The context in which we view something, or the perspective it is given, can greatly impact our impression of an object, picture, person, etc. Take the two images below.
Though we would expect the one on the right to garner more outcry and despondence, it is #TheDress that has had social media in a tizzy over the last few days, not the beheadings but an optical illusion fueled by poor photography. The environment in which the picture was taken greatly influenced over half the world to see it as white and gold, rather than the true colors: blue and black.
However, how we identify the surrounds of the picture: do you perceive the dress to be backlit or not, is the underlying factor to perception as one color over another. This will tie to our identities, what we have experienced and built over the years. 2.3 millions people who looked at #TheDress, saw it incorrectly. 2.3 MILLION people. How we react to the second picture, that of a headline from an ISIS beheading will also be driven by (and shape) our identities—are you political, religious, pro-war? You will react differently depending on your identity with and within a community. Our identities shape what we see. If we design without care for the impact those designs will have on others, consequences can be grave. Though a silly comment about color of a dress is fine here in the United States, where we can comment on religion as we see fit, or see what we want to see, similar conversations in other countries will result in imprisonment torture, or loss of life.
The community identity will shape not only what we see, but also what we design. “Any design endeavor takes place in relation to a cultural environment, and the more that environment accepts design as a valid approach for intentional change, the better it provides support for design and for the designer” (Nelson & Stolterman, p. 225). For a design to be impactful and lasting, designers need to have support from the client community. Cuban gives us the example of policy makers (designers) and teachers (clients, sort of.) Current policy reforms are not being accepted in educational communities, and policy maker/designers are confused. They would do well to look at the IDEO HCD Toolkit’s exemplar of the farmer design challenge. The designers gained the trust of local farmers by showing investment and interest in their specific community, and a commitment to staying. Most teachers see policy reform as waiting for the next dictation to come upon them. Policy makers are not their allies but their judge and jury. In the Toolkit, designers are seen as collaborative, not combative.
We need to also look from the perspective of the designers—what does the designer need to influence the design more than what the client needs? It is possible that a designer of say, #TheDress, knows that their design can be seen in multiple ways. This could be intentional to be more generalizable, or cause mayhem. The identity of the designer needs to be balanced with the needs and identity of the client. This lack of regard for teachers as clients in policy reform “has led to overestimating the influence of personal traits and underestimating the influence of the context in which teachers find themselves every day. Because of this fundamental attribution error, as it is called, policy makers have undervalued the power of the age-graded school, particularly the way it isolates teachers from one another, discourages collaboration, and influences daily teaching. Moreover, policy makers have ignored what students bring to school. Context matters.” (Cuban, p. 12) The teachers, and even students’ identities have been diminished for the identity and needs of the policy maker-designers. We have pushed teachers into a non-participation role and subsequently created marginalized roles for them and their students in a process so crucial to them. However, designers need not be walked-on by overzealous clients.
“Good designers do not accept any situation as given; instead they always begin by asking challenging questions to better understand the true nature of what they are dealing with. They never settle for the ‘problem’ as presented to them by clients, users, or stakeholders. They do not accept the initial ideas for ‘solutions’ given to them, not even by people who live and work in the situation and who see themselves as experts in the environment. Designers always need to expose the underlying forces of change that their design intervention is expected to successfully confront, modify, and use. They try to become aware of problematic symptoms, and they try to expose underlying forces and root causes that need to be taken into account when attempting to actualize expression of desiderata for the particular situation at hand.” (Nelson & Stolterman, p.249)
“It also means constantly engaging in the creation, application, and critique of ones own schemas (p. 224).
We need balance of identities and community support in order to create effective designs.
We conclude with the needs of higher education- are designers, like Batman and Gotham, therefore “not the hero [they] deserve, but the one they need right now?” Designers will need to ask hard questions, but still be willing to invest themselves in the communities that require their services. It is a never-ending reiterative process in which designs will grow and strengthen over time as designers are brought into the communities of practice for whom they are designing. What we need now though, are the design heroes who can help us solve the the wicked problem that is ISIS, and how to stop seeing that damn dress on Facebook.
-Katie, Zach, Dean
This video is super long, but we had to just push it out for the presentation this week. It needs to be trimmed down, refined, and more focused, but now it’s time for something new…
Music from a night of jamming with Brandin Claar.
Video themed with Mcluhan’s The Medium is the Message in mind.
Part of my identity is to change how I am perceived in recordings. Speeding up a video and raising a voice has serious affects.
