Who, What, umm identity?

One of me in SL

This is “me”

Today I have brought together seven items that are all, in one way or another, connected to identity. Do have a go at some of them they really are quite good fun πŸ™‚

First up is Spezify, a visual search engine that will search for any picture with your name on it. Do you know what pictures there are of you online? Go and search for yourself and find out just how visual you are!

Next comes Pipl another search engine, this one searches for anything about you online, or for anyone else you want to search for.

By now you should have started to realise how this all connects to questions of identity. So first I looked at how our persona appears online. Now I’m looking at Second Life which provides the opportunity to create a different persona. For those of you who don’t know Second Life is a 3D communication device/social media tool where you can have meetings, or get together with friends to create a special online environment. For those of you new to Second Life (SL) here is the most recent video on how to shop for things in SL. One of the things that people have often complained about with SL is that you can’t access it on a mobile device – well you can now! Lumiya can be run on any Android device, tablet or mobile phone. You can’t do any building in SL with Lumiya but you can do everything else.

Just what else will researchers come up with? Well one of the things they came up with was touch sensitive devices (haptics or haptic technology). Moving on from there they are now working on how to add touch sensitive technology to telemedicine. So you will not just see and talk to your doctor, nurse or specialist online but you will also be able to feel them! eeek! Read about what the researchers at University of Texas are getting up to.

I could not resist bringing you this video spoof of how your grandparents use the Internet. At first the video seems dreadful but real but as soon as the presenter says his name is Bob you know it’s a spoof. A really great laugh but it does get you thinking πŸ™‚ It’s on the Digital Tattoo site from the University of British Columbia, excellent site, you might like to take a look round that too.

Last an old but interesting article from Heloukee on the Paradox of Openness. Yet another view of identity or identities online that should give you some food for thought.

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The way ahead

One of me in SL

This is "me"

Urrrgh – I spoke too soon! What awful weather again! On the environment agency site there is aFlood Warning. That means Flooding is expected. Immediate action required. On the Meteorological Office site it says this April is the wettest in 100 years. Which is probably just as well because the British Waterways site says that, “March was an exceptionally mild month and the driest for the UK since 1953”. The plants in my garden have no idea what it is they are supposed to be doing!

It feels a bit like that on the Digital Literacy front at times too. At one moment there seems to be lots happening and we are forging ahead and then the next moment everything seems to have ground to a halt. Well there is plenty going on but you have to look for it. You can keep up to date with JISC they are putting out broadcasts, webinars which can be found on their Scoop.it site and, of course there is their media web site, JISC Advance, and their main web site which is being improved all the time πŸ™‚

Thought you might be interested in this app that I found from the Chegg people. It is a series of flash cards for quick revision that will also give you feedback on how well you have done – quite handy I thought especially as it is free πŸ™‚

I like this site, Vitae, it is really for researchers but I think undergraduates could learn something too from the booklets you can download here.

I wonder what tomorrow’s weather will bring ? πŸ™‚

The things people do

One of me in SL

This is "me"

Is the weather going to improve at last! All this wet is so boring – spring showers I can put up with but the last week has just been ridiculous! Never mind, today the sun keeps popping out and things look a little more promising πŸ™‚

I’ve been analysing the results from the Digital Literacy Survey and I find it quite strange how few people blog. Students, lecturers and other staff it’s all the same, regardless of gender, very few people blog. I quite enjoy blogging, it’s fairly creative and sometimes it even helps to wake me up a bit πŸ™‚ Martin Weller also likes blogging, he has written a post on the Virtues of Blogging as a Scholarly Activity – he’s been blogging for six years now and reckons it’s the best academic decision he’s ever made. I don’t know if I would go that far but blogging has certainly widened my academic network. It’s a good thing to practice getting out there and putting some thoughts on your subject, your studies or your hobby out into the big wide world. It helps you to become more confident in about presenting your own ideas, it develops your writing skills and helps you to find your “voice”, the identity you want to portray online. Blogging isn’t just for lecturers, it’s for everyone – a uniquely simple way of engaging with the rest of the world.

