90days since
We begin 724e, Spring 2014

Unit 1- Narrative Media Orientation

This unit lasts for 2 weeks.

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Week 1:
A history and future of digital literacy and narrative media

Week 2: The evolution of digital citizenship, and its impact on how we form and maintain communities, particularly in a mediated environment

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Week 1: A history and future of digital literacy and narrative media

Essential Question
(s): Where did modern narrative media come from? How is its development tied to narrative expression? How has new media changed the nature of literacy? Also, where does our western scientific mindset come from? How did it evolve, and how does it provide the perspective we take for granted that infuses our approach to media, literacy and narrative?

Objectives:
  • Read, view materials related to the essential questions.
  • Discuss with colleagues, reflect upon these materials.
  • Add your reflections to your ePortfolio; this week you will discuss these in terms of "narrative arcs," explained a bit later
Overview: In this orientation week we set narrative media in an historical context, beginning with Aristotle and continuing through to present day. We look at technological and media development as a whole, and trace some of our western roots in terms of the development of key technologies, like the plow and printing press. We then analyze technological trends and consider some of the trajectories that technology and media are likely to take.

We also consider the concept of growing up digitally as the "new normal." And we consider how all of this has changed what it means to be literate as a function of the media in our lives. After all, literacy is the gateway through which we all must pass if we are to avail ourselves of the social and economic opportunities of our day.

Primary readings:
  • "From Aristotle to Augmented Reality," by Drs. Isbouts and Ohler. This is a chapter from The Oxford Handbook of Media Psychology (Editor, Dill). Projected publication date is Fall, 2011.

Secondary readings:

If you time-

  • "Literacy in the Digital Age," by Ohler. This is Chapter 11 from your text, Digital Community, Digital Citizen.
Primary viewings:
  • Connections, Episode One: The Trigger Effect. In this episode, James Burke works backwards from our modern technological lifestyle - which he calls "the technology trap" - to the invention of the plow, which kicked off the modern world. (Length: 50 minutes)

About James Burke. James Burke is a masterful historian who created a number of brilliant TV series, among them Connections, and The Day the Universe Changed.

When you have a chance, I recommend you watch every video in both series; they are that good and are available for free online. They articulate the western mindset in exciting and revealing ways, and explore our dependence on technological invention extremely well. But for this week, you are only required to watch two episodes, identified above.

Secondary viewings:

If you time-

  • Epic 2015. This high quality presentation straddles the past and the future as it considers the future of journalism, mega information corporations like Google and Microsoft, and how individuals can play a part in creating the new information landscape. (Length: 8 minutes)
  • Did You Know, Version 4.0. An updated version of the original "Did You Know?" with basically new information, focusing on how we go forward in a world driven by cell phone technology. (Length: 4:46)
  • School Train. Fourth grade students respond to an assignment requiring them to show an understanding of "metaphor" by creating this piece of media. Should creating something like this become part of our literacy landscape? (approx. 4 minutes)
Advice for watching any videos in this course:
  • Replace a TV program or movie you might watch with the video material for this course. From a time management perspective, replace an episode of Law and Order, a sporting event, a movie - or whatever you might watch - with the videos required in this course. That way you have not "lost time" watching the video for this course, just replaced it.
  • Watch the videos in the course with family and friends! This is a good way to include your friends and family in some of your Fielding activities.  I recommend not only that you watch them with friends and family, but also discuss them afterwards. It is a good way to include your friends and family in what you do at Fielding.
Nearly all of the videos I have you watch for this course are interesting, entertaining and professionally produced. This week you will be watching the very brilliant and entertaining James Burke, who will explain why we in the western scientific world see things the way we do. Friends and family would enjoy it.

Primary discussion questions
:


This week we will discuss the primary readings and viewings in terms of the "narrative arcs" they describe, or the stories they tell. The primary reading for this week, "From Aristotle to Augmented Reality," describes the history of narrative media development. The two Burke video videos you watched also describe technology and media development in historical terms. All three primary sources for this week can be viewed in terms of the stories they tell, or the narrative arcs they describe. Go here to see an overview of how the narrative arc works. We will discuss this in our first GoTo Meeting.

And here is a question that we ask every week: How do you see what you learned impacting your work as a media psychologist?

To help you with this, here are some questions to consider.
  • What is a major trend in media development that you gleaned from this week's readings and viewings? How have we evolved as a result of our media development?
  • If western society is the protagonist in the stories told in this week's materials, how does it evolve? How does it transform?
Secondary questions:

if you have time consider these questions as well-
  • What primary human needs and conditions are present throughout the evolution of narrative media, as discussed by Ohler and Isbouts?
  • What do you think of the notion "digital native vs. digital immigrant?" Which are you?
  • What are the primary elements of the western scientific mindset as explained by Burke in his videos?
  • What do you make of Epic 2015? Will it come to pass?
  • What grade or evaluation would you give the students who created School Train?

Post on your ePortfolio:

  • Your learning summary. Choose from the best of your discussion postings this week, add new insights, and prepare this for a formal posting of 1 page.
  • New links. As always, add any links from this week’s activities that you found helpful to your ePortfolio. 

Do you subscribe to RSS feeds? If so, here are some recommendations...

