# Digital inequality

Selwyn (2006) covers so many things in his article about digital inequality. Initially, he introduces the current expectations that draw on new technology to the empowerment of younger generation, and reviews the effort that governments and policymakers have made on promotion of ICT utility to eliminate digital inequality. But the present situation is not as good as the previous imaginable. There are two main reasons: firstly, the preceding understanding that technological deficiency is at the heart of digital inequality; secondly, four underpinning hypotheses of digital inequality.

I strongly agree what Selwyn has rethought the above assumptions. I do not think the whole younger generation are eager to joined with new technologies simply because everyone is different. If there is something young people naturally aligned with, that would be they are all “young” which turns into a better adaptability in the changing environment. And in terms of the value of ICT, an ideally outcome relies largely on what and how young people would do if they are able to get access to new technology. Therefore, it is not surprising that the outcome of ICT use is not as planned if the new technology has not been applied in a wanted method.

What I find really interesting is the manner that author put forward his suggestion about policymaking in the future. Selwyn (2006: 8) implies the future of making use of new technology lies in find a certain method to utilize the “real usefulness of technology”. In this case, “real usefulness” refers to the opposite of aimless daily use. This paper therefore resulted in a solution that current socially and culturally orientated ICT interventions and initiatives may only be successful if accompanied by a fundamental shift in the thinking which underpin them. In other word, it is better to follow young people’s own interests and everyday life experience. He also proposed possible outcomes of the empowerment of young people’s digital engagement. One of which derives from what Watt (2006) argues an inherent tension of using ICT for societal purposes. This further promotes a reflective question that who is to take control of the new technology.

After this week’s reading, I was surprised at how readings for each week are interconnected with each other. We reviewed previous discussions on identity for the first week, followed by arguments of “reflective learning and blogging” for the last two weeks. The topic for this week is civic engagement, gender participant and digital inequality, for which I regard as the reflection of self identity in the domain of young people’s attitude towards new technology.

As mentioned in identity, technology provides us newly contexts of identity performance (Merchant 2006). Thus I do not think new technology can profoundly alter what we used to behave, but reinforces the performance of one’s pre-existing identity in the manner of technological dimension. Back to the beginning of this paper, research data show that better educated, relatively well-off, urban-dwelling white males are more likely to enjoy a higher quality and quantity of ICT access and use (Selwyn 2006:3). Meanwhile, ICT utility should not be a privilege but a right for all young people who want to get access to it. Therefore the bottom-up activity that considers more on individual requests rather than  macro social-economic development is really needed to be employed. Then where shall we start?

Probably as Selwyn (2006: 13) outlines, many of the suggested changes in this paper offer no guarantee of universal success. We should not assume the assumed public goods are globally suitable.  Eliminating digital inequality has a long way to go.


News of this week

The 2014 QS World University Rankings were published early this week. IoE has ranked No.1 in the world for education.



Hope everyone could enjoy and survive in the deadline season…


The world beyond my window & monthly selection…

These are some of the snapshots I took during these days. Since I have been stuck in the room writing assignments from January, all I can see is the view outside my window….

Anyway, it is amazingly beautiful, especially the blueness and cotton candies in the sky.

IC-2 IC-3 IC-4 IC-1 IMG_20140207_121050

But there are lots of things you can do in the next month (We live in the very centre of London!!!). Here is my selection of what’s on in March.


1984 @ Almeida Theatre, until 29 March


Vikings: life and legend @ British Museum, from 6 March

William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain @ Victoria and Albert Museum, from 22 March

The Sunflowers @ National Gallery, until 27 April

3D: printing the future @ Science Museum, until June

Designs of the Year 2014 @ Design Museum, from 26 March

Ruin Lust @Tate Britain, from 4 March

Bailey’s Stardust@ National Portrait Gallery, until 1 June


Only lovers left alive, from 21 February.


Orchid Festival @ Kew Garden, until 9 March

Food…@ Brick Lane/ Borough Market, on weekends


Wallpaper of the Day


# Social web and education

Anne Barlett-Bragg (2003) concluded five stages of blogging process: establishment, introspection, reflective monologues, reflective dialogue, and knowledge artefacts. The most significant section in the process is the underpinning “reflection” or “reflective learning” which is an intentional process of turning experience into learning (Boud, 2001: 10; Rosie, 2000, cited in Barlett-Bragg, 2003: 4-5). The final purpose of this practice is to convert from the surface learning to a deep learning, which is to convey the knowledge from necessary content reflected in online test or activities to the understandable connections between concepts and contextualize meanings (Barlett-Bragg, 2003: 4-8). In this process, the complement of reflection refers to not only the expression of superficial knowledge content derives from the detailed experience by the author’s own, but also the manifestation of systematic dialogue linking necessary concepts and background discourses.

