s new book is it’s complicated. Geoffrey seimans stopped doing keynotes because of his concern at the rock star and solution driven nature of the space, he wrote a great blog post on this.

#5 need to be persistent and prominent. I saw great papers this morning but this group are not typical of the networked learning or technology enhanced learning space. The most interesting people who are most critical seem to swiftly move onto other areas. You need to beat the system, stay at it. A message for me too. The field is full of rubbish… Hmm… Did I say that out loud!

One of the most recent books I write was distrusting educational technology – neil Selwyn. My own book publishers cocked up the title to “distributing educational technology” at the launch. That’s how unthinkable criticism in this area is.

The questions we ask shapes the way we are living. John wheeler, talking about quantum physics said:

“Reality is defined by the questions we put to it”

We need to define ourselves with critical questions… And what better way to start than here at this conference…?!


Q – Bonnie Stewart, Canada: I appreciate the provocation but… I’m a big fan of Audrey Watters too. But she’s not nasty, she punches up. She’s critical on the one speaking to the many level… Is nastiness more authentic when you talk peer to peer versus up to the powers that be?

A: I love when she punches up to the powers that be. Yes, peer to peer… You talks this morning about social networks and digital scholars… Between ourselves we need humour. Nasty isnt maybe right. Maybe snarky or spiky is better.

Q- Laura chenovitz, university of Cape Town: since you moved to Australia what’s your take on the geopolitical landscape in technology trends and education and technology

A: I am fascinated by global brands, by international development. It’s another critical aspect that is really important. The big business of this is astonishing. The $7 billion industry of educational technology is fascinating. One of the reasons I wanted to work in saucy trails was to tweak my outlook a bit.

Q: I enjoyed that talk much more than I really wanted to! The point I grapple with… If you have the luxury where what you produce in your daily work is critique that’s great. For many their job relies in taking action… To what extent can a critical mindset be part of those contrained circumstances. Perhaps partly it’s about the scope of faction, what is doable, what actions one might take. Think that gels with being modest in effects. But then I wonder that if you have freedom tow ct as critical commentator you can trump and squash that local action

A: I am privileged to be a tenured academic, I think we have a requirement to be critical. I am fascinated by danah boyd. She finished her ohd and went to work for Microsoft, criticised for working for the man. And if you see what she does there, she has a great team of critically minded researchers there. She is working within and to influence Microsoft. I’ve done work for Microsoft, for big business before. You can either be a teenager and reject them, or you can try to engage and influence. So academics have a need to be critical, but you can work within other spaces in critical ways to shape those places.

Q: I think a lot of people working on critical takes on education, get along to wollawonga? And meet the authors of becoming critical. I agree with much of what you said. We are tied to assessment regime, and we don’t get credit for that in a way. These are more than dialogical objects.

A: I don’t claim to be totally original here. I’m trying to bridge those working on critical theory and critical takes on education, and to technology education. They tend to sit rather separately at the moment. It has been possible to get funding for critical approaches but it is quite difficult.

Q: do you actually need a cuddle? What I can’t square with what you are saying… It appeals to the intellect but much of the emotions are negative. But when compared to happy smiling sales pitch of commercial educational spaces. We can develop critical voices but when a salesman turns up with that smiling picture where is the money going to come in?

A: I think that’s where humour and snarkiness comes in, and can help us here.

Q: thank you for your talk. I have a question about what exactly you are critical of at the end of the day. Is about technology not delivering what it is supposed to. Or does it deliver but it’s in the wrong hands politically…

A: there is a need to say this in this field, more than in sociology and ethnography space. I have a problem with promises of technology. It can be good. It hasn’t realised potential. It can be a Distraction and financially and intellectually a real diversion. If we invested like this in education generally what impact might ewe have. Resources a re finite one cucatkpn, looks at the California iPads for school kids debacle. I have no issue with big business per say.

Q- Claire westrick, university of Warwick: I do live in the real world but OA of that is applying for funding… Given how I have to do that, and to place the university brand how do I calm down, slow down and grow up.

A: VCs and politicians work in kind of five year cycles. We have to be savvy about why we do the things we do. Convenient stories play well to audiences we are working with. It’s about changing the conversation. But to takea. Historical take on technology and education, maybe make decision makers think differently with that longer context. I think that’s possible.

Q-cal meany, Uni of Toronto: as someone looking to get a job, looking to supervise me… Being critical can be so hard. Finding the right supervisor can be tough… Any advice?

A: I’d say play the game, publish a lot, tick the boxes. PhDs are such a privileged position to push back boundaries, Dow hat you want. Probably easier to do in land than anywhere else. You an. Make your research be useful and to be constructive, it’s getting the balance right. It’s difficult. Not sure I can help with advice on getting a. Job.

Q- elem rose, Uni of Brunswick Canada: I’ve been writing critically on you cation for a while. I wanted to ask about pessimism… I seem to be stuck in that… Technology seems to suck up our time so much. How do you deal with pessimism.

A: I’m a bit if a contrarily. If everyone was critical I’d probably be enthusing for technology. None of us could work without technology. I think pessimism is good. And technology is really good too. Amazing inert action on screen, on twitter, often far richer! Maybe I’m arguing against myself.

Q: I thought that was terrific. I wanted to pick up on what we do next… T&l think about choosing our friends when we talk about thinking critically. We have our own choices in our own teaching. And there are people who are concerned by personal freedoms and justice who work outside the academy. I’ve done work with trade unions. There are charities as well. So thinking about our friends when we think about thinking critically.

A: absolutely. Thinking critically in our own teaching is really important. Teaching is really important. Similarly getting voices to news media etc., where real people are. The stuff that went on in future lab was often really good. Think tanks, outside the academy can be interesting. Do is I’m looking a t although they seem to be more design approach at the moment. Unions are important though, my latest book is on technology and the university brings some of these in. Hugely important.

Q: I enjoyed your talk. Looking at it you treat criticality as a method you can apply to everything. But I am sceptical of the validity of treating theses sorts of skills as general. There is no method of being critical, it’s being critical in specific contexts. But not that much solid stuff about how to be critical. In Denmark those critical of iPads are academics but they are being pushed out by politicians. So I guess is want to ask if your five bullets are genuinely a critical approach, is this just a straw Man to attack?

A: it’s a spectrum. And a disposition to add to the mix, a starting point. There are concrete projects.we. Are doing a project on open a data at Monash. E want to ask critical questions of data in schools. Asking critical questions, considering those who are not usually included in those discussions. May result in tools or apps, but it will certainly raise those conversations, those argument ts. But sure five take home messages is a bit pithy, I take that criticism.

Q: my own work is with practical teachers in secondary and HE. Looking at impact of technology on their working lives. Seems to be a lack of freedom in the ways teachers can talk about education without being perceived as Luddite. Still a really deterministic mindset in education than in ither appeal es. This seems important to publish… Where should I publish that?

A: that is important. And where to publish? well probably not an academic journal? Blogging and tweeting good but tends to still go to the ed tech bubble. So mainstream print press important. Publish as much as possible in as many places as possible. Often the weird little newsletter items get the most interest. Throw enough mud at the wall I think.

Q: I am coming from a country, turkey, where millions has been spent on iPads for schools. As scholars when we begin to ask our research questions they already have the iPads. I think we need to speed up. We have a new problem of non generalisability. So many studies, projects etc. but all so different and cannot be out together. In terms of research methods what do you think?

A: you are also coming from a country trying to ban twitter and YouTube. Really important and interesting factors in the concept. We have to move beyond technology as positive or not positive towards something more nuanced. Need politicians and leaders to think that way. If you get everyone iPads you have to not think that will raise money, improve grades etc. because those are not the questions to ask…

And with that, it’s off to coffee for us.

Perspectives on identity within networked learning – Jane Davis, Catherine Cronin, Joyce zeitzinger

We really do mean perspectives here… And this session is very much about making you think. The hashtag for this session is #nlcid

Jane Davis is starting first talking about:

Dimensions of identity and the student experience of networked learning
So who am I? I’m myself, things like my twitter profile, my professional role, my former student role. I’m particularly interested in us thinking about what it was like to be you in your last experience of being a student.

For me as a student being a student and a practitioner had a lot of overlap for a while…. At a given point being a student had more precedence than other roles. But when foster came to my college my student role had to take a. Back seat for a while. There is a high degree of porosity and merging, that all has a real impact on students and what they do…

I want you to think about your role when you were a student, I want you to think about your roles and how they overlapped…. (We have coloured paper and pritt stick to help!

We all have different diagrams here. No two of ours are the same… And that represents very different priorities – with students not being the most.

Peter Burke and ? Sanders talk about the nature of your identity standard as a student. Mark Smithers asked about this on twitter recently. I want you to think about what you felt when considering your student role identity. What influenced you? What shaped your perceptions of the student role? What did you expect to get out of being a student?

(We now have another activity, numbering possible expectations we may have had). Again. None of us match up exactly.

Can’t well (2007) reenergised Burke and Reitzes, 1991 work on student identities by bringing up the idea of dimensions of the student role identity:

– academic responsibility – about meeting objectives
– sociability
– intellectual curiosity
– personal assertiveness – goal orientated whether academic or not

All different continua. You have all the pressures of students roles. And we have all those expectations. And hey, we just called them students.

So in terms of impact… We have the salience of the student role identity (goals and priorities), and porosity of roles (trust, willingness to share). And lastly we have the relational nature of affordances of the learning place/space. Thinking of affordances as having a relational meaning. And then lastly thinking about David Whites idea of digital native continuum we think about the nature of engagement/practice with technology for learning (reflecting practices of visitor, tourist, tenant or resident).

And now over to Catherine Cronin

Networked learning and identity development in open online spaces

I want to use janes ideas as a springboard to move a level up and think about our interactions with students. I wanted to start with a quote from Joi Ito talking about education as a process entirely to do with context and experience.

Space prepares you to receive or to respond – from jenny mackness’ “sensing spaces”, royal academy of arts. So I want to talk a bit about teaching spaces, lee rainie and Barry well an talk, in networked, about networked individualism. Here networks are not bound by geography or family. Mobile technologies have only exaggerated and accelerated this. And temporality. danah boyd talks about space constructed through networked technologies, and the imagined collective by which this takes place (boyd 2010). Spaces used to be private by default, public by effort. Now we talk about Things being public by default, private by effort.

Alex couros talked about the networked teacher, building on the idea of the networked individual. The tools and media change all the time but the point is that we all are networked individuals. Looking at my own about.me website I very much curate a multimodal, immediate space rather than point to a static institutional page.

So how do networked teachers and networked students encounter each other? We both have these multiple spaces, how do we interact? Can define these in three ways perhaps, physical spaces, bounded online spaces, open online spaces. Some events use all three. But in terms of pedagogical choices and identity and power, it’s important to think about what’s possible and. What the advantaged and disadvantages of these spaces are.

In physical spaces we often have to work against the tyranny of rad hitecture.we can. Create live and vibrant communities with students in physical spaces. But we do have spatial and temporal constraints. Bounded online spaces do give us some more freedom, we are a little bit freer in how we express ourselves. But for instance students can only use their own birth certificate name in the LMS. And we have privileges in these spaces. Whereas in open online spaces we can choose to identify ourselves by our own name or representation, identity play can seem challenging.

Danny miller (2013) reflects that those different identities are there but not acknowledged in offline spaces. But open online spaces can be challenging all the same. And those open spaces are public by default, private by effort. Many students have confident online social identities but perhaps not confident scholarly or professional or similar identities. But we can model those, students can play with disposable student identities etc.

So looking at a visualisation generated via martin hawkseys tag explorer looking at #icollab which were discussions from students looking at social media across multiple institutions. They engage with students beyond the classroom and see instructors modelling themselves as. Students, breaking down the student/learner dichotomy.

Kris Gutierrez (2008) looked at language learning, found that all formal spaces were not effective. But if you creates. Third space, both formal and informal that can be more productive. About spaces like twitter, google+ something like that. Use some skills they may have to combine formal and informal learning. Students are learning that if we only engage in formal spaces there is an inauthentic divide there. So third spaces bridge informal and formal learning. And a bridge between intact groups and communities, and into bigger networks. It’s pretty scary to go out on your own as a Newbie to get out onto a hashtag but we can help students practice, to establish those literalicies.

We cannot deny these third spaces, and to only focus on formal spaces. – Etienne wenger (2010). Keri facer and neil Selwyn talk about the importance of learners practicing different identities.

And now over to Joyce seitzinger:

Curate me! Exploring online identity through social curation in networked learning
So I’m talking about ways in which people enact their identity through curation, or at least interacting with information resources. I wanted to look back at how we are talking about this. E.g. Siemensa and weller talk about “reduced resistance to information flow”, vent dear Kline focuses on cacti cities, learning by finding, learning by adding new information…

At the same time if you go online there is a term for interacting with information – just looking at google trends – is that term “curation”. As I researched this…. There is a journal of digital curation but that’s about data and archiving, curating artefacts not for an audience or time but generating massive collections which may be accessed sometime by someone. But if you search around content curation tends to be about driving traffic, SEO, quite a negative connotation. And then we have the idea of social curation, that’s what fascinates me…

So I want to kind of propose something of a. Definition of social curation:

“The discovery, selection,…. To be useful for the community” [full version needed]

So you have all these artefacts out on the internet. And you have a process (discovery, selection, collect, sharing). Many discovery tools here – twitter, Facebook, zite, flipboard… And you have the humans election la. And then there is the collection process and sharing – although you may not share things.

So that was a bit of a primer… But what are the opportunities here? You have Goffmans presentation of self, and the idea of impressions of self. Nowhere is that more apparent than in social collections. That can look like this – a Pinterest profile… [i note a nod to Portlandia’s put a bird on it in the mix there].

So that’s about enacting an identity through third party artefacts. Danah Boyd’s criteria for an SNS is about links between people, of that being articulated. But actually around social curation you might only connect around the artifact – see harro and? Pinterest study. Connection doesn’t have to occur to view or engage with artefacts. Online identities do not automatically require heavy personal disclosure. Curation is perhaps a good intermediary step for those unwilling to disclose but want to build an online identity.

Another issue you get on social media is the issue of collapsed context. The issue of not friending your students on above book say… Here again curation is a possible alternative. And the role being acted becomes clear from the context of the (Pinterest) board.

And another way to communicate around curation is through community identification through curation…

Which brings us to the next mapping activity… Using the digital visitor/digital resident diagram into a curation one… So map your curated collections

[private at one end, bounded in centre, open at other end; personal at top, institutional at bottom]

Can be interesting to think about which of those closed or bounded objects should be there, are those bounded collections mobile if you change roles? If. You have loads and loads of different tools maybe you need to tone it down. Good to take stock, to enact your identity, but not jump on every bandwagon.

And now we move to the plenary, an opportunity for questions, to have a. Conversation…. To discuss…

Comment: we were talking about how personal and institutional don’t seem right. Much more personal and professional.

