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Posts Tagged ‘digital media’

A bibliophile nears a compromise with technology

November 26th, 2009 No comments

I have books all over my house – some are in large designated bookcases, some are tucked away in inconspicuous places out of sight. I have collectible books that are first printings of first editions (well defined in a paper written for another class – not all books that say first edition on the inside are true first editions). Most are books I have read and loved, some are books that I found interesting and plan to read. This scenario probably fits the description of many households of other bibliophiles.

This morning I clicked on a link in a tweet by Debbie Ridpath Ohi that took me to an enlightening article about ebook readers on Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020:

Joe Wikert's Publishing 2020

The article contains a fairly detailed discussion about ebook readers, starting with the Kindle. I took a trip on a link provided in the article to see the Barnes & Noble version of their ebook reader, the Nook.

Barnes & Noble Nook

I read a comparison of the features of the Nook vs. the Kindle on Barnes & Noble’s site that showed the features – of course in the Barnes & Noble comparison, Nook came out on top. However, the comparison does show indisputable proof that the Nook is a probably a better product than the Kindle.

So all of this set me to thinking, should I get rid of my books and get and use an ebook reading device? Well, yes and no. It’s easier to address the yes answer first: it would free up a massive amount of space in my house and lighten the load of overburdened bookcases. Also, carrying an ebook reader would allow me to have the availability of a book to read at any time of day, anywhere, without carrying a book that may be less portable. Now to the no answer: would I get rid of all my books? No. There will always be a place in my home for well loved books that I have read multiple times, as well as the collectible books that I would never part with. Another issue is cost. What if you download a book that you discover you don’t like? The money you’ve spent on the download is wasted money in this scenario. I wondered, does the yes outweigh the no? After all, you can borrow a book from the library or look at a book at Barnes & Noble and confidently decide if a book is worth reading before making a purchase of the ebook. Another discovery: the Barnes & Noble site gives links to download the ereader to an iphone, blackberry, or to your computer. More to think about …

So, I feel I am nearing a compromise. Perhaps it would be worth considering an ebook reader instead of maintaining my massive book collection. Still, it is hard for a person like me to let go of the feel of a book in my hands. This is a subject that clearly requires more research…

A look at Participatory Culture

November 6th, 2009 No comments

With advances in the internet and the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, individuals can better utilize digital recourses.   The features of this evolution according to Tim O’Reilly include; “Services… with cost-effective scalability, control over unique, hard-to-recreate data sources that get richer as more people use them, trusting users as co-developers, harnessing collective intelligence, leveraging the long tail through customer self-service, software above the level of a single device, and lightweight user interfaces, development models, and business models.” Users of Web 2.0 have greater ability to interact with content.  Thus, they have moved from a consumer driven culture to a participatory one where users actually produce content and inform others.

A participatory culture according to Henry Jenkins and the other contributors of Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture is “a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices… [a culture] in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection” (p. 3).  In this text Jenkins, provides an in depth look at how technology is impacting our culture. I was particularly interested in the idea that individuals that have moved from consumers of information to producers of information may have done so primarily because of popular culture and to some degree societal pressures not as much because of their education.

Jill Walker Rettberg also pointed to these changes in Blogging; Digital Media and Society Series. From the title of the text we can guess that Rettberg is talking mostly about blogs and their functions as a means of self exploration, citizen journalism, creating a dialog between the author of the post and those who wish to comment, etc.  However, these same ideas are relevant to other aspects of digital literacy.

Such is the case with Jenkins discussion of video games and their possibility to communicate valuable information to players. Jenkins states that “contemporary video games allow youth to play with sophisticated simulations and, in the process, to develop an intuitive understanding of how we might use simulations to test our assumptions about the way the world works” (p. 23).  Jenkins continues on to highlight a conversation between a boy and his father that shows that the game provided valuable historical and political information.  We can see this sort of participation in an ever growing number of spaces including but certainly not limited to music such as with youtube and sampling as is described in Copyrights and Copywrongs; The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity by Siva Vaidhyanathan.

This is not a flower

October 20th, 2009 No comments

So the discussion about “This Is Not a Pipe” was intriguing, so much so that I thought about all the objects in images that are not what they appear to be. Here is a my take on the issue

When is a bunch of flowers, not flowers

When is a bunch of flowers, not a bunch of flowers?

... when it is a tissue box. Then, when is a tissue box not a tissue box?

... when it is a tissue box. Then, when is a tissue box not a tissue box?

