Task 14. Final reflection of the course.

First I would like to begin with my expectations of the course - as the name suggests, I expected to get acquainted with new environments throughout the Internet that we hadn't used before, and the theory behind them. I also expected the course to have the usual pattern - each task (or set of tasks) would take one week, as we are used to.

The reality outcome was too much theory and a few environments (including PiratePad, Flashmeeting, PLENK 2010), which seemed familiar from other courses. Course tasks had to be planned quickly to your daily schedule, since deadlines and tasks appeared quite vaguely and if missed, you lost points. As an average Estonian MA student, I work and this makes such schedule very difficult to manage.

All in all I would not trash the whole course - I think the group got new theoretical knowledge which can help them in many fields and tasks later. The course should have had a backbone in order to plan the activities and studies. I am sure that a student nowadays learns better from doing things than from reading and reflecting, so a few practical tasks would have come in handy with this course as well. The most memorable courses for me have been practical ones with certain tasks. Although I liked the thought of having the course in my computer, not being physically present in Tallinn.

And what puzzled me was that one lecturer disappeared at the beginning and the other one was left all alone with all the tasks to read. At least it seemed so after the group started "rioting" on the deadlines. Thanks to the understanding nature of Terje, the group got a smoother schedule.

About my contribution - since this year has had many changes, I was not able to work as thoroughly as in the last two semesters, and I disregarded a few tasks from the plan. Regarding my personal schedule, I did my best to pass the course. If the course would have taken place the next semester, I would have done better.

Task 13. Re-designing and re-instrumentalising activities.

The task was to think about an activity and (how it) can be amended with the help of digital technology.
Let's take watching television, an everyday activity.
Television in Estonia has been available since the year 1955, but it made its way to public already in 1928. The first television sets became available in the UK, US, and Soviet Union. In 1956 first television sets could be bought in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.
TV transmission was first black and white, but now it is colourful, digital and can be easily viewed from any corner of the world. Estonia got its colourful picture inside the TV set already in 1975, but the world could view colourful images already in 1940.
I was born in the 1980's and as far as I can remember, we have always had a television set, a colourful one, and we fought over using rights of the TV with my two brothers. Television watching was possible only through one TV set and it was controlled manually, you had to stand up, go to the television set and push or turn the buttons.
The 1990's became the turning point in our family, where the remote control came and also virtual console games could be played through the television screen with the help of remote control joysticks and guns. Super Mario was my personal favourite.
When I first started to learn about the computers in 1996, it was not so thrilling with computers having only DOS systems and graphics were minimal, but in 1998 when our family got its first personal computer, my world changed - I got hooked with the "thing", later accompanied with Internet, and my interest in digital technology rose.
Nowadays these two gadgets can easily be mixed, since one can view computer images through a TV screen or vice versa, digital technology has helped us a lot. You do not necessarily have to have a TV set at home to view television.
I would describe my TV viewing habits then and now:
In the 1980s when I wanted to watch TV, I turned it on manually and sat on the couch watching children's programmes. If necessary, I stood up from the couch and turned up the volume or changed the channel manually. In the next decade it was possible to watch satellite TV in our family, and channels like MTV, VIVA and the like became popular for me. I also liked Cartoon Network. In the middle of the decade it was possible to change channels with a remote control without standing up. Occasionally there were mishaps in transmission.
The 2000s did not bring much change until the impossible happened - my TV set fell down and I lost the possibility of watching TV. I chose another alternative and downloaded illegaly all the serials that I was watching at that time and spent night hours watching them. When the hard disc broke, I did not care and am not a fan of TV anymore.
But there are some films and shows I enjoy watching via my computer, which has different TV archives and can be watched legally. Since television became digital on the 1st of July in 2010 in Estonia, the official Estonian channels can be viewed through your computer screen. If you cannot watch your favourite shows it is easier to record them and watch later straight from your computer. No need for a TV set anymore (if you are comfortable without one). But still, TV watching is a lot different - there are digital television boxes which allow you to watch different channels all over the world. There are usually two remotes on people's couches - one for the TV set, another for the digibox. When you push the buttons, you can choose between channels, read teletext and information about the programmes, and much much more.
I think TV history has changed throughout the years and will become even better. For example controlling the channels with your mind (a built-in chip that controls your emotions and thoughts) and projecting them onto your wall, no need of many gadgets at all. I believe that this is a very utopian perspective of things, but I think that watching TV will become even simpler than it is now.

History of Estonian Television
Television, wikipedia article


Reflektsioon kursusele Õpikeskkonnad ja õpivõrgustikud

Kursuse lõpureflektsioon hõlmab endas küsimustele ausalt vastamist ja enda sisse vaatamist kursuse lõpuks.
Kommenteeriks oma õpilepingut kursust läbides - kindlasti sain ma lisateadmisi õpikeskkondade osas, kuid ma arvan, et pärast kursust tuleks materjalid veelkord süvenenult läbi lugeda, et kogu info talletada ja seda edaspidi vajadusel kasutada. Kursuse jooksul sain palju uut informatsiooni, samuti kinnistusid kontseptuaalse disaini oskused, mida eelmisel aastal just õppisin.

Eesmärke ma ei saavutanud kahjuks täielikult, kuna töö- ja ajaplaneerimine ebaõnnestus. Tutvusin kursuse blogiga ning uute õppematerjalidega, kuid ei suutnud hakkama saada kõikide koduste ülesannete õigeaegse postitamisega. Tagasisidest olin huvitatud, kuid seda jagus napilt.

