Module 4 was just plain frightening, from the merging of our identities with digital technology to create the persona (Avatar) we want to be instead of being who we are to realizing that our online data is not really ours, but is under the control of companies for monetization. I also learned a lot about myself, which might also say something about the human experience with our new digital reality: as scared as I am about putting myself out there, I probably won’t change my habits.
My group had a great discussion regarding people creating their own “Avatar Dream” (Harrell & Lim, 2017). We found both positives and negatives about the ability to portray another version of yourself online via social media. When the article mentioned the “Avatar Dream” as being the “culturally shared vision of the future” (p. 1), Jen replied, “Reframing the world in Avatars does not make them an ideal…it makes them a shiny, artificial version of all the problems we already have as a society.” I’m glad she said this because I agree that creating avatars will not solve the issues we already have. It will just move them to a different space, possibly with the people who lack power in the “real” world trying to hold down others in the digital world. On the other hand, using avatars to break down cognitive constraints based on someone’s real experiences and social identity can embolden people to move beyond their current situation.
Consequently, week 8’s readings and videos on Big Data were even more scary. The fact that I am putting information about myself out on the internet and onto apps many times a day, and that the information can be, using algorithms, mined for a detailed understanding about me and my beliefs is frightening. What is worse is that this information can be used to overtly discriminate against people in terms of upward mobility: blocking someone from college and job opportunities.
Now, on to the more fun parts of Module 4, the digital work. Of course, I loved Paul Z’s Lonely Orphan entry! I love that the Mad Masker has an accomplice, and angry boss accomplice but an accomplice. When I first say that Challenge, I was not too sure about it. I didn’t think it would last on the list. Why would adults dress up and put themselves out there on video for all to see? Because, it’s fun, that’s why. And very creative! I am still working on doing this with my 5th and 6th graders. I’m trying to decide whether to formalize it more, like telling kids which order to produce their clips. I also love all the humor involved in the Daily Creates, especially the Childhood Terrors one (#tdc2093). I keep going back to the bunny hanging in the sink picture for the fear of falling down the drain.
I had to include two childhood terrors: The Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House album I used to listen to, and Ronald McDonald, whom I always thought was a bit of a creeper. For the haunted house sounds, I did a screen recording of a YouTube video (well, it was audio with a thumbnail of the album cover) and then I uploaded it to YouTube.
My second Daily Create was even easier to come up with. My kryptonite is, and always has been, construction! I go weak in the mind, emotions collapsing, every time I drive up on it. The video I made was just down my street. They have been tearing up that block for months! I used the slo-mo setting on my iPhone camera and edited it using iMovie on my phone.
My favorite project this module was my SketchNote on Module 2. So far, Module 2 has had the greatest impact on me in regards to the future of education. The entire idea of transmedia is just a bolder step to the multi-genre projects I have done in the past. By opening up to the digital world, students now have more avenues to tell their stories, or to disseminate information rather than just writing a magazine article or an essay. For this project, I spent some time storyboarding what I would put on the white board, the order in which I added it, and the colors I would use. We tried many different angles to keep my fat head out of the shot. We shot it at regular speed on my phone and then I sped it up and added music on my computer’s iMovie app. I am mostly very proud of it, but there are some things that could be more legible.
The tech part of this module went much smoother than I anticipated, so I think my biggest challenge was keeping my emotions in check about the whole Big Data discussions. I am very freaked out about the casual handing over of control and personal information by today’s society, and how complicit I am. I’ve done a bunch of research on totalitarian governments as a teacher and for my dystopian fiction book, and we are making it so simple for a government to control us. Let alone, big corporations, whom I believe are actually in control of the population. I had to take many long walks this past week.