More than just a course

Where to start… this doesn’t feel like an assignment to me, it feels more like me actually writing in my daily blog about a remarkable experience. This experience is one that can be described not only as educational, but also enjoyable.

            This course taught me that I am more of a digital user than I thought,  and how I can use digital platforms to enhance my digital skills to express myself and thoughts that I might have, no matter how trivial they are. I also learned that I am more inclined to learn about different cultures and different viewpoints of other  people in other  countries with other backgrounds and religions as well as cultures. This is thanks to mainly the Soliya experience that I underwent this semester and have already blogged about. Secondly, regarding the academic perspective of the course, I learned about how digital media can be used to enhance the learning experience of anyone seeking an education whether they be undergraduates, post-graduates or even school students. I am referring to the increased use of  platforms such as  twitter, slack, and the videos and articles we saw in class as well as the inclination it gave me to watch further videos with similar content that is tied to the material we studied in class. Furthermore,  I believe that being a part of this class has substantially  benefited me in becoming a  more interactive person outside my  comfort zone. I was always a social person but more in the context of being around my circle of friends and partially beyond that; but recently, due to interaction that I was required to make as part of the course, I have become more open to start conversations  and interact with others that I am not necessarily acquainted with. I perceive this as a benefit for my social life, which I see as a basis for every aspect of my daily life. This has mainly been because of activities such as Soliya and in-class activities like the  time when we built triangles with magnets; this required me to interact and cooperate with my classmates who are not technically close to me, and  we shared ideas, jokes and laughs. In terms of how this course will benefit my career; there are several ways. Firstly, I believe that I have  become more  digitally literate in the sense that I am more familiar with the different types of social media platforms and when to use each of them. This is crucial to my career, since I aspire to continue my career in football, where the  nature of the job puts the footballer in a position where they are followed and looked up to, and the primary way for communication with the public is through the different social media platforms.

            Choosing between assignments and material to share that I found most beneficial is  difficult, but if I were to pick a few of the most significant to me, I would have to choose materials pertaining to the narrative games that we had to play, such as ‘Spent’ and others, the alternative CV and the Soliya as well as the twitter scavenger hunt. Choosing each of these three assignments comes with reasons for each. Playing the narrative games was a new experience for me that I quite enjoyed as I had never come across any of the games before, and they were interactive games, where each choice made in the game would lead to a different outcome, on real life issues. This made me more aware of issues present in society, such as ‘Spent’, where I learned the value of money and that there are a lot of people who face these decisions on daily basis. Another game that I enjoyed was ‘Voter Suppression Trial’, which highlights the difficulties that people from certain racial backgrounds and ethnicities face in their journey to place a vote in the U.S., which is a problem that is not only common in the U.S. but also other countries such as Egypt. Creating an alternative CV was the highlight of the course, although it was relatively at the beginning. It was an experience that was both eye-opening and informative in the sense that not only did I learn more about what people thought about me, but more importantly I took the journey through dealing with a digital tool I had not previously experimented with. For me, the journey of creating the video that contained the alt. CV highlighted one of the main themes of the course, which is becoming familiar with digital tools that aid me in expressing myself. Finally, as for Soliya, the experience, as written in my blog, was phenomenal. This is because I got to explore different opinions of people outside my cultural and religious circle. And again, this is one of the highlighted themes of the course. The smaller assignments, such as the twitter scavenger hunt made me realize that I can use twitter beyond what I had already been using it for since it gave me a chance to interact with my classmates as well as people that I have not met before who are active on twitter. This made me more familiar with these people although I may not be outside of twitter.

            If I were to tweak anything about the course, the first thing that comes to mind is to include more native/Egyptian influencers that could teach us about being digitally literate in a way that we could more easily relate to, such as ‘El Da7ee7’ and others. Another thing would be to offer more guidelines on grading and evaluation so as to provide a more guided path to students who seek to excel academically in the course. Finally, slightly decreasing the given material will somewhat provide students with more time to offer quality work on the fewer given assignments.

            This course would be optimum for a person who is aiming to be, already is, or wanting to learn more about  the ways of the online, digital world we live in and how to be taught so through an interactive learning experience.

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Da7ee7 in Digital Literacy

This is an episode of the YouTube “el da7ee7” who makes weekly episodes on the Channel AJ+ on Youtube and in his episodes he discusses different topics based on scholarly facts and science.

I think this video best fits the content of our class because it elaborates on the topic of serveliiance and how technological advancements can be a good as well as a bad thing and that these advances in technology can be used to spy on people.

 

Mohamed Shaarawy

Being able to master and control Digital Literacies. is something that a lot have aimed at but only few have truly succeeded. In my perspective being digital literate is being aware of the different tools available that one might use to distribute ideas, information as well as other content across  to a vast audience.  Now digital media can be a double edged sword in that it can be used for good and unfortunately bad things.  So being able to master the digital world and to be digital literate and also use this torch out to people and make difference in people’s lives is phenomenal.

