New Media Faculty Dev. Seminar – FA2010

"Awakening the Digital Imagination" – a Networked Seminar

Post source: Applications in Biology for a New Generation

Back before television and radio people learned from books. A book was read by one person at one time. They were in limited supply. But radio and later television information became available to everyone at the same time. With the exception of a few close races we know who are politicians will be before we go to bed election day. “Dewey defeats Truman” just doesn’t happen much anymore. On March 30, 1981 in was announced on network television that James Brady was killed by John Hinckley in the attempted assassination of President Reagan – which was instantaneous – but wrong. But this is not the norm but an exception to the rule. We get our information quick and usually accurately.

Has the television cost our society their social skills. Did reading books and writing and mailing letters make us better communicators. I don’t really think so. We are much more likely to reply instantly to a text message or phone call or reply within a day to an email. When I have received written letters and had nothing more than an address to reply to it has taken me months to get back to that person. This is probably a personal flaw on my part – at least as far as ‘months’ but I do think it takes people much longer to sit down and collect their thoughts when writing a formal letter. Will we loose history with the lost of hand written letters. We have a President today that forced the Secret Service to deal with his need for his Blackberry. If you go to the White House home page to find an address to contact the President you find a link for email. Knowing President Obama that is probably the most effective way to communicate with him. But are these emails being saved. Our history is founded on the written words for thousands of years. How will we maintain our collection in the future. They are collecting Tweets for the Library of Congress – but that is probably the worst thing to be collecting – but it is probably all that they can get their hands on.

Television has had a huge impact on our society. What ended the war in Vietnam in 1973? Nixon? Number of deaths? No – Walter Cronkite brought the war into the living rooms of every American. They showed the war in a way no war had ever been portrayed before. Television has had a huge impact on our society. Today rapists have their victims shower and wash any bed linens before leaving – they watch CSI also. With the good comes the bad – they never travel alone.

The television has been entertaining us since its first introduction at the World Fair in New York. Franklin Roosevelt was broadcast opening the fair in 1939. The American people had no idea what they were in for. For over 60 years the television has been a source of entertainment with Gracie and Allen, a source of sorrow with the assassination of John F Kennedy and the death of Princess Diana, a source of information as Wichita Kansas was the second city in the nation with Doppler radio in an area where tornadoes are a normal occurrence, and a source of horror on 9-11 2001. It has been an integral part of our lives.

Growing up with an entertainment box in our home has force education to take on a role of entertainment to a certain extent. I constantly make references to authors like Jules Vern and Tom Clancy, shows like NCIS and CSI, and performers like Rock Hudson, Michael Jay Fox, and Christopher Reeves. Television (yes even for authors) has made the American public aware through entertainment and I tap into that entertainment. How many people remember the interview with Tom Clancy three days after 9–11 where he expressed remorse over his book “Debt of Honour” where he writes of a 747 passenger plane deliberately crashing into the Capitol Building killing the President, along with most of the Senate, House, and Supreme Court. Tom Clancy did not create the idea of using a plane as a weapon but 9-11 hit too close for comfort. Television isn’t going anywhere, nor is technology, we can either embrace it in the classroom or become obsolete.

Post source: Applications in Biology for a New Generation

Computers were once just machines that could calculate equations. They initially had no role in our day to day lives. This obviously changed and at the same time there was a transition in our society from books to television. Was this the first transition of its kind? – no. If you go way back stories were not read but instead told. People questioned the reasoning behind loosing the emotional input of an oral story telling and instead relying on written words alone to create the image. So as we put our books down and reading became almost obsolete for some, television took hold of our society. Instead of talking about what book they read or what was in the paper, people talked about the show they watched last night or the pictures being broadcast from the war in Vietnam. So has this lead to less intelligent people – no intelligence is not gained or lost by life experience. We do have a different society one that has most recently traded the television for personal computers, tablets, iPads, iPods, iPhones, etc. It is different but is it bad?

