Welcome to the one place where EMAC is Whack!

"Attack of the EMAC" is Kevin Sharpe's class blog for EMAC 6300: Introduction to the Study of Emerging Media and Communications at the University of Texas, Dallas. He is an educational marketing manager and runs the Newspaper in Education program at The Dallas Morning News.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Why we need a Good "Open-source-keeping" Seal of Approval

Jaron Lanier’s addresses concerns regarding online collectivism in his essay “Digital Maoism” and the risks of sharing knowledge from open sources such as Wikipedia. Moving forward – as more and more resources are developed through open source contributions – perhaps some type of “digital reputation” needs to be developed that reflects a source’s reliability, experience and authenticity. Rather than depending on a democratic approach that might be driven by subjectivity, an objective score could be used to weigh in the credibility of a contribution based on the contributors reputation.

This basic approach similar to this concept is already used online in a simpler manner that isn’t based on complex calculations. EBay allows shoppers to share their experiences so others can determine whether or not a seller is reliable and able to make good on their products or services. Couch Surfing doesn’t use calculations to report a user’s reputation, but transparency and references from other users are documented and available for review. Spam blockers have also been using this type of “digital reputation” in order to determine whether or not an email is spam.

Credit ratings are a similar concept that might make a good model to start some type of “Good Open Sourcekeeping Seal of Approval.” However; since one source might be a master at one topic or area of expertise, that same contributor could be unreliable in many other subjects, skills or abilities. A digital credibility rating needs to factor those variances in order to calibrate some type of score that fluctuates based on topic, purpose and objective. Registration and authentication would be required. A plug-in or some other type of application would need to track and measure that user’s contributions, collaborations and feedback in order to calculate and post scores.

Rather than being “driven by democracy,” open source sites would qualify and share contributions based on this type of digital reputation. Updates and revisions as well as overrides and objections would be automated and objectively calculated rather than based on popularity, politics or subjectivity.

UPDATE: The New York Times published an editorial the day after this posting regarding ways sites are addressing "trolls" who are abusing anonymity. Two specifics mentioned that are relevant to this topic.

One application used by Disqus allows ...
"users to rate one another’s comments and feed those ratings into a global reputation system called Clout. Moderators can use a commenter’s Clout score to 'help separate top commenters from trolls.'"

The editorial also describes an approach used by Gizmodo.

The technology blog Gizmodo is trying an audition system for new commenters, under which their first few comments would be approved by a moderator or a trusted commenter to ensure quality before anybody else could see them. After a successful audition, commenters can freely post. If over time they impress other trusted commenters with their contributions, they’d be promoted to trusted commenters, too, and their comments would henceforth be featured.

While these approaches focus on just "commenting," it illustrates there are opportunities to utilize this kind of concept to develop and track some type of "digital reputation" system.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How to bridge the generational divide in the classroom

“Don't even try to keep up with technology,” said a middle school girl recently to a group of teachers. “You'll only look stupid.”

That’s a student quote educational technology consultant Marc Prensky mentions in his article, “On Being Disrespected,” published in the October 2006 edition of “Educational Leadership.” It’s a pretty good way to illustrate the generational “digital divide” N. Katherine Hayles references in “Hyper and Deep Attention: The Generational Divide in Cognitive Modes.”

Prensky illustrates some of the cultural attitudes occurring between generations in regards to technology as well as emerging educational approaches. Older generations demonstrate a lack of respect toward the educational benefits to digital devices and media -- especially video games.
“One high school student reported to me that his parents told him, ‘Your computer games are a total waste of your time, money, and brain cells.’ Given that this student spends a lot of time playing these games, which are often more challenging than his schoolwork, and that he is proud of succeeding at them, this comment reflects enormous disrespect. The kid was pretty hurt by it.”

On the other hand, Prensky also references a type of “digital elitism” reflected by younger generations toward adults. He states that many students see their teachers as being digitally illiterate – “and they disrespect them for it.”

Prensky – author of the 2001 book “Digital Game-Based Learning,” and the 2005 book “Don’t Bother Me Mom – I’m Learning!” – travels around the world talking to educators about how to address the generational divide in classrooms in regards to the use of technology in schools.

While Hayles examines “Generation M,” Prensky explores the cultural and pedagogical differences between “Digital Natives” and “Digital Immigrants”

Today’s students are “natives” who were born in this digital age while their teachers – like immigrants who physically and geographically leave one world behind and inhabit a new society that requires them to learn a new language and practice new customs. Prensky says "Digital Immigrants" posses a type of “accent,” that is “their foot in the past.” For example, he points out that one “accent” is how Digital Immigrants print out emails and find comfort in creating “paper trails” of their digital documents.

During the first decade of the 21st Century, educators who are Digital Immigrants have been resistant to integrate technology into their teaching strategies, let alone transition from “deep attention” approaches to “hyper-attention” techniques.

