December 5, 2017

Bare Attention

This continues a conversation with Sarah Honeychurch and others about activities we do in meetings or workshops that help us concentrate. Sarah has since followed up with a question about how to 'ask permission' for such activities in the workplace.

This post by Nancy Chick "Doodling & Knitting" mentions the body language of paying attention. This is part of the issue. There are direct expectations in these work situations of eye contact and body positioning that is 'indicating' to the facilitator or speaker that you are paying attention. By occupying our hands with things other than a pen, our body language is sending an 'inattention' message. What is happening in the brain is the opposite. 

Bare Attention
Another term for mindfulness. I love the quote from T J Manning in Mindful Knitting "an intense form of paying attention". In my recent workshop, I was in a room with my seven colleagues for the whole day. I find that I was paying a lot of attention to their body language and this was distracting me from what was being said. To be able to listen to somebody speak and have the freedom to allow our own thoughts to form, we need to reduce the visual input. By occupying my hands with crochet and wool I can have that intense focus and be able to pick out the crux of the message. Yes, it was reducing eye contact, but that gets jaded after awhile and I find my eyes glazing over.

Doodling
This train of thought is also relevant to this month's #CLMOOC theme of doodling. You might need to go behind a firewall somewhere to get to this article “What Does Doodling Do?” (Andrade, 2010). This talks about doodling while listening being a beneficial 'dual-task situation'. When the first task (listening) has a low resource requirement, we might tend to daydream or drift off. By adding a second task like doodling or crochet (repetitive, self-paced task) it is increasing the mental resource load but not blocking the ability to remember things heard.

Now I'm off to read more about visuomotor learning!

November 7, 2017

Mapping the Journey

Image: www.brainyquote.com
Kevin Hodgson recently presented at the #4tDW2017 (virtual conference on Digital Writing). The pre-talk information discusses emergent ideas and paying attention.

Here is my reflection prior to the presentation.

Maps are for those that want to pay attention to where they are going. Navigating the natural world includes paying attention to the wind, sun, stars, moon and the seasons. How do we navigate the digital world? What pointers do we use? Is there any point in using the natural world as a metaphor for something that is not? Nick Sousanis (2015) in his book Unflattening refers to this:
"The ways of seeing put forth are offered not as a set steps to follow, but as an attitude - a means of orientation- a multidimensional compass, to help us find our way beyond the confines of "how it is", and seek out new ways of being in directions not only northwards and upwards, but outwards, inwards and in dimensions not yet within our imagination..."
Chapter 2.

European explorers employed the detachment methods of descartes - reducing the swirling three-dimensional world to a static flat grid, relying on instruments to guide them.
Chapter 7.

Sousanis (2015) then refers to Pacific Islanders who were 'immersed in the complexity of their environment' using nature in the form of 'stars, birds, patterns in the wind and waves, fronts and swells, the illuminating presence of undersea life, everything offered a living sign.' to direct them.

"Attuned to these invisible traces - vectors - they found their way."
Chapter 7. 

The underlying aspect of any map is the journey. Hopefully, you have time to grab a copy of Nick Sousanis marvellous experiment in visual thinking, as he puts it. The graphics that accompany the above text are amazing and add so much more to the words. These vectors appear in many places, both in nature and in the digital world.

The existence of here
depends on those peaks there
by bearing grid backward
        Haiku by Michael Giacometti from Portraits of Country (2017)

Without going too Zen on you, we could say that we are all travellers. Maybe we can only create our maps after the events and journeys of life. Everybody travels a bit differently and has different requirements. We are map makers.

Reflection after Kevin's talk

Things that are planned give energy to ideas that emerge. Freedom to branch out from the trunk.

Kevin gave these keywords for emergent learning activities:
Identification : Validation : Amplification : Invitation : Collaboration : Celebration 

I have found all of these aspects in the CLMOOC endeavours.

At the end of the presentation, Kevin invited us to participate in a collaborative poem. A few days later he posted the results.


A pop-up cycle created with CLMOOC folk is an excellent example of emergent learning. See https://clmooc.com/clmooc-mapvember/. Most of my blogging for this will be on Tumblr and here is my first map!