Does the computer and the internet stifle learning. Some would argue yes others would agree no. I think it depends upon the individual. Some teachers use the internet very effectively in their courses while others allow it to be a baby sitter of sorts. Some students push the envelope and learn new and fascinating things while others hang out in chat rooms. Is this any different from what other generations have seen?

Students are looking for hybrid courses where they can have the best of both worlds. When sold correctly hybrids have been quite successful. Student use varying forms of technologies in lectures today. I have students who follow my notes and take additional notes on their PCs, others go to Blackboard and make hard copies of the notes and bring them to class, and students even bring up my notes in lab on their phones to reference what they are studying. Students do not want to be bored. They surround themselves with this technology to stimulate their senses.

But one common mistake is the assumption that all students today want the technology and understand how to use the technology. When one book publisher did a study with 2000 students they show that less than half of the students wanted eBooks. They wanted a book to hold in their hands instead – thus my students who make hard copies of the notes. Their study also show very few students – less than 20% – want school related materials sent to their smart phones. They said that their phone were for more personal use not work. We need a more accurate picture of our entire student population not just the one’s being classically discussed as “Generation Next” – because a lot of the 18-21 year olds at this school missed the “Next” lecture and don’t prescribe to the stereotype. We have to look at all students not just the very intelligent vocal ones. You know the loud minority.

One last thought – is the internet providing valuable information? It completely depends upon where you go. I am not impressed with Wikipedia. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can edit that information. I edit chapters in textbooks on endocrinology and reproduction because I have spent many years studying these area. But I can go to Wikipedia and change sports statistics – I have never watched more than 10 minutes of any game even when forced to sit in the stadium. Should I have this power – I think not. We have to educate our students about how to utilize good internet sources and have good internet sense. The CDC is a wonderful website that is a great supplement to use in Microbiology. There are also photographs and information provided by many zoos that helps us in zoology courses where we do not have enormous specimen library’s. The internet takes us to some terrific places, we just need to be aware of its limitations.

Post source: Applications in Biology for a New Generation

Are we moving toward a “Brave New World”? Theatrics has always been an art form just like photography. And although computers have enhanced both forms of art we have to be careful not to replace the human talent with computerized simulations. This article talks about plays with odors as part of the performance and how this idea was dismissed because it was a distraction. Well with the food network would it be such a distraction – Emeril always says “we need smellivison”. Although is sound really cool it would most likely not be marketable and the market drives the technology.

“Tina and Tony’s Wedding” was an interactive play. Are we still doing this? – yes. Murder mystery’s are quite popular because people like to interact with the art form. This is further illustrated in computer simulations. We have come a long way since “Duke Nukem”. We can laugh at the graphics we started with and can be amazed at the graphics we now have on our phones. Interactive games have evolved with the technology but not necessarily for the better. “Myst” actually required you to use your mind to solve puzzles to reach a goal. Today’s “World of Warcraft” takes little skill and less intellect. You are doing menial tasks. Yes it is a form of social networking – but 10-14 hours a day – get real.

A different form of interaction is seen with the “Wii”. Here you actually move as if you are actually performing. It has been interesting to see all of the people who have flocked to this technology. I would be more interested in virtual reality games – with true “virtual reality” technology. I want the complete host of sensations not just the movement and its effect on a 2-D television screen. 3-D is much more exciting. On a more practical note in graduate school we would section organs (0.005 mm thick) and look at them under a microscope. We would photograph the tissues. And we could compare the tissues and see a pattern across the organ. We thought it would be perfect in we could digitize these images and reconstruct the organ on a computer screen with 3-D qualities. We were about 15 years ahead of the technology. Today we can do just that. If only we could have been the one’s to initiate it.

Finally I look at film and where we are today because of this technology. In 1963 Alfred Hitchcock made “The Birds” and everyone was so impressed. Today we look at that movie and laugh and the quality of the images. In the 21st century we digitally enhance our films on a regular basis. We have created images that are astronomical. In 1977 George Lucas made “Star Wars” which was a very cool visualization but in addition it was the beginning of what would become THX the next generation of surround sound. Theaters used to be very large. Today we make them small and close to the screen to bring the viewer in. The sound is now Dolby and surrounds us completely. People even have surround sound in their homes. It is a totally different experience. Where Hitchcock spent his efforts to build the suspense today we concentrate on the technology that will woo the audience.