Our identities must be viewed as temporal; a melding of our past and present as we move to engage with the future. Wenger tells us these identities are lived, negotiated, social, a learning process; that we create a nexus of identity that involves interplay of our global and local experiences, but ultimately are the experience of “being human.” The more we create multi-memberships in the constellation of communities of practice, we morph our identities; both in the way we identify and the way others identify us. Moving through the stages in life, grade school, high school, college, career, we develop different networks who view us differently, and with whom we may view ourselves differently. When those worlds collide (weddings, milestone birthdays, etc.), we can start to see how each community shapes how we are identified.
These identities are shaped through our membership in a CoP, however we must acknowledge that engagement and participation are not exclusively the same. Overlap may occur, but the learning and identity develop in the engagement in the practices of the CoP. Wenger gives us the example, “claims processors participate in Alinsu, but they do not engage with the company as a whole; they engage with their own community of practice and a few other people” (p. 131). Therefore, we surmise that engagement is specific to a CoP, whereas our participation can have broader contexts. We as students participate in Penn State but we do not engage with all members of the Penn State community, but those in our selected “stars” (i.e. classes, circles of friends, communities, work departments, etc.) inside the constellation of CoPs in the Penn State universe. Our CI597G class is an example of this. Learning is taking place, based on the engagement in our specific domain, that we are not sharing explicitly with those outside. Peripheral participation may occur with whom we have shared our experiences, but they are not truly part of the CoP.
“Every practice is in some sense a form of knowledge, and knowing is participating in that practice” (p. 141). Wenger leads us to believe that through the lens of participation in a community of practice, learning occurs and helps to form our identity. If we view the development of children when learning to think, as Radiolab posits in “Voice in Your Head,” we see that they are participating in the verbal “think alouds” with an adult. Through practice and further engagement with this community of thinkers, they become full members and learn critical thinking skills. Through this venture, they also develop an identity of internal voice. They form this temporal identity that takes the characteristics of members of their community as they learned these skills- parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, etc.
Based on these early learning experiences, we can continue to label identity as temporal, and add to this the idea that we are constantly accumulating memberships—creating our nexus of multi-membership. Our identity becomes a puzzle, and our participation and engagement in each community the puzzle pieces. The puzzle is never fully complete—we grow and develop, join and leave communities, add to knowledge and learn new ways of doing old things. Regardless of how we currently identify ourselves, or how others identify us, the potential to change that identity exists and can follow multiple trajectories over time to shape us as we learn. Wenger tells us that our identities are “a layering of events of participation and reification by which our experiences and social interpretation inform each other” (p. 151).
Word Cloud of Google Doc Collaboration (for this post)
Brought to you by The Disruptors: Katie, Zach, and Dean
- Newsfeed – offer users a customized stream of data specific to their interests.
- Chat – allows users to interact in real-time
- Creating/Moderating Groups – Groups are positioned around specific topics. Groups can be private or public. People can be invited or seek out the group based on the topic. Members do not have to be – but can be – Facebook friends to be in the same group.
- File-sharing – Multiple file types disseminated easily to users/groups.
- Inline Commenting – on posts
- sharing of content related to topic
- discussions around content
- “real-time” conversations
- Global Reach – users don’t have to be regionally co-located.
- Omni-present – most individuals are already familiar and/or have a Facebook account.
- Difficult to follow discussion
- Comments on posts are not threaded
- Targeted Ads based on user actions
- Facebook algorithms generate newsfeed data without user input
We would suggest that Facebook, as a tool, affords users to create Communities of Practice. But Facebook, in and of itself, is not a Community of Practice. What are your thoughts on this?
Arjana, Michael, Dean
My name is Dean, and I was born in Baltimore, MD. I am interested in music and technology, specifically new forms of media. I am taking this class to be exposed to new forms of disruptive technologies, as technologies sometimes change the way people interact with the world and the web, which interests me! I am comfortable with technology, which I like to seek out and manipulate to find new ways to combine technologies or forms to create new forms (or to achieve some desired end (or objective)).
I was just recently accepted into the Learning, Design, and Technology master’s program at University Park campus. I graduated from Penn State in 2004 with undergrad degrees in Philosophy and Information, Sciences, and Technology. Since that time I’ve been working at Penn State in the area of multimedia development. Currently, I manage the Learning Design multimedia department for World Campus course development.
I’m looking forward to working with all of you to develop a more articulate understanding of how to effectively disrupt online learning spaces.