Saturday, February 20, 2010

New book out: DIY Media

We're very happy to announce we have a new edited book that's just come out. It's called DIY Media: Creating, Sharing and Learning with New Technologies, and aims at being a really hands-on, practical text for anyone interested in tinkering and mucking around with a range of new literacy practices.

From the back cover:
Schools remain notorious for co-opting digital technologies to “business as usual” approaches to teaching new literacies. DIY Media addresses this issue head-on, and describes expansive and creative practices of digital literacy that are increasingly influential and popular in contexts beyond the school, and whose educational potential is not yet being tapped to any significant degree in classrooms. This book is very much concerned with engaging students in do-it-yourself digitally-mediated meaning making practices. As such, it is organized around three broad areas of digital media: moving media, still media and audio media. Specific DIY media practices addressed in the chapters include, among others, machinima, anime music videos, digital photography, podcasting and music remixing. Each chapter opens with an overview of a specific DIY media practice, includes a practical how-to tutorial section, and closes with suggested applications for classroom settings. This collection will appeal not only to educators, but to anyone invested in better understanding—and perhaps participating in—the significant shift towards everyday people producing their own digital media.

The contributing authors are each outstanding and we're infinitely grateful for their contribution to this collection. The Table of Contents reads as follows:
Chapter 1: DIY media: A contextual background and some
contemporary themes by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel

Part 1: Audio Media

Chapter 2: Music remix in the classroom by Erik Jacobson

Chapter 3: DIY podcasting in education by Christopher Shamburg

Part 2: Still Media

Chapter 4: Visual networks: Learning and photosharing by Guy Merchant

Chapter 5: Photoshopping/photosharing: New media,digital literacies and curatorship by John Potter

Part 3: Moving Media

Chapter 6: Machinima: Why think “games” when thinking“film”? by Susan Luckman and Robin Potanin

Chapter 7: Stop motion animation by Angela Thomas and Nicole Tufano

Chapter 8: Flash fundamentals: DIY animation and interactive design by Rebecca Orlowicz

Chapter 9: AMV remix: Do-it-yourself anime music videos by Michele Knobel, Colin Lankshear and Matthew Lewis

Afterword by Henry Jenkins

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New report: Social Media and Young Adults

The Pew Internet and American Life Project recently released a new report titled, Social Media and Young Adults. The study surveyed and young adults (in this case, those aged 18 to 29 years, nd which they refer to as the "Millennial Generation") about their social media use (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. as well as their use of mobile wireless internet access using phones or computers). The resulting data are compared to the results of two earlier surveys: one that surveyed 800 teenagers(respondents aged 12 to 17 years) social media uses and conducted in the second half of 2009; and a survey of 2,253 adults 18 years and older years and their social media uses also conducted in the second half of 2009. Earlier surveys for each of these groups is also used for comparative purposes to show changes in uses over time.

The findings point to a number of really interesting trends, including for example:
The report is an interesting read to be sure!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

MixedInk: A collaborative online writing space

Here's another collaborative writing space that might interest folk: MixedInk. This one seems to be much "public" than spaces like Google Docs, and enable complete and utter strangers to work collaboratively on producing texts, much in the vein of James Surowiecki's claims about the "wisdom of crowds" and the positive effects of pooled, divergent ideas and perspectives.

I haven't had a chance to muck around with it myself yet, but I did watch the introductory video (highly recommended viewing, too, by the way) and the writing space has a really interesting in0built remix function. A posted topic--like a commentary piece on Afghanistan's entry into world cricket--is responded to by various people in separate documents. I ca come along, start a new document, write my bits, and directly borrow/incorporate text from the other existing documents associated with this topic and the writer's of the the text I'm borrowing are automatically added as co-authors of my text. The introductory video explains this much more clearly than I have here, but the implications of this feature for writing collaboratively are really pretty enormous. There's plenty of room for abusing the system, I guess, but I see more room for people to really engage with other people's ideas and writing in ways that builds positively on what's gone before.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Books to review

We have a stack of books in from publishers. If you'd like to review (and then keep) one--or more--of these books for the journal, e-Learning, email Michele ( and specify which book(s) and your mailing address, and she'll get back to you with review guidelines and a copy of the book(s).

O’Dowd, R. (Ed.). (2007). Online intercultural exchange: An introduction for foreign language teachers. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Rapp, A. (2009). Ball peen hammer. New York: First Second Books.[graphic novel]

Slotta, J. D., and Linn, M. C. (2009). WISE science: Web-based inquiry in the classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.

Two new books in our series!

We're both very happy to announce the publication of two new books in our Peter Lang series!

