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Three Weeks for the Price of One

Better late, very late, than never.

Here are the last three week blog posts, sorry for the delay I have been extremely busy creating the final presentation.

My contribution to East Field? To begin with my contribution in the team was the pretty much the same as everyone, discussions, blogs. I suppose one of my biggest contributions was to encourage the creation team name; I have always found it hard to unite a team if you are just a group, by having a name you create a group identity, something greater than yourselves to work for.          

My role soon evolved I believe to become the technology steward; I would set up the Google hang out, meeting words for our group. Over the last few weeks my role had become the visualizer I have been in charge of creating the final presentation using the content provided to me by the rest of the team. The biggest learning challenge for me was self-teaching adobe after effects and has been a massive indirect learning experience for me as without the project I wouldn’t have needed to explore after effects. I have gone from a novice to intermediate I hope to continue my progress and hopefully add it to my skill list. The main insight I gained from the course was the rate online communities are evolving and how they are becoming more and more useful for designers, especially the ones who have a great idea but have no way of funding it, I have learn about crowed funding in an extreme depth and would comfortably use it to fund my future projects, however when it comes to asking advice in online communities I am not completely sold, now it’s true to say I would be lost without the hundreds of tutorial videos about Photoshop, After Effects etcetera. I’m not sure I would trust the online community for real specific advice, I feel far more comfortable discussing a project face to face, however I do use Facebook to informally brainstorm with team mates, and also to hold meetings over Google hangouts with clients who are base far away; although I would like to meet them at the start of the process.

            When it comes to learning as a team I believe we could have learned more, if we had been able to focus at an earlier date, I feel like the first half of the course was wasted as we stumbled around clueless, however I am certain the learning we achieved in the second part of the course have made up for the stumbling in the first part. Even if it did cause a few sleepless nights. For the whole class the final presentations were a great way to share what each group learned and in turn teach us as well as their NGO.

Would I use an online community to help solve my own design challenge or design competition? To help solve my design challenge directly no I wouldn’t, however I would use it to solve indirect problems by using things like video tutorials reading threads or reading information on Wikipedia etcetera on the web, but I would be unlikely to seek help directly by posting a question on forms or social sites, the reason for this is more likely to do with me rather than the online community, I’m not really that interested in trying to answer other people questions on the internet mainly because I know there will be a lot more people willing and able to answer the question far better than I could. Perhaps when I am older and have degree level knowledge and more life experiences, I will be able to give something back to the online community. But at the moment I don’t feel confident enough to share my knowledge with the world, and hence feel guilty asking for other peoples so I simply leach off other people’s threads and discussions.

One part of online communities I would happy use and have already explored not only as part of the course but then even in further depth for a potential option for a personal project was crowd funding. In a time of recession it is hard to get funding from investors and loans from banks, crowd funding provides a solid alternative, although it is hard work to maintain a high level of interest in order to make sure you are fully funded and even then it is not a certainty. However I remain unsure to the future of crowd funding has it become popular solely as a result of the recession and hence die down again once the economy picks back up, or is it here to stay and will it continue to grow? The answer to these questions will dictate whether I use crowd funding in the future for my design challenges.

Almost any modern day process has the option to get involved in some form of on online networking, whether you use it or not: Personal I feel there should be a limit I don’t need social updates about coffee! However as a modern day communication tool it is irreplaceable, and begin to replace texting which costs money and a lot of money if you plan to send it aboard compared, chatting on a face book app, Skype app, whatsapp or bbm is almost free as they use a minute amount of internet. This is mainly down to the new smart phones which are becoming more powerful than a standard PC. If you combined this new computing power with the new 4G network which boats speeds of 25mb, the general public will very soon be able to access anything from their mobile phone, I believe this will dramatically increase the growth of online communities especially the ones which don’t have current mobiles apps as you won’t need them as you can just access the real webpage.

The reason I believe this to be important is because I believe this change will change how I will use social networks for my work, I will be able to constantly contact other members of my group the second I come up with an idea, I will be able to save a document to my computer at my home containing my idea so I don’t forget it. I will also be able to solve the little questions that pop up and you always forget to research when you get home there and then, making me a far more efficient designer as it will become fully integrated with my life. Which is good as I believe being a designer is a life style, you might not always be a work, but you are always finding inspiration, mobile communication though social networks will let us easy act on this inspiration.

Apart from using social networks as communication tools on the go and crowd funding. I am not a not hundred percent sure if I will use it to ask for advice in forms.

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Posted in All Students, Group 2, Support Raising
This was originally published at Innovation Engineering

Facilitation of Learning

To begin with I wasn’t looking forward to the idea of project community’s however I have warmed up to it, I have enjoyed researching into how online communities can be used to fund projects, I have especially enjoyed looking into the field of crowed funding; in a time of economic hard ship I believe crowd funding could provide an alternative means of investment to start up business, I am currently investigating indigo go to launch a new venture. It has been an interesting experience having a teacher based in the US and to be communicating with her via Skye/Google hangouts.

