Data analysis assignment - Grupo Candeias, Capoeira Facebook Group


This study employes social network analysis to examine the Dublin Candeias Facebook group. The group comprises of some two hundred members and is one of many such groups associated with the Groupo Candieas capoeira community. The Facebook group consists of members from Dublin, as well as other groups and friends of the club located around the world. The members use Facebook for intra-group organization and sharing information about capoeira.


Facebook makes data collection a trivial task by exposing web based interfaces to its database. Many third party software tools exist which allow Facebook members to harvest and download this data. A powerful example of these is the Netvizz web application ( Netvizz is a Facebook app that plugs into the Facebook platform once it has been authorized to do so by the account owner. The interface presents a list of user affiliated groups and after a target group has been selected, an iterative process begins to trace the users connection to all other members of that group. The resulting file my be opened in a graph visualization package such as Gephi. Figure 1 shows this raw data as a basic graph without any processing. As can be seen, the initial graph is densely packed and contains thousands of overlapping edges. We can already infer that this community is deeply interconnected, however the graph is difficult to read or understand in any meaningful way without further analysis.

After experimenting with numerous automated layout algorithms to improve the visualization, it became evident that the dense interconnections of edges presented a problem for clearly displaying the data. Deeper research suggested that a force-directed layout algorithm should help to address this problem by “minimizing the energy of the system” (Hu, 2006). Force directed layouts attempt to produce aesthetically pleasing graphs by making the edges “of more or less equal length” (wikipedia, 2012). While this graph layout still suffers from overlapping edges, the uniform geometry of the network allows for greater balance of the vertices and improved readability.

Spatialized force-directed graphs such as Yifan Hu's Multilevel, pull relevant vertices tightly together while keeping less relevant vertices at a distance. The characteristics of this dataset resulted in a Yifan Hu graph that was too dense to interpret, as well as pushing less connected vertices too far away to be noticed. Gephi also includes the Fruchterman-Reingold force-directed layout algorithm. This algorithm “models the graph drawing problem by a system of springs between neighbouring vertices of the graph, which pull the vertices together”, (Hu, 2006). By experimenting with the area and gravity parameters of this algorithm, a pleasing layout was achieved. A colour coding was applied to add some segmentation for language (Figure 2) by selecting the locale attribute as a partition parameter; (red and blue for UK and US English, light green for Portuguese, etc.). Finally, a weighting was applied to the sizes of the individual vertices based on their degree index (i.e. combined in and out degree) in order to identify the most highly connected members of the group. Gephi makes this operation trivial by calculating the combined degree value, after which it is simply a matter of selecting this as a ranking parameter.

Results and Interpretation

The results of the analysis were extremely revealing, with more information uncovered after each treatment. The initial raw data exported via Netvizz, revealed that a high concentration of interconnected links exist between group members. This suggested an echo chamber effect might be taking place, i.e. close connections between almost all members within the group (Adamic, 2012). When mapped onto a graph the result is a dense weave of overlapping edges due to limited available space. Best practice for aesthetically pleasing graph design recommends against overlap, since this can obscure connections or imply connections where none exist, i.e. where an edge passes too close to an unrelated vertex, thus obscuring “the sense and substance of the data”, (Tufte, 1983). This is a unfortunate artefact resulting from the chosen data set, but while it does obscure much information, the Gephi software package allows for closer inspection or any edge or vertex to help clarify a given relationship. The artefact is also revealing in that it clearly shows how closely connected the group actually is, with each member sharing connections with many others.

Figure 1. Raw Netvizz data in Gephi.

Examining the languages used by members (as specified in their Facebook settings) reveals that there are two major languages in use, i.e. Brazilian Portuguese and English (US and British). Two smaller groups also exist, i.e. Spanish variants and Polish, as well as a significant variety of other languages. Given that the majority of group members live in Ireland and are either Irish or Brazilian, this is not an unexpected result. However the mixture of other languages indicates a cross pollination effect between this and other Candeias groups; a result which is at odds with the expectation of finding an echo chamber effect.

