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Watch what you post November 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 3:02 pm
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Jenkins states over the past several decades that media literacy advocates have called on schools to, “foster a critical understanding of media as one of the most powerful social, economic, political, and cultural institutions of our era.”  He goes on to say that these skills are essential.  New Media literacies should be viewed as social skills, as a way of interacting within a larger community, and not simply an individualized skills to be used for personal expression.  Along these same lines, McLuhan states that privacy doesn’t have the same meaning as it did in previous time, and that was from an interview he did in 1966.


We are at a time in our cultural where individuals need to be trained on the use of media and technology.  Not just how to use it, but when.  Understanding the use of media literacy is not just necessary for younger people and children, but adults as well.  I have heard and read much discussion on one’s Freedom of Speech.  True, this is a Constitutional right in order to be able to have a say.  There are times, that this can bring repercussions though. 


In Trottman’s article, she discusses workers being fired for bad-mouthing their employers on social media sites.  Under the National Labor Relations Act, workers are allowed to complain about pay, safety and other working conditions.  The article goes on to describe one firing where a woman called her boss a “scumbag” and an employee of BMW being fired for voicing his displeasure in an upcoming event for the dealership. 


Just in this past week, there was an article about a girls’ basketball coach from Idaho.  She posted a photo on Facebook of she and her fiancé (who is also a coach at the same school).  In the photo, they are both in their bathing suits and he is seen grabbing her chest.  It was on Facebook for less than a day and she took it down.  However, as we all know, once the digital trail has been created, one may not know who sees it.  Someone had seen the photo and submitted it to the school.  The school fired her on the basis they felt the photo was inappropriate to have been shared on Facebook.  Oddly, her fiancé kept his coaching position, which is a totally other issue.  McLuhan states that when you put a new medium into play in a given population, all sensory gets shifted and had an affect on the population’s outlook and attitude.  Frankly, the photo was foolishly shared, but not a fireable offense.  It is quite obvious that individuals police social media activity.  

It’s really difficult to figure out who is responsible for the education of critical media literacy.  As I mention above, this is something that is needed for children as well as adults.  Even with privacy settings in place, electronic trails are created. 

Work cited:


Allen, S. Idaho High School Fires Coach for Facebook Photo of Boyfriend Grabbing Her Chest.  USAToday (accessed November 9, 2013):  http://www.usatodayhss.com/news/article/idaho-high-school-fires-coach-after-she-posts-a-photo-of-boyfriend-grabbing-her-chest


Daily Mail Reporters.  The Facebook photo of a high school basketball coach and her fiancé that got her fired (because he touched her boob).  Mail Online (accessed November 9, 2013). 


McLuhan, M.  (1966).  TV as an involving medium.  http://marshallmcluhanspeaks.com/television/1966-tv-as-an-involving-medium.php


McLuhan, M.  (1968).  Privacy in the electric age.  http://marshallmcluhanspeaks.com/prophecies/1968-privacy-in-the-electric-age.php


Trottman, M.  (2011)  For Angry Employees, Legal Cover for Rants.  The Wall Street Journal.  (accessed November 9, 2013): 


Challenges of a Participatory Culture September 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 3:01 pm
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Marshall McLuhan, a media guru far before his time, talks about The Global Village, long before the days of social media platforms.  The global village took the literary man as an individual and brought us into a tribal group.  He talks about this, and at the time, the electronic devices he was referring to were stationary telephones, radio and televisions.  As a society, we moved from interacting as individuals, obtaining our knowledge through books, to being members of a tribe – a global village of interaction.  From the 1960’s when he shared his view until now, we have seen many changes in the way individuals interact.  We now have mobile devices that can alert us the minute triumph or tragedy happens, no matter where we are.  Even when the electronic age he referred to started growing, there was no way to prepare for the all out openness we are experiencing now.  Through new technologies, we can connect two classrooms from half way around the world with each other to share a common lesson through the use of smart boards and the internet.  But attention needs to be paid to the use of the technologies and media.




Jenkins discusses the need to teach media literacy, and the challenges that are faced in order to do so.  The first is the Participation Gap.  Access to internet is one thing, access to internet with the capability of being able to do the work that is necessary for schooling is another.  I conducted an interview at the beginning of the year for another course to find out about the development of courses and instructional design.  One of the many things that needs to be taken into consideration is the technology which may be affected by the participation gap. (p. 13)  


The second challenge, Transparency Problem is one that I should not be surprised with, yet do find surprising.  In Shier’s study (2005) a game was developed based on historic interpretation of the first shot of the American Revolution.  Students took the representation of historical evidence in the game as being authentic.  (p. 16)  The concern lies in the ability of young people to be able to assess the quality of information received.  I had an exchange with a friend today on Facebook on this story:


When I initially commented of the fakeness of the story, responses came back with stories less and less believable than this initial posting.  But because it was on the internet, and shared by several people, then it must be truth. 


The third concern, Ethics Challenge, is an issue where young people creating new modes of expression that are poorly understood by adults.  He also points out the implications of their media and communications practices.  Most notably that the information that is shared maybe initially just for friends and followers can bring unwelcome attention.  (p. 17)  A recent example that comes to mind with me is happening right now in the Capital District.  Over Labor Day weekend, a party was held at a vacated house that is up for sale by a former NFL football player.  Somewhere between 200 – 300 kids illegally entered the home and held a party.  Through a series of Tweets, the teens implicated themselves not only with the text but with visual proof of who was at the party and what was going on.  The ethical norm was non-existent as they not only were breaking and entering, they stole items and did thousands and thousands of dollars worth of damage. 


