Author Archives: oliviamcatamney

About oliviamcatamney

Currently attending the University of Sydney, studying Secondary Education and Arts.

Week 10 Task

Perspectives offered in readings and lectures, in conjunction with my own experiences throughout the course, have lead me to conclude that a purposeful implementation of technology can reap many positive benefits. The interaction of education and technology is contentious, however if technology is utilised thoughtfully and carefully, one can facilitate a more in-depth and engaging learning experience.

Gresham (2012: 82) proposes that teaching through technology offers students the opportunity to “feel power and control over their own learning”, thus improving “motivation and engagement”. This was validated in my own experiences, as the weekly discussion posts and blog entries tested my knowledge and understanding of course content, and allowed me to comparatively reflect upon the work of my classmates in light of my own. Simultaneously, I was improving my writing skills and knowledge of technological platforms such as WordPress. Online discussion with other students enriched my own engagement, correlating with Gresham’s Speeches website that enabled her students “improved understanding of the content”, and facilitated “a more sophisticated level of participation” (2012:83).

Halverson’s anecdote of Cheryl and John (2013) affirms that technology can be employed for different purposes, either as a means for entertainment and leisure, or as a resource to enrich the learning experience. I can most definitely identify with this distinction, having to personally limit my own consumption of technology as entertainment when engaging in course content and completing assignments. However, Halverson’s notion that mobile devices and social networking are typically excluded from school contexts, but can be integrated in effective ways to facilitate learning, was enlightened by my experiences in EDGU 1002 (2009: 49). The use of live Twitter discussions in lectures actively engaged my interest and adapted social networking platforms to produce a vibrant learning environment, paralleling Gresham’s view that technology enables a “sense of empowerment that leads to greater motivation” (2012: 82).

Reference List

Gresham, P. & Gibson-Langford, L. (2012). Competition, games, technology: Boys are loving English. English in Australia, 47(1), 81-89.

Halverson, R. & Smith, A. (2009). How new technologies have (and have not) changed teaching and learning in schools. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 26(2), 49-54.

Halverson, R. (Producer). (2013). 6 2 Technology Inside versus Outside of Classrooms Rich Halverson.

Week 8 Task: Remixing

IMG_3600

Without a doubt, remixing has been one of my favourite weekly topics thus far. I have always possessed a keen interest in all realms of electronic music, particularly house and techno, which predominantly partake in the process of remixing. Prior to this week’s lecture and tutorial, I could very much appreciate the remix as a musical product, however it was only after professional insight from DJ Yogi Willhelm, and experiential insight through tutorial participation, that I could genuinely grasp the expertise and technique that the process of remixing demands.

Experimenting with loops, tempo, beats and stems in the iPad app “Groove Maker” proved to be challenging, but enjoyable. The software was at first difficult to operate, but once working my way around the format of the app, I was a little more confident. Knobel and Lankshear validate the importance of understanding the “art of remix” and “craft of remix” – the art being the aesthetics, form and composition dimensions, whilst the craft comprises knowledge of technical aspects (2008:26). My initial difficulty in tutorials, along with guest lecturer Yogi Willhelm’s personal stories, certainly illuminated the level of expertise, art and craft required in the production of a remix.

Overall, experimenting with remixing allowed me to gain a more comprehensive appreciation for the author’s creative processes, a notion that Jenkins argues is an aspect that validates remixing as an important new literacy (2006). I hope to one day educate myself further on the language of remix software, and acquire the art and craft skills involved in combining and manipulating cultural artifacts, in order to develop new and interesting creative blends (Lankshear & Knobel, 2008:22).

Reference List

Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Clinton, K., Weigel, M., & Robison, A. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Chicago, IL: The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Digital Media and Learning Initiative.

Knobel, M., & Lankshear, C. (2008). Remix: The Art and Craft of Endless Hybridization. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 52(1), 22-33.

Week 7 Task: Gaming

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According to EDUCAUSE, educators have the potential to increase engagement, enhance learning, and inspire students to develop competencies and skills through “gameful learning” (2014).

We developed a Harry Potter themed “Knowledge Quest” that involved a dice, two or more players and a linear progression towards the finishing point. Along the way, players can accumulate points by chance, landing on squares that randomly deduct or award points, or alternatively; through a trivia-based “question-time” card that tests a player’s knowledge of the Harry Potter franchise. Rather than winning the game through a crossing of the finish line, the player with the most points collected is awarded “Tri Wizard Champion” and overall winner.

