Information Literacy Awareness Month

23 10 2009

“None of us really knows how to live in this era of media convergence, collective intelligence, and participatory culture. . . we should not assume that someone possesses media literacy if they can consume but not express themselves.”

Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture (2006.)

We are living in a time of enlightenment.  In our present time, media is being put into the hands of the people in the most democratic fashion we have seen possibly ever in modern history.  Larry Lessig refers to this as the, “revitalization of the read write culture,” which exists in stark juxtaposition to the “read only culture.”  In the “read write culture” participants are encouraged through a democratic processes to engage, create, and share their world with a global community.  Henry Jenkins expresses these ideals as well.  No wonder then that in this birth of the information age, the most forward thinking leaders of the world are turning to literacy, in both the old and new forms, as the tool of exploration.  We are growing in ways that no one can predict where we are headed.  However, it is clear that the old ways will not suffice and that as world citizens we all have a unique responsibility to get on board this train. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama proclaimed October 2009 as Information Literacy Awareness Month.  Backed by clear research into the most progressive forms of education, Obama is calling on the citizens, the schools, and the business’ of our country to join the growing wave of information.  In his proclamation Obama declares, “Rather than merely possessing data, we must also learn the skills necessary to acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation.” This is the “read write culture” of today.  No doubt that other enlightened Americans would also agree.  Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Richard Price, 1789, said,  “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government;… whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”  Jefferson also stated, “An informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will.”  We hold these truths to be more applicable to in our world today than ever before.  Today alone there was over 9,000 hours of YouTube material uploaded, according to figures run by Michael Wesh.  Hence, information is growing massively all the time, and as our access to this information likewise expands, we must engage in this process as responsible citizens living in a democratic time.

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“And say, finally, whether peace is best preserved by giving energy to the government or information to the people. This last is the most certain and the most legitimate engine of government. Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them. And it requires no very high degree of education to convince them of this. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787.

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Give the kid your cellphone number!

22 10 2009

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Most people would consider giving students your cell phone number an easy open door for students to enter and mess with your private life.  Why would any teacher in their right mind encourage phone calls from their students?  Isn’t it a little idealist to think that teenagers won’t abuse your privacy?

These questions certainly raise a lot of fear for many.  Those unfamiliar with the practice of increased connectivity see their lives as over whelmed already.  No wonder then that those teachers complain about their contract hours for work and pay, feel no obligation to reach students outside of the normal contract hours.  One teacher recently said, “that’s nice to give up your family and home time to your students, but what’s next, charging for contact time outside of the normal office hours like lawyers do?”

These same fears are what limit the capacity of education to move at the speed of 21st Century professionals in the free market.  Most teachers in fact don’t feel connected what so ever to the free market and this may truthfully be the key.  Teachers are very concerned these days about test scores and a Darwinian way of educating.  This could be seen as market driven but the reality is that this lessens motivation, engagement, and relationships.  In order for education to move into a new paradigm and in order to prepare our students for the work place demand of jobs yet to be created, teachers themselves need to think like those who work in the market.

In the 1990’s increased productivity brought the stock market to new highs.  Whatever, whenever, wherever technologies allowed huge growth to translate into huge profits.  Multitasking and collaborative efforts lead to more transmission of content knowledge and on wider spread platforms.  Increased connectivity leads to better students, with deeper knowledge, and problem solvers ready at all times for any challenge.  President Obama even announced that teaching contact days should be increased and a move to year round schools would benefit students’ nation wide.  This is increased connectivity.  Teachers must learn from this.

Plans to spur learning are already under way.  Across the nation pioneers still exist.  Many of these pioneers are being armed with the latest tools of human gadgetry are displaying these ideas not in the boardroom but in the classroom.  These teachers are realizing the potential of increased literacy based around a new ideal of literacy where media is seen as a guide to open up the ears, eyes, and souls of students.  The written word is considered as valuable as ever.  More important than test scores, students and teachers are working together to build relationships with a shared vision and understanding.  Compassion and open communication are allowing for a new understanding of a Global community based around democracy and user filtered content.  For those teachers willing to think like a businessman, there is a whole world of wealth and knowledge being explored.  When teachers allow students to call them or instant message them about a homework problem, contact time increases, student productivity is ensured, and relationships are fastened.





Scratch…much more than two turntables and a microphone…

19 10 2009

Mike Wiseangst posted this video and comments regarding Scratch and Logo.  The possibilities of Scratch will lead teachers and students to create better, more captivating ideas while learning root problem solving skills.  No longer is scratching something for DJs to do with vinyl records.  Students are already Scratching animations, presentations, prototypes, and games.  Check it out…

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http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/03/scratch-lowers/

http://scratch.mit.edu/





Can’t make them passive, can only make them pirates.