Figure 2. Fruchterman-Reingold, colour coded by language

Weighting the size of each vertex by its degree within the network (Figure 3) was perhaps the most revealing portion of the analysis. Given that this is a Dublin group, one might expect members located in Dublin to have more connections. In actuality, trainers and masters have more connections, regardless of their geographic location or level of participation in the Dublin training sessions. Examining both the in and out degrees for connectedness revealed the most connected members as having a significantly higher out-degree than in-degree (Table 1). This indicates that a network prestige effect is driving the formation of connections. A “rich get richer” effect (Adamic, 2012), where new members begin by requesting friendship from the trainers, i.e. who they already know, and whom already have many existing connections. After the trainers, we generally see a flip in the ratio of in-to-out-degree for regular members.

Table 1. Top ten connected nodes.

Figure 3. Weighted by degree of connectedness


This study reveals the structure of the group and highlights the nature of relationships between members. Most members are highly connected, (although less connected members do exist, with six individuals having no connections at all). However, “while clustering tendencies in link networks ... may appear to paint a convincing picture of affiliations and associations” (Brunes and Burgess, 2012), supporting qualitative data could verify this and help inform any reliable interpretation. It may simply be the case that most connections are created though mechanisms such as Facebook recommendations, however such speculation is outside the scope of the current study. Further research would be required to determine the motivations for connections and enhanced data such as frequency of communication, combined with automated community algorithms, would also allow for deeper insights into the group composition and organization.


Adamic, Lada. 2012. Social network Analysis. Coursera. Retrieved Online 17.11.2012.

Bruns, Axel & Burgess, Jean. 2012. Chapter 28, Doing Blog Research. Research Methods & methodologies in Education. Sage. London.

Hu, Yifan. 2006. Efficient and High Quality Force-Directed Graph Drawing. The Mathematica Journal. Wolfram Research Inc. Illinois.

Tufte, Edward R. 1983. The visual display of quantitive information. Graphical Press. Connecticut.

Wikipedia, Force-based algorithms (graph drawing). Retrieved Online, 17.11.2012.

Critical Review of Myrrh Domingos Linguistic Layering

The following post is my critical review assignment of Myrrh Domingo's paper; Linguistic layering: social language development in the context of multimodal design and digital technologies.

The paper is not freely available online however Domingo's website "Migrating Literacies" has some excellent videos, Pinoy audio tracks and discusions of her findings:

T.S. Elliot once said, one of the most momentous things that can happen to a culture is that they acquire a new form of prose. Myrrh Domingos qualitative research into contemporary social language development and “linguistic layering” of multimedia texts is an important study of just such a change in our own culture. Domingo gathered data over a three year period, employing an ethnographic methodology. Her methods included “conducting semi-structured interviews and focus group interviews; recording descriptive and reflective field notes from participant observation; (and) collecting literacy artifacts”, (Domingo, 2012). She utilized a combination of traditional discourse analysis and an innovative multimodal analysis of the texts produced by participants in the study. The study encompassed a group of six Filipino youths living in London who referred to themselves as 'Pinoys'. Domingo recorded their linguistic exchanges online through social media sites and SMS texting, as well as offline elements like musical pieces created on mobile phones while riding public transport, or on computers using sequencing software. Such activities and communication mediums are an increasingly important part of our daily lives, and have “been termed the new ‘textual landscape’” (Carrington, 2005, quoted in Walsh, 2009). Domingos theoretical perspective is informed by New Literacy Studies and she therefore holds that reading, writing, and meaning can only be understood when viewed within specific social practices. She states that this type of social language development “attends to the transcultural experience of multi-lingual youth” and examines the layering of traditional and new media with the view that they can be “significant in promoting socially and culturally relevant literacy practices” (Domingo, 2012). The 'texts' are composed of images, sound, gestures and traditional textual information, and layering of these elements takes place not just across various media but also temporally, as well as involving remix of ideas from one individual to another. Meaning is constructed in the mind of the reader, and different readers “may construct meaning in different ways”, (Crotty, 1998). Traditional analysis would therefore have been problematic, since any element of the text might lose its significance when examined out of context.