EDUCAUSE proposes that effective educational games “meet a defined learning objective”, whilst also being “engaging and fun” (2014). Whilst the features of our game would embody the latter aspect for many players, it is only relevant for some, as Harry Potter is not a universally appealing franchise. The learning objective of our game is limited to one’s own partiality and understanding of Harry Potter and is thus unlikely to achieve “educational” outcomes. However, as sustained in the reading, game mechanics in learning often “pique motivation” through both the “acquisition of points” and the urge to “race against peers”, both of which are aspects evident within our game (EDUCAUSE 2014).

If developed further, I would incorporate Harry Potter themed questions that integrate not only trivia, but also linguistic and mathematical enquiries, in order to promote more educationally-based outcomes. Thus skills acquired within the game could be applied “outside the activity”, and promote a more thorough “development of learning and skills”, as oppose to an explicitly trivia-based knowledge (EDUCAUSE 2014).

References

Educause. (2014). “7 Things You Should Know About Games and Learning.” Educause Learning Inititative.

Week 5 Task: Film Trailer

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) – the eighth and final instalment of one of the world’s most successful film franchises (IMDb, 2014).

Despite being set in an epic fantasyland, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter carries with it much cultural significance and social meaning for modern audiences. Death, prejudice, corruption, love and friendship are among many themes explored within the series.

The trailer opens with the all-too-familiar Harry Potter theme song, dramatically slowed in tempo, as dark images fade in and out of the frame. The well-known Warner Bros. Pictures symbol emerges from the clouds, as diehard fans are reacquainted with more familiar images – the piercing gaze of Lord Voldemort; an extreme close-up of Harry’s famed round spectacles; loyal companions Ron and Hermione; and the memorable architecture of Hogwarts. Snippets of dialogue are selected wisely – inclusive language such as “join me, and confront your fate” and also “we can end this” invites the audience to climb aboard, for one last time, the roller-coaster of adventure that Harry Potter films entail. 

More broadly, the adventures of Harry Potter and his classmates very much align with contemporary issues and concerns for students today. Whilst there is no immediate evidence of dragon fighting, spell casting and potion making in our modern muggle education system, Bailey (2011) illustrates adolescent life issues that are similarly prevalent within the Harry Potter narrative, such as feeling silenced by schools, marginalized within the classroom, a need for democratic change and finally “understanding one’s place in the world” (p. 94). 

For me personally, the Harry Potter series was a monumental aspect of my childhood and adolescence. Like many around me, I grew up consuming the cultural phenomenon that began as seven novels and eventually transformed to eight fantastic films.

 

Reference List

Bailey, B. (2011). “When I make a film, it’s out of my head”: Expressing emotion and healing through digital filmmaking in the classroom. Digital Culture & Education, 3(2), 76-97. Retrieved from: http://www.digitalcultureandeducation.com/uncategorized/dce1056_bailey_2011_html/

Accessed July 2014

IMDb. (2014) IMDb: The 50 highest-grossing movies of all time. Retrieved from: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls000021718/

Accessed September 2014 

Week 3 Task: New Literacies

NEW LITERACIES

The Internet and other various Information Communication Technologies are continuously creating and reshaping new literacies that are integral to our participation in a global community. Changes are occurring at a rapid pace, with new sets of skills and practices required to successfully engage in literacies of 21st-century technologies. The ethos of new literacies involves principles similar to that of participatory culture and affinity spaces, with users collaborating, distributing knowledge and accessing multiple perspectives (Black 2008) in a supported environment devoid of “expert-dominated” traditional literacies (Lankshear & Knobel, 2012).


Fan Fiction

Many people are ‘joining’ new literacies and redefining mainstream methods of literacy and learning, particularly through the notion of affinity spaces (Lankshear & Knobel 2012). Fan Fiction platforms such as FanFiction.net allow fans of all ages, ethnicities, genders and abilities to contribute as creators or consumers in a collaborative and creative environment. With over a million fictions of various categories, the Fan Fiction Network has over 1.3 million users in over 30 different languages (Black 2008).

See: https://www.fanfiction.net/ 

fanfiction

Popular culture phenomenon Harry Potter is one of the most consumed and contributed medias on FanFiction.net. There is currently a rising 619, 000 stories building and creating on the basis of JK Rowling’s characters and plotlines. The Internet has propelled the emergence of fan fiction on an overwhelming scale. Fan fiction is a new literacy that not only allows its users to read and create content, but also to be part of a passionate affinity group that supports and encourages positive interaction and creative stimulation.

