Another week of the Net Mirror, and we have covered some vast ground thanks to our shared reading of Participatory Culture in a Networked Era by Henry Jenkins, Mizuko Ito, danah boyd (Polity Press, 2016) as well as thoughtful discussion, lead by Linda. She started us off with some soothing spa-like sounds, leading us through a brief meditation – just a minute or two to gather and center ourselves. Follow up was pizza and salad…our conversation was off to the right kind of start! And I think it came at the right time because I sense some overall fatigue and a bit of waning health amongst the ranks.

Regardless, we covered some of the key ideas/concepts of participatory culture, speaking about affinity networks and interest-driven learning communities, and we covered concepts like HOMAGO (hanging out-messing around-geeking out). In addition, on the heels of our chat with Howard Rheingold last week, Linda emphasized the idea of restraint, as we all took stock of (and shared some insight into) how much time we spend online…and why, and with whom, etc. We thought some about the ways we learn to learn, and the role that the open web might play these days. We also considered the challenges a teacher like Linda faces in this day in age, as we realized the design challenge inherent in #connectedlearning. In short, is not an easy or simple task to create #connectedlearning assignments and projects for our students. So how do we continue to emphasize critical thinking in such a distractible context? I think part of the answer to this question lies in designing intentionally for moments of self-empowerment while also discovering shared-purpose amongst a learning community.

In addition, it seems our conversation keeps returning to the concern over youth (and youth culture) in particular, and how these challenges are hitting them particularly hard. We are fearful of the implications of their distractibility. And it certainly seems that parenting/caregiving is a recurring anxiety for the Net Mirror.

Crowdsourcing poetry, the humane way (not by algorithm or by data crunch)

We did a bit of our own “messing around” (in the HOMAGO sense of the term) when we played a few games in “Part 2” of our classtime. Alan walked us through a few networked forms of creation and/or play.

We used the power of the network and #connectedlearning to spurn some poetry-in-collaboration.  By sharing some randomly selected words and a concept through our hashtag (#netnarr), we reached out to the Poetryport project:

Through a bit of discussion and consensus, we submitted a collection of random words into the #poetryport form.  And low and behold, from out of the network, we received a poem. But not just a poem. More like a video-spoken-word-remix-collage. A true Valentine’s Day gift! Please check it out by clicking on the link in the tweet below, and don’t be too scared (those are not really my lips moving…):

A #netnarr travel game

The second game of networked collaboration was a bit of a travel game via twitter.

Better known as “Around the world in 80 tweets (or less),” we gifted our #netnarr hashtag with little glimpses (pictures) of our everyday life, and we have had the special opportunity to see how far some of those glimpses have traveled. Far and wide indeed!

This Mortlach SK rock made it to Western-MA, Union-NJ, Peterborough-Ontario, Surrey-BC, Birmingham-NY, Horsham-UK, etc. And it is still making rounds….

And how about this mushroom from Latvia? #Netnarr

Networks can certainly make things travel, and new friendships (and even affinity networks) can be discovered along the way.

Your “to-do” list:

1. A reminder to play around with networked collaborative storytelling (a Net Mirror remix of the “exquisite corpse” storytelling tradition). There is something so invigorating about weaving a story into the light with others!

2. Next week is our deeper dive into “selfie culture” and the question of self-representation in the digital age.  Medea will lead us through a few readings. Please read two different articles written by my colleague from the Department of Digital Culture in Bergen, Norway – Jill Walker Rettberg: 

  • Filtered Reality” chapter – from Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We see Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices & Shape Ourselves (2014) 

We will have a special studio visit from a former MA in ENG-Writing Studies student/alumna – Kelli Hayes. She will be sharing a glimpse of her outstanding MA thesis work which is in part about self-representation in the digital age.

And here are a few activities we might pick up on next week:

See you in the Net Mirror!

Dr. Zamora

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