What endures? What remains?

A couple of weeks ago, several colleagues and I arranged a retirement dinner for my former Dean, Dr. Michael Tymchak. Michael was the Dean when I was hired at the Faculty of Education back in 1999, and I’ve worked with him in various roles over more than a decade. Michael is one of the most inspiring people I have ever worked and has done powerful work in our province in the areas of teacher education, northern & aboriginal education, and in the development of inclusive, community schooling.

At his retirement, Michael told a story about a recent visit to his family’s homestead. He recalled how as a child he would play and explore in and throughout the many buildings found on the farm – a complete universe through the eyes of youth. Now, with his return, the buildings are completely gone, the land is bare, and the farm is owned by another family. Yet, on this visit Michael dug through the dirt with his hands where he remembered the old landmarks. He tells of finding a perfume bottle, still intact, with a fragrance that triggered still more memories. He also found something he described as a ‘heel protector’, a device much more common at the time. Little things perhaps, but things once important, and at the time of Michael’s visit, enough evidence to trigger important questions, “What endures? What remains?”

I have been thinking about these questions since Michael shared them. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you – this is sure to be more of a ramble than a coherent progression of ideas.

For instance, I saw a post recently on Reddit that was simply titled “Life in Three Pictures“. While I have no idea who these two men are, how they may have lived, or the strength of their relationship, the three photos express so well the commonality of our lived experiences, our changing relationships, and our inevitable fate. But I’ll save those topics for another post.

Today, I discovered a photo (source) that made me think about these key questions a bit differently, more in-line with my work in developing & sustaining network interactions/communities.

Here, I saw the metaphor for so many abandoned online communities. This is MySpace and Friendster. And some day, this will be Facebook & Twitter. Online communities face the same inevitabilities as any other form of community.

This isn’t much of an ‘aha’. I assume that anyone who has studied or participated in online communities would quickly come to the same conclusion. Communities are hard to sustain and develop, and all communities have a finite life-span. So why write about this at all?

First, I think that examining the question “What endures?” is incredibly important for educators – and not simply for its philosophical relevance. Educators are designers. We design (learning) experiences and (hopefully) foster the development of communities for our learners. In these roles, what should we hope endures for our students? What will remain of these experiences? And what do we know will not?

And second, for us – those especially invested in social networks – I hope these questions increase our awareness of the depth and quality of our own connections. While I’ve spent the last decade studying and promoting the importance of ‘weak ties‘ for collaboration/cooperation, I would be the first to admit that such ties can be more practical than meaningful, and by definition, tenuous.

Finally, on the practical level – think about your own use and embeddedness in social networks. Say, if Twitter or Facebook were gone (or dramatically different) tomorrow, would the human connections that matter to you be easily rediscovered/re-formed elsewhere? Are your relationships platform-dependent? Is it time to increase the depth and quality of your social network relationships? And if so, how will you do this?

As expressed near the beginning of the post, these are mostly just rambling thoughts. Help me make sense of this. Your thoughts?

Need Your Help (Again) – unKeynote/Keynode 2012

Two years ago, I was asked to do a co-keynote with Graham Attwell in Barcelona for the inaugural PLE Conference. At that time, Graham and I decided to crowdsource our ‘unkeynote/keynode’ and to invite participation from anyone who wanted to contribute to the live conversation. The original call is found here. The contributions from others were amazingly creative and generous, and we both felt that the experiment was a success.

This July 12 to 13, Joyce Seitzinger is organizing a PLE Conference to take place in Melbourne, Australia (concurrent to the European strand) and I have been asked to participate as one of the keynote speakers. I am hoping to facilitate something similar to the 2010 unKeynote/Keynode experience.

So, if you have a few spare minutes, this is where I could really use your help.

The question that I am hoping to facilitate is, “Why do (social) networks matter in teaching & learning?”. To help answer this question, I am hoping that people will do one of the following things:

  • Submit a short video or audio clip (between 30 seconds and 1 minute in length) that helps to answer this question.
  • Submit a single PowerPoint or Keynote slide or image that in some way represents your response.
  • Respond to this question on your blog or similar personal space.
  • Respond to this question via Twitter using the hashtag #WhyNetworksMatter.
While I am happy if you respond in any way possible, I would love to have at least a few video or audio responses so that I can feature these during the presentation. And respond in any way you wish – whether it’s very personal (from your own experience) or something more ‘academic’ – the key question is broad and ambiguous to allow for multiple interpretations and responses.
To submit, use a medium of your choice (e.g., Youtube, Soundcloud, blog, etc.) and send me the link at couros@gmail.com. OR, submit the file directly to my Dropbox folder using this link with the password ‘pleconf’ (this option will only work with files that are 75MB or less). For Twitter responses, I’ll likely use Storify to archive and arrange your tweets.
And, because the conference is coming up very soon, I am hoping to receive your responses by July 8, 2012 so that I can sort and arrange your work in some meaningful way. Sorry for the short notice!
So are you willing to help? Please?

