Sunday, February 25, 2007

a modest study informed by ant

I have narrowed the scope of what I intend to study, the complications of multiple ethics applications, across 2 countries, 2 universities as well as an external agency finally filtered into my conscious system. The word math on a thesis split between 3 studies similarly informed this decision.
The scope of my research is to explore the use of emergent technolgies in a counselling service. The technology I am investigating is broadly defined by Franklin(1999) as practice; "the way we do things around here". Technology according to this definition is not a modern invention, just the way things are done.
And in this consideration of the 'way things are done' my area of interest is the how changes implemented have both first level as well as second level effects (Sproull and Kiesler, 1991). They explain how changes made often have other offsetting consequences...more efficiency in one place can result in negative sequalae unimagined.
So, altering the medium or platform used in counselling will have effects unimagined as well as forseen. As these effects become known, in what ways do these then shape the evolving practices, and in what ways are we too shaped.
This follows in the line of writing from McLuhan to Turkle, the mediums we use change us. They are not mere tools, they have agency.
In what ways then do texting or e-counselling reconfigure counselling as it much as we might think that we shape what we do, in what ways are we shaped.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

watching me watching you

watching me watching you, originally uploaded by ai1sa.

I talk of “me” and you as reader are invited in.
So, thats me in the picture.
I talk of “you” and there is more demand.
Your reading this!
The way material is presented makes a difference in the writer/reader relationship…
“You dogged, uninsultable, print-oriented b@st@rd, it’s you I am addressing, who else from inside this monstrous fiction. You read me this far then? (Barth, 1988, p.127) Regressions in the fun house had me bemused with far too much time on my hands today! A linktribution to cogdogblog and from there to Angela Thomas,
Avatars as art


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Monday, February 19, 2007

the quality of magic is strained

I became accutely aware last week of my disability and vulnerability as a cyborg; the sense of impending doom when my imac faded and would not spark- a 15 minute evolution for 'life' to boot up again and a hurried backup of everything precious onto discs and cyber spaces. (Only when studying can 'everything precious' take on such weirdness).
And now constrained; no wireless network, a pod involving half a dozen passwords, a samsung pc, internet explorer and blogger seems especially clutsy today. (Could of course be me, a lack of sleep for fear of missing flights and heat that this kiwi is not used to that compounds feelings of flightlessness).
However, one ethics application is well underway and two more will follow suit. An aggragation of things is needed for such change to occur- the absence of 'work' and other such distractors of a real world, allows for a surreal existence more congruent with being a student. I am however twice blessed- not only do i have study in this alternate reality- i also have Melbourne.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Following the actors

My prof suggested a news feed, I couldn’t get it to work, but with the help of a colleague, got a similar one ( I think) up and running. I check it intermittently (gone are the times I check it multiple times a day). Now I attend to the feed a few times in as many weeks, but in doing so I got fed a link to a site with another link to a pdf on an article (I just love these connections to further connections). I might not have read it otherwise. But a 2005 article on journalism by Fred Turner, in Sociology epistemology provoked the following as an application of ant in my own field of study:

Currently most research into communications for health professionals is deeply attached to the (modern as opposed to post modern) notion that health professionals teach health professionals how to communicate. There appears a separation between professional and lay, staff and patients, caring and being cared for. New media however erode these distinctions. By placing an emphasis on actors, actor network theory provides a lens for seeing relationships differently. The ‘actors’ are no longer exclusively human, and the arbitrary boundaries created in labeling become less important as the focus shifts to performance.

I have a passion, or at least an interest in, these multiple performances; how is each performed differently? What happens when a lay population communicates care? What happens when care is communicated to (pushed to) a novice population of health professionals? And what happens when care is pulled down (asked for) by at risk youth?

This doesn’t seem as coherent today as I would like it to be, but if I practice the writng, it continues to evolve…
And to use a turn of phrase from artichoke that grappling without lust might be unethical surely then to grapple (with at least a modicum of love or passion) might just assist in getting an ethical application off the ground....

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

being us/ed:

Alan Levine at cogdogblog put me onto this video developed by Michael Welsch at digital ethnography (a working group of Kansas State University students and faculty dedicated to exploring and extending the possibilities of digital ethnography.)

The contrast of writing with digital communications is explored. Its a fast paced provocation for exploring how the medium is the message. Titled Web 2.0... The machine is us/ing us.
I am awestruck. And I think I am using the machine, but at the same time...

In the same week I came across an article (that's not the right word, a series of web pages) on the rise of the participation culture It is this participatory nature that grabbed my attention when first I delved into IT as a teaching and learning medium. ITs alive, it sparkles, I can follow what I want to, go where I choose to, add to what's out there as well as adding to my own development. Pushed and pulled. Beautifully captured. This same week I was also touched by an article, new criteria for new media, on how valuing of staff needs to be able to capture the new mediums being used; academia in its PBRF and promotion systems has yet to catch up with forms of dissemination and creating of knowledge that move faster than journal publications, textbooks or conferences. And I am pushed and pulled a little more ... how then to push the boundaries on how the study of an IT application in a doctoral study might be presented back to the academy in a format that sits alongside a thesis. How to have form and function in synch. How to have the quivering of what is brought up from the depths not lose its liveliness in translation to a form that can be examined.
But as a recipiennt of TIME person of the year, 2006, I trust my skills will be up to the task, I just need to continue letting the machines use me...