The study focused on one specific member of the Pinoys, named Aziatik. This might be seen as unbalanced since Aziatik is one of the more prominent and productive members of the group, however Domingo has clearly employed purposive intensity sampling here, i.e. “choosing (the) most information rich case” (Coe, 2012). Given the small size of the group being studied, this strategy makes good sense and is a pragmatic method of gathering sufficient data to analyze.

Due to the 'noisy and moving' nature of the literary artifacts collected, traditional transcription techniques and analysis were inadequate to fully capture the social and cultural significance of the data. Domingo consequently adopted a multimodal analytical technique of both “spatial and temporal reading paths” (Domingo, 2012) in order to represent the multimodal nature of the texts she collected. This is particularly effective in the colour coded tabular data used to indicate Aziatik's multimodal text and delivery of his rap, 'Pinoy Ako’ [I am Filipino]. One feels that the representation of the data in this manner offers the reader a deeper insight into the text and its cultural significance. It adds a multidimensional perspective to the data and gives the impression that this is more than mere opinion or hypothesis, but rather a well formed theory resulting from thoughtful analysis and reasoning. This format also resonates well with the way in which the texts themselves were originally created.

Domingo makes a convincing argument and draws upon a broad range of literature to support her claims, all of which is appropriate to the topic in question. For example, where she discusses matters of social identity, traditional language development and social language development, the reference texts have been published over a large timeframe. Conversely, when discussing notions of new media literacy and her concept of linguistic layering, she limits her references to research produced during the period known as 'Web 2.0'; i.e. during which the set of technologies and practices which are fundamental to Pinoy culture have emerged.

The data analysis and collection methods are obviously qualitative in nature and it would be unfair to criticize Domingos finding based on a lack of exactitude or statistical analysis. However there are certainly elements within the study which might have benefited from a more quantitive or mixed-method approach. Domingo claims that Pinoys are not indifferent to learning but due to their socio-economic and educational backgrounds, might be seen to be 'at risk' or 'struggling' in a traditional educational context. However this is mentioned merely in passing, and there is no data to support the claim that this group do in fact have such difficulties. Information from a broader sample would have been illuminating, perhaps combined with anonymized school records to support the claim. It may be the case that this tiny, well connected sample are particularly literate and this fact allowed them to create the multimodal, layered texts so effortlessly. Also of concern, is the fact that Domingo's fluency with Tagalog might indicate a bias towards participant membership of the Pinoy group, whereas traditionally, ethnographic studies aim for an equal balance between being a “participant” and “observer” by the researcher.

Domingo argues that a study of multimodal texts can enhance the learning of literacy in the classroom. However before such integration can take place, one would still need to consider whether “students read digital texts for meaning in the same way as they read print-based texts” (Walsh, 2009)

Furthermore, ones notes that because the Pinoy group is globally dispersed and connected via the use of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, it would be interesting to ask how heterogeneous, globalized memes and concepts are woven into Pinoy culture, and how much are these external ideas modified through this interweaving, if at all?

In conclusion, this is a fascinating and solid study, although some minor concerns and avenues for future research do exist.


Coe, Robert. (2012). chapter 6, Conducting your Research. Research Methods & methodologies in Education. Sage. London.

Crotty, Michael. (1998) Introduction: the research process. The foundations of social research : meaning and perspective in the research process. Sage. London.

Domingo, Myrrh (2012). Linguistic layering: social language development in the context of multimodal design and digital technologies. Routledge, London.

Walsh, Maureen. (2009). Pedagogic Potentials of Multimodal Literacy. Chapter 3. In Tan Wee Hin, L & Subramanian, R. (Eds) Handbook of Research on New Media Literacy at the K-12 Level: Issues and Challenges. IGI Global.

There is no spoon

How can we be sure that our interpretation of anything is close enough to that which is experienced by another? How can we be sure that there even are other people? If all of our neural impulses are prompted by nothing more than electrical signals from our nervous system, then we are each of us living inside our own heads. Each of us is experiencing their own virtual reality and no doubt colouring it with the emotional or experiential baggage that defines us. When considered thus, we can actually make the astonishing claim that there is no such thing as one absolute definition of reality. Indeed the very reality that we experience can never be truly shared, because the sharing must take place via our nervous systems.

