Archive for December, 2007

Cool Example of Student Created Content

I was really impressed by this… a Movie/reinterpretation of the events of the Boxer Rebellion in China.

I’m a fan of Hong Kong cinema and I think these guys did a pretty good mix of storytelling with the fantasy martial arts genre. I remember falling asleep during the chapter of the Boxer Rebellion in my history class way back. I think these kids actual brought more meaning to the event than any old crusty history teacher ever could. Plus, they probably learned how much work it takes to produce a short film and became more engaged with history in the process.

Innovation Tip: Surround Yourself with a Few Sharp and Inquisitive Newbies

Great article from the NY Times: “Innovative Minds Don’t Think Alike”

One of the key messages of this article is you need partner the experienced with the inexperienced and make sure that the newbies have a voice in any team. Looking back at history this may explain the stagnancy of bureaucratic governments and cultures. Ah ha…. but this may be hard for those who believe in a pecking order or the value of the experienced over the inquisitive. It must be terribly difficult to get this idea across to organizations or even professions that are structured hierarchically… Oh, well, they loose out.

Teens use of social media on the rise

PEW Report on Teen Use of Social Media: http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/230/report_display.asp

I was catching up on listening to my “Future Tense” podcasts when I ran across a report on one of the latest PEW research studies on Internet use. It looks like girls seem to dominate in use of social media while boys are more likely to post online videos. More, it appears that many girls have taken on the ability to super communicate through various technology.

Some noteworthy statistics from the report:

  • 27% of teens polled maintained a personal webpage
  • 39% of teens shared their own artistic creations online
  • 26% re-mix content online

It makes sense that boys will tend to create videos that feature themselves; adolescent girls tend to be a self-conscious of their own appearance. However, this idea that their children have a presence visible to strangers must be more than unnerving for many parents. This is a given. The media certainly does their part in freaking out people even more by only highlighting what can go wrong when people’s children have a web-presence. I’m not saying that the dangers are not there, I guess I’m just a little weary of people taking the fearful approach to things rather than looking at what’s positive about the situation and then tackling the problematic and unsafe nature of things.

starwars.jpgI’m just incredibly excited that these kids enjoy creating content and putting it online. They are for all intensive purposes, taking in what they see, re-interpreting it and then creating a product from their understanding. I’ve seen countless examples of Anime Music Videos (AMV) online that attest to this. Also, I ran across a wiki created by fans of the Avatar t.v. cartoon. The fans that create the content on this wiki are basically conducting some form of character and plot analysis when they post information. Fans that participate in the wiki content creation, young and old alike, demonstrate how engaged they are in the content. Why else would they be moved to do the work? It reminds me of my own childhood when I collected Star Wars bubblegum cards (geez, I must sound like a geezer). I had to go to the library and newstands to read more about the characters. There were countless comic books and pulp novels. I remember we used to lay the cards down on the floor and arrange them according to how the the characters were related to each other or when they appeared in the plot.  When we played with the cards we used to have discussions about what we thought would happen to Han Solo after being captured by Jabba or whether or not Han and Leia would get together and have kids. Of course, as I write this I realize that I’m probably embarrassing myself.

Still, even though it’s pop culture it still doesn’t mean that it’s beneath us. If we can recognize that we’re interpreting what we see in the pop stuff fluff or not and then scaffold into understanding other literature and art then that can’t be a bad thing can it. Maybe just we old stogies need to open up a little bit and look at how children and teens interpret the world through the media they see with clearer eyes.

Related Stuff:

Avatar Wiki About Page

Check out the Gamer Rater at Kapp Notes

Rate yourself as a gamer (1.0, 2.0, 3.0 or 4.0). Presented via Karl Kapp’s blog. Click on the image below to get to the post and read more about the Game Rater. You can evaluate what level of “Gamer” you fit into regardless of your age.
This activity was developed by his students, and they did a really good job of putting an old familiar activity (assessment tool or quiz/survey) into an interactive format.