Value of Twitter as Professional Development for Educators

During my sabbatical, I’m hoping to dive into research around the value of social networking tools like Twitter in the professional development of educators (including administrators). Today, I began with a some reconnaissance around the topic.

At this point, I’m still developing developing questions that need to be answered. Please take a look at the conversation captured in this Storify, and I’d love if you could either add to this discussion or provide advice as to what questions on this topic are worth exploring. I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Thanks!

Student Work – Winter 2012

As I’ve done previously (see 20092010 and 2011), I wanted to share some of the best examples of student work from my ECMP 355 (Technology in Education) undergraduate course. These students are all preservice teachers and they range from being in the first to the fourth (final) year of our program. If you have any questions about the work featured here, please comment below or email me. I hope that you will find these projects valuable.

Final Projects: The goal of these projects varied – essentially, they were either of the ‘build a learning resource’ or ‘learn something of significance using the Internet’ variety.

Blogfolios: Students were tasked to create blogfolios in the class as a means to strengthen their digital identities, and experience an important form of alternative assessment.
Summaries of Learning: These summaries of learning are typically a 3-5 minutes reflection/presentation/celebration of what students learned throughout the course.

Student Work – Fall 2011

For the third year in a row (see 2009 and 2010), I wanted to use the last post of the year to share a few examples of the great work that is being done by my graduate and undergraduate students. I am so very fortunate to have creative & hard-working students who are committed to improving their knowledge of teaching and learning in light of our new digital landscape. I hope that some of these examples will inspire you to take up new challenges in your own context.

From EC&I 831 (Open graduate course, Social Media & Open Education):

 Summaries of Learning:

  • Leslie – used stop-motion technique.
  • Tannis – used Glogster, an interactive, digital poster-making tool.
  • Shauna – used Freemind (free & open source mind-mapping tool) & video-editing.
  • Laura – used Xtranormal, a freemium “type-to-create-movies” tool.
  • Gail – used Screenr, a free and easy screencasting tool.
  • Kelley – used Jing, another free screencasting tool.
  • Lorena – used Voicethread, a group conversation and presentation tool.
  • Katy – used TikaTok (a tool for creating books) and Jing.
  • Alison – used Prezi, an less-linear Powerpoint alternative.
  • Kevin – used Knovio, a video-enhanced presentation tool.

Final Projects:

From ECMP 355 (An Undergraduate Technology Integration Course):

Summaries of Learning:

Electronic Portfolios:

There were many other good projects to share, but this represents a good sample of the student work from the semester. I’m looking forward to one more great semester before a 16 months hiatus from teaching as I move toward my sabbatical planning.

Happy New Year everyone!

Open Course: Social Media & Open Education

I will be facilitating an open graduate course this Fall titled EC&I 831: Social Media & Open Education. This will be the 5th time I have taught the course (first time was 2007), and it’s different each time. It looks like I will have about 25 graduate students taking this for credit (which is well over the usual limit), and I’m also inviting anyone out there interested in the experience to participate for free.

If you would like to learn more about the course, go to http://eci831.ca. If you’re familiar with the course (from past iterations), you’ll notice that I’ve abandoned the old wiki and moved over to a WordPress site as the ‘central’ space. If you are interested in participating, see the page for non-credit participants. In a nutshell, as a non-credit participant, you can participate as much or as little as you’d like. You are welcome to attend and participate in our weekly, online sessions where we often feature conversations with experts in the field. Or, we’d love you to participate in any or all of our asynchronous activities outlined here (and to be explained further throughout the course).

