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Belly Laugh by Yogi

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Belly Laugh by Yogi

Rule Number 6

I spent most of my life ignoring rule number 6 in effort to get work
done. Zander & Zander (2000) define rule number 6 as not taking
yourself too seriously. I would run into people telling me that all
the time, but I never understood how to not take myself seriously. I
grew up only recognizing my calculating self or the part of me
concerned with surviving.  What would have to change in order for me
to be completely fulfilled?

Reference:

Zander, R., & Zander, B. (2000). The art of possibilities:
Transforming professional and personal life
. New York: Peguin Books.

Recession African American Patriotism by hyperscholar

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Recession African American Patriotism by hyperscholar

What assumptions do I make, that I’m not aware of, that gives me what I see?

As I reflected on this question, I was reminded of a daily assumption
that I typically make: the economy still hasn’t hit rock bottom yet
and it’s only getting worse. The underlying fear of losing my job, my
apartment, and being able to support my family creates a perspective
of “survival” for me. As much as I complain about my job, I continue
to go because it’s what I’ve come to know as a means to an end. I
dread Sunday nights, hoping that the next day will be Friday morning.
The underlying fear of telling my wife that I lost my job makes me
think I should only look out for myself. But at the same time, be
willing to take on tasks and burdens too heavy to carry only to prove
my value. I’m only trying to keep my job from being cut and
outsourced, while the news of dwindling ticket sells ignites the
underlying fear of being at the mercy of someone’s control.

What might I now invent, that I haven’t yet invented, that would give
me other choices?

Instead of living in fear of losing my job, I could create other
opportunities by looking for other jobs and freelance projects. I
continue staying at my current job because I assume that every other
company is struggling due to the economy. I have assumed that there
are no jobs out there, so I need to hold on to what I have. Like the
nine dot puzzle, it may be better for me to draw some of the lines
outside the state of Georgia, United States or outside the advertising
industry.

Interview with Ron Smith

Photo retrieved on February 22, 2009 from http://online.fullsail.com/index.cfm?fa=lesson.popup&itemId=32408

What type of technology do the students enjoy using at Hollywood High School?
Ron Smith’s students enjoy finding ways to mix video with Adobe Flash.
How does Ron Smith keep his class engaged?
Ron is willing to use anything to keep them interested, but tries to implement the latest technology in the classroom for students to test out.

  • Podcasting
  • Text Messaging

He also dedicates a lot of time preparing his lessons so he can later devote more time to implementing the technology within the class.
What technology do other teachers use and how does it differ from the technology students are using?
Unfortunately, some teachers are still using PowerPoint, while the students are more interesting in using Flash to create more interactive presentations.

What are the two biggest challenges with integrating New Media into the classroom? Why?
New Media projects often require a lot of preparation or pre-production time.

  • Students often lack the patience to go through the pre-production process and want to immediately start creating things.
  • Teachers often don’t have the time or motivation to invest effort in the pre-production process.

What applications is Ron Smith just beginning to use with his students? How are they different from other applications?
Scratch – Game development software created by MIT.
Google SketchUp – 3D modeling software that allows students to create their own models and import and export assets to Google Earth.
Blender – A high-end 3D modeling and animation software with it’s own game engine.

The software he uses is free or open source, which allows any student the opportunity to use the software in and outside the classroom setting.

At what school does Ron Smith teach? What does he teach and why?
Ron Smith teaches at the Hollywood High School in Hollywood California.

  • He teaches Video Production, Web Design and Graphic Design.
  • His desire is that students attend college for a degree in media production while simultaneously working in the field as a freelancer.

Reference:

Ludgate, H. (Director). (2008). Guest Lecture Ron Smith [Video Interview]. [With Ron Smith & Holly Ludgate]. United States: Full Sail University.

Tiny, in a wheel by Benimoto

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Tiny, in a wheel by Benimoto

What assumptions do I make, that I’m not aware of, that gives me what I see?

It’s time for a little self-reflection. I’ll start with my assumption that the economy still hasn’t hit rock bottom yet and it’s only getting worse. My perspective to survive is caused by the underlying fear of losing my job, my apartment, and ability to support my family. I fear telling my wife that I lost my job, so at work I take on more tasks in effort to prove my value. As I struggle to secure my job, ticket sells continue to dwindle which reinforces my underlying fear of uncertainty.

What might I now invent, that I haven’t yet invented, that would give me other choices?

Instead of living in fear of losing my job, I could create other opportunities by looking for other jobs and freelance projects. I continue staying at my current job because I assume that every other company is struggling due to the economy. I have assumed that there are no jobs out there, so I need to hold on to what I have. Like the nine dot puzzle in The Art of Possibilities, I may have to draw my lines outside the state of Georgia, United States or change industries. It still seems as if I’m in survival mode.