... when it is jsut one item on a cluttered desk

... when it is just one item on a cluttered desk

... all inside a building

... all inside a building

Nothing is as it appears, it is really just a series of pictures

Video regarding information literacy

October 17th, 2009 No comments

This is a very interesting YouTube video regarding information literacy called e-literate produced by the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies hosted on YouTube by Howard University for their freshman seminar. The video inclues some historical perspective and works its way all the way to present with information overload through the information we can access. It’s a very long one (almost 9 minutes) so be sure you have the time to view it. It is definitely worth a look

Categories: literacy, YouTube Tags: ,

Some thoughts on Web 2.0

September 27th, 2009 2 comments

With the technology and design of Web 2.0 users can actively participate and produce content instead of just passively viewing content to create a more effective means to share information.  Such interactions have changed the way we think of our online space and perhaps media in general both new and old.  In his article “What is Web 2.0?Tim O’Reilly founder of O’Reilly Media attempts to provide us with a working definition of the term itself.  He states in an earlier article “Not 2.0?” that some believe that the term Web 2.0 is simply a “marketing hype — bumper sticker is a better way to say it” and in some ways it is.  It is a buzzword like most memes, but it does point the viewer in the right direction.  To gain a better understanding of this somewhat misleading term O’Reilly provides us with some examples of the themes that have changed with the evolution of the web from 1.0 to 2.0 DoubleClick, Ofoto, Akama, mp3.com, Britannica Online, personal websites, evite, domain name speculation, page views, screen scraping, publishing, content management systems, directories (taxonomy), and stickiness being Web 1.0.  (Some of these appear to have changed to embrace newer technologies this article was posted September 2005 which shows the increased effectiveness of Web 2.0) Google AdSense, Flickr IBitTorrent, Napster, Wikipedia, blogging, upcoming.org and EVDB, search engine optimization, cost per click, web services, participation, wikis, tagging (“folksonomy”), and syndication being Web 2.0.  O’Reilly explains that “Web 2.0 is the era when people have come to realize that it’s not the software that enables the web that matters so much as the services that are delivered over the web.”

Websites like Universe and We Feel Fine provide a whole new dialogue between users. We Feel Fine, by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, records when users type how they are feeling into their blogs to create a sort of map of human emotion.  We Feel Fine describes itself as “an artwork authored by everyone. It will grow and change as we grow and change, reflecting what’s on our blogs, what’s in our hearts, what’s in our minds.” Universe by Jonathan Harris allows you to track people, places, concepts, or anything else you can imagine.  Universe’s mission statement concludes that “In Universe, as in reality, everything is connected. No event happens in isolation. No company exists in a vacuum. No person lives alone. Whereas news is often presented as a series of unrelated static events, Universe strives to show the broader narrative that contains those events.”  The connections offered with both spaces are incredible.

In his lecture Michael Wesch a professor at Kansas State University mentions Youtube, and perhaps other social networks as well, as a means to “create connection without constrain.” Youtube, Facebook, Myspace, etc. allows users to share their identity, or the small slice of their identity that it is most effective for them to reach their goals at that moment.   Similarly danah boyd, Social Media Researcher at Microsoft Research New England, states, “What makes social network sites unique is not that they allow individuals to meet strangers, but rather that they enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks.” We can then use these new interactive services available with Web 2.0 to collaborate and interact with others to create meaningful conversation.

TV still on Top

September 26th, 2009 No comments

This year at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards, before there were any unfortunate outbursts, the actors were joking about the decline of television.  One sitcom star Julia Louis-Dreyfus said “Amy and I are honored to be presenting on the last official year of network broadcast television.”  Obviously, things are not that bad for broadcast and cable networks but online video is a growing medium and it will most likely continue attracting viewers and investment dollars.  Currently online video has only earned a small piece of the $65 – $70 billion advertisers spend annually on television spots.  With television consumption at an all time high this makes sense.  However advertisers and agencies have been conducting research initiatives to gain a better idea of the possibilities for online video.  One Video Consumer Mapping Study that was conducted by Ball State University and Sequent Partners for the Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence said that, “Despite the proliferation of computers, video-capable mobile phones and similar devices, TV in the home still commands the greatest amount of viewing, even among those ages 18-24. Thus, in the eyes of the researchers, this appears to dispute a common belief that Internet video and mobile phone video exposure among that group (and the next one up, age 25-34) were significant in 2008.” The study also found that on average Americans are exposed to a screen for about 8 ½ hours each day.  They categorized “screen” as traditional television (including live TV as well as DVD/VCR and DVR playback); computer (including Web use, e-mail, instant messaging and stored or streaming video); mobile devices such as a Blackberry or iPhone (including Web use, text messaging and mobile video); and “all other screens” (including display screens in out-of-home environments, in-cinema movies and other messaging and even GPS navigation units). The highest age group interestingly enough was 45-54 year olds at just over 9 ½ hours.  Mike Bloxham, Director of Insight and Research at the Center for Media Design at Ball State University said in reference to the before mentioned study, “we now have data that shows people are consuming one hour of TV advertising per day… Digital is not eating traditional media’s lunch but rather offering another course to marketers that is ripe with opportunity.” Still it will be interesting for us all to see the continued growth of digital media and where it takes us as consumers as well as producers of meaningful content.

