Sticky Notes, Thinking, and Posters

Critical thinking is definitely not always an easy task, but for those hard times there are little things that can make it easier.

Posters, Pens, and Sticky Notes

Not only are they fun to use (if you’re a weirdo like me and are happier about getting stationary than almost anything else), but they can also be useful in figuring out what the point of a paper, presentation or topic is.

It’s a very messy exercise, but the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is messy, complex, undefined and overall crazy. So this technique works just fine.

The idea is to write as many words on as many different sticky notes as possible. Then go through them and organize them in whatever way seems fitting. Stick them on a poster, and maybe add some titles, stick figures or short statements to a cluster of them to clear things up.

The process is what really counts in these posters, as they look terrifying to someone who wasn’t part of the process…

DSCN7705[1]

but look how pretty it looks next to our currently tiny, but growing, collection of books!

DSCN7706[1]

 

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve had the opportunity to practice our sticky-note-poster-production a lot. It’s gotten to a point where I think it’s a great idea, but it’s questionable whether we use them too much? I don’t know.

They’re fun to make, help me think about the topic, force us to collaborate, allow me to use markers and draw stick-figures, they’re colourful, and did I mention fun to make? Yea…so, I’m fine with making them.

Keep ’em coming!

Entering Academia

I have looked up to people who publish articles for years…

They are amazing!

They must know so much!

Look how brilliant they are!

Those are only some of the thoughts I used to think…That sentence is written in past tense for a reason.

As part of working in collaboration with another department while writing up my dissertation on indigenous knowledge of adults experiencing homelessness in Bucharest, Romania I had the opportunity of writing one of these papers myself. It was very difficult, time consuming and made me feel pretty dumb many times. I was working very closely with a great academic who was very helpful. He pointed out what I did well but was not shy in telling me when what I had written wasn’t good enough.

Back to the story. I spent days and weeks writing this paper working toward a deadline for the conference this would get sent to. In the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) which apparently I am now part of (whaat?!) conference proceedings are actually more important than journals (weird. and definitely deserving of it’s own post…so I won’t go into much detail on that here…)

Anyway…it is still unsure whether the paper will get accepted. Personally, I think it’s highly unlikely as around 80% of the papers that get submitted are rejected, but the simple idea that I’ve written a paper! An ACADEMIC paper! Something that is in a suitable format, with appropriate literature review, data, analysis, discussions, jargon, vocabulary, etc. to even be considered as ‘publishable’ is amazing.

If you would have told me two years ago that I would have written a paper that would be taken seriously by a peer reviewer, and that I would be applying for, and actually getting accepted to a fully funded PhD I would have laughed in your face. Yet here I am.

Done and dusted. Terrified, but ready.

Is tumblr a suitable learning environment for feminism?

I’ve been getting very interested in several social justice issues, feminism being a major concern for me…being a woman and all.

I took the opportunity that my course offered me to take my love for equality and my love for tumblr and mix them up. Personally, I see a lot of social justice flying about the tumblrsphere, so I was wondering how other people thought about their experience of the website. Some of the questions I asked were:

  • Did they learn something from the community?
  • Did they feel they were getting a rounded point of view of what feminism is?
  • Did they feel tumblr was a safe environment for sharing their opinion on feminism?

I created a SurveyMonkey questionnaire, went through the “feminism” tumblr tag directly asked my followers the questions and had conversations with two users.

Overall, the responses I got were quite positive, although there were some very negative ones in there too!

I came up with presenting my results through a poster that I made look like a tumblr page. So I set out to collect screenshots, draw in a URL line and ‘bookmarked’ the page ^^

DSCN7698[1]

What does this mean for Digital Civics?

I found that although tumblr doesn’t have a fully functioning chat system, and although it’s a very anonymous site (or maybe exactly because of this?) people are able to speak openly about the topic. It is a mostly unregulated space where hate isn’t uncommon and where discussion, debate and agreement are often made through open threads that anyone with an internet connection and an account can add to. These are often sprinkled with links to other websites and sources to show that information is accurate, which could be a reason why many respondents have said they learnt a lot about feminism and many accompanying issues through the blogging website.

I wonder…

if an unregulated, open, not directly educational website a better source for politically fragile information than the school system? Is a place where everyone is a teacher and everyone is a student, a network of learning and communicating a viable place for naturally occurring learning?

if this is a better place for people to learn about social issues than school?

I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer to both of these questions were ‘YES’ if teenagers were asked. I personally would give both of those a whooping standing-ovation YIPPEDY YES!