"God is a DJ" by Bala

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"God is a DJ" by Bala

Pandora is similar to iTune’s Genius technology, but allowed users to listen to music without having to purchase the songs. The Pandora site offered users the ability to create a playlist based on music similar to their favorite artists.  Last.fm did that same thing as Pandora but went a step further and tracked the music played on the user’s computer through iTunes. Last.fm’s online interface is a lot easier to use compared to the standalone version. The online version allowed listeners to hear full-length tracks, the standalone version only played excerpts of songs. One thing I thought was great about this technology was the ability to rate songs to easily customize a user’s listening experience.

I’m reminded of my Multiple Learning Theories class, where we discussed the Multiple Intelligence Theory and how it was impossible for teachers to create a unique experience that matched a student’s learning style. Last.fm provided a simple survey for each song, which allowed them to hone in on the type of music a user may enjoy. If this same technique was used among students who are given a variety of types of lessons, it’s possible to obtain an idea of the types lessons that work best for a particular student. Teachers could pass these student profiles down, giving the next teacher an accurate perspective of a student’s strengths and areas for improvement according to the multiple intelligence theory. Students could then help create their own lesson plans like Last.fm lets users create music stations.

CC Buttons by creativecommoners

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CC Buttons by creativecommoners

The second Wimba session was very informative. Professor Bustillos gave an overview of the creative commons license of images audio and video. Since the 70’s everything people create in a fixed form is protected by copyright. The advent of the Internet and new media forced those rights to be reconsidered, hence the invention of the creative commons. These licenses give people the freedom to add more detail usage right to content they create. I think the “Share Alike” license is a direct reflection on how the Internet has changed our culture. The “Share Alike” license promotes people to continue to add to the collective intelligence of an affinity group by constantly adding and sharing assets for the community to use.

Empty seats at the Alliance by Camaal Moten

Empty seats at the Alliance by Camaal Moten

(1) How has the Internet and new media changed culture and institutions in general?

As a designer within an arts organization, I see first hand how the Internet and new media are changing culture and institutions. I just had a conversation with the Alliance Theatre’s Corporate Giving Manager about this topic yesterday. He emphasized how our organization is always in need of finding new ways to use technology to reach new audiences, but we often fail. The Internet allows people to have more control over their culture and creates challenges for organizations that don’t encourage interaction between the producer and consumer. Currently, our theatre produces plays but our patrons have little involvement in how they are chosen or produced each season. New media and the Internet created new relationships between producer and consumer. The Alliance theatre’s future success in gaining a new generation of theatergoers is contingent on our ability to engage a younger audience on their terms. If we don’t meet the challenge, we could potentially become an obsolete institution providing plays that people are not interested in seeing. Today, more people are able to get some the same cultural and emotional experiences by participating in online discussions and virtual worlds. The theatre’s purpose is to provide a place where people with diverse backgrounds can come see a play that challenges their perspective and provide a place to discuss their ideas. Today the Internet and Digital Storytelling give patrons the power to do the same thing, but on their terms.

(2) How has the Internet and new media changed education?

The Internet and new media allow people to engage in more learning opportunities based on their interests. Schools are now being met with the challenge of keeping student engaged and convincing them of the relevance of the information being taught. Students are able to use the Internet to learn only what they think is necessary to know. Media producers see people as learner’s more than mere consumers and use transmedia to interact with them on multiple levels.

How do you feel that politics have changed by new media convergence?

Politics will never be the same. Media convergence engaged more people in this year’s election than ever. Today, it’s easier than ever to find out about candidates and discussion issues online. Candidates that engaged their supporters online allowed them to take ownership of their campaign. President Obama campaign did this best, they formed an affinity group of supporters to hold local events, raise money, register voters, and more. Each day you were provided new opportunities to interact with President Obama’s campaign on a national and local level. The reward became seeing how your small contributions added to the collective whole. The convergence of media created a highly engaged audience that can hold their politicians to greater level of accountability.

Photo by InfoMofo

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Photo by InfoMofo

Have there been any books or movies that have inspired you to the point of action, either to be like people/characters in the book/movie, or to do something creative? What books/movies and what did you do?

I have Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park to thank for inspiring me to be where I am today. I loved dinosaurs like most boys do growing up. I was fascinated by the idea of giant creatures ruling the earth, but I couldn’t fathom what it must have been like to live alongside them. Jurassic Park’s special effects and cinematography told a story that made you wish you were there.

Jurassic Park inspired me to pursue a degree in Computer Animation and my goal was to use it to help people learn. In Jurassic Park, the characters took a research project using prehistoric material and brought it to life. Technology allowed them to take an inanimate object and create a real life dinosaur that would potentially allow researchers to gain more information. This metaphor foreshadowed my future; from that moment my passion was to bring textbooks (inanimate object) to life with graphics.

