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Collaborative Essay Structure

November 11th, 2009 No comments

After sifting through the collaborative essay structures that you sent me, the consensus reveals itself in the below structure. I have summarized your ideas and added some further suggestions for subjects to be discussed in each section. Each section will, I think, require some additional research to make it thorough, but that is a good thing:

Introduction
general consensus that we should build on and revise Anthony’s introduction; here we also need at least a brief introduction/definition of new media

Literature Review
general consensus that this is where we introduce the frame texts (Selber, Kress, Brooke, Jenkins, and I would add Wesch on YouTube in here) to provide an historical perspective on the main questions: What is literacy? The goal of the rest of the paper is going to be to building to an understanding of how new media challenges that understanding.

Case Study #1: Blogging
Discussion of blogging and its literacy practices, including both examples of and—and this is the most important part—how one constructs such spaces. This is the largest of the case studies.

Case Study #2: Microblogging
Discussion of twitter and its literacy practices, including both examples of and—and this is the most important part—how one constructs such spaces (including the 3rd party app community, API, and cellular usages)

Case Study #3: Video and Remix
Discussion of YouTube and remix culture, including both examples of and—and this is the most important part—how one constructs such spaces (including copyright, intellectual property, Creative Commons, and idea of video as a text)

Case Study #4: Video Games
Discussion video games (1 video game would be best) and its literacy practices, including the games as texts but also how users construct such spaces through their interaction

Case Study #5: Information Processing
Here is the real Web 2.0 discussion, where we think about how we understand, organize, structure, and deal with the massive amounts of information out there. Examples to think about using are We Feel Fine, RSS readers, and so on)

Conclusion, or What To Make of This?
This is going to reveal itself after we put together the other sections, but it will also need to include a brief discussion of the kinds of things that are not covered so that readers understand that it is a limited discussion (that the limited space of the article does not allow for a lager discussion).

We’ll discuss this in class tonight and will divvy up the responsibilities for each section.

Basic organization for essay

November 8th, 2009 No comments

Having re-read, again, the collaborative essay I noted that there are portions that appear to be more book review, but by and large most of the text is not (in a good way). The problem that the essay suffers from most is organization – the problem was a result of us each writing about one book.

In the following basic outline, all relevant ideas from all the texts utilized, should be intertwined. For example, in discussion history, all relevant historical discussion should occur in the same section with representational portions from each text.

Here is the way I think this should be organized:

  1. Utilize Anthony’s intro – it was well organized and represented a broad spectrum of what was to come
  2. History of Rhetoric and technology/media literacy – it is essential to know where we came from so that we can understand where we are headed
  3. How media literacy has grown and changed with technology – we need to know where we are going
  4. End with social networking and beyond

Good Info About How Games Can Be Educational Tools

November 5th, 2009 No comments

I suppose a lengthy discussion of new media literacy, such as the one in which we’re engaged in our class would be incomplete without a fuller discussion of the use of videogames as educational tools. Henry Jenkins, who was the primary author of Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture, is a central figure in the field. James Paul Gee, whose video I’ve posted below, also has some excellent ideas on how games are good learning tools, as does Ian Bogost, whose article “Videogames and the Future of Education,” serves as a rousing call to action, urging concerned citizens to think more critically about K-12 education in the United States.

Here’s a link to a very good video with James Paul Gee: http://vimeo.com/4513412. I was unable to embed it.

One of the reasons that commercial games, which are not designed with any pedagogical goal in mind, are so effective at teaching its player how to play them is because of the profit motivation at work for the game developers. Gee explains, in his article, “Good Video Games and Good Learning,” that, ” If no one could learn these games, no one would buy them—and players will not accept easy, dumbed down, or short games. At a deeper level, however, challenge and learning are a large part of what makes good video games motivating and entertaining.” Ahh. I think Dr. Gee is on to something here. Because games are “long, hard, and complex” as Gee asserts, why would young people give a damn about learning to play them? Because game designers have become experts at keeping people engaged in their products. One of the reasons they can do this is by doing a fantastic job of teaching players how to play the game. Unfortunately, the public education system is not competing with anyone else, so they don’t have the incentive to be effective the way videogame designers do.

At the start of the video that I posted earlier, Gee is quick to point out that he isn’t discussing educational games per se- games designed with the purpose of teaching players something academic in nature. Rather, Gee is interested in analyzing the way games teach players the rules of the game, such as in tutorials. For Gee, “educational games” are another thing entirely. Simulations, such as Madden NFL Football, which most of you have already had the misfortune of hearing about from me, fits this mold nicely. As do role-playing games (RPGS, or in the case of massively multiplayer rpg, MMPRPGs), which need to teach the player scores of different functions to successfully navigate the terrain, engage in the battle system, and work through the story. At the heart of both types of games is the question of problem solving: how do I use the affordances of the game mechanics to find a solution to this problem. In the case of Madden, the player must determine whether a run or pass play is most appropriate in a given situation. For a RPG, a player must use the right piece of equipment, the right weapon, or the right spell to defeat an enemy. While some games are more complex than others, Gee points to the problem-solving nature all well designed games as a place we can look to where applied knowledge trumps rote memorization.

A Little Context

October 31st, 2009 No comments

This tern our Writing for Electronic Communities class has been working on a collaborative essay.  We have each analyzed a text that relates to literacy and/or New Media and added about five pages.  Those texts have included; Selber’s Multiliteracies for the digital age, Kress’s Literacy in the new media age, Brooke’s Lingua fracta: Toward a rhetoric of new media, Hayles’s Electronic literature: New horizons for the literary, Jenkins’s Confronting the challenges of participatory culture, Rettberg’s Blogging, Vaidhyanathan’s Copyrights and copywrongs: The rise of intellectual property and how it threatens creativity, Tryon’s Reinventing cinema: Movies in the age of media convergence, Wasik’s And then there’s this: How stories live and die in viral culture, and several articles related to web 2.0. The results have been a little bit of chaotic (which is to be expected with any project such as this) but a very rewarding experience.  We are now prepared to set aside our work and begin a new to create a more cohesive, focused text.

One of the challenges that we must tackle is to decide on the goal of the article.  What is it that we wish to accomplish? What is the purpose of the text? What is it doing? What is it saying? These questions are somewhat complicated because there are several of us working on the project and our interests and ideas for it may be different. We will also need to discuss how that article is broken up, what to include in the literature review, which case sources to explore, what contextual information we need, etc.

This is a collaborative project so we are adding to, changing, and deleting each other’s work.  ThCollaborative essayere is an excellent chance that what you had written initially will not find its way into a later draft.  Such concepts challenge the definition of authorship which has been addressed by several of the texts we have read this semester but most recently in Vaidhyanathan’s Copyrights and Copywrongs; The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity.

It will be interesting seeing how the collaborative essay, Toward an Understanding of New Media Literacy changes and develops.  And it will be equally interesting to see which challenges provide difficulty in the upcoming weeks.