Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Build a blog workshop pecha kucha

Ok, here it is, my 7 minute pecha kucha about the Build a blog curriculum I am creating for EDC 534's final project.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The copyright conundrum

picture of a dog wearing a cone over it's head to keep it from licking itself
"the cone of shame" (2012) courtesy Flickr user torbackhopper.

For as long as I can remember,  copyright has been coupled with the word “protection” — for the author. The author needs to be protected against unsavory people who want to steal their work. Audferheide explains how our romantic view of authorship as a creative act by a single person making something out of nothing is leveraged by corporations and believed by communities of practice to lead us to a place of discomfort and self-censorship with building upon the creative works of others.

Hobbs turns our accepted idea of copyright protection inside out by explaining how copyright is really to promote the spread of ideas and culture, to protect and encourage authors who want to transform existing works of authors to express or develop a new idea or comment on the original work(s).

I see this happening with students and research projects. So often they go into the project thinking they have to create something new, and we don't talk enough about how we use the work of others in all of our thinking: very little that we create is new.  They look at the citations as a legalistic thing to not “plagiarize.” I know that copyright and citation are two different things, but the remix culture has a place in student research projects: the goal is to understand what other people thought about a topic and create some new thought of your own out of it.

I wonder what kinds of research projects students would create, and what kinds of lessons teachers would create we if we were to shed this crippling idea. Students should be required to create  a remix work that builds upon the work of others to develop their understanding of their fair use rights.

It makes me sad that many communities of practice have censored themselves and developed guilt and shame about their creativity. Our copyright conundrum is a consequence of neoliberalism: we have reified individual responsibilities and rights and sublimated responsibilities of institutions and groups so thoroughly that we have a hard time acccepting the value of collaborative creation and building upon the work of others. It is tempting to lay the blame for this loss on media companies who threaten and manipulate the public not to use their properties in legal ways.

However I think a good deal of the responsibility lies with educators who shy away, hide, deflect, and avoid. That would be me.

Works cited

Aufderheide, P. (2012). "Creativity Copyright and Authorship." In D. Gerstner & C. Chirs (Eds). Media authorship. New York: Routledge.

Ferguson, K. (2015). Everything is a Remix: The Force Awakens. YouTube.

Hobbs, R. (2011) Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning. Thousand Oaks: Corwin/Sage. OR Media Education Lab (2008).

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Reflection on LEAP 3: Monkey Jungle podcast

Image courtesy Flickr user bgblogging. CC BY-NC 2.0 license

I very much wanted to tell the story of my cancer. For years I wasn’t ready, and now the temporal distance makes me courageous. I’ve put years of thinking into me and cancer and hope someone might get something out of this reflection.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I would put together and ran through different versions: “The Force,” which just jammed two stories together, “The Heartstrings,” which felt like a violation of another person’s privacy, and then, finally, “Monkey Jungle.” The time limit helped me find the kernel of the story. I cut a lot of important content, making me realize that I can make ten digital stories out of this topic.

Lange guided me while I was composing. I anticipated reactions people might have to my work, and the reality that they won’t have any context to my story. And that even if they did, their opinions probably wouldn’t change. They might hate me and what I say for a bunch of reasons: my privilege at having a husband and a supportive family helps me feed the monkeys, I’m no kind of mother, I am frivolous, I am lucky because I didn’t die, what am I complaining about, etc.

When I first published the story I was like “Yeah! This is awesome!!” After I published it I eagerly listened to the other stories from the class. Then came big regrets. Had I revealed too much? Did I get too personal? Did I misjudge? What would my family think? I don’t think I would ever give this story to my family. They wouldn’t know what to do with it.

I can’t control what others think. The only thing I can control is my message, my digital story, and the initial distribution of my story. It’s serious business. If I am reflective, aware, and ethical during the composition process, I am free to create and publish as I please. That is an amazing gift.

My stories are different from younger people. Of course I want my students to discover and use this gift to develop their own voices and stories. But, I’m not as exposed as my students are: I don’t exist at the mercy of parents and college admissions committees, friends, other teens in the community. I feel like my students have a lot more to lose when publishing personal digital stories than I do, and they lack the advantage of perspective when deciding what to compose. I need to think about this when developing my blogging course for high school students.

Creating this digital story developed my confidence in my voice. This week I published my quarterly library newsletter to my school community, which I write in a somewhat dry, professional tone. I wasn’t aware I was doing anything differently until one of my colleagues said, “I really enjoyed how you put your humor into your newsletter. It kept me reading to the end. It wasn’t over the top, and if someone didn’t know you, they might not even notice it--but I did!”

Work cited

Lange, P. (2014). Representational Ideologies. (Chapter 6). Kids on YouTube: Technical identities and digital literaces (pp. 157 – 188). Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Infographic: Introducing representational ideologies



Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Thinking about digital literacy with Hobbs and Buckingham

Hobbs and Buckingham both agree that digital writing plays an important part in digital literacy. Buckingham believes critical thinking is the most important element of digital literacy, and that critical thinking occurs when students create and analyze media. Hobbs develops Buckingham’s thinking of what constitutes digital literacy by introducing the AACRA model. Like Buckingham, Hobbs includes 1) access, 2) analyze & evaluate, and 3) create. However, she widens the circle by including 4) reflect and 5) act. 

While Buckingham believes that digital writing is necessary for developing digital literacy, and hints at the fact that practice and theory are becoming more closely related, eleven years later, Hobbs develops this further by claiming that digital writing is the catalyst for further reflection and, ultimately, interaction with and influence on the “outside world.” It’s not just a tool for learning, it’s a tool for acting and affecting change in the world.

Over the past year the term “fake news” has taken hold. Media literacy gives us the ideas to understand this issue beyond the simplistic true/false equation for which many people long. 
One important concept of media literacy is “to understand ‘how political, economic, and social context shapes all texts, how all texts can be adapted for different social purposes, and how no text is neutral or necessarily of ‘higher quality’ than another.’ (Fabos, 2004, p. 95).” (Buckingham, 2006, 267). 

Buckingham offers a framework with a list of guiding questions to help us do this. They are grouped under the headings “Representation, Language, Production, and Audience.” (269) Hobbs takes a more active approach and believes that we develop our critical analysis abilties by creating media and making decisions about our audience and how we want them to experience--and ultimately, act upon--our work.

Works cited

Buckingham, D. (2006). Defining digital literacy: What do young people need to know about digital media? Digital Kompetanse, 1, 263-276.
Hobbs, R. (2017). Create to learn: Introduction to digital literacy. Hoboken: Wiley Blackwell. (2014, May 11). generation [Photograph]. Retrieved from Flickr.