Week 12 Reflect activity

When I opted for this unit, I was looking forward to being exposed to new technologies on the web. I knew fully well that the technologies that are emerging today are going to transform our lives in the near future. I liked how this unit has created a fine balance between play and reflect activities. The play activities helped me to test out new technologies, while the reflect activities set my mind to think more seriously on technology-related issues and how it would impact our lives. For instance, when I was reflecting on ‘Declaration of the Independence of CyberSpace’ during week 8, I began to see how much technology mirrors human societies. I liked the fact that we were encouraged to discuss slightly polarizing topics such as online privacy and information capitalism during this week, which I believe was the most mature topic that required us to look beneath the surface.

I believe that the learning environment of this unit is like taking a peek into the future of education. As we are exposed to more types of media in our daily lives, it is only natural that our academic approach follows suit. I especially enjoyed week 10’s play activity pertaining to the maker movement, as I was able to try my hand at a DIY wooden yacht. While I wouldn’t call the project tough, it certainly was challenging. For once, I had to get off the computer and do something for ‘real’, rather than just typing, swiping and clicking. This made the project all the more interesting and meaningful to me.

Besides that, I was able to see how thousands of people around the world enjoyed doing small yet meaningful projects, which made me feel connected to the world at large. I feel these aspects of emerging technologies are serving as a counterbalance to bring together people, instead of making people feel alienated in virtual worlds. Thus, there is no doubt that some emerging technologies certainly have the potential to facilitate collaborative learning. WikiHow, Instructables and YouTube are revolutionizing the way in which people learning everyday tasks. Infographics is another area that has grown as a result of online media consumption, as it is able to share figures and numbers in an easy to understand yet non-academic approach.

The activity which I found uninspiring was the finding an online instructional resource for Week 8 and talking about it. Instead of being one-dimensional, if this play activity involved some collaborative engagement, it could have been more interesting. Besides that, what I found lacking in this unit is exposure to more open-source creation projects like SourceForge. While researching about DIY and MakerSpace, I began to learn about Arduino and Raspberry Pi electronic boards that foster an open-source way of thinking and doing things. While I did learn about data retention laws during Week 8’s reflection, I would have also liked to learn more about the legal aspects of online behaviour, as I believe this is going to be an important area of concern in the near future. Furthermore, I also feel that that a progressive unit like this should consider covering socio-political implications of technology. However, I do understand that staying apolitical helps to curb polarizing attitudes and foster a healthy learning environment. An advanced version of this unit can also focus on how behavioural aspects of online communication (e.g. trolling) affect overall user engagement.

During the course of this unit, my key learning came when I began to observe an emerging pattern of personalised websites gaining more traction in virtual space. For instance, the ‘persona poster’ and ‘quantifying yourself’ activities were like performing a post-mortem of my own electronic identity and virtual presence. I realized how we have already started living in the virtual world and how deeply we are invested in it. Coming to think of it, LinkedIn has almost replaced traditional business cards, while Facebook is a personal newsletter for the celebrity in all of us.

When it comes to online interactions, I am usually not very proactive. However, I do realize the potential it has for engaging in a meaningful conversation. I did have a few interaction on my blog thru the comments section, but I definitely see scope for improvement there. Had I promoted my blog via social media, I could engaged in more interactions as it would expose my blog to a larger audience. I also believe that my introverted nature had something to do with the limited online interactions. However, I believe I could improve in this aspect, when the need for it arises.

My lightbulb moment during this unit came when I assessing the MyFitness Pal app for the ‘quantify myself’ play activity, during Week 4. I have always considered myself an introvert and tended to value my privacy in virtual space. So, when I was using this app on Apple Watch, I was consciously aware of the fact that I was wilfully handing over my personal data to a pervasive 3rd party. However, I was willing to make this compromise to meet my fitness goals. The strange realization was that I was actually okay with the minor privacy lapse, as I was getting a valuable service in exchange. So, I believe that the value that online services like Facebook or Twitter offer to individuals is what makes them ignore the obvious privacy implications. I feel that this trend will only continue to rise, as the next generations of users will have lesser inhibitions about sharing their personal life with the rest of the world.

