Maybe I Missed It…Then Again, Maybe Not!

Unit 2 and I’m feeling lost all over again. No worries though, I followed the rainbow and found a bag of gold at the end, lol, but seriously though, this whole cyber-infrastructure thing had me a little confused initially, mostly because I’m a visual and musical person, and by visuals I mean movies, pictures or art, so listening to someone talk for that long was a bit of a process but I made it to the end and it was extremely insightful. Most of what was said by Gardner Campbell was very thought provoking especially when he pointed out the fact that “Any technology gradually creates a new human environment”, I had honestly never thought of it from that perspective but it makes so much sense. It got me thinking of the cyber world that is there today, how it has its own language and slang terms most of which are incorporated into the real world but its totally a new human environment.

However, and I could be wrong, to me it came across as though he was saying its mandatory for everyone to have a cyber-infrastructure or there’s something wrong with those that question where you get time for bags of gold and my reasoning is simple. Firstly, a personal cyber-infrastructure is exactly that ‘Personal’. Shouldn’t it be my choice whether I express myself or not, as well as where and how I choose to express myself. Hasn’t human expression always been there, the only difference is we now have more platforms on which we can express ourselves thanks to technology, but even with all that technology in place, we still decide whether we are going to make use of it to express ourselves or not. But not expressing yourself on cyber platform doesn’t not mean you are not expressing yourself at all. Think of the bag of gold as  tools to build a house and they’ve been made available to you and the person next to you. You decide to build a Castle, while the person next to you decides to build a little cottage. Of course, we are more likely to notice the castle and think wow, and ignore the little cottage or think there’s something wrong with that person because they built a cottage instead of a castle as well. Different modes of expression and yet one is believed to be better than the other and  to some extent doesn’t viewing things from that perspective defeat the whole purpose of expression, isn’t not expressing yourself an expression in itself? I mean we both see the bag of gold but we place different value on it, therefore we use it differently or not at all in some cases and shouldn’t that be ok?

Secondly, isn’t learning a two sided process? Shouldn’t teachers and learners contribute equally to the learning pool? I’m fortunate enough to have been exposed to three systems of education, one from my home country Zambia, the other is the American high school education system when I was an exchange student in Michigan and the third is the Malaysian system of higher education when I went off to college in Southeast Asia. In all three systems I noticed that most if not all students had the same attitude, we all went to school as an obligation that society had bestowed upon us and we studied for exams in order to pass and move on to next stage instead of studying to learn. However, it was only in my home system of education that I told and learnt that learning is a two way process. Students and lectures are suppose to meet each other half way or even better is an open education system where students are way ahead of their teachers or lectures  in terms of thinking and utilizing the bag of gold and their lectures just build on what they already have or better yet learn from them. We can’t blame educators alone for not utilizing that bag of gold, students ought to do it too and it shouldn’t take getting into a higher system of education to know that. The bag of gold is available to both educators and students, how they make use of it is entirely up to them, matter of fact, Gardner Campbell is living proof of that. He made a choice to think outside the box, to research and read up on some things and expand on the existing knowledge of a personal cyber-infrastructure and how it can function in our societies and be beneficial in societies to come, where as his colleagues choose to take a different route, and probably some students will adopt his method and thought line while others won’t. Same bag of gold, but we all place different value on it and therefore use it differently or not at all but either way we have expressed ourselves which is really what it should be about.

I know I’ve talked too much so I’ll close by saying this, digital face-lifts aren’t so bad when you think about. Stretching something or giving it a face-lift affords us the opportunity to look at it from a different angle or perspective, and I’d like to think that different perspectives are baby-steps towards change.