Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Final Chapter... (or is it?)

I have really enjoyed this class and wish I would have spent more time with all of the materials. I spread myself a little too thin this semester and plan to use this summer to go back and take a deeper dive into many of the topics of the course. I was not sure what to expect from this course and felt like coming in I already had a pretty good idea of what new media was, but Dr. Peppler did not disappoint! Some of the readings were of people that I had heard of, but never read, and many were new to me. I have learned so much in the course, but feel like there is so much more to learn. To use an on overused cliche, this really is the tip of a huge iceberg for me and I know it will take a while, but I am very interested in learning more about the many topics that we touched on during the semester.

I think the things that were most interesting to me were finding out about some of the real life projects that people are doing with kids (and adults) to include new media. Great stories about after school projects where students don't want to go home at night because they are still building a circuit or creating something on a computer program. This kinds of stories are so interesting and inspiring to think that there are more types of activities out there to inspire kids to learn.

It was also good to see a well organized online class that took advantage of some of the new tools that are available. I really liked how the embedding of the wordpress site worked well to be right in oncourse. It was nice that Dr. Peppler actually worked within Oncourse to a good extent, while many other professors just bypass it and go to an external site. I wish we would have had a few more synchronous sessions using video chat or face-to-face for those in Bloomington as I think this really adds a great dimension to an online class. I would recommend having at least 3 or 4 synchronous sessions in the future as I think it would add to the class.

I also like having the smaller blogs so that we got to know each other a little better without having the whole class in one single space. I really like the VoiceThread and while I had played a little bit with it before, it was capable of a lot more than I previously thought. I really, really liked being able to record my own voice and be able to hear Dr. Peppler rather than just read the text. The commenting feature was great, but similar to a forum, one disadvantage is that if you are the first person on the thread you might not get as much out of it, or you will need to go back and read the comments again which can be time consuming. I found myself wanting to wait until the end so that I would be able to read the others comments or posts, but that is not really a good thing. In comparing it with the forums, I would say that I like the VoiceThread a lot. The one advantage of the forums are that if you are really in a hurry, you can digest a lot of text in one quick spot with a forum, but you are not able to get as much out of it. The VoiceThread, kind of forces you to take your time and read all of the comments which is a good thing.

Overall I have really enjoyed this class and have gotten some good ideas for future study. I know that this area will continue to change and I am very excited to see what the next steps of new media will be. I put the title of this post as "Final Chapter...(or is it?)" because really this is not a final chapter for me. I am still trying to figure out future research areas and this will hopefully fit in well for me so that is just the beginning of a bunch of future studies.

Thanks everyone that has made this class great!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Solomou, M. (2011). The final chapter!

I joined this course thinking that I knew most of the major work around new media. I was excited that I would have the opportunity to create projects and reflect, but I wasn't sure how things would look like in the online version. Throughout the semester, I came to realize that what I was experiencing (with the readings, the concept maps, the studio projects) was a great, creative process. Organizing my thoughts on a concept map was a very helpful activity. Especially by adding to my concept map every week helped me realize how concepts and ideas relate to each other, how authors' work is related with the overall theoretical field of constructionism, what the value of the particular theory is for explaining how people learn with new media and technologies, as well as how I can relate to the field.

My work within the class generated ideas for future work around media, games and literacies. I see games (this is the major area of my research focus) as contexts for creation and authorship, not just consumption. When I played with atmosphir, for example, I realized the potential that such games have for the future of play and the ways creativity can be expressed. The web 2.0 technologies that were introduced in one f the VoiceThresds  showed that the direction participation is taking leads to a different level of online presence.

Overall, this course has taught me valuable things and pushed my thinking towards being more critical and reflexive. I enjoyed it and I must say that I am taking the thinks I learned outside the course, towards my future development. I love it when a class affords that!

P.S. Comparing the VoiceThreads with the forums... I think I prefer the VoiceThreads. When I was receiving notifications for the forum posts, I didn't know which post they were referring to, unless I logged on Oncourse and viewed them. On the other hand, VoiceThread gives everyone's responses for each question and I could see everyone's pictures along with the responses. Like that better!