Post source: Applications in Biology for a New Generation

I knew that Xerox was around at the beginning of computers but I had no idea the important role that they played. My first laptop, many computers ago, was a xerox computer. I always thought Microsoft was the only big computer hijacker, but now I have found out that Apple stole the technology from Xerox first. Of course where would we be today if it had not been for the contributions of all of these companies. Computers have evolved to the laptops, and now tablets, that Kay and Goldberg were suggesting. They are in the hands of all people and not just and isolated part of the math and science world.

The other thing I found very interesting was the role that  they played in the creation of WYIWYG – and for the young crowd we affectionately know this as “what you see is what you get”. These was a technology that we were so excited to see. We could finally make our projects look professional. Before this the fancy fonts and graphics were left to artist and graphic designers. I remember spending hours working on my commercial art projects creating fonts with pens and later pen that today I use everyday typing in Word.

The thing that they did not predict is how we have applied this computing technology to our entertainment. We have smartphones, iPads, and iPods and many other pieces of equipment used for entertainment. We have remote controls that control everything in our homes. We have computers in our cars that are used now by mechanics. Computers are everywhere they are ingrained in our society and we don’t want to live without them. Y2K put an entire country into panic over something that never even happened. It was nice though the influx of money lead to the advancement of coprocessors that was at somewhat of a stand still.

Post source: mccmktg

I’m still considering our discussion/disagreement about “what is art?”   I thought some of Viola’s work was artistic, but I could not quit thinking about the experience of seeing lots of works in New York art museums this summer that left me thinking”this is not art — how did those artists convince the curators that their work belongs in the Guggenheim, Met or MOMA???”  I went in search of some I remember, but could not find them.  I did find this candy art.  It is literally a pile (sculpture) of candy.  Hmmm.

The $30,000 Cameron Park willow structure funded by the National Endowment for the Arts is now complete.  I need to visit it and ponder about its value as art.  I think I will go on one of these beautiful fall days and enjoy the art of the river and park as well.

Post source: mccmktg

My reaction to Laurel’s article comparing dramas to video games is that plays provide a level of  communal activity that is not provided in video games.  (I admit that I never play computer games so that certainly colors my thinking.)  As soon as you read this you might be thinking “oh, yes it is communal — we have online game “communities.”   But is it really the same.  There is something personal about gathering in a theatre and to experience a play.  Furthermore, theatre is so much more personal than gathering for a movie because of the humanity shared by the actors.  I think plays offer so much more than computer games and hope technology will not result in the demise. But has it already?

I found the article most informative as a way to analyze why a play or book falls flat. I could definitely relate to those examples in the article.  When a mystery is solved with information not shared with me, the reader, I resent it.

The Star Raiders article was completely foreign to me since

Laurel: Where’s the Hardy?

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Post source: publicintellectual

Oh, That's Right It's in the Humanities!

It's argue ably not the first approach that we've seen from the Humanities, both Nelson and McLuhan have some pretty humanistic undergirding. However, Laurel makes no excuse for her roots AND their usefulness in the realms of the digital.

It's the Story, Stupid!

Consider me biased, but I think that throughout all of the reading to date a large quantity of great ideas have been given, a lot of these ideas have been tied to potential ways of seeing the world of work and thinking in new and original ways. What has been missing, and I think Nelson was pointing to the to a degree, has been the ability to analyze and critique these stories of the digital age.

It is to here that Laurel brings her thinking and from whence that I think people like Tom Chatfield and Jane McGonigal draw their ideas for their, relatively recent TED talks, Found here, where they begin to draw out some interesting potentials for human-computer interaction.