Now that I have briefly summarized my experiences this semester, I can truly appreciate the breadth of the topics covered in the unit. So, my key take-away for this unit is that technology is deeply ingrained into almost every aspect of our life including health, entertainment, food, education, personal and professional life. While staying vigilant of privacy implications is important, there is also a need to accept a certain level of compromise to enjoy the benefits of personalised web services and meaningfully engage with peers online. As different aspects of technology are deeply connected, I believe that the learnings from this unit will subconsciously affect my personal and professional choices in the near future

Week 10 Reflect activity: How will the maker movement revolutionise our society?

How will the maker movement revolutionise our society?

The era of DIY Maker Movement has created a surge of out-of-the-box thinking around the globe. This is the decade of entrepreneurship and not blue collar-white collar business. The revolution started when the entrepreneurship had started getting much recognition even for the small businesses. Another factor of revolution was also multi-culturalism where students like me have travelled internationally for studies and work. On our way, we have developed our DIY techniques to help us cut costs such as using a blow-dryer to re-heat cold ramen noodles!

From cooking to clothes, from furniture to saving the electricity bill, from make-up to pet management, there has been a variety of DIY’s creation viral on the YouTube channels, blogs, Facebook communities, Instagram, and Twitter. This is a revolution that is slowly embedding itself in the lives of the people who are actively responding online, sharing and exploring new ways to create better quality solutions for their daily problems.

I believe the revolution has a good scope for future as the current generation has developed the ability to DIY most of the routine things in life. Instead of brand names, women are considering home-made DIY lipsticks, shampoos and hair oils to benefit themselves. With time, newer generation will find such DIY’s as routinely events and shall start making better DIY’s creations.

The most fertile grounds are found in the higher education system where such DIY’s are promoted by the schooling system as well. This helps in self-efficacy and creativity of the student. Communities like makerspace, maker culture, and other platforms support the maker movement by letting the people share, develop, mentor, explore and play with each other DIY’s creations.

According to Henseler (2015), Liberal Arts studies have all the embedded learning outcomes to help the revolution takes its full cycle. This is because Liberal Arts also incorporates the self-reflection and articulation needed to learn out-of-the-box thinking and not only how creations are made, but also how they are integrated into the system and have the ability to transform society with this culture over time (Henseler, 2015).

Coming to the major factor of DIY Maker Movement, the Technology. Technological advancements have played the biggest role in transforming simple, innovative ideas into surreal creations. Such as dancing robots, Raspberry Pi kits, drones and daily utilities such as using popcorn machine to build coffee bean roasters. According to Fenlon (2012), the Maker Faire CEO has claimed the DIY Maker movement to belong to the kids. Revolution starts from Lego and ends at highly technological machines that make cooking, gaming, socialising and other daily routines more fun (Fenlon, 2012).

Maker movement shall revolutionize the society by letting every individual know how to create the things for himself, that he had been buying from the industrialists, empowering them rather than ourselves. It will create a sense of self-efficiency and self-confidence in cheaper ways so that financial situation can be better and not be affected with high inflation rates or financial crisis. It will also allow every individual, who is not from a technological, engineering or IT background, to create and think like an entrepreneur.

Week 10 Play activity (Makerspace)

The makerspace was an interesting forum where I found many like-minded makers. Since I had less time in my hands I looked for a project with Duration being less or over-the-weekend and difficulty could be medium. I did not want a difficult project that frustrates me 1neither I wanted an easy one that would be no fun, so I settled for medium difficulty level and found this particular project that brought back my childhood memories.

A mini wooden Yacht for a perfect project so I worked on the following ship which was difficult to make, I had to get mini-sized parts of it which were available at the nearest wood store. The material I used were matchstick pieces, small toys, threads and ropes, chopsticks, Satay sticks, glue, magnifier, jewellery, shoemaker’s hammer, needles, and nails. I also had to buy some wood for the base such that the ship keeps afloat.

While making the ship, I remembered how my father used to work on his projects, and he also had made a ship, only that it was bigger and better. This is one is much smaller shown below:

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For the finishing touch, I had to paint all the wooden things, such as ladders made out of matchstick had to be painted grey, and then they were to be glued to the deck. All this took me a week; I have not taken it for the ride yet as I am afraid it might fall apart. Makerspace community has engaged me by bringing back my childhood memories and therefore, motivated me to work on something that I used to see my father work.

