Surveillance … It’s a Good Thing.

Sure I get it.  Hacking, spying and cameras watching your every move might leave you thinking that this surveillance obsessed society in which we exist is not benefiting anyone, except for industries who thrive on collecting every minute personal detail.  There must be some good in it somewhere.  Well consider my argument before you go knocking over a speed camera, giving a CCTV the middle finger or putting another layer of tape over your laptop.

Speed camera

red-light, green-light, 123 by Mark Wilke (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Surveillance can fight crime.

There are many examples where security vision has enabled law breakers and down-right horrible people to be identified and found guilty of crimes.  Just this year, police have urged residents with CCTVs in the City of Casey (Melbourne) to join a database which could assist with investigations and subsequent convictions.  People power against those who choose to misbehave and cause harm in the community.

Zissou (2013, p. 15) notes that after 600 security cameras were installed across Baltimore in America, the city’s crime rate dropped by nearly 25 per cent.  Furthermore, supporters of video surveillance confirm that officials are not interested in watching us shopping or walking our dogs, it’s only those conducting criminal activities who should be worried.

Surveillance can provide security.

Lyon (2013, pp. 4-5) argues that surveillance systems make sure we get paid correctly, that terrorism and drug-trafficking are contained  and that we can pay our way through an ordinary day without requiring a pocket full of cash.  Who wants to visit the bank every time we run out of cereal, milk, toothpaste, toilet paper, petrol … you get the idea.

Even when the plastic we use instead of money is compromised, surveillance can be there to assist.  I have had phone calls from my bank in the past notifying me of suspicious overseas purchases on my credit cards.  If it wasn’t for the vigilance of surveillance and its rapid response, then I could have been in for a big shock and a world of financial pain.

What about home security systems?  It’s home surveillance.  It’s a system.  It also provides security.

‘Most people in modern societies regard these accomplishments as contributing positively to the quality of life’ (Lyon 2013, p. 5).

Surveillance can entertain.

Have you ever accessed web cams from around the world that are situated in famous locations?  I often catch myself sitting at the laptop observing the rush of people, countless yellow cabs and the mesmerising neon display of Times Square in New York.  These cameras allow me to reflect on some fantastic memories of my time in that amazing city.  Guess what?  They are cameras watching people go about their busy day in a busy city, oblivious to the fact that little ol’ me is back in Australia watching what they are up to 16,000 kilometres away.  Yes it’s a form of surveillance but it doesn’t appear to be doing anything evil does it?  Except make me jealous of those tourists.

I’m jealous of myself when I see this photo!

Joe iphone pics 055

Taken by Joe Bovalino, 11 December 2013

In a weird way we need to monitor the monitors.  Surveillance should be regulated and be used wisely; however it’s not all bad.  It can help in crime prevention, gives us a sense of security and it can entertain us, perhaps even make us laugh.  As long as it’s not me being caught doing something embarrassing!


(526 WORDS)


Lyon, D 2013, The Electronic Eye: The Rise of Surveillance Society – Computers and Social Control in Context, Wiley: Hoboken, EBSCOhost, viewed 24 August 2016.

Zissou, R 2013, ‘Eye spy: should governments install surveillance cameras in public places?’, Junior Scholastic/Current Events, 19, EBSCOhost, viewed 29 August 2016.


Big ‘Boss’ is Watching.

When at work, think before you type.


email by miniyo73 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

With the rise of technology in the workplace, access to worker’s emails and online activity along with watching our every move has become common practice.  Company security has a price right?  Never has it bothered me, I have nothing to hide; I’m not doing anything wrong.  However, the more I ponder this scenario, the more questions I have.

Working life has changed dramatically over the past decade or so.  Lines are blurred as to when the workday begins and ends.  Many employees are expected to carry out work during personal time and as a trade-off private matters should be allowed during traditional hours using employer’s equipment (West & Bowman 2016, p. 629).  However, with this new environment comes the capability for employers to closely watch our every move, professionally and personally.

You can see me … I can see you.


Taken by Joe Bovalino, 6 August 2016

Stanton & Stam (2006, p. 69) argue that being more aware of monitoring and surveillance in the workplace may alter work behaviour and attitudes towards the job and the organisation itself.  It could create a sense of paranoia on management’s part and suspicion for employees.