What's It To You?
Well, to me, it's nearly everything in terms of research but also filters down to my teaching to a large degree. The concept that the interaction between agents involves their actions and also the motivations and beliefs behind those characters and actions is a powerful one. It clearly filters into any number of situations: advertising, politics, history, and even science. The structure of the narrative affects its meaning.

In almost every class that I teach, I give at least one example of how looking closely at the form of something can give us an understanding of how it works. This hierarchy, or should I say hierarchies, presents a method of analysis that not only goes beyond the efficacy of something being studied but also can contain and explore the discussion of efficacy itself.

In other words, it gives a process for both the exploration of the process but also for the reasons behind the processes that is not always available to more scientific approaches to phenomena. In this way a researcher can employ a transmedia approach to interactions that could be analyzed as narrative.

An Example?

Really? I'd love to.

Let's say, hypothetically, that you were interested in the changes in characters/agents that one might commonly call "detectives". Let's say that you want to also look at agents that seem to border on the definition of that character based on their actions, language, or motivations.

Well, traditionally, one would need to do literary analysis on the literary examples, applying film theory to the cinematic examples, and mass media approaches to the televisual sorts. Additionally, techniques might need to be formed for musical, video game, comic, and advertising examples to name a few.

Applying Aristotelian approaches to narratives and ins that we agree on as narratives is not new, but the idea of applying them to non-narrative characters and interactions is very valuable. now, we can compare the driving of a character in a 1940s noir to the use of a controller in playing Max Payne. We can unpack the agency of the characters involved and compare the different modes of thought and ethical questions behind them in a way that more resembles the ways that individuals use media and engage in narrative.

The modern human agent does not really differentiate between computer time and movie time and TV time and Video Game time. it's screen time and needs to be studied as such.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Laurel: Where’s the Hardy?

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Post source: publicintellectual

Oh, That's Right It's in the Humanities!

It's argue ably not the first approach that we've seen from the Humanities, both Nelson and McLuhan have some pretty humanistic undergirding. However, Laurel makes no excuse for her roots AND their usefulness in the realms of the digital.

It's the Story, Stupid!

Consider me biased, but I think that throughout all of the reading to date a large quantity of great ideas have been given, a lot of these ideas have been tied to potential ways of seeing the world of work and thinking in new and original ways. What has been missing, and I think Nelson was pointing to the to a degree, has been the ability to analyze and critique these stories of the digital age.

It is to here that Laurel brings her thinking and from whence that I think people like Tom Chatfield and Jane McGonigal draw their ideas for their, relatively recent TED talks, Found here, where they begin to draw out some interesting potentials for human-computer interaction.

What's It To You?
Well, to me, it's nearly everything in terms of research but also filters down to my teaching to a large degree. The concept that the interaction between agents involves their actions and also the motivations and beliefs behind those characters and actions is a powerful one. It clearly filters into any number of situations: advertising, politics, history, and even science. The structure of the narrative affects its meaning.

In almost every class that I teach, I give at least one example of how looking closely at the form of something can give us an understanding of how it works. This hierarchy, or should I say hierarchies, presents a method of analysis that not only goes beyond the efficacy of something being studied but also can contain and explore the discussion of efficacy itself.

In other words, it gives a process for both the exploration of the process but also for the reasons behind the processes that is not always available to more scientific approaches to phenomena. In this way a researcher can employ a transmedia approach to interactions that could be analyzed as narrative.

An Example?

Really? I'd love to.

Let's say, hypothetically, that you were interested in the changes in characters/agents that one might commonly call "detectives". Let's say that you want to also look at agents that seem to border on the definition of that character based on their actions, language, or motivations.

Well, traditionally, one would need to do literary analysis on the literary examples, applying film theory to the cinematic examples, and mass media approaches to the televisual sorts. Additionally, techniques might need to be formed for musical, video game, comic, and advertising examples to name a few.

