Thursday, May 08, 2008

invisible, inaudible, or in the office

'Children should be seen and not heard'
So long as you don't irritate the grownups of the world you have a right to exist.
Cute your allowed to be, attention seeking, not.
An existence subject to terms.

Seems the little beasty is a different little beasty to different people, or maybe even is a different little beasty dependent on place.

When it's my own, it's a necessary piece of what not to leave home without: keys, wallet, cell phone. An object that extends me, I can travail time and distance to communicate with others.

When it's someone else's and its ringing in a lecture theatre, movie, restaurant its an unwelcome intruder.
Even when its my own and it does this at such times, its still an unwanted intruder. I now owe a packet of biscuits to the group I run for Youthline since the little beasty made its presence known tonight.
When contacted with demands of do this, do that, where are you... it's more like a leash than an object that extends my powers.

In an article by Chris Bigum, (1998). Schools in search of educational problems: Speaking for computers in schools. Educational policy, 12(5), 586-601.
Chris talks of how the computer within schools is experienced as being a very different animal by different people. I would argue that the same can be said of cell phones.
Hijazi-Omari, H., & Ribak, R. (2007) in 'Playing with fire: On the domestication of the mobile phone among Palestinian teenage girls in Israel' also talk of how the cellphone can be an emancipatory object or a leash. Their description focuses on the love interest experience of young women and girls. The cell phone assumes symbolic representation as a ring might have in another culture.
But with added risk and benefits. The title 'Playing with fire' isnt elaborated on, but one sumizes that the risk of having the cellphone found by brothers, fathers, others may be extreme. There is also the tethering of having the sim card read to ensure that the purpose of the gift was not extended. This included one example where the 'girl' was not informed of the number of 'her' cell phone so as to maintain an inscribed use.
The emancipatory quality appeared subsumed by the high level risk involved. But many of the issues are the same ones talked of by Carolyn Marvin (1988), in her book titled "When old technologies were new: Thinking about electric communication in the late nineteenth century."

New Zealand Broadcasting Authority release research on the 6th May indicating 42% of children 6-13 years use a cell phone.
I suspect they also use landlines but thats not news worthy.


  1. Anonymous12:34 AM

    hi Ailsa - coincidentally, saw this post today...
    should we remove the signs outside lecture theatres that say 'switch off your phone" ? :)

  2. Thanks for the link Stanley, I'm still smiling. I confess to having classes where i have told them to switch them on...
    subversive in discarding rules that seem superfluous. There's something in this about teaching and learning about how to care that needs extending to both the form and function of teaching and learning rather than being rule bound.
    Its my preferred replacement for whispering and note passing where txting potentially is least disruptive to other. I confess to telling one class they might take up this choice so as not to be distracting others if they did not want to leave :)
    Engaging as I am sometimes they find each other more so.
    On a more positive application I have encouraged use of cell phones in lectures as a source for discourse analysis and for demonstrating how highly connected the 21st century world is, how quickly a message can be pinged around the world...
    i havent yet harnessed the potential for txting in ...
    can i have an iphone, please, I am sure its an essential teaching and learning tool :) :) :)