There is a difference between monitoring an employee and keeping them under surveillance.  For me, the concept of being monitored is positive, consisting of meetings and one-on-one time with management to review performance, set goals and keep you inspired.  West & Bowman (2016, p. 629) observe that surveillance and technology allows management to monitor employee productivity without the need for direct supervision.  Does this mean that with the evolution of technology within the workplace, bosses have become more concerned about company protection rather than employee improvement?

Watching company profits or watching us?


management by zoetnet (CC BY 2.0)

Surveillance in the workplace is developing in three directions – increased use of personal data, bio-metrics and covert surveillance (Ball 2010, p. 91).  Personal data consists no more than bank details, home address, birth date; nothing sinister there.  Bio-metrics includes alcohol and drug testing.  For me, this seems imperative for safety-critical jobs such as driving large vehicles or handling dangerous equipment.  It is the covert surveillance which concerns me most.  This is where access to emails, web activities and work computers and those sneaky little cameras come into play.  After becoming more aware of just how watched an employee can be I decided to look up and was quite surprised to discover the density of ‘eyes’ fixed on me.

So how can employers and employees create common ground and a better understanding of what is acceptable surveillance?  In my view, employers should be transparent and clarify why cameras are necessary in the workplace.  Is it purely for security reasons or for monitoring productivity?  Explain to employees the reasons behind the monitoring of emails or computers, sure if offensive material is distributed through a work network then that is unacceptable.  Otherwise in my case do what I do.  I never connect my phone to the workplace Wi-Fi, I only use the work computer for work related matters and I always smile at the cameras.  Employee of the year – ME!

(474 words)


Ball, K 2010, Workplace Surveillance: an Overview, Labor History, 51, 1, pp. 87-106, EBSCOhost, viewed 9 August 2016.

Stanton, J, & Stam, K 2006, The Visible Employee: Using Workplace Monitoring and Surveillance to Protect Information Assets–Without Compromising Employee Privacy or Trust, Medford, N.J., EBSCOhost, viewed 9 August 2016.

West, J, & Bowman, J 2016, ‘Electronic Surveillance at Work’, Administration & Society, 48, 5, pp. 628-651, EBSCOhost, viewed 9 August 2016.


Liberty Road (surveil mix) by keytronic (CC BY-NC 3.0)

Camera.mp3 by Bratok999 (CC0 1.0)


It’s Time to Go … Journalism.

Poor journos.  The uncertainty the profession faces is not merely due to the changing landscape of media ownership or consumption – consider this.  If you really take notice, just how many newsworthy stories now involve content beyond the hard work of journalists, such as footage captured by surveillance cameras and from those not in the industry?  Attacks on public transport, car chases, mistreatment of humans, brazen robberies – it all sounds very familiar and newsworthy doesn’t it?  Surveillance videos are an example of visual news narratives that are easily accessed and increasingly used by news outlets (Gynnild 2014, p. 450).

Smile!  That news footage can come from anywhere, even a service station.

Joe iphone pics 016

Service Station Surveillance by Joe Bovalino, 29 July 2016


Perhaps the operators of CCTVs and the general public should be on the payroll of major network news corporations.  New terms have been created to define such practices.  ‘Sousveillance’ describes a style of watchdog work and reporting by citizens made possible by the changing nature of portable devices such as smartphones (Bock 2016, p. 15).  Everyone is a news maker – eyewitness news is no longer just a spectator explaining what they saw.  ‘Here’s my phone or security footage, take a look at what happened.’



Sousveillance by Selena (CC BY 2.0)


So where does this leave today’s journalist?  Instead of aspiring to work in an industry which takes pride in searching for truth and assisting in justice, perhaps we should all just buy shares in surveillance and tech companies.  It appears they are slowly becoming the ‘go-to’ source for a steady stream of confronting news content that creates heated public reaction and daily hot talk-back topics.

Consider also the very nature of surveillance and how the protection of journalist’s sources is threatened by the same thing that is fast becoming the catalyst for many major stories.  Will the source that the reporter has spent so much time developing a relationship with be prepared to offer that critical piece of information or will they be spooked by the very thing that news providers appear to be accessing more frequently for their daily content?

In his article, Pearson (2015) notes that location technology on devices carried by either person could potentially link the journalist with their source.  Imagine that you’re sitting on a story that could create massive headlines and you have a source that has explosive evidence.  This is the stuff compelling journalism is made of.  Then, the source goes cold.  He or she suspects their mobile number has been hacked and that their location is known.  Perhaps any rendezvous will also be caught on security cameras that will confirm their association with you.  That Walkley award goes begging.  Damn you surveillance!

