Sour ‘Hibi no neiro’

You do not have to understand Japanese to appreciate this video by Sour.

This music video was shot for Sour’s ‘Hibi no Neiro’ (Tone of everyday) from their first mini album ‘Water Flavor EP’. The cast were selected from the actual Sour fan base, from many countries around the world. Each person and scene was filmed purely via webcam.

Repeat with me: “Each technology creates a new environment. The old environment becomes content for the new environment. The effects of media come from their form not their content.” (Everyman’s Mcluhan)

Why Publish Student Work to the Web?

Here is yet another compelling reason why we should encourage posting student work to the Web. Enjoy this beautiful cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide from elementary students of the PS22 Chorus in New York City.

From the comments, “What does Stevie think of this?” (although I can’t confirm validity – confirmed here).

Just got word from Stevie Nicks tour manager that she was completely blown away by the PS22 Chorus rendition of her song “Landslide!” He said she asked him to replay 2 times afterwards, crying each time she watched! Talk about humbling!! And the kicker?? She invited the PS22 Chorus to sing the song at Madison Square Garden for the upcoming June 11th Fleetwood Mac show!! Holy cow!!!

It will be interesting to see if the RIAA feels the same way.

If you want to know more about this group and their story, I’d recommend reading “Glee Club” from The Brooklyn Rail. From that story …

It’s unusual, but it works. In a school where more than three quarters of the students are eligible for free lunch, the lyrics of the song have resonance, and the performance is haunting, emotive, and delivered with far more soul than one might expect from a bunch of fifth-graders.

Catch this while it is real. Don’t wait for the movie.

90+ Videos for Tech. & Media Literacy

Update December 3/09: There has been much interest in this list so I have transferred this resource to a wiki. This post will remain, but I would be happy if others contributed to the wiki version found here. Thanks for your interest in media education.

Over the past few years, I have been collecting interesting Internet videos that would be appropriate for lessons and presentations, or personal research, related to technological and media literacy. Here are 70+ videos organized into various sub-categories. These videos are of varying quality, cross several genres, and are of varied suitability for classroom use.

Child Computing

Conversation Starters:

1. Everything is Amazing, Nobody is Happy – Comedian Louis CK’s appearance on Conan O’Brian was brilliant, humorous and really sets the stage for discussing societal changes due to the progress of technology.

2. Trendspotting: Social Networking – Comedian Dimitri Martin will make you laugh as he discusses social networking. This video is useful in deconstructing concepts of friendship and interaction in the age of social networks.

3. Did You Know 3.0 – Widely viewed video by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod that gives light to the changes imminent in our emerging knowledge-based society. This is an excellent video for framing and introducing the the new reality to students, teachers, faculty, and administrators.

4. Introducing the Book – This comedic portrayal of a medieval helpdesk relays the point that each new technology will bring with it challenges of user adoption and a steep learning curve.

5. Mr. Winkle Wakes – A great video by Matthew Needleman retelling a classic story about the resistance of schools to change.

6. The Human Network – This advertisement from Cisco projects a connected world that is likely only several years away. What seemed like fiction a few years ago, is a new digital reality.

7. The Essay – A 10 year girl recites an essay about the future while her parents are deeply concerned about her sanity. This Telenor commercial helps us to understand how far technology has come.

8. Web Crash 2007 – This is an excellent, very funny video from The Onion that describes the horrible Internet crash of 2007.

9. Five Minute University – This is a classic clip from Father Guido Sarducci from Saturday Night Live fame. The video gives humorous critique to learning in higher education. (Suggested by ZaidLearn).

21st Century Learning:

10. An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube – Professor Michael Wesch’s presentation to the Library of Congress, June 23rd, 2008. The video is over 55 minutes long but is informative and engaging throughout.

11. The Machine is Us/ing Us – “Web 2.0 in just under 5 minutes”, explained by the Digital Ethnography Project at Kansas State University (Wesch). The video helps to illustrate important changes brought by Web 2.0 (read/write web, social web) as content and form became separated.

