Monday, March 19, 2007

Crowdsourcing the News

Colin and I have been increasingly interested in the growing phenomenon of "crowdsourcing"--or the replacement of a defined specialist entity by outsourcing to a nebulous group of people "out there" who may be credentialled specialists or expert tinkerers and boffins etc.

According to the New York Times (free registration required to read articles), Assignment Zero is a collaborative--in the full sense of the word--initiative spearheaded by "Wired magazine and NewAssignment.Net, the experimental journalism site established by Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at New York University" (NYT 03/19/07). Basically, readers will take on assignments posted on the website or offer suggestions for topics to be addressed. For example, at the time of writing this, one assignment posted on the website reads:

"We need someone to interview and write a profile of a Wikipedia super-contributor. If you are interested in this assignment, please tell us why you're a good candidate. You'll hear back from us as soon as we're ready to get you writing. The story may change depending on what the crowd shares."

Crowdsourcing is a fascinating development and worth some close attention, not least because the implications for schooling and credentialling institutions are enormous!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Is this the start of more worlds than we can poke a stick at?

Sony looks set to launch it's own 3D virtual world, Home. It's designed specifically for online Playstation 3 users. If this demo clip is anything to go by, the quality of graphics and animation are stupendously good! Photos, movies, and songs stored on the user's PS3 hardrive can be watched/listened to in-world by means of virtual viewing screens and stereos. Text chat and voice chat and automated greetings etc. are part of the mix, along with a bunch options for meeting people and hanging out inside Home.


Congrats Colin!

The Japanese translation of Teachers and Technoliteracy (co-written with Ilana Snyder, with input from Bill Green) arrived in Colin's mailbox this week--and it looks fantastic!

Fab Dylan-Suess Mashup

Dylan Hears a Who is a very clever set of six songs based on Dr. suess' classics and done Dylan-style. Nice meeting of the weird and wonderful! (via CCBC-net).

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Vale, Jean Baudrillard

We will miss the earthly presence of Jean Baudrillard, whose death after a long illness has been reported.

From our perspective Baudrillard was one of the three most pertinent French theorists since Guy Dubord for informing our orientation toward the contemporary (the others being Michele de Certeau and Jean-Francois Lyotard). Baudrillard was a fearless theorist who boldy went where many would fear to tread.

Vale, Jean Baudrillard. We look forward to you coming around.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

digital Divide: or. Home is Where the Heart is

From tortilla to cafe via los narcocorridos, home is where the heart is.

Busy, busy

It's not slowing down any, although we have managed to tick one or two things off lists. On the other hand, one or two sneaky little numbers have slipped through cracks in diligence to take their place.

With a long plane trip sequence coming up it was time to make time to download all 14 episodes of Strange Company's Bloodspell machinima movie. The leg from Brisbane to LA is likely to be the only chance for a while to watch it from go to whoa. After an episode during the week involving some colleagues getting knocked back on their request for a SPARC addendum permission for some work they'd done it was nice to see Hugh Hancock and friends positively inviting remixes of their work. Mind you, I'm still smarting from missing the machinima festival last weekend in Melbourne, hosted by the Australian Centre for Moving Images. Many of the biggies of the game were there, including Paul Marino, whose I'm Still Seeing Breen">>I'm Still Seeing Breen would have warranted a trip just to pay homage. But the airplane was headed in the opposite direction at the time. Next year.

But there have been a couple of healthy tick offs to show for the head down time. First, we have got Jim Gee's new book, "Good Video Games and Good Learning: Collected Essays on Video Games, Learning and Literacy", off to the printer at Peter Lang. It should be out in 6 weeks or so (in time for AERA). Assembled in a way that resembles games structure and principles -- short and simple at the front, to mucho accumulation at the end, with built in redundancy along the way -- it's a lovely book, and we are thrilled to have it in the series.

Second, the long-running "Handbook of New Literacies Research" has now gone to the publisher for production. The last acts have involved chasing down permissions, as well as Don Leu reconciling varying takes on APA style. (I should know what APA is, and I'll get onto that if I ever graduate beyond Harvardish.) Putting the Handbook together has been a big job for the four editors, but it has come together pretty well. More than 40 people from around the world have come to the party, and the final product has exactly the kinds of diversity we hoped for. It has undergone a publisher metamorphasis in the process, with Erlbaum being acquired by Taylor and Francis a few months back. So the book will come out in a Routledge list.

Meanwhile, hopefully this will be the week for working through the Hugh Hancock "Neverwinternights" machinima tutorial. Nothing like the imminence of a boarding pass to push the envelope.

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