However, professional journalism and providers of news still have an important role to play when considering the influence and power of observation.  Barnes (2012, p. 19) notes that concepts such as off-the-record material, attribution, balance, fairness and objectivity will not always be understood by the inexperienced.  This is where the journalist could assist.  Understand the importance of modern surveillance technology in generating newsworthy content and recognise the role journalism plays in ensuring those untrained contributors are respected and protected.  Don’t dismiss that award too early.

(506 words)


Barnes, C 2012, ‘Citizen journalism vs. traditional journalism: a case for collaboration’, Caribbean Quarterly, 2-3, p. 16, EBSCOhost, viewed 27 July 2016.

Bock, MA 2016, ‘Film the Police! Cop-Watching and Its Embodied Narratives’, Journal Of Communication, 66, 1, pp. 13-34, EBSCOhost, viewed 27 July 2016.

Gynnild, A 2014, ‘Surveillance Videos and Visual Transparency in Journalism’, Journalism Studies, 15, 4, pp. 449-463, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 27 July 2016.

Pearson, M 2015, ‘How surveillance is wrecking journalist-source confidentiality’, June 22, The Conversation, viewed 28 July 2016,


Don’t Get Bored Big Brother

“Take a look at this footage on my iPad.  Look at this guy.  Look at what he is doing on the side of my house.  That *%$^&# is putting graffiti on my house.”

This discussion really happened to me a few months ago with a friend.  He had CCTVs installed around his home only to discover that there were some nasty characters lurking around his neighbourhood late at night.  Now fast forward to last weekend.  I was putting petrol in my car when I looked up and noticed FOUR cameras all pointed at me.  Do that many cameras need to be watching me do something as mundane as filling a car with fuel?  Then it occurred to me that both examples of human surveillance were connected.

Although my friend never caught the graffiti artist personally, there was still a sense of satisfaction knowing that this act had been captured and handed on to the proper authorities.  Fill a car with petrol and drive off without paying and I’m sure those same authorities would be knocking on your door in no time.  The owners of that petrol station would also be satisfied knowing that every movement on their premises is being captured for the benefit of their business.

I have been quick to agree with the ‘Big Brother is watching’ theory in the past and lament the fact that humans can no longer go about their day without every move, twitch, scratch and who knows what being filmed, however it also makes me think it has the potential to place a level of safety and security in our lives both personally and professionally.  How many crimes against people and businesses are reported in the media which feature footage captured by surveillance cameras?  Could this possibly be a deterrent?

Security cameras

Security cameras by (CC BY 2.0)

I have been focused on surveillance in our society much more than usual recently; getting my head into a space to engage, analyse and critique.  This has caused me to look up more than I usually do.  While I am getting treatment for the neck spasms, it has also made me realise that instead of shaking my fist at the 20th camera that has caught me in the first ten minutes of my day, it might just be playing a helpful role in a safety conscious society.  I haven’t quite made my mind up just yet although I am looking forward to dissecting both sides of the argument as my study journey continues.

Big Brother may be watching, but he is going to get bored very quickly if it is just me at the fuel pump.

Petrol station

Petrol Station by Michael Coghlan (CC BY 2.0)

A New Game: Teaching the Teacher

Over the past three months, the concept of developing my online identity and engaging with other users has taken a sharp upward turn.  What appeared to be a serious challenge full of doubt and apprehension has turned into an enjoyable experience involving networking, sharing ideas and having some fun.  Now for the next test.  Standing in front of the camera and speaking for longer than two seconds.  What’s that?  Those nerves are returning as the next challenge presents itself.

The whole concept of gamification in education has captured my interest.  In the past year professionally, my broadcasting career has taken me from presenting radio to teaching it.  At the same time, I have jumped back into full-time tertiary study in an attempt to complete something I began years ago.  I feel I have learned as much about educating others as students have learned about broadcasting from me.  Furthermore, my own studies have opened up new approaches to engaging with the content offered and staying motivated throughout units.  I feel as if two worlds are colliding.  Will a gamified approach to learning continue to keep me engaged and if I am any good at this teaching thing, could I use the same approach with others?