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Mohamed El Shaarawy is vloger, social media expert, and an influencer. He reaches out to people of all ages and backgrounds through social media platforms mainly youtube and instagram. His videos range form helping people who need advice with their personality to people. who want to look good and get advice on training techniques. I had the liberty of interviewing Mohamed but not face to face. He took time to answer a few questions regarding digital literacies. My questions were the following:

1- Explain what do you? (0:16)
2- How do you use social media to influence and reach out to people? -instagram                 – youtube and others if any. (0:55)
3- Can you give examples of how you changed something in somebody or a group of people? (3:21)
4-  What is your opinion on how social media is used to reach out to people and have influence over them? Is it a good thing Or a bad thing And why? (4:53)

Mohamed Started out with a small base of people then his videos and instagram base started going viral and more people started interacting with his videos through his Instagram page through commenting and asking him questions and giving their feedback through direct messages.

This is an example of how digital literacies are supposed to be used and how they can be used to benefit people and reach out to people of different socio economic background, cultures, ages and religions. Social media is a very powerful tool that as Mohamed said in the interview, it gives a voice and power to people who wouldn’t have any. without. the existence of social media platforms like youtube, twitter and instagram as well as others.

 

Do Not Track…

I chose to watch episode 7 do not track which is titled “To change the future click here”. I found the title very intriguing as well as its make me think think as I read the other titles I already knew what the major guidelines they would entail so I wanted to know after all this information and statistics, what’s next?

That’s why I chose to watch episode 7 to see what the future might hold in terms of technology. As the episode started it shed light on how the technology of computers are revolutionary in and of themselves but everything comes with a cost. It is argued that the technology of computers is a double edged sword with one edge being the good side of this technology in that it enhances our lives in many ways and it has made our world more interconnected. On the other hand they are flawed in that they are a huge invasion of our privacy and could be used in harmful ways.

There are statistics given based on surveys that do not track did for their users which had that 87% of users are willing to pay for google this was an example for me the extent of which we are dependent on the internet and that it has become an indispensable part of our lives.

It is shown how people with access to the internet become more powerful and have a chance to voice their ideas and opinions and their has been an influx in online blogs and journals were people decide to write what’s on their mid and just make it viewable by anyone who has internet access around the globe. So we can say that the internet is “user controlled” and it is the users, publishers and clients of the internet who determine what is on the internet. but is that really the case?

The increased information on the internet both personal and public made it viable for governments and platforms on the internet to create surveillance . these data are gathered and used by governments and third parties to determine numerous things about the person. The idea that your identity is linked to your device which is “always broadcasting” flows in to a bubble of interconnected information where your carrier and the government have access to some of the most personal information of people.

The idea of surveillance was prominent more, in the US especially , after the events of 9/11 which saw the people having consent and more open to. Idea of surveillance under the name of protection from terrorism.

As security and privacy are intertwined as you cannot have security without giving up privacy and vice versa so in it is believed that in order to have security you must give up some of your privacy. But the idea is that is that is. The case now but still we have terrorist attacks and still we have crimes. So what’s the point?

According. To the episode 87% of people want privacy tools but at first there n wasn’t such a thing as no one really cared about the issue of privacy but nowadays. We. See tools for. Privacy just because it is a market which has consumers demanding a certain product so business feed off that in providing what they need.

The thing is with the future that it is in the present. If you want to look on what will happen a week from now you will look at what you do today to reach a certain outcome. In. the future. So the future is not yet set in stone, it is interchangeable and it is based on our actions in the present. The wide list of solutions ranges from technological solutions, legal systems, and as also stated in the episode,  bottom-up use of data that makes the people fix what they see is wrong with the system and to use data to reflect on people’s own problems.

 

Soliya and TSH Reflection!

When first informed about the idea of Soliya and how it would be a mandatory task in my course I thought it was unnecessary as I thought it would be nothing but awkward and  a waste of time. Being two hours per session and having to do 4 sessions, my classmates and I regarded the Soliya program as an inconvenience that we would much likely to avoid or have an assignment with a different nature instead. But in reality, there was nothing we could do. Fortunately, we were stuck, and it turned out to be one the best experiences I got exposed to in my years at the university.

As the date of the first session approached, I became more and more nervous. It started as a little bit awkward at first, but it took a substantial turn as we started sharing more about ourselves through playing games that revealed parts of our character that made us feel more familiar with each other. We were all different yet so alike. Being from different parts of the world, being exposed to different experiences, having different backgrounds as well as different cultures we were in a way different. However; we had the same view, more or less, on topics discussed later on in the program, shared similar ideas and aspirations and that is what made us familiar and relating to one another.

The succeeding sessions focused on more serious topics like gender inequality/equality and refugees. Of course, there were dissimilar views on some aspects of the topics, conformity on others but above all there was a discussion where each one of us had the right and the opportunity top voice out his/her thoughts and ideas freely and without holding back.  We would most of the time respect one another’s opinions even if they were opposing opinions or ideas.

We would start off the session with the facilitators leading the discussion and asking a question about the essence of the discussion that was going to take place. After everyone was done voicing out their opinions, the facilitators would open the main topic of the session and giving us the wheel to steer the discussion, guiding us only when necessary.

