Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Communications Technology and my real world.

I'm slowly sorting through what I want to use for the E-Learning and Digital Cultures course. There has been massive activity on the various social sites, Facebook and Google+ particularly. I've managed to RSS feed this blog to the Edcmooc news site and it's now been converted to Google+ and is auto-uploading to my Google+ page. I'm getting quite a few people `adding' me to their Google+ pages, so I guess that is a bit like being `followed' on Twitter. I'm still not much of a convert to Twitter. I think it's a personality thing, I just am not into the self-promotion, throwing out my thoughts into the twittersphere for all the world to see. Even adding my feed to my Google+ page is a bit confronting for me!
At the same time as all of this, I'm dealing with a little bit of medical technology that is both exciting and frustrating. I'm a Type 1 Diabetic. That means that I am totally and utterly dependent on insulin to stay alive. I am lucky enough to be able to afford an insulin pump, a small device which is loaded with a cartridge of insulin, a tiny electric pump and amazing software that controls how much insulin is drip fed into me via a tube and inserted `port'.  This system is an alternate to taking 4 to 6 injections of insulin a day, every day. I also have access to the occasional use of a piece of `companion' technology that works alongside the pump. This is a Constant Glucose Monitoring System or CGMS. This system comprises of a sensor which is inserted under the skin, to monitor the interstitial fluid for glucose levels and a radio transmitter that relays the information to the pump system. It is not yet sophisticated enough to create a `closed loop' and actually regulate the pumps dosing activity, however it does give me very accurate information via the pumps digital screen. This information allows me to make much better decisions about how to balance my insulin dose, my carbohydrate intake and my activity to result in a more stable `blood sugar' level.  I only use this system about once a year because it is relatively expensive. Each sensor costs about $75.00 and lasts for about 5 - 6 days. The sensors can be a bit fiddly and temperamental, for instance when I inserted one today, I hit  vein and it became contaminated by the bleeding. I had to remove it and discard it. Good-bye $75.00. Frustration!
I'm writing about this, because it is in a way, a parable for how I feel about learning to improve my skills to deliver better e-learning! Excited by all the potential, investing money in systems, hardware, software and steep learning curves, and in the end not sure about the benefits, but determined to be in the mix and accessing the best technology that I can!