the bloggerati

A recent Google Alert of my name pointed me to a very well-written description of the plenary discussion on remixing at this year’s MiT5 conference here at MIT.

The careful description and summary of my presentation brought joy to my heart! It’s so difficult to take notes at these things, especially if the information is new and you’re simultaneously listening, thinking, and writing. Yes, I realize we’re in a multitasking world but having tried many times to truly capture someone’s talk the first time I see them present, I know it’s so hard to get it right.

The blogger here does a great job of reporting the points of my own part of the panel, and for that I am grateful. I’ve learned over the years that when you’re given 10 minutes to speak, you can only make one serviceable take-home point. The fact that this blogger picked up the argument that our concept of “new media literacies” really borrows from and expands on research in the “new literacy studies” in which we focus on meaning-making as a process more complex than simple “functional” literacies–that was awesome. I’ve made that point in a lot of spaces and places and haven’t seen anyone reappropriate it better.

On another note, I spent last week in Santa Monica, California as a guest of the Digital Kids project at USC and Berkeley (Peter Lyman and Mimi Ito are the P.I.s). I saw some amazing presentations on works-in-progress from the USC and Berkeley teams. In addition, I shared some of the work we’re doing here on NML at MIT and spent a good amount of time talking with Katie Salen (gameLab and Parsons, NYC), Nichole Pinkard (U of Chicago), and John Seely Brown. It was overwhelmingly cool to hear their thoughts on all the work being done in these areas of media, literacy, and learning. A few notes…

Mimi’s work on two sites of fan-based participation: anime based music videos (AMVs) and non-japanese fans translating and subtitling anime for use by fans. Right now she’s coding the data and was asking us for help developing normative categories. We had a great conversation about methodologies w/r/t literacy research (I’m bottom-up, she’s top-down, to put it briefly) and the data she’s got is amazingly rich. I was excited to get to see a glimpse of it.

Danah Boyd is continuing her great work on MySpace and teenagers’ online practices. I heard a bit more about her observations of kids’ “reciprocity games” online, in the sense that they post, tag, text, and status-message each other to death as new forms of communicating with one another.

Katie Salen, my model for all things brilliant and cool, also presented her work on the game she’s developing for the MacArthur Foundation. It’s a great gameworld that essentially teaches kids to think and act like game designers. I hope to work with her more on this, especially since my work centers on the writing processes of game designers. It would be cool for us to develop some writing curricula around the game, too.

Sarita Yardi (Georgia Tech) and Dan Perkel (Berkeley) are also doing some cool projects re: collaboration online. Some themes that came up during their talk were: social relationships; appropriation of media, ideas, characters, products; ownership and credit; formal vs. informal collaboration; evolving particular social dynamics; situated in particular places and preexisting social relationships; and social and collaborative creativity.

There was plenty more to comment on but for the most part, it was incredibly heartening to see such good work in these areas. I see a lot of presentations and read a lot of snippets of folks doing research in the areas of media, learning, and literacy, but it’s been a while since I’ve encountered a group of people whose work is truly innovative.

And now, back to the grindstone at MIT, where we’re in the last week of school! The sun is out, the Boston construction is in full-swing, and everyone seems to want ice cream. I’m looking forward to my first full summer here.

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