what if…

September 22nd, 2009 3 comments

… we took a digital camera and created a still life photo of technologies from the pencil all the way to an iphone (pencil, pen, newspaper, open paperback book, cell phone, computer keyboard, digital book, cell phones, iphones, ipods, etc.)? We could use that still life as the header of a the wordpress blog page to represent the technologies we are discussing.

Stuart’s Multiliteracies

September 19th, 2009 No comments

This book was written to help teachers of writing and communication develop full scale computer literacy programs that are both effective and professionally responsible.

Stuart Selber opens his book, Multiliteracies for a Digital Age, with the above introduction, letting us readers know that what he plans to address in the next 239 pages will be a comprehensive plan for teachers. This book is more or less a persuasive argument and you should enter it with that thought in mind.

Sliding gracefully across fourteen pages, Stuart then announces in a clarifying voice what the problems are in today’s (2004’s) teaching of computer technologies and literacies. Initially, his focus falls on how many schools with computer competency courses lack in one of three crucial literacy categories that he outlines throughout the book. These are functional literacy, critical literacy, and rhetorical literacy. Stuart presents the example of Florida State University’s computer science requirements, explaining that it “…promotes skills for working productively in practical terms, on the other hand, fails to offer the perspectives needed for making rhetorical judgements.”

Thus, Stuart defines what he claims:

Students who are not adequately exposed to all three literacy categories will find it difficult to participate fully and meaningfully in technological activities.

Stuart enters his chapter on functional literacy and identifies computers as tools. His list of competencies, that the ideal functionally literate student has, hold within them parameters Stuart finds important: ability to achieve educational goals, understands social conventions that determine computer use, makes use of associated discourses, effective management of online world, and confident resolution to technical impasses. These skills provide a sound foundation for functional literacy.(45) However, Stuart warns that the literacy hides the political leanings embedded in technologies, and while a functional literate student can manage himself effectively, such work is shortsighted and dangerously malleable without a critical understanding of technology. And so, he addresses that in his next chapter. (72)

It is the why and then the how that is stressed in this next chapter. Under the flag of critical literacy, Stuart encourages teachers to instill in their students a questioning, almost skeptical, frame of mind. He asks critically literate students to be aware of the dominating politics inherent in technology, to contextualize it, and to criticise the sculpting forces of culture and institutions. To achieve this, he prescribes metadiscourse heuristics. He quotes Michael Joyce as saying, “…technology, like any other unacknowledged representation of power, endangers learning.”(133) To counter, students and teachers need to be able to recognize the ebb and flow of power, and need to be able to act accordingly.

This action, as Stuart puts it, is reflective production, constitutes the majority of his definition of rhetorical literacy. Within this literacy, he visualizes computers as hypertextual media, digitized text engaged in the mass dissemination of information. Viewing these hypertexts as form of rhetoric, students can engage in discourse with them, much like conventional conversation. This is largely done at the interface, where the user and the technology meet, where the user asserts control. Stuart idealizes rhetorically literate students as being able to negotiate the persuasive techniques of the producers, and to be able to become producers themselves. (160)

Stuart sums up his beliefs on page 179, 58 pages from the end, by saying:

The more associations that individuals can form between old and new knowledge, the better their understanding of that new knowledge is likely to be.

While the phrase can be applied in many way to many subjects, we can tweak it ourselves by replacing “knowledge” with “technology”. Proceeding, he explains his suggested pedagogical procedures in matters of layered contexts, enabling the students to heuristically climb to higher and broader levels of understanding. Or rather, he says what he thinks is a good way to help students learn about technology and learn from technology. And although rather broad and idealistic, we, as students, can already see his changes in our education. It’d be a wonder to see if they’re being applied to the younger generations.

Another theme with technology in the picture

September 19th, 2009 No comments

This is another theme that features a desk, but the iphone represents technology – the pen next to the iphone represents another form of literacy/technology

desk mess