Digital Literacies

Researching New Literacies, Learning and Everyday Life

Archive for June, 2007

My little podcast thing

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I have just done my first podcast. I wanted to check that it was easy to do … and it IS!! (I mention this new course in the recording.)

All I needed was to go the website, register and that was it. I recorded straight onto my powerbook and it just did it – no outside microphone or owt. Just stared at the screen and spoke.

So that’s that decided. I am going to do so many of these things that you will be sick of hearing my voice. ( I would like to have a different accent.)

Things to say about it … I don’t sound like me. I repeat myself. I talk rubbish. And at the end I say ‘Grrreat’ instead of ‘great’.

I think in fact that I need to script these things or at least make notes of what to include.

So yes, it is a learning experience. techNOLOGY = easy. TechNEEK – bad.

Makes me realise exactly how clever these young journalists are.

And in the meantime poor old Sheffield is still suffering. TT told me outallnight had some great shots of the effects of the flood as opposed to the floods itself ….

here is part of the busiest motorway in the UK – closed due to floods higher up ….

The Flood! Motorway closed - very eerie

The Flood! M1 closed...once in a lifetime!

Well done to outallnight whose full set of flood photos are here.

Written by DrJoolz

June 28th, 2007 at 4:34 pm

Cult of the amateur

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That’s one way to put it… this is the way journalist Andrew keen refers to citizen journalists, bloggers and generally users of the so-called web 2.0.

He has written a book Cult of the amateur about which he was interviewed yesterday on Radio 4 where he referred to, amongst other things:

“Useless and corrupt user generated content”
“Self promotion – narcissism”
“Bloggery …. an enormous threat”

Further he said:

“Kids are going on the internet and are believing everything they read we are creating an increasingly media illiterate culture … in order to understand the internet you need to be literate before you get to the screen….”

This does not seem to be the case at all in research carried out by a whle range of people who are finding that kids cross reference, read critically (if not sceptically) and that the fact of taking part in all of this confirms that the web is written by ‘ordinary people’ like themselves.

Keen’s diatribe betrayed that underlying his fears were the loss of his lievlihood as a journalist … and if this interview is evidence of the quality then he SHOULD be worried. He obviously think the printed word has more credibility on paper and that wikipedia isa sham n comparison to Britannica… well how many times do people get a chance to draft and re-draft issues of Britannica, I wonder? (I have sung in praise of wikis before.)

This all reminds me of the insidious Toxic Childhood crap we have had to bear over the last several months. This nonsense is so pervasive and makes me really angry. Satatistics like ‘1 in 6 children’ have ‘developmental or behavioural disorders’ is sheer stupidity. (When they read books like this, why do people forget all they know about kids, their curiosity, their questionning, their non-sponge like brains? Why do they forget they were once kids? Why do they think their generation is not toxic?? )

Need a drink to calm me down…..

Cheers

(Gratuitous photo and gratuitous drink. Need to Re-tox.)

More social networking in the news as we discover there is a class divide in the software people use — e,g facebook or myspace. with facebook being for the toffs and myspace for the plebs.Hmm, I have both .. as well as Bebo! My observations are that it seems to be more an age divide, (Bebo first; then MySpace; then Facebook..) but then I have not done research on this. (Like Andrew Keen, we can all make stuff up.)

Anyway, going back to Andrew Keen’s book title, calling something a cult, is somewhat dismissive. I prefer creative commons of citizen participation. Hear the smug interview here…. you have to have Realplayer and slide the bar to the last five minutes of the prgramme to go straight to the interview here.

Written by DrJoolz

June 25th, 2007 at 6:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Development…

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I had some today . It was staff development here. It began with a thing from the new ‘Environment Group’. It was quite funny as it was all about saving the planet and global warming. I discovered that we must not drink from polystyrene cups; china mugs are the best and re-using is apparently MUCH better than re-cycling. (You see, I was listening.)

Choices

But all the while there was a storm outside and it did not seem the globe had warmed at all. We have had floods all day. And the development is that people had to be rescued from their ROOF TOPS in Sheffield (where we were and I still am.) I think it may be a classified environmental disaster. Oh no.

People have been quoting records of how many years ago it was so bad as this (125) and how many inches of rain we’ve had – (I can’t remember)- and that it is equivalent to two months worth of rain in one day.
Statistics statistics.
Blah de blah blah.

