Block 1. Week 4. Learning: Slow thinking in non-networked spaces

This data visualisation aims to represent slow thinking in non-networked learning spaces. I’m imagining such spaces to be — roughly — spaces without ‘smart’ devices or learning platforms that gather data on students and that will support a slow thinking movement analogous to the slow food movement, with fewer distractions, and more learner autonomy and privacy. The visualisation is more pared down than this one to reflect these concerns.

The visualisation could be used to demonstrate how few non-networked spaces we have right now and how little time there is for extended reflections. Each snail-shape is inspired by this and represents a line of thought. A snail minus a head represents an interrupted thought. The dots represent the length of time spent thinking. I don’t disclose what I am thinking to highlight the significance of privacy — as Veliz [2020] argues, privacy is power — but I do show you where I am thinking.

The capacity, and opportunity, to carefully attend to, pursue, and sustain an extended line of thought is a significant dimension of learning. It’s not at all obvious that networked learning environments with constant notifications from online platforms like Twitter – ‘the most invasive attention capture apparatus yet invented’ [Wu, 2017:288] – accommodate this, even if they are fruitfully used for some learning events (‘Tweetorials’). Twitter also collects substantial amounts of data on users, meaning if Tweetorials are the way group activities are organised, students wanting to participate to interact with their peers don’t have a meaningful choice but to give up data (and privacy) to do so.  More generally, work by Tsai, Perotta, and Gasevic’s [2020: 562] suggests that when it comes to data practices in education, the lack of meaningful choice, and, ultimately, lack of meaningful and informed consent, diminishes learner autonomy.

Block 1. Week 3. Learning: Conceptual Space

This data visualisation aims to represent how a student’s conceptual space expands in response to provocations made via the use of a range of media. It hones in on four of many aspects to this topic: (1) The question (or theme or subject) that provokes a thought (in this case, on either learning, personalisation, or data); (2) The media though which these thoughts are provoked (either via course readings, Twitter, or our course blogs);  (3) The emotion associated with my own response in each case (interested, excited, puzzled); (4) The dimension of response (small, medium, large) to what is asked or under discussion.

This visualisation could be used to demonstrate how our learning processes are not just cognitive or social. They are also charged with emotion. Influenced by Bulger (2014:4), I took a shot at defining personalisation here. But personalisation so understood makes the learning process an almost solipsistic endeavour devoid of emotional tone. Individual preferences and competences are adapted to; social and emotional dispositions are ignored. When Jeremy misquoted me I was annoyed – an appropriate emotional response to what Peet (2015) calls interpretative injustice. The learning process is laden with emotion. Personalisation fails to accommodate this. It’s missing from what Eynon (2015) calls the quantified self.

Word count: 200 words.