Joyce: that’s dave whites axes and they liked at students. I think personal and professional might make more sense

Jane: and actually going back to earlier diagrams an opportunity to see how things mesh…

Comment: also maybe aligned more to discipline or profession rather than institution.

Comment: Catherine when you talk about the networked student, and of spaces. That’s kind of an outsider view. Student view here sees paths, activities etc. not in the separations of space.

Catherine: not sure if martin and leslie is here is very much about student perspectives. My work is about those interactions and where interactions take place…

Comment: you need to consider time in there too. If you focus too much on space you miss there

Catherine: yes, and there seems to be less constraints about time in open spaces

Comment: I wanted to ask about good curation and bad curation. You shouldn’t just dump stuff but leave some sort of comment, but then is that arrogant, is my comment important?

Joyce: I disagree with the perspective that you have to add something for it to be good curation. Just bringing those together is a form of added value and certainly a form of curation

Comment: can I add to that that I retweet things I don’t agree with at all but which I am curious about, want to see reactions to. To attribute this to me wouldn’t be correct.

Joyce: some people will say that on their profile but twitter as a space doesn’t neccassarily assume you agree

Comment: on that first bit what you said, Catherine , reminded me of the concept of liminal space.

Catherine: liminality is about moving towards, but luminiferous talks about a raw formative space. Away from either/or…

Comment: liminal space, classically, doesn’t mean having to move away or towards something. But of being in a tansitional space or identity.

Catherine: I need to explore that in relation to identity and power

Comment: on one of your slides you had a really big blob compared to others… You seem to assume that student is an identity that is desirable. A lot of negative connotations of the “student”.

Jane: the examples of roles is actually taken from my doctoral research. I found some students who wanted the archetypal student experience, and it was about being away from home, forming a social group etc. they felt that when visiting home still identified as a students. But we also had lots of mature students, lots of part time students where being a Student meant something so different. So when we think about learning environments we have to be very aware of those other roles and any assumptions about the holistic nature of them. The two profiles I showed though, those came from my research.

Comment: have any of you been talking about data identities. Tools like Netflix or spotify as rich spaces that curate us almost…

Joyce: really interesting. I was involved in a crowdfunded research project. We collected all tweets from this to build a networked diagram. Very rich. And could see how impact changed by tweeting In a particular way. Huge amount you can. Lenin. But tools like scoopit and Pinterest it can be harder to pull out data. And of course there is that whole black box aspect to much of this data.

Jane: Mark Hannibal on twitter tweets a lot about quantified self…

Please do keep discussion going on on the hashtag #nlcid.

And with that the session has finished.



 April 7, 2014  Posted by at 3:15 pm Uncategorized Tagged with:  2 Responses »
Apr 032014

Today I am at the Digital Humanities: What does it mean? session at Teviot debating Hall. I will be running two workshops later but will LiveBlog others talks taking place today.

We are starting with an introduction from Jessica from Forum, who is explaining the background to today’s event, in exploring what digital humanities are and what it means to be a digital only journal.

The first speaker today is Lisa Otty

Lisa Otty – Digital Humanities or How I Learned to stop worrying and love the computer

I’m going to take “digital humanities, what does it mean?” In two ways. Firstly thinking about literal definitions, but also thinking more rhetorically about what this means.

Digital humanities generate many strong opinions and anxieties – hence my title borrowed from Dr strange love. So I want to move beyond the polemic to what digital humanities actually means to practitioners.

I want to ask you about the technologies you use… From word processing to Google books, to blogs, twitter, to Python and raspberry pis (by show of hands most use the former, two code, one uses a raspberry pi to build). There is a full spectrum here.

Wikipedia is probably the most widely used encyclopedia but I suspect most academics would still be sceptical about it… Can we trust crowdsourced information? Well it’s definition of digital humanities is really useful. What we should particularly take from this definition that it is a methodology, computational methods. Like critical theory it cross cuts different disciplines, which is why to slot into universities structures.

Chris Forster, on the HASTAC blog (9/8/2010), talks about digital humanities as about direct practical use of computational methods for research, of media studies new media, using technology in the classroom, and the way new technology is rescaling research and the profession – academic publishing, social media, and alt-ac (those academic-like but from outside traditional structures, eg based in support services).

So I’ve recrafted this a but. Digital humanities is about:

Research that uses computational methods and tools. Probably the most famous proponent of this is Franco Morello, who uses quantitative computational methods in his area of literature. This is work at large scale – often called scalable reading or distance reading. So for instance looking at British novelistic genres 1740-1900 he has created a visual representation of how these genres appear and disappear – frequently in clusters. Moretti says that this maps out the expectations of genres over time.

Similarly Moretti has visualised the characters in Hamlet and their deaths, mapping out that characters closely related to the king and closely related to polonium then you are toast. Now you could find that out by reading Hamlet, but with that approach you can go and explore other texts.

Research that studies digital objects/cultural. Lev Marovich has founded the concept of cultural analytics. For instance a recent project looks at people’s self portraits online, how they present themselves, how they describe themselves. They found women take more selfies than men, women take them in their early twenties, men in their thirties, and people I’m susan Paulo like to recline in their selfies – not sure what that part tells us!

Research that builds digital objects/tools. For instance the Carnegie Mellon Docuscope which looks for linguistic markers and rhetorical patterns. Interestingly colleagues at strathclyde using this tool found that structurally Othello is a comedy.

So you may be building tools for your discipline or area of research we also see tools built around digitised texts, such as Codex Simaiticus. This has been digitised using a process which photographs the texts in many didn’t light levels and conditions, including ultra violet light. This allows scholars to work with texts in new ways, to read previously inaccessible or delicate texts. And there are 3d imaging techniques too. So digital images have really important implications for humanities scholars, particularly in areas such as archeology.

This computation research fits into four key fields:
– digitisation and TEI, the latter a metadata mark up language which is really scholarly best practice to use. Whole projects are based around setting up details in TEI.
– mapping and data visualisation – like Moretti, georeferencing etc.
– text mining/topic modelling
– physical computing – a catch all for digital imaging and similar technologies

I wanted to now focus on some projects with a close association with this university.

– digitisation and TEI – the Modernist Versions project
– mapping and data visualisation – PLEIDES, extracted georeferenced texts from ancient classical texts
– text mining – Palimpsest uses text mining to georeferences references to places in texts to allow exploration in situ using mobile phones.
– physical computing – digital imaging unit at edinburgh university library is brilliant, has a fantastic blog, a rich resource.

So to the rhetorical aspects of DH.

Roberto Busa (1949-2005) undertook a visionary project with IBM, the Index Thomisticus. He was really the first person to connect text to the internet. The world of 2005 when that project went live was very different to 1949.

The term Digital humanities was coined in 2001. Computing was already about teaching, publishing, convergent practices… The definition of DH which relates the field to to a three ring circus really connects to Chris foresters definition.

By 2009 we reached a pivotal moment for digital humanities! it moved from emergent to established (Christine ?, UCLA). Some enthusiasts saw this as the future. But it generated a kind of equal and opposite reaction… Not everyone wants borders reshaped and challenged, they were already invested in their own methods. New methods can be daunting. What seemed most worrying was what digital humanities might bring with it. Anxieties arose from very real concerns…

There has been an encroachment of science and the precariousness of the humanities with medical humanities, cognitive humanities, neuro humanities, digital humanities. Here the rhetoric sees scientific methods as more valid than humanities. People like frank morello don’t help here. And to what extent do we use these scientific approaches to validate humanities work? I don’t think the humanities would be any less precarious if all used such approaches.

And there are managerial and financial issues, Daniel Allington, himself a digital humanities scholars. He describes humanities research as cheap, disadvantagious from two perspectives, both funders and universities. Sometimes theses projects can be about impact or trendiness, not always about the research itself. matthew tanbaum(?) describes it more tactfully, with DH as “tactical coinage”, acknowledging the reality of circumstances in which DH allows us to get things done, to put it simply.

And who is in DH? Generally it is a very gendered and a very white group. Typically teenage boys are the people who teach themselves to code. The terms can be inaccessible. It can be ageist.it can seem to enforce privilegde. There are groups that are seeking to change this, but we have to be aware of the implications.

And those tools I showed before… Those are mainly commercial companies, as we all know if you do not pay for a service, you are the product, even the British newspaper archive is about digitising in order to charge via genealogy websites. DH has a really different relationship to business, to digital infrastructure. I want to tell you about this to explain the polemical responses to DH. And so that you understand the social, cultural and professional implications.

Geoffrey Harpham, in NEH bulletin (winter 2014) talk about research as being about knowledge but also the processes by which it is brought into being. We are all using digital tools. We just have to be conscious of what we are doing, what we are priviledging, what we are excluding. digital humanities scholars have put this well in a recent MIT publication. They point to questions raised:
– what haloens when anyone can speak and publish? What happens when knowledge credential in is no longer controlled solemnly by institutions of higher learning?
– who can create knowledge?

I liken this time to the building of great libraries in the nineteenth century. We have to be involved and we really have to think about what it means to become digital. We need to shape this space in critical ways, shaping the tolls we need.

Matthew Kirshenbaum talks about digital humanities as mobile and tactical signifier. He talks about the field as a network topology. DH, the keyword, the tag, constantly changes, is constantly redefined.

And in a way this is why Wikipedia is the perfect place to seek a definition, it is flexible and dynamic.

Digital Humanities has to also be flexible, it is up to all of us to make it what we want it to be.


Q1) is this an attempt for humanities to redefine itself to survive?
A1) it’s an important areas. The digital humanist does work collaboratively with the sciences. The wrong approach is to be staking out you space and defending it, collaborative work is tactical. So many post phd roles are temporary contracts around projects. We can’t just maintain the status quo, but we. Do have to think strategically about what we do, and be critical in thinking about what that means.

Q2) coming back to your Wikipedia comment, and the reinforcement of traditional privilege… I’ve become increasingly aware that Wikipedia can also be replicating traditional structures. Wikipedian in residence legitimises Wikipedia, but does it not also potentially threaten the radical nature of the space?
A2) you’ve put your finger on the problem, I think we are all aware of the gender bias in Wikipedia. And those radical possibilities, and threats are important to stay on top of, and that includes understanding what takes place behind the scenes, in order to understand what that means.

Q3) I wanted to ask about the separate nature of some of those big digital humanities centre
A3) in the USA there are some huge specialist centres at UCLS, university of Victoria, Stanford, create hugely specialist tools which are freely available but which attract projects and expertise to their organisation. In a way the lack of big centres here does make us think more consciously about what digital humanities is. I was speaking to Andrew Prescott about this recently and he thinks the big DH centres in the UK will disappear and that it will be dispersed across humanities departments. But it’s all highly political and we. Have to be aware of the politics of these tools and organisations when we Use and engage with them.

Q4) given we all have to put food on the table, how can we work with what is out there already – the Googles of the world who do hire humanities experts for instance.
A4) I didn’t mean to suggest google is bad, they are good in many ways. But DH as a tactical term is something that you can use for your benefit. It is a way to get into a job! That’s perfectly legitimate. There are very positive aspects to the term in terms of deployment and opportunities.

Q5) how do you get started with DH?
A5) a lot of people teach themselves… There are lots of resources and how too guides online. There is Stanford’s “tooling up for the digital humanities”, Roy rosewhite centre has DH tools. Or for your data you can use things like Voyant Tolls. Lots of eresoures online. Experiment. And follow DH people on twitter. Start reading blogs, read tutorials of how to do things. Watch and learn!

Q6) are there any things coming up you can. Recommend?
A6) yes, we have an event coming up on 9th June. Informations coming soon. You can sign up for that to see presentations, speak to scholars about DH, and there will be a bidding process for a small amount of money to. Try these tools. And there is also a DH network being established by institutions across Scotland so look out for news on that soon!

And with that I ran two workshops…

Panel Session

We have Jo Shaw chairing, Ally Crockford! Anna Groundwater, James Loxley! Louise Settle, Greg Walter

My project is not very digital, and largely Inhumane! I think I’m here to show you what not to do! My project is theatrical, the only 16th century play form Scotland to survive. It had never been performed since 1554. We kind of showed why that was! It is 5 and can half hours long… We got a director, actors, etc. funding to do this, and why is so hard to do financially. So we set up a website, Staging and Representing the Scottish Renaissance Court, with HD video that can be edited and manipulated. Endless blogging, twittering, and loads fore sources for teachers etc. and we have local dramatic groups who are taking the play up. The Linlithgow town Players are performing it all next year for instance


This is incomplete but my project is called digital manipulation a, grew out of AHRC project with surgeons hall in edinburgh. The city is first UNESCO city of literature but medically it is also historically one of the most important cities in the world. So makes some sense to look at those two factors together. So my site, a mock up, is Dissecting Edinburgh. A digital project, based on omeka, designed for non IT specialists but it’s still pretty tough to use actually. They have plugins and extensions. Bit like wordpress but more designed for academic curation. For instance have an extension that has been used to map literary connections between real locations and HP Lovecrafts work. And you can link sources to comment back to full text. And you can design “exhibitions” based on keywords or themes. Looking for similarities in sources, etc.mthat is the hope of what it will look like… Hopefully!

My IASH project uses historical GIS to map crime from 1900 to 1939. Looking at women’s experiences, and looking at policing. Geography became important which is how I came to use GIS. I used edinburgh Map Builder… Although if you aren’t looking just at Edinburgh you can use Digimap which has full UK coverage. I wasn’t technically minded but I came to use these tools because of my research. So I got my data from court records and archives… And out that into GIS, plot them on the map, see what changes and patterns occur. Changes appear… And suggest new questions… Like plotting entertainment venues etc. and I’ve used that in papers, online etc. I’m also working with MESH: mapping edinburghs social history which is a huge project looking at living, dying, making, feeding, drinking… Huge scale project on Edinburgh.

This is a blog site plus I suppose. This was a project Anna and I were working on from 2011-2013 based on a very long walk that Ben Jonson took. I was lucky enough to turn up a manuscript by his travelling companion. I was exploring a text, annotating it, summarising it, and creating a book… But Anna had other ideas and we found new digital tools to draw out elements of the account… Despite being about a writer and a poet it’s much more a documentary account of the journey itself. So within the blog we were able to create a map of the walk itself…. With each point a place that Jonson and his companion visited. This was all manually created with google maps. It was fun but time consuming. Then created a database used for this map. And then there markers for horse or coaches. We worked with Dave in our college we team to help with this who was great at bringing this stuff together. For each place you could find the place, the dates visited, distance form last point, details of food of drink etc. sort of tabulated the walk… And that plays to the strengths of the texts. And we could calculate Jonsons preferred walking speed… Which seemed to be thresh miles per hour – seems unlikely as he was in his forties and 20stone according to other accounts at the time…

Anyway in addition we used the blog to track the walk, each going live relative to the point that Jonson and his companion had reached. And the points on the map appeared to the same schedule – gave people a reason to go back and revisit…

The most fun was the other bit…


I’m going to talk a bit about how we did that I real time. We want edit o be creative… Because we didn’t want to do the walk! And so ewe tweeted in real time, using modernised version (and spelling) of the text in the voice of the travelling companions,and. Chunked up into the appropriate portions of the day. It felt more convincing and authentic because it was so fixed and authentic in terms of timing. (See @benjonsonswalk). We did it on trace book as well. And tweets showed on the blog so you could follow from tweet to blog… It unfolded in real time and always linked back to more detail about Ben Jonsons walk on the blog.