In the meantime…. I did a little spot with Tim about blogging and stuff. It was quite fun and maybe a few people were interested. You never know. Bloggers are like smokers .. always looking for new recruits. (Maybe smokers can start blogging as a new hobby on July 1st…)

There is a conference on feminism and popular culture I would like to go to but have only just discovered… I found out about it by a gigantic surf around the TinterWeb on the trail of this image here…

Can you see how I found out about the conference, starting with this picture? (Clue below the picture…)

Another DEVELOPMENT was that Verity asked me about working on a bid to develop second life teaching ideas… cool or what?

And finally Jackie M has a blog. Hooray.

OK so the image was done by Tild but I found it here first. Then here.

Written by DrJoolz

June 25th, 2007 at 2:25 pm

Girls – nattering on the net

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Want One?

Wow Thursday already. Time for an update. How about a trip to a website to see other people with the same name as you?
Go here.

Funny way to network… you can link up with others who share your name . It’s quite fun to see what’s there.

Maybe you are more interested in finding out that if you are in Britain now and reading this (which you are) you are more likely to be a woman between the ages of 18 and 34 than any other type of person… see here.

I am amazed by this:

They now account for 38% of game players. Women over 18 represent a significantly greater portion of game players compared to boys under 17.

This sounds whizzy and all counter intuitive, but then there ia also this list here:

  • iVillage Parenting Network
  • Huggies
  • The Full Experience Company
  • BBC Parenting
  • Galaxy Radio
  • hairboutique.com
  • Foxtons
  • La Senza
  • FCUK
  • Pregnancy-info.net

which provides details of where most women are going online. Not so funky, huh?

The original report is here.

For those who are just getting into social networking online, you could do worse than start on Club Penguin … and to entice you …

Dress up your penguin, decorate your igloo, be the first to discover new areas and lots more, when you become a member!

But what is NOT mentioned here is the introduction to capitalist practices through networking – the poor little penguins have to work to earn money in order to do anything much on the site – by making pizzas…

Written by DrJoolz

June 21st, 2007 at 7:16 am

new technologies

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My New Apple does not seem to work as well as some of the others.

Connection

(I have been silly again. See full set here.)

Written by DrJoolz

June 17th, 2007 at 8:29 am

Hometown Baghdad

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So this is a series filmed by three Iraqi twenty somethings in Baghdad. The films have been edited and produced by a US based company – targetting their films at a young US based audience. Distributed on the Internet it is a part of the new generation of citizenship type journalism that is now really proliferating as more and more people are gaining access to technology. Here is one of the men opening his new camera.

The Iraquis all speak English with an American accent. I assume they were selected out of the many who applied to be involved in the films, partly because of their excellent English and partly for their accents – which no doubt would give them a ‘just like us’ appeal for the target US audience. But at times the American accent seems ironic in the face of the sometimes anti-American comments the participants make.

Suffice to say, that not many Iraquis are really gonna be able to watch this stuff since few have computers, fewer have the Internet, and less still have Broadband, – and even then it takes hours to watch a two minute snippet (apparently.)

Distributed across more than one site, the primary home for these short episodes seems to be the blog, but each film is hosted by YouTube and it is really interesting to see the comments ther, under each episode. Some of them are unbelievably cynical . Many are very anti Muslim or anti Iraq comments. Many are empathetic to the Iraqui situation.

I was interested in how a comment on one of the films a comment refers to how YouTube keeps re-setting the number of comments:

timsmedia (2 hours ago)
the view count and comments on this vid have been reset AGAIN!!!!! obviously youtube are under orders not to let this video get too popular as its a nuisance to the American military-industrial complex.

At the time of copying this comment and writing this post there were only 23 comments and just over a thousand views. The last time I looked (last week) there had indeed been over two hundred comments and over 4,000 views.

The 36th out of the 38 films shows the dentist Saif’s fiancee leaving Baghdad. Despite being a qualified dentist, he has not been given his cerrtificate in order to prevent him leaving. He considers giving up his career to save his sanity.

Reading between the lines

Written by DrJoolz

June 14th, 2007 at 1:21 pm

Mash ups

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Having moaned in my last post about the number of emails I get, this morning I was unable to open any of my emails due to a “hardware problem” at work.

Incredible.

I had no idea how to start work without it. I was totally incapacitated. All my work was online – hidden away as attachments to emails. Maybe I will never moan again about having so many emails… no don’t think so.

When it did get going, I found I had been sent a link to this wonderful creation on Youtube:

An interesting take on the mash up where classic paintings of women have been digitised and allowed to dissolve one into another. I guess it reflects similarities and differences about women across the ages.

I receive increasing numbers of emails which contain links to YouTube and it is certainly a site which has become a household name. It is embedded into everyday life in a manner which no longer is associated with exotic or advanced ICT practices. Perhaps this is an example of ‘blackboxing’; a term associated with Black Box Theory – which I was introduced to by Mary P and Jennifer Rowsell.

