ACIS 2011 Doctoral Consortium

Figure: ACIS Logo

Figure: ACIS Logo

The ACIS 2011 Doctoral Consortium was held at the University of Wollongong on Wednesday November 30, 2011 through to Friday 2, December 2011.

I was required to present my case for inclusion in the UOW Doctoral Higher Degree by Research program and the event and my presentation was filmed by Jordan Brown.


The rapid uptake of location - enabled wearable technologies for rich media creation in the extreme sports, community policing, military and medical sectors is now challenging the flexible learning and distance education stereotype. The re - purposed application of these wearable technologies opens up new domains for connecting learners with educators, which in turn poses substantial challenges f or organizations as they grapple with the implications that these technologies imbue. Security, privacy, social and cultural issues that emanate with use in educational settings need to be examined amidst a socio - ethical landscape of advanced location - based services (A - LBS), electronic monitoring techniques in the form of global positioning systems (GPS) and the emergent concepts of Uberveillance .

This inter disciplinary and cross-sectorial interrogation seeks to evidence the disruptive benefits or risks that these technologies are having upon existing ICT infrastructures and to inform future educational policy that governs learning design, authentication and validation protocols.

At the time I was heavily into formulating 'where I sat in the field' of wearable computing and coined the following as notes at the ACIS Conference.


The recent ACIS Conference in Sydney Australia where the key theme of the event read ..... 

The key note speaker ........and subsequent speakers raised in their address that the Information Systems community is at present in a state of crisis, subject to cataclysmic change and clammering for upon grounds that are uncertain and rapidly evolving. 

The same state of crisis exists for the educator, the teacher, tutor and any manner of names given to people who impart knowledge either for reward or for the love of engaging with others. As the manner in which the learner engages with knowledge changes so to does the role of those who would otherwise be seen to be experts in the fields of which they speak. 

These changes are having a profound affect upon those charged traditionally with roles 

An explosion of cheap and accessible technologies coupled with affordable cloud storage across Australiasia has provided those charged with conducting learning experiences with an avenue to re- position digital media as an audit ready, repeatable, valid and authentic learning evidence form. The cross-sectorial appropriation of location enabled body worn video technologies conference AUPOV09 signaled a shift in awareness of theis paradigm.

In many workplaces across Australia, people are now employed by educational organisations to engage with learners and to collect evidence of recognised prior learning or current competencies using more informal, repeatable and accessible forms of interaction in many cases without having to attend the workplace setting at all. An example of this shift to evidence based assessment model is the Northern Territory Fire Police & Emergency Services.......... 

Whilst interviews conducted with staff at Skillstech, Queensland Australia......reveal 


We could, upon reflection, conclude that we now live in a society besieged by an electronic omnipresence borne out of fear, greed and distrust. 

Undoubtedly, this every present state of electronic monitoring has altered the manner of how we can engage with each other in a social setting, how we interact with each other in the broader community, in vehicles as we travel, in our homes and now in places of educative arrangement. 

Every step that we take and every move that we make has until recently in humankind terms been subject to the eye of providence, governed by spiritual beliefs and indigenous inculcation. As the unification of interaction in apparent real time was realised with the interweb so too has the matrix of gaze, the digitisation and repeatability of what is seen, heard and traded. 

Evidence of this shift in manner of engagement as humans is apparent as we question where our own knowledge centres now exist, where we store our address book contacts, how we problem solve, who we depend upon for advice and why we trust one bran over another. 

We are as consumers now nodes in a web of algorithims, as citizens in transmission and as people unified in our geographic impermanence. Our ability to navigate increasingly more complex routes of digital domains has become the single most sought after skill in the dawn of robotics revolution. 

No longer is a coffee conversation with the barrista an exposition of friendly satire unheard. Every keystroke made, every medicine taken, all manner of telephone conversations, interactions with local council, professional development activities, volunteering goodwill, online sites we might frequent, burgers we buy or SMS messages we send are captured, networked and as we become increasingly aware, triangulated for either judicial or commercial purpose. 

Our data has become ‘their’ data and our choices rapidly influence those of others outside our preferred filter bubble. Where we are physically now makes a difference in what we experience and none more so evident than push-services we subscribe to through our mobile phones. 

