An Open Access Journal is Born

We have just launched a new, open access journal titled in education. While the journal is set to cover various topics in the field, the first issue is a special volume focused on technology & social media. I was the guest editor of this issue, and you may want to read the editorial that gives an overview of the entire process, and outlines the contents of the issue.

I’d also like to use this opportunity to announce a second call for papers. The theme of the issue was quite popular, so we will be offering a second issue of the same theme to be published in Spring 2010. See the call for papers.

Please feel free to pass on the information. And, if you are interested in submitting a paper, please let me know. Thanks for reading.

Is This Forever?

One of the videos I showed last night during my Media Literacy presentation was the recent “David After Dentist” video. The scene is of a seven year old boy who just left the Dentist’s office and was still feeling the effects of sedation. I’ve posted the video to Twitter, and while most people report it to be quite funny, others were more critical of this scene being posted to Youtube for all to see. The original video (posted below) was posted January 30, 2009, and has already been viewed over 7 million times.

Boing Boing, a highly influential group blog, posted the video on September 3. At that time, there had already been a few remixes. Since the Boing Boing mention, the number of remixes has exploded. Two of my favourite are found below:


Chad (Vader) After Dentist

There are dozens more!

How does this relate to media literacy? During his state of sedation, the boy asks “is this forever?” While the dad reassures him that it isn’t, in the (digital) media sense, it is forever. Whether the boy likes it or not, he is now an Internet star. The scene will likely follow him into classrooms, into careers, into relationships; it will forever be part of his identity. Whether he accepts his fame as mostly positive (see Gary Brolsma) or especially negative (see Ghyslain Raza) is yet to be seen. What is certain is that the distribution of this video, a piece of David’s identity, is no longer in anyone’s full control.

Cyberbullying Resources

I’ve been putting together a few Cyberbullying resources for a presentation to 14-18 year old students. I’ve covered the topic dozens of times, to many different target audiences. Overall, I think I’ve been fairly successful in getting the message across.

I’ve been trying my best to avoid the “checklist” approach to the topic, in other words, I’m not much for presenting a list of do’s and don’t re: cyberbullying or Internet safety. I’m looking to promptg much deeper, more serious responses to this topic. I think that the only way we’ll be successful in this is to have our children emotionally connected to the problem. In some cases this emotional connection comes too late. I’ve unfortunately been called in to a couple of cases where cyberbullying education came after major incidents, including suicides.

While looking for resources tonight, I found a couple of new ones I hadn’t noticed before. First, this tear-jerking ABC News report was particularly powerful. As a parent, this really affected me.

Also, several of these NetSmartz “Real Life Stories” were very well done. Most were done as narratives or based on true stories, and I find this approach can be much more powerful than sensationalized fictions.

For more cyberbullying resources, see my Wikispaces wiki. Please feel free to add others.

Cyberbullying Video “Let’s Fight It Together”

I just finished watching the “Let’s Fight It Together” cyberbullying video found at The video is of great technical quality, and is well done. It demonstrates several ways that cyberbullying can occur (e.g., via text messaging, webpages, telephone, etc.) which is important information for students, parents, teachers and administrators.

However, the video leaves me with two (related) assumptions that I don’t entirely agree with, and I want to touch on these briefly.
1) Cyberbullying is simple to deal with.
2) Policing is a solution for cyberbullying.

The overall picture this video paints is a bit too rosy. A responsible parents acts, goes to school, talks to administrators and teachers, police are involved and then we assume that the bullies are dealt with, and other students are aware of the consequences of cyberbullying. In reality, even if these processes are put into place, cyberbullying may continue and the bullied student may become even more alienated. I’d like to see a video that places emphasis on creating a learning environment where cyberbullying is unlikely to happen, rather than focusing on what to do after the fact. Maybe I am just an idealist.