• A range of vinyl record covers in a shop
    AI,  analogue,  higher ed

    The price of process

    (Photo by Natalie Cardona on Unsplash) Like Maren, I read David Sax’s The Revenge of Analog last month, and some points in it chimed with some other thoughts I’d been having around AI. The book makes the case around how analogue industries and formats have revived despite their apparent inevitable demise in face of digital alternatives. It is sometimes too keen to reinforce its won hypothesis and ignores counter points (the education chapter had me wincing in places for over-simplification), but overall it marks an interesting reaction to technology. It can be viewed in some respects as an argument against technological determinism, that despite all of these predictions of doom,…

  • analogue,  Music

    Analogue micro-rebellions

    It was Spotify Wrapped week last week, when those of us who didn’t do the honourable thing and decamp to Tidal following the Joe Rogan fiasco, had some data on our listening habits summarised in a nicely shareable format. It’s kind of fun of course, but it was interesting to look at mine as it was largely unrepresentative. I buy vinyl, so most of my music listening is in that format. It seems I mainly use Spotify to listen to Songs:Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co (top 1% of listeners worldwide folks), when I’m driving on my own or feeling a bit sad. I buy my vinyl in a physical record shop (Spillers!)…

  • analogue,  Books,  digital implications,  OU,  OUEdTech

    Emotions, artefacts and education

    I’ve been having bits of this conversation with various people, so I’m going to try blogging it as a way of clarifying the mess in my head (a little). During the recent OU Crisis™ one of the elements that kept arising on twitter discussions was students and staff saying the shift to online was flawed, and there was a strong preference for books. Similarly, in nearly all of our student surveys the components of a course that score the highest satisfaction are printed units. As one of the early proponents of online education at the OU, I used to resist this narrative, dismissing it as people sticking with what they…

  • analogue,  edtech,  History MA,  Uncategorized

    Edtech & Symbols of Permanence

    I understand why tech companies like education, but I don’t understand why they like it so much. Obviously, there’s money, the global education market is estimated at $4.4 trillion. Get a big chunk of that market and you can buy a football team. And there’s the perception that it’s slow and ripe for change, which appeals to both investors and egos of developers. These are both undoubtedly significant factors. But I’ve come to suspect there’s something else in the psychological mix – a form of legitimacy and permanence. I’m going to try to explain this by way of a long winded detour into the history of my local castle. But…

  • analogue

    A technology extinction event?

    (file this post under frivolous banter) In a post the other day I was positing that the declaration of "X is dead" is usually a good indicator of a charlatan/self-promoter. I suggested that technologies rarely die, but find more nuanced, specialist audiences. Some people commented that technologies NEVER die.  So, just for discussion – is the typewriter a contender for a technology that will actually die. The last one in Britain was produced yesterday. I know there are some existing users, writers often, who still like to craft their work on a typewriter. But this is a habit, and a declining market. This is very distinct I would suggest, from…