Now… It was an add on to the project. Not in original AHRC blog. Just built it in. It was 788 tweets. It was unbelievably time consuming! We preloaded the tweets on Hootsuite. So preloaded but we could then interact as needed. Took a month to set up. And once up and running you have to maintain it. Between us we did that. But it was 24/7. You have to reply, you have to thank them for following. We got over 1200 followers engaging. Fun bit was adding photos to tweets and blog of, say, buildings from that time that still stand. What I wasn’t expecting was what we got back from the public… People tweeted or commented with information that we didn’t know… And that made it into the book and is acknowledged. It was real Knowledge Exchange in practice!

James: the twitter factor got us major media interest from all the major newspapers, radio etc. madden. Big impact.

Anna: Although more and more projects will be doing these things, we did have a novelty factor.

Jo: what was the best thing and the worst thing about what happens?

Greg: best thing wasn’t digital, it was working with ac tors. Learned so much working together. Worst thing was… Never work with trained ravens!

Ally: best thing is that I’m quite a nerd so I love finding little links and. Connections… I found out that Robert Louis Stevenson was friends with James Demoson (?) daughter, he had discovered cloroform… Lovely comments in her texts about Stevenson, as a child watching her father at work from out of his window. Worst thing is that I’m a stickler and a nerd, ow ant to start from scratch and learn everything and how it works…. The timeload is huge.

Louise: best thing was that I didn’t know I was interested in maps before, so that’s been brilliant. Worst part was having to get up to speed with that and make data fit the right format…but using existing tools can be super time saving.

James: best thing was the enthusiasm of people out there, I’m a massive nerd and Ben Jonson fan… Seeing others interest was brilliant. Particularly when you got flare ups and interest as Ben Jonson went through their home town… Worst bit was being heckled by an incredibly rude William Shakespeare on twitter!

Anna: the other connection with shakespeare was that Jonson stayed at the george at Huntingdon. You have to hashtag everything so ewe hashtagged the place. We got there… The manager at The George write back to say that they stage a Shakespeare play every year in the courtyard. They didn’t know Jonson had stayed there… Love this posthumous meeting!

Q: what’s come across is how much you’ve learned and come to understand what you’ve been using. Wondered how that changed your thinking and perhaps future projects…

Anna: we were Luddites (nerdy geeky Luddites) but we learned so so much! A huge learning process. The best way to learn is by doing it. It’s the best way to learn those capabilities. You don’t have to do it all. Spot what you can, then go to the write person to help. As to the future… We were down in Yorkshire yesterday talking about a big digital platform across many universities working on Ben Jonson. Huge potential. Collaboration potential exciting. Possibly Europe wide, even US.

Ally: it can change the project… I looked at omeka… I wanted to use everything but you have to focus in on what you need to do… Be pragmatic, do what you can in the time, can build on it later…

Jo: you are working on your own, would co working work better?

Ally: would be better if cross pollinations cross multiple researchers working together. Initially I wanted to see what I can do, if I admin generate some interest. Started off with just me. Spoke to people at NLS, quite interested in directing digitisation in helpful ways. Now identifying others to work with… But I wanted to figure out what I can do as a starting point…

Louise: MESH is quite good for that. They are approaching people to do just part of what’s needed… So plotting brothel locations and I’d already done that… But there were snippets of data to bring in. Working with a bigger team is really useful. Linda who was at IASH last year is doing a project in Sweden and working on those projects has given me confidence to potentially be part of that…

Greg: talking about big data for someone and they said the key thing is when you move from where the technology does what you can, and moves into raising new questions, bringing something new… So we are thinking about out how to make miracle play with some real looking miracles in virtual ways…

Jo: isn’t plotting your way through a form of big data…?

Greg: it’s visualising something we had in our head… Stage one is getting play better known. When we. Get to stage two we can get to hearing their responses to it too…

Anna: interactions and crowdsourcing coming into the research process, that’s where we are going… Building engagement into the project… Social media is very much part of the research process..there are some good English literature people doing stuff. Some of Lisa Otty’s work is amazing. I’m developing a digital literature course… I’ve been following Lisa, also Elliot Lang (?) at strathclyde… Us historians are maybe behind the crowd…

Ally: libraries typically one step ahead of academics in terms of integrating academic tools and resources in accessible formats. So the Duncan street caller lets you flick through floor plans of john murray archive. It’s stunning. It’s a place to want to get to…

James Loxley: working on some of these projects has led to my working on a project with colleagues from informatics, with St. Andrews and with edina to explore and understand how edinburghs cityscape has evolved through literature. Big data, visualisation… Partly be out finding non linear, non traditional ways into the data. This really came from understanding Ben Jonsons walk text in a different structure, as a non linear thing

Q: what would you have done differently

Louise: if I’d known how the data had to be cleaned and structured up front, I’d have done it that way to start with… Knowing how I’d use it.

Ally: I think it would have had a more realistic assessment of what I needed to do, and done more research about the work involved. Would have been good to spends. Few months to look at other opportunities, people working in similar ways rather than reinventing the wheel.

Greg: in a previous project we performed a play at Hampton court, our only choice. We chose to make the central character not funny… In a comedy… A huge mistake. Always try to be funny…

Anna: I don’t think we messed up too badly…

James: I’d have folder funding into the original bid…

Anna: we managed to get some funding for the web team as pilot project thankfully. But yes, build it in. Factor it in early. I think it should be integral, not an add on.

Q: you mentioned using databases…. What kinds have you used? Acid you mentioned storify… Wondered how you used? What is immersive environment for the drama?

Greg: I don’t think it exists yet.a. Discussion at Brunel between engineers, and developers and my collaborator…

Ally: I think there is a project looking in this area…

Louise: I used access for my database…

James: to curate map data we started in excel…. Then dave did magic to make it a google map. Storify was to archive those tweets, to have a store of that work basically…

Anna: there are courses out there. Take them. I went on digimap courses, ARCGIS, social media courses which were really helpful. Just really embrace this stuff. And things change so fast….

And with that we draw to a close with thank yous to our speakers….


 April 3, 2014  Posted by at 1:57 pm Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Mar 062014

Today and tomorrow I am in South Manchester for the 1st Digital Personhood Network Meeting.

The network is funded under the RCUK Digital Economy strand and supports a number of projects who will all be presenting over the next couple of days.

As this is a LiveBlog please note that there are likely to be some typos or small errors. Corrections are welcome and I will be updating the post with any errors that come in.

Welcome note – Mike Chantler

Rcuk economy funded, also some nemode Rcuk funding.

Some here from sandpit projects, some not. These projects came out of a sandpit session here which ran for a week in later 2012.

Idea today is to come up with something that expresses your research interests, the research landscape and challenges, any potential multiplier for impact stuff. Today we will mix things up eye. Tomorrow well set up a document that captures there search landscape taking on board your research interests….

Why do that? Established and well funded communities tend to have road maps and plans. Good to have to characterise an area, to refer to in proposals, and so ewe can present to digital economy advisory board so they understand what the network is about, what challenges and drivers there are.

::: cue an icebreaker chat :::

Digital economy – dr john Baird

This will set the scene…and talk about impact, of bigger picture. This work is really important and stuff you are doing is new, showing new interdisciplinary projects. Add press coverage matters, David Willets has noticed one of these projects which is great.

And this strand came from reviews of digital economy work, which hazel was involved in.

Previously pseuds corner of private eye rather trivialised this stuff so we need to get great coverage that overcomes that trivialisation.

What’s the vision?

The DE vision: rapidly realise the transformational impact of digital technologies on aspects of community life, cultural experiences, future society, and the economy.

Indeed steve jobs said: “technology is not enough, interdisciplinary is key”. And indeed we have are really huge range of people here, across digital economy but also in this room. We have three research council partners of EPSRC, AHRC, ESRC and workkmh across communities and cultures; sustainable society; IT as a utility; new economic models – four challenge areas, they are open shops.

Great example of digital personhood – economist front cover on Facebook, highlighting people giving their data. That’s at the heart of things…

Major DE theme investments… In 2008 gave funding of £120m. So set up three (12m each):

– horizon – Nottingham and Oxbridge, Brunel, Exeter on footprints etc
– social inclusion through the digital economy – Newcastle and Dundee
– dot.rural – Aberdeen

These end next years… So what’s going to be next?

We also have doctoral training centres – thematic, £5 each, five years, 100 student pa

– web science, Southampton
– digital entertainment – bath and Bournemouth
– my life in data – Nottingham
– financial computing and analytics – UCL, LSE and imperial
– healthcare innovation – Oxford
– high wire – Lancaster
– Media and arts technology – QMUL
– Intelligent games – York
– Digital civics – Newcastle

These have retail, football club, banking connections, having a real impact.

Other major investments:

– Digital city exchange – £5.9m looking at smart cities to boost capabilities, internet of things enabling transport routing, dealing with costly peak demand, data in health, social and other areas.

– framework for research and innovation in media citrus (FIRM funded with AHRc) – just finished but included BBC and ITV

– also sandpits in:
– designing effective research spaces
– changing travel behaviour
– design in the digital world
– digital personhood
– empathy and trust in online communications.

Also 4 networks
– bridging the urban and rural divide
– research in the wild **
– transforming technology with demand…?
– economy and copyright (Glasgow)

Popular press coverage
When I talk about these projects I like to pull out ToTEM (Tales of things) and Annie Lennox’s dress – free half page in Sunday times and it was clear who funded that work – couldn’t have paid for that sort of coverage and working with oxfam and did get commercialised and led to shelflike project, personalised 3D chocolate, daily mail pick ups on older people and sensors and data from Newcastle work and Phillips’ ambient kitchen, digital sensors a in new scientist, student placement at double negative and his work went into inception and prizes won by student and film

So in the future?

Had a scheme under previous administration around particular cross disciplinary challenge themes…. But no real government drivers here to continue on in quite the same way with these themes… So How do we make the story about what we fund and should fund next…

These are sort of T shaped people, we want to stimulate through fellowships in: IoT, NEM, and Social computing.

Also research now more mature… Some ready for users, for commercialisation, and more goes back to fundamental research…

So trying to come up with next stage centres – 4 or 5 critical mass sized centres drawing substantially on and consolidating outputs, know how, positioning and demonstrations resulting from previous DE theme funding. Societal impact, committed routes for exploitation and growing pool of DE trained interdisciplinary researchers. Lever 100% additional funding – gross size for each centre between £5m and £8m.

Strategy meeting – what is future of DE in next delivery plan (meeting around June), post 2015/16? Consultation, cross section of community will generate ideas, want to convince government to put more money in…

This current government has very different idea about ways it’s going. So driven by industry strategies and 8(+1?) great technologies….
– big data
– space
– robotics and autonomous systems
– regenerative medicine
– synthetic biology
– energy storage
– advanced material
– agri-science

Quantum technology – £270m extra. A great new tech area? Have cryptography areas etc…. But… Seems to go into big chunks. £180m for big data. So we have to sell big blocks of activity in these ways.

Chris hankin, institute for security science and technology

John didn’t mention the £650m that the government gave to cyber security, not all to research councils.

Thought it might be useful to run through an overview of a project we couldn’t talk about at the sandpit session.

Part of our work was to try and characterise what identity was… I want to mention briefly the WDYTYA (who do you think you are) sandpit – a global uncertainties sandpit – and I’ll say now that tone disappointment is that it would be good to see more link up there’s between this and that area.

So when we looked at characterising identity for Go science Future Identity project we saw that it is:

– identity shaped by context
– ascribed versus elective – how people choose to present themselves
– multiple versus single
– changing or static
– hyper connectivity and online versus offline – included as an external driver

The WDYTYA sandpit asked us about how we establish confidence in the identity of the person or entity with which we are interacting and how we manpintain confidence over time. what does identity mean particularly between human and electronic persona or device interacting on their behalf. How do identities fuse, etc.

Several projects out of this

– SID (Super-I’d) static and behavioural measures of identity – biometrics – in both real and cyber world. Eg how you swipe a touchscreen as confidence measure for height…
– IMPRINT project – happily give data away to scorecards. But if DWP less willing to. This project looks at identity management, identification of taboos and production of artefacts
– Uncertainty of Id – spatio temporal aspects of identity in virtual and real domains
– identiscope – multiple identities

So onto Go science future identities. This is a foresight project under government office for science. This was looking at ten year cycle. Previously did climate report. Currently working on digital cities *** tend to look out 30-40 years and are based on 5 yrs work. But the future identities work was all in one year, and looked out ten years.

Report based on twenty detailed driver reports. Typically if you look at longer term foresight projects they will have fewer reports. We looked at something like 1000 piece of literature. Final report can be downloaded from go science page.

We found various drivers. Technology change, economic change, demographic change, environmental change, political and government change. Interested in how changes would be expressed in terms of behaviour – criminal behaviour such as radicalisation and extremism, social cohesion/integration, individual weell being.

The way foresight reports work is to use evidence to draw out key areas, and expose those key messages to policy makers. One of the key messages for me is that policy makers need to begin to think about privacy, security, but also identity into policy from the word go. Should not be an add on at the end.

Future identities – drivers for change… Some trends may be slow… E.g. Looking at demographic change for growth of population from mid 2010 to mid 2035. We recognise that society is becoming much more pluralised… But technology will help give a sense of community and cohesion.

The report particularly tries to give advice to policy makers in each area… In terms of drivers and key trends…we. Got this model of identity a cross three components. Social identities (with others), biographical (can change but are kind of written into us), and biometric (literally written into us) we really focused on social and biographical identities. A key aspect is multiple identities, that thinking of identity as singular is not helpful.

We developed personas to illustrate some of these ideas of identity… Bringing in factors such as financial status nationality, religion… And we also mapped on contexts such as work, home, voting in general election, and when using social media online. A way to understand these complex interactions and dependencies. Identities are complex. There is some co-creation of identities. We sawin the report that identities could be a resource… E.g. Looking at McKinsey global reports on manipulating people’s identities. And a real skills gap there for computer scientists and social scientists.

Also key trends for next ten years:
1) hyper connectivity
2) increasing social plurality
3) blurring of public identities

So for (1) noting use of connections at home rather than work…(oxis) And impact of mobile phones: differentiation of online and offline will disappear…

(2) social diversity – immigration trends,change in trends of immigration patrons – no longer ethnic immigration but white immigration from Central Europe and they disperse into the community whereas historically clusters of areas occurred so rural communities get influx of immigrants they may not have had before; but also less cohesive and virtually linked at once

(3) Blurring of public and private identities – see oxis data on social network set up. Attitudes to privacy are changing. Real issue of privacy and trust.

So… More on policies – see report.