12. A Vision of Students Today – Another excellent video by Michael Wesch and his group that summarizes some of the most important characteristics of students today.

13. The Networked Student – This video by Wendy Drexler describes an emerging learning environment for the connected student. It depicts an actual project completed by her high school students and provides a tangible example of a well-connected learner.

14. We Think – This is an interesting and novel animation that stresses and acknowledges the importance of social networks in developing shared knowledge.

15. A Vision of K12 Students Today – Inspired by Wesch’s A Vision of Students Today, this project approaches the subject of 21st Century Learning from a K12 approach. (Suggested by Cindy Seibel)

16. 21st Century Schools – This is a video prepared by the Department of Children, Schools and Families in the United Kingdom. It gives a vision for the 21st Century School and features Stephen Heppell.

17. Brave New World-Wide Web – An excellent video by David Truss highlighting his journey to become a connected teacher.

18. A Portal To Media Literacy – This is an excellent presentation by Michael Wesch held at the University of Manitoba. “During his presentation, the Kansas State University professor breaks down his attempts to integrate Facebook, Netvibes, Diigo, Google Apps, Jott, Twitter, and other emerging technologies to create an education portal of the future.”

19. Joe’s Non Netbook – This video comes from Chris Lehmann from Science Leadership Academy in Philadephia. In the video, one of the students contemplates the affordances inherent in digital media vs. traditional media. (Suggested by Scott Floyd)

20. Learning to Change, Changing to Learn (Kid’s Tech) – A video featuring students talking about their passionate for technology, and their use of media, technology, and social networks. See other videos from this group at High Tech High. (Thanks Heidi)

Copyright, Copyleft & Remix/Mashup Culture:

21. RiP: A Remix Manifesto – This is an inspiring, open source documentary that explores copyright and remix culture. Individuals are able to contribute to the film, or just enjoy the information and stories it has to offer. This is an important film for those wishing to understand the battleground of intellectual property as it relates to our emerging generation.

22. Laws That Choke Creativity – Larry Lessig’s must-see TED Talk verifies the dire need for thoughtful copyright reform. Lessig is a talented presenter, and there is much to learn here about engaging audiences beyond the information within.

23. The Most Important 6-Sec Drum Loop – This fascinating 20 minute video explains “the history of the ‘Amen Break,’ a six-second drum sample from the b-side of a chart-topping single from 1969.” The story of this drum loop informs our emerging notions of the nature creativity and the ownership of culture.

24. The Wilhelm Scream – This is short compilation of the Wilhelm Scream in popular movies. Once you identify it, you will notice it everywhere.

25. Wanna Work Together? – This promotional video for the Creative Commons does well to explain copyright, copyleft, and details reasons why one would choose a Creative Commons license.

Influence of Media on Society:

26. Killing Us Softly 3 – Jean Kilbourne’s popular presentation on women in advertising.

27. Dove Evolution – This is a popular advertisement from Dove’s ‘Campaign For Real Beauty’. While the video is well done, there has since been some criticism of Dove’s ownership of Axe with it’s very contradictory style of advertising.

28. Dove Onslaught – Also from Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, this video illustrates the incredible impact of advertising on adolescent girls.

29. Birth Control: Current – Comedian Sarah Haskins has developed an excellent series of videos that take a humorous look at ads targeting women. For a complete list of Haskins’ videos, view this previous post on the subject.

30. Video Games & Sex – This is an excellent presentation by Daniel Floyd regarding the place of sex and sexuality in video games as a media genre. The video covers a brief history of sex in gaming which has been primarily exploitative and superficial. Floyd then argues, if video games are to be seen as an emerging artistic medium, the treatment of sex in video games needs to be more sophisticated and mature. (Note: this video may not be suitable for minors.)

31. Boys Beware – This was an anti-homosexual propaganda film from the 1950′s. In light of recent anti-gay marriage ads, it (unfortunately) appears similar propaganda continues to be broadcast.

32. How Cellphones, Twitter, Facebook Can Make History – This is an excellent TED Talk by Clay Shirky that demonstrates how emerging social tools “help citizens in repressive regimes to report on real news, bypassing censors.”