The gamified learning in Exploring Digital Media at Deakin had captured my attention and while I knew there were no prizes at the end for students with the most points, it subconsciously kept me involved in creating content and engaging with other students.  Scholarly readings in the course highlighted the same questions I was asking about gamification in education.  Does it work for a certain type of student?  Does the novelty wear off?  Can it impact overall grades?  Is this the future of education?

I also realised that my own children were using games and characters as a point rewards system at a primary level.  Updates on their progress and tally boards are emailed to me weekly.  Gamification in education – I wanted to explore this further.  I was able to draw on my own involvement thus far, along with delving further into my own children’s experience with the ClassDojo system.  My daughter’s Grade One teacher was more than happy to share her reasons for using the system and what she hopes to achieve with her class.


ClassDojo taken by Joe Bovalino, 1 June 2016

Along with my own footage, I have sourced images and audio through Creative Commons.  This process has been much easier after learning what to look for.  The trap is to assume all content on the search sites are free to use.  I discovered many excellent images and pieces of music that were restricted by copyright.  Sometimes you need to explore deeper to find the magic ‘cc’ symbol.  Proper credit to those who have created material is like a little reward for them and a thank you from me in being allowed to use their work.

Learning a video editing system has been time consuming.  I researched a few online editing programs, attempted to download some free versions which almost crashed my laptop (panic!) however, I discovered that one of my children had already placed Movie Maker on my computer and was quite proficient in its use.  That’s right; the teacher was once again the student.  This is happening a lot in my life right now.  This time though, the teacher was my 10 year old.

Presenting work in video form requires a lot of research, preparation and time.  In creating something visual, it has challenged me rather than being face down in books writing academic essays.  It has been an extremely enjoyable experience.  I have embraced gamification and it is something I will think more about in my own work.  Now I wonder how many Dojo points my daughter’s teacher will give me.

623 WORDS.



gamification by Jurgen Appelo (CC BY 2.0)


Matter of Time (Mumblemix) by Incoherent Mumble Train (CC BY-NC 3.0)

Nintendo – Super Mario Theme by Artistic Raw (CC BY-NC 3.0)

Yama by robwalkerpoet (CC BY-NC 3.0)

Faiella, F and Ricciardi, M 2015, ‘Gamification and learning: a review of issues and research’, Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 13-21

Kim, B 2015, ‘The popularity of gamification in the mobile and social era’, Library Technology Reports, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 5-9

Leaning, M 2015, ‘A study of use of games and gamification to enhance student engagement, experience and achievement on a theory-based course of an undergraduate media degree’, Journal of Media Practice, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 155-170


I am now confident with my use of twitter and engaging with other users.  I have enjoyed taking my posts to the next level by including video.  I produced a short video to practice my editing skills during the #MuseumMemory challenge, along with filming myself for the #IfICouldCrowdfund challenge.

My biggest improvement with online activity has been my blogging.  I have embraced the process of researching and writing many blogs along with adding other elements related to this unit and trying to make them informative and entertaining.

Please also take into consideration my Tiffit tally.

Hello Europe … hello gamification.


My perception of gamification before 2016.  Taken by Joe Bovalino 17 April 2016.

It’s personally rewarding when I consider the concepts and theories one learns as academic life passes by.  My study has been shuffling along for quite some time due to regular pauses along the way.  Namely full-time work and raising a family – the usual stuff that comes with growing up and having responsibilities.

This year a new word appeared through my stop-start studies that I can’t seem to get out of my head – gamification.  First brought to prominence by Nick Pelling in 2002, it took around 8 years for it to be embraced around the world (Kim 2015, p. 5), however it’s taken me less than 3 months to realise how it interconnects with so many aspects of my own life.  Kim (2015, p. 5) sums it up best in that it transfers ‘some of the positive characteristics of a game to something that is not a game’.  Positive.  That is exactly what I have experienced thus far.

It comes as no surprise that the corporate world has embraced the concept.  Do you ever go to the supermarket now without being asked to show your Rewards or Flyby card as the assistant scans your 12 pack of toilet paper?  I can’t check my emails without being bombarded with updates on points earned for Qantas or Virgin accounts as if I jet-set around the country constantly.  Seriously, I don’t think 2000 points is going to get me anywhere soon.  Even my LinkedIn account attempts to pat me on the back when referring to me as an “All Star”.  What on earth am I a star of?  It’s all about loyalty and a positive experience and it subconsciously works for me.  I feel as if I’m achieving something even though I’m not the type of person who enters competitions or cashes points in for free gifts.  I’m the type of person who even forgets to use the discount fuel vouchers whenever I fill my car up.