Final slide here now on some research issues:

– privacy – particularly in the context of data aggregation, interested in this with my day job in mind here, protection of anonymity real challenge

– anonymous recognition techniques – exposing only part of your identity in a transaction

– the law in cyber space – many issues, some very good reports from prof David law from Durham. Real issues in law and identity in uk. Law cannot keep pace…

– digital permanence and the right to be forgotten – EC who I occasionally advice is talking about new data protection law… Moving away a bit from this context.we do have the right to be forgotten (e.g. Facebook pages for unborn babies, or people without any online presence also recorded online by others – eg names and activities of civil servants).


Q1) did you look at inauthentic identities that might be easier to portray online?
A) we did from various perspectives. Quite strong presence. Imprint project looking at that with artists and media participants
Q) implications for cyber security, to protect ourselves
A) whole of WDYTYA sandpit really addressed that issue… Clearly are important implications. Some as aspects of foresight report of interest there. Particularly interested in converse of coin of identity theft… Fraudulent identity etc, if interest.

Q2) what are security services doing!p? Will putting out fake ones to infiltrate,,, but interesting to disambiguate. Good to know about inauthentic identity in tripadvisor etc.
a) interesting to switch identity in terms of digital back story
Comment) some work I’m involved with looking at grooming etc… Often about language mismatch to assumed identity…

Q3) privacy changing. Hear this a lot… We did work on different ages and attitudes and. Strategies change quite radically, think it’s more nuanced and varied than that
A) did look in more nuanced way… Attitudes changing is flippant. The young don’t care isn’t right… They care about different things. See driver report, and body of report.we. Recognise subtleties…

:::: more tea and coffe and icebreaking::::

Digital prosumer
Looking at how people can make money and capitalise on their own data and productions. So what is a digital prosumer? Well it is made up of those that both consumer and produce digital content within their digital personhood.

The aim of the project – make money out of your data. Legal framework. Micro exchange. Do use design sites. Moving towards demonstration and evaluation of theses sands. The legal framework is the mandatory underpinning for meaningful exploitation.

So we are getting these prosumers to place their data into a digital locker, aggregated into a digital vault, use data mining algorithms for persona identification and matching processes, to tradable persona products. And the other arm of this is the exchange. So people give data for financial rewards. And yes, we are talking to supermarkets.

Over to Audrey who is talking about legal progress. So literature review has take. Leave on data and persona products and privacy and data protection laws on uk and eu level, also literature review on financial products and futures markets. Ongoing development of legal framewok.

From there: legal status of data – current gal around prosumer taking charge of own data for instance. Etc. and also financial law aspects – mx – the exchange – doesn’t fall into standard financial regulation so need to make sure project is compliant with FCA objectives – protection of consumer, competition etc. and looking at contract law.

Next for project…. Migrate to cloud, legal aspects, and a digital persona survey to gather views on personal data. See link (to follow).

Creating and exploring digital empathy – andrew
Looking at empathy in digital personhood as we think it’s much ignored thus far.

Digital empathy: diary study and lab study – trust based game in lab, how you share and communicate trust. And how to sense that… Voight-kampff machine, webcams, all sorts of aspects. And we a re interested in colours and lighting – mapping emotional states to colours. Brainwaves linked to lighting in lab (empathetic lighting). Planning to link up lighting in labs for empathy. And then, I’m not naturally religious, but the church popped in who were keen to see what happens. Linking with London wide church network. We are interested in the candle lighting process in church, if we can network that, link it to church fonts and holy water to communicate how we feel about things. WHAt about networked churches, or cross faiths….

Over to Bill…. And I’m interested in the ideas of designing interactions,,, the idea of hot and cold media…and looking at various project here…

April 2014 a four candles and networked fonts with ts peter de Beauvoir – sharing though and dropping your roubles…

TRYing to move interaction model to trigger conversations,as king why something is happening.., one of the things about melt ya is that it really requires a conversation, it has to be two way…

SO this far we are designing empathic interactions. So we have four real (but electronically lit) candles and interface.,,,

Sandpits lead to other things,,, speaking to future cities catapult, with guide dog association.., walking people around how we feel about place… With visually impaired people … We will be using that group and the blind dogs in phase two and that work has been filmed and will be on tv next week: projectcede.org and @projectcede

Charting the digital lifespan – Wendy moncur

We want to understand how uk citizens make sense of digital personhood across the lifespan now. To envision possible futures where the uks digital natives approach adulthood, become parents have retire, generate social, cultural and technical insights. To innovate new technologies,a me to raise digital literacy, and to raise awareness in policy makers.

We are looking at 18-22 year olds, easier than younger people.,,, transitioning from school and university. Also looking at first time parents. AND looking at newly retired people.

This is interdisciplinary – psychologists, computer scientists, etc.

Digital anthropology is being used, many don’t even realise they are online as so ubiquitous. Loads of data from interviews with young adults,,, one finding us that pope,e have lots of multiple identities. W are using design fiction – getting oaicioants to respond to these and seeing what ideas emerge.

Also using design artefacts in the home, speculative devices, to be used in a reflective process. In Terms of technology probes we also use diaries and intro and exit interviews as well.

John in Sheffield is developing techniques to mine images based on context turning social media into meaningful structured data, and enabling us to develop digital literacy tools…

So ewe are solidifying great sandpit ideas. Integrating work packages. Ambitious in the short timescale, but it’s an exciting and intriguing topic. Inherently innovative.

Generating insights as clearly as we can, publishing, book chapter etc. opportunities I came out of disseminating at Cheltenham literary festival.

Reel lives: personal documentaries – pam Briggs what matthew aylett, finola Kerrigan, haring alanine, Elaine, etc

Fragmented selves don’t support social learning and individual empowerment. SO wanted to create personal editable documentaries or reels from digital data – how could we have predicted that Facebook might do something but at least we have ideas about how to do this rather better.

There are also a New York group called reel lives so we have made contacts there – they film disadvantaged young people.

So just to talk about the work packagers here. Birmingham and Northumbria are the more nontechnical work. So from Birmingham side, wea re leading what we think is really interesting first phase doing several things. Working with film organisations like FBI,nf+Mand running film competition with deadline for end of month for artists to submit. That’s here on our website (#filmmakers required). They pitch the idea and the specific person they will work with. And they will get help from the project to mine and aggregate that data. Uta. Require that no original filming can be part of this. As we want a real idea of just what is possible and how that feels for participants.

In the meantime we are looking at ogher things out three in terms of aggregations like Facebook films, like Intelsat museum of me…. That is built on Facebook data for instance. We are working with triads of people, mainly younger people, getting them to watch own museum of me and think about attitudes pot what they see, Andre fleet on what matters, what the gals are, what parts of your life are not app reign digitally. Also looking at scrapbook ideas, some great work Microsoft on this about curating materials, multiple personas etc.

There are a lot s here doing data mining who we should work together…

Other to Elaine. WE ARE WORKing with open university. They are scraping data from Facebook and twitter, imposing structure, and looking for entities,a didn’t value for data. Then passing to use. And we. Get XML database, easy much have a n image because this will be filmic documentary. Using units with data. Also take n narrative target – a story that can have a. Different structure. Out in what kind of story or narrative you want. WILL have audio soundtrack. An do. Will extract featured, do a voter I search, and the. We render as a video… Can be saved and sahard… It will have the same semantic data it came with… SO there’s the generation process, and we also have this lattice. But we allow individuals to change their story, to choose images for each unit, will find next best match and coherant… And a Story…

Being there: humans and robots
Our story was that we wanted to look at digital technologies in the public realm, in the sense of Richard Sennett. Ways of experiencing difference. Often digital technologies are presented as treats, theatre the notion of the public realm. So we wanted to think about how to use these technologies in ways that are privacy preserving but public enabling. So wanted instrumented public space with capacity to analyse group emotions an d accurately track locations in 3d – a living lab. And explore interactions between people and robots in public space. And we want to do that with privacy preserving protocols – in terms of issues of anonimisation. Deanonimisation…

Strands: Magneto-inductive localisation – dealing with indoor very challenging & Fingerprinting techniques; automated analysis of group emotions; robots and telepresence using 3x NAL robots; and privacy

I am a social psychologist by training,,, I am interested in behaviour synchrony in groups, looking at how people act together in time and the behavioural synchrony, implicit social influence. Testing by speed of tapping and the psychological behaviours around that and the last of influence… Have a nice model for implicit social influence and how they ripple out in public space. Can also look at effect that robot and human interactions might have in these interactions. Here we use the NAO and the relationship there and influence tree.

Other work taking place on telepresence and trust. Not just between humans and robots, telepresence and robot proxy itself, looking at effects of appearance and nature of different robot forms etv,

In terms of embedding impact… We are engaged with the company I-she’d. Involved in creative economy SMEs, microcosm panties, artists and community groups, both to produce the living lab and a creative commission….

Digital economy and ESRC – Rachel Tyrrell
Rachel’s slides will be available on the website.

ESRC are the uks major public sector funded of social science research and post graduate training with an annual a budget of approximately £200million. The 13/14 funding splits around 26% on training and skills at all research life! safeguard and collaborative research is about 25% but other areas include material a and other activities…. Currently work up new strategic plans but reviewing our current strategic objectives as part of this.

Doctoral training centres network is a bit different, it is not thematically driven, but otherwise similar to model described by john earlier. Note that there are a huge range of training courses and opportunities across the ESRC, take a look at the NCRM in particular, and I would encourage you to put in a bid for the ESRC Festival of social sciences. And I should add that we have a new project with undergraduates focusing on quantitative methods, understanding that this understanding needs to be built in earlier in the research career.

A quick word about the cross council funding agreements and remit – this is an agreement to ensure no research ends up unfounded because it falls between research councils. This process is an everyday thing. In interdisciplinary field it’s totally fine to contact us to ask us questions about this, that will save you time, it will help you to target the right research councils.and once that’s in process projects can be fund by several research. We do have boundary agreements across research councils… But often projects aren’t that clear cut.

I was asked to talk about digital economy. WE Work with all of the four challenge areas but I decided today to to focus on social media.

TO GIVe you a quick view of erecting activity in responsive mode – calls completely open, open to all social sciences. Responsive awards are totally open, and include digital personhood sandpit in November 2012; emoticon sandpit in an 2014 (first ESRC led sandpit); de social media workshop in Bangalore (feb 2014) – often what I do is a sort of academic speed dating… We did this event for hat point of view, fostering relationships partnership etc; emerging priority of social media – big data network (call TBA but info on website). Sign up to ESRC newsletter for more information. DO keep an eye on this call.

Q) some of us were at international meeting for social media in April….

Yes, should have mentioned that, there was an ideas for an international centre for social media. That’s different. All interested but still trying to find best areas on that. BUT IF ANYthing comes through from that I’ll let mike know, to share onwards.

Also I wanted to talk about international collaboration’ you can involve coinvestigators overseas in responsive bids. We work with European partners. We also look to strengthen collaborations in several key territories (us, India and China).

SME other areas of ESRC schemes: uremic grants mechanism for immediate research work,me.g. The threats on twitter around Jane Austin banknote. There is also the transformative research call – genuine transformative research, pioneering theoretical or methodological research. Stuff here can be risky and the work can look quite different because of that. It’s A bit sanity because we use pitch to peer sessions. I also thought that research seminars might be. Interest, an annual scheme and a focus on international here too. Also some targeted strategic schemes – including secondary data analysis initiative – using any previous data resource. Some really exciting awards there’s!

There is a research catalogue online where you can find details of all ESRC funded research projects and their outputs. Search by keyword and by date so you can find calls, projects funded, press releases etc. so if you are looking for a potential research project do have a look through.

So any call or activity that goes live goes up on eNews. Really useful as. We do come up with strategic schemes or annual schemes that dong nabe regular timelines. And you are very welcome to email me with any queries about ESRC funding. Really open to emails and chats.

Impact – Laura hood

M yhe Conversation. I’m an editor, part of a team witch journalists. The idea is to get academics to work with journalists to talk about research in an accessible way. Started in Australia about three years ago. We launched in the uk 10 months ago. We pick out content that fits into the mainstream news agenda but it’s written by academics and highlights research work. SO In the morning, the team meet and discuss big news items of the day, we get them to write a 600 word article that we edit and publish. I work with digital economy researchers . We have funding from twenty universities and from recur under digital economy strand. So there at the moment for instance Eerke Bolton at university of Kent has been writing on the NHS, digging into the actual documents. He thinks there has been some media hysteria so he has been digging through presenting what he sees as the actual concerning areas and from his research perspectives. Also o there is work on issues around grinder on HIV and AIDS prevention work – not as tied to news agenda.

So you can get in touch with me when your research area is on the news, or you can just contact me about your research area. For instance a recent post here is from Wendy moncur on Facebook and death – a response to their change in policy. Similarly google brought a a company called deep ins, and press speculation over that purchase. I did some journalistic digging to see that deep mind originating at UCL, I contacted matthew Higgs, an author I work with regularly , and we had a story no one else did as he is a researcher in this area and already knew about deep mind and what it does. And when we publish it’s restive commons licensed and we have dedicated staff who pitch to other press and we get stuff reprinted in guardian new statemen, ars technica, new York times happened last week. And as an author you can see traffic to can article, tweets about it. This is great for impact, for speaking to funders, to help with promotions. And this is great exposure for RCUK and we are working with them to expose that type of data for stuff they have funded. AUTHors are approached by other media outlets as a result of writing about their work here. Really is quite good for your profile as an academic. I am here to help you write for a general audience, turn your work into something AT&T reads well. Get in touch, tell me what you are working together to create articles.

John: contracts, consultancy, impact and exploitations ice of this is brilliant, see Nottinghamshire work on Airbnb. And actually dot rural work on birds gets 1.2m Retweets or something. Every single project in this theme has people at the heart.he big added value here is that what Laura does is to get your words and have ownership of them, but in language the public understand. With other press you lose ownership and can find your words distorted.

Laura: post NSA there is so much interest in this sir of stuff. It’s a great time to be doing stuff here. And yes,we. Cannot publish until you approve an article. And your name goes on that work. fad that includes the headline.

Comment: that is so important as I’ve seen journalists write up a consortium project before it was ready and without consultation.

And with that day one was over. As much of day two will be discussions I will just be blogging highlights from the talks.

First up Mike Chantler is discussing the objectives for the day, which will start with us mapping the digital personhood research landscape in various breakout groups. We will produce narratives, names of participants, draw a diagram, and name the area.

After a lovely breakout group, we are back for brief summaries from our groups. I think I’ll leave the details to follow from the digital personhood network website. Not least because I was presenting our group, and our super memorable visual analogy: “the kebab of digital identity”.

And now over to john Baird totals about impact.

Importance of Impact – John Baird
Impact is an issue for all researchers. So I wanto give you an idea of three things to ask for in pathways to Impact.

A thirty second potted history here… The language has changed here over the last Wendy years. “Realising our potential: a strategy for science, engineering and technology” a 1993 report talking about a need for greater growth and impact of research funding. Ten years later in march 2006 suggested next steps. In 2007 RCUK moved towards this language of excellence with impact. And increasingly terminology is growth.