33. Story of Stuff – This video doesn’t directly look at how media affects society. Rather, it takes a very critical and eye-opening look at the life cycle of goods and services. It is definitely worth watching and sharing.

History of Technology & Media:

34. The Growing Phenomenon of Internet – This is a 1993 CBC report on the emergence of the Internet. It is interesting to watch this early media account of the Internet and to think about how much has changed in only 16 years. Additionally, the techno-utopianism of this report is striking.

35. A Communications Primer – The ephemeral piece is an instructional film created in 1953 for IBM by Ray & Charles Eames with music by Elmer Bernstein. The video presents communications theory that is remarkably accurate, even before the age of the Internet.

36. Internet Power – This is a 1995 educational video about the entertainment value of the Internet. While parts of the video demonstrate the great technological gains we have made, other parts make me question the gains regarding the mindset of the majority of Internet users.

37. How the News Works – This is a short, anti-corporate explanation of how the mainstream media functions.

38. The Internet in 1969 – This is a late 1960′s video describing futuristic technologies that resemble today’s Internet affordances.

39. Television Delivers People – This video is purported as “a seminal work in the now well-established critique of popular media as an instrument of social control that asserts itself subtly on the populace through ‘entertainments’, for the benefit of those in power-the corporations that maintain and profit from the status quo.” The style of this video is just ripe to be emulated.

Social Networks & Identity:

40. Digital Dossier – Individuals must become more aware of the digital footprints they leave behind. This fictional story of Andy demonstrates the importance of understanding one’s digital identity.

41. Identity 2.0 – Dick Hardt’s excellent Keynote at OSCON 2005 is a brilliant introduction to the concept of digital identity, and what this may mean in the future.

42. Social Networks in Plain English – This is one of many excellent Common Craft ‘explanation’ videos. It does a great job of explaining digital social networks to those unfamiliar.

43. Tweenbots – What would happen if you release a human dependent robot into a New York park with the single goal of getting to the other side of the park? Would the human network get the robot to its destination? The video is interesting because in some ways it challenges the techno-determinist mindset that society has had for at least a century, and reflects an emerging emphasis; the power of humans in human networks.

44. Ze Frank: The Show – Comedia Ze Frank’s “The Show” was a year long experiment in vodcasting, full of creativity, humor, and insight. This particular episode (12-14-06) was interesting as he discusses the effects of environment (open, closed, rules) on interactions of participants and perceived security/safety.

45. Rocketboom: The Twitter Global Mind – Rocketboom is an ongoing, daily vlog that has been online since 2004. This newer episode discusses Twitter and the produced thoughtstream of its users, and how this phenomenon will effect the development and understanding of search.

46. Behind Every Tweet – This was a video teaser developed for my K12 Online Conference presentation in 2008. It helps to describe how Twitter can be used by educators for solving problems or asking questions. The entire presentation can be viewed here.

Mashups, Stop Motion, Animations & Short Films

47. Mother of All Funk Chords – This amazing mashup by Ophir Kutiel (known as Kutiman) is part of the thru-you project. The mashup consists of dozens of youtube clips aligned together to create original music.

48. Shining: Recut – What if The Shining were set as a romantic comedy? This was one of the first movie trailer remixes I had ever seen, and now there have been many excellent productions in the style. It also inspired the trailer for my Grad course.

49. Forest Gump, 1 Minute, 1 Take – There would be a lot of skill that goes into taking a movie, condensing it into one minute, one take. I think this video, and others like it, would be a great inspiration for similar student project. See also Sweded films on Youtube.

50. Tony vs. Paul – I fell in love with stop motion film the first time I view the classic Mclaren film Neighbours as a child. Tony vs. Paul was almost certainly inspired by Mclaren’s work more than 50 years previous, and is very well done.

51. We Didn’t Start the Viral – How many viral videos can you identify in this short video (in the tune of Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire)? Now, how many can your students (or children) identify? Understanding media means being able to recognize and identify much of what are youth are consuming and producing.