In the meantime, I suppose I need to be more circumspect when I use terms like ‘everyday life’ … whose ‘everyday life’ do I mean? Nesta Futurelab has a report about Digital Divides which they say are increasing. Some people’s everyday lives allow them no access to technology at all.
It is arguably the role of policy makers and education practitioners to to provide opportunities for everyone to access new technologies and use them in ways that are relevant to their lives.

The futurelab is in Bristol, so while we are down there (here?) let me show you some streetart from there:

beauty island

This is from the StokesCroft area and even though this art is on the street, it has a frame around it as if hanging in somebody’s house. Nice juxtaposition here taking style from one space and putting it in another. The work has been created by local people trying to re-claim the area and do it up in the way they want. It is as if they are saying’ this is our home’. It is a kind of streeet art mashup of genres. (It is not just in technology that grass roots level creativity plays with boundaries and moves things around to express new ideas.)

Written by DrJoolz

June 13th, 2007 at 4:59 am

113 emails

with 5 comments

It is all getting a bit unmanageable. I was on a Critical Literacies day all day. Fabulous to hear about all the projects in the group. And I was proud to talk about what Mark had been doing on our project in his school; great to get positive feedback on this.
In the meantime I got 113 emails in my work in box.
I just think it is so unreasonable the amount of stuff that comes piling in; individuals take the responsibility of field their work and no-one every seems aware of how much everyone is getting.
What can be done? Are we getting to a point now where people will start to protest and say it has to stop?

I have to go now in order to start gnawing away at the edges of the stuff again.

Written by DrJoolz

June 11th, 2007 at 1:42 pm

Posted in academic life

Final Conference

with 3 comments

Today, like Guy, I was at the final conference of the Play, Creativity and Digital Cultures seminar series.

It was so great to do all that wonderful networking – so good to see people again and chat on about our work. As usual I went away thinking it would have been better to have a two day event so that I couldghave longer conversations and see more presentations. Sign of a good event.

Kevin Leander had some great data from the classroom – talking about stuff kids are doing that is so much more creative and exciting than what is going on in the official ‘lesson’. While the official ‘curricum is in prgress, kids are multi tasking and dealing in far more sophisticated texts and inmteractivity than is being offered via pedagogy.

There was all sorts of wonderful stuff being reported; it all left me with the feeling that I want to research more closely with young people and their textmaking, focussing a bit more on where the needs are. I want to concentrate a bit less on the digital geniuses and find out what MOST kids are doing and consider where education goes from here to get everyone involved. I want to think about the ways in which educational provision can enhance experiences beyond the classroom and look at what aspects of informal learning practices are appropriate for classroom spaces and to think about how classrooms can broaden, deepen and strengthen what is happening out there in pockets of the wider community.

Written by DrJoolz

June 9th, 2007 at 3:01 pm

Rant

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Guy posted about this website where you can get essays written for you … and the essays are guaranteed to be ‘plagiarism free’.
“Are they ‘aving’ a larf??”

Yes. I think so. The website has lots of videos where a lovely lady explains to you how the site helps you learn by writing ‘model answers’ just for you… It is really spooky and although I am not sure how most students will afford the service, it is just another example of how those with the cash will retain their social status even in the age of democratic social software.

I am all FOR the sharing of expertise and so on; I am into the idea of learning from others and I understand that information these days is easy to access and ubiquitous anyway. Online textmaking has allowed us to collaborate over text making and a feature of this is that content is often multiply authored – making it hard to credit individuals. This sharing is based around ideals of democratic access and process as well as credit where it is due – to the group. It is about time we started thinking about assessing differently. I hate the whole idea of assessment anyway. Why not just teach people to learn and and help them explore ways of enjoying learning? Why do we have to measure everything? Asessment is of course all a social construct anyhow and abstract standards have become ludicrously reified. It’s quite a weird currrency. (You can hear teachers sometimes say things like ’she is a level 4′, for example).

Anyway ….paying an anonymous person to write your assignments and take the credit is something different.

I am shocked by the site but don’t think it is an indication of the evils of the ‘digital age’; it is an indication that we are shoving people off to university when they don’t really want to do the courses. The whole notion of widening participation, while sounding like a great idea, has been far less about choice for 18 year olds, and more about obliging them to take part in something they perhaps don’t want to participate in.

What are the repercussions for universities and the academics who work in them…. are they the moonlighters who are writing the essays for these crappy companies?

groan ups

Written by DrJoolz

June 8th, 2007 at 12:43 pm