We have come a long way from the new media that McLuhan referred to, yet we need to be more diligent in not only teaching and understanding the media and the use of them.  Not only do we need to make sure users can understand the operation of the media, but be able to develop critical thinking in regards to determining the validity of what they are reading/viewing.




Jenkins, H.  Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture:  Media Education for the 21st Century


Marshall McLuhan – The World is a Global Village (CBC TV)


Is Learning as Effective When Studying Using a Mobile Device Compared to Other Methods? July 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 5:19 pm
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“A concern with E-Learning environments is whether students achieve superior or equivalent learning outcomes to those obtained through traditional methods.”  Aramatas and Saliba conduct a study, which explores learning outcomes from printed study material, lecture format, computers and “smart” mobile phone delivery methods.  Each of the delivery methods offer benefits.  Having experienced educational delivery via each method, each one has its pros and cons. 


Smart phones give an opportunity for learners to be able to do coursework anywhere/anytime.  When someone has time constraints, this is a great advantage.  However, the use of mobile phones in learning environments/educational delivery comes with some challenges as well.  The speed at which someone can input text is much slower.  The size of the screen can also be a challenge when it comes to reading text.  Smart phones can enhance the engagement and activity of the learning environment, but being able to function as ‘the’ learning environment faces one larger challenge – not everyone has a smart phone.  Though not everyone has a computer or internet access, there are locations that offer it.  Individuals can use computers in libraries or community centers.  Access to smart phones is not as convenient. 


In the study that Aramatas and Saliba conducted, they looked to test whether learning outcomes were similar, or no worse, when using mobile phones as a delivery method.  The study included 81 students, ranging in age from 18 – 27 years old.  Students were broken into groups of three and asked to study four lessons using the four delivery methods (printed, lecture, computer, smart phone).  Students were in three different settings:  lounge room where they studied printed material and the lecture was presented; study where they used a computer; and bedroom where they used their mobile device.  Tests were designed for each lesson.  Learners were given questionnaires after each setting to complete. 


Based on their responses, 60 percent of the sample indicated they were interested in using their mobile phone to facilitate learning, while 15 percent were not interested and 25 percent unsure.  The study found that students’ test scores were better for lessons studied using print; but they were equal for the other three methods.  Their findings also showed that despite some of the challenges in using mobile phones, they can still be used as an effective learning tool. 


Armatas, C. & Saliba, A. (2009). Is Learning as Effective When Studying Using a Mobile Device Compared to Other Methods? In C. Spratt, & P. Lajbcygier, E-Learning Technologies and Evidence-Based Assessment Approaches (218-233). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. 


Forget Text to Vote … Text to Donate Instead November 14, 2010

Filed under: Fundraising,Technology — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 9:19 pm
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On Monday, I interviewed Mark Quandt, Executive Director for the Northeast Regional Food Bank.  This was done in part for my Field Project for my Social and Community Informatics Class.  Besides the staggering statistics on food need, in particular a 25% increase in need from 2008 – present, I was able to find out how one becomes involved to help.  The Food Bank relies on food donations as well as monetary donations.  They are able to purchase food in large bulk, being able to pass more along to the food pantries.


In Kling’s text, “ICT policy analysts must often center their analysis on specific technologies, such as cell phones, broadband, or wireless communication.  What we have learned from SI is that it is helpful for the analytic purposes to move beyond the conceptualization of ICTs as discrete objects and view them instead as configurable “social-technical networks” made up of tangible and intangible components.”  (p. 55)


These components include:

  • People in various roles and relationships with each other and with other system elements
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Techniques
  • Support resources
  • Information structures


When I read this, it brought to mind the new wave of fundraising that is done by organizations such as the Food Bank and other non-profit service organizations.  With the surge of use of social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as their own websites, organizations have gone from phone call campaigns to internet campaigns.  People are able to see and have reminders in their newsfeeds to know what is going on within these organizations.  The organizations can do a fairly inexpensive type of outreach to the greater public in ways that are much easier than in the past.  Through the bank, you can check schedules, sign up to donate time, or donate money – 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.


Beginning now, the bank uses volunteers at Crossgates Mall for the Holiday Hunger Appeal.  In discussion with Mr. Quandt, he stated that people carry cash less and less during the holiday season.  Yes, they can go home and make a donation at home, if they remember.  To try to get the donation while it is fresh in the public’s mind, they are introducing a new feature this year in collaboration with a wireless service.  People who are unable to make a cash donation at the moment, can opt to text a donation to the food bank.  They will have small sheets of paper with the information on how/where to text the donation.


In January, when the earthquake hit Haiti, the American Red Cross implemented a Text-to-Donate campaign to raise funds.  According to an article by Thomas Heath of the Washington Post, these donations, by January 19, reached $22 million, which was one-fifth the total raised as of that date.  If the image in our minds of what the destruction could look like, individuals created photo montages of the Haitian world turned upside down, such as this one I found on YouTube.



Heath, T., U.S. cellphone users donate $22 million to Haiti earthquake relief via text, Washington Post, January 19, 2010.

Hope for Haiti video, YouTube, Author LittleCTide:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4IxbTYJv_c

Kling, R., Rosenbaum, H., Sawyer, S. Understanding & Communicating Social Informatics: A Framework for Studying and Teaching the Human Contexts of Information and Communication Technologies. 2005. New Jersey: Information Today.