Mini Digital Ethnographic Study: Diaspora

[First Published November, 2011]


Diaspora is a distributed social network running on a collection of open source personal webservers across the Internet. Diaspora is a community of passionate users who control their own data, control who sees it and who can harvest it. Diaspora is a project that I have been observing from a distance since the announcement by four NYU college students in 2010 that they wanted to to build a Freedom Box and make a step towards changing how we use social networks. Diaspora used crowdsourced funding via KickStarter to raise over $200,000 which allowed the developers the financial stability to dedicate themselves to the project. Diaspora is free (“as in freedom”).

In this brief ethnographic study of the Diaspora community, I have employed a combination of participant observation and direct interaction with users in order to better understand the community and its members. I have posted questions to the community and received a considerable volume of responses given my status as a new (and consequently unconnected) member. I have attempted to define what it means to be a Diaspora member and what it is that drives people to join the community.

A Flickr slideshow of the images referred to in this study can be found here:

Ethical Issues

Given that Diaspora provides the potential to limit who sees the information that you choose to share, I have avoided using any user posts or data that came from private sources and have opted instead to publish only data that is specifically marked as being public. Data produced with digital publishing tools simplifies any ethical decisions for an ethnographer but does not remove the responsibility to always consider any possible, wider implications of material that is published. With this in mind I have chosen to anonymize any users data and avoid direct quotation where possible. Any user names or avatars that appear in graphics have been blurred to further protect the identities of those involved.


In researching the nascent Diaspora community prior to joining, I became aware of a strong sense that the development team considers this project to be something of a social movement rather than a mere social network. Co-founding developer Daniel Grippi uses the phrase “a spark to start a fire” in the second video below. This language sounds highly politicized and obviously hopeful for great things to come. Since joining I have frequently noticed this same sentiment from Diaspora members themselves and must confess that I hold similar views and aspirations for the success of such a movement. Hine tells us that “ethnography is appealing for its depth of description and its lack of reliance on apriori hypotheses”, (Hine C. 2000. “The virtual objects of ethnography”). My sentiments therefore have caused me some difficulty in remaining fully objective in my research, and it is something that I have been continually conscious of and careful to avoid. That said, the initial motivation for the development of Diaspora is indeed based on a politicized view that users have rights and are not just a product to be sold to marketing companies. Diaspora adheres to the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy’s Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights. Its very beginnings are inspired by Columbia University law professor Eben Moglens now famous lecture “Freedom in The Cloud’, first presented at NYU in early 2010 in which he describes centralized social networks as offering “spying for free” (from Wikipedia). The projects main tenants of Choice, Ownership and Simplicity (see home page on serve to empower its users in a manor unheard of amongst profit driven social networks. The following videos are what I believe to be key points in the emergence of Diaspora and what I hope will be a new movement for user empowerment online.

Eben Moglen’s “Freedom in The Cloud’ presentation at NYU Feb 5 2010. In this lecture Moglen introduces his concept of the Freedom Box, a device like a personal webserver that allows the consumption of network services without the traditional dangers. This lecture has a profound affect on the Diaspora founding members.

Diapora founding members report to the Internet Society’s New York Chapter on their work inspired by Moglen’s ideas. NYU Apr 22 2010.

Diapora pre-release promotional video showing the growth of the project and some cool features.

