This is one of those odds and ends posts, an attempt to jam together a few different unrelated ideas into one post.

Mobile Development in Korea: Humanizing Alzheimer’s

For my doctoral research, I am working with a sharp, upsettingly young research assistant named Shin Yoo Jung (신유정). She serves as a jack of all trades: interviewer, translator, transcriber, cultural interpreter, collaborator, and, in this case, even generates some of the ideas. She has been enthusiastic about this research from the beginning and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have found someone so capable and so enthusiastic. She even generates ideas about potential mobile applications and/or technologies that are quite creative and highly reflective of the way in which mobile is or could be used in the Korean context.

She has been attending a series of mobile development workshops aimed at wearable technology and has generated a few ideas for potential applications in a sort of open competition. The idea is a highly humanizing, intimate use of technology for social purposes.

My product was a ‘contact lens’ that takes pictures according to the temperature and pulse of our human body. My target user was ‘older people with Alzheimer’s disease’. With the help of the contact lens that takes pictures whenever the wearer is feeling happy, sad, and scared, doctors and family will be able to understand them better than before. We would be able to know what the world looks like from their point of view, what makes them feel happy and what makes them scared. Maybe if all this data is gathered, someone might find a cure for the disease. Also the people with Alzheimers will be able to find their way back home whenever they are lost since the contact lens sends pictures about the surroundings to their family members whenever they feel tense. (I guess in the future technology will be able to detect people’s feelings by measuring temperature, pulse and even understanding specific hormones.)

This is what I am talking about. She doesn’t have a background in mobile development or anything, but she is sharp and inquisitive and, I suspect, will be very successful in this life. The idea presents elements of a Korean context as well as technology like this can be used to increase the social safety net to ensure older Koreans don’t fall through the cracks. I love it when I see technology use that emphasizes the human condition, builds around the contours of human interaction. The images below were taken by my Yoo Jung.

Multimodal Postcards: London and Edinburgh

I had described a mobile learning field activity from a recent trip to Edinburgh in a previous post. I generated enough media in both London and Edinburgh to create multimodal compositions, or postcards as I am calling them. The Edinburgh one emphasize aggregations of meaning as a means of composition. Most of this media was captured in a group, an act of exploration as a social activity. I wasn’t looking for outside communication as I was surrounded by friends and colleagues. Outside communication might have served as a distraction from the task at hand, the exploration of Edinburgh.

The London one emphasizes movements between states of isolation and socialization (simultaneously) through the presentation of video of the Thames River superimposed with images, video, and communication created by or mediated through my mobile phone. In this instance, the emails, tweets, to do lists, and text messages I received or sent (all real) are layered over the visual presentation of video, audio, and imagery.  The communication presents thoughts, feelings, and responsibilities as I received and experienced them (chronologically). This reflects my desire to seek outside socialization (mostly with my wife) to mediate the isolation of traveling alone in a familiar place pregnant with memory. Both use similar techniques. Both say different things (I think).

Aggregating Edinburgh: A Multimodal Postcard from Michael Gallagher on Vimeo.

London: A Postcard from Michael Gallagher on Vimeo.

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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