Archive for the 'media' Category

Digital storytelling with iMovie

In the technology course for preservice teachers that I am facilitating this summer, we spent the past week creating digital stories with iMovie. Here is the story I created. I like it. What do you think?


Competing copyright curricula

A recent eSchoolNews article about dueling copyright curricula couldn’t have surfaced at a more opportune time, seeing as how I literally just days before had utilized some materials from one of the curriculums in question.

On the one hand, the Copyright Alliance Education Foundation (CAEF) recently published Think First, Copy Later, seen by some as slanted toward the interests of copyright owners.

On the other hand, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), unveiled Teaching Copyright. The EFF is characterized as an advocacy group that serves the interests of users and consumers of digital media.

Admittedly, I was not aware of the CAEF curriculum when I recently selected and distributed some of the EFF’s support documents to a group of pre-service teachers at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. But I am inspired by the prospect of having access to and using “dueling curricula,” if and when I teach about copyright again in the future.

What an opportunity for teachers to exercise professional discernment! What an opportunity for students to see copyright law presented from two different perspectives — owner versus user, industry versus consumer! What an opportunity to engage higher-order thinking and some good, old media literacy skills, such as evaluating audience, authorship, message, and meaning!

Teachers need these resources now more than ever. It was not too long ago that teacher training on the vagaries of fair use doctrine were conducted in the faculty workroom, usually between classes, as we waited in line at the photocopier. We traded in stories, myths, and half-truths and competed for bragging rights to the title of “Greatest Copyright Infringer.” We made half-joking references to a sinister, Gestapo-like “Copyright Police” waiting in the wings. (I know. I was one of those teachers.)

The surge of web-based information and communication technologies makes it easier than ever to facilitate content creation and sharing in our classrooms, but we must first be equipped to engage students in conversation about content creation that is safe, ethical, and legal.

The alternative is to do nothing for fear of violating the law. This phenomenon was documented by Hobbs, Jaszi, and Aufderheide in their 2007 report for the Center for Social Media, The Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy. In 2008 the Center published the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education, which states that fear and confusion about copyright:

detracts from the quality of teaching. Lack of clarity reduces learning and limits the ability to use digital tools. Some educators close their classroom doors and hide what they fear is infringement; others hyper-comply with imagined rules that are far stricter than the law requires, limiting the effectiveness of their teaching and their students’ learning.

Check out the accompanying video:

“Media convergence,” succinctly put

A rare treat — home alone, folding laundry, drinking coffee, and watching CBS Sunday Morning.

Even better, media critic Jeff Greenfield’s segment, in which he attempts to capture the meaning of “media convergence” in under four minutes. It’s an intriguing exercise, especially within the context of the venerated Sunday Morning, a rather conventionally formatted news program that just marked its 30th anniversary on the air.

As we are all too well aware, a lot has changed in media in these last 30 years. What makes Greenfield’s commentary worthwhile are his parting words about “fundamental” values. Do these values endure despite the sweeping changes brought on by digitization, as Greenfield asserts?

It’s a great discussion starter.

Another fun exercise: how does Greenfield’s definition of “convergence” contrast with the definition put forth by media scholar Henry Jenkins? In his 2006 book, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, Jenkins argues that convergence has less to do with devices and technological advances and more to do with cultural practices and heightened levels of participation and interactivity.

What do you think?

What is your favorite online “affinity space”?

Cross-posted at the Classroom 2.0 forum.

An affinity space is any place (virtual or physical) that ties people together based on a mutually shared interest or endeavor.

For me, it would have to be the “mommy” blogs that I read daily. I’ve got about four where I lurk and occasionally comment. I am really inspired by the way these women merge their varying interests in politics, civics, and, of course, technology, with the everyday challenge of parenting. I am even thinking of starting my own mommy blog as the birth of my second child is quickly approaching in mid- to late-June. It’s time to start adding my voice to the conversation, and the lazy days of summer seem like a good time to undertake this project!

What is your favorite online affinity space?

My question is inspired by a book I recently finished reading, New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Classroom Learning by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel. It was assigned reading for a spring semester seminar on multiliteracies, and it has given me a lot to think about.

The authors’ basic purpose is to shed light on the concept of “new literacies,” and to invite educators into conversation about “how the new might best be brought into a fruitful relationship with the already established.”

The last chapter is a recommendation or challenge of sorts to readers. Lankshear and Knobel think the first step toward merging conventional schooling and the world of new literacies (remix, blogs, podcasts, social networks, mobile technologies, and so on) is for educators to actively pursue firsthand experience with the social practices of digital “affinity spaces,” a term borrowed from James Paul Gee.