I found this post from Rose Wintergreen really interesting and moving. We all get miserable and doubt ourselves and our abilities at times and Rose has caught this perfectly in this post on Creativity and Misery. Do read it and the following comments, if you are feeling a bit low it will make you feel better πŸ™‚

So you see you can write about anything. Remember to link your blog to Twitter, Facebook and any other social media you use – you will attract more viewers and followers that way.

I wrote a little about bullying and bad behaviour online a few posts ago. I thing the work that journalism students at Michigan State University are doing on their anti-bullying site is great. The New Bullying is about cyberbullying and is produced as both a web site and a book which you can download. Although the videos are about school children, bullying occurs everywhere and to anyone – even people who think they are quite strong. May be the information these journalism students provide might be able to help you or a friend.

I have written before about networks for academics and researchers but I thought you might all be interested in this post about just how popular these all are. Read the post, Social Networks for Academics and go and join some of the networks it links to.

For those of you in history or archaeology, you might find this new, free, online book interesting. Archaeology 2.0: New Tools For Communication and Collaboration, is all about using new technologies in archaeology.

Keep your fingers crossed that it stays dry tomorrow – some sun would be nice too πŸ™‚

It’s all chchchchanges :)

One of me in SL

This is "me"

On my travels the other day I found the Historypin. If you are either into history or photography go and have a look, it’s a sort of Pinterest mixed with Retronaut and Google maps – really good fun.

As usual I’ve been keeping an eye open for what other folks are doing – if it might be of any interest to us here at the Uni, I grab it. I think this article from the Journal of Medical Internet Research might interest some of you – an article about the relationship of citations of a research paper can be predicted by Tweets about the paper – “Highly tweeted articles were 11 times more likely to be highly cited“. So quick, go and get your friends to Tweet about that article you just had published πŸ™‚

On the same (slightly connected) subject of medicine, there is an awful lot of augmented and virtual reality used in healthcare. I like this new programme, called ProtoSphere, by the ProtonMedia company from Pennsylvania. As the video at the bottom of the page shows, it’s rather like a very limited, medics only version of a Virtual World πŸ™‚

In a similar way there is also ARCH-Virtual: architecture and design in virtual worlds – not architecture and design for virtual worlds but using a virtual world for corporeal world work. Take a look at the three examples given on this page and take a look at their homepage. Fantastic for all sorts of design work whether it’s buildings, science or furniture.

It all goes to show just how quickly the way we work, learn and live is changing so quickly! πŸ™‚

Where we are

One of me in SL

This is "me"

I’ve been working with students and talking to others in Second life today. Second Life is a communication device, it lets us see representations (avatars) of one another, it enables us to talk in text or voice (to groups or individuals), and it gives people the opportunity to build things together, so people can create together anything from art to rapid prototyping. All of this at the click of a button and from anywhere in the world at any time. This tool thus lends itself to teaching (amongst other things), as an acquaintance from Arkansas State University demonstrated for me with the teacher training course they run completely in SL. I don’t intend to dwell on Second Life and how some are doing more with it than others but all this rather got me thinking about communication and communication methods these days.

Like most other people these days I use a whole range of devices from the physical to the virtual to communicate for work, rest and play. We are all Tweeting, Texting and Scoopiting to our heart’s content, all day. We are communicating at a level of incidence never seen before and we are communicating about all sorts of things. Anything we can think about:

The above list does not include, of course, all of that everyday communication we carry on all the time with our bank or the local government (for example about housing) or the national government (for example pension claims) or the NHS (for example making appointments at the hospital).

So if we can’t communicate properly in the modern world, using modern devices of communication we will not only, not know what is happening, more importantly we will not be able to let people know what is happening with/to us.

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