Attitudes to interruption and preference permissions to digital communication have shifted, in the behaviours of humans of all ages and in places where the tolerance for such perfusion previously did not exist. The open circuit of the mobile device positions telecommunication providers as the new law makers, their customers wallowing in the quagmire of their own acquiescence. 

Educative Arrangement

Sold a state of singularity, the education & training sector, in all it’s totality of forms and permutations has over the last decade transformed itself through osmosis of these information communication technologies. 

The traditional classroom setting has remained until recently a sacrosanct zone, a last moral bastion where the teacher didactically engaged with learners and prepared young people for the servitude of timetables or the freedoms of knowledge unfettered. Likewise, that very architecture protected an educators interaction with the people they sought to prepare for society, previously unrecorded, at most hearsay, proof if any by mass interpretation. 

As the architectures for educative arrangement have crumbled, so to has the manner in which knowledge engagement joined the zillion headed electrophorus, communicable, networked as a core learning dependency. The shift in these previously physical architectures of participation have had a profound impact on the manner of educator and learner engagement, moving from a unmediated role differential to that of connectivism, a state in which connections forms networks and forge new curricula activity. 

Open the door to a traditional classroom setting and now note the lack of apparent teacher desk, the multiplicity of digital screens, ambient or absent human forms and distant crescendos of mobile ring- tones. Interview any educator and listen to the accounts of change in employee expectations as profound as the scribe giving way to the printpress. 

As our connected classrooms have become hybridised and consortium inter-mediated so to has our curriculum, slow to turn as a supertanker, policy heavy, sharp as a funding reaction tack but ever self congratulatory as graduations and profits are increased. Trawl any search engine for “learning management system” and you’ll soon be swamped with brands familiar co-joining electronic monitoring services, wearable cameras, plagiarism detectors and access licensing at corporate rates. 

The soup of service is rich irrespective of the developed or developing status of any nation. What differs now is the brand gatekeepers and the interoperability of products which once pitched difference as the key to quality. The most remarkable leap made in the last 5 years has been the ability of these service providers to leverage meaning making by reaching into the hip-pocket so to speak whilst mapping for the organisation the core competencies it was seeking to accredit the learner. 


New tactics beget new technologies and vice versa which has informed the digital education revolution here in Australasia. Whilst the heterogeneity of the combatant was confusing the drone operator in the console of the US so to has the learner confused the armchair educational technologist, re-writing their curriculum vitae in preparation for an end to permanent teaching status as they once knew it to be. 

Workplace settings in the vocational education and training sector now stretch between cooking classes in metropolitan secondary schools through to remote mining camps in the arid foothills of the deserts of Western Australia. The email address and mobile phone fields have moved up the enrolment form rank and in many cases along with a credit card number suffice as the primary induction for a vocational course of competencies. 

Policy makers in educational organisations now pay close attention to technology market forces on an international stage, expounding rhetoric of catering for individualisation, equity of access privilege and knowledge nation economics. Meanwhile local communities struggle with the march of As the place for learning diversifies so to has the manner in which organisations now clamour to monetise interactions as content. 

No longer can the sage on stage depend on compelling truths to substantiate their own conference hopping and publication status. Connected, conferenced, multiplicity of “place” are now common states for the educator to deal with. The geography of delivery has become a distant notion as faster connections through electronic superhighways supersede the need to physically attend any physical learning setting. 

In the tertiary education sector lectures are captured, diced, packaged and made accessible for those with an enrolment status or in the case of OER as calculated marketing learning chunks. The premise for an educative experience has undoubtedly shifted and so have the boundaries vaporised as the veil of exclusivity shifted away from traditional centres of excellence. 

As the omnipresence descends on the community at large, so to are the learning spaces we frequent and in many cases technologies are at the core of curriculum. As technology has diversified the learning experience so to has it eroded the need for a timetable. 

How will educators cope with an explosion in the automation of services where their role is diminished or defunct in preference for distant omnipotent knowledge brokers ? 

This state of awareness of the omnipresence of technology metaphorically visually with complete with a million headed evokes for me great mystery and spurns me to create using cyphers and signs objects or injunctures for others to decipher. In doing so I seek like an autistic pattern of movements, to control or hold closer that which 

“...The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension; seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.” 

Italo Calvino - Selections from Invisible Cities

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Download the program [ PDF ]

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