Arrival Story

Taking the title of the introduction to Gatson and Zweerinks paper “Ethnography online: ‘natives’ practicing and inscribing community” to heart, i.e. that there there is “no such thing as non-participant observation”, I decided that the best approach would be to create a new account and dive right into the community as any newcomer would. I posted the Diasporian equivalent of “Hello World” to my stream and announced ‘Hi, I’m #newhere’. The use of this hashtag is something of a debut for new members, an announcement that they are ready to participate, meet and interact with others and begin to the form bonds that will connect them to the community. I’ve speculated during this course that because of the ease involved in joining a virtual community, the traditional ethnographic arrival is less meaningful until the active creation of “connections” (ie friendships, followings or any one of the many terms used by social networking sites) occurs. The following Flickr set shows this process as a series of steps. It is in a sense my own arrival into the community and the beginnings of my real membership. In the spirit of the community, these images are released under a Creative Commons, Attribution license. The wordpress instance on which this blog post is written does not allow the insertion of iframe or embed code, but you can see a slide show of the set here:…

Or a direct link (useful for viewing annotations and commenting) here:

What is a community? Is Diaspora a Community?

During the course of the last two weeks we have been discussing the notion of community and how it relates to groups of people whose primary method of communication is digital. Indeed we have questioned whether such groups are indeed communities at all or whether they are simply loose collectives of people gathering around a common focus.

In his book The Virtual Community, Howard Rheingold references graduate student Marc A Smiths work on the concept of collective goods as a useful tool to determine whether a particular group constitutes a community. “Every cooperative group of people exists in the face of a competitive world because that group of people recognizes there is something valuable that they can gain only by banding together. Looking for a group’s collective goods is a way of looking for the elements that bind isolated individuals into a community”, (Rheingold, 1993). Smith proposes that the collective goods which create a community are social network capital, knowledge capital, and communion. When I first read this quote I became very excited because although I have only recently become a Diaspora member, I have already encountered or observed these phenomena at work. From its very inception, Diaspora has been a group based not around some minor theme or activity (not to say that such groups cannot themselves be considered communities), but rather focuses on a momentousness and potentially paradigm shifting goal, to empower the user and move control of the network away from traditional structures. In this sense it is a textbook example of a gemeinschaft community. Its members are generally technologically savvy and seem to be willing to help or offer advice readily to new members. In my “#newhere” introduction, I asked the community what it is that interests them most about Diaspora. Obviously the reach of such a question is fairly limited given my new arrival and the very small number of connections that I had, however the question did produce several interesting responses from other members. Almost every answer that I received focused to some degree on the facts stated in Diaspora member David McCauly’s now widely circulated Dozen Reasons to Switch to Diaspora. The typical user (in my experience) is well informed and interested in subjects related to the Free Libre Open Source Software development movement. They have found a place online which cherishes and strictly upholds these values. In their fellow members they may see many traits that they recognize within themselves, and from this there quickly grows a sense of connection, or the emergence of a shared communal identity. One user response to my post was particularly succinct, giving the following reasons paraphrased here: it is non-commercial, open source, protects privacy and has some pretty interesting people.


Given my personal interest in the subject matter, I have attempted to remain as unbiased as possible during the course of this study; however my findings do indeed appear to echo my preconceptions. The Diaspora community is composed of many unique individuals, all of whom are connected through their passion for social freedom and personal empowerment. They are for the most part highly technically literate and vocal on subjects relating to the use and misuse of technology. As a group, they represent and share the ideological viewpoint that it is not only possible, but essential that we “provide privacy in normal life, and safe communications for people seeking to preserve their freedom in oppressive regimes”, ( Again I am reminded that an ethnographer should attempt to ignore any preconceived notions and to remain as objective as possible, however I must admit to identifying strongly with these statements and to holding very similar views myself; perhaps I too have found a new home online…


Diaspora Foundation Homepage

Hine, C. (2000) The virtual objects of ethnography.

Rheingold, H. (1993) The Virtual Community. (online, retrieved 01.11.11)

Gatson, S and Zweerink, A. (2004) Ethnography online: ‘natives’ practising and inscribing community.