Though this is less related to my real life since I have such little experience about educational blog, but I do think that five-stage model is the completed procedure of reflective learning if it indeed makes sense. Therefore, I agree that an ideal result of blogging process lies in the hypothesis of the interactive reflection. That is what Brockbank (2002) put forward as open to challenge, active individuals, acknowledged social contexts, and the willing of engaging with others (Brockbank et al. 2002: 6, cited in Barlett-Bragg,2003). Also, Barlett-Bragg further suggested that the way of writing and experience of the writer are among the various factors that how deep audience can develops their knowledge. But how can educators and education blog writers guarantee this reflective learning process goes smoothly as previously imaginable is a question that needs to be considered.

Neil Selwyn (2009) tested the expectation between social web and education six years later. In the aspect of information transmission, Selwyn outlined that traditional “one to many” model has been replaced by a “many to many” manner, referring to that community and collaboration are the common characteristics in the 2000s (O’ Reilly, 2005, cited in Selwyn 2009: 73). In his paper, Selwyn judged the implication of “reflection” from four important sectors: participatory learning, equality of opportunity, learner affinity and interest, and freedom of proprietary constraint (Selwyn, 2009: 72). Of course all these parts are of very importance, but I particularly interested in the first two parts.

In participatory learning, Selwyn observed that “take it and leave it” is a more prevailing style especially when we make use of website such as Wikipedia, Youtube (Selwyn, 2009: 75). From my personal experience, unfortunately it is true in the domain of both educational and non-educational websites. Information-hunters are generally burdened with some purposes. They get access to what they need, quickly look over it or copy and paste it to a word document, and then leave. In the Social networking, users post their daily trivia on an intermittent basis which comprises the large majority of so-called original contents. Their followers are mainly from families or friends in real everyday life. In this case, the actual realization is merely a “take” and creates daily ordinary in the most straightforward way, never “reflection”.

In terms of opportunity equality, I think it is a question that deserves great concerns not only in the field of education related online attendance, but also within other cyberworld activities. This was inspired by a recent Weibo post from a London-based Chinese web visual designer: “I can feel the huge difference between the contents from my Weibo and WeChat (Twitter/ WhatsApp applications alike). The friends on WeChat can spend money on whatever they want, while tales of struggles and sufferings from basic daily lives are shown everyday on Weibo. It seems that I am living in the intersection of two worlds.” Thus, I strongly agree that the likelihood of a user engaging in the creation of online content is patterned by the socioeconomic status (Hargittai and Walejko 2008, cited in Selwyn 2009: 77), and the reflection differs when the grounded class, income, age distinct.

Actually, I have always wondered that how many of us would really like to be educated when we are in the cyberspace. Do we truly want to think about what we have been given or only passively receive and consume it? If like I mentioned in identity, we have to be in a certain position to react, then we will respond in the way that has been rooted in our minds which originates from who we are and where we from. How shall we expect “reflection” afterwards? Nevertheless, lots of educational explorations conducted by educationalists and network technicians are already in practice. Hopefully they will make a change in the future.


News of the Day

Gravity was the big winner of the night at 2014’s Bafta, picking up six awards including best British film and best director.



(Source: BBC, Instagram)

You prefer this, I fancy that…

Hereinuk, a public Wechat account (a Chinese social application similar to WhatsApp), did a survey on what you think about UK from 8000 participated Weibo and Wechat users. I have picked five questions below to look through in detail.

Where do you think is the capital city of the UK?

London (6950) Manchester (35) Baker Street (30) Hogwarts (29) Paris (29)…

What is your favorite English food?

Fish and chips (1203) Chips (1150) Potatoes (995) They have any delicious food? (726) Afternoon tea (156) Black Tea (118) Are you kidding me? (89)

What is your impression about the UK?

Gay (1577) Gentleman (745) Rain (612) Amiability (349) Curly Fu (328) Gay-in a different Chinese character (328) Fog ( 325) Cold (270) Football (103) Tom Hiddleston (58)

Curly Fu: The name given by Chinese fans to Sherlock in terms of the Chinese pronunciation.

