Michael commented on Ana’s EDC lifestream – Visual Artefact

Visual Artefact

Michael Wolfindale:

Love the three part circular visuals, Ana! It really brought to mind the overlapping, blurred boundaries between body, technology and society we’ve been reflecting on during this block. I also like the abstract nature which can be interpreted in different ways and, for me, the way the ‘human’ is always at the centre speaks of the humanist view that often seems to dominate when we consider technology and education. Yet, what if we were to approach the circle from another perspective – such as the outside first – where the ‘human’ is not central? Great visual artefact!

Michael commented on Susan’s lifestream – Visual Artefact: Echoes in Time

Visual Artefact: Echoes in Time

Michael Wolfindale:

Fantastic collage, and each part of it very thought provoking! For me, some of the themes that strike me are the idea of “implanting memories” that came up in the films, and the Cartesian mind/body dualism apparent in many of those ideas. As we moved beyond that, the blurring of boundaries between human and machine and a questioning of what ‘humanness’ is came to mind as I was looking over the images. Really like it!

Michael commented on Crouchipuss (Matt Crouch’s) EDC lifestream – Week 3 – Artefact. “Tinkering” a short film

Week 3 – Artefact. “Tinkering” a short film.

Michael Wolfindale:

Great video! For me, it speaks about the utopian/dystopian oppositions we’ve looked at in this block, and also how we might consider ‘ethics’ – how might machines ‘understand’ this, the reproduction of existing inequalities, flawed ‘human’ ethics and the problematic nature of putting the ‘human’ at the centre of all this. Really got me thinking!

Our third and final week on cyberculture

As we end our first block on cyberculture, it continues to strike me how many ideas about technology and education appear rooted in dualisms which tend to centre (a certain kind of) ‘human’, whilst othering the ‘digital’ (Knox 2015).

Binaries/dualisms (from week 2)

What kind of ‘human’, however, influences the design of ‘artificial intelligence’, and what assumptions may be baked into the algorithms that influence the choice of content we include in our lifestreams? Does this reproduce existing biases or privilege a certain view of ‘human’ ‘intelligence’? What might be the implications for education and learning analytics?

If ‘machines’ can ‘learn’, does the responsibility still lie with the programmer? If ‘distributed cognition replaces autonomous will’ (Hayles 1999: 288), should we instead think in terms of ‘cognitive assemblages’ and ‘nonconscious cognition’? Reflecting on this, I found an example of distributed cognition through slippingglimpse (Hayles 2008).

I continued this week to consider how technology is often visualised as a ‘tool’ or ‘enhancement’ (‘Ping Body’, Stelarc). Moving beyond technology ‘enhanced’ learning (Bayne 2015a), and towards a critical posthumanist view, can we imagine a view of education where the human subject is not separate nor central but the human and non-human are entangled in a ‘creative “gathering”’ (Bayne 2015b)? How might we visualise this?

Dualisms visual artefact
A “creative ‘gathering’”? (Dualisms visual artefact)

Finally, as use of the ‘cyber’ prefix has declined (Knox 2015), how might we think about the ‘digital’? What might a ‘postdigital‘ perspective mean for education (Knox 2019)? I continue to explore…

EDC week 3
EDC week 3 (enlarge)

View references

Michael saved in Pocket: ‘What Does the ‘Postdigital’ Mean for Education? Three Critical Perspectives on the Digital, with Implications for Educational Research and Practice’ (Knox 2019)


This paper examines what the term ‘postdigital’ might mean for education through the discussion of human-technology relationships. It begins with a summary of two general interpretations of the postdigital: firstly, to understand the ‘post’ as meaning simply ‘posterior to’ the digital, suggesting a different stage in the perception and use of technology; and secondly, to consider the ‘post’ as signalling a critical appraisal of the assumptions embedded in the general understanding of the digital. Subsequently, the paper outlines three critical perspectives on the digital with specific relevance for educational concerns. The first examines the economic rationales underpinning digital technology, focusing on the idea of the platform and the assumed benefits of sharing. The second discusses the role of the digital in educational policy and the compound effects of the metrification of institutional quality. The third section explores the digital as ‘material’, and the increasing attention paid to issues of labour and the exploitation of natural resources required to produce digital technologies. These perspectives suggest an understanding of the postdigital in terms of profound and far-reaching socio-technical relations, which have significant consequences for thinking about the purpose, focus, and governance of education in contemporary times.

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Michael commented on Teaching@DigitalCultures (David Yeats’ lifestream) – Digital Human Screenome Memoir

Digital Human Screenome Memoir

Michael Wolfindale:

What a great way to visualise your journey, David, and I’m also amazed at how much content is feeding into our lifestreams (automated albeit curated)! Your screenome really brought to mind how much data is being collected about students by institutions and companies involved in learning analytics – but what conclusions are drawn, who is drawing those conclusions and why, and do students know/understand/have a say in it? The screenome does particularly make me consider that we will all here likely draw different conclusions from the subset of screenshots you presented. Really thought provoking!

Michael commented on Susanne MacLeod’s EDC lifestream – Visual artefact

Visual artefact

Michael Wolfindale:

Really enjoying the questions and imagery, particularly where no humans are shown! It got me thinking about where this idea of the ‘human’ has come from, what would ‘nature’ look like if ‘we’ had never existed, what might we ‘look like’ to machines…and if making these kind of distinctions (always putting the human at the centre of it all) is just something (some) humans have done? If we don’t put the ‘human’ at the centre, how might this affect our thinking about education and technology?

Very thought provoking!

Michael saved in Pocket: ‘Postdigital Education in Design and Practice’ (Fawns 2019)


Digital education is one of a number of terms (including e-learning, technology-enhanced learning, online learning, blended learning) that have seen increasing use in educational discourse and in the branding of educational programmes. A lack of conceptual clarity around such terms makes it easier for different groups to appropriate them in the service of conflicting agendas. In this paper, I discuss the pros and cons of the tendency to distinguish between digital and non-digital, arguing that while concepts like “digital education” can be useful insofar as they encourage people to look closer at the design and practice of teaching and learning, they become problematic when used to close down ideas or attribute essential properties to technology. Considering the implications for understanding institutional initiatives, student practices, and the interplay between teaching design and orchestration, I argue for a postdigital perspective in which all education—even that which is considered to lie outside of digital education—takes account of the digital and non-digital, material and social, both in terms of the design of educational activities and in the practices that unfold in the doing of those activities.

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