Sunday Notes

Some videos I’ve been watching and articles I’ve been reading in between stealing glimpses at the Falcons-Dolphins game:

  • I’ve been intrigued recently by Digital Nation,  “a new, open source PBS project that explores what it means to be human in an entirely new world–a digital world.”  The “documentary” starts as an ongoing web archive of expert interviews exploring issues ranging from defining what counts as a “digital native,” to Mark Bauerlein asking whether these “natives” are as “savvy” as they appear (side note: although I disagree with many of Bauerlein’s arguments, his openness to using social networking technologies as teaching tools was somewhat surprising).  This research will then be compiled into a feature-length documentary due to be broadcast in winter 2010, creating what appears to be a fascinating project on how these new media technologies affect our relationship to the world, even while making use of those tools.  I have a couple of articles circulating right now that deal with what I called “transmedia documentaries,” non-fiction films that make use of multiple media and channels to develop a larger (non-fictional) storyworld, while (potentially) getting audiences involved, whether through political activism or knowledge creation.  I’m hoping to have more to say about this very cool project in the next few days.
  • If you’re in my Twitter circle, you may already know about Prof Hacker, a new website “devoted to pedagogy, productivity, and technology, and the intersection of these, in higher education,” but as Jason Jones, one of the site’s co-creators, points out, there are some great discussions going on there.  If you’re invested in technology and higher education, it’s well worth a look.
  • I’ve been planning to write a response here to Annie Petersen’s query for suggestions on how to maintain an academic blog, mostly because of the wide number f comments and suggestions she received.  My short answer to her question would be that I’ve allowed my blog to evolve as my scholarly interests and needs have changed.  These bullet point posts, for example, are often helpful in serving as a slightly more public version of “social bookmarking,” in which I can link and annotate a text relatively quickly.  I tend to post relatively frequently when I’m not writing elsewhere (or grading) simply because it keeps me in the habit of writing, even when I’m just writing a quick reaction to a film I’ve seen recently.
  • It’s a few days old, but Mashable has some research that seems to refute the myth that “teens don’t tweet,” with teens now becoming the fastest growing group of Twitter users.  Not sure I have much to add here, but I’ve always found claims that teenagers don’t use Twitter to be somewhat reductive.
  • Finally, Jonathan Gray has an interesting post discussing the challenges of indexing his book.  I faced many of these questions myself last summer when I was wrapping mine, especially the challenge of thinking about how readers might use different terminology than I do to access information or ideas.

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