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The significance of our attention

Striving to be Net Smart

We kicked off our class presentation series with a thorough presentation from Dylan, who walked us through some key highlights from Howard Rheingold’s “Net Smart” (Chapters 1 & 3). Thanks, Dylan, for drilling down on this work, which I believe sets a fine precedent for the overall Net Mirror inquiry. One of the things I appreciate about Howard’s work is his overall insistence that we do have agency in the midst of harrowing cultural challenges, and that our human inventiveness should push us to seek solutions to even the biggest problems. Through Howard’s writings, Dylan emphasized the fact that intentionality and mindfulness are skills we can develop. Paying attention to what we pay attention to should be both a daily practice and a daily discipline. We should bear in mind (with purposeful determination) the gifts of open literacy etc., even in the face of the vastness of something like the open web. To quote Dylan on Rheingold’s Net Smart: “A portion of this book was concerned with retrospectives taken on other forms of world-changing literacies and the like-concerns that minds of those days had for them just as minds today are concerned for our world. If Rheingold seems concerned here with anything, it is the ways in which being unaware, unmindful towards the extreme noise and attention-vaporizing extent of the Web could negatively impact people.”

And so I ask you, Net Mirror:

What work will we do in Net Mirror to promote and advocate for digital and data literacies? In what ways can we address these challenges as individuals, as scholars, educators, activists and/or artists, and as a small caring community on campus and on the open web?

These are questions we will always circle back to. And I know you are starting to grapple with them already…

A Studio Visit with Howard Rheingold

It was a pleasure to spend the last hour of our Net Mirror time chatting with Howard Rheingold, who came to us via screen from his studio in California. We are grateful for his time, and his willingness to share some of his perspectives on technology as a forecast regarding the challenges ahead. Thanks to Linda and her thorough question, we really did get a good glimpse of several “critical uncertainties” Howard feels will play a big role in the way we meet the future collectively.

I think it is important to remember what Howard shared with us in the end – he said that he wouldn’t describe himself as an “optimist” (for perhaps the optimist moves forward with a kind of blind faith), but rather he would embrace the word hope. Hope (in his use of the word) is rooted in the understanding that humans will always strive to meet even the direst of challenges in order to survive and thrive. Hope, in this sense, is not passive, but more of a “call to action” kind of word. I think this discussion (and this significant end note) should serve as kind of foundation for the work we build on together in this unique course.

What will we see in our individual/collective “Net Mirror(s)”? Will we share this value of hope? And how will we respond? What kind of “call(s) to action” will we create together?

Your “to-do” list:

1. A reminder to check out the locative art project Open Street Map Haiku

2. Next week we will take a closer look at the learning theory known as “Connected Learning” and Linda will lead us through a discussion of participatory culture. Please read: 

**Participatory Culture in a Networked Era by Henry Jenkins, Mizuko Ito, danah boyd. Polity Press, 2016. (Chapters 4 & 5 annotating not available)

In addition, you are welcome to check out the below resources:

This first link is to an infographic (in order to consider Connected Learning design): Connected Learning infographic.

Updated Connected Learning Infographic
Updated Connected Learning Infographic flickr photo by Dogtrax shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

This second link is to an installation I did while I was on sabbatical in Bergen, Norway. I think it serves as a good example (case study) of Connected Learning in practice: Textransformations: Interactive Art Practice as Connected Learning

3. Please write your second reflective blog on the above readings and links, and feel free to also include any reflections on our class discussion, etc. Use the Week 2 category for your blog posts.

See you next week!

Dr. Zamora

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