These “old school teachers” internalize their educational style and insist that traditional instructional methods that worked for them should be good enough for the students they teach. However, their stubbornness toward embracing digital strategies an emerging technology out of principle and respect for traditional approaches more than likely masks their insecurities regarding their “digital illiteracy.”

Schools are throwing dynamic hardware into classrooms in order to tangibly demonstrates to parents that students are being exposed to 21st century technology. Teachers – on the other hand – are not being taught how to integrate these tools into their teaching strategies. Professional development covers how to “turn it on and off,” and then teachers are expected to go out and “use the stuff.” No time is spent exploring educational features and benefits as well as the diverse approaches that can be developed through these new devices.

Perhaps one of the best ways to help bridge the generational divide in cogitative modes between teachers (Digital Immigrants) and their students (Digital Natives) would be for districts to develop professional development programs for teachers that embrace 21st Century instructional strategies that focus on “hyper-attention.” As it stands in most cases, traditional instructional strategies are being used to show teachers how to use emerging technology. It should be a digitally immersive program that abandons the classroom environment and integrates multi-media, social media and networking, game-based instruction structures as well as other types of distance learning strategies.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Power of the Podcast in Education and its Impact on Intellectual Property

Case Study Presentation:
Oct. 20, 2010

This instructional presentation will introduce several concepts of open education and emerging distance learning strategies that incorporate Web 2.0 technology and principles. The integration of podcasting as an instruction technique will be demonstrated.
Desired outcome:
Audience will be able to envision emerging educational environments that embrace open education resources including podcasts posted on Teacher Tube and ITunes University.
Instructional Strategy:
Set Induction-direct recall and prior knowledge from class assignment - specifically “Information Feudalism’s” final chapter (Chapter 14 - On the Importance of the Publicness of Knowledge) and its focus on the relationship between intellectual properties and universities.
Key Terms and Concepts:
* Paid online learning institutions
* Open education resources (wikis, open textbooks, learning management systems, 2.0 classrooms that utilize social networking concepts)
* Podcasts
* Teacher Tube
* iTunes University
Discussion Prompts:
* What are some of the educational benefits to incorporating podcasting into the instructional strategies?
* What conflicts might occur from educational postcasting that could impact intellectual property as well as education?
* How will educational podcasting impact/shape the future of the educational system?


What I WON'T be discussing during my CASE STUDY this week...

Happy Open Access Week!

To celebrate, here are some of the topics I want WILL NOT be discussing on Wednesday, 10/20/10 in EMAC6300 since there's just so much out there that covers, supports and/or expands on the topics covered in this week's look at shifting models of ownership as covered in "Information Feudalism: Who Owns the Knowledge Economy?" by Peter Drahos and John Braithwaite and in the video, "Steal this Film II."

I WON'T be talking about Creative Commons and one of its founders, Larry Lessig. I WON'T be talking about their efforts to launch Creative Commons licenses as a 21st approach to protecting -- as well as sharing -- intellectual property.

While I WON'T be talking about "Open Culture" and the most up-to-date concepts and issues as it relates to intellectual property, I WILL be focusing on some examples of Open Education and how intellectual property is impacted by some Web 2.0 Open Educational Resources.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Strategies to ‘kicking the ladder’ out from under corporate culture

One of the seven concepts Manuel Castells introduces as a significant consequence of the emergence of networks that integrate communication and information is the impact it has on rigid vertical bureaucracies. Could there be an end to the corporate ladder and organizations based on silos and top-down command-and-control cultures?

Transitioning from ladders to networks is certainly a dynamic cultural undertaking that is impacted by generational challenges and resistance. There’s been some significant research exploring organizational networks by mapping relationships and tracking interaction.

Those who climb corporate ladders – such as experienced managers and leaders – will have a tough time embracing organic and unpredictable network approaches to organization, especially when they’re on top. If it’s not broke, why fix it, right? The biggest objection might be concern regarding accountability. Who gets promoted when someone succeeds? Who gets sacked when someone fails? Those issues will need to be addressed and somehow resolved when persuading such a dynamic conversion.

While the impact of networks can be graphically communicated, results will need to be illustrated as well. Embracing networking should be positioned as a way to generate innovation within an organization. Change agents will need an understanding of the benefits of allowing diverse talent and resources to collaborate outside their traditional silos and how it will create relationships that go beyond maintenance mode.

As Castells points out, networks constantly reconfigure themselves as a response strategy in order to resolve issues or develop innovation. The constant change disrupts traditional organization and challenges the existing corporate culture – especially when leaders see for themselves that their value might be in question.

Skeptics resistant to a network approach to their organization’s structure need to understand their role in terms that integrate traditional concepts of the corporate culture they have embraced. Their value needs to be clearly defined and illustrated as well as the impact of driving innovation.