16 10 2009

“-they’ve been there before — but they aren’t going to stop creating.”

-Henery Jenkins

“Corporations have a right to keep copyright but they have an interest in releasing it.”

-Henry Jenkins

Convergence culture has no better friend than George Lucas.  Think the relationship of convergence media was good only for pop culture.  Fair use and collaborators are continuing to sell the Lucas trademark Star Wars films in ways that Lucas nor his high paid Hollywood allies ever dreamed.  In return, the fans have gained a generation worth of myths and tales (Jenkins, 2006).  This is a culture where everyone wins.  New and emerging artist take their stab at telling their own tales using the Lucas fantasy.  These new editors and filmmakers, armed with tools like Youtube and today’s wide range of cameras and editing software, now participate with an audience, engaged and interactive.  These are today’s storytellers communicating in creative voice to spread previous fantasies and myths of heroes and villains.  These new films push the original ideas into a new realm of interaction and engagement.  Communities of filmmakers learn from watching each other and furthering their own skills.

DJ’s have understood this since the 70’s when they started sampling beats, scratching records, and using vocals tracks to create what is hip-hop.  The original mash up culture may in fact be hip-hop.  The very nature of the DJ, MC, Break Dancers and graffiti artwork all feed off each other in a participatory fashion.  These elements started in the underground and drove quickly to the top.  Bringing with it, hip-hop inspired millions world wide, gave a voice to people of all types, and made billions of dollars in music sales, concerts, fashion, and film.   Even though people thought hip-hop would be a quick fad, it is here to stay 30 years later.  Suppose we criminalize hip-hop.   Would it go quietly back underground?

If societies are to progress, freedom has to be guarded.  The mind develops a memory of the tales of our time.  Once the tales begin to guide us, they cannot leave the psyche.  In the same way, though copyright exists to protect investment and self-preservation, it should not exist to limit the tales we tell or the way in which we tell them.  Nor will it ever be able to stop the new media entrepreneurs from building on solid foundations.  Collaborators will not be prohibited.   Literacy is advancing.  The forms in which our stories exist are being reinvented everyday.  There are no new stories, only new ways of telling them.  The people are speaking and speaking to audiences like never before.  The evolution of democracy is happening.  Billy Joel put it best, “We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning, since the world’s been turning.”

Reference:

Jenkins, Henry.  2006.  Convergence Culture.  New York.  New York University Press.





Ron Smith:Hollywood Academy Q and A

15 10 2009

Below are some good questions to guide you through the watching of this interview.  Please note that these are not the interview questions but a film study guide to go along with the watching of the film.  This could be helpful to encourage teachers who are curious about Web 2.0 and pedagogical perspectives.

Q #1:  What is the focus for Hollywood Academy?

Q #2:  What grabs kids the most?

Q #3:  What works to get kids engaged?

Q #4: ” My class is a _____ for experiment.”

Q #5 :  Name three unique ways of expression that Ron uses:

Q #6:  “Teachers think that they’ve crossed  ____________________ if they can make a PowerPoint.”

Q #7:  Does Ron agree with this statement above?  Why?  Why not?

Q #8:  Explain Ron’s model of front loading:

Q #9:  Scratch is designed for building _________________.

Q #10:  SketchUp by Google is cool for ___________ and with this project you could make a ______________ .

Q #11:  Describe the assignment Ron did with SketchUp in New Orleans 9th Ward:

Q #12:  In what way does Ron put learning and problem solving into the hands of his students?

Q #13:  “A lot of curriculum design and instructional material is going ____________ to service students in different education places in their career.”

Answers:

A #1:   Have kids graduate read for college and to go directly into the industry.

A #2:   Flash Animation, creativity, expression

A #3:   Integrated technology…

A #4:  (LAB)

A #5:  SMS-text, Podcasts, Flash, Etc.

A #6:  (Rubicon)

A #7:  No, because teaching is more about front loading not simply going as you go along the way.

A #8:  (prepare the lesson early based on prep involvement so that later all I have to do is facilitate)

A #9:  (games)

A #10:  3D objects, movie

A #11:  (rebuilt a city block in 3d)

A #12:  He makes up a dream situation and then he suggests that they figure it out.

A #13: Online





Katie Bridging the Tech Divide; Engage Me!

11 10 2009

The following come to you from Katie Krueger-Hirt, Masters student at Full Sail University.  This brings out an interesting question of who is leading the way in this new media driven culture.  See my comments below:

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Janette: One Mother’s Laments in a Universal Struggle

11 10 2009

The following is a discussion worthy of sharing with you.  The article below is written by a fella peer of mine at Full Sail University.

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