Week 3 – online participation

I couldn’t follow the live webinar, so I answer some of the questions I found interesting when reading the slides. So first, what irritates me in digital technology? I think it’s not digital technology in itself that irritates me but rather its quite uncritical celebration in education.

Quite often, it is taken for granted that we need to use IT wherever and whenever to transform interaction but interaction can actually follow quite similar patterns with or without technology, as my own research also shows. I think IT tools provide certain good opportunities but we shouldn’t rely on them too much or blindly. I quite often use ‘offline’ discussions and crafting (gluing, cutting, drawing, etc.) in my university teaching because I found embodied multi-sensory learning can be enhanced by such methods as well.

Answering questions about my personal history, I have been using computers since 1993 (then I was 11) and got my first online experience at around 1994. I immediately wanted to watch online videos which was quite challenging since the connection was pretty slow. Then the internet looked quite different, and I needed to be quite conscious about what and how to search as search engines were quite primitive – compared to the current situation. From the very beginning, being online has meant being multilingual as well. Already in the 90s, I used quite a lot of English and then French as my skills had developed. Today I mainly use English, Finnish and Hungarian in my online life – Hungarian being my native language but not my main working language.

I started using my first mobile phone in 2000; I very seldom used it as it was so expensive to call and text. But anyway, it has proved to be useful. I have been using Google services since 2005. I started using social media platforms at around the same time. Then there was a pretty popular Hungarian portal called iWiW – now it doesn’t exist any more. I joined Facebook at around 2006 but last year abandoned it due to my emerging social media addiction. I have experienced many positive effects of not being on FB and not using other main social media platforms either. For this reason, I am quite critical about the ever increasing pressure on academics to be on social media and post and share all the time. It’s like pressing alcoholics to drink more alcohol as part of their regular job. I think that through my teaching, research and other outreach activities I can still gain visibility and make an impact.

10 thoughts on “Week 3 – online participation

  1. Hi Tamás! Thank you for sharing and answering the questions of the webinar in your post! Very interesting indeed! When you refer to the ever increasing pressure on academics to be on social media and post and share all the time do you think that this is what we are doing as well in #ONL191? And do you differentiate between Facebook and Twitter? I use both but for very different reasons and wouldn’t like to miss my personal learning network on Twitter, whereas I hardly use Facebook anymore at all apart from “checking in” on old and new friends and “friends”.

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    1. Hi Jörg, thanks for your comment. I think what we do in this course is fine with me — blogging and working on shared projects are interesting and help me to self-reflect. I used FB for a long time and realized that it caused me a lot of distress; for example, I found that the never-ending flow of updates was simply impossible to follow and make sense of. I spent a relatively short time on Twitter and had never ‘settled down’ there; this is the reason that my learning networks are not really there.

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  2. Tamas,
    thank you for bringing up the potential ‘addition’ side of social media and platform. I do not spend so much time on my FB (anymore), but my twitter account is providing me a lot of material for my research, and I am following my account closely 🙂 Addiction to my twitter is for sure something I am really worried about, and definitively not something I would not like to push my students toward.

    I also agree with you that I do not think the University should force its lecturers to use IT for their teaching, just because it is ‘timely’. We do have to live with our time, and experience progress and new technology, but learning has occurred in the past through simple lectures without IT, and will occur in the future without those too. I see the IT such as Zoom or Flinga as great tools for more international/intercontinental teaching, breaking boundaries and distance, and making the share of knowledge possible in an instant. But they should not be forced to anyone.

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    1. Interesting! I don’t think either that we should force staff or students, but I definitely think we should encourage it! Without using contemporary tools, we might be regarded as outdated and we would definitely exclude a lot of potential learners. Not everyone can come to a university due to live circumstances so I don’t think that it is just of use for International collaborations.

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      1. Indeed, it should be voluntary, and of course social media is not only for internationalization. I think universities and, even more importantly, funding agencies should also be more explicit in what they expect and especially why.

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    2. Hi Tamas and Anne,
      Tamas has raised an interesting thing about incorporating digitalization in education. and Anne’s discussion about IT. I sometimes think about the two generations. We were the pen and paper generation and nowadays when a child is born he touches the digital world before a pencil. To get this generation involved in education we need to update our customs still keeping the values of face to face human interaction. If we do not adopt then I think we will be left behind.

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    3. Hi Tamas and Anne,
      Tamas has raised an interesting thing about incorporating digitalization in education. and Anne’s discussion about IT. I sometimes think about the two generations. We were the pen and paper generation and nowadays when a child is born he touches the digital world before a pencil. To get this generation involved in education we need to update our customs still keeping the values of face to face human interaction. If we do not adopt then I think we will be left behind.

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      1. Hi, these are indeed interesting considerations, thank you. Surely we are different generations with different literacy practices. What made me think is that perhaps we can also show some ‘oldschool’ practices to people who were born with smart phones in their hand. I mean, of course we can/should catch up, but we also have something to show/teach to them. I think our job is not only adopting their practices but helping them to widen their perspectives and range of practices by showing them alternative ways. I think we won’t be “left behind” if we find a good way of personal communication with younger generations.

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  3. Hi Tamas. I like your point about not using “IT tools…blindly” and that you quite often use “‘offline’ discussions and crafting”. In my previous job (also online education), my colleagues were spread all over the world and we spent most of our time in meetings with our colleagues via Zoom, i.e. all online/virtual. I used to crave time where I could sit around a big wooden table with my colleagues, with flip chart paper, post-it notes and coloured pens, and where we could just write and draw and create and brainstorm, using tangible tools. “Back to basics”. I think we need to be careful not to remove this from our students entirely. “Crafting” – a new favourite word for me 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Judy! Nice to hear about your big wooden table and colored pens 🙂 Today I attended a meeting of a group which develops educational apps and designs tech-intensive classrooms. In my presentation, I invited them to think about the role of human-human interaction in physical educational spaces and, more specifically, about multilingual interaction. This point of view seemed to be almost new to them; they told they sometimes focused so much on user interface optimization that language as an aspect almost gets forgotten.

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