Wikipedia Diaspora page, (retrieved 01.11.2011)

On the differences between the cyborg and the posthuman

It is an over simplification to consider the cyborg as a fantastical techno-creature from our most outlandish fiction. For me personally the cyborg represents an enhancement to basic human function through the use of some prosthesis. And while many of today’s medical prosthesis are remarkable in their sophistication, they can rarely be said to improve human performance (one notable exception being the artificial legs of Olympic hopeful Oscar Pistorius)

Instead the contemporary cyborg is usually an attempt at repairing a damaged human, rather than an enhancement. Fictional cyborgs, and most likely real cyborgs in the very near future, are much more than this. Such cyborgs are truly more than human and achieve this status with the addition of prosthesis that give them abilities mere organic humans could never manage. These cyborgs are most definitely posthuman, but posthumans need not be cyborgs. I’ve argued (Sumamry: Week 8) that we are all in fact already posthuman, and that we have always been so since the invention of tools and social groups that modified our thought processes enough to make us more than individual entities. For me, the posthuman is a combination of the organic human and a set of external factors, tools or stimuli which endow us with powers and abilities we could never achieve in isolation. Certainly there is a closer coupling between the cyborg and its parts, but the posthuman is unbounded and free to match the appropriate tool to the task.

Augmented Reality Learning Environments – A posthuman pedagogy

Although philosophical idealists will argue that there is no such thing as a common reality, in everyday practice we have chosen to believe in one. Through our senses and communications, we live in a shared reality that we refer to as the real world, but by degrees, this shared reality is being extended, enhanced and personalised through the use of tools that allow for a richer interpretation of what is considered to be “real”. Such tools exist in many forms, from cognitive frameworks right through to actual physical devices that extend the senses and create “new forms of human presence, half-real, half-virtual” (Ascott, 2003, quoted in Bayne, 2010). Perhaps the most conspicuous of these is the growing use of augmented reality as an layer of information on top of the physical world. “Augmented reality (AR) refers to the addition of a computer-assisted contextual layer of information over the real world, creating a reality that is enhanced or augmented”, (Horizon Report, 2011). When one first uses augmented reality to view the world, the experience is uncanny in the extreme. The physical world is suddenly extended to include a rich layer of multimedia that the viewer can interact with to better understand their environment. High end augmented reality systems can be very complex and may include many subsystems, such as head mounted displays, data gloves or global positioning systems; but for the average consumer (and therefore the average student), something as simple as a smart phone application can achieve a similar result. An excellent example of such an app is Streetmusuem:Londinium.


Streetmusuem:Londinium is an iPhone app, developed in collaboration between the Museum of London and the History Channel, which recreates portions of London city as it might have appeared during the Ancient Roman era. Layers of video and text, maps and 3D models of ancient architecture can be viewed on top of the real world. As the user moves about their environment the scene changes in real-time. These layers of reality combine within the consciousness mind of the learner. “From two, one—something different, new, and tasty”, (Carpenter, 2009).

“One of the most promising aspects of augmented reality is that it can be used for visual and highly interactive forms of learning, allowing the overlay of data onto the real world as easily as it simulates dynamic processes”, (Horizon Report, 2011). When a person interacts with these layers of media, they are essentially engaging in a constructivist and exploratory learning session within a new reality. Because such media layers are fluid and may change based on user input, this new reality is individual and uniquely distinctive both for each learner and for each learning session. When we connect augmented reality systems with other networks, the potential of new layers of reality grows exponentially, as does our capacity to create new realities for ourselves, or to share them with others. One might argue that when we augment our reality, we simultaneously augment our own consciousness, and when we share our reality, we likewise share our conscious state with others. “Just as the brain needs the body to create conscious activity, so the body needs the environment to create conscious activity”, (Pepperell, 2010).


The interface to an augmented reality system is a tool that allows the user to modify their own reality, extending it in directions never before imagined. Graphical user interfaces allow us to visualise complex data sets but when those data sets correspond directory to our immediate physical environment, we suddenly gain the ability to understand that environment and our place within in it, in profound new ways. Through the use of symbolic languages and well designed semiotic icons, we allow humanity to communicate without regional linguistic variation, achieving precision of expression and clarity in the transfer of meaning that is simply impossible in the “natural” world.

Augmented Reality Examples

MovableScreen at Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam


35 Awesome Augmented Reality Examples…


Bayne, S. (2010). Academetron, automaton, phantom: uncanny digital pedagogies.

Carpenter, R (2009). Boundary Negotiations: Electronic Environments as Interface.