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Week 8 Reflect activity

Discuss the Declaration of the Independence of CyberSpace in terms of accessibility, it is arguing that we should be free from governments on the Internet, do you agree? How do things like data retention laws play into this?

Reflection:

The Declaration of the Independence of CyberSpace is an important document that provides a glimpse into the values and ideologies that created the internet. The pioneers of the internet conceived it to be an open medium for exchanging information, without being censored or moderated by governments around the world. The author of “Declaration of the Independence of CyberSpace”, John Perry Barlow, perceived the internet to the great equalizer that would free ordinary citizens of the world from the prejudices of racial, geographic and economic inequalities.

Barlow perceived government’s interference into the realm of the Internet, through legal conflicts such as copyright infringement and child protection laws, as excuses to break into user privacy and deter free access of information. The recent controversy that sparked as a result of the FBI requesting Apple to hack into its iPhone to retrieve user data, was regarded as an anti-terrorist move by the US government. However, this has far-reaching privacy implications from millions of users, as the government can now snoop in on its citizens more easily. The WikiLeaks controversy also exposed how governments have been using the internet to keep track of its citizens. Data retention laws have now forced private enterprises like Facebook, Google and WhatsApp to store data almost indefinitely and hand it over to law enforcement authorities when requested. Recent advances in cloud technology have made it easier to store and retrieve user information on demand. While all of this is being done in the pretence of security, user data is ultimately marketed and monetised for the private gain of the wealthy.

I also agree with Barlow’s conclusion that governments that function on old-world hierarchies are not well-equipped to manage or govern the brave new world that the Internet has created today. This is due to the fact that new technology evolves at a faster rate, when compared to how fast governments find ways to control its use. While governments around the world have been unsuccessful in curbing internet piracy, a new generation of streaming services like Netflix and YouTube have redefined how content is created, distributed and consumed. Barlow’s observations on how governments and parents are concerned about child safety on the Internet are spot on, as he exposes their insecurities and incompetence in educating children to make better choices. In spite of having child protection laws for the Internet, we still see teenagers casually sharing nude selfies on the internet. This proves Barlow’s position on the governments and adults failing in their responsibility to educate children.

I also believe that Barlow was absolutely right in understanding government’s motives in controlling the Internet. For instance, the Twitter revolution in Egypt, Tunisia and Moldova empowered its citizens to join together and overthrow governments. Following this, many governments around the world have started to restrict or moderate Internet access to keep its citizens under control. Information, in itself, is neither harmful nor useful. Thus, we have to put in place measures that will motivate more users to utilize information positively. It is up to us, the millennials, as future leaders of the world to make the internet more open to sharing information, rather than locking it up behind paywalls and creating more inequality. That being said, the world needs laws to function and not crumble under chaos. However, these new laws have to fall in line with the philosophy of the new world, wherein all citizens are treated fairly as equals.

 

Week 8 Play activity – Option:1

This video on Capitol One’s YouTube channel provides crucial tips for safely shopping online. It starts out by enlisting healthy user practices to keep computers safe, such as installing a firewall and anti-virus software; this will ensure that user’s computer is free of malware such as key-loggers that track user activity including passwords. Following this, tips on validating authenticity of a website are discussed; this includes verifying website contact information and looking for HTTPS padlock to ensure that website connection is encrypted and secure. Finally, security measures such as signing up for MasterCard secure code to add an additional layer of credit card security are briefly discussed. The importance of having strong user passwords and changing them frequently is also emphasized.

The language used is simple to understand and the duration of the clip is short to get the message across quickly, without tiring the viewer. The graphics and sound effects used in the video help in keeping viewer engaged for the entire duration of the clip. This video is a great starting point for anyone that wants to keep their financial information secure while shopping online.

Week 7: play and reflect activities

Play Activity and ReflectionData Visualization Infographic: Do you know about Eye Floaters?

 

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Reflection

How does using data visualization help to communicate research to the people?