DE Theme Impact review – was led by andrew Herbert with 11others. Showed de in a good position for success. Strong multidisciplinary angle, good scien, genuine impact on the community.

Comments included:

“To achieve impact a research activity must have a clearly defined and measurable target and a strategy for using research reuse….”

There was concern about researchers articulating the impact of their work, highlighting areas for possible reasons, including narrow focuses on the rarer but also concerns about recognising impact at key stages in the project. Indeed impact has to be part of the research pla, and during. And throughout the research project life cycle.

The key thing really… Academics don’t have to do all this stuff, it’s positioning your work so that you enable pathways not impact….think about people secondment and exchange. Many aspects here… Also Publication costs, knowledge exchange, and of course public engagement.

Back to Mike Chantler… And stories of unplanned and planned impact. Why does this matters? Well there is a spending review for the research councils coming up, around April 2016. That matters to any of us with a Grant or looking for one in the future.

With that we break out to discuss impact and briefly join again to hear again from john Baird on the impact ecosystem. He emphasises that there are Research council “impact acceleration grants”. These enable follow on or extended impact. These are funds held at thirty one universities in the uk. You need to be the catalyst for impact. YOU sow the seeds, the impact activities are the water and sunshine that allows that stuff to grow.

One thing to add here… Who should be in this network in the future? Who else should be here – google and Facebook perhaps?

And finally back to Mike for some summing up. W really wanted to form connections and mix you up acrossdisciplines, across interests. That can be really exciting. A really difficult area to fund to leer review which is why these types of events are so important. We also wanted to capture research interests. And we want to raise awareness of impact areas and opportunities.

Ace with that we are done. The report from the event is already largely written based on our group work and Wellsorted submissions. Watch this space for more links and information to follow.

 March 6, 2014  Posted by at 2:50 pm Uncategorized Tagged with:  No Responses »
Dec 122013

Today I am at the IT Futures Conference, an internal University of Edinburgh event, and will be live blogging all day. There will be discussion throughout the day and you can add your own comments and questions via the #Itfutures hashtag.

We are starting the day with an introduction by professor john lee who is just setting up the schedule for the day.

Introduction from Tim O’Shea, Principal, University of Edinburgh

The conference is now being opened by the Principal who will give his perspective on disruptive technology. He will be talking about disruptions and what that means for the university. There will be predictions and there will be surprises… I think it is useful to think about what we know is coming, and what are actually big surprises and I think that’s an interesting question for us to think about, to be fairly clear about what will happen in the next two or three years. Who else has read Computer Lib? So many “surprises” were predicted here, every year more of ted’s predictions come true. But there are genuine surprises, people did not see Facebook coming…

I was intrigued in Sweden this week. I attended the most extraordinary ceremony where Peter Higgs picked up his Nobel prize. And I saw the chemistry Nobel lectures and understood the – they were all computer scientists effectively, tackling chemistry problems with computing.

So, if you go to a business lecture you see disruptions in terms of nouns and verbs, fire and tillage… But machines were genuinely important changes. Writing and printing were genuine disruptions, engines and electricity. I was dining with the UK ambassador to Sweden and for those types of roles! for world politics! the telegraph was an enormous disruption! see also the telephone! the television. And computers have been an enormous change, a computer is an amplifier of our cognitive functions in the same way a physical machine is.

And I guess if we think about education we need to think… Are MOOCs the disruption? And for universities we went from writing to printing… Do people still give lectures at university? Yes, they do. Do people still attend university rather than use television, computers, etc. when the open university was established – Harold Macmillans idea – there was some concerns over whether it would work, or whether it would destroy the sector. But now… Well it has brought about change, but it has certainly not destroyed the sector.

So, predictions… Well Moore’s Law is the big one. He predicted the idea of printing circuits. We have at least 8 years of that left before we even get into Nano computers. Metcalf’s Law looked at how traffic was going and predicted the internet would fall over in 2001. People were doing crazy things, pictures, small animations… The internet would fall over… It is a similar idea to Moore’s… But not true… Avid then we get Bayes’ law! an 18th century divinity scholar who was interested in gambling… Effectively Bayes law is just guessing… A few years ago in this very room I opened the machine learning conference and almost all of the papers were about statistical machine learning. It is key to what Google do – and I’ve told them that – and it’s increasingly important.

Semantic networks – like Google – we’re talked about in 1945, researched in the 1960s at this university… That concept and capability goes back to thinking that far back. The cloud was predicted, the idea of software as a service, was conceived of in a 1968 paper. Intelligent tutors were described in 1962. And then machine learning, my own interest.

Minor predictions… The personal portable (iPad) predicted in 1976. It took longer than expected. ICT Integration (iPhone). Robots, the concept is at least 2000 years old. Videophone (Skype) see decades of science fiction. Personalised instruction of similar vintages. Cybernetics also a major part of our world, particularly important now.

Big surprises? Well Moore’s law is still true. And Metcalf’s’ law is still false. Facebook and Twitter were genuine surprises. Google translate a surprise… The idea for Bayes law and the Rosetta Stone methods basically, a surprise. Very personal computing a surprise… And the Netscape business model was a surprise – the idea to give away for free and figure out the business model afterwards. People in our business school and others still trying to figure out that concept. So in terms of surprises it’s social computing and new business models…

Surprises? Well the World Wide Web, invented by Tim Berners Lee. Invented to deal with communications across time zones. lee never imagined its usage. I think Third World take up is a surprise, despite skipping the telegraph and fixed line phones. Uraguay is the one country to implement one laptop per child. They ignored teachers, ignored department of government. Used 250 bright young people and leapfrogging it into all the schools and communities. Face recognition now. Speech rego ignor now. Mouse and desktop (1968) – a slight surprise then but military applications influenced look and feel. Reliability better than predicted. And 500 MOOCs and 7m learners. The model May not be surprising but speed and take up is!

ICT characteristics. it’s a memory prosthetics, why remember things? It is ubiquitous. Reverse Time ravel is a great feature. Highly distributed. Highly redundant. Very cheap. Garage start ups. The point of a garage are the entry costs… Skype set up by two lads in an Internet cafe in Estonia. If you have shares in Facebook or Google or anything… Look me at the garages and be worried… Two people can set up a whole new disruption based on very little resource.

Educational opportunities. open Educational resources (such as fabulous 3D modelling software from birkberk). Natural languages – I love that people are translating MOOCs, able to expand learning rapidly to new areas around the world. Visualisation, modelling, simulations are hugely important opportunities. Wisdom of crowds. Our astro biology MOOC is still going, self organising groups continuing their studies. In plant taxonomy. And crowd sourcing or citizen science – in astronomy for instance. Big data, huge interested here with our parallel computing centre (EPCC). fast feedback. Universal access… The big surprise for me of MOOCs was the idea of access. The idea that anyone can access Harvard business people or edinburgh scientists etc, is hugely important.

Challenges? Well reliability… Is that a problem here? No! Reliability is so much better but it’s a challenge because it matters so much when there is any issue anywhere in the sector. Security is much more of an issue, who uses our systems, for what purposes. I was at an RBS dinner speaking to the head of cyber security – probably the most crucial person in that organisation. Platform sustainability – best prediction is always that ten years ahead a platform won’t be there. Jeff and his team have been great at planning for multiple platforms. Planned obsolescence. Enquirer to Alumnus – a challenge for us as a university. We want one system for the whole life cycle of engagement. But even in a collegiate environment like ours ewe have silos that we have to get rid of, but it’s really hard. People are in a. Hurry and technology is cheap to buy. And appropriate assessment, this is the place to get famous by being innovative. We use old fashioned assessment in this sector, our assessment needs to update to the modem world. Do that, you’ll have done something that really matters.

So what are the HEI implications? Well MIT and Stanford and such will be fine. Manchester metropolitan will be fine – a big skills based university. Top 100 probably ok. Probably. Hopefully edinburgh (top 20) is fairly comfy cosy. We have a brand, people come to us. If you are central and well connected, you are ok. But there will be a squeezed middle – small universities with a little research will be under pressure. Especially if less well connected, less well known, more remote… Much tougher sell. There will be student mobility. Pick and mix and credit accumulation is coming. The New York Times wrote a fabulous piece on MOOCs, saying people will go to Harvard for business, linguistics and literature at Edinburgh, etc. an interesting model. Go to the best university for the specific subject of choice.

So, what are our assets at Edinburgh university? Well informatics – we have more high rated computer scientists in this building that in Oxford and Cambridge combined. We have Europe covered, so that’s handy. HPCx, HeCTOR and Archer. Two Queens Prizes, both for eLearning, one for vets, one for surgery at a distance. EDINA is very very important. IAD and Global Academies. ISG, and real MOOC Momentum. We got ours up and running fast, we are seen by UK and European ministers as European leader for MOOCs. Not world leaders but massive momentum here…

What’s been happening? Well in the last ten years…

  • 5k ejournals to 50k
  • 1k ebooks to 1.25 million
  • 1 million ejournals article downloads to 5 million
  • 30k ebooks section downloads to 2 million
  • 1.5 million library visits per year to 2.5 million
  • 75% own own computers to 99%

Implications for UoE. There are two sorts of schools here… The clever schools madness the stupid schools… A clever school experiments with MOOCs, has at least one online masters. A stupid school has done neither. You have new opportunities if you try these thing… There is tremendous flow from online masters and MOOCs to the undergraduate classroom. Working on those things inevitably alters and influencers your undergraduate teaching programmes. We need advanced ICT partners. We have the world wanting to partner with us, we only want to partner with this who know more than us. So Stanford. With Delhi. And Peking university. But we have to be really selective. We have to stay in front, be highly selective. We want partners knowing more than us, particularly if in special areas, and we need to do radical experiments. Try it out. Learning analytics is key – I’ve just signed off a major new initiate this morning. We have an opportunity here. And eassessment.

Final slide here a fabulous slide from Mark Wetton… All the computing our students use… We engage with our students and have Dione for years and that is so important….


Q) curious about term disruption, given negative connotations. Maybe time for challenge not change
A) I think organisers today used contemporary business school jargon. Usually applied on a very specific level. E.g. Amazon as a disruption. T I think there are huge challenges and opportunies.

Q – Jeff Hayward) you quite rightly applied that approach of comparing technology across the world. You assume the incumbent who has a brand is immune so why apply to university..
A) I don’t think we are immune. If you go to the world pre-MOOC there were British but less high profile universities making progress. Birkberk, open university, university of London. If you asked me then… And telo-university of Quebec. Or open university of Catalonia. Previous to MOOCs progress was form universities many of you will never have heard of… But MOOCs have done something strange… The scale of those are so interesting and enticing. The way the worlds universities have piled in is fascinating. Oxford has taken a bit of a nah-nah public position right now. We were a bit weird to charge in quickly but it is the big beasts doing that. But these things are never ace. If you can get the model the learners like, the entry costs are every low and success can be super fast, extraordinary. An unknown university anywhere in the world could charge in. It’s why we need to radically experiment! If half of you build on our success. The other half do apparently crazy things and experiment then we’ll be set!

And now over to Jeff Hayward to introduce our opening keynote, via video and then live Skype questions

Opening Keynote: Aleks Krotoski “Technofundamentalism: the next digital literacy”
Alex is a Visiting Fellow, Media & Communications Dept at LSE; Research Associate at the OII; journalist at The Guardian and BBC.

We accept information received via technology and yet elsewhere in the culture we regularly question our politicians, our sources… Why should the online world be any different. Are computers so different that we should throw away our critical faculties? In 1986 Phillip Krause predicted six laws about technology, placing it at a centre of our culture, this information connector and resource is also art.

So, what’s in the frame? And what is outside the frame? Computer software designers do this to but we are less sophisticated at understanding the ways they tell their stories. Technological systems have biases built in which we will most likely only see in retrospect. In thirty years when we look back at Google and Facebook will they feel as dated and incongruent as brute cologne or bell bottom trousers?

The way you think about the world and the way you deal with ideas is not just about those aspects but also about the social and physiological context in which you receive that information. And that machine is part of that. Software engineers don’t know that context and yet there are tools like search engines and social networks that seem to have cracked till, there are biases wwe have that suffuse our experience of the every day, there are psychological, temporal, cultural, emotional context. The computer suits Western English speaking world, but what about a banana farmer? And digital systems help decide what can and cannot be done with that system.

And for me there is a fundamental misunderstanding around how we navigate our online systems. When we think about who we are… Many things come in… Our sense of ourselves, the name on our bank cards, many factors… Classic case of namespace collision. Things that look and sound the same but can be so different. Our online identities are much more than authentication… Online identity is a set of factors that uniquely identifies us but it changes through our lifetime, and in different contexts. But those identities are so hard to capture in 1s and 0s. No matter who you feel you are, the work of software designers shapes us online, based on their own bias.

Google. Google decides who we are. There are decisions about who we are and what we want. Google wants to project an attitude… We don’t know all the processes that are part of the self though. Google makes judgement calls to assess what they think we want. And googles algorithmic path is designed around past success. Firstly that usefulness can be predicted. Second, just enough to be magical. They appear to give us relevance or usefulness, we don’t know what might have been. The world of information according to it. It’s what is within a frame, the google Mise En scene. There is a Barnum factor. We believe it, even if wrong. Third, all of the information is equal. That is the idea. Four, quantitative judgements are superior. Because nothing else is feasible at scale.

Facebook. Social networks are platforms for self expression and Facebook provides many tools for this, for creating our online identities. But there are limitations. You have to be proficient enough to express your identity in the way you went to your friends – not everyone is a great writer, has a digital camera, etc. You have to fit your identity within their profile builder, and that’s restrictive and based around advertiser and commercialisation needs. And finally you must use your real name. Facebooks big unique factor. It is possible to identify the person, zuckerburg said multiple identities shows a lack of identities. It is near impossible to play with anonymity and identity.

Life is about key moments. First day at school, passing a driving test… And big mistakes, a divorce, or moments of change and awakening. You change. And you want to move on. Not to delete the past but to be able to move forwards. You might want to look back, to connect and visit the last even if you don’t want to live there. But how often are objects of your last used against you, without any reference to the beast. Actions from past beats rarely taken as if they occur now as that is so uncomfortable. But why should it be different online… Ell the web never forgets… When you search for someone you get the full life story, every beat in a jumbled mix of beats, as if all happen now, as if we haven’t moved on, learned from our mistakes. The web allows no concession for your maturity, your social development… You could be a kid, married, an oap, even dead. The machine makes connections that may no longer be valid or may never have been there…

Googles chairman Eric Schmidt has said the internet nee a delete button. Others think that the web should have sell by day. Bent it’s not a technological issue. It’s a social issue. We can actually consider that people change. The problem? W are part of the problem. W look to the technology to solve the problems, we see Arthur C. Clark’s point of technology as indistinguishable from magic.

Educators are at the front edge of technology… Don’t assume your students know more than you. 1. Digital natives still need digital literacy. That theory is about fearlessness not skill. 2. Don’t use things you don’t understand just because it’s cool. 3. Be aware of different multiple fluid identities, encourage use of multiple identities in your students as part of their psychology social development. 4. Distinguish between digital skills and the critical skills to assess and understand information and credibility.

