IntroductionWelcome to the Data Stories Creator. Anyone who works or studies in a university is likely to encounter a huge range of technologies in the course of their daily activities. These are technologies that help us communicate, collaborate and create, as well as store data, keep track of activities, assess performance, remind us of due dates, check for plagiarism, and more. Many of these technologies offer the capacity for increased surveillance, and some are already being used to monitor and/or quantify some of our activities. The very ubiquitousness of these technologies means that we don’t always have time to think about how they might be affecting and even changing our practices and identities as learners, teachers, managers and/or technological facilitators. The aim of this Speculative Data Stories Creator is to give you a space to step back and think about technology in the present, and what this might mean for Higher Education in the future. We want you to be able to not only think about what is happening, but to allow yourself to imagine possible future scenarios, which might involve existing or speculative technologies. Rather than limiting yourself to describing something that has actually happened, or that is already in place, we want you to be able to use the medium of fiction to explore aspects of an interaction with technology, or concerns it raised in you, by speculating about what could happen.
Using the Stories Creator to tell Data StoriesThe tool consists of three tabs: Prompts, Mapping and Write. Prompts gives you access to some prompt questions; Mapping lets you connect up the answers you have entered to these questions, move them around, break connections and create new ones, to help you think about how what actually happened or happens might be re-configured in the future to create a new scenario or story. Write lets you write about your imagined future, using text, emojis, uploaded images or embedded resources from elsewhere on the web. Once you've finished writing, you can save and submit your story - all stories are anonymous and no personal information is required to use this tool. Before you start using the tool, try to think about a time when you have used, or become aware of, a bit of technology (software or hardware) that was either explicitly being used for surveillance or might be used for surveillance, even if unintentionally. You might already have an idea for how you might turn this into a short story about a possible scenario involving it or a similar technology in the future. If so you can go straight to the Write tab and just start writing! However, you might want to use the Prompts and Mapping tabs to help you think about what it is you want to say. If you’re unsure where to start, you can look at some of the stories other people have written.
Below, you will find a set of questions that have been co-designed with pilot Data Stories creators. These questions are intended to help you think about aspects of the particular instance or type of technology use that you want to explore in your speculative story. The questions are available in the drop-down menu – have a look at the list, select one you’d like to answer, and enter your answer into the text box. If you click on “Add to the map,” your answer to your selected question will be copied into the Mapping tab, where it will appear as a node in a “story map” that you will be able to move around and connect up to other nodes. You can answer as many or as few questions as you like. You can answer the same question more than once, and if you want to add something to your story map that isn’t an answer to one of the questions, you can simply add a new item on the Mapping tab.
Choose a question from the list below to help you write your story
Once you’ve answered some of the prompt questions you can switch to the Mapping tab. Here you will find the answers you’ve provided in the Prompts tab. At first, they’ll appear as a sequence of unconnected “bubbles” – potential nodes in your story map. Click and drag to move them around. Add lines between them and some accompanying text to indicate the relationship between each node (you can do this by clicking on the black area under an answer and then on the beige area containing the answer you want to connect it to). You can use this stage to re-think the actual experience or practices you described in your answers to the prompt questions, and to think about whether the actual relationships between different elements might be changed, or even reversed. Could the scrutiniser become the scrutinised? What impact would that have? Or could something that previously wasn’t measured become something that is measured? Could acquiescence turn to into happy embrace, or resistance? Here is your story map. Add prompts from the prompt tab to help map your story Once added, click and hold on the beige areas to drag map elements Once added, click on black and hold to draw a line between two map elements Once added, click on pink to delete an element Once added, double click on yellow to edit an entry
The Write tab is a text and multimedia editor where you can write a narrative about what could happen at the intersections of technology, data, scrutiny and visibility in higher education. The editor works by creating a sequence of story sections. You might add some text, then want to upload an image, then add some more text, then embed a youtube video or an emoji, then add more text or a drawing. You can also move sections up and down in the sequence. Click 'Preview' at any time to see your story (you need to allow 'pop up windows' to see this). Once you are happy with the story, you can click the 'Submit' button. Or, if you want save your story and return later to complete it, use the 'Save and come back' button. If you 'save', you will be provided with a unique web address you can use to return to and edit your story. No personal information is required in order to save or submit your story - this can be done completely anonymously. Pressing "Submit" will send your story to be approved by one of the project team. It will then appear at http://datastories.de.ed.ac.uk/datastories/allstories/.