But most of all, my students could use your help. Last year, I announced a call for network mentors and I believe it was quite successful. We had about 200 people participate (in many different ways) and who helped, at times, to support, and in some cases, mentor my students. So, if you are interested in participating at all in this course as a non-credit student, please sign-up here on this Google form (this gives me a better idea of who you are). And, if you are further interested in taking on a mentorship role, please choose ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ when you are asked that question on the form. I’ll get back to everyone on the list with next steps via email.

For non-credit students, the course begins on September 20th at 7pm Saskatchewan time, and you’ll find us by clicking on this this Blackboard Collaborate link. The first session is an overview of the course, and how it all works. All sessions are recorded and will be made publicly available.

Thanks everyone, and I hope to learn with you soon.

Writing Prompts (Collaborative Document)

In the style of previous collaborations (here and here), we’ve collaboratively written a great list of writing prompts related to technology & media in teaching & learning. These were intended for the teacher candidates I teach, but I see tremendous value for anyone who is writing or thinking about the use of technology in education.

Thanks again everyone for showing me that this form of collaboration really does work and for contributing great ideas to the document. I now have a great, growing resource for my students when they tell me ‘I have nothing to write about’.

See the collaborative document here.

Call for Network Mentors – Follow-Up

In my last post, I ran a “call for network mentors” for the open graduate course that I am teaching this Fall. The response was overwhelming with over 120 people volunteering to take on a guiding & support role for my students. Last night I emailed all of the mentors and students to help suggest their role in the early stages of this course. In keeping with the openness and transparency of this class, I have copied the email transcript below to give people an idea of what I am trying to accomplish for my learners. I am sure that I could have gone many directions with this, but ‘Plan A’ seems to be the right approach for the moment.

But before I drop the text, here’s a quick reminder. The weekly synchronous sessions are open to everyone on the planet. The first one is tomorrow (September 27, 2010) at 7pm Saskatchewan time (that currently equates to MST). Our guest tomorrow is Dr. Richard Schwier, and he will be talking a little about the history of educational technology and a bit more on his work with online communities. Dr. Schwier is one of my favorite people on the planet – he’s brilliant and inspiring – and he knows the field of educational technology better than anyone. You can connect via Elluminate tomorrow at http://bit.ly/eci831live.

And here’s the text of that email …

——-

Hey everyone!
If you are receiving this email, you are either a graduate student of mine or someone who answered the “Call for Network Mentors” found here: http://eci831.wikispaces.com/Mentors . I would say the call was a great success as somehow it enticed 122 individuals to consider giving my students some assistance in understanding the core content of the course – ‘social media & open education’.

I have spent much time contemplating the teaching & learning possibilities of having 120+ volunteers to assist about 17 students (possibly up to 19 before registration is done) and the approximate 6:1 ratio this provides. At one point, I had planned to see if I could accurately match the profiles of the volunteers with the needs of my students. While that may still happen (see Plan B), I have come around to consider that a) I’m lacking the algorithm and resources for an educational eHarmony, and 2) (and most importantly) I am thinking that a more chaotic approach *could* naturally lead to the formation of groups and supports that I could have never planned had I tried to be more intentional. Community formation is chaotic, but even in chaos, we do find order and meaning.

So here are my thoughts in what I will call for now, Plan A.

As I mentioned in my call, I am hoping that the mentors will

  • subscribe to the blog feeds of one or more of the students and being and active commenter on their posts (e.g.,
  • similar to that of a critical friend);
  • follow and support the learner(s) on Twitter;
  • providing advice, ideas, or support through other media (e.g., Skype); and,
  • support students when considering and completing their assessments in this course.

The first two points are fairly easy to do (I think). The third point would likely require the building of at least some trust, and only occur when necessary. And the fourth point could possibly occur through comments on student blogs or via Twitter. Of course, I don’t want to place any restraints on how people interact, but just remember that many participants (mentors and students) are new to this, so we want to make sure everyone feels comfortably challenged. My primary hope is that we develop some sort of distributed learning community that continues well beyond the end date of the course (mid-December).

For mentors – there is no limit in the number of students that you can help. You may want to choose a few, or just generally watch the feeds and tags for the course. The tag for this course is mostly #eci831 – please everyone, use it, and use it often (on Twitter, in blogs, Youtube, Flickr, etc.). More information on tags here: http://eci831.wikispaces.com/tags

OK, so let’s learn more about each other and get this learning party started!

