Monday, February 28, 2011

Evan's Blog 6, concept map 3

This week's readings covered participatory media and web 2.0 media which empower users and allow them to interact with the artifacts that they consume on the Internet. My concept map is meant to start with a constructionist theory of learning at the top, which is enhanced by the modularity, manipulation, automation, and transcoding characteristics that we learned in the Lev Manovich reading. My map then slips into two of the readings from this week -- Shirky and Greenhow. The Shirky reading addresses the social theory of how the Internet has made it much easier to communicate information. I then site how Shirky refers to individual/one-to-one communication (sharing), which is the easiest form of communication; and group/many-to-many communication (cooperation and collaborative action), which are much more difficult to accomplish. At the other end of my concept map, I focus on the Greenhow readings and how she describes the process of learning. Greenhow talks more about the skills involved in the learning process (personal identification, playful learning, role playing, reflection, sharing), which relates directly to Piaget and constructionism.

In terms of been “what is ‘new media literacy’”, I'd say it is all about exploration and reflection of yourself. All of the readings (especially Greenhow and Jenkins) stress the important skills involved in learning, sharing, storytelling, creative and analytical thinking, and so much more. The more we can play and have opportunities to exhibit these skills, the better. Even more important is the ability to share your experiences with others. This way, you can get feedback and teach through learning. Likewise, as Shirky states, ‘new media literacy’ is all about being able to form complex connections with others. It is relatively easy to share information on an individual basis, but it is much more difficult to agree on an idea (cooperation), and even more difficult to carry-out a collective action (collaborative action).

However, in order to make users/students more aware of their learning process and the skills that they are using, they have to slow down and challenge them and make them more aware of their own usage of technology. If we just throw games at students, all they will do is play. As teachers (and anyone else who wants to use technology to its greatest potential), we have to guide our students/users. The more we engage students/users to become aware of and challenge their own habits, and be able to share their stories with others, the more they will learn. The environment has to be open enough where students/users can learn at their own pace, yet structured enough where teachers/superiors can give guidance and track the students'/users' progress.

In my own experiences in this class, I can easily see how easy it is to share, but how difficult it is to cooperate on an idea and then to act on it. For instance, it is easy to reflect on my own experiences via a blog or make my own comments via VoiceThread. However, it was significantly harder for me to coordinate ideas when I was a discussion leader. Likewise, it is hard to understand how someone made Scratch project just by looking at their end result and a blog post. This is complicated even more because many people post on Sunday night, so there is a lot of information overload and little time to reflect, explore, and respond. In my other class, summarizing our weekly readings on blog and then commenting with our group was a much easier activity because we still met in class to discuss things, which was more structured. In this class, everything is online and there is less structure because there is no lecture material for us to fall back on during the week. Everything is based on comments is based on class discussion and peer communication, which is fun, but I like a more structured environment.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Maria's concept map - multiliteracies

“Defining what counts as “valid or legitimate or desirable” forms of understanding and creativity in current contexts will certainly continue to be one of the challenges.” (Buckingham, 2005, p. 149, in Greenhow, 2009, p. 249)
My additions to my concept map this week are in orange color... I found myself making even more connections and mixing this week's terms with the previous ones, which i really enjoyed! Click on the image to go to the actual concept map.

New media is about multiliteracies; it involves a (hidden) pedagogy that emphasizes on more than the ability to use language as a means of communication, but also text, music, pictures, animations, etc. It is sensitive to the cultural context one functions in and the community that speaks to particular pieces of work (e.g. when someone creates an animation about the planets, that might be speaking to the community of scientists, leisure artists, etc., depending on the character of the creation). There is a dynamic relationship between the different modes of literacies, as one can be combined with other modes. The result is a rich collection of projects and information that provide multiple perspectives, feelings and tones.

