MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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You’re not intelligent, but your pen is smart!

This social media thing gets a little redundant from time to time. I find myself knowing the same information, learning new tools, asking and answering similar questions, but mainly I find myself losing and gaining interest almost as much as I shower. Okay maybe that was a bit much, but seriously—every time I begin to write my blog I switch from losing interest in social media to becoming completely fascinated by it.
Five minutes ago that exact thing just happened. But then I read this post on the blog I’m monitoring (mediatedcultures.net/ksudigg).  This was a post from Prof Wesch on Mar 11, 2009 titled “SmartPen as Digital Ethnography Tool”.  This is the craziest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I mean, have you ever seen something online or on YouTube and said “this can’t be real?” I.e. the YouTube video, “Microsoft Surface” that received over two million views.
But this SmartPen is real. Prof Wesch describes the pen by saying “In short, it records audio as you write and links what you are writing to the audio (by recording what you write through a small infrared camera near the tip of the pen).  When you are done recording you can actually tap the pen anywhere on your page and the pen will play the audio that was recorded at the time you were making that specific pen stroke.  Students are already sharing lecture notes in the community section of livescribe.com.  As recording devices become increasingly embedded into everyday objects the days of protecting lectures from being recorded seem numbered.”
He includes his first use of the pen during his midterm research updates by his assistants. You can enlarge the image and actually click anywhere on his notes and you can here the discussion that took place while he wrote his own notes. The interesting, and I hate to say it but –ironic- part is; when I clicked on his notes, the discussion happened to be centered around “ownership” and “authorship” in the context of code, and developing websites.
He uses the example of a painting belonging to the artist who painted it, but if he used Photoshop, would his image belong to the creator of that software, where the image now belongs to the paintbrush and not the person using the paintbrush. I say this is “ironic” and I say that lightly, because if a student uses a tool like this to share lectures and lecture notes isn’t it the same idea of ownership? Who will own that knowledge or lecture? Will it still be the professor who originally wrote the lecture and taught it to his students? Or the student who wrote her notes and recorded it with her pen? Or the makers of the software that allowed that pen to copy the lecture? Or even still would it be the person who coded the site that allowed that student to upload his/her professor’s lecture with the Livescibe pen and share it with the world?
Ahhh this is so exhausting…but so fascinating.
Chew on that for a while ☺

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June 19, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Wow technology is going to get crazy! It’s exciting to whiteness but a little unsettling to think about.
    The other day a girl I was speaking with on the bus looked at my iPod and said “I dint even know you could get iPods with only 2GB” It first I felt a little out of date and “un-cool” then I thought about it. My IPod works awesome why should I get a new one? It would be a waist. But people are. People are discarding technology that works fine but has fewer applications.
    Current stats report that at least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. That means that 80% of humanity would not even be able to own the simplest of technology tools. What a huge divide.

    Comment by bethanyeyking | June 21, 2009 | Reply


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