Mentors – here is some information about the for-credit students:

Students & Mentors:

  • a) I have shared a complete list of mentors with information here: http://bit.ly/eci831mentorinfofall2010 – take a look to find out more about these great people.
  • b) If you are on Twitter, or thinking about it – I’ve also created a TweepML list of all of the mentors who use Twitter. http://bit.ly/eci831mentorsfall2010 – This is also a good way to gain a bit more information about each person. Mentors may also want to use this list to expand their personal learning network – you can subscribe to all, or the ones you select.
  • c) I’ve also created a Google Blog Bundle with most of the mentor blogs (those who had blogs, whose feeds worked, or who had educational blogs). Both mentors and students may want to subscribe to all of these blogs (in one click). It will create a folder in your Google Reader, and you can always whittle down the list (unsubscribe) if certain blogs are outside of your area of interest. Students: I know many of these blogs are excellent and would be great sources of inspiration for the things that you write about in your own blogs. Here is the blog bundle. http://bit.ly/eci831mentorsblogsfall2010

Other students that could use encouragement:

  • I am also currently teaching a technology integration course to undergrad students (ECMP 355). If you are a mentor (or student) that would like to encourage those who are in their first years of teacher education, their blog bundle can be found at: http://bit.ly/ecmp355studentblogsfall2010
  • Zoe Branigan-Pipe is also teaching an undergraduate course at Brock University – she also has preservice teachers. I will follow-up with an email once I get her links. It would be great if we could include them. Update: You can find Zoe’s students here in this blog bundle.

Plan B?:
So, I want to give this rather unstructured approach a try for, maybe, about three weeks. Depending on the feedback (feel free to send me ideas anytime), we can decide whether or not to stick with it, or try something a bit more structured (perhaps, more specifically matching individuals).

Synchronous Sessions:
And, of course, I’d like to invite you to the synchronous sessions in Elluminate every week. The first ones are planned, and can be found here. http://eci831.wikispaces.com/Session+List . Our guest this coming Tuesday is Dr. Richard Schwier who will speak about learning communities – he’s done some great research in this area, and is a wonderfully experienced voice on the topic. The link to join is http://bit.ly/eci831live (the same link every week). The sessions are every Tuesday, 7pm Saskatchewan Time. Currently that means MST, but after the first Sunday in November, we are equivalent to CST. Saskatchewan is one of those rare places in North America that doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time.

Other Communication:
Currently, most of the communication in this course is distributed – meaning, there is no CMS/LMS and the main wiki is mostly for content (not significant interaction). This is purposeful as to create multiple ‘centres’ of learning, each controlled by the learner. Typically, when this happens, conversations happen in a number of places – on Twitter, on multiple blogs, etc. However, if we need a place to centralize asynchronous conversation at times, I would certainly consider setting up some sort of forum (or similar tool) for more traditional, online communication. Feedback about this (and really everything) is more than welcome.

So, I am not sure what else to tell you right now other than I am incredibly excited by this opportunity. I am truly humbled by the number of people who signed up to help, and I do believe we are going to have an incredible learning experience together.

Thanks all, let’s stay connected and learn with each other for a long time to come.

All the best,
Alec

Technology & Social Media (Special Issue, Part 2)

Last December, I announced my contribution to Part I of the Technology & Social Media (Special Issue) of in education journal. I am now pleased to announce that Part II of this Special Issue is now available, featuring nine academic articles and an edited book review. Acknowledgments are made in the Editorial, but I do want to thank, once again, all of those individuals (e.g., editors, reviewers, authors, readers) who helped make this issue a success.

Technology & Social Media (Special Issue, Part 2), 2010, 16(1)

Enjoy.

Keynote: Harnessing the Power of Social Networks

I gave a keynote presentation yesterday titled “Harnessing the Power of Social Networks in Teaching and Learning” at the University of Delaware. Below, you can find the archived video and my slide deck.

I want to thank all of the good people at the University of Delaware who invited me, greeted me with wonderful hospitality, and let me be part of their excellent summer faculty institute. It was a terrific experience!

Five Recommended Readings?

One of the Associate Deans at my workplace has asked me to recommend five readings (e.g., books, articles, blogpost, etc.) that would help inform his understanding of current changes regarding social networks, knowledge, and technology in education. Rather than develop the list alone, I thought it appropriate to (at least attempt to) crowdsource responses from individuals in my network.

So, what readings would you recommend to an educational leader responsible for faculty development in a teacher education program? Any responses are greatly appreciated.

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!