As with any other means of information portrayal, research studies have also managed to capitalize on the promising opportunities offered by the contemporary Information and Communication Technologies. Today, there are literally myriads of methods out there that can be utilized – thanks to the blessings of ICT and digital communication – to present your research findings more precisely. I think that for any research to be presented, the first and foremost requirement is that of conciseness. However, I also believe that effectiveness of a research presentation rests in our ability to be concise and bring it to the point, at the same time. Although PowerPoint presentations have been rather effective in doing so, they require a significant degree of effort in creating those slides and structuring them coherently.

 

As a student on the way to becoming a professional, I really appreciate the way Infographics help us portray accurate and in-depth information both concisely and precisely. The first reason why I love infographics is that it is a combination of images and texts; this makes it highly attractive and readable. The second key reason why I prefer infographics is that they are in a single image form, which means that sharing them across multiple channels becomes easier. On the contrary, if I was using a PowerPoint presentation, sharing it would not have been easy since people would not be able to view the findings on the go. I also admire infographics because they allow us to share the crux of our research findings in a single image file while allowing us to be as creative as possible in building links between the various pieces of information. Consider the infographic, I have shared earlier in this paper as an example. It is evident that while I have utilized images, pie chart, smart tools and diagrams to represent the findings of the research conducted, I have also been able to conveniently add textboxes to share essential informative outcomes of the research study.

 

I also prefer and recommend the use of infographics to my colleagues because they are embeddable. This makes it easier for us to embed it in our personal or professional blogs / websites or other channels. Infographics also serve as an effective means of marketing and building brand awareness. For instance, if I was to sell a smartphone, all will have to do is to take a picture of the phone, label it and share the key specs or features of that smartphone. This allows viewers to gain awareness about the smartphone and its specialties. Finally, an infographic allows us to utilize our own knowledge, consider our own research studies or surveys on a topic of interest, and share our own findings interactively.

References

Baartman, B., Lowder, C., & Adamopoulou, C. (2016, March 17). Flashes, Floaters, and an Unfamiliar Fundus. . JAMA Ophthalmology. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.3655

Health Host. (2015, September 24). All You Need to Know About Eye Floaters. Retrieved from Health Host: http://www.health-host.co.uk/all-you-need-to-know-about-eye-floaters/

Islamoglu, H., Ay, O., Ilic, U., Mercimek, B., Donmez, P., Kuzu, A., & Odabasi, F. (2015). Infographics: A new competency area for

teacher candidates. Cypriot Journal of Educational Sciences, 10(1), 32-39.

 

 

 

Assessment 1 – Persona Poster Reflection

I found this assignment to be very enjoyable, as I was comfortable with the subject matter and the requirements were quite simple. This gave me a lot of motivation to start early, instead of waiting until the last minute. The process of creating a persona based on my own preferences required a lot of self-realization. This included making a list of tasks that I usually perform online, as well as understanding the motivations behind those tasks. However, the end result was developing a better understanding of my own online habits and time utilization. What I realized was that the time that I spent on social media did indeed match with my goals of connecting with people that I care about and learning new things. This realization turned out to be quite fulfilling, as I sometimes used to feel guilty about spending a lot of time on social media.

While the assignment seemed quite straightforward to me at first, it was slightly more difficult than I expected it to be. I initially began the poster development on Prezi.com, as I felt it provided a familiar user interface and had a lot of relevant features. However, after I began working on it, I realized that I could not save the poster in the desired file format. I also faced some difficulties setting the poster size to recommended dimensions in the assignment brief. So, I had to shift to MS PowerPoint to develop the poster, as it was more flexible in choosing the file formats and canvas size.

During the course of working on this assignment, I was also forced to confront some of the negative aspects social media. This includes the constant trolling on social media, where certain users always post negative comments on any issue just to trigger an online fight. I also thought about some of the threats and bullying posts that I had come across on social media, which unfortunately mirrors the real world. More importantly, I remembered the feeling of being frustrated when I read unrelated posts in the comments section of YouTube. For instance, a simple tutorial video had somehow made some users fight about religion in the comments section. This is especially troubling because other users reading these comments would also be affected by these irrelevant arguments, even though they just came there to discuss about the e-tutorial. Previously, I used to try to reason with such users to get back on topic, but it almost always ended being a waste of my time. As social media is a platform that provides exposure to both positive and negative aspects of everyday life, it is up to the user to determine what of type of information they want to be exposed to. So, now I do not engage in any negative debates online and tend to just ignore such argumentative posts. I mostly try to engage positively on social media, as I believe that negative behavior will stay on the web forever and spread hate.

