We started off unit 2 with an inspirational video titled ‘Obvious to you. Amazing to others.’ I felt this was a very appropriate video as inspiration and confidence is key in succeeding in the DS106 course. As the video suggests we always look at other people’s creations in awe and jealously, thinking we’re not capable of producing such work ourselves. However as the video promotes this is a natural feeling and something that as a creator of media you have to get past. We can only do this via creating, sharing and welcoming feedback; something which the DS106 course encourages throughout.
The next task was to customise our blog’s to create a personal environment for us to present our DS106 content. This is my blog. I added a simple theme and added my daily create logo at the top to give my page a more professional appearance. I then added widgets such as: blog hits, recent posts, a Gravatar and a personal Twitter feed along the side of the blog. I finalised by adding an ‘about’ and ‘DS106’ page to add further detail on the reason for my blog posts.
The next stage of unit 2 was to learn about the term ‘digital face-lift.’ We were asked to watch a lecture by Gardner Campbell to help explain this. In this video Gardner uses example of a woman in Brazil who is getting her face stretched to demonstrate the ‘digital face-lift’. He explains this woman is experiencing an illusion as the stretching is making her appear younger. She is enjoying this experience due to the way its framed, she think’s she looks great. However in reality this is just a smokescreen. A temporary cure, rather a sustainable method for developing the future of our learning and creativity. Gardner argues instead of a digital face life the answer is narrating, curating and sharing. All of which can be amplified by information and communication technologies that can be easily introduced in our education system.
Gardner uses the metaphor of a ‘bag of gold’ to portray the opportunity that students have but don’t take advantage of in higher education. Gardner argues that Students are being given gold but they’re rejecting it. They give excuses such as not knowing what to spend it on, or they don’t have enough time to spend it. I personally believe Students are being too safe, they don’t want to think outside the box so they ask their teachers for the answers, myself included! However, I believe this mind-set has been driven into us due to the way the education system is set up. In school we think its normal to be given a textbook and to be told to just copy out notes, consuming information without actually thinking. Maybe if creating and discovering for ourselves was something we were used to then creativity and these risks would be natural, and less daunting. Gardner suggests that students simply want to know what their professors want and how to give it to them, however ‘A Personal Cyberinfrastructure’ would provide the opportunity for creativity and discovery.
I then completed my daily create task. The daily create task was to make a ‘mouse meme’. This I found to be very simple, I saved an appropriate mouse image and used a online meme generator. I decided to try and make something humorous, but also personal to me, in this case my weekly struggle to make my 9am lectures.
Finally I made a GIF. I used a GIF generator online and pasted in a specific YouTube clip from one of my favourite films, ‘The Usual Suspects’. I wanted to create something that expressed more than just a two second clip. This GIF to me personally shows an iconic moment in the film and represents the entire film perfectly in just a few seconds.
My experience of Unit 2 has been a positive one. I have learnt lots of new skills and studied a variety of content, forming my own opinions throughout. I found a few challenges along the way. Customising my blog I found to be quite challenging at times, as different themes would only display certain widgets on my page. This was something I got past successfully via trial and error. Studying David Gardner’s lecture proved to be fairly difficult to keep up with and understand at times. However after playing back certain parts a few times and making notes to myself I started to form a greater understanding. Finally embedding YouTube videos to start a specific point was a great challenge, something that I couldn’t fix. Although it seemed I followed the correct procedures throughout the videos still jump back to an earlier start time. Apart from these challenges I found Unit 2 to be simple, but time consuming. Time is something I will need to keep on top of throughout this course, ensuring I don’t fall behind. I am looking forward to seeing what Unit 3 has to offer.