Make demands 1. Don’t assume developers have your best interests at heart. 2. Shape technology to you, don’t fit to it. 3. Express your identity and consider how the technology affords that on your terms. 4. Remember that technology includes biases.

Over years of newspapers, television.. We have become media literate, only now are we thinking about regulation. T we do not yet understand softwares agenda, it is expressed in more hidden ways, behind the screens, in the algorithms and those are proprietary and hidden systems. Rebecca mackinnon (2010) said that we do not understand online. And yet we allow it to change us. Melvin krwnsburg see engineers changing the world, he saw this in 1968, and saw their role as more important than politicians and decision makers. Their inventions bring profound change and disruptions. As an individual our issue is misunderstanding the state of being and the measurement and structure of the self, the version of identity web services offer us.

Unpredictable machines shale human interactions, and unpredictable humans shape machine designs. It is a complex relationship. Technological machines are subject to biases about designers ideas of what is human. Technology is only able to do so much. And we have to critical about that.

Response by Chris Speed, School of Design, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh

Even this conversation is constructed with a temporal ubiquity. I had to watch you, ahead of them, in order to respond in real time. I’m an artist and I’m not great at the self… Earlier in my career I looked at the spaces that shape us… Different individuals do not have a consensual space, all individual’s view the same space differently, according to their own priorities and usage…

But thinking about beats… Maybe in the house making tea, or filling the dishwasher are “beats” in these spaces, around which others interact… And in my house I’m now much more aware of what I do in my space, sensors are installed around my house. A raspberry of on my router and modem… The power is measured. Sensors lush data back on humidity and light. And there is a sensor to indicate when you use the loo… You feel “oh, it’s seen me…”

So I thought the model was quite good, separating these ideas. Now I have a highly disruptive domestic concept… My kids wonder if the camera sees her… My Mise en scene is blown out now…

Aleks: firstly “you did this to yourself”. But I think your work reincorporating life into physical space and the psychical self. That sense of the quantified self for making sense of ourselves, to reflect. Huge issues associated with surveillance, siusveillance, and issues of validity of data… So I would ask you back… This is a fascinating project… And I might do it in my house – where I have wifi lightbulbs – but what is the purpose for you of these sensors and connectivity?

Chris: well it’s part of an AHRC project about opening up markets. It’s beyond internet of things… But some of the stakeholders think that the “thing” is the thing. But actually it’s about the experience. Having a coffee, not the coffee mug. Getting married, not signing a certificate. It’s about the beats, the experience and how it is constituted. The aspiration of the project is that, if things are contextual, need to think about correlated data…

Aleks: I heard about internet of things years ago, I didn’t get it… They were do forward thinking… They were talking about RFID on your pint glass to detect when pint is empty to alert the pump. This is connected fridge ideas. But I remember thinking, well that doesn’t as see the questions of going to the pub. Why would I want that in my world. I’m still not convinced about the relevance to my life… Except that, as I referenced in my video, I found an embarrassed diary that I read… It was such the wrong idea about who I was or am… They are good referential buckets… But I don’t see use of sensor unless there is feedback or similar purpose, egg. About water use. So whilst we embrace and sprint towards technology, it is always important to step back, to think about the politics involved, to question what the function is. To think further about the value of what you find out the value you find that you don’t expect, and those you do expect.

Chris: we did have to do this with consent around the house. It is very disruptive. I made that model of a living room of different sorts when I no longer had kids. I had been all of those roles… I carry so many different ideas around with me… We talk about lead people and disruption… At the end of the talk you warn about what kids should be involvement, but I want them to be lead uses… I need my kids to be lead users… My daughter asking that question raised key concerns too..

Aleks: part of it is allowing mistakes, to allow those questions, those stumbling a… Economise these as beats, as self awareness… Your life with the technologies… The context of what happens now. Let your daughter make mistakes. You have to be clear that you are learning too, part of the human conversation… Let them find the edges, break things, make mistakes… Let it…


Q) you talked about beats… We always understood that artefacts are not people… We have social and conceptual tools, everything is just more permanent, published, accessible, searchable… We could always make that distinction.

A) we have always had that understanding. Those special moments have us look back to look forwards… But more than anything else the issue is not so much about that stuff being there, it’s about when you can find it… Our world is open and accessible. What’s raised is the issue of techno fundamentalism. We have social practices. We recognise forgetting, the place of information. E have those literalise. We don’t have the literacy to think about what the technology does, it is a tool for connecting us. It raises the challenge of what e need to do and how e need to converse about this… We have to question and query where this information come from…

Q – Cory Doctorrow) we have heard so called techno fundamentalists like mark zuckerburg… He makes these statements but what he is saying is that “kill privacy and I’ll make more money” but does that sort of normative statement about privacy actually change things?

Aleks) absolutely not. Even zuckerburg has made a walled garden here. But we need contingencies andc rosspoints for things to be normative. But that’s normative at a certain level. There are individual norms as well and that takes much more to change… When it comes to attitude and behaviour change. The fact that privacy is not dead reflects that. In terms of how we teratogenic those normative statements… Is someone makes a statement we have to see the ripples, to see what happens before we can see or say that that is a norm…

Q) about namespace… Between digital identity and online identity… The distinction between online identity and psychological identity. That there are arts points for software that picks you out… But from what I understand of psychological identity… Ell it’s data points by which the brain picks you out from others… Do you see a way in which those might become blurred …

Aleks) I think we will see more and more of that. AI communities are extraordinary for that… For years I had my “divorce conversation”, the idea of AI systems that are indistinguishable from humans for long periods of time. Aside from the Turing test we don’t have that. It is a slow and interactive journey for technology reflecting those slow contextual processes of being a human being… I have no idea what encompasses the whole psychological sense of self. Let alone how I might operationalise that… But there are definitely different ways in which that is being approached. I am not a fan of sentiment analysis but it has a role. Slowly slowly slowly we are reaching a point where we might see an indistinguishable sense of self. Does that involve sentience? But right now not enough in there to replicate or suggest the two are the same. Digital identity is about authentication. Online identity… If you think of your brain as a computer – and I don’t – then it is calling up markers, sense of self, expressions of self… But even then we don’t understand the brain enough to systematise that… To do logical things with those systems. So perhaps, but certainly not yet…. And I don’t see it for more than 50 years.

Q) I am personally fascinated by Jacques Aloo and he says that technology cares only about efficiency. I see destruction caused by lack of efficiency in terms of destruction of other mediums, about lack of conversations. But those beats are not about efficiency… Is it not efficiency that is destructive? Life is about experience not products, results or measurable outcomes…

Aleks) great question! Yes, efficiency is about keeping everything going. But rituals are social efficiencies… Weddings, coming of age rights… E can make assumptions of change in a persons life… Those are normative elements evolving over time in our lives and communities… W are efficient. We make heuristics. We seek hallmarks of authenticity and credibility, to make these efficiencies… E do also seek efficiency. W do so and learn about those efficiencies as we go about communities, online or offline, they can become explicit. But efficiencies are pretty unique to social groups or locations. The problem is identifying those efficiencies clearly enough into the technological system.

And with that we draw to a close with thanks from Jeff and much applause form the audience. (And a slightly show stopping fire alarm test).

And now, after a coffee break, and introduced by Jessie Paterson, we have our next talk…

Tim Fawns: “Digital disruption and blended memory: selectivity, creativity, engagement and reflection”
Tim is a PhD Candidate, School of Education, University of Edinburgh

I’m going to be talking about my research on the artefacts we collect and how they relate to memory. I don’t think there is a big distinction between biological memory and external environments. We need external elements to reconstruct our memory of events. blended memory gives us a way to engage with, reflect upon, and learn from our memories….

My work is concerned with digital photography. selfie is the OED word of the year, and the Mandela memorial raised questions about acceptability. we capture more images and need to think about what that means. I normally talk about semantic memory but today I want to talk about reflection… It takes time, energy, engagement and sustained attention.

In terms of changes in photography… On 1990 it was normal to wait several days to wait for prints to be made from film, viewed, some shared in albums. By 2006 digital was bigger than film, more images taken, often managed on home computers. By 2011 more images taken on phones than on stand alone cameras… And shared widely. Will we become reliant on pictures for our memory. Linda ? Found that recall of something photographed, whether or not the image is viewed. Will we become as reliant on images as we are on spell checking? And does that matter? Well I think reflection. On our own memories and experiences are crucial.

I spoke to people at a highly photographed evenet – a wedding – and interviewed six people several years after the weddin with their images, asking them about their images and how they used them. The first thing I noted was that the was a lot of photography. Ogre 4000 images from just 6 photographers. The professional photographer had taken 2200 images and was the only person who had deleted any of them. People are not being selective.

We see people being similarly unselective and uncritical in music gigs – filming and photographing and detracting from the event itself.

Now speaking to my interviewees even the couple who got married were bode by the full range of images. When we look at these photos… They are only seen due to trigger events. So when showing others images – slide shows, catching people who were not there up with the event. Some meant to put some on the books. They ,want to delete some. Thank you cards – including images of people at the wedding – took months to do, not a major trigger event.

Some pictures were shared on flickr and Facebook. Here there was no interest in who looked at what on flickr. Commenting on Facebook there is discussion of a sanitised discourse around these events, because of the unknown viewer factor,ll, you can use flickr and Facebook in highly reflective ways, and you can flick through a physical album without reflection… But these sorts of platforms force us into shallower engagement with these artefacts, more information than we can process. And we lack strategies to deal with that. And there is a shift from the traditional function of photography to memorialise and record things, towards pictures as communication. But we need strategies to deal with that. Of the people I spoke to mobile images were seen as ephemeral, not important to preserve. And the fact that images can be communicated swiftly means instant communication functions…

So moving onto the broader trend… We see everyone recording their own experience of events, a kind of collection compulsion… My mendeley collection is vast. There is a folder called “to read” which accumulates too fast to read, and many never make it in as I will never get to them… Something strange going on in my own head here… Here is a graph of “intuitive statistics” – which means I made it up – of what I collect versus what I actually read….

But to the positive bit, the opportunities to reflect. I show this picture by Deb Ro, who reflected on images of his son learning to say the word “water”. But that’s a contentious process – recording everything, and thinking computationally about it. But a sustained reflection of something I’m his life. Touching on surveillance and identity. Jonathan Harris is more acceptable! he took an image every day and that helped him reflect on how he constructed his memory through photographs.

I am also interested in memory maps… There are hotspots in this area of northern island! a very different way to explore photographic archives…

How can we get students to think critically and reflectively about images? One way could be multimodal assessment, forcing them to think about the meaning of the thing beyond components of image, video, audio, to question the roles of student and teacher as well. Allowing them to use new tools to turn disperate information into a coherant whole.

As individuals reflection can be built in as part of disciplined, structured processes, projects that force us to slow down, to not multitask, to allow missing of tome stuff, to allow forgetting that leaves space for deep thinking. I worry that cultural trends move us from deep thinking to shallow thinking. It isn’t technology here though, culture is the disruptive part. Technologies provide as many opportunities as disruptions.


Q) I kind of got a little confused in your talk between prescriptive and descriptive modes about reflection and memory and the plethora of memories and photographs. Are you suggesting we are doing something different, or suggesting that we should…

A) I think both. So spaces like Facebook disruptive. I see things that I am more interested in and I see things that are of no interest at all… Sometimes it’s friends who talk about things that are not interesting… Can see in photography images that are taken without thinking… I’m sure we’ve all had conversations about taking an image rather than seeing the thing. I’m being prescriptive about supporting our students, but generally I’m being descriptive…

Q) just pondering the quantified self and the interested in data they generated about their own life, the facial recognition software for instance… What are your thoughts on the future of reflection on photography enhanced by technology… And what that means for possibilities of reflection…

A) I think there are near and far future sale ts here. If you have facial recognition software that works, and other recognition software, you can analyse, say how often you sit near Jeff, versus how often you sit near Hamish…. There are people wearing Microsoft life cameras? That track what they do. They review footage with them… That research finds participants spotting patterns in their life, their behaviour, to reflect. But also important to look at individual events more closely…

Q) have you looked at blipfoto or snapchat, tools with restrictions…

A) bit odd as they are commercially run. Blipfoto is like Jonathan harries work. It allows reflection… But very artificial that idea of one image per day… And they have a way of reeling you back in, commercially driven, if you try to step away which is interesting… Victor Meyer schonbergers adelete, calling for information with a shelflike. Snap hat reminds , me of that… But seem to be subverted for purposes like sexting… Interesting to see how individuals take that technology and adopt it for things it was not intended for… These are pretty new tools though so it’s too early to reflect on their impact but I look forward to seeing what happens with them…

James Fleck: “Innovation and IT Futures: Impact and disruption”
James is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Technology Analysis and Strategic Management.

It’s a privilege and pleasure to be back in edinburgh. My passion over thirty years has been innovation and technology development, and more recently I’ve taken over the editorship of the Journal of Technology Analysis and Strategic management! having retired as head of the business school at the open university – itself a disruptive scale educator.

But first I want to reflect on what you understand by “innovation” and “disruption”? Down the pub if people ask me what I do I say “I study innovation and how ideas become reality”. And more formally that is about the commercial exploitation and impact of ideas. this has been a field for serious study for about forty years. It’s roots are however, as far back as Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Joseph Schumpeter. W see increasing departments and plans for innovation. But we also see the term overused. The term “disruption” is similarly taking hold, having been coined in 1993. Innovation surely drives change? So I want to look at this and consider disruption in ICT.

Innovation has many forms. Often we think about technology but actually it’s about creativity and problem solving, risk taking versus vision, issues of persistence and failure. Risk taking has become positive. But innovators are not, sticty speaking, risk takers, they know their idea will change the world. James Dyson tried 3000 or 4000 prototypes of his latest vacuum. The risk takers, according to Schumpeter, are not the innovators but the funders.

So that’s the overarching concept. But there are many models of innovation. The standard view of innovation is as something incremental, a linear model. We see this reflected in mature businesses where there is a multistage process of invention; development; introduction to market; diffusion. You can also see a market pull model, where marketing finds demand and develops as well. This works well in commercial consumer products, for pharmaceuticals etc. but it does not work for ICT.

But we do see configuration all technology and innovation… Sometimes it is the construction, the package that is constructed, that is disruptive not the innovative level of the elements themselves. The iPhone is a great example here. Social networks also…

W also see platform innovation, the apps and mobile apps world… In the next few years we will hit two mobile phones per person in the world. Mobile penetration versus laptop penetration is seriously higher and reaches whole areas of the world where mobile is the only or main choice of connection.

If em look at technological change over time… There is an element of discontinuity. Christensen saw there being an inherent disruption of how technology interacts and engages with social life. It’s not the technology but culture and identity and how they are built and influenced by the technology that matters… Expectations change… technologies can develop faster and some do. Most stay within that expectation zone. Some technologies start very differently though, they come in from a more radical place, they push out existing technologies bringing all sorts of people who would never have used the technology before. Examples of this? Flats renew versus CRT, mainframes versus mini computers versus personal computers…

So all these types of innovation can cast light on what we mean by innovation and disruption…. So some examples….

