A rep T o T
8/ rt ad 31/1 yo riana 0 un g
Summary of Findings From June through August 2010, I researched multiple facets of digital media platforms, the civic possibilities they enable, and how to translate these possibilities into effective learning scenarios in the classroom and in the field. My process included four components:
(1) FIELD WORK - site visits to non-governmental
educational media and digital technology labs and a hybrid commercial-goverment edu-tainment center;
(2) CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT - the creation of three online, participatory course plans that link and hybridize virtual and physical spaces as sites of investigation;
(3) LONG-TERM DEVELOPMENT AND PLANNING - collaboration with Fabiola Berdiel of
The Graduate Program for International Affairs on a grant application and preliminary research to create a centralized digital and social media platform for the International Affairs Program;
(4) TOOLS FOR SHARING AND COLLABORATION - use of Lulu.com and Issuu.
com as instant, self-publishing and print-on demand services to disseminate class projects and experimental pedagogies; and Tumblr.com, Vimeo. com and GoogleMyMaps.com as participatory data hubs and media sharing platforms to organize and enhance digital research processes for students, and to share outcomes with colleagues and the general public.
Overall, I found that in addition to focusing on developing course syllabi for my fall 2010 course, I also wanted to contribute towards the universitywide curriculular development by creating a repository for lesson-plans,social media tools and archive of class projects that other faculty can apply towards their specific courses. My goal was to build several flexible curricular components and tools that can be integrated into existing course structures on a university-wide level. I hope that the following course plans and social media platforms Iâ€™ve customized this summer can contribute towards the application of digital learning and social media scenarios across the University.
Fieldwork The Army Experience Center (AEC) I conducted a site visit to a US Army recruitment center in suburban Philidelphia that blends information about enlisting and multimedia entertainment. By spending one full day in the Army Experience Center, I was able to observe the spatial logics, interior design tactics, multimedia platforms, and hybridzed gaming-learning opportunities that the US Army was deploying to appeal to a multimedia-savvy population of potential recruits. The AEC includes free gaming consuls for multiple first-person shooter video games, a lounge area, military simulations and video, mapping and photo displays featuring the lifestyles of men and women in service around the world. Multiple design and spatial tactics of retail, leisure and entertainment venues were invoked in the AEC to simulate a highend, recreational environment that resembled a casino, a video arcade and a theme park. I will be including a virtual visit to the AEC as part of my â€œRepresenting the Globalâ€? course, as an entry ponit for asking students to observe, identify, and critically assess the ethics of adapting the aestheteics and recreational experiences of a luxury, leisure environment to enlist young people for military service. We will discuss the relationship between the design of virtual, simulated environments and civic participation and civic activation.
The interactive platforms included large, touchscreen monitors, game consuls, life-scale sets to simulate missions in Black-hawk helicopters and Hummers, and a small retail section selling AEC branded clothing and accessories. This playful and informal learning environment is similar to some of the effective, after-school learning environments described in Mizuko Ito et. al. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out. But unlike learning environments such as afterschool media labs, community recreational spaces or student homes, the AEC mixes a potentially confusing and precarious cocktail of virtual play that facilitate simulated and actual patriotism, with a chance to participate in realworld heroism. The relationship between ethics and gaming environments presents a rich case study for my Global Studies and Critical Reading and Writing courses, as well as serve as a model of learning that succesfully links virtual and physical experiences and aims to invoke increased civic participation in the game room and in oneâ€™s career. For more field notes and documentation, see my blog entry and Flickr collection: http://mallology.tumblr.com/#777813256 http://www.flickr.com/photos/betterthanliving/ sets/72157624263184783/
The MIT Future of Civic Media Lab I visited the MIT Media Lab in late June in order to research the pedagogies and projects of its various civic media initiatives. In particular, I was interested in Virtual Gaza - an online platform to map and publish civilian reports during the Israeli attacks on Gaza in 2008; Cartagen - a DIY satellite mapping toolkit; and Sourcemap - a mapping platform that tracks the contents of industrial produced items such as an IKEA chair or a garment from H&M. I established a collaboration with MIT Professor Matthew Hockeberry, who is the creator of SourceMap and was an instructor at the MIT Media Lab for the students who created the above mentioned crisis mapping projects. Matthew will be presenting at my GPIA course, Crisis Networks this fall, and will be consulting and critiquing the class final projects that involve creating a new crisis mapping and response tool.
Eyebeam Art + Technology Center
I participated in workshops and met with presenters relevant to my research, and was able to secure guest lecturers, workshop facilitators and embedded critics at the following two events:
1. On Networked Solidarity
Organized and moderated by Mushon Zer-Aviv Discussants: Chris Blow, Ushahidi.com & Meedan.net; Christopher Robbins, WPA 2010 & Ghana Think Tank; and Nadine Wolf, Elecciones Transparentes.com. - Discussion of the role of networked collaboration in the wake of humanitarian disaster relief, and how relief is shifting away from the exclusive responsibility of governments, NGOs and multinational corporations.