In order to inspire leaders to embrace such bold approaches, it should be clear that there’s an emotional investment needed to make the switch – trust. Accountability was mentioned earlier as being a major cause for concern. When a considerable amount of control and power -- as well as accountability -- shifts to networks, trust must be factored into the system.

Perhaps in a network-driven culture, accountability means dissolving teams and restricting networks rather than eliminating and replacing talented and experienced resources as a reaction to failure. It should also be pointed out that success doesn't always deliver promotions since the silo approach requires acquisition of new resource, which means effort and possible risk.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Modern Media vs. New Media in a Post-Industrial Age

The impact of Industrial Revolution principles on Modern Media is explored by Lev Manovich in his 2001 book, The Language of New Media. Manovich illustrates how Modern Media “follows the logic of the factory” that was first developed in the nineteenth century when a new organization of production – the factory system – replaced artisan labor. He then contends that as New Media emerges, industrial standardation is reverting back to customization that was common prior to the launch of the Industrial Revolution.

Artisan Laborers versus Factory Workers

The advent of the assembly line introduced two key concepts of industrialization: First, the standardization of parts; and two, a breakdown of the production process based on simple repetition and sequential activities.

Artisans who possessed a holistic vision and ownership of a product were replaced by assembly line workers who could be easily replaced since they were not required to master an entire process in order to produce.

Manovich explains how Modern Media – particularly movie, television and animation production studios – remediated industrial concepts. He then states, “New Media… follows a quite different logic of post-industrial society – that of industrial customization rather than mass standardization.”

Customization versus Standardization

His vision of New Media evolved into a post-industrial culture where artisan labor returns and replaces factory workers and assembly line production. However; as far as production is concerned – some significant “standardization” – rather than “customization” has emerged. As a matter of fact, this standardization of New Media production elements actually emboldens the return of holistic artisian workers who are replacing simplistic factory workers.

The emergence of standard production tools such as hardware (laptops versus netbooks versus smart phones), software (Microsoft Office versus Google Docs) and applications (WordPress versus Blogger) – as well as platforms (YouTube versus Flickr, Facebook versus Twitter) -- are now universal. These competitive brands and devices share standard interfaces in order to make the user experience intuitive and familiar.

Workers in an industrial environment –like Modern Media – are expected to be specialists. To succeed in New Media, these artisan laborers must be generalists familiar with multiple processes, phases and tools. For example, traditional print journalists from Modern Media transitioning into the world of New Media must be able to conceptualize and produce the visual elements – as well as the verbal. They become their own typesetters and press operators – let alone editors, graphic designers and camera operators – who can independently upload text and images plus digitally publish, market and promote their packages.

Consumers versus Producers

The “mass” transition from Modern Media to New Media would not be as dynamic if it were not for the standardization of New Media applications – from interfaces to coding language and user tools. As the standardization of digital platforms and tools become main-stream, the individual customization that Manovich declares is common in the New Media culture will be based on “how” and “when” consumers will “access” and “experience” New Media. The same holds true for “how” and “when” producers will “develop” and “launch” their packages.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Following up to my AC Advocacy!

After my last post about the impact of air conditioning on sun belt culture and community, I remembered an argument I made in spring 2010 about the new AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas. I alluded to air conditioning, but did not make an obvious connection regarding how AC can be attributed to the lack of any type of street-life outside in the heat heart of the PAC.

I wanted to be sure I offered a solution and not just blame. Rather than get all preachy and say how weak Dallasites are about the heat and how AC has spoiled us, I just wanted to point out an opportunity to impact the culture.

It's another example that demonstrates how AC has impacted our infrastructure here in the heat heart of the sun belt!

Consumer demand requires these cultural centers to include parking solutions since the automobile is a "driving" factor in a culture like Dallas where the car is king. While the overall approach to the center's design embraced underground parking in order to prevent any significant type of unappealing impact on the architectural aesthetics, the consequence of this "door-to-door" air conditioning challenge has been an absence of any vibrant street life as well as any sense of community.

Short of suggesting Dallas puts the new AT&T PAC inside a bubble and pump in sweet AC, I attempt to motivate and inspire others to act.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Keeping Cool is the Message ...

Video response to reading is here...

Here's some more insight into the concept I introduced in the video.

The clip I mentioned regarding the 1990 Barry Levinson movie "Avolon" starring Elijah Wood is here. Just after the scene with the parade circus, is a demonstration of the point.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Totally off topic: I NEED YOUR VOTE!!!

Help!!!!! I need your vote!
I'm a finalist in a video contest here in Dallas!!!! They're accepting votes now! Please please please please vote for #13 - Kevin Sharpe "DFW DART Dude at Dealy Plaza the Day After Snow Storm" Please spread the word! THIS IS SERIOUS!!!! Major Dallas Celebrities and Movie Makers will see my ...work and offer me contracts!!!!!

