Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Entry 5 IDT1415 Affordances and Limitations of my iPod

I got my first iPod in 2003 at Gatwick airport on my way back to Italy after a summer working in the UK as a pre sessional lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. It soon became a tool I was using in my listening lessons where I would prepare activities mainly around songs  up until I was able to record my own files and import course book tracks. I would say that my iPod was a clear example of Tech 1.0 as it was a great source of unidirectional help as the level of interaction the tool afforded users was reduced.  

On closer analysis of the iPOD (the first model I had along to the latest one: iPOD Video) and its affordances and limitations it can be said that the level of anonimity  offered depends on the users and the authors of any information to be conveyed through it.  With the advent of the iPhone, all of the content which was confided to the iPOD is now available in it so I still use my iP'hone'OD in class along with speakers or by connecting it to the smart screens we have when visual/video input has been incorporated into the plan.
Unfortunately, asynchronous communication was not an option for my first iPOD and only became available when it evolved into a later version which integrated access to the internet mainly via email and then social networks. Rapid feedback, private communication and sequential or joint result as intended in a web 2.0 context was also not possible initially so 'feedback' had a more limited definition and was also restricted to face to face interaction in the classroom while using the technology, private communication simply was not possible as there was no access to the web and for the same reason sequentiality was prevented. Of course, these limitations changed with the later models which included these added features even if initially it was still a culture of individual and unidirectional interaction with the gimmick.  The one affordance amongst all limitations mentioned above is probably the one I actually think was and still is essential in my learning:  ability to review. I believe this ability to review can be intended from two different perspectives each in line with web 1.0 and 2.0 concepts. The former is related to the fact that it provided me, the individual user, with the possibility to constantly review and revisit the contents therein. The latter, once access to the web was a reality redefined the concept. 

Nowadays, although still available iPODs are fast becoming obsolete because of the their own affordances. As Sir Ken Ronbinson said in one of his TED Talks on education reform and technology - his daughter does not wear a watch anymore because all it does is give the time when her iPhone is multipurpose.  iPhones and smart phones now incarnate this very concept of 'Portable On Demand' limitless possibilities in one single device, which is both exiting and unsettling.

Cecilia's question post comment - could the degree to which an individual embraces such a culture clash with that of other individuals? and if so what is the effect (if any) of the clash on personal/working/learning relations?   

My answer -Thank you Cecilia for your comments and questions. I think that the degree to which individuals embrace the smart phone culture has clear effects on everything else they do as it clashes to varying degrees with how they relate to others, work or learn. The very fact that we can now 'phub' people, that is, snub them in a social setting by interacting with your phone is more worrying than funny. As with everything in life, I believe, the key is striking a balance where our social relationships even inside the home are protected from this invasive phenomenon. And I'd like to add that it does not have to be the latest piece of technology the one that creeps in and slowly eats up your f2f social interactions, the 'old' TV screen can do that. Here in Italy it seems to be commonly accepted to have a TV set in the kitchen - we have 3 in our home! and to have it on while having a meal!? I am a culprit myself for easily embracing this habit which on reflection can steal precious conviviality moments of value time from intimate moments like those of sharing a meal!

This, I also believe, extends to how we work and learn. I personally find that even at work I'm often sending emails and sharing information with teachers in the room next door! And when learning - although I must confess I do not see a problem with this one - I find information at my finger tips is attractively deceitful as one link leads to another and so on so becoming aware of and able to avoid the time-bending spiral trap this offers requires having been there and trying to get out of it while keeping your sanity.

In short, it is  the collaboration/social interaction that both Victoria and Barbara mention what provides in, IMHO, the possibility to keep the subtle isolation 'smart' tech can easily lead to. And as Carry Bradshaw once said in Sex and the City: 'So close and yet so far apart!'

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