Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Everybody Dance Now!

We have been doing experiments with being in class in person and meeting in Second Life. One day, a student was sitting in class but her avatar was dancing in our class space in Second Life. As she stopped her avatar dancing, she muttered, "If I could dance in class, I would!"

I started thinking about this and haven't stopped. Why not dance in class? What would be the differences between dancing in SL and dancing in our classroom? (We are musicians and artists, remember, so this is not as strange to us as it might be to others!) So we have been. Twice now, half the class has been only in SL and the other half in the classroom, with me and one other person in both the virtual and physical class spaces. And we have been dancing! I am going to invite my students to talk about that experience first, and then I will chime in. But in the meantime, consider getting up . . . . putting on some music . . . . and dance!

Technological Advancements are to Social Displacements?

I think there is definitely something to be said about the discussion (in chapter 6) on the comparison between the pioneering of the new world and the exploration of the "land" of the web and discovering new uses for it, and uses for us on it. Also the talk about displacing the native people/displacing the use for person to person interaction made me think a lot about where our society is headed. It is my hope that we can find a medium and that many of the sci-fi movies about tech. taking over will not turn out completely true. Our society is shifting technologically. Though many are not wealthy enough to be able to afford an iPhone, many are able to afford somewhat older but still useful forms of similar tech. This is something I think is very important. The link between people, I think, has and is going to become much more critical in work environments and also in many social circles.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An extension of our life?

"As we become accustomed to new things, they are woven into the fabric of daily life." This is a very true statement. I personally am very excited about technologies, new and old, and I really can't think of a technology that I've crossed paths with that I don't use. The examples given in the book really demonstrate this idea of how becoming accustomed to new technologies weaves it into the fabric of daily life. Phones, computers, televisions, electricity... I use it all the time. I use it without even thinking about using it! It makes me wonder about how we've evolved as a society and maybe how dependent we've become on these kids of technologies. Life would certainly be difficult with some of the technologies I listed. Just like my body requires certain organs or parts (technologies), my job "life" requires certain "parts", my social life would be pretty hard without the important "parts", even worshiping at my church would be incredibly different without certain technologies. Not to say I wouldn't be able to do some of the things I do (with the exception of maybe my job), it just be incredibly different and I'd have to adapt to social life and worshiping without the technologies, just as your body would have to adapt to having only one leg or one arm.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Technology Becomes "Natural"

"As we become accustomed to new things, they are woven into the fabric of daily life. Gradually, every new technology seems to become 'natural', and therefore somehow 'inevitable' because it is hard to imagine a world without it... Western societies have naturalized the radio, the mobile phone, and the television, and most people do not think of them as social constructions" (Nye, 65). Nye mentions the invention of flush toilets and how the outhouse now seems "disgusting and unacceptable". It's these technologies that I believe most people tend to forget about because they have become such a natural part of our daily lives. Other technologies, such as e-mail and the cell phone, have also developed an important role. I am aware that the mobile phone is constantly improving, but adding more applications to it is causing us to feel a little lost or anxious if we do not have this technology with us. I constantly rely on my phone for the time, and actually stopped wearing a watch once I bought a cell phone. And sadly, if I forget my cell at home, I am constantly thinking that I am missing an important call or text, when usually I come home to see that I haven't missed anything. People survived just fine without a lot of the technologies that we have today, yet we still think that life is better, or maybe easier now, and have come to highly rely on technology for getting daily tasks done.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Being “in class” on a Skype and Second life it has been an interesting experience.

While I’m on Skype I have to be more aware of what it’s going on. Being in front of the teacher helps me a lot to understand the subject of the class and makes me feel more relax and confident. Once I’m on Skype and I get a direct question from the teacher there is not escape. When I see myself reflected on the blackboard I feel like I’m the focus of the class and it feels weird.

Second life is a different story. It doesn’t matter if I’m in Boston or China, I’m in the same situation as everybody else in the class. I can get away with flying, dancing, laughing and still be part of the class and even watch Miss Lori dancing in a club or dressing really nice.

I have to thank technology. I never though I was going to be in a class while being thousands of miles away and still be able to participate and feel like I was part of it. So far it has been a great experience.

Selling Stories

Technology Matters, pg. 35, middle of the page.

"All technological predictions are in essence little narratives about the future. They are not full scale narratives of utopia, but they are usually presented as stories about a better world to come."

Stories of a better world is to me, what gives humans hope. This hope has a very strong emotion that we humans must have had to have in order to perservere through the early times of humans and now as well. We've done it through technology and music as well.

This is why I think music is so important because songs are essentially stories which are emotions. Imagine what life would be without stories of hope? If they were all stories of despair would we have continued on as a species? And back to technology, if people forecasted technology with the emotion of doom would we want it to be made or would we want to suppress it?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Technology Matters

A few quotations from David Nye's book, Technology Matters: Questions to Live With, to use in our discussion:

Historians contend that " . . . new technologies are shaped by social conditions, prices, traditions, popular attitudes, interest groups, class differences, and government policies" (19).

As we think about our experience of being in class in SL, as avatars, in comparison with being in class in person, let's think about how Nye summarizes Marshall McLuhan's ideas about communcation media:

"For McLuhan, innovations in communcations, notably the printing press, radio, and television, had automatic effects on society. Unlike Ogburn, McLuhan paid little attention to reciprocal effects or social inventions. For McLuhan, not only did the media extend human sense organs; each new form of a medium disrupte the relationship between the senses" (27).

Monday, November 9, 2009

Technology Matters, chapters 1-2

What I found to be most interesting in these first few chapters of Technology Matters, was the idea of certain societies rejecting modern technology. Thinking about my own technological usage, I can't really imagine not using technology. The author writes, "Students have often told me that the spread of television or the Internet was 'inevitable.' Likewise, most people find the idea of a modern world without automobiles unimaginable" (Nye 17). Reading about Japan's rejection of the gun and the Amish and Mennonites' overall rejection of modern technology provided a whole new prospective on the necessity of technology. I still feel a dependence on technology, personally, but what do you guys think? Does technology play a huge role in your lives? Or do you prefer to limit your technological usage, maybe not to the extreme extent that the Amish do, but still limit it?

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Crazy Ending...

By the time I finished chapter 38, I felt like Gibson had completely turned the story around. Everything after that chapter seemed to move so quickly, and the circumstances/ situations that Cayce found herself in were extraordinarily strange and crazy. The amount of knowledge and abilities that Cayce had towards the end almost seemed supernatural. After being drugged by Dorotea/ Mama Anarchia, Cayce found herself in a hospital/high school/prison, which strangely enough, she was able to escape fairly easily from. Then, after hours of walking in a Soviet eco-disaster desert drenched in Titanium, Cayce was rescued by Parkaboy, who she found out was Peter Gilbert in real life. The other relationships with Volkov, Bigend, and Boone came into light, and Cayce ended up being honored and was given gifts.
I like that Gibson ended this story happily, in a strange way, for Cayce. She found love and a little more answers to her father's disappearance, and was given a lot of cash which she shared with her friends and mother. I just feel that after finishing this book, I want to re-read the beginning to see if I can catch anything that I didn't before. Does anyone else feel this way??