Jurassic Park symbolizes the potential for Augmented Reality (AR). Augmented Reality is the process of superimposing images or graphics within a real world setting to enhance a viewer’s experience. The actors in Jurassic Park had to act as if they were reacting to real dinosaurs, but they were only digital models superimposed for viewers to see.  Augmented Reality would have blended the two and allowed the dinosaurs to exist in the same space without a green screen. Blurring the lines between reality and fantasy with AR allows learners to be immersed within a learning experience, which could increase their associations to the information.

Star War Exhibit

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Star Wars Exhibition Madrid by jorgeip

(1) How has technology change the division between folk culture and commercial or mass culture?

In the past, folk culture was appreciated among an intimate audience while mass culture was broadcasted to everyone. The division between the two was often defined by the access to resources or money. For example, a local artist couldn’t afford a huge marketing agency to pack a stadium but could gather locals to come see a show. In contrast, a production house might have a multi-million dollar budget and could afford to gather hundreds of thousands to see a show.

Technology has blurred the lines because the Internet allows people to personalize their experience or culture.  Today, a local artist can reach the same amount of individual as the production house because the person has more power to find work they like.  Technology has also allowed people to publish their creativity to sites viewed by millions without the cost of hiring a marketing agency. Now an artist’s creativity can genuinely gain them celebrity amongst the online community. Like folk culture, technology allows amateurs to explore and share their creations for the fun of it instead of for profit. As a result, commercial culture producers are now faced with an audience that has more power to create their own culture.

(2) How did Japanese media companies work with anime fans?

Japanese production houses did not try to strictly enforce usage rights but encouraged fans to share their ardor for anime. These media companies actively engaged the fan communities and set themselves as a moral standard. Some of the ventures led to the production houses actually hiring fans for their creative staff.  The fans and ingenuity created a demand within our market that couldn’t be ignored and led to the success of the Japanese animation industry in the U.S..  Their fans didn’t threaten Japanese media companies; they embraced their passion and used it to grow the anime community and their wallets.

(3) Jenkins goes on quite a bit about how Lucas and Lucas Arts have tried to deal with fan fiction. What have been the various ways they’ve tried to promote their StarWars franchises without losing control of the IP?

The StarWars franchise attempted to offer a safe place on the StarWars website for fans to share their material and form a community. Unfortunately, some fans had a problem because their work became the franchises intellectual property. The franchise also hosted competitions on partner sites and allowed people submit their own fan films with hopes of recognition from George Lucas himself. Lastly, the franchise actively engaged fan community sites and presented guidelines in which to create content reflecting the movie. In my opinion, the StarWars franchise was very reasonable in their request. Unfortunately, technology enabled some people to make fan films that weren’t PG-13. In the end, the franchise celebrated those fans that stayed true to the stories original intent without losing control over the brand.

Watch the videos and tell me whether you think the fan film helps or hurts the franchise and how. What are the dangers of letting fans make up their own StarWars-based stories?

After watching the Bounty Hunter film, I don’t think this particular fan film hurts Lucas Films in any way. I didn’t get a chance to watch the second portion because it was removed from YouTube due to copyright violations. Short films like Bounty Hunter allow fans to take characters from films and develop a unique storyline. A previous chapter of Convergence Culture sites a similar example in which children use action figures from movies to develop imaginary plots, which later influence a movie’s sequel (Jenkins, 2006). Franchises that observe these fan films can only gain a glimpse into better ways to market to their base.  One of the dangers of fan films like Bounty Hunter is that you have to be a fan to appreciate them. A new consumer may be deterred from seeing a movie if the story seem too complicated.

Reference:

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture. New York. New York University Press.

Origami

Photo by  endolith

1) What is transmedia storytelling?
Directors use Transmedia storytelling to create synergy around a movie. The synergy is maintained by developing a movie’s storyline across multiple mediums. For example, the Matrix’s storyline unfolds across console games, short animations, fan sites, online games and cinema. Like Survivor fans, curious viewers can gain more clues by purchasing the Matrix game and watching the short animations.

2) What is required for something to become a cult classic?
In order for something to become a cult classic, it’s world must be so elaborate that it cannot be limited to one medium. Each part of the story must be supported by extensive research, and provide avenues for people to learn about its’ intricate details. The characters must be built upon bits and pieces of other well know characters, and have a consistent element that ties the story together (Jenkins, 2006).

3) What is the chapter title, “Searching of the Origami Unicorn” in reference to?
In the Matrix’s plethora of media, the “Origami Unicorn” refers to the game Enter the Matrix. This unique tool distinguished the average Matrix fan from hardcore followers. In the game, players had a chance to play two secondary characters that would later be introduced in the next movie. A moviegoer without the gaming experience would be left to fill in the blanks, as the new characters were introduced in the sequel. In contrast, the gamer would see the movie as a continuation of the plot that he/she interacted with in the game. The “Origami Unicorn” takes on different forms in order to allow players to unfold more of the Matrix world.

Reference:

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture. New York. New York University Press.