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Alice's Reading Notes/Questions

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This is a workbook for thoughts and questions to walk alongside your reading and spark discussion.  Feel free to add via comments!


Center for Media Justice Reading

"But these arenas of change-making — one for the right and power to communicate, the other for the right and power to live — are not separate or distinct."

How do you understand this claim?

"Pew Internet Project’s research finds that 87 percent of U.S. adults use the Internet.3 According to the Pew study: Who’s Not Online and Why, there is more to this number.4 While 95 percent of upper-income households5 use the Internet, 37 percent of lower- income households do not.6 Nor do 48 percent of those without a high-school diploma. "

"Change the platform to change the issue."  Do you think questions of action and representation are so closely linked?  How could we test and apply this idea by looking around and back?

"The vast majority of the groups interviewed are dependent on commercial tools. The availability of effective open-source and non-commercial tools is minimal. Groups often use commercial tools because they don’t have the expertise or resources to build anything else." 


Unlike mainstream media, which is moderated by external gatekeepers, groups see the Internet as a platform they control — the effect of the corporate ownership of the Internet is less visible to them."

What do you think about the term "digital rights?"

"The leaders we spoke to warned that new technologies are only briefly disruptive before those with privilege use them to consolidate power. We saw this in the past with radio and cable television. Many feel the Internet is at a critical juncture before things resettle."

"The conventional framing of the “digital divide” presumes that more access to technology will address social inequities, but the everyday lives of poor and working people are not lacking in technology. In fact, their lives are technology-rich. However, much of the technology is used to track or make decisions about them. "

As legal scholar john a. powell writes, “A targeted universal strategy is one that is inclusive of the needs of both the dominant and the marginal groups, but pays particular attention to the situation of the marginal group.” 

-- How could this relate to the field projects in our course?

Note possible additions to our glossary at end of article! 


10/18 -- Notes on boyd, "It's Complicated"

General questions

What do you think about boyd's decision to tag the racial identity of her informants each time?

What do you think about her use of the construct of "teen" to begin with?

What do you think about the lack of contextual specificity in her use of informants' voices?

Key issues of trust and fear

Preface: struck by her focus on listening and challenging adults' anxiety -- wonder whether these are linked in a deep way.


What do you think of the idea of teens' creating "networked publics" on private platforms? How is this shaping/going to shape their conceptions of "public" participation? boyd says publics can engage private entities like companies and malls.  What do you think?

Networked public as space created by tech and imagined communities arising therein/thereby.

Use of social media as NORMAL to teens.  

Four affordances of social media: persistence, visibility, spreadability, searchability -- features of networked publics, not new but newly accessible, amplified and interwoven

"Teens don't try to analyze how things are different because of technology; they simply try to relate to a public world in which technology is a given."

technological determinism tends to arise in the wake of new technologies

boyd argues that teens go online in large part because physical gathering spaces and time to go there are both severely limited.  is this a problem?

chapter 1 - Identity

collapsed contexts (that happen over time/the lifespan of posts and tweets) and invisible audiences -- thinking about your placements here, it strikes me that senior citizens are seldom the imagined audience for networked communication and perhaps this is one of the reasons for the emotional depth and alienation they feel . . . also, is the imagined audience for Wikipedia as limited as its editors' identities?

How do you read boyd's discussion of 4chan in light of the recent online threat to a Philadelphia university posted there?

What do you think of the metaphor of "bedroom culture" to describe how teens inhabit online spaces?

Idea of the Internet as a context where people are free of the limitations of the embodied world -- have you ever believed in this possibility?  What new consequences in the embodied world does online, networked life bring about?

Chapter 2 - Privacy

Teens think about paternalistic adults, not organizational actors (government, corporations) when they think about privacy

being in public v. being public

social steganography -- Do you think this encoding promises more agency than it delivers?

Teens control access to meaning, rather than content, as part of the process of privacy

chapter 3 -- addiction

addiction v. flow -- but is deep engagement in passive activity the same as in creative?  or, is calling engaging on social media passive much too simple?

Teens as addicted to each other, not to social media?

Addiction as a narrative, not a fact?

What do think of the idea that teens are seeking to learn and to control their lives in online spaces -- and that change is always a given?

Do you agree that social media is a release valve?

Social isolation and digital celibacy not clearly good alternatives to fear of addition?

9/14 -- Exploring/Editing Wikipedia!

What do you think about:

Wikipedia's Five Pillars:

  1. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia
  2. Wikipedia has a neutral point of view
  3. Wikipedia is free content
  4. Wikipedians should interact in a respectful and civil manner
  5. Wikipedia does not have firm rules

Consider that LIANG writes:

"The point is not to do away with the question of the authority of knowledge, but to recognize it as always transient, and to locate it within specific practices and technologies. It is to  understand that the authority of knowledge exists within a much wider ambit of a ‘knowledge apparatus’. Rather than taking the claims of authority at face value, we should learn from the history of pre-print and early print cultures to recognize that there may exist a much wider world of knowledge, which can neither be contained nor exhausted by the demands of authority. This is the productive tension between the possibilities of knowing completely and never being sure that true knowledge can be produced."

How do you see the relationships between the principles of Wikipedia and this passage? 

"We live in a world, designed in part by Borges and realized in part by people like Minor, where the relationship between systems of knowledge that seek to stabilize our understanding of the world also merge with systems that destabilize our known systems of classifications. Like Borges’s stories, projects such as Wikipedia do not merely describe a ‘the world out there’, but are themselves full of strange worlds operating on very different principles." 