As I explored this game/interactivity, I started to realize that there are some tech tools and processes that I feel comfortable with and some that I do not. I’m getting use to accessing information via small screens, and I think that like, Josh, I feel hindered when I cannot access information online. It makes me think… there must be growing groups of people out there like Josh who will avoid ‘non-connected areas.’ I start thinking of connected people or, in this case, ‘technocrats’ as types of fish who decide to school only in ‘wireless-friendly’ areas.

Are some of us adapting our lives to technology? I guess this has happened with just about everything we’ve become used to including, cars, radios, televisions, and p.c.’s.

I am gadget girl?

I don’t really think so. I do love my iTouch (given to me as an 1st year wedding anniversary gift). If you think about it it’s kind of ironic. First year anniversary is “Paper,” and I was given something that helps me eliminate my need for paper.

I love the iTouch because I can use it for a number of handy things:

  • Carrying around visual lists for shopping at places like IKEA (so I can stay on track and not get distracted by putting too many unneeded things in my shopping basket
  • Carrying around knitting and beading patterns for reference
  • Holding visual maps of new cities or places
  • Proving that I’m right about an actor’s identity by doing a quick search on IMBD
  • Searching for another coffee shop when the one I’m in is too noisy
  • And much much more

But now that Josh Bancroft has been showing all the cool little things that you can do with Google’s interface for the iPhone. I’m thinking… ehhhh I really don’t like this old phone of mine. Plus, T-Mobile service and connectivity hasn’t been all that great for me lately.

Oh… I’ll just have to stick it out and wait.

Darn it.

UK Mac

Heheheh… here are some of my favorite Comedians (Mitchell and Web from That Mitchell and Web Look and Peep Show) in a Mac Ad UK style. I was going to save this for Friday but, oh well. You can watch the whole series here.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZsuNSdEVqo]

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sol2zeR_h60]

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuHGThfbQog]

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_clY2-Y_eFg]

Stand out, nail, Stand out!

The carpenter may notice you and alter the look and feel of design.

I check out the Slow Leadership blog every now and then. Carmine Coyote had a great post on going against the grain. It’s a well known fact that excellent leaders surround themselves with astute people who do not agree with them all the time. Abraham Lincoln did it. The purpose of doing this, of course, is to make sure that you are going in the right direction and to get multiple perspectives. Again, that challenge that both leaders and diverse teams have is actually working with each other.

I found some great documentary clips on the creation of Disney’s Haunted Mansion. The crew that designed and develop the original ride seemed to have an excellent team relationship. They were good at what they did, and perhaps their imaginations and creative visions clashed, but under the leadership of Walt Disney they were able to achieve the memorable experience of the ride (too bad they changed it).

Though let’s not delude ourselves to think that disagreeing all the time is the right thing. If you have to disagree all the time there must be something wrong with the working dynamic of the group you belong to.

[Youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=vzEFQ4idTRM]

[Youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=XHdvZpDwBrM]

2007 Statistics on Technology Users in the US

I’ve been looking for a better snapshot of what technology consumership look like. The Pew Institute released an interesting study which identified 10 different types of consumers of internet and technology. These types were determined by the possession, use and activity of technology assets (mobile devices, computers, cell phones, internet connection, etc.). At the top of the list “Omnivores” (8% of the surveyed) could be characterized by having a lot of gadgets and subscribing to many services. These individuals frequently participate on online social networking and expressing themselves via blogs, website authorship, etc. In contrast, the “Off the Network” people did not have cell phones or internet connectivity (15%)

These types were labeled as follows:

Elite Tech Users ( 31%)

  • Omnivores
  • Connectors
  • Lackluster Veterans
  • Productivity Enhancers

Middle of the Road Tech Users (20%)

  • Mobile Centrics
  • Connected But Hassled

Few Tech Assets (49%)

  • Inexperienced Experimenters
  • Light But Satisfied
  • Indifferents
  • Off the Network

More on technology and internet usage:


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