October 17, 2017

How I GovHack'd

I participated in the first Northern Territory iteration of GovHack. We were based at the Sandbox - co-working and innovative space in Alice Springs and hosted by Edan Baxter.

The core team in Alice Springs registered 9 projects by midday Saturday. Then the hard work continued as datasets were analysed and scope creep managed. Teams ranged from two people working together for the first time to 6 people in an organised team structure. What you needed in a team was multiple skills - video production, storyboard writing, software programming, software design and writing skills with a liberal sprinkling of good ideas.

This is not the time to learn new software. It's great if you have a large grab bag of tools that you are familiar with. One outcome of the weekend is the list of things I have to try and programmes to check out.

The finished project videos and write-ups were loaded to the hackerspace just in the nick of time by 4pm Sunday. Projects varied in degrees of complexity, sophistication and innovative power.

Here is the video of my project.



I picked up the Spirit of GovHack Award to Alice Springs. Then we hacked the hack! Jay Tucker was the winner of the Spirit of GovHack award for the Northern Territory. He was part of the NT winning team and Runner-up for the National Places Hack for the Red House Blue House Project. As their project was using the same maps as my hack but in a different way, I contacted Jay and proposed a crazy idea for a combined hack. We designed a t-shirt which Jay wore around Brisbane as he toured the city before the Red Carpet Awards! T-shirt complete with scannable codes to read 1948 news articles direct from Trove, what more could one want in unique wearables?

My thinking was consumed and pushed into totally new areas for those 46 hours. My thinking expanded on how to use open data to benefit the community and how my own skills could be put to use to directly benefit the local community I live in. There was also a roadmap to think about and to extend the project to next steps and other iterations. The next time someone asks me what Govhack was all about....I'll definitely be able to confuse or clarify it to some extent.

Check these out for ideas for next year!
Northern Territory Project Awards: https://2017.hackerspace.govhack.org/awards.
National and International Awards: http://govhack.org/national-international-winners/http://govhack.org/national-international-winners/

September 15, 2017

Out of Range


OUT OF RANGE

Out of range
pull the plug and sleep
switch off, disconnect
no charge, no beep

Out of range
why blue?
time to talk
our connections too few

Out of range
a vision of star
sky turning slowly
no pollution to mar

Out of range
no mobile connection
no bars of service
no bill, no insurrection

Out of range
firelight
dust on pancakes
in morning light

Out of range
a strange kind of bliss
never imagined
when Dylan wrote this.

Wendy Taleo
CC BY NC


People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed.

Bob Dylan from Things Have Changed

August 14, 2017

Once Upon a GIF Story

This is a story of collaboration, ideas, experimentation and our relationship to technology. It's also about being willing to follow through with what we might (lightly) put into Twitter chats!

You will see the GIF story (17 pages) thanks to Kim (@MrKMaston) and a willingness to collaborate. We chatted about the concept over Twitter DM and then took it in turns to add a page to the story. As you 'read' the story I'm sure you will make your own interpretation. Like a comic strip, there is enough mystery in the silence and the gaps between the moving images for the reader to get involved. Leave some comments about the possibilities that you see in GIF stories.


View it via Twitter moment: https://twitter.com/i/moments/895845199208865792

AN OPTIONAL WORD STORY
(written after the story was compiled and not sanctioned by Kim)

Once upon a time
there was a generation
that could only interact
through their shared technology.

This was not a good situation!

Something had to be done?
Who to call?
Would post-humanism be a solution?

Meanwhile,
that same generation of people,
ignored climate change and
continued to feed the web
with pictures of themselves
with only their self-selected
best side.

Nooooooooooooooo, said the others.

Could new technology save us?
Is there anyone out there to help us?

Wait.....

Perhaps reading the manual would help?
The solution is here somewhere.....

The crowds were lined up to witness the next best thing!

With new bells and whistles, infinity screens, smaller batteries,
colour lights and explosions....

All that happened was the setting of the sun,
falling of a wave, feet running on a treadmill, 
a never ending story.

The only thing left to do was 
destroy the thinking 
behind the technology

until

the

end.