What do you think is the mainly transportation in UK?

Underground (3282) Car (1011) Bus (654) train (517) Taxi (445) By foot (294)

Underground-extraordinarily crowded, regularly delayed, no signal, very hot in summer.

Who do you think is the premier minister of UK?

Cameron (3623) The Queen (1635) Cameron-Director of Hollywood film “Titanic”(755) Blair (224) Sherlock(72) Churchill (44)

Cameron- some users cannot remember his name but do have a good memory about him- the one with a bit long face, the one who helped us to speed up the release of Sherlock, the one visited China before.

It is such hilarious to look at these responses.

Initially, let’s forget about the awful food…I am so sorry but we all know that is the truth…I mean, I am not complaining….Some people would complain about the changeable weather over this period of the year, but that is quite acceptable for me.

The answer to transportation is relatively normal. Although a few users chose broomstick, which is apparently affected by Harry Potter, or they just picked this answer for fun. In the question of capital city, the majority of responses are correct. Yet a large minority of Baker Street and Hogwarts implied how enormous popularity that Sherlock and Harry Potter are enjoyed among Chinese web-users.

In terms of premier minister, I think the way that people describe David Cameron is of such typical character in today’s cyberspace culture-fragmentation, amusement and highly influenced by what shows on media. He has been headlined all the time; we are still unable to remember anything but those insignificant minutiae.

However, it is the dominant answer of “gay” for the impression of Britain that has caught my greatest attention. Actually, Britain is generally identified as “rotten country” (fu guo) in Chinese Cyberspace. Similar with “rotten women”-young women who like gay stories; “rotten country” implies the country with prevailing homosexual culture. Four BBC-produced TV dramas are even selected as “Four Big Rotten Plays” by Chinese Internet users (mainly rotten women): Sherlock, unsurprisingly, Merlin, Doctor Who, and Torchwood.

Why is that?

Well, Rome was not built in a day.

Perhaps this video is well-explained this question. Albeit Chinese dubbing, it is not that difficult to understand through pictures.

Key points:

The adorable British actors have made the greatest contribution….

The great enjoyment of finding obscure hints from the relationship between the two leading roles in British TV drama or films.

The notable history of LGBT movement.

The underpinning charming from Brit culture. Just like a post from douban (a Tumblr-like Chinese website) describes: it has not been obviously straight forwarded to the front or directly performed, which is the best part of it. The audiences are very much willing to explore what is behind the dubious clues, using their imaginations… All of these little witty, ambiguous, romantic, and a bit self-deprecating tricks are rooted from the self-confidence and great sense of humour in Britain culture.


Don’t take it seriously…

# Identity

Identity is and has always been a contested and fluid term. It is contested because this term varies corresponding to different social conditions; thus in turn makes it difficult to define. From my point of view, identity is constructed by our daily choices and shaped under the intertwined influence of “being” and “becoming”. In the theory of identity, Gee concluded three aspects over his experience in video-gaming, which is virtual identity, real-world identity and projective identity. However, in a broader view, the contingency, multiplicity and malleability that embodies in identities occur all the time.

If you eat no meat or fish or any animal products, then you are a vegetarian; you would be a mother or father if you have children to take care; you are a Londoner if you were born and brought up in London; you would be an educator if you work in educational institutions. All these fragmental self-definitions are parts of our identity, and all of them bound up together showing who you are. Since you totally free to determine what kind of person you would like to be or what life you want to live, then life is full of choices in which you are defined through. Thus I definitely agree with the argument that “identity is about the life-or-death struggles for self-determination that are currently being waged in so many parts of the world (Buckingham, 2008:1)”. However, as identity bases on every selection in daily life, I do not consider it as the issue only when it is threatened or contested (Bauman). Identity has been formed and presented by our acts, no matter consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously.

Here, I rethink what Jaron Lanier wrote that you have to be somebody before you can share. My concern is which one comes first, your identity makes who you are or you are the one to perform the identity. From my understanding, identity can be defined as both discourse and reaction. We have to be in a certain position to react, contrarily; our actions or reactions perform our identity. In this case, to be somebody and share your own, act like both sides of the coin simultaneously.

