Archive for the ‘Paradigm Shifts’ Category

Brenda Dyck, over at wwwedu, posted a link to this article about a Canadian college student accused of cheating because he organized a Facebook study group where students worked together on their homework. Turns out it is the university’s responsibility to make sure that students do their own homework. As the students rightly point out, there are many face to face study groups in which students are working on homework, but none of them have been expelled.

To me, it seems like a clear case of the “digital divide” between young people and adults, with the latter having a misunderstanding of social networking. I’m impressed that students are using Facebook for more than just idle chatter. In addition, I would guess that these future chemists will be collaborating with others throughout their careers so they are getting a good start on that skill as well.

Maybe part of the concern is that once the homework problems are posted this semester, students in future courses won’t have to actually do the homework. Hmm…you mean the instructor might have to find new problems? Or reconsider how to teach the course using Facebook as part of the curriculum rather than banning it?

From a colleague of mine as part of a discussion of protecting privacy:

Sorry, if you’re offended that I embedded it, but you need the effect before the story. Here’s the AP version. And, here’s Doug Feaver’s take on it at the Washington Post. Feaver reviews comments from readers on the story. He says, “I’m with the kid, but of course a recording of whatever message he left has not been made available so perhaps I would have a different view if it were.” That’s what I thought was interesting. The only person who can publish Kori’s message is the administrator’s wife. And, as long as we can’t hear Kori’s message, we really can’t judge for ourselves. Did she delete it? Or, is she just not adding fuel? Or was it a pretty reasonable message and she just overreacted? In the end, it probably doesn’t matter, but like, Feaver, I wonder in whose favor the pendulum of public opinion would swing if we heard the original phone message.

Here were two of my favorite back and forth comments about the incident:

readerny said, “I don’t agree with the tirade by the woman who answered the call, BUT as an employer of young adults, I can say that there are some (not all) who are overempowered and think that they know the whole story, or more than you do, and should be running the show themselves…”

But Nicester wrote, “Overempowered kid” and “self-centered youth” – OK, that’s one perspective. Sounds a bit like “whippersnapper” or whatever the Greatest Generation was calling the Baby Boomers when they were dropping acid and rolling in the mud at Woodstock…”

I just feel sorry for this woman, sacrificed on the altar of the digital generation gap. And, like the story about Heath Ledger and the blogs, it’s a story about the future of “news” in the 21st century. What if the kid hadn’t had access to the Internet? He might have sent the tape to the television news, but they have may have demanded to have his recording. He gets to bypass all those gatekeepers and tell his side of the story in a way that kids have never been able to do.

In the end, I find her tirade to be funny rather than offensive. “Snot-nosed brats” was the worst of it. It is more important as a reminder that digital recording and distribution is almost transparent, and perhaps will finally lead to people living by the old adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” We have left behind the era of deniability.

I’m tagging this one 21st century skills because I wonder how this fits in? I’m also going to tag it adult learning 😉

State Contractor Files Federal Lawsuit Against Me » Maine Web Report

So, I keep thinking that I need to get back to reading about media literacy and working on my bibliography.  Then, I take “just a second” to check my rss feeds on netvibes and some media story captures my attention.  Today, Andy Carvin pointed me in the direction of Lance Dutson, who was sued by the advertising agent for the state of Maine.  What did he do?  He published a copy of their ad that includes a 1-800 number that goes to a sex site.  I missed this when it first broke in April.  Grad school does that to you.

Stories like this illustrate the fact that the curriculum for a media literacy course is happening right now.  What are the issues here?  If a print or online newspaper like the NY Times published the ad along with the news story, I don’t think the ad agency could do anything but hang its head.  So, why go after the blogger?  Because he isn’t a “real” journalist?  He does belong to the Media Bloggers Association, and pressure from bloggers and others led to the lawsuit being dropped.

This is old media versus new media.  Once again, as in the case of Wikipedia, old media resorts to the courts while new media resorts to public opinion.  Old media thinks it can own stuff, particularly software, so a seemingly cutting edge company like Blackboard, which even though it operates on the web really acts like old media, uses the patent system to put pressure on competitors.

fremonttribune.com, Fremont, Nebraska’s Community Newspaper
Seigenthaler said it took months to get statements about him removed from a Wikipedia page.