The first tablet newspaper appeared in the mid 1990s, like an iPad but three times as deep and much heavier. But there we saw a reflection from the reader to the journalist and that is something we have seen emerging in the modern world of online newspapers. The Persona project looked at tracking fertility through the hormonal cycle via urine sample, conducted in participant observation mode with my wife – we now have five children! – but the issue was that this was about 94% effective. reasonably similar to a condom, but class action suit because of concern about the 6%. But whilst it looks like a failure as a contraceptive aid, it has become a success when marketed as a fertility aid, to enable pregnancies. That’s a configuration innovation!

Turning now to the Open University… The key to the OU success and high satisfaction ratings is all about the role of tutors, the pedagogical design and the level of support from tutors. Content is a commodity. The key to successful learning is the tutor, the learning support. Underlying that at the OU are standards, checks, QA of that support. For us in the business school we found a gap. We added a practice based learning loop, that added to the learning experience and we built that in. And yet the OU is not disruptive, it is strongly sustaining… Often OU students go on to traditional universities… It is an alternative model that works with the existing system. The main issue today is the pedagogy not the technology. We started with correspondence, now we use Moodle, but the technology is enabling and changing scope and access, but does not fundamentally change the basic model.

Let’s just look at MOOCs as I struggle to understand how they differ. If you look at late 19th and early 20th century correspondence courses saw 700 or 800 students. Not that different. And we see OU iTunes U resources downloaded 40 million times. The involvement of prestigious institutions and teachers matters but where does pedagogy come in, where does the role of tutors come in… Is that a paid for issue….

There is an ecology around Technology Enhanced Learning that brings in policy context, environment, funding, revenue generation… That’s very stable, it’s hard to disrupt that… To disrupt that pedagogy is at the core, and how that impacts all of those elements and communities…

So to some conclusions… The key is that the technology doesn’t stand by itself. The innovation is disruptive because the whole complex of factors is involved. There are so many stakeholders and agendas in the environment that it is hyper stable. I take issue with Tim O’Shea’s comment about a squeezed middle. It seems to overlook what university is for. I have had four children go through university and social factors are a big part of what has mattered to them… MOOCs are yet to grapple with that…

Let me finish with some interesting observations here… At a recent talk someone commented that the technology allows every single printed item to be captured… We have a vision of a world where everything is synchronously available. Our grandchildren will know much more about me, than I know about my grandparents. And my grandchildren may know more about my grandparents than I did. If eye are in the internet if things, with tagged items… We see Gallileos notebooks captured at hugely high detail of photography. Before that was a very restricted process to access these, what is that more open access going to do to scholarship? And what about the role of users, we are are all users and we are all potentially innovators! We all have a part to play in it.


Q) I share your comment about MOOCs on the pedagogy. But I don’t share the distinction between pedagogy and content. For me that is a contradiction in terms… You cannot disjoin that… It is part of the same pedagogical landscape, it cannot be seen as a commodity. The MOOC favours that idea though… On the MOOC much can be said about the granularity… For some we are in a post-MOOC era, we’ve already peaked….

A) my content as a commodity… Google lets you find that… Pedagogy does shape use of content though. Yes content is part of it, but not all of it…

And, following a tasty lunch, Jen Ross introducing our closing keynote, the marvellous Cory Doctorrow.

Closing Keynote: Cory Doctorow : “You can’t solve problems by breaking the net”.
Cory (craphound.com) is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing (boingboing.net) and the author of the bestselling Tor Teen/HarperCollins UK novel LITTLE BROTHER. His latest young adult novel is HOMELAND, his latest novel for adults is RAPTURE OF THE NERDS.

I’m starting with a non controversial idea. Computers are everything. And then something more controversial… This building is a network of computers… Modern buildings require computers to work, digital monitoring of inflows and outflows. And it’s not just computers. Your car is a computer…. You all hurtle down the road at 60 miles an hour. I flew back from Melbourne in a 747 which is effectively a Solaris computer with wings.

Computers are also of of our bodies. Cochlea implants of course, help people who would otherwise be deaf. But those of us who grew up with Walkmans, MP3 players… And we will all need hearing aids and those will be computers… They will be smarter than just a beige device in our ear. They may be surveillance devices too. And you may people with an implanted defibrillator, those are incredible devices… It gives you a shock when your heart, if you have that condition where your heart randomly stops, stops beating.

No one talks about clothing related bank robberies or traffic fatalities… But we do hear a lot about computer crime and computer problems… The reason is manifold… Computers are new enough and clothing is old enough that we think of computers as somehow differnt. And increasingly we see regulators looking to computers as a way to solve problems that computers are just involved in… Lawmakers look for heuristics that are very very inappropriate for computers, and that leads us to a dangerous situation.

So lawmakers look to see whether a technology is general purpose or special purpose… Most technology is generic. So a wheel… No one asks for a bank robber-proof wheel. You would cause more mischief than you could hope to prevent… But of I see drivers talking on the phone as distracted. I might suggest about phones being built into cars… We might question that but it doesn’t change the utility of the car. Lawmakers often apply rules of thumb… Simple things are often general, specific things are more complicated. Computers though are general items. They are simple and complex. They imagine a world where a computer runs all the programmes except for the owner we don’t like… We can’t do that… The nearest is to use spyware, that when you try to do something on your machine that triggers “I can’t let you do that Dave”. If we do that we just drag hal9000.exe to the trash. We stop the process… The only way to do that functionality is to build in a backdoor, to hide that functionality. This idea of a backdoor that undoes all of the computers functionality but it’s ok because it’s the good guys who use it… But that unleashes all sorts of mischief…

This is the sort of thinking, this calling for broken computers, gets louder all the time. But it doesn’t work. The idea of a double purpose computer itself – Turing amd his colleagues were working on computers to break siphers they designed computers for a single calculation…. You make a device for ballistic table solutions. For another problem you had to make a new one… Turing and his colleagues though looked to build a computer that could be Turing complete! programmes that can run all the programmes… Computer researchers have problems NOT making their machine Turing complete. They write little programmes… You have something like postscript, instructions to a printer… But it turns out that is Turing complete… You can write a virus in PostScript that hijacks your printer, sniff your network, hijack your machines, tunnel through your firewall, access your documents, and this proof of concept virus… It would accept a version patch… Show the new version but not update. It was only fit for a tip… So these security conferences show how pretty much everything is Turing complete. Magic the Gathering, the card game, with a big enough deck is also Turing complete. It’s a computer. Just a very slow one…. It runs all the programmes… Albeit over infinite time….

This is brilliant, this is difficult… We know how to build a computer that runs a single programme. We can build one that runs everything. No standard for Turing minus one. And for the “I can’t let you do that Dave” programme you need legal code, not just computer code. And no one will want that programme if they can, it won’t last long in the world. We have the non technological measure though, it’s a law from WIPO. It has the same standing with dumb copyright law that Mordor has to evil, it’s ground zero. Thery passed “internet treaties” that make these laws, that make it illegal to talk about how this spyware works…

It doesn’t work for piracy… The DVD locks, that stop you pirating DVDs about ten years ago by teenagers in an afternoon when they were bored..and HDDVD someone had a disk in the wrong region… Playing a disc you paid for in wrongly region encoded player is really really not piracy. This guy, meusli64, he figured there was a key on there somewhere… He decided to extract the key, add to players, can use the disc on all my players… He got the disc, saved a copy to his RAM and looked for and found the key, which he published. Reddit and similar sites had this 128 bit key. An illegal integer… Chosen for randomness with no meaning… The studios could not do anything about it… For a while this key was on 600k websites and the studios argued it a “trade secret”.

So let’s go back… Studios are not muppets (except Jim Henson) they can hire cryptographers, but the issue is what they are doing… The maths behind crypto… Is super complex but the primitives are basic and simple. In the world of crypto you have like three friends Alice and Bob, who are friends! and Carol who they don’t like much. So Alice and bob use radio. Carol is assumed to hear all that is said on radio. So they scramble it… But Carol knows how it works… Because to actually tell people what assumptions you make, spreading information far and wide, it actually don’t work. A parallel metaphor for the enlightenment and the end of alchemy… So you tell people how things are made, finding flaws, fixing them, etc.

So Carol know how the crypto works but she doesn’t have the key. Add they are secure. But in voodoo crypto world what you have is Bob who makes DVDs who gives them to Alice with a device with ALL the keys. And it isn’t just Alice, it’s everyone who wants to see a DVD. It’s a safe in a bank robbers living room… In many many living rooms… It’s a fold errand… It’s giving people the keys and pretending you haven’t and hoping they will not notice…

So why do they do this? Well it comes back to the laws…. So if you want to make a DVD player that makes a jukebox, like your computer does to your CDs. And you can do that. BUT if you have an identifiable address they will sue you down to your knickers. You can only use the keys with permission. That means studios can create anti-features, things the customer does not want, safe in the knowledge that an interoperable system can repair those issues. You see this with DVDs without no skip features to adverts. Why does that matter? Well that’s a much more profitable ad for the advertisers placing that ad. With PVRs and on demand, that’s one of the last non skipable ads. Region encoding did not work in DVD for reasons of cartels maybe. But it’s back in Blu ray! they are being pretty strict with that. It’s not about piracy…. You can legitimately want to watch the same disc in different playing. But they want arbitrage, they want efficient pricing. Regulations like DMRC let them do that. Embarks singly my home couny canada passed a similar law in 2008. Those law prevent region free players. The law says the exchequer will protect your business model at their own expense, to stop competition or disruption…

A thought experiment… It’s 2006, the year of the DVD. We go spend £1000 on DVDs and £1000 on CD. Put them in a vault… The only difference between the two is the thin veneer of anti piracy gubbins on DVDs that isn’t on CDs.Now the CDs are more valuable… You can rip, lend, stream, mash up, back music videos out of them…. How about the DVD? There has not been any technological advancement since they came out because of that lock down. All you can do is watch them, or re-buy them…

That latent value is oaicularly important for marginal people. Blind and visually impaired communities had to spend their own money to add features to make these formats accessible. These improvements only work through organisations, pressure groups, etc and it’s not just disability, it’s also economically marginal people.technoogy is rarely translated to minority languages. That means you have the challenge of technology mastery and language. But with free and open source software, or non locked down software, you just need one person speaking that language and nerd and you are set… Indeed sometimes the best technological advancements in the developed world are often based on those in developing world. Ubuntu, designed for sub Saharan African schools with little tech support, is also used every day across the world. People make the technology for themselves, but only possible with space to innovate.

Back to security. You cannot add a back door to a system and ONLY have it accessed by the good guys. Back a few years Sony released some remastered CDs which, if run in a CDROM, changed your operating system so that it was blind to any file named $sys$ from any process checking tools etc. they wanted to stop CDS ripping… But opportunistic hackers took advantages… As those files would be invisible to virus checking software. So all of their viruses got that $sys$ at the start! they estimated 300k US military computers were infected because of Sony.

There was a guy called Barnaby Jacks who, at a security conference, looked at hacking the wireless interface of implanted defibrillators… There is a reason Dick Cheney had the wifi interface of his implanted defibrillator switched off when implanted…

Just last year a school in Maryland handed all students MacBooks to all of its students… The school administration tracked keystrokes, took surveillance images…. And it’s not just schools… It’s German lawmakers with those they suspect of criminal activities. And in the US eight companies admitted using laptop recovery software to plunder hard drives for files, passwords, to film users having sex, their nude children…. And the regulators… They said that was not acceptable… Unless included in the fine print! If you bury it there, that will be ok. And it’s not just companies… It’s also criminals… In September Miss Teen America called the FBI because some “ratters” had take over her machine, they had captured compromised photos and logins and passwords… And this person threatened to share those images on her social networks if she didn’t perform a live sex act on camera for them… But she rang the FBI. And they found he had over 150 victims including minors, including some in the UK. And the latest snowden leak shows the NSA and security services doing that to….

So computers are everywhere. And security are crucial to that working. I am as freaked out by 3D printed guns or meth labs. I’m worried about self driving cars that drag race, I’m worried about terrorists… But this isn’t a fix… The bad guys will work around it… But the backdoor becomes available to use… And some bad guys think they are good guys. We have companies in the UK, like thin fisher, installing softwares for suspected terrorists… This is like producing land mines. You cannot do that. Historically when vulnerabilities appear in every day items – cars, hearing aids, etc… You would have reported it to the manufacturers… Now you are better selling it to the authorities.

These are genuine existential threats. One of the most important snowden leak was the quarter billion dollars per year being spent on edge hill, a project to discredit standards and make computers less secure…

Now you hear a talk like this and you can either go home, and encrypt everything. Do that stuff. But no matter how secure that stuff is, if everything you do is email to someone with gmail. You are only as secure as the people you interact with… So the other response can be despair….

Last year I was touring homeland, my sequel to little brother…. I was asked about security, a woman who felt unable to secure her devices. I said, well I struggle too! But if I talked unsafe water… We look to those who should protect us the people to take care of you, those in power, that they do the right thing…. OU lawmakers acre not venal or corrupt but they are vulnerable to these ideas of systems being a little bit insecure… But we can lobby it… The UK-based Open Rights Group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation are mainly focused on US but that has huge impact on US, and the open software foundation.


Q) given that computers do what they tell them… Can can we look to a future of computers with their own moral sense…

A) that’s a bit above my lay grade. I’m not sure about AI, I have a little experience and some novels I have written on them…. But I don’t know that computers can be intelligent like we are intelligent… Particularly for morality… How do you talk to coral to discuss morals….

Q) how do

A) fear can work… Your computer using data against you… It’s the manure pile being bibber to find a pony…. Terror has been used to sell this stuff for years… Deranged delusional people…. They try stuff… All computers not listening to the humans in charge is a genuine existential risk to society…

Q) can I quote a bbc new story from Malcolm Rifkin… It would be foolish for surveillance not to use the technology that criminals use…

A) use it but don’t break it! There was a post snowden leak about the kremlin switching to typewriters. Of Roure they didn’t. They need secure systems. It’s not good hygiene to make your own network unsafe as a way to surveillance others…

Q) big data may be another way to invade privacy… You haven’t addressed that…

A) you are right but I’m talking security not privacy… Privacy is really complex… War on terror has some good corollaries.. Very few terrorists many many people…. Their connections are probably showing random trends, profiling a few false positives means a lot of innocent people…

Q) I was thinking more about that MacBook example, that data collection…

A) there was a great Dataset shared by ACLU about predicting drunk drivers…. Where they see drinking habits, mistress… And then they arrest for ore crime, right. A researcher ashti? Talks about two types of information… Information acting in your interests… Android just added a feature about not sharing location… But the phone company will know. So information you can keep private if devices honest… But the second type of data, that you have to share, that’s where regulation. Matters…. Stuff like retinas, hand geometry, fingerprints etc… You leave those everywhere… There are things you can’t help give up, and those things you can…

Q) are there things you can work to stop the “I can’t let you do that dave?” Or is this about relation

A) Lessig talks about legal code, software code, Norms and markets. We have computer code messed up because the norms are weird, the “I have nothing to hide” idea. Commercially no added value for privacy. Law makers not held up for good legislation…. And lots of lobbyists with cash from commerce wanting protection… The kd reactive overturned today… So we had an unholy cycle of bade norms, bad code, bad law, bad commerce. But I wrote a piece this week about us reaching leak indifference to security. The pew study, in September! an unprecedented number of those spoken to had taken security measures and or had known people harmed by security breaches. Now most of what had been done was useless but there are companies trying to act on this… But it’s the combination of all four factors that solves the problem, but you need a shift in the normative statement for that to happen….