It is generally accepted that we are living in a rapidly changing world. Our identity fluids over various circumstances and times, not only on the traditional facet of who I am but also how I relate to others in both real-world and cyberspace. But I believe the different dimensions that identity shows lies in the nature of complexity of humanity. It shows how different layers of everyday action play out against the background of social organization. For example, in the real world, our identity performance alters when we hang out with close mates and meet with old friends that have not seen for years; in the virtual community, we are more likely to be someone that knows in real life on Email or WhatsApp than on personal homepage such as Tumblr or Facebook. Thus, I prefer the arguments about affordance of technology which provide us newly contexts of identity performance (Merchant, 2006).

If you are reading through to this paragraph, thank you so much for all your patience. Dear reader, I suppose you can figure out some clues of what kind of person I like via reading my blogging. You are able to find more detailed information to test your assumption with the help of blogroll or whatever you can find on the Internet. The process of writing a blog is what Holland emphasized as “author the self” or similarly to sustain a narrative of identity by Giddens (Holland et al, 1998; Giddens, 1991). Sometimes this procedure results in the insecurity of private information, where the moral panic derives from. In order to prevent leaking or showing the part that unwilling to share, authors would have kind of self-censorship and write acceptable content that their assumed audience like before posting on the Internet. This phenomenon happens when netizens post on social networking in which their whole family members are able to see. I regard it as the disguise in the version of Web 2.0, because the same thing happens in real everyday life.


Fun of the Day

I found a picture on Weibo:  how Chinese Internet users respond when the official Weibo accounts of some Embassies in China post Happy Chinese New Year.

Happy Chinese New Year The Russia Embassy: Happy Chinese New Year

Weibo users: Happy New Year.

The US Embassy: Happy Chinese New Year

Weibo users: Pay back immediately.

The Japan Embassy: Happy Chinese New Year

Weibo users: Diaoyu Island belongs to China.


Yep… not a proper sample of group identity….

Unnamed QQ Screenshot20140131182746

The British Embassy: Bong Bong Bong Bong Bong Bong Bong Bong…

31 Jan 00:00                    ❤(770)retweet (3696) comment (593)

Alright. You WIN!


Happy Chinese New Year.

All the best in the Year of Horse.

What I was thinking when I queued…

It was the third time that I stood on the ground floor of Thomas Neal’s Centre, waited for returned ticket of Coriolanus. I went out at around five and arrived at Tottenham Court Road in 10 minutes by No.73. After bought Flat White and Fruit Pastry at Monmouth Coffee, I got lost in Seven Dials. It would be a pleasure for me to get lost in winding paths at Seven Dails, but today is not the case. When I finally found my way to Donmar Warehouse, six people were already lined up.

Oh. That was deeply disturbing. According to the last two experiences, three or four returned tickets were available. Nevertheless, nobody knows.

I sat down and decided to kill time watching people around me. The first one in the queue was an aging man with grey hair sitting on a folding stool brought by his own. Two middle-aged madams were behind him, sitting cross-legged on the floor. I had no idea how early they arrived, but I could imagine they had waited for a long time since they all read the hours away. Three young ladies were In front of me. They sat in a circle and chitchatted about their daily lives. Several good-looking young men bypassed and they all wore Superdry…That was sort of strange, actually. Is that a beloved brand in London? I suppose yes, because I do notice so many people wearing warm jacket with the label 極度乾燥.

I took out the reading for Wednesday’s module and tried to read, but in vain. Noises and crowds passed by made me incapable of concentration. I was a bit frustrated, thinking of changing another way to celebrate my fourth month in London. Standing in the line reminded me of the previous queues: I remembered having small talks with a girl ahead of me in the first time. She is also a fangirl of Sherlock and Tom Hiddleston; the glances filled with regrets when the man and his girlfriend didn’t get last-minute ticket; the moment when ticket box staff apologetically informed us no more returned ticket today.

However, after a sudden stir in crowds, I turned around and saw Mark Gatiss standing steps away from me! He signed autographs for two girls and walked by our line! Probably, that was good sign. I was cheered up and started gossiping with girls ahead of me…and the result was I GOT a ticket 3 minutes before the show started.

That was absolutely an amazing night. We all achieved a perfect escape from daily lives and bonded together to breathe as audience for two hours and forty minutes.

As Tom has said in an interview, you come as an individual and leave as a group.

What happened next….

I was uncontrollably thrilled for three days, nothing accomplished….


Fun of the Day

Fun of the Day

Source: Instagram