Smartphones: ‘connecting to the rest of the world’

Illustration: technology and imagination

Much is reported of the staggering adoption of mobile technologies worldwide. In particular the smartphone is influencing our behaviours in all manner of ways, and for many university students it has become an essential part of their everyday lives. These personal and portable devices are now inextricably involved in how we experience the world.

As educators, how could we, or should we, view smartphones within an arts and design context? Are they extensions of the studio, a form of prosthetic that alters our body schema, or a distraction that renders actions invisible and disturbs continuity and flow?

As part of a study into the ways in which personal digital technologies are incorporated into arts and design education, a second year cohort of CSM undergraduate students has provided insights about their relationship with smartphones.

Continue reading

Digital literacy within arts and design education?

Connecetd digital devices enabling cafe communication

Connected digital devices enabling online and offline communication in the cafe studio

When we consider how to start mapping what ‘digital literacy’ means within the context of a dynamic arts and design educational environment, and ever changing socio-technical systems, where do we start? Do we frame the exploration as a network-topological study, attend to the politics of search engines, and investigate our digital trace routes? Whatever the answer, it’s essential that digital literacy is not perceived simply as a set of technical skills. Continue reading

ALTO: sharing CSM’s academic resources with UAL and beyond

Hywel Davies leads CSM’s BA Fashion Communication with Promotion (FCP). In 2010, he was invited by CLTAD to help develop and co-ordinate the project ALTO (Arts Learning and Teaching Online) as a representative from CSM.

ALTO exists now as a platform and online file store for Open Education Resources (OERs), and for two years the project received funding from Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). Through ALTO the University has been exploring the potential of OERs within arts and design education.

Here, Hywel describes how ALTO works, a student collaboration related to the project, and he explains how ALTO benefits both students and staff. Continue reading

Seamlessly integrated or disconnected and disrupted?

Conected to the network

Connected to the network?

At a provocative presentation about bionics and prosthetics a question was posed to the panel regarding human-machine symbiosis – ‘Could your brain be hacked when molecular scale RFID penetrates the skull?’  This simple question highlights our everyday experience of technologies being disrupted and breaking down. We are so familiar with stories of hacking and disconnection that we understandably question whether our minds are hackable; despite being part of a 21c hyperconnected society, our daily encounters with the network can be fractured and messy. We have become used to anticipating the possibility of rupture, hacking, and disconnection.

The ‘seamless integration’ of digital technologies, so often espoused by tech marketing teams, in practice fails to appear.  Yet the messiness can often lead to moments of insight and valuable reminders. Continue reading