Although a lot of people use technology to communicate daily with families and friends, the way in which they interact is different. While some people use Skype, Whatsapp or Viber to make calls, it is not always easy to get older people on the other end to use such technologies. So, when I talk to my family, I usually call them on their phone from my mobile phone. Although this is not the cheapest or cutting technology, it seems to be the most convenient. But, I do share pictures and videos with my family by posting it on Facebook or Instagram. However, while I communicate with my friends, I hardly use my mobile phone and mostly use social media to communicate with them.

I realized that I am more of an active listener and follower, as I tend to follow and read things that interest me. I use social media to learn about recent happenings such as news and technological advancements. I use Twitter to follow certain tech-savvy users that post regular updates on new technologies. I usually do not post on social media, unless I have something interesting or useful to contribute. So, I sometimes comment on other people’s posts when I feel that my opinion will contribute to the overall discussion. I use Facebook to see what my friends are posting related to trending topics, which helps me keep track of what is going on. I mostly read e-books on my tablet, but get book recommendations by reading book reviews on social media. I also use social media for entertainment, as I sometimes watch videos on YouTube.

When I finished the persona poster, I was left with the deep realization that social technology not only has a significant impact in my life, but is also going to transform the lives of millions of people around the world. Personas are virtual identities that reflect real individuals’ behaviours and preferences. Thus, personas help organizations develop a better understanding of their users. Therefore, tech companies build personas based on their target audiences, in order to model their products and services according to user needs. A typical persona would include age, gender, education and skill level. A persona would also be developed based on target users’ motivation and needs. In a social media context, a persona helps developers to deliver features that target users will find useful. A persona would also help designer to fine-tune the interface to provide easy access to their users’ frequently performed behaviours.

Personas will also help organizations to serve advertisements that are relevant to their user base, thereby improving the overall user experience. Personas would also help organization to structure privacy policies and communication strategies based on target users’ education and skill level. For instance, a social media platform with very poor privacy policies will not do well with a professional audience. In conclusion, personas provide valuable insight into users’ needs, motivations and preferences when it comes to using technology. By designing and delivering products and service that are in line with user personas, companies can gain user loyalty and build a stronger brand.

 

Week 4: Reflection Blog

When it comes to the Quantified Self movement I believe it has helped many people who are fighting off those extra carbs. It helps in realizing what one is doing to his/her health and a visual track of it helps people in attaining their ideal selves. I also use a fitness app, which helps me keep balance of the calories intake, and the calories I have burned. However, for many people, this equation is out of balance and they blame the fitness apps for it.

Firstly, to recognize the positive impact of the fitness apps, I have realized that being self-aware is of paramount importance in developing one’s self-concept. I am self-motivated when I am succeeding in my goals to attain the perfect zero calorie score with enough exercise and my favourite foods to offset those calories burned. The ease of these apps, which are one click away (if you own an apple Watch) reassures me that I am on the right track.

Before the fitness app, people were using mobile phones as a way of socializing but as innovations entered life and became business-as-usual, people have started using these apps to schedule work-related tasks, share their stories and blogs, games, invite people to events, and now, record their health. The impact, therefore, has been increasing in several directions at the same time. Moreover, these health apps are helping people who have certain mental and eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia. Recovery apps such Recovery record, Rise up + Recover, Optimism, Kissy project and Cognitive Diary are a few of the applications for health recovery found on iOS (Cherney, 2015). These apps like fitness apps require the user to log their meals and snacks, as well as the emotions. Furthermore, the app also provides motivational and coaching tips when the user submits a bad mood or a reverting behaviour. Some of these apps even predict the pattern of your behaviours and send in a warning alert when a behaviour jeopardizes the goal of the user. However, where there are helpers, there are haters too.