2. Open Retail
Moderated by Dustyn Roberts, Eyebeam Disscussants: Bre Pettis, MakerBot; Giana Gonzรกlez, Hacking Couture; Becky Stern, CRAFT and MAKE Magazines, Sternlab - Exploration of the the high-end fashion and DIY industries, and the ways in which open source practices are influencing them both and how newly emerging open hardware licenses might help spur innovation and counteract patent laws. At both events, I was able to gain insights into current social media and digital learning platforms that will be sited as case studies and whose pedagogical and research methodologies will be applied to course plans for my fall courses, Crisis Networks, Representing the Global, and Critical Reading and Writing 1.
New Curricula + Learning Platforms Over the course of the summer, I built three new course syllabi that activate New York City as a global urban research and design laboratory. The NYC sites and site-specific exercises are linked to sites in other global cities and online, virtual communities. The new courses are Representing the Global (Eugene Lang), Crisis Networks (GPIA), and Writers Block Block Party (a course plan that can be grafted onto the existing CRW 1 or 2 syllabus). I was able to plan, prototype, and modify specific project assignments, document and unpack them, and make them open-source and open to participation by sharing them via Tumblr.com, GoogleMyMaps.com and Flickr.com.
Global Field Interface
I worked with the Graduate Program for International Affairs International Field Program (IFP) Coordinater, Fabiola Berdiel, to launch a pilot project called Global Field Interface. We outlined a media and curricular plan to document and enhance the IFPâ€™s ongoing construction, exchange, and continuity of knowledge generated in the field each year by its students. Through this Web-based social media platform, students participating in the IFP will have the opportunity to communicate with each other at a distance, reflect on their practice, share lessons learned, and create a body of practical knowledge, building a collection of theories and practices that can be drawn upon by future IFP participants. This site will also be an exercise in creating learning platforms that hybridize and link viritual and physical sites, and also facilitate greater civic engagement and learning on a local and global level.
Digital Sharing Tumblr - a platform that is a hub to structre courses and to faciliate student participation, and invites students to not only â€œfollowâ€? the course and submit media and participate in discussions on the class Tumblr blog, but to also follow their peers and other Tumblr users, so as to propagate a rhizomatic learning and sharing community. Critical Reading and Writing 1 I created a site to house the student writings and projects of CRW iterations that I teach on WriterBlockBlockParty.tumblr.com. The website archives current and past class projects and assignments, and has been structured so that other faculty and the general public can download lesson plans, fieldwork exercises and view cumulative, selfpublishing projects. Global Studies NSGlobalStudies.Tumblr.com will serve as a participatory, social media hub for students to share projects and organize and participate in events, research groups and projects beyond the classroom nsglobalstudies.tumblr.com Representing the Global I created this course website (rtglobal.tumblr.com) to host a customized Google My Map to archive student documentation from site-specific studies from both physical and virtual spaces. The website has also be set up to be a platform for exchange using social media applications and networks, and will culminate in a self-published, online catalog of student work.
CrisisNetworks.Tumblr.com will serve as a participatory, social media hub for students to share research and resources, participate in discussions beyond class time and to organize, implement and disseminate final crisis mapping projects with the GPIA student community, the larger New School community of faculty and students, as well as interested private and public organizations working in the field of crisis response. In the development of all three courses, I used the online self-publishing and catalogue tools Lulu and Issuu to create and disseminate documentation from my previously taught courses and piloted lesson plans to share with students, faculty and general public, and I set up templates to easily publish documentation from future courses. I also established Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr groups for the courses, in order to organize, publish and make participatory the learning process and final projects for my fall courses. In addition to digital media outreach, I also plan to make my research project, curricula and teaching strategies accessible to the faculty and students by participating in a seminar organized be Ed Keller on how designers prepare for crisis and also by participating in Trebor Scholzâ€™s â€œThinking with Social Mediaâ€? meet-up series. I will look for other opportunities like these throughout TNS to share my curricula and to learn from the teaching experiences and strategies of other faculty.
Elizabeth Losh. 2009. Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-Making in a Time of War, Scandal, Disaster, Miscommunication and Mistakes. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Katie Salen ed. 2008. The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games and Learning. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Peter Ludlow and Mark Wallace. 2007. The Second Life Herald: The Virtual Tabloid That Witnessed The Dawn of the Metaverse. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Jim Rossignol. 2008. This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. Carrie James et. al. 2009. Young People, Ethics, and the New Digital Media: A Synthesis from the GoodPlay Project. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.t Rita Raley. 2009. Tactical Media. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Mizuko Ito et. al. 2010. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out. Cambridge: The MIT Press. William J. Mitchell. 2000. E-topia: â€œUrban Life, Jim - but not as we know it.â€? Cambridge: The MIT Press. Kevin Lynch. 1960. The Image of the City. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Pedagogical research on linking physical and virtual site-specific lesson plans and integrating social media platforms in the curriculum at...