Q) what role do you think design has to play in changing the face of the software we interact with… Are we good designers in hiding the underbelly of the software we design…

A) not necessarily the underbelly. It’s the frame. Maybe a browser shows you the beacons and the cookies… No market forces against those things but a browser doing that could shift that. AR glasses showing emissions from vehicles could do the same. But we need better design for encryption… There is an irreducible level of complexity but we are nowhere near that yet…. Great design could help a great deal there.

And finally….

Panel discussion: Mel Woods, University of Dundee; Chris Speed, University of Edinburgh; Richard Kenway, University of Edinburgh; Jeff Haywood, University of Edinburgh; Cory Doctorow; Sci Fi Author. Chaired by Ashley Lloyd, Business School, University of Edinburgh.

Richard Kenway here has huge experience on high performance computing and of big data, but also on David Willets committee, part of that policy landscape. Mel is interested in design methods for imagining the future… That’s why she is part of our panel today and we will have her kicking off with questions she thinks we should address…

Mel: thank you for inviting me along today… What I’ll do first of all to talk a little about a project I’ve led for the last few years, Selina, a project about serendipity, almost disruption. I’ve been working with AI, robotics and HCI experts… Looking where chances and insights combine to sagacity…. Eve been tried to design devices that support finding out what we don’t know we need to know… A serendipity engine… Bent we have found we can’t produce that right now. We have build prototypes and also some recommendations to support and encourage serendipity. Some parallels there… Serendipity the positive version of disruption perhaps?

So looking over the day we heard about disruption, it’s history, and also ideas of commerce and techno fundamentalism… And the idea of disruption as a social not or not just a technological issue. Are users the issue? Particularly as we see humans and technologies integrated together… They enable attention on behaviour, compulsions, use memory and time in ways we couldn’t imagine beforehand…. Perhaps the way to see the Mise en Scene your education…. So I have a frame of questions… Where are the new beats, the new ecologies… Is it about universal access, the wisdom of crowds… Where do end look in terms of disruption and innovation… By western terms… Or more eastern incremental innovation processes….

Richard: in terms of the theme of the conference… Disruptive technologies are one of the main drivers for research… One of the limitations is sometimes the technologies to explore those concepts. Tim mentioned Moore’s law! that’s been an essential driver for what became a new paradigm of science thirty or fourth years ago, around modelling data, in areas such as climate science. Where we see step changes is where we see paradigm shifts, or new paradigms adopted in research. That was a new paradigm… Either disruptive or resultant from new technology. Today I see another paradigm shift away from hypothesis driven approach to science, testing that idea to generate knowledge, towards a situation where you have all of the data that is or might be relevant… And seeing how we can use that and derive new knowledge from the data. Today I don’t think we understand that new methodology, we see some commercial use of that….

Coming on to teaching we may see precisely big data applied to our business… When I started here thirty years ago the only way to assess students was end of year exams. Now we can measure the learning experience at some many different stages, Tim mentioned today the possibility to use data we can… We could use that data to provide much more evidence based feedback to students to see how they do day to day as individuals interacting with learning and teaching on offer…. Ac ac extend to. MOOCs or whatever community wants education for, us. That could radically change education, move away from mode of vast amount of information… And then assessment.

Ashley: maybe such analytics might be about a wider set of metrics…. Efforts and attainment…

Cory: I came out of a very alternative education system which encouraged alternative ways to learn…. I am so skeptical of assessment. When I talked at the university of Southern California my colleagues were terrified of playguerism and playguerism from Wikipedia so every week I set my students to find Wikipedia pages relevant to the topics, and had them find errors, and add comments to those pages. It was unplaguerisable and we contributed to knowledge… Good assessment is about that kind of knowledge building. We need to think about what students learn and understand…. Otherwise universities move to be skills and vocational spaces and they are unsuited to that and why not go to trade college at a tenth of the price…

Collaboration costs we are well attuned to… Or neocortex’s size reflects the importance of cooperation, the need to do fpmore with fewer means… The internet lets us do that at scale, it’s more than amazing, it’s the realisation of the dream of our species. The internet is amazing for gathering people together to achieve stuff. If I was writing a MOOC I’d be thinking about making some larger thing, emerging from collaborative work between students. And that’s a more scholarly approach… What you’d do with analytics I’m not sure… But would let you feed back to students, with A|B split, and transparency to that data, and help them understand where their opinion on what did or did not work and why….

Richard: assessment could be a rabbit hole… We might move to evidence based approach to pedagogy, moving from theory and hypothesis, to something data driven… So is MOOC better than chalk and talk or is this assignment style work better than another…

Cory: won’t answer always be “it depends”?

Richard: I don’t know but we can move from theory to measuring…. Butstude ts are a well defined group, we can collect more data… Does that change how we think about education… And how does that inform us in terms of teaching and learning… Could be transformative change….

Jeff: (instructing us not to tweet about enforced microphone huddling!) I think we are now becoming sensitive to surveillance and security… That phase of being open to the world is shifting in… We see attempts by individuals to operate as part of a global environment. You used to know students as individuals… Work based on empirical knowledge of small group of learners… But as you massifs that doesn’t work… At big scale we see different possibilities…. For huge groups who we can personalise for…. And we see this with mobile phones, with twitter and Facebook…. You see your community scaling out… People seeing problems and reigning back in…. And photographs…. We try to turn ephemeral events into tangible, to find meaning, especially when scattered in time and space… And I think we are on the cusp of understanding how to personalise this world…. These experiments are a way to try to understand how we will work in a world that is much more complex than before and so much more fast laced than before… MOOCs are just one feature in this landscape…

Chris: very few of us have talked about data… We can’t talk about individualism…. Individuals don’t exist. We can’t claim an individual position. If you are off grid maybe…. This is about data… I write about learning outcomes as if biblical objectives… We should write some machine learning outcomes… We teach as groups, we assess as individuals, we graduate as individuals… I am sure well soon had collaborative PhDs at edinburgh… Data lets us negotiate invisible person in the room…. The known unknowns… Much more interesting of known know a of learning outcomes we are writing….

Ashley: so we have talked about collaboration, opportunities to work together… But difficulty in explaining to the individual….

Chris: no that’s based on your concept of the individual….

Cory: Metcalf’s law about the value of a network squaring based on number of networks is really useful…. There is this editor who says the use of science fiction writers isn’t about prediction of drive in… It’s about the sexual revolution…. And now… Will actually that ore it ion was about photo ids or have sexual congress…. The great science fiction writer looks at that database state… So for me thinking about the building of knowledge, a tall building is as complex as an encyclopedia… So if we have a patch of ground… We ask who has equipment, skills, etc…. That collaborative future is plausible… I think imagine any project now being a future of discussion of swarming internet people that’s a taste of the future…

Ashley: one comment we have is an alumni uncomfortable about the idea of being watched or surveillance or measured. Ore than they were as an undergraduate…

Jeff: I think a corollary to my mind of the benefits of your activities to be organised… Is that I coming to a university like this come wanting to study for a degree, should have a right to privacy… The idea of the London External University… The exam only option… The option of help to learn, and the option to just present oneself for the credits… Y need the right to not participate if that’s what you want. That will be an important requirement, needs not to be penalised.

Richard: I agree. Can only work as an opt in. Like Facebook is…. Those students would have to opt in… And those not opting in might choose a different educational experience… Has to be positive… I tend to agree that personally that’s thec wse, there could be big data backlash, we have to adopt technologies and methodologies that can be collectively be seen to be positive by those engaging with it….

Cory: I want to point out some moral hazards… Facebook isn’t just opt in but a skinner box to undervalue your privacy. This is deliberately manipulated to vary reward to make you make more and deeper disclosures… If you accept that the way to perfect education is by using such a Skinner box… Great teaching for sharing data… I did a presentation with kenn wemwei? Who wrote the big data book this year. He asked about data and health case and the role of collaborative health benefit, like vaccination… What’s in scope for health outcomes may not be food, excercise, air it may be stress, parts of City visited, friends, travel… Stuff in scope is effectively infinite…. Measuring and gathering data… The moral hazard is knowing everything students do in every last of their life for ever…. The need for bigger data… Not enough market data…. Need a bigger market! This could go on and on…

Chris: reciprocity matters… What you give versus what you get…. Kids for instance can be selfish little feckers… The reciprocity isn’t there…now… But maybe it’s a long game… When I’m old and infirm… Maybe reciprocity isn’t instant and isn’t symmetrical…. Isn’t that a condition of avatar. Students knowing what they are getting into…

Richard: isn’t it about trust? Might be happy for medical data to be shared with family, but maybe not worldwide. Maybe for institutions it is trust too… We are in to situation of considerable use and loyalty… This specific relationship in regard to education… The concerns may not be so manifest… Who will you trust with your data? And what do you think that trusting that institution with your data, you will get back. Yang relationship must be key for making something like this work?

Mel: can we flip the table, the idea of the individual holding data…. Education beyond the university… The data you gather goes beyond institutional walls and that should travel with you in life… Move against institution, towards non individual…

Ashley: how do you ores re access For all and equally if the individual has charge? All fine in theory but who is this student in actual fact… Is it about education better for individuals or education better for more customers?

Jeff: by definition… MOOC Courses are wide open, they are taught courses, people seem happy with them… Open courses of any kind can be successful… But do they reach the disadvantaged? Largely no…. But looking at data from our learners… If you look at who takes them it isn’t the peak in thirties and forties… It’s the non trivial number of people on the margins… Young people in school accessing university courses. Being able to be anywhere taking a university courses with those with a degree or two is liberating and with powerful effects. A small. Umber in special education can be life transforming. The real effects are the small numbers of people for whom these are significantly important educational experiences…. Perhaps crowd sourcing experienced learners to support that small percentage of learners might be important here… The really important meaningful features can be lost in big numbers, and disappearance of people in them… That’s not the importance stuff. The pearls are small in comparison to the oyster… It’s the pearls I’m after…

Ashley: on the tweets we are seeing the issue of trust and data and the issue of knowingly opted in in T&Cs is being raised…


Q) there was that issue of trust and trust if our students,,, something in our student survey, a negative… many students said they felt like barcodes. I don’t think we have that trust from them, that sense of community gain. We either need to stop gathering data or explain that better…

Richard: thinking less about gathering form them, more about learning analytics, data that they can benefit from. We have a lot of understanding of how students respond to feedback and learning outcomes to particular learning exoteric ex. THat could be available to students to understand for themselves to understand that, to modify their behaviour. It can only work if individual student sees benefit from their data being shared with the university. Making that process more data driven, than professor x meeting you once and year and assessing how you are doing…

Cory: I think I know my skepticism here… In terms of big data it often removes idiosyncrasies… People with cancer, or people who want to learn calculus…. There may be needs we can’t see… Whilst interesting to get data from a bunch of students to try to decompose subject x, and those well suited to subject x in some other way…. The internet creates media useful to very small numbers of people, that’s what it’s great for…. Imagine if an auto maker could make a car for just three people… Something that idiosyncratic… When I hear MOOCs I hear “any colour as long as it’s black” or the Hugo factor. I hear big data and I think about personalised medicine…

Richard: I absolutely agree. I’m thinking big data. I’m not thinking MOOCs, I don’t see us being able to feedback to them at that scale…. MOOCs feed back into other classes… Baht personalised education only works if handled holistically… But hard to generalise form interactions with a particular MOOC…

Jeff: it’s a mistake to think of MOOCs being about interactions between learners and us. Is about learners learning from each other. In so,us respects they can demonstrate what they can do, personalised feedback from peer learners… Power of crowd and network. MOOC materials are the frame. The tutor guides. But we are not the important bit. In MOOCs your students are multilingual, they take and expand on your work. Local is not geographical, it’s language or interst… It’s a very different model… We have such a deeply embedded view of the learner… This isn’t like that at all…. That is disruptive, a different way to think about what happens in an educational setting…

Ashley: any closing comments…

Cory: I’ve spoke a lot, I’m good!

Ashely: I’m interested in personalisation and the long tail…. Hopefully next time we will have more answers…

And we are moving on to final comments from Jeff….

Jeff Hayward, CIO, VP Knowledge management – closing comments

What I will do is talk just a few minutes… It takes us back to where the Principal start of the day…. The senior management group went to a cold place in the highlands to think about the university in 2025, where we would want to be and what would shape the university…and I was thinking about our summary list… So much of this has come up today… To my mind the interesting thing was privacy, security, identity, malevolence… The time and energy we will think about personally and institutionally will go up, that will curtail much of what we do…. I’m not desperate about GCHQ and NSA… We maybe always assumed that… RBS a denial of service is a warning to us I think. We have to think about that… And the ethics and how we out that out there…

And we are also thinking ubiquity, mobile everything including wearable a… Internet of things. Aleks video included others, that routine recording already raises privacy issues too.

Semantic web, ubiquitous information, find and digitise on deem and, intelligent agents – threaded through what we do… For me the critical thing is how you replicate the tutoring model of sitting with a single student, the Lxbrigde model, in a way as good as the original. That’s the wholly Grail your me, especially if doable at scale.

Data driven world – analytics, predictively, on-demand compute…. Personalisation (me+free+easy models dominate)… MOOCs curiously can be more personalised… It is built to scale… Face to face is built in depersonalised ways…

And I think a set of interesting technologies coming through…. Video and audio is easier than text…speech recognition, any voice isnstantly… Real time translation of language and form and with quality. Combine the two we can have international education in equal time… That would be disruptive though…Digital-physical co-presence. Something like we had with Aleks but where the experience is the same at both ends of that video conference/work at a distance. Social internet – collaboration and mass/crowd sourcing. Not just technical abilities but also that it’s not unusual to collaborate digitally… Comparable to comfort some have in football crowds perhaps… 3D becoming fast and cheap…. This is more of a stab in the dark… Clearly bad uses… But in education, not sure…

None of this is left field. If this develops at pace. In 2025 the world will be very different… We plan four years ahead… What do end do for next four years towards that world…?

I have learned a lot today… Particularly to switch off all devices when engaged in intimate acts, thanks for that Cory! Thank you to all of our speakers, our panel, and our organisers for today! This has been an excellent event!

 December 12, 2013  Posted by at 1:22 am Uncategorized No Responses »