I am posing this question to the Classroom 2.0 community as well. Classroom 2.0, an international social network of educators interested in collaborative technologies, certainly is an example of an affinity space. But I was wondering about other virtual “hang outs” enjoyed by CR 2.0 members, places perhaps that are not defined by professional interests and obligations but more by hobbies, passions, or guilty pleasures.

And, if you are an occasional or even accidental reader of this blog, the question probably applies to you, too!

So, reader, where do you participate on the Web when you are not consumed with work, school, business, or other obligations? And do your interactions and exchanges within digital affinity spaces intersect with and inform your views and vision for education?

For more reflections on the challenges and opportunities presented by multiliteracies, read my other posts on New Literacies, mindsets, and mashups.  More to come!

Happy Blog Day 2007!


From the BlogDay web site:

BlogDay was created with the belief that bloggers should have one day dedicated to getting to know other bloggers from other countries and areas of interest. On that day Bloggers will recommend other blogs to their blog visitors. With the goal in mind, on this day every blogger will post a recommendation of 5 new blogs. This way, all blog readers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, previously unknown blogs.

So, here are five interesting blogs:

  1. Mr. Harrington is an IT coordinator in Wales and the author of Ddraig Goch Blog. I have been reading his posts for a few weeks now, and in that short time he’s pointed me to some excellent web-based tools and resources. His blog reflects playful exuberance. You gotta love someone whose user name on is “podfather”!
  2. I recently stumbled upon Melanie McBride Online while poking around Technorati. Melanie is a Toronto-based writer, producer, and educator. Her thoughtful and well-constructed post titled “Wired students, wired appoaches” caught my eye, as did this 2002 review of a Marshall McLuhan biography, which is also linked to on her site. Her passion for interactive social media shines through. It’s good to learn how folks in other cultures and communities are pioneering the tools of the read/write web.
  3. News from the Church Down the Street is a collection of memories, musings, reflections, and reviews by my good friend Audrey, who also happens to be a minister. I highlight her blog not to proselytize — I just want to highlight that young people entering ministry are networking and supporting each other through blogs in the same manner as the education community. It’s truly wonderful.
  4. Sivacracy is one of the first blogs I started reading regularly, mainly because its author, Siva Vaidhyanathan, is an old college buddy of my husband’s. Following his undergrad years at the University of Texas-Austin, Siva went on to earn a reputation as a leading media historian and authority on intellectual property law in the digital age. In his books Copyrights and Copywrongs and The Anarchist in the Library, he explores the technology-fueled tension between grassroots creative production and the big-time digital gatekeepers. His blog is an excellent resource for keeping up with these issues; it also includes a lot of left-leaning political posts and humorous tidbits. If you are interested in popular culture, technology, creative license, and bashing the Bush administration, check out Sivacracy.
  5. I found Michael Zimmer’s blog via Sivacracy and started subscribing to it because of his decidedly cynical stance regarding all things Google. The tag cloud on Zimmer’s home page says it all!

That’s what I think. . . happy reading!

technorati tags:

Musicians as self-publishers

A very cool article appeared this weekend in the New York Times Magazine. If it wasn’t for the title, “Sex, Drugs, and Updating your Blog,” I’d post it as a resource on Publish Me! But, well, . . . anyway it’s a terrific account of what can happen when artists (in this case, musicians) adapt the self-publishing potential of the web as the basis for managing their flowering careers. Singers, songwriters, and music groups are using the web to build collaborative, symbiotic relationships with their fans. Some are planning concert tours, releasing entire albums of music, and earning a viable income from their music — all without the backing of a major record label.

A teacher could share even just a portion of this article with students as a source of inspiration. Yet, the stories of these musicians also provide a basis for asking some critical questions. The article is by no means a glorification of social networking tools; the author does a good job of discussing the trade-offs involved in self-managing one’s career on the web. How do these artists adjust their personal and professional lives when Internet relationships devolve from intimate to intrusive?

I’m still thinking about the last paragraph, the sentence about “correct emotional tools.” There are some implications here for teachers, and not just teachers who work with emerging musicians. This is the challenge: how do we sensitize young people to appropriate use of social networking so they too can experience a “fresh route to creative success,” whatever their creative outlet might be?


Think on this:

"What if we just ignored the status of students in other countries? That wouldn’t be especially neighborly, but at least we wouldn’t be viewing the gains of children in other lands as a troubling development."

Alfie Kohn

"When I hear people say it's our job to create the 21st century workforce, it scares the hell out of me. Our job is to create 21st-century citizens. We need workers, yes, but we also need scholars, activists, parents -- compassionate, engaged people."

Chris Lehmann

Train of thought:

These are the communities where I network and cross-post. Come by for a visit!
Classroom 2.0
School Matters (East TN, USA)
Media Literacy