I feel that the group and project are now beginning to pick up speed, although this could have happened earlier on if the instructions had been a little clearer. In the future I hope we will be able to learn using clear tasks and most importantly to me end goal.

When it comes to me facilitating learning for others obviously I cannot directly facilitate the learning of others because I too am learning about the topic, however what I can do is create a good working environment for others by creating group discussions and offering my opinion whether it is conflicting or in agreement. If everyone actively contributes to the group we can all facilitate each other’s learning.

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Posted in All Students, Group 2, Support Raising
This was originally published at Innovation Engineering

Technology Steward

When it comes to my personal preference I am not that fussy, naturally I will tend to stick with what I use currently: Facebook and Google. But I am open to learning new platforms and other software’s although only when it is necessary, I am not a fan of continually upgrading my software and changing online platforms, why have the hassle of changing something when what I currently use for fills my needs.

A good example of this preference would be I have been using windows office 2003 for the past 9 years, because I didn’t like the interface 2007 and 2010 had to offer in addition to this I felt the software did not offer more functions for the money and hassles worth.

However recently Microsoft released office 365 2013, which I have been exploring and experimenting with for the past few weeks. Once it is fully released I will purchase it as the software has lots more to offer and makes complex functions straight forward in addition they have gone back to basics with the user interface and moved away from the apple like 2007 and 2010 interface.

Which leads me to my only set in stone personal preference which is Pc vs Mac.

 

Although I do use I tunes and believe it is a great innovation, along with the I phone, I disagree with the marketing hype that surrounds apple, they are overpriced the same money would buy you a far superior personal computer, which could also be upgraded and maintained on your own whereas a mac you would have to send it back to apple spending more money, time and resources  In addition I find the interface over the top and cluttered: I like clear structured lay outs. It’s for these reasons I will always choice a Pc over a Mac. Many people I work with currently use Macs and although you have your occasional disagreement about the computers, my personal preference remains unchanged, and so does theirs.

When it comes to stewarding the technology I use I will always happily demo straight and explain any software’s and platforms I know how to use, but only in person, I wouldn’t upload videos to YouTube.

My personal preference is always changing and looking at others preferences will influence my preference as I might learn a new function or discover a new software which I wish to further investigate I could potential also influence their preference by just letting them show/teach me.

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Posted in All Students, Group 2, Support Raising
This was originally published at Innovation Engineering

Inside East Field 72   Three weeks in to the project and the…



Inside East Field 72

 

Three weeks in to the project and the structural foundations of East Field have withstood a couple of ‘cultural quakes’ and absences, but apart from these two things the team has gelled together. We have had productive and interesting conversations and discussions both socially and while working. For the most part there is a great team spirit and we enjoy each other’s company.

 

However in the coming weeks I strongly believe that a member of the group is going to have to put a real effort in overcoming their cultural beliefs in the role of women in addition to become a little more tolerant of ideas that may not be their idea. I would also like to see another member of the group make more of an effort to attend more meetings and discussions or input more heavily when he/she is able to attend, I understand juggling multiply courses and curriculums is challenging but if you cannot contribute fully to both courses then it is not fair to just “tag along”. The rest of the group has been making a real effort to involve the other group members in the project and to their credit the other two members did fulfill their task when we set it last week.

           

To conclude on the whole the group has a good foundation and could easily become a brilliant team. We have six members from six different nations, creating strong alternate opinions which could be a huge asset. We now simply need to work on treating each other’s opinions with equal respect and ensuring all of us input constructively.

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Posted in All Students, Group 2, Support Raising
This was originally published at Innovation Engineering

A Personal Social Network Reflection

When it comes to analysing my usage of social networks, I only really use one social network: Facebook. The reason for this is, I am not a huge fan of social networking, in my opinion it is a waste time especially when you look at the rubbish people normally communicate though Facebook at my age (18). I have never understood the popular online culture of Blogging and updating your status with every little detail of your life; I personally don’t care you saw a cute cat, or you just bought a tin of baked beans. There is a limit!

           

Contradictory to the statement above I do still update my profile and status however not with every detail and only if I feel people would want to know. So I primary update my status if I achieved or discover something I feel friends and family would like to hear about. For example my old rugby club asked me to keep them up to date with my ‘international career’ and my family asked for updates about school and life etcetera.

But the main function I use Facebook for, is as an organisational tool, it makes it so easy to organise an event whether it is a one off event: I can quickly invite everyone, set a time, a location and discuss any problems and other possibilities with everyone at the same time. Or weekly occurrences like my rugby. Being a member the rugby Facebook group allows me to easily find out match times and location, training sessions and social events. The club officials also upload game photos and match reports which I can easily share.

I also use Facebook for commercial reasons, every summer I run a small Inflatable games company in England, Hertfordshire; BonsterBash I recently made a Facebook page and website (www.bonsterbash.co.uk) to make myself more accessible to the public without having to pay for “real” advertisement. For me Facebook provides “Word of mouth” advertising which is perfect for small companies operating in a local area.

When it comes to further exploring online communities I don’t personally have any real interest, although it its interesting to know how they operate. I prefer to communicate and network in person or email, apposed to a Skype calling, twittering and blogging.