  • Engaget. An solid source of new media technology news.
  • Massively. From the website: "Massively is a blog focused on the massively multiplayer genre of online gaming. In addition to providing the latest MMO news, we produce informative and entertaining editorials, guides, community features, and much more, all from writers who are dedicated to doing what they love the most: playing MMOs and writing about them for you."
  • The Onion. Home of the some of the funniest yet most professionally produced satire about the media saturated culture in which we live.
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Week 2: The evolution of digital citizenship, and its impact on how we form and maintain communities, and those with whom we share our stories

Essential question(s): What is digital citizenship and how did it evolve from traditional community? How does it represent new personal and social needs in a networked culture? Why did it show up primarily in the field of education, at least at first? How is digital citizenship an expression of new needs generated by our use of social media? How can it be viewed as an expression of media literacy? How do notions of digital community and digital citizenship impact your professional practice as a media psychologist?

YouTube Video

Objectives:
  • Read, view materials related to the essential questions.
  • Discuss with colleagues, reflect upon these materials. We will use the narrative arc approach this week as well.
  • Add your reflections to your ePortfolio.

Overview: Digital communities have come into being because of the overwhelming presence of dispersed, electronic communication that has allowed us to gather in disembodied form - all facilitated by the Internet. This has lead to the development of virtual communities of such size and substance, that we were compelled to ask what kinds of participation and behavior should be encouraged and expected from each other within a cyber context. That is, as digital community members we have begun to explore the concept of citizenship- what we owe to the group, and what the group owes to us. This is explained in great detail in your reading.

Digital citizenship is a concept that has captured the public imagination. Yet it is rather new and still evolving. As such, it means different things to different people. In one sense it refers to the responsibilities and obligations we share in the new community we all inhabit in cyberspace. In another, it refers to our concerns for the health and safety for ourselves and our children as we live an increasingly digital lifestyle.

The phrase “digital citizenship” gained prominence when it was adopted by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the internationally accepted standards organization for using technology in education. In identifying digital citizenship as a standard of great importance for everyone involved in a K-12 community, ISTE has identified this as an urgent concern for society in general. In so many ways we are what are schools make us. As media psychologists, we would do well to understand what our children learn in terms of digital citizenship.

Primary reading(s):

  • Part I of Digital Community, Digital Citizen

Primary viewings and sites to visit:

  • How cognitive surplus will change the world, by Clay Shirky (2010). One theory about our digital communities is that they are borne out of the cognitive surplus created by a modern life of leisure. Marry this with our cyber tools, and digital communities were inevitable. From the website: “Clay Shirky looks at "cognitive surplus" -- the shared, online work we do with our spare brain cycles. While we're busy editing Wikipedia, posting to Ushahidi (and yes, making LOLcats), we're building a better, more cooperative world.” (Length: approx. 13 minutes)
  • The Learning Machines (2010). This interactive site allows users to explore the evolution of educational technology. If the medium is the message, then as you explore this site, imagine the kinds of learning and teaching models that were encouraged and discouraged by each technology. From the website: “A graphic history of classroom technology, from the writing slate to the electronic tablet.” Also, scan The Evolution of Online Education Technologies, produced by Rasmussen College. It provides a quick, graphic overview of this area.
Consider:
  • What does your electronic extended family looks like? McLuhan says that every new technology retrieves a previous technology or experience that has somehow been lost to us. In addition, it flips into its opposite when taken to extremes. More about this when we study his Tetrad.
For now, consider this possibility: the cell phone you carry in your pocket, as well as Facebook, email and a number of social media you use, have all retrieved "old fashion community" by making it possible to be in touch with members of your traditional social group. That is, you can be in touch with your kids, parents, extended family easily on a regular basis. This is also at least somewhat true for your professional life, and, for lack of a better term, your citizenship in terms of how you connect to the communities and political entities important to you. The last time we saw this kind of broad-based connectivity was in pre-Industrial Revolution times. So, the very technologies that are excoriated (or praised) for dispersing families and communities have actually retrieved them, and in so doing, flipped into the opposite, that is, a recongregation of families and communities. Consider this question: To what extent has your cell phone and services like Facebook reconstituted the "traditional" extended family for you?
  • Consider, what is the narrative arc of digital citizenship? Like week one, the primary resources for this week describes an historical narrative arc. What is it?

Primary discussion questions:

Like last week, this week we will discuss the primary readings and viewings in terms of the "narrative arcs" they describe, or the stories they tell. Please go to the Moodle forum and discuss:

  • What is the narrative arc described by the evolution of your onsite and online relationships? No need to be specific and name names! Discuss this generally.
  • What is the narrative arc described by the evolution of citizenship from ancient times to present? How is this evolution a function of media and technology?

And here is a question that we ask every week: How do you see what you learned impacting your work as a media psychologist?

Secondary questions:

If you have time, consider these questions-

  • Who are you close to in your life - personally and professionally - and how do you maintain those ties? Electronically? In-person? Both?
  • What is the value of knowing people face to face to you?
  • What are some of the major changes between the original ISTE standards, and the refresh standards and how do these changes reflect an overall shift in what we think is important that our children know about using technology?
  • What did you learn from the "Consider your electronic extended family" activity?
  • What does Shirky's “cognitive surplus” theory suggest about how human beings can use their time, individually and as a team? How can your colleagues or employees use it to further the goals of your organization?

Post on your ePortfolio:

  • Your learning summary. Choose from the best of your discussion postings this week, add new insights, and prepare this for a formal posting of 1 page.
  • New links. As always, add any links from this week’s activities that you found helpful to your ePortfolio.

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