In my experience, Soliya offers a platform that is easy to use as well as reliable so I guess that is what makes it stand out when compared by other platforms. The only problem I faced with regards to the platform or the connection was when I used safari, other than that it was a smooth experience.

Taking part in the Soliya program, I can say that I leaned a lot especially on. What kind of communicator I am,  which in my opinion is mostly a media consumer who witnesses stuff and chooses to either comment or agree with or just disregard it. At first, I was shy and uncomfortable to speak or voice my opinions all of the time but the Soliya. Sessions helped me in being more at ease when voicing out my thoughts and opinions. I also learned that people that don’t share the same nationality, religion and are from different cultures from different backgrounds and have different experiences are not necessarily that different form me. This made me realize that the world is more interconnected than I initially perceived, and that it doesn’t matter if you are on the other side of the globe than someone else, you are always similar in way.

Saying that, I think that the best way to better oneself in communicating and fostering relations is interaction whether on the internet, like Soliya or if its face-to-face. They key is sustaining interactions daily with different kinds of people with different backgrounds, cultures, religions and even nationalities.

When all is said and done, I can proudly say that I had the great opportunity to be a part of the Soliya program this semester and to have experienced it with the group I had, as I learned to be more expressive and respecting to views other than mine. I am thankful for this opportunity and would very much do it again if presented with the chance.

 

As I missed one out of the four sessions of Soliya I had the opportunity to get involved in the Twitter Scavenger Hunt. It was a great experience for me as I already had a twitter account and post tweets  from time to time but wasn’t really that active and I was not interacting with other people via twitter. But this activity made me reminisce the times that I was more active on twitter and made me realize that twitter is really a fun and interactive platform that truly connects people from around the world. I thought the activities were fun although I thought I could do better on the activity where we had to take picture of something in an angle or ficus that makes it hard to determine what that picture was. Having only slept 2 hours as I arrived from spring vacation the same day at 6 am I wasn’t;t too creative, but still it wasn”t that obvious to some people. I learned a lot on the topic of surveillance and how social media platforms as well as governments gather data and information about users. the mere idea that my personal information and things I do on a daily basis is kept in archives and data centers to be used against me anytime when necessary is horrific to me. This makes me think off the pros and cons of being online. on one hand we interact and foster our relationships with other people and are up to date on our friends and family’s lives but at the same time in order to do so so smoothly we give up parts of our privacy that are increasing each day as advances in technology take place.

“Imprint” Reflection

 

Since the First draft my game has improved by a considerable margin. As it was my first time to be doing this kind of work with power point I had a few mistakes and missteps in the beginning. But fortunately after making the first draft and having first my close friends and family play the game, I could see what was going wrong and had the opportunity to work on these faults and enhance them. Most faults that I came across were having to do with the hyperlinks in the game and they would not always take you to the right path in the game. Another issue that I faced after making people play the game was the inclusion of Photographs in the game. On this subject opinions were mixed, some saw that I should include more visuals, however; the majority saw that the game, being constructed that way it is without visuals, seems more professional and more of a game than for example, a presentation.

If I had more time to work on the game I would have included more scenarios for sure. I would have made different characters all with different jobs and hence their daily lives will be different so they will be faced with different scenarios all pertaining to the topic of raising awareness on being more environment friendly. Another thing I would have done is try to find a platform other than google slides to make the game seem more like a game because to me the graphics of a game and how it is done adds substantially to the value of the game.

In this task in particular its safe to say that I have learned a lot. First of all, in researching about the topic of my game and getting facts and information for the game, I found out shoicking facts as well as helpful information that made me more aware of the topic of the environment and how small habits that we do daily could have a huge ‘impact’ on the environement. That is why my game is called ‘Impact’. I also understood what its like to be passionate about a cause and to raise awareness about that cause wanting to reach out to as many people as possible and asking them (sometimes forcing when it vame to my family and close friends) to change their habits and to be more enviromenally aware in the duily lives. Finally, The thing I l learned that is closely linked to what we aim to do in this course is that I learned to use a tool like google slides or Power Point to make… well… a game! I never thought that I would be able to make an interactive game that stood for a cause out of using power point. At the beginning of the semester when I knew about thius assignment I kept asking myself how would I be able to make a game when I barely know the main components of a computer, let alone coding. Conversely, I learned how to express what I wanted to convey using a digital tool such as power point. This in my opinion pertains to the whole idea of digital literacies and how can we use digital instruments to communicate and deliver our ideas.

 

 

Imprint

This is my game about environmental damage that takes place everyday because of small habits and actions that we might think is minimal but has a huge negative impact on the environment. My game is aimed at raising awareness on the topic of human impact and make people take notice of the small habits of everyday that might be an issue woth regards of the environment. The game puts the player in the shoes of a University student and makes him live a day as the student making decisions in certain scenarios that students face in his normal day, and people in general face more or less most of these scenarios.

Here’s the link to the game —-> https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1qf3hBb6Mx2bRCrtn62sliJUA5CMfr6JLOuz08qfmRT8/mobilepresent

Enjoy! 🙂