To conclude, perhaps one day once the technology for international video calling has improved and there is no “lag” and it is as clear as face to face, I will become more interested in theses platforms. However ironically I don’t think my interest in blogging will ever grow to the stage were I will personally choose it as a platform.

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Posted in All Students, Group 2, Support Raising
This was originally published at Innovation Engineering

A Brief History Of Kiva

 

Kiva

This week my personal goal was to explore the investment application of online communities, the website I chose to explore was Kiva.org. The reason I chose Kiva was because it stood out from the rest of the online investment communities, as it was neither a charity nor a business, but a mixture of both. Kiva grants people in poorer parts of the world the chance to apply for a loan; since banks will not loan because the person taking out the loan could not grantee or mortgage their property.

            Kiva relies not on donations, but people’s good will to support unsecure loans by temporary donating funds and although the lender has no grantee of repayment and does not gain any interest on there loan. They can take confidence in the statistics: 98.98% of all loans are fully repaid which is very good considering that they have lent to over 869,627 people. In addition to the obvious reason which is, your money is helping people! And what makes Kiva so great is once your loan is repaid, the same money you originally lent can now be reused to help someone else at no extra cost to you!

           

History

Kiva first officially became an organization in October 2005, however the origins of Kiva started a year earlier in April when Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley started work on a new initiative called Kiva their goal was to create a means for poverty stricken parts of the world to access an unsecure loan inventing a whole new approach to charity: instead of blindly throwing money at a poverty in the hope the money will used wisely by loaning the money the person taking out the loan will have to do their best to insure its repaid, this means they will make the most of the loan in order to produce the greatest return.

 Their first success was took place in April the following year. The first 7 Kiva loans totalling $3,500 were issued and by September successfully repaid this success resulted in Kiva being founded as a non-profit organization. Kiva then grow rapidly and by November 2006 they had lent over one million US dollars, in 2007 they received the Draper Richards Foundation award of $300,000 on top of this they then gained a further $250,000 from donations/lenders as a result of a New York times columnist who generated mass publicity from his article about Kiva. 2008 proved an even more prosperous year as they were awarded the three-year $1,015,000 Skoll award for social Entrepreneurship. By 2010 Kiva had lent over $100 million in loans and continues to grow. Recent years Kiva has also began to fund and assist other like non-profit organisation.

I have found Kiva to be an incredible interesting company to research especially when you consider how it came to fruition at such and exponential rate.

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Posted in All Students, Group 2, Support Raising
This was originally published at Innovation Engineering

What do people use social networking for? To answer this I put the question to my social network,…

What do people use social networking for?

To answer this I put the question to my social network, Facebook. The main thing I discovered is people don’t like answering questions like this, I believe the reason for this is Facebook is used primarily for fun and recreation and less for information gathering and surveys. However I did receive a few responses, which further justified my previous comment but also introduced me to a new idea. I may belong to a social network Facebook, but I really belong to a social group within Facebook my friends and family, therefore I can only use my social network for purposes related to friends and family. If I wished to grow my social group so I could use it for business I would need to expand into a more business orientated group. This idea links back to my previous post which was the social network is a platform for people to use as they wish.

In addition to user based social networking. Big business wishes to use the social network for advertisement they simply pay Facebook for data on its users so they can target the most likely customers. Furthermore it can also create groups and pages business is able to artificially generate discussions about their products keeping them constantly in our mind.
            In short the main advantages of a social network are.

Ø            Keep in contact with people on the other side of the world.

Ø            Meet new people and expand your networks for business or social use.

Ø            Join groups, supports charities.

Ø            It also facilitates the ability for the average person to voice their opinion     on matters that they would not usually have a say in.

Ø            Big business now has a cheaper and more effective way of advertising.

 

The disadvantages of a social network are.

Ø      It allows people to create a perfect image and hide there true self.

Ø      It can be used to bully and taunt, and in a world where the social network is everywhere this can be very harmful.

Ø      It can be used to exploit people’s good intentions with fake charities etc.

Ø      Privacy is almost impossible, everyone will know everything sooner or later whether you post it or someone else does.

Ø      It can be a massive waste of time socialising with people online when it could be done in person.

 

In conclusion I believe that the social network is a immense tool for business and has now become a vital tool for socialising, one we couldn’t live with out now. Although it does have its disadvantages they are few and far between and should not prevent people from using social networking.

I plan to continue my research into social networking and online communities and further explore the business side of its application especially the benefits felt by small business.

Posted in All Students, Group 2, Support Raising
This was originally published at Innovation Engineering

I thought this clip was interesting as I believe it shows how…



I thought this clip was interesting as I believe it shows how social networking began with no purpose, but it was clear it would become very popular and generate a lot of money.  
Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have created a platform which enables the user to do a range of actives whether it is for, fun business, event planning or simply keeping contact with friends and family. However I believe Social networking and the online community has no limitation apart from the extent the user wishes to use it.

Posted in All Students, Group 2, Support Raising
This was originally published at Innovation Engineering