Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ian Jukes Talks About The Role of Technology

Interesting possiblity of using YouTube for education.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wikipedia: The Good, the Bad, and the Opportunity

Encyclopedias in general are perfect springboards for further research by introducing issues and technical information that are covered in-depth in scholarly books and journals. They can familiarize you with a topic quickly as well as provide background, context, and bibliographies.

Wikipedia is now the most popular encyclopedia in the world. Ranked somewhere around 17th in global worldwide web traffic, its use is increasing exponentially—especially among students. Like it or not, it cannot be ignored.

The Good: Anyone can edit and add anything.
Monitors check regularly for accuracy. Wikipedia is a gigantic radical worldwide collaboration, a brilliant postmodern social experiment in community writing. It’s a great place to find information on popular culture and technology issues. To me it’s like Google Digest, collected and summarized in one place.

It’s a community where controversy and discussions can and do occur regularly, but where being kind to newbies is a core value. Run almost entirely by thousands of volunteers, it’s very high-minded and democratic. And, I love the slogan: Be Bold.

The Bad: Anyone can edit and add anything.
Vandalism occurs. Errors and omissions are routine. There are huge areas where coverage is lacking, most notably to me within all areas of fine arts. It is not necessarily or even usually authoritative. You likely don’t even know who wrote or edited an entry.

The Opportunity: Anyone can edit and add anything.
So if there’s very little about fine arts, and if most of the editors aren’t knowledgeable, and if it’s so popular, then why don’t we chip in? Sure, it’s a lot of work. Sure our contributions won’t get us any acclaim. But, in my case (as a librarian), I spend a great deal of time creating pathfinders and help sheets to direct students. How many Otis students actually use the sites I create? If I posted that same info on Wikipedia, how many students would I reach?

Under the heading of “If you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em,” here a really radical idea. Students spend lots of time in art history classes researching and writing about artists. Why not ask them post their writing on Wikipedia. A major benefit could be what they would learn about information literacy by doing this, namely about authorship and authority of published web materials. It’s also possible that they would feel pleased at being able to contribute. After all, their generation is dependent on social software applications. And, they might be more careful in their writing if they knew it was for publication and review by the world. Remember, “Be Bold.”

Further Reading
"Can Wikipedia Conquer Expertise?" by Stacy Schiff from the July '06 New Yorker.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

YouTube, Social Software and the Net Gen

I’ve tried MySpace and I have to admit that I just don’t find it that interesting. However, I recently discovered YouTube and it’s really fascinating.

Did you see the article in the LA Times on Monday—the one about the young receptionist who was recently offered a HUGE deal by MTV's DJ Carson Daly? “Brooke "Brookers" Brodack is a twenty year old female whose music video parodies have earned her fame among the YouTube community and a development contract from Carson Daly, the host of a late night show on NBC. She is believed to be the first previously unknown talent to be discovered by Hollywood through YouTube.” (Wikipedia)

YouTube is a major internet phenomenon. “In April 2006, 35,000 new videos were uploaded to YouTube daily. The total viewership has been estimated to be in the millions, with 30 million clips watched daily.”(Wikipedia). The LA Times says that YouTube is ranked #18 is daily worldwide web traffic.

Wikipedia, another internet phenonomen describes You Tube as: “a website that allows users to upload, view, and share video clips. It was founded in February 2005 by three early employees of PayPal. YouTube uses Flash to serve its content, which includes movie and TV show clips, music videos, and homemade videos. Video feeds of YouTube videos can also be easily embedded on blogs and other websites. YouTube prohibits the posting of copyrighted video, but such material is in abundance.“ Although Wikipedia has been recently hotly debated by librarians related to its reliability as an academic source, it is actually the best place to go for very current techno information. Wikipedia is also “social software” and allows anyone to upload content. It is rated a top “research” site by the Net Gen.

One of the most popular videos viewed on YouTube is by Gary Brolsma, now considered an internet phenomenon it itself. Brolsma spoofed the Rumanian band Ozone’s song, “Dragostea din Tei” (aka Numa Numa). It simply shows him happily dancing in his seat in front of his computer. He became so “famous” that he made appearances on ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's The Tonight Show and VH1's Best Week Ever. His video went up on the Internet in early 2005 and since then, there have been over 2,000 video spoofs on this one song uploaded to YouTube, many of them spoofing Gary. Brooke also spoofed him with her recent video which has been viewed 1.4 million times since October. In it, she make the request to stop spoofing the Numa song. You can read all about it on Wikipedia: and find links to all these videos.

A related issue: You may be aware of the phenomenon of music mashups, aka “bastard pop,” a musical genre which combines the music and vocals from completely different genres. At YouTube you can find many examples of video mashups.. Take a look at the “10 Commandments Trailer” re-cut to rap music as a high-school feel-good romantic comedy. (It’s been viewed well over a million times.)

In our role as educators, how are we ever to effectively address issues of copyright and ethics with all these issues in the mix?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Original Numa Numa Video

Original spoof video created by Gary Brolsma and reported on in the NY Times, Feb. 26, 2995
This is the video from YouTube by the 20-year old girl that was written about in the LA Times on June 19, 2006.