52. Amateur – Lasse Gjertsen became Internet famous after he masterfully edited this brilliant piece. He claims he cannot play drums or piano, but through careful digital editing, he is able to create an innovative composition. After watching this piece, I realized that new digital literacies occur where new skills allow one to compensate for the lack of the old.

53. Big Mac Rap – You’d think that a couple of kids going through a drive-in would be uneventful. Yet, this video has been seen millions of times and has spawned the drive-through song genre. Creativity is everywhere, even at your local fast-food restaurant.

54. Firekites – What strikes me about this chalkboard, stop-motion animation is that certain elements of old forms can not easily be replicated through new media. The smudgy shadows of the chalkboard add a beautiful dimension to this piece.

55. The Story of a Sign – This is a beautiful, award-winning short film. Other than being an excellent piece for studying film grammar, it also portrays a wonderful message about the importance of carefully framing and designing one’s message.

56. Free Hugs – This video and Juan Mann spawned the Free Hugs Movement. It is wonderfully produced and provides a wonderful, loving message for humanity.

57. Bride Has Massive Hair Wig Out – This video portrays a bride on her wedding day so upset with her hair that she cuts much of it off in front of her bridesmaids. The video was viewed millions of times, but it was later revealed that it was a hoax set up by a group of actors. The event creates an important point regarding deception possibilities within democratic media. See also LonelyGirl15.

58. Sorry I’m Late – This is a wonderful stop-motion piece that includes several videos and commentary regarding the ‘making-of’ the video. This would be excellent for students who want to understand some of the complexities involved in doing stop-motion.

59. Bathtub IV – This is a wonderful music video featuring tilt/shift photography. In other words, these are real scenes videoed in a way that make them look as if the objects are fake miniatures. (Suggested by Dani Watkins)

60. Last Day Dream – This is a powerful short video that flashes a person’s entire life in 42 seconds. This would be a terrific video for a discussion of its style/grammar, or for a discussion topic related to those things most important in our lives. (Language/content warning)

61. Little Bribes – This video for a Death Cab for Cutie song is exceptional in that it uses many excellent stop-motion, time-lapse, and other videography techniques to create a beautiful, coherent piece. This would an excellent video for studying video technique and grammar.

62. Her Morning Elegance – This is a brilliant stop motion video. It is soft, smooth, and romantic, and accompanies the soundtrack beautifully.

63. The PEN Story – This a beautiful, nostalgic stop motion video celebrating the Olympus PEN series of cameras. Two things strike me here. First, we are beginning to see an increase by advertisers as they push the boundaries of marketing through the creation of emotional, artistic productions. Second, the video reminds me of how much influence the camera has on our society, and how it ultimately frames our messages and our memories.

64. United Breaks Guitars – Canadian musicians, Sons of Maxwell, produced a song and music video that described their bad luck flying with United Airlines and how their baggage was mishandled which led to a broken guitar. The song and video is a great example of a digital story, but most importantly, the resulting drama demonstrates how consumers can be heard in the connected age.

65. SOUR (Hibi no neiro) – This Japanese music video demonstrates innovation through its use of webcams as primary recording devices. You do not need to understand Japanese to appreciate this video.

Public Service Announcements and Political Messages

66. Top Chef – Ontario’s Workplace Safety Insurance Board released a number of gruesome safety ads that really pushed the boundaries of the PSA. This ad was one of the more popular (and gruesome) of the series.

67. U.N. Landmine Commercial – This startling commercial brings home the reality of landmines. It calls out for action from those with privilege with the message “If there were landmines here, would you stand for them anywhere?”

68. Belt Up In the Back – A surprising and horrendous seat belt safety commercial from the UK.

69. Doubt – This eerie video was produced by the Israeli AIDS Task Force.

70. Children See, Children Do – This is an effective Australian PSA regarding the imitation of behaviors by children of their parents.

71. Clean House: Meth – This is an interesting (and strangely catchy) meth prevention PSA, typical of those provided by A Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

72. Beware the Fridge – This British PSA from the 1970′s attempts to make parents aware of the danger of old refrigerators.

