Critical Self-Reflection_Alex Zuxiang Mao, s3377256

My memory goes back to 14 weeks ago and is still fresh on how Dr. Varadarajan “terrified” us in the first class. My feeling at that moment was not scared or terrified, but shocked at myself how vain and ignorant I had become in the previous 15 months. I have turned a deaf ear to most of the things in the world, including people who suffered homelessness and country-lessness (Refugee was the main topic in that class). Comparing to them, what had I suffered? Only a form of “Entertainmentlessness”. I felt a little embarrassed and ashamed because I didn’t know what I should have known. I didn’t want to show how I felt. So I kept silent.

At home, I signed myself up for wordpress, twitter, set up tweetdeck, hoot suite, flipboard. I was all ready for a change.


I have always thought Twitter was a waste of time (in a way) because you spend ages reading other people’s status updates no matter you wish to or not. This for example:


In the first class, I quickly learnt that I underestimated the true value of twitter: a research tool for first hand information. However, there are tactics. I went on searching for news for “Design”. I was greeted with a lot of irrelevant and useless tweets which companies used as advertisements as well as a wild range of topics in all different aspects of design. If you want to find relatively what you are looking for,  you really need to  find one useful/meaningful tweet to you and check out all the tweets by this author. This will open the door to the information you want to find in the end. Other ways (I think would be better than what I am doing) is to download compiling tweet research tools such as TwitScoop to filter through the information, which I will try in the holidays.

Summary of  tweeting activity: My favourite author on twitter at the moment is “Gizmodo Australia” apart from its HTC ad implants.


Giving Up

All of us were asked to give up something that is relatively important to us. Firstly, I chose to give up my iphone. Mission failed immediately after 30 mins as I reached out to my phone as naturally as usual to check my Wechat updates. So I re-planned my giving up. I decided to start giving up my phone on the train first because I took trains everyday and it was a perfect start to test it. It was successful. In the beginning there was always an itch to look at the phone especially when waiting at Melbourne Central station for my shocking stopping all station train. It was deadly boring without a phone. My tactics were walking around, look at what’s in the vendor machine etc. Then I had better techniques such as taking my sketch books, read assignment briefs, write down my to-do list.

I have gained great benefit from this “time-out time with my phone”. Without all the interruptions from the smartphone, I was able to concentrate much better and put all my thoughts together, re-organise my life. I also felt incredibly fresher without looking at it for this 1-2 hour time plot. So I extended the time out. I now put away my phone at 8pm, 3 hours before I go to bed. The feeling of freshness is incredible.

 The Assignments

The reason why I chose to change people’s behaviour with their smartphones was closely related with myself: my child screams when I ignore his need for attention while checking my phone and my right thumb started shaking uncontrollably after 5 minutes of texting . Because it was personally relevant, I was able to take a deeper insight into it, visualise how this would change people’s lives and feel meaningful and passionate about it.

I enjoyed my group work very much. All of us were committed. Each one of us was assigned with different tasks. The only downside of it was that I underestimated the time we needed for editing and formatting a 5 metre-long poster. This ended up with some unchecked overtexting in some text boxes and missing parts of letters even though I checked the file twice at 11:30pm — not a very good time to do proof reading jobs.

A Little Explanation on The Field Manual

This field manual aims to raise people’s awareness of the importance to use their smartphones smartly and efficiently by doing more productive activities. It teaches people what is e-learning, why is it important, how it can improve their lives and how to access and manage it.

Overall Experience

I would recommend this course to other students, especially to those who left after the first class. It is not as scary as they thought. The biggest outcome for me is that I found motivation in this class to do something that might make a change. When I hesitate, when I think “Shall I …?”, I think this way instead now : “Why not?”.

Many thanks to Soumitri and Liam for the semester.

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