See: https://www.fanfiction.net/book/Harry-Potter/


Remixing

Remixing or “mashup” involves the process whereby “a range of existing materials are copied, cut, spliced, edited, reworked and mixed into a new creation” (Lankshear & Knobel 2012). Remixing has become an increasingly popular product, as ‘ordinary people’ can readily access remix software online or for a small cost in order to enable their own creation.

soundcloud0Online music distribution platforms also enable users to upload, share and promote their sound creations. Berlin- based company SoundCloud is home to 40 million registered users and 200 million listeners. Musical creation – once the work of a few specialized composers, musicians and producers within a professional studio environment – can now be performed in the comfort of one’s own home, and distributed amongst millions at the click of a button. Like many other new literacies, citizens are now armed with inexpensive tools to create, edit, capture, organize and produce their own material (Delwiche & Henderson 2012: 3).

See: https://soundcloud.com/

girltalkAmerican musician Girl Talk specializes exclusively in mashups and digital sampling, and has received international acclaim for his five LPs released on the record label Illegal Art. Illegal Art describes itself as experimental “sample-obsessed production” that “pushes the limits” in order to create edgy and inventive sample production. Despite announcing its indefinite hiatus in April 2014, the Illegal Art website still offers free mp3 downloads of its artists’ music, or hard copy purchases for around $10.

See: http://illegalart.net/girltalk/shop/index.html


Meme

The word meme, originating from the Greek word mimeme (or “to imitate”) was coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. He aimed to use the word meme as a unit of “human cultural transmission”, which spreads and evolves as time passes (Hiskey, 2012). The modern notion of the Internet meme is somewhat more humorous in nature. It usually involves image, video or text, or combination of the three, and is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users – often with slight variations. 

JB fanvideo

The ‘overly attached girlfriend’ meme: Originated from a YouTube video posted in June 2012, in which a female user posted a parody rendition of Justin Bieber’s latest single “Boyfriend” titled “JB Fanvideo”. In the clip, she alters the lyrics “If I was your boyfriend” to “if I was your girlfriend” in a humorous display of clingy, stalker-like verse. The ‘overly attached girlfriend’ meme uses a variation of text posts on a screenshotted image of the young female in the “JB Fanvideo”. 

See: http://youtu.be/Yh0AhrY9GjA

Some examples:

meme 3meme 1

meme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A variety of parodies, a parody of a parody, have followed from the ‘clingy girlfriend’ meme phenomenon:

  • Overly attached boyfriend
  • Misunderstood girlfriend
  • Underly attached girlfriend

… The list goes on.

Whilst the use of memes seems relatively trivial in comparison to active participatory spaces such as fan fiction or music production, one could argue that the exposure of common experiences, situations or stereotypes reveals aspects of our culture we would be otherwise unaware of. The familiarity and relatability of memes – despite assuming gender and cultural stereotypes in the ‘overly attached girlfriend’ example – create a shared network of experiences whereby participators feel “some degree of social connection” (Dulwiche and Henderson 2006: 105).


Viral Video

A video that is viral becomes popular through the process of excessive Internet sharing. This is often achieved through video sharing platforms such as YouTube, social media websites such as Facebook, email, and other forms of electronic communication. Similar to memes, viral videos may often be humorous in nature, however some enforce strong political or personal beliefs, such as the Kony 2012 video by Invisible Children Inc.

first kiss

An example of a viral video that recently captured my attention – and the attention of 89 million others on YouTube – is Wren’s strangely endearing “First Kiss” (2014).  See: http://youtu.be/IpbDHxCV29A

A seemingly simple concept – twenty complete strangers asked to kiss for the first time. Awkward, funny and touching, “First Kiss” portrays several uncomfortable social encounters, but also reveals our natural underlying desire for human connection. Its success can be credited to its simple ability to evoke a strong, positive and emotional response from consumers – much of what viral videos embody.

Viral videos are relatively important new literacies as they allow consumers the opportunity to view and share material of a generally positive nature. The rapid and ever accelerating rate at which videos are viewed and shared, and new literacies holistically, permits access to new information, in ways and at speeds never before possible.


 

Reference List

Black, R. W. (2008). Publishing and Participation in Online Affinity Spaces. New Literacies: A Professional Development Wiki for Educators. Retrieved from https://newlits.wikispaces.com/Publishing+and+Participating+in+Online+Affinity+Spaces

Accessed August, 2014

Delwiche, A., & Henderson, J. J. (2012). What is participatory culture? (A. Delwiche & J. J. Henderson, Trans.), In A. Delwiche & J. J. Henderson (Eds.), The participatory cultures handbook. New York: Routledge. 

Hiskey, D. (2012) Where the Word Meme Comes From. Today I Found Out: Feed Your Brain. Retrieved from: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/06/where-the-word-meme-comes-from/

Accessed August, 2014

Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2012). ‘New’ literacies: technologies and values. Teknokultura. Revista de Cultura Digital y Movimientos Sociales, 9.(1), 45-71. Retrieved from http://everydayliteracies.net/files/RemixTeknokulturaEnglish.pdf

Accessed August, 2014