This quote is from an article about the most recent Wikipedia flap…a Catholic high school is concerned that someone wrote something bad about them and they are suing Wikipedia.   Tim at Assorted Stuff asks the pertinent question:  “Why didn’t they correct the entry themselves?”  Just fix it, monitor the page, and move on.  Recognize that this a new media…your PR agent is no longer in control.  It’s ironic that one of Seigenthaler’s friends replaced the incorrect comments by copying and pasting a biography from another website, a copyright violation.

According to the Wikipedia article about the incident, Siegenthaler is concerned that such vandalism will lead to government regulation of the Internet.  He is arguing that we should go back to the “old” Internet: passive, a vehicle for communication by government and businesses, without all that free speech floating around.  I did a workshop at a high school and when we checked the county’s Wikipedia entry, we discovered it had been created largely by a student at the high school.  I noticed a few somewhat negative comments about the high school related to bullying.  And, when I revisited the site a week later, I noticed those comments were gone.  I hope one of the principal’s in my workshop fixed it.  That’s how Wikipedia works.  You get to offer your version of the truth until someone else decided their version is better.  You might be rich and powerful but you’re not going to be able to control everyone on the Internet so your time is better spent getting out your own message instead of trying to control the message that others are sending.

Using RL communities as metaphors for the web:

From Nicholas Mirzoeff: Contrasts web addresses with MIT representing the gated community: “By contrast, an address at America Online is the equivalent of living in a tract home in a subdivision.” (Introduction to Visual Culture, p. 105)

From Jonathan Zittrain on net neutrality and government controls and the appeal of computer security: “This [security software] risks turning PCs into gated communities that can too easily become prisons patrolled by a single warden.” (From Technology Review, March/April 2006, p. 32)

The “New Way” of Reading:

From Educational Leadership, May 2006, an article that contrasts the old and new way of reading. It seems that kids these days need visual engagement in order to encourage reading. The author, Valerie Ruth Kirschenbaum, cites lots of research and challenges educators to be part of the paradigm shift: “History warns us that the establishment rarely recognizes a paradigm shift in its earliest manifestations. Maybe this time history will be wrong. Maybe this time the education establishment will wake up for what are students are screaming for: visually stunning, multi-sensory ways of reading and writing” (p. 50). I should mention that the four-page article was in color (which made it difficult to read the name of the journal I might add) with lots of visual stimulation. The font was larger with important words underlined in red. It was visually engaging but I kept thinking it was an advertisement. It just didn’t look like a real article…showing my own bias, I guess.

Life…but not really:

Just finished reading Michael Frome’s history of the Great Smokies, Strangers in High Places. He describes a tourist attraction near the mountains called Ghost Town, which the Asheville Times says is an authentic recreation of a frontier settlement. Frome quotes the paper, “Gun-totin’ youngsters and nostalgtic adults visiting Ghost Town find themselves transported into their favorite television western. From the team of bearded cowboys who enact the shootout to the waitresses and dancers in the saloons, costumes and architecture reflect the pioneer western atmosphere” (p. 314). Hmm…they aren’t transported to the past, instead they only get as far as a television western, a larger than life portrayal of the past that ignores individual experiences for a generalized historical view. Here is a real-life portrayal of a fictional virtual past…

Cultural Elites

I feel like I was a little hard on the kid from San Jose…he meant well. But then I remembered something Mirzoeff said about technology being seen as the next phase of evolution: “Those most able to deal with computing environments have become the new technocratic elite on merit, while less able people have fallen behind” (p. 107). Is this an example of that idea? The oppressed just need to turn to the web for salvation.

Here's a random thought about old media versus new media: the space issue.  I just filled two grocery bags with printed copies of three different journals to which I subscribe.  All of them are available in digital format online to subscribers as well as through the databases at William and Mary.  Besides browsing through them when they arrive each month, they are really not all that helpful for research.  I kept one favorite and will recycle the rest of them.  But it only makes a small dent…the basket beside my bed is overflowing with all the print stuff I've received since the beginning of the year and there's another one in the hall bathroom.  I'm desperately trying to at least open them before I recycle.  And it's frustrating…sometimes I'm interested in the articles and sometimes I'm not.  But I might become interested at some future time.  That's when I'm going to ERIC to see what's available on the topic.  Only then will the article become important.  And, it will be available in digital format for download to my hard drive.  Much more space-friendly…and this from someone who lives in 1350 square feet.

Finally–since this is pretty long for a random thought…I have different attachments to different types of media.  I can give up magazines without a problem…but I love books.  Don't like reading online.  And right now lots of my books are in the boxes in the garage.  I went looking for one yesterday and felt a real pang of loss…I miss my books…