73. VD Is For Everybody – This is a very cheery venereal disease PSA from 1969.

74. Child-Swinging – This is one of the strangest anti-alcohol PSAs I have ever seen. I am not quite sure why the incessant child-swinging was tolerated even sober.

Cyberbullying and Internet Safety

75. Star Wars Kid – The Star Wars kid is likely the best known cyberbullying event ever documented. This original leaked video spawned dozens of users on the web to create parodies, seen by millions, which ultimately resulted in the boy featured in the videos to quit school and enter a psychiatric ward.

76. ABC on Bullying – This ABC news report looks at the occurrences of bullying that led to the suicide of a young boy.

77. Let’s Fight It Together – This is a well produced video by digizen.org detailing student bullying and possible outcomes.

78. Talent Show – This is one of several, similar anti-bullying messages from the Ad Council.

79. Think Before You Post – This is an Internet safety PSA from Ad Council, one that I have always thought to be a bit overboard/creepy. See also “Everyone Knows Your Name“.

80. Virtual Global Task Force – This is a promotional video for the Virtual Global Task Force, made up of police forces and agencies around the world working to prevent child abuse.

81. Duck & Cover – To think that a generation of children (and adults) were taught that the ‘duck and cover’ would really protect them from a nuclear blast still blows my mind. This is from the makers of “Our Cities Must Fight“, another famous propaganda film from the era.

82. Terrible Truth, Addicted, Pit of Despair – This is a clip compiling three early PSAs regarding drug and alcohol addiction.

Documentaries

83. Century of the Self – This acclaimed documentary tracks the work of Freud throughout the 20th century as it changed the perception of the human mind, spawned applications of public relations, and formed the roots of consumerism. This is an excellent backgrounder for teachers of media.

84. The World According to Monsanto – This is an excellent documentary that looks at the control and domination of agriculture by the Monsanto corporation. The video deals closely with the control and shaping of information, messages, and media, and would fit into many areas of a school curriculum.

85. Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey – This is an excellent documentary on the history and progression of heavy metal music. It is narrated and produced by Canadian, Sam Dunn, who has been a metal fan since the age of 12. It is an excellent piece on the influence of metal (and music) on kids and in greater society. Language warning – and the video would have to be viewed in 10 chunks, all available on Youtube.

86. The World According to Sesame Street – From Independent Lens (PBS), this documentary serves to answer the question, “with today’s global landscape dominated by such pressing issues as poverty, human rights, AIDS and ethnic genocide, how can the world’s most-watched children’s television show bridge cultures while remaining socially relevant?” The video can be viewed in 9 parts on Youtube.

87. Manufacturing Consent – This Canadian documentary, based on the Chomsky/Herman book by the same name, explores the propaganda model of media.

88. Steal This Film – Steal this film is a series of short videos documenting the movement against intellectual property. “Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow called it ‘an amazing, funny, enraging and inspiring documentary series.’” See also Part II and the Pirate Bay Trial Edition.

89. Sex: The Revolution – This is a VH1, 4 part documentary that chronicles the rise of American interest in sexuality from the 1950′s to the turn of the millennium. This video is available on the VH1, but only to those in the US. However, there are ways around this limitation.

90. Orwell Rolls In His Grave – This documentary explores the relationship between corporations, government, and the media. The film posits that “media no longer report news, but only manage it, deciding what makes the headlines and what is conveniently ignored.”

91. Good Copy, Bad Copy – This is a documentary that describes the current state of copyright, piracy, and free culture.

92. Outfoxed – This Robert Greenwald documentary criticizes Fox News Channel and its owner Rupert Murdoch, “claiming that the channel is used to promote and advocate right-wing views.” The documentary argues that through contradicting their own mantra of being “Fair and Balanced”, Fox is engaging in “consumer fraud”.

93. Us Now (10 Translations) – “Us Now tells the stories of online networks that are challenging the existing notion of hierarchy. For the first time, it brings together the fore-most thinkers in the field of participative governance to describe the future of government.” See the official Us Now site for more details.

