Ubiquitous computing: does this area shape the digital literacy map?

London

November morning in London

Increasingly smart objects are present in our public spaces. Digital technologies, whether immediately apparent or ‘hidden’, intervene in our sensory engagement with physical space and the ways in which we make meaning of the world. With this convergence of digital and material, and the expanding relationships/networks formed with humans, is ubiquitous computing something that we should be including within the realm of digital literacy in arts and design education? Continue reading

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.

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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

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

A multiplicity of presences

Although it seems as if we have never been without social media, location aware technologies, and apps to organize many aspects of our lives, we are in fact just at the beginning of our relationship with digital technologies and networks. Continue reading

Information factories: a role in shaping our energy future

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Image courtesy of www.neospire.net under a Creative Commons license

At Central Saint Martins we explore the myriad evolving relationships between the physical and the virtual in all manner of ways – be they disciplinary, interdisciplinary or antidisciplinary.  In doing so we upload films onto Vimeo, send emails with files attached, save documents onto the S-drive, create 3D models using SketchUp, and comment on blog posts – these  are just some of the ways in which we generate our digital information. Daily, enormous amounts of data are launched upon the grid by our staff, students and alumni. Continue reading

What is e-Learning, and is it interesting?

What is eLearning? blog post on the Dashboard

What is eLearning? blog post on the Dashboard

As an increasingly significant part of sociotechnical learning systems, e-Learning is value laden, whether ethical, social or cultural; e-Learning can be viewed as embodying different forms of power and authority, thus being inherently political. e-Learning is not neutral. When framed in this way, how can it be anything but interesting? Continue reading

CSM’s Digital Present

learning studio

Colleagues share insights about the new digital tool OTTeR created at CSM

The oscillating social, political and cultural interpretations of digital technologies are highly complex and contested. However, with 1 billion people using Facebook each month, and further extraordinary statistics relating to social media and digital technologies being published daily, it is becoming increasingly important for citizens and educators to familiarise themselves with new and evolving information communications technologies.

The College is keen to provide various ways for colleagues to develop confidence and competence in the use of these technologies. As such, a project called ‘Digital Present’ has been developed with the aim of supporting staff digital literacy.  Aligned to a ‘communities of practice’ approach, it is designed to supplement existing training, IT support and PPD. Already we have produced four informal drop-in Learning Studios where colleagues from across the College can share information about the ways in which they are exploring different digital tools and social media.  September’s well received CSM All Staff Digital Literacy Event provided an intense afternoon focused on technology enhanced learning, and the Digital Present blog has just launched. Continue reading

Related to the database

connected commuters

Connected commuters

This blog is aware (for those who read those words as a philosophical provocation, please contact Jamie Brassett, MA Innovation Management) that the mere hint of the word ‘database’ has the shutters of many imaginations slamming.  However, we are all connected in myriad ways through, and in, relational databases.

Data ebbs and flows across the messy digital landscape.  When converging and concentrated, data produces relations or disassociations. Continue reading