I have found that many of my peers in my extended friends’ circles blame the fitness app for negative results. Holly Desai, a former Miss Leicester blames fitness apps for her Bulimia and warns those girls who are facing such problems that may go out of control (Davies, 2015). I believe, that the apps are not to be blamed for it because the product itself does not harm the user, the psychology of the person compels eating and other chronic disorders. For example, existence of drugs is beneficial but the overdose is under the control of the person.

In quantifying myself, I have been able to keep a balance in my life rather than giving the power of the app over me. Some days I even skip exercises because I have uni all day or my family visits me and those days I eat a lot.

Week 4: Play (Quantify Yourself)

The application that I have chosen for this play is a diet-tracking application that I had started using recently. I had been working on physical conditioning during the past few days (cardio and some compound movement exercises). However, without calorie control, the conditioning is not possible, so I used Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker by MyFitness Pal, which was recommended by a friend.

This app is still new to me but I have been able to benefit from it, despite being a new user. It can be easily accessed from Apple Watch which makes it pervasive. I was able to set my Calorie counter per day in order to reduce weight and whatever I consume, I use this app to store the data.

The calorie count is stored in the form of a diary and according to my BMI, I had to set a goal of 1920 Calories per day.

Day 1

 

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Day 1: My day 1 shows that I had consumed 420 calories for lunch and 615 calories, making a total of 1,318 calories. I succeeded in attaining the goal for day one.

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Day 2: This day shows that I still made it to the targeted goal. Looking at my success, I felt even more motivated to continue my diet plan.

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Day 3: I started recognizing the pattern of my food intake

 

This application not only enhanced my health awareness but also helped with targets which had once seemed impossible. The app has a database of 6 million foods so that the calorie      in-take from processed to organic food can be calculated easily. The app also comes in more than15 languages also. Furthermore, the app breaks down the food of your days into nutrients that one has consumed. The energy and weight of those nutrients.

My professional online identity

Hello everyone!

Today In this post I am going to write about my identity online on a diverse range of social forums that serve different purposes. Despite the huge number of online forums, people joined them for showing their interest and inclination towards certain topics and for communicating with friends. As you all know that twitter, Facebook and instagram are most common among these.

Speaking of online identity, I am not an ardent online forum warrior. Instead, I am that passive kind of user who stays away from using online forums for most time of the year. The reason is not to do with a lack of access to online forums. Instead it is to do with the fact that each person’s nature is different and I do not have a penchant for an extremely active use of online forums. Nowadays, Facebook and instagram have transformed into a hub for everyone to share everything about themselves. This includes their daily activities, culinary habits, food and retail consumption and even the TV shows and movies that they love to watch. I like hanging out with friends and partying but I like to keep it to myself and live within the moment. Moreover, I am an introvert who does not like to share much about his feelings and emotions on a public forum. I just like it this way and I am completely comfortable with whatever other people do.

I believe that the usage of Facebook also depends upon what you use it for and how do you use it. For example Facebook can also be used to know about public personalities, news and books. It can also serve as a source of entertainment. However, given my introvert nature and the fact that I value personal privacy too much, restricts me from disclosing too much personal information about myself online.

I usually use instagram and Twitter more than I used Facebook. This has to do with my love for photography and my passion of capturing the beauty of nature and art. My instagram profile is full of amazing pictures. It forms an important hobby of mine and the high quality and artistic nature of my pictures have often received appreciation from other people, which feels really good.

Apart from this, I use twitter for following the latest news and the tweets of famous personalities. It helps in keeping me updated. Moreover, it is very smart to use and you can follow the hash tags anytime for knowing about a particular trend.

Identity:

As you can see, I am a student of technology and have pursued my studies in this field because it is a highly soft after skills given that we live in an era driven by technology and innovation. People are heavily reliant on technology both as a source of entertainment and a source of improvement of living standards and facilities. It is hard to imagine a world without technology and technology power socialization.

I also like to watch the telivision and different informative or action programs. I like to search regarding cars, movies etc. and I love to read reviews. So the social forums are what provide me with the opportunity to share even my own views about certain aspects at times and I feel very good about it.

You can look for my name at the top of this blog. I hope you like reading about socializing online and identity. Cheers.