About the Harry Potter leaks:

Do you live "under the sign of authoritative knowledge?"  Must we?

Expert/amateur . . 

"So while the popular account of pre-print cultures is of slavish copying by scribes, the story turns out to be more complicated. Acting as annotators, compilers, and correctors, medieval book owners and scribes actively shaped the texts they read. For instance, they might choose to leave out some of The Canterbury Tales or contribute one of their own. They might correct Chaucer’s versification every now and then. They might produce whole new drafts of the Tales by combining one or more of Chaucer’s published versions. While this activity of average or amateur readers differs in scale and quality from Chaucer’s work, it opens us to new questions about the relationship between author, text, and reader in the Middle Ages and of how to understand contemporary practices of knowledge and cultural creation. "

" Interestingly, Chaucer seems not only to recognize the importance of retelling stories, but also of a mode of reading that incorporates the ability to edit and write. This invitation was accepted by late medieval readers who took great pleasure in creating copies of the Tales that drastically cut, expanded, edited, and otherwise modified Chaucer’s work. This activity goes beyond the mechanics of scribal copying."

"We should imagine that books for late medieval readers were not just containers for texts. In extreme cases, they were projects – the physical byproducts of active and often  colllaborative reading."  

Fluidity to Fixity?

"The emergence of print technology, in contrast, construed the copies that bore marginal marks, traces of editing, and changes made by readers as defective copies filled with mistakes and marked by the classical characteristics that seemed to signal to the crisis of authority."  

Should the idea of a "knowledge apparatus" be included in our class glossary of critical terms?

'As we have seen in our exploration of the knowledge apparatus, the question of the authority of knowledge often masks the conditions by which authority becomes an issue or gets resolved. And in the case of encyclopedias, where the entire aim of the project is to devise a system of classification, every new encyclopedia is both a response to, as well as an intervention in, the question of how we know. And while classification is at the heart of this enterprise of ordering, every classification system is haunted by its exclusions, separations, and forced hierarchies, as well as its conversion of fluid emergent processes and events into stable categories. "



Boyd, et al -- Examining the apprenticeship of observation . . .

What apprenticeships of observation would you say your life experience so far has engaged you with?

How does this piece of educational research (a certain style, growing out of certain traditions) connect with Appadurai's discussion of research?  Overlaps? Tensions? Disconnects?

"Feiman-Nemser (1983) asserts “unless future teachers get some cognitive control over prior school experiences, it may influence their teaching unconsciously and contribute to the perpetuation of conservative school practices” (p. 11). "

Reflecting on your own prior school experiences, what practices would you say they could contribute to your taking up unconsciously in the future, or now?

Mediation is a key word in this text.  What does it mean here? To you?  For our consideration of social media?

Reflection is another key word, and the authors cite a study that discusses elements of reflection to include: "problematizing, looking for alternative solutions, recognizing personal growth, providing justifications and identifying contradictions between theory and practice."  Does this correspond with your experience?  Would you add other items to this list?

Do you agree that a srong teacher identity today must engage with the politics (broadly conceived) as well as the processes of schooling?  

Terms of data analysis: Functional, evaluative, affective -- all elide choice, the counterfactual, the what if?

and isrupted -- makes room for choice

When you select a blog to comment on for the class assignment, will you think about these four modes of engagement?

What about the blogging in particular proved promising, according to this study? Public dimension? Not evaluated by prof?  It sounds like there was limited peer-to-peer response/challenge, in part owing to a culture of politeness.  How can we work through this barrier in our work together this semester?

 Powers' blog post about blogging

In this post, Powers shares several reasons for blogging, including modeling and community; with respect to the latter, she links to an ASCD piece about blogging in which Elmore is quoted saying that too often schools are hostile to adult learning.  She suggests that through blogging teachers can disrupt this hostility and create contexts for their thriving as learners. 

What do you make of this?


Appadurai, "The Right to Research"

What is Appadurai's defintion of research?

What does this definition reinforce/strengthen/advocate and what does it threaten/weaken/diminish?

What is the significance of the distinction between teaching and training to his discussion?  To your own thinking about education?

Do you see/have you seen a role for social media in advancing the right to research, in Appadurai's terms?

Vaidhyanathan, "The Googlization of Everything"

Vaidhyanathan speaks of a "technocultural imagination."  What does he mean by this?  How would you define a technopedagogical imagination to accompany it?

"Increasingly, Google is the lens through which we view the world."

What is the difference between research and a "search engine?' How does "search engine" work as a metaphor?  Is it a metaphor?

"We are not Google's customers; we are its product."  Discuss :)

What is a "global public sphere?' and Because if you follow the right people on twitter, you can have real time information on all sorts of inspiring activism and organizing that is taking place around the globe. And by sharing this information with others, we are able to put pressure on mainstream media to cover democratic movementswhy does it matter?  How does this link to the idea of "public failure?"

What do you think of the analogy with the airplane and the car?

"We have designed our environment to serve cars and planes instead of people."  How does this connect with the idea of our being cyborgs?

 How does this reading connect with your experience of googling yourself?

Perry, "The Revolution WILL Be Tweeted"

"Because if you follow the right people on twitter, you can have real time information on all sorts of inspiring activism and organizing that is taking place around the globe. And by sharing this information with others, we are able to put pressure on mainstream media to cover democratic movements . . . "

Who do/would you follow? How did/would you know or find out?

Tyre, ipads < teachers

"No single piece of technology has yet to change the basic nature of teaching and learning. Radio, television, CDs, Smartboards, and personal computers were all hailed as transformative educational innovations in their day. They were not. iPads won’t be either. "