Shaheen Shariff and Andrew H. Churchill are the editors of Truths and Myths about Cyber-bullying: International Perspectives on Stakeholder Responsibility and Children's Safety. This book usefully presents a range of international perspectives on what constitutes "cyber-bullying" and what the key issues are concerning cyber-bullying and internet safety. From the back cover:
The book contains three sections ... The first section introduces readers to the various ways in which researchers conceptualize cyber-bullying; the second provides a comprehensive review of legal considerations and communication rights; and the final section reviews a sampling of intervention programs designed to build safe communities. Each chapter contributes to dispelling common myths about technology and develops an appreciation of the potential roles and responsibilities of a wide spectrum of stakeholders.

Authors hail variously from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, the Netherlands, and the U.S. This a book filled to the brim with important new conceptual insights and sound practical advice!

The second book is by Connie Morrison, and is titled, Who Do They Think They Are? Teenage Girls and Their Avatars in Spaces of Social Online Communication. this book reports an extended case study of 10 adolescent females constructing 2D avatars for using as profile pictures in online social spaces.
It explores the complex and often conflicted negotiations behind girlhood identity and representation in a cyber-social world. ... The contradictions and expectations of inline social and popular culture make representations of identity simultaneously limitless and limiting for the girls who create them. Given the nature of identity-defining and the social act of creating an autobiographical avatar, a critical media literacy frame provides a pedagogical opportunity for bringing avatar construction into the secondary English classroom [from the back cover].

Connie's book raises all sorts of interesting questions about self-representation online and how we read each other in cyberspaces.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Untirement ex-patting

I reckon I could get used to this "untirement" thing. Having some significant discretionary time is something I had long lost contact with.

So, yesterday was the day for celebrating "Waitangi Day" (New Zealand's national day) over in this part of the world, and the NZ ambassador hosted the annual event in Mexico City. In recent years I have been toiling in Oz at this time and have missed attending. I was determined to get there yesterday.

It was a pretty incredible time for me personally. It began when I thought "I don't know a soul here, so if I don't butt in on someone it's going to be just me and a long line of Coronas" (I'd taken the metro, so driving would not be a problem). The big question was, of course, who to butt in on.

At the precise moment a man appeared who bore a striking resemblance to my kiwi pal John Parkyn, who lives in Morelia. I always love talking with John, so took it as a sign. My victim turned out to be a most charming Belgian gent who had been in Mexico more than 50 years, since his parents migrated when he was a young child. He imports New Zealand wines. In the course of our conversation I told him I spend some time in a place near to Xalapa and have a small coffee farm there. In an instant he replied, I know a German woman and her Mexican husband who have a small finca in Coatepec. I replied that Coatepec is where we have our land. Today he was back by email, having contacted Elke and Jose, and has given me their contact details. I am going to Coatepec tomorrow for a couple of weeks to finish off as much of the current harvest as possible.

I had just finished talking to Pierre and was chatting to a young Quaker couple who were doing some volunteer work in Mexico City at a guest house that serves both tourists and refugees (from asylum seekers to homeless folk). Ben was one of only two males apart from myself at the time who wasn't wearing a tie. He was an easy victim. As I was hearing of their experiences here we were joined by a woman who asked if I had been her lecturer at Auckland University when she was studying there. It turned out that she was absolutely correct, and Jane is now married to a Mexican and working out of Cuernavaca consulting on marketing and distribution. We exchanged commitments to visit in Cuernavaca and Coatepec. I liked the fact that during the time she was in my course some of the key texts were by Ivan Illich, who lived for years in Cuernavaca.

Such things come in threes, I guess, and shortly afterwards I was introduced to another man who was not wearing a tie. He had spent several years in Nelson (my home town), studying silversmithing under the tutelage of Jens Hansen -- the same man who recreated The Ring for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy but who, tragically, died before the film was released. During my undergrad years I had sometimes earned a bit of money selling advertising for a Public Relations Office publication, and I counted on Jens to sell me some -- not that his work needed advertising. Jens' former student, Peter, now lives and works in San Miguel de Allende, in the central Mexican (highland) state of Guanajuato. I told him I have a kiwi friend in Morelia, and Peter said he travels to Michoacan regularly to visit with the coppersmiths at Santa Clara del Cobre and would love to get a chance to catch up with a New Zealander in Morelia.

All in all, it was a busy day for John Parkyn in Mexico City yesterday. And he wasn't even there!

Or on Facebook.

Interestingly, as I found in a Nelson Evening Mail story online, one of Jens Hansen's sons studied silversmithing with Peter -- something I suspect that Peter, who struck me as hopelessly modest in light of his achievements, would never have divulged.

It was a pretty expansive afternoon. And it came at the right kind of time.

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