Gamification 2

This is what my gamified learning experience has felt like this year.

gamification by Jurgen Appelo (CC BY 2.0)

Applying a game-like element to Exploring Digital Media at Deakin this trimester has also been a rewarding experience.  From its implementation, I understood there wouldn’t be a big prize at the end and this has never been the incentive for me to increase my online activity.  For some strange reason I have discovered that the ‘Tiffit’ point system has challenged my own study habits.  Checking a tally board as if I’m representing a country at Eurovision has subconsciously pressed me to engage in the readings, share articles of interest and communicate, encourage and support other students through the #ALC203 journey.  Yes I have hash-tagged that a few times now.  Ask me in a few years what the unit code was and I’m sure I’ll still remember it.

I have embraced this style of learning and I am encouraged by the fact that whilst gamification in education is in its infancy and needs to be studied further, it has the potential to develop into a style of learning for a particular type of student to embrace (Faiella and Ricciardi 2015).  Sure, nothing works for everyone, however if it was to motivate or engage a specific learner then why not incorporate a form of it into the curriculum.


Hello Europe … and hello Gamification!

Eurovision 2013 by radioedit (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In true Eurovision style and in my worst Ukrainian accent, my 12 points goes to … gamification.  For its ability to keep me motivated and engaged until the final weeks of this unit.  I hope it appears somewhere else in my never-ending learning journey.


Kim, B 2015, ‘The popularity of gamification in the mobile and social era’, Library Technology Reports, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 5-9.

Faiella, F and Ricciardi, M 2015, ‘Gamification and learning: a review of issues and research’, Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 13-21.

Crowdfunding? User beware.


Crowdfunding by Rocio Lara (CC BY-SA 2.0)

So you have an idea that could make a lot of money.  You don’t have millions sitting in the bank ready to invest into your creation, you know the bank manager will laugh you all the way out to the car park and you have even considered presenting it to the Shark Tank panel on Channel 10.  If you’re that committed, perhaps crowdfunding is the answer.

Before getting excited about the prospect of funds pouring in from a bunch of unknowns who may have an interest and belief in your idea, consider the old analogy ‘sounds too good to be true’ before envisaging yourself atop the BRW Richest 200 list.

Million Dollar bill

Fake Million Dollar Bill by Simon Davison (CC BY 2.0)

Like everything in life that dangles a get-rich carrot, there is plenty to be aware of and much homework to be done.  It is hard to determine whether crowdfunding is ‘a technology, an industry, or a fad’ (Younkin and Kashkooli 2016, p. 21).  Today’s popular social networking craze could become tomorrow’s Myspace.  R.I.P.  However, if crowdfunding is more than just the latest buzzword, then consider researching beyond the success stories and learn from other people’s mistakes.

Jeremy Losaw (2015) endeavored to obtain crowdfunding through Kickstarter for an aerodynamic car kit he created.  Whilst being extremely enthusiastic about his product, he learned some valuable lessons from his first attempt.  After testing his product, he discovered it didn’t work as well as he thought it would.  Cars fitted with his invention weren’t any faster.  Lesson number 1: Will you be able to test your idea before going to market?


Idea by -Komodor- (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The video he presented as part of the sell wasn’t convincing or engaging enough.  Lesson number 2: What is the message you want to get out there?  Do you seem professional enough and worth giving money to?  You are a salesperson and you will have to sell your dream to others if crowdfunding is to be a viable option.

Finally think about a media campaign that can spread the word about your big idea.  Don’t just rely on hitting up a crowdfunding site without using all available outlets to find your potential audience.  Lesson number 3: Online presence and the capability to network through these outlets are just as important as building a bank of enthusiastic investors.

After all this, if crowdfunding is still something worth considering, remember the mantra of many successful business people.  Before success, comes failure.  Stay positive, be prepared, be well researched, avoid the Shark Tank, they are already rich and leave my idea of the self-buttering toast alone.  It’s going to make millions, who wants to sign up?


Toast by Josh May (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)



Losaw, J 2015, How to Fail at a Kickstarter Campaign, Inventors’ Digest, 31, 4, p. 22, EBSCOhost, viewed 15 May 2016.

Younkin, P, & Kashkooli, K 2016, What Problems Does Crowdfunding Solve?, California Management Review, 58, 2, pp. 20-43, EBSCOhost, viewed 15 May 2016.