Perceiving the participants of the 21st century as being active, new media embrace diversity and freedom of speech. There are no boundaries in the way one can express themselves and there is always a means of communicating different messages. The result of the use of multiliteracies is a dynamic social change and transformation. Identities are constantly changing, being shaped and aligned with different aspects of new media. Digital immigrants, according to Prensky, are speaking the outdated language whereas digital natives seem to be talking the language of technology, of new media and can use technology naturally, as part of their lives (Prensky, 2001). In this sense, new media are a sine qua non of a person’s development in the 21st century.

I believe that new media, being so powerful, can change the ways we think about learning and professional development. Creativity in this sense becomes central in the ways that people learn and become productive in their contexts. The hierarchies that used to structure the ways people participate are no longer stable, and the power has started shifting from the heads to the participants; everyone has a voice and everyone participates in the construction of their learning. Our participatory culture, as Jenkins (2004) characterizes it, is being shaped from and shapes new media.

Shively Concept Map - Week 7

When viewing this Prezi, first, zoom out and click on "What is New Media Literacy" on the right side of the map. You will begin my concept map for this week answering the questions: "What is new media literacy?" - Each time you click on the arrow, you are being connected to the concepts I extrapolated from our readings. Towards the end I make a mini-map of major connections for the semester.

During the creation of this map, I circle back to Learning Ecology - to link it to the previous articles written by Prensky and Shirky. I felt that Prensky and Shirky were both trying to say that we need to recognize that New Media Literacy is a portion of the Learning Ecology and that it can no longer be ignored. Together, Greenhow, Prensky, and Shriky are challenging readers to take seriously the changes needed for a transformation in our nation's curriculum - asking educators to recognize the communication, collaboration, and collective groups the Internet offers (Shirky, 2008) - realize that learning environments need to be flexible spaces allowing for longer periods of exploration and creation, not mandated by high stakes testing (Greenhow, 2009) - and understand that although we are not native to this digital age, our children are and there is no turning back, thus requiring our attention and time to learn and adapt to the culture -(Prensky, 2001). I think new media literacy requires a much deeper understanding that surpasses a gap in communication - it is a new way of thinking, living, and learning.

I end with the questions we have been pondering and answering - as well as - "extras" - linking this to previous research and current research about Digital Youth and the Institute of Play. I am happy to answer questions in order to make the links stronger and/or more apparent. Thank you.

Can I make a salad out of his game?

For Week 6 I chose to dive into GameSalad, which is a software development kit for making games and applications for the iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac and Web platforms. I was introduced to GameSalad by a colleague of mine in my department, Telecommunications just to say, who’s using GameSalad in a game design project class he’s involved with. I tried applying to get into that class but was denied for some political reason or other but what intrigued me about GameSalad was its ease of use. Much like Scratch it’s based on a drag and drop interface but with a little more details when it comes to applying behaviors and rules to the actors and the scene.

The games and applications that can be made using GameSalad are immense and it does have educational uses as evidenced by this project: SciTunes is in line to win a STEM award. It’s a game that was built using GameSalad that teaches children about the human anatomy using music and interactivity. The target audience for this game are students in K-2.

I was adamant on using GameSalad for future projects because of its usability and also because you can publish games, on iTunes, with it for free. You can upgrade your account, which is advised, to a pro account for a nominal fee but first time users can get away with the free package which includes access to scores of tutorials and the GameSalad Wiki.

In terms of New Media, GameSalad essentially is about computer-mediated creation. What you create using GameSalad are essentially programmes for computers, be they for the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. This is very much a Manovich inspired argument with a little bit of Resnick in there. If the computer is the paintbrush then GameSalad is the paint that one can use to create compelling games and applications for learning.

With GameSalad in mind I would define new media literacy as being a two-pronged category. The first is new media literacy in terms of creating computer-mediated projects. Thus one would be new media literate if they are able to create any form of game or application using GameSalad (or any other tool they choose), it’s about using the computer to make something tangible even if it is digital. The second form of new media literacy is the comprehension of games and applications made using tools such as GameSalad whereby users are literate in the sense that they can use or play the games and applications that are presented to them. It may sound simplistic or even deterministic but applied to the real world new media literacy means being able to create and use computer-mediated tools and objects.