94. Super Size Me – This 2004 documentary, nominated for an Academy Award, follows Morgan Spurlock’s 30 day journey as he discontinues exercise and eats only at McDonald’s restaurants. While the movie’s primary focus is chronicling Spurlock’s physical and psychological degeneration, it poses a strong commentary on the corporate influence of McDonalds and other fast food companies.

95. Burp: Pepsi vs. Coke – The Ice Cold War – This a dated and relatively obscure documentary that details the histories and rivalries of Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola companies. The classic advertising and related commentary gives a better understanding of the influence of the companies throughout the world.

If there are videos or categories that you would like added here, please let me know. I will work to move this list over to a wiki so that if people are interested, additions and edits can be easily made. Also, I wrote this post in a hurry, so I apologize in advance for any errors re: spelling, grammar, or hyperlinks. Please report any problems that you run into.

I hope these are useful!

Join the Youtube Symphony Orchestra

An exciting new Youtube music project has been announced. Tan Dun, the legendary classical composer, wrote a piece specifically for this project that asks you to download the available sheet music, practice your piece, and submit your completed piece to Youtube. I imagine this could be very motivating for young musicians, and for me, something like this would have likely kept me interested in music (rather than kicking myself years later). Take a look for yourself.

Play your part in music history and join the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. You just need to upload two videos: your contribution to the Tan Dun piece and a general audition video. Good luck!

Living the Mashup

From BBC:

A Capuchin monk, Brother Cesare Bonizzi, is the lead singer in a heavy metal band which has just released its second album. The 62-year-old monk’s love affair with heavy metal began when he attended a Metallica concert some 15 years ago.

Brother Cesare: “I do it to convert people to life, to understand life, full-stop.”

Are you living the mashup?

Edupunk, Meaning, Identity

I have been wanting to jump onto the topic of edupunk for quite a while now, but I am happy that I waited. Since Jim Groom’s initial post, there has been a lot of debate around the term … but I won’t get into that. This post is really not about entering into that conversation. The term resonated with me, so please let me indulge in this bit of selfish, and very incomplete, introspection.

Edupunk Version 1

D’Arcy Norman proclaimed me an edpunk, and I am in excellent company. This proclamation resulted because of the work I did with my recent graduate course, EC&I 831 where I (with the help of Rob Wall) broke a lot of rules regarding course “delivery”. I have spoken about the course quite a few times since it has formally ended, and the question I am asked most often is “how did you get away with that?”. To Rob and I, the facilitation model came naturally, it made sense to be open and transparent. I hardly remember there being another way. Yet, I do not fully understand how I came to see the world this way.

The term edupunk comes to me at an ideal time. It is a term more relevant to me than most people would realize. I spent my teen years and early 20′s heavily into the punk scene, and I have vivid memories of these times. I have met dozens of punk and alternative band members over the years, many of whom are still my rock heroes. This post is not about generalizing what edupunk means to any one else. I am writing because I want to better understand how these musical, political, cultural, and social experiences have influenced the educator I am today.

So, here are the things I learned from punk, and why I embrace the term, edupunk.

Non Conformity - Yea, I know, I am a professor at a University, with several degrees including a terminal one. What would I know about non-conformity? But I wasn’t always this way, I was the kid with a mohawk in Grade 10. I spent a lot of time in the principal’s office. I missed a LOT of school. I had a list of speeding and traffic violations before I turned 17. I didn’t do anything bad, I just wanted to be noticed, and I wanted to be different. Well, different enough to get noticed. I was also very lucky to have been born gifted both academically and musically. I excelled at everything I attempted and my grades were at the top of the class even though I missed a lot of school. But I was bored, so incredibly bored.

And while I could go on and list dozens of punk rock anthems that deal with non-conformity, I’ll take a turn here. Rather, I’ll refer to Angelo Patri’s “A Schoolmaster of the Great City”, a book I read a few months ago. Even in the early 1900′s, Patri saw the issues of school conformity and student engagement.

