AmplifiED: Digital Identity

In the last session of the AmplifiED we’re talking about digital identity.

19:52 David introduces his background in research looking at the way institutional courses are delivering education in the web age.  15 years ago you had to go to the university to play with the cool stuff.  Now all the cool stuff is outside the university.

19:55 One of the things that came out of the research is the concept of a digital identity and achievement identity.  They found that age and background was not a distinguishing factor but the manner in which they engage with technologies. The groups were broadly defined as ‘Visitors’ (those who treated technology for utilitarian purposes – a tool to solve a problem), and ‘Residents’ (those who perceived cyberspace as a distinctive place).

20:01 David notes that age doesn’t seem to distinguish Visitors and Residents, and indeed some students had legitimate causes for concern over use of specific technologies.

20:05 Leon notes that some young people deliberately subvert the technologies such as Facebook; this makes them not Visitors nor Residents, but rather virtual personalities.

20:08 The point is raised that pseudonyms have both problematised and oversimplified the identification factors associated with identities online.  Pseudonyms were designed to protect identity, but now are so easily trackable that their protection factors are minimal.

20:10 It’s noted that having a reason to use specific technologies is key to ensure engagement.

20:12 Time and time again we get instructional manuals of how to use technologies but it’s not use of the technologies that is important but rather the outcome of use of technologies that matters.  In educational contexts, we are not reacting fast enough to the technologies to be able to consider how to use them effectively in educational contexts.

20:16 The question is raised: is it necessarily a generational difference that people will be comfortable in emergent digital spaces?  The example is given of a so-called ‘digital-native’, who used Facebook for a couple of years but closed his account because he felt he was showing off. @digitalmaverick asks in response – does this means users of twitter are show-offs?

20:22 @jonmayo notes that the purpose for which people use technologies is important to the manner in which you engage/present yourself.  We note that the residential status of a community will change as people adopt the technologies.

20:26 David notes that there is a breed of early adopters he calls players who are community leaders who draw people in, and shape the technology to begin with.  But gradually pragmatists come in and want the technology to remain the same – pre-existing investment in the technologies.

20:32 David notes as geeks we’re prepared to adopt anything. But in the ed-tech space, too much focus on the tool and not enough on the interactions between people.

20:35 Leon notes that the move from the product economy to the service economy has inspired a lot of the use of technology for problem solving.

20:39 Teachers who are great with technology are great teachers, not great with technology.  We note that technology is not always the appropriate solution.

20:45 The question is raised why 2nd Life fails.  We note that there are creative aspects of 2nd Life which can also be emulated in twitter. David is not convinced that the barriers to entry to participate in established technologies (such as twitter) are no different from 2nd Life.

[JJ's comment - this may be true but 2nd Life barrier to entry is more tech-based than socially based.]

We’re wrapping up the session talking about why immersive environments are successful, and what impediments there are to engagement.  Really fascinating discussion – thanks to all for being involved!!!

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