Applying Aristotelian approaches to narratives and ins that we agree on as narratives is not new, but the idea of applying them to non-narrative characters and interactions is very valuable. now, we can compare the driving of a character in a 1940s noir to the use of a controller in playing Max Payne. We can unpack the agency of the characters involved and compare the different modes of thought and ethical questions behind them in a way that more resembles the ways that individuals use media and engage in narrative.

The modern human agent does not really differentiate between computer time and movie time and TV time and Video Game time. it's screen time and needs to be studied as such.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Laurel: Where’s the Hardy?

No comments

Post source: publicintellectual

Oh, That's Right It's in the Humanities!

It's argue ably not the first approach that we've seen from the Humanities, both Nelson and McLuhan have some pretty humanistic undergirding. However, Laurel makes no excuse for her roots AND their usefulness in the realms of the digital.

It's the Story, Stupid!

Consider me biased, but I think that throughout all of the reading to date a large quantity of great ideas have been given, a lot of these ideas have been tied to potential ways of seeing the world of work and thinking in new and original ways. What has been missing, and I think Nelson was pointing to the to a degree, has been the ability to analyze and critique these stories of the digital age.

It is to here that Laurel brings her thinking and from whence that I think people like Tom Chatfield and Jane McGonigal draw their ideas for their, relatively recent TED talks, Found here, where they begin to draw out some interesting potentials for human-computer interaction.

What's It To You?
Well, to me, it's nearly everything in terms of research but also filters down to my teaching to a large degree. The concept that the interaction between agents involves their actions and also the motivations and beliefs behind those characters and actions is a powerful one. It clearly filters into any number of situations: advertising, politics, history, and even science. The structure of the narrative affects its meaning.

In almost every class that I teach, I give at least one example of how looking closely at the form of something can give us an understanding of how it works. This hierarchy, or should I say hierarchies, presents a method of analysis that not only goes beyond the efficacy of something being studied but also can contain and explore the discussion of efficacy itself.

In other words, it gives a process for both the exploration of the process but also for the reasons behind the processes that is not always available to more scientific approaches to phenomena. In this way a researcher can employ a transmedia approach to interactions that could be analyzed as narrative.

An Example?

Really? I'd love to.

Let's say, hypothetically, that you were interested in the changes in characters/agents that one might commonly call "detectives". Let's say that you want to also look at agents that seem to border on the definition of that character based on their actions, language, or motivations.

Well, traditionally, one would need to do literary analysis on the literary examples, applying film theory to the cinematic examples, and mass media approaches to the televisual sorts. Additionally, techniques might need to be formed for musical, video game, comic, and advertising examples to name a few.

Applying Aristotelian approaches to narratives and ins that we agree on as narratives is not new, but the idea of applying them to non-narrative characters and interactions is very valuable. now, we can compare the driving of a character in a 1940s noir to the use of a controller in playing Max Payne. We can unpack the agency of the characters involved and compare the different modes of thought and ethical questions behind them in a way that more resembles the ways that individuals use media and engage in narrative.

The modern human agent does not really differentiate between computer time and movie time and TV time and Video Game time. it's screen time and needs to be studied as such.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

RE Brenda Laurel

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Post source: JoMama Meets the New Media

Laurel’s description of the development of interactive theatre tied in so well to Viola’s work from our reading the preceding week.  Along with her mention of John Cage, she could/should have also cited Viola’s work with the rock concert La Mer.  The visual effect on the audience was profound.

I was also reminded of a wonderful play (light opera) presented here at MCC several years ago – Help Help the Globolinks! – in which the shrouded & spooky Globolinks came out and interacted with members of the audience.

When my grown daughters were small, long before computers or video games had made the scene in our home, we enjoyed the interactive books that were popular at the time – the “choose your own adventure” series.  In these books, a child could make choices throughout the story regarding how they wanted the adventure to unfold, and could experience a different outcome each time.

I see the bridge that she constructs between interactive theatre and video games, but if indeed “enactment can potentially involve all of the senses”, then do video games fall short of expectations?  Such attempts seem to have flowered and faded, leaving us with less.  But I’m not complaining!