Many parents believe that this is education. They covet knowledge, book knowledge for their children. Rich and poor alike want their children done up in little packages, ready to show, ready to boast of. They fear freedom, they fear to let the child grow by himself. Because the parents want this sort of thing, the school is built to suit – a book school – one room like another, one seat like another, each child like his neighbor. (p. 37)

I could not be sedated then. And while I have conformed in many ways to trade off the security that comes with this, I better understand dissent in society. And I rebel and innovate when I feel it is best for the learning experiences of my students, and for my own personal and professional growth.

Do-It-Yourself Culture - If I were to use one phrase to describe my approach to the design of courses, it would be DIY. While DIY culture was not born specifically of the punk movement, this is where it was exposed to me. My University gives tremendous support for course design and development. And while I do lean on these terrific people from time to time for graphic and multimedia design, I have done almost all of my course development myself. I am what Bates would call a Lone Ranger. And I have thought about it from time-to-time. Why don’t I just get the help available to me, to produce some really nice course materials? Why do I resist?

From Wikipedia:

According to Holmstrom, punk rock was “rock and roll by people who didn’t have very much skills as musicians but still felt the need to express themselves through music”. In December 1976, the English fanzine Sideburns famously published an illustration of three chords, captioned “This is a chord, this is another, this is a third. Now form a band.”

When it came to course design, this is how I felt. I didn’t have the skills to begin with, but the more I pushed myself, the better I became. I learned, discovered my art, had fun, and witnessed my students learn along with me. And this I discovered in bands like the Ramones, where none of the members were talented in any technical sense, but the band was able to influence the music scene and forever change the world.

Critique of Power Relationships … – For my PhD dissertation, I defined the term open thinking as follows:

… the tendency of an individual, group or institution to give preference to the adoption of open technologies or formats in regards to software, publishing, content and practice. Open thinkers critique, question and seek to reject technologies or formats that compromise the power of adopters, especially in the freedom to use, reuse, edit and share creative works and tools. Open thinkers value group-based problem solving and give preference to tools that enable social collaboration and sharing. Open thinkers actively strive to replace adopted technologies and formats with open alternatives. Open thinkers advocate for the adoption of open technologies and practice. (2006)

For the past 7 years, I have been a strong proponent of free and open source software, and then later, free and open content. As you can see in the definition above, my approach has been to critique and question the tools, content, and formats educators use on a daily basis, and to look for free and open alternatives. While much of this influence comes from more contemporary sources (e.g., Stallman, Torvalds, Raymond, Lessig, Downes, Lamb), for me this is only a reawakening of ideas I first discovered through punk rock.

In closing this post, I am going to take Jen’s advice seriously when she says about edupunk “Don’t dissect the metaphor“. Edupunk, if nothing more, has got many people talking, exploring their beliefs around education, and in some cases, reminiscing of day’s long past. The educational community is much too diverse, as it should be, for anyone to cling on to one single metaphor for meaning. I learned the lesson of community complexity when I studied meaning within open source communities. Gabrielle Coleman’s quotation still resonates with me:

The meanings, aims, visions, and aspirations of the open source community are difficult to pin down .… closer inspection of the movement reveals a cacophony of voices and political positions: anarchic ideals of freedom, “tribal” gift-economy rhetoric, revolution, Star Wars imagery, web manifestos, evangelization to the corporate sector, the downfall of the “Evil Empire” (a.k.a. Microsoft), grass roots revolution, consumer choice and rights, community good, true market competition, DIY (Do it Yourself) culture, science as a public good, hacker cultural acceptance, functional superiority, and anti-Communist rhetoric are but a number of the terms, images, and visions promulgated by and attached to the open source community.

The discussion around edupunk has forced me to think, and inspired me to write. Whether you agree with the term or not, it’s brought you this far with me. Thanks for reading.

New Design High School

This is exciting! (via Paul)

New Design High appears to be a school where educators are implementing a bold vision that moves the context for learning beyond typical traditional boundaries. There is also evidence in the video to suggest that 21st century technology is being used appropriately and effectively to support learning and creativity. This is exactly as I believe technology ought to be used in all schools.