Pepperell, R. (2009). ‘Art and the fractured unity of consciousness’ in New Realities: Being Syncretic Consciousness Reframed.

The Horizon Report, 2011. Two to Three Years: Augmented Reality

MyNetLock. Open Source Business Plan for "Personal Private Proxies"

In the summer of 2009, following tensions surrounding the Iranian elections, the worlds eyes were opened to clampdowns on personal privacy and widespread obstructions to free speech. At the same time I came to realise that not only is any government capable of limiting its citizens liberties and access to information, but that most are already doing just this in one form or another.

During this period, many hackers came to the aid of the Iranian people by providing a variety of open and anonymous proxy servers and services designed to obfuscate web traffic. And while this technique was workable in the short term, as soon as any proxy became popular it effectively advertised itself to the authorities due to the volume of traffic that it handled, resulting in a prompt blacklisting by local ISPs.

Keeping with the spirit of these hacktivists, I developed a business plan in late 2010 based on a collection of open source code, to provide a personal private proxy service, on demand, to any Internet user. While these proxies might also suffer from similar problems as any other popular service, my hope was that the sheer proliferation of open servers could offer some hope to those in need of it - wherever they might be.

Since then other work has taken over my time, but rather than let this idea wither on the vine I am formally open sourcing the project. You can download a copy of the business plan, which is released under the GNU Free Document License, here. For obvious reasons I have removed some details such as directors curriculum vitae and detailed financial projections, but otherwise the business plan is intact. Feel free to do whatever you wish with this document. Use it to start a company, use it to change the world. I hereby relinquish all commercial rights to any ideas developed within, and ask only that whatever you do, you do it for the right reasons.

REPOST:: EDEDC11: Final Lifestream Entry

I began this course on ELearning and Digital Culture under the illusion that I was somewhat of an expert on the subject. My professional background is in elearning, multimedia and web application development and much of my personal time is spent online; either at play or connecting with geographically distant friends. But how wrong I was. I have discovered that online digital culture is something fluid and changeable, moving, reacting and adapting to current conditions as quickly and effortlessly as a flocking algorithm. To claim expert knowledge of everything digital is shortsighted, and given the unprecedented and constant growth of the online community combined with relentless innovation, technical expertise is becoming ever more narrowly defined. If this course has taught me one thing, it is that adaptation is essential for survival in the digital realm. But this course has taught me many things, most of which can be seen in the various feeds which populate my lifestream. Initially I found producing a lifestream to be an awkward and overly contrived exercise, and in truth I did not see the benefit until after some time into the course. Often I will have looked in depth at a topic only to backtrack out towards another concept, however the record of this journey remains and I subsequently found this to be extremely useful when refining any later thoughts or research ideas. In fact, this detailed record has often provided the pointer to a new direction or insight later on. Over the last twelve weeks I have seen my lifestream develop from a seemingly random collection of disparate, unrelated links, into a focused record of my research progress. Such detailed logging has obvious benefits, but it is also an indicator of the ever increasing volume of data that we produce and navigate on a daily basis. Even if we are actively creating this record rather than mindlessly life logging, the result is still a massive data glut, something renowned computer scientist Jim Gray has humorously referred to as WORN (write once, read never). Worse still, it produces an echo of our lives which may tell others more about us than we know ourselves.

The ramifications for education in this ocean of data are complex and potentially paradigm changing. Our current educational models frequently reward students for feats of memory and recall rather than actual knowledge or information processing. In a world of constant, ubiquitous recording and massive online data sets, memory is becoming less of a concern. The skills most prized by industry (if not yet by the academy), are those of assimilating and digesting data in order to extract salient information and knowledge. Perhaps tools like the lifestream can help to raise awareness of this issue.

Given the informal nature of blogging, I have employed the simple notation "(lifestream dd/mm/yyyy)" followed by an index number where there are more than one lifestream entries on a given day. Where possible I have also hyperlinked the reference to an individual post on the corresponding remote site. My thanks to the staff and students of #ededc for what has been a fascinating and rewarding experience!