Kursusekaaslaste blogide kommenteerimise olen vaid "vajadusel" enda jaoks märkinud ja ilmselt ei teinud ma sellest vajadust, mistõttu jäid minu poolt blogid kommenteerimata.

Olen õpilepingus tsiteerinud: " Oma saavutusi hindan eelkõige enesetunde järgi - kui tunnen ennast hästi, siis on järelikult kõik õnnestunud. Kui südametunnistus piinab, on midagi tegemata jäänud. Ehk siis praktilisemalt olen rahul oma blogipostituste ja sellele eelnenud ning järgnenud tegevustega ning täitnud need õigeaegselt." - nimelt võin käe südamele pannes öelda, et hansu läbiviidud e-kursustest on see esimene, milles ma lõpuni vastu olen pidanud, kuid südametunnistus jäi mõne postituse puudumise pärast (samas lugesin üle, oli 7 postitust olemas, järelikult kriteeriumid täidetud) kripeldama.

Ma usun, et minu jaoks töötavad ühest küljest reeglid, kuna siis sunnin ennast tööle, kuid vahenädalad ja natuke kergem "režiim" minu enda jaoks ei toiminud hästi, kuna sellega unustasin antud aine tööd tegemata ning seadsin tööelu esiplaanile. Tugevad küljed on südametunnistus, mis sunnib mind tööle, kuid nõrgad küljed on kindlasti aja planeerimine ning töö jaotamine. Paraku ei ole ma endale kindlat graafikut suutnud teha, et oma asjadega võrdväärselt tegeleda.

Järgmisena peaksin läbima ajaplaneerimise kursuse.

Üldiselt kursusega jäin rahule, kuigi viimane osa jäi osadele gruppidele veidi arusaamatuks. Saan aru, et meie grupil oli eelis mõne teise grupi ees, kuna kaks grupi liiget olid eelmisel aastal läbinud kontseptuaalse disaini kursuse. Vaba ajaplaneerimine võimaldas ka "kummi venitada", et õpingud stressirohketeks ei kujuneks.


Task 12. New Interactive Environments. Tool or medium?

Today I will concentrate on the question whether digital world makes people different or not? Is computer technology a tool or medium?
While reading the text I had lots of other thoughts going through my mind concerning the people mentioned in the article, and the times when these texts were written by Leont'ev and Vygotski. The whole text seemed a little difficult to read, but it had a nice conclusion in the end so that one could finally gather his or her thoughts.

So - according to the article computer technology is both a tool and medium, more important is the person's view to the question. I think today some of us can actually live without computers and communicate the same way as in the olden days, but most of the people need computers in their work, leisure time, for communication, etc. - in this way to me it seems that digital world is a means for people to create an alternative means.
The author concentrates on digital world as a means for people to shape it according to their views and integrate every communication medium into it thus creating a "dominating medium".
I agree, digital media is a means to communicate and feel free to do almost anything with it, but does it make people different? While the author of the text seems to imply that it is not the computers or media that make people evil, but people themselves, then I have to disagree a little. I think that some of the "crazy" ideas still come from the media or social media. Perhaps the fact that people themselves are behind digital media and thus implicitly connected with creating the media, we might say it is true that people themselves have created the evil that comes from the medium, but it is the medium that brings quite a lot of emotions and thrill to people, and some of them take advantage of the great source like the Internet, and perform bad deeds.

In conclusion my answer to the question is that digital media is a medium with the help of which one can communicate and find out about things in a quicker way than one used to find before. It has definitely changed the behaviour of human kind, but if one wants to, he or she can live without digital technology and survive.

Source: Rückriem, G. Tool or Medium? The Meaning of Information and Telecommunication Technology  to Human Practice. A Quest for Systemic Understanding of Activity Theory. Helsinki, 2. 12. 2003.


Task 11. New Interactive Environments

This task focusses on analyzing the Piratepad list what our group created during the live session on the topic "activity management". No doubt this was a preliminary task to introduce Activity Theory when you take a retrospect on the previous activities.

The list concentrates on different activities and processes which where bundled together during a live session of NIE course. The group created a wide list of different components what constitutes the activity management.
Considering the questions given by the facilitator and looking at the list thoroughly, I think that according to my understanding quite an impressive list is made up by the whole team, and while thinking about it I came up with the fact that all the necessary (and some extra) components were listed.
It seems that some components of the list covered the others, for example relations - actors, roles, participants could be grouped together into a smaller chunk. I tried my best to see irrelevant components, but perhaps while being very thorough myself, I agree on the pieces that make up the list. One thing that could have been different would perhaps be giving names to different components - e.g. project manager / facilitator, etc.
As I mentioned before, the list could be shortened, thus I would take all similar chunks and group them under one summarizing term. For example start, end, timeframe could be grouped under the name "task time management", or participants, role, actor, etc. could be named solely "participants". Perhaps this is due to my profession, but I would definitely shorten the list into smaller chunks and then explain them thoroughly mentioning the wider range of components.
Considering the Activity Theory framework, I think that without even knowing amything about the Activity Theory, our group's list has an object (a course/tasks) and a subject (actors/participants). There are different artefacts, like schedule, process, methodology, software, and other things mentioned. Rules are also pointed out (restrictions, limitations, evaluation criteria, etc).
I think according to AT the list is lacking terms for division of effort and community. Some terms may hint the presence of the terms (timeframe, time management, interrelatedness, feedback), but there is no specific term for the previously mentioned chunks.
At the beginning I did not come up with any of the irrelevant or missing components, but by the end of the task, using Activity Theory, I managed to come up with a few missing components.

Literature used:

Activity Theory http://www.learning-theories.com/activity-theory.html