Archive of ‘Tutorial Reflections’ category

Neutral Technologies | Week Eight Lecture Reflection

In this week’s lecture, the discussion primarily revolved around the concept of neutral technologies. Looking to my notes, the very first thing I’d scribbled down was ‘what does a neutral media mean?’ A good place to start, one would think. Scanning through however, I found myself lacking in a definitive answer. Adrian outlined the fact that ‘technology has affordances’ and that ‘nothing exists independently.’ I agree with these statements completely, however I was still somewhat confused as to what a ‘neutral technology’ actually was. I suppose it is difficult to define as it is unclear if a neutral technology can ever truly exist, also too because it is a mostly subjective matter.

We continued the analysis the following day in our tutorial, and the meaning of the concept became clearer. To my understanding, if ‘neutral technologies,’ should exist, they do not motivate cultural movement or change, nor have positive or negative effect over a society. We also established the idea that technologies can mean different things to different people – some devices may seem neutral to particular cultural groups whilst grossly influential over others. This I found particularly interesting as I began to research isolated tribes and consider how they remain unchanged by technologies we rely upon on a daily basis.

Consider the most isolated tribe in the world, the Sentinelese – indigenous people of the Andaman Islands of India. They live in complete seclusion from the rest of the world, and are most noted for their resistance to contact from outsiders. The tribe follow very traditional and out-dated means of living and actively maintain a hunter-gather society. This in itself indicates how their relationship to modern technologies is seemingly neutral. The tribe remain unknowing, by choice, of so many technologies that we utilise everyday – proper housing, cooking and cleaning utensils, cars, phones, computers etc.  If you were to hand them an iPhone,  I am sure they would have no idea of its purpose or function. Obviously, this piece of technology much more neutral for them than it is for western culture. Considering it from this perspective, you could assume technologies/ideas are neutral until we discover/understand them.

This is merely one way you could look at neutral technologies.

Introducing… Networked Media | Week One Tutorial Reflection

Starting a new semester is a bit like starting the year all over again. New subjects, new classes and new teachers… Maybe for some a new haircut, or even some brand new Nike Airs. On an semi-related side note, I’ve come to realise I have a problematic shortage of winter clothes as I’m currently in savings mode and resisting the temptation of retail therapy. If any of my fellow class mates are reading this, please don’t judge me if I continuously outfit repeat!

Okay, back on topic. The initial nerves I felt about starting fresh wore off quickly however as a cohort of familiar faces filled the classroom. Our tutor, Betty Sargeant, introduced the subject Networked Media and all of the work and major assignments that stand ahead of us. Needless to say, it’s definitely going to be a busy upcoming thirteen weeks!


I am looking forward to the challenges that our four major assignments – our blogs, participation assignment, a HTML task and a critical essay – may present. The HTML task (in which we are required to produce two basic HTML pages) is slightly intimidating as it is pass or fail only, and if we fail, we fail the entire subject. Funnily enough I used to be quite the expert in the area back when Myspace was cool, using HTML to make a mean layout to impress all my year seven pals… However, as we are all very aware, Myspace days have been and gone and with it went my knowledge of anything HTML-related. Shame, really. Anyway, my point is that I’m looking forward to rejuvinating my old skills, and hopefully it gets me the pass. Hit me with your best shot, Networked Media!