Category Archives: Digital

Awakening the Digital Imagination: Virtual Worlds #nmfs_f11

After participating successfully this summer in the Digital Methods summer school “Big Data”  in Amsterdam at the University of Amsterdam (UVA) lead by professor Richard Rogers and his wonderful team (a post on the theme and the experience will follow soon), I’m so excited to continue digging the theme of New Media in interesting and innovative ways…

This fall I’m participating in another innovative seminar #nmfs_f11. I was invited by one of the organizers of one of the groups, Liz Dorland from Washington University to participate this fall in the Virtual Worlds New Media Faculty Staff Seminar 2011. This seminar is very special since it not only contributes to the exploration of fundamental themes in new media but we translate the discussions and findings in the context of education: what implications do these developments have on education. I’m loving the readings, the syllabus for this course is The New Media Reader, by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort. This collection of timeless essays is very popular and an often used reference work, for it lays the history, developments and applications in the field of new media. Since I live in Aruba, it would be geographically impossible for me to leave the island and my work behind for a whole semester in order to follow the seminar, but my SL avatar nadiagabriela kroll will “teleport” (I’ve always wanted to do what that verb implies) weekly to meetings at the NMFS campus, in the beautiful park Ars Simulacra under the starry sky, sit around a campfire and interact with interesting individuals from different countries on interesting topics. I hope to write more on some of the topics. The first topic I’ve experienced with the group is on Norbert Wiener’s cybernetics and Licklider’s Man-Computer Symbiosis.

The #nmfs_f11 is a networked seminar. The seminar is being held in different groups in the United States. The seminar is the idea of Gardner Campbell who works at Virginia Tech. Our group is special because we meet in Second Life, making it possible for people like me -who live abroad- to participate. Here you can read more on the background and logistics of #nmfs_f11 and especially on our specific group. We also have a blog were participants can post their thoughts on the topics and the questions that emerge from the interactions. All the blogposts, links and tweets from the other groups will be sindicated in a sort of mothership blogroll by professor Campbell.

I’ve missed the first two sessions, but I’m getting on track with the readings of these and I can’t wait for the next meeting. I also look forward for the keynote we will have in SL on october the 10th of Howard Gardner, known for his theories on multiply intelligences.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Liz, for her passion that is contagious, her patience in teaching me some basic skills in SL (I’m kind of a late adopter of SL) and for giving me the chance to experience this great journey where I learn and connect with others. I know Liz from twitter and I follow her interesting curated page on Visualization in Science and Education

I see a lot of opportunities for Aruban students and my colleagues at the University of Aruba in Virtual Worlds. Teleporting is ideal for islands 😀

around the campfire @Ars Simulacra

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Digital Time capsules: Memory cultivation & preservation in the Digital Age (3 apps)

The digital age is like a fast lane, navigating it both as a consumer or as a producer of information can feel like riding the German Autobahn. Timelines are perpetual. We can’t grasp the past that easily, all is in the present-tense, but becomes past so rapid the moment the pieces of information dissappear for instance from your Facebook newsfeed screen.

There exists this massive, humongous,  beyond our wildest imagination archive of  collective human memory stored forever in the internet’s metaphorical brain.  All our activities are stored in theses archives. I imagine my information stored in digital manila folders, with the labels: “Nadia Dresscher”. We constantly leave footprints, like crumbles of bread, that one day can help us reconstruct our human memory. If a comet ever hits Earth and the hard-drives of the digital social infrastructure survives, we can tell the story of human culture just as digital cultural analyst Lev Manovich preaches.  Have you ever searched yourself on Google? And were you astonished with the findings? Did you come across that comment you posted in that specific Manga lover’s Forum in 1999?

Our digital self goes on, it is in a dynamic ongoing state, it doesn’t match your biological rythms. Even when we are sleeping, we have “an extension of ourselves” that is perpetual, as stated by media theorist Marshal McLuhan. When you are counting sheep in your dreams, people are still commenting on your Facebook profile, re-tweeting your tweets, checking you out on LinkedIn (etc!) and expecting something of you…

I won’t go into the public-privacy debate surrounding the data online, nor will I go into the question of data ownership. I just want to focus on how we are actively creating memories online every millisecond of our digital lives right now. We do this consciously, often strategically and even times unconsciously. I know with certainty that I can trace one day when i’m 90 years old, my footsteps back. My grandchildren will search for my information too and reconstruct who I was according to my digital self.  Henri Bergson once reflected on similar issues, he was fascinated by the radical changes in terms of how memories will be retrieved thanks to the invention of photography. By just looking at a photograph of that vacation in Paris, you revive it again. We become easily Prousts of the 21st century ‘In search of the lost time’, this time without smelling the sweet lemony Madelines.

Take a look at 3 applications that can help you start scrap-booking that digital memory lane right now. I came across these, thanks to some FB and Twitter friends (Thanks Zizi, Venessa and Benjamin). These applications use the data you have stored in social media platforms, such as Facebook, to accumulate  your memories (data=memories) and present it to you in an unique form. As a tangible book (Social Memories), in form of a Museum (The Museum of Me) or as a timeline of your activities on diverse social media platforms (Memolane). Continue reading

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