You can vote for #13 more than once!


Connecting to the audience to succeed

When Plato uses Socrates in a fictional dialogue to instruct Phaedrus -- as well as the reader-- what it takes to be effective with rhetoric in “Phaedrus,” one of the concepts that is introduced as a vital element that needs to be addresed in order to “enchant the soul” is an understanding of the audience’s prior knowledge of a topic or what they know to be true.

Two approaches that are compared to support this approach is referenced when Socrates describes a difference of opinion between the Egyptian king Thamus and the god Theuth. While the Egyptian god says he discovered that writing is a remedy for memory, Thamus goes further to claim that writing is a remedy for reminding rather than remembering. Without an understanding of what the intended audience knows -- as well as what they may need to be reminded about -- the writer, or orator, will not successfully persuade the audience and enchant their souls.

This analysis of the audience and an understanding of the memories they possess can be the principle an artist must master in order to inspire and motivate others to act.

“...he will next divide speeches into their different classes: - “Such and such persons,” he will say are affected by this or that kind of speech in this or that way,” and he will tell you why. The pupil must have a good theoretical notion of them first with all his senses about him or he will never get beyond the precepts of his masters. But when he understands what persons are persuaded by what arguments, and sees the person about whom he was speaking in the abstract actually before him, and knows that is is he, and can say to himself, “This is the man or this this the character who ought to have a certain argument applied to him in order to convince him of a certain opinion”; - he who knows all this, and knows also when he should speak and when he should refrain, and when he should use pithy sayings, pathetic appeals, sensational effects, and all the other modes of speech which he has learned; -when, I say, he knows the times and seasons of all these things, then, and not till then, he is a perfect master of his art; but if he fail in any of these points, whether in speaking or teaching or writing them, and yet declares that he speaks by rules of art, he who says “I don’t believe you” has the better of him.”

Whether an artist is in sales, politics, law, or education -- let alone philosophy or religion -- the ability to connect with the audience ensures success. This analysis of the audience needs to be objective and non-judgemental or else the arrogance of the artist comes through and offends those who are being addressed to the point where the reject what the artist claims to be truth. An artist who wants to impress -- rather than connect -- may not succeed in driving the audience to achieve a desired outcome. Using common references rather than ones that obscure and unknown pulls people in because they can recognize what is presented to them.

Today, demographics and psycho-graphics are used to categorize consumers in order to ensure the appropriate use of vocabulary, sentence structure, literary references and poetic devices as well as images. Recognizing an audience’s prior knowledge and experience sets the tone and builds a bond so trust can be achieved.

Discussion Points:
- At what point does "connecting" with the audience become "pandering" to the audience? Is one more responsible than the other? Is one more effective than the other?
- Are there ethical concerns when analyzing the audience's prior knowledge and understanding?
- Is the author being responsible when embracing the princples Plato?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why are leaders/teachers afraid of progress?

EMAC Classmate Little Miss Cales blogs about a disappointing attitude from elected leaders in government regarding our emerging digital world and how vulnerable we are all becoming due to our dependency on technology and digital connectivity. It’s a threat to homeland security!!!!

Little Miss Cales does a great job challenging that attitude. It’s an attitude I come across daily from teachers as an Educational Marketing Manager who is trying to inspire and motivate educators to embrace digital teaching tools. Their stubborn resistance to integrate technology into their lesson plans and instructional styles comes across nearly as passionate patriotism. Surely if these resistant teachers do not fight to maintain outdated approaches to education, civilization will fall!

This article by educational consultant and author Marc Prensky does a great job illustrating the behind-the-scenes battle he faces with headstrong teachers across the world who insist card catalogs in school libraries must remain in case the power goes out.

These teachers insist their cause is to ensure “the basics” remain in schools. Prensky calls their attitude and reasoning “backup” education.

... what the teachers are really saying is this: “We don’t trust the technology of today, or the future. We don’t trust the world in which you kids are going to live. We believe the way we did it in our time was the “real” way, the only reliable way, and that’s what we want to teach you kids – “the basics.” (That’s why they all applaud the idiotic video showing people on a stopped escalator just standing there calling for help.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

It may be the end for printed dictionaries | TG Daily

It may be the end for printed dictionaries | TG Daily

Summer Project - "Found out on Facebook" Feature

Over the summer, I made this non-fiction video about some great family news that was documented on Facebook. I challenged myself to use only authentic elements available on Facebook without manipulating the narration.

I'm trying to transition out of my comfort zone and utilize video -- rather than copy -- to tell stories. I majored in journalism as an undergrad and didn't explore broadcasting. Equipment wasn't very accessible back in those days. You had to take classes to learn how to use the tools then sign up and wait to use them. So I chose to focus on the emerging desktop publishing that was taking the industry by storm.