Multimedia for Social Change


Haran’s Final Project
May 4, 2011, 10:05 am
Filed under: Reflections


Games 4 Change
April 20, 2011, 9:37 am
Filed under: Reflections

I suppose since we’re discussing video games I’m left to reprise my role as class cynic. Once again, I found it hard to believe most of what was being said. The paper lists four needs of organizations that games fulfill:

• Engagement and Outreach

• Constituent Learning and Training

• Direct Experience

• Relationship Building

Of the four, I definitely understand how games play a role in engagement and outreach. But I feel that is literally the only true role they are good for. I think that games function best for an organization as a means of enticement, as an interactive and entertaining commercial. I sincerely question the ability of games to provide meaningful learning, training, experience and relationship building. If someone is attracted to an organization, then there are substantially simpler and more effective and more concentrated ways to accomplish all those things. For example, I know that the army has successfully used a game to increase recruitment. Yet I have not heard of them using games to train soldiers or build bonds simply because games are ineffectual in comparison to traditional methods in those regards. I view games more as a means of stirring up a preliminary interest rather than a way through which one can sustain or develop an interest. I do agree to some extent with the idea of games as a social actor and think the example of a game that combats female stereotypes is a powerful one. But at the same time, one of the defining aspects of games is that they are almost never meant to be accurate or realistic representations of society the way many books or films are. Games for the most part receive the same amount of respect as Saturday morning cartoons since that’s what many of them amount to. Ultimately, I think games are mainly used as a way to kill time and that there is an inaccurate trend of overestimating the impact or influence of games. When they are used by organizations or for purposes beyond merely entertainment, they should be used simply to generate buzz or interest instead of being molded into highly substantive experiences since that goes against the very nature of games.



Week 11 Post
April 13, 2011, 8:09 am
Filed under: Reflections

This week I finally got the website up and running. When I last showed you the website, I only had a couple unconnected pages. I’ve now successfully created and stored all the documents onto the website and have created separate pages so visitors can sift through the sources by teacher or type. Basically the heart of the website is done. The website is up and running and you can see all the documents underneath the Archival Resources option at the homepage. All that’s left is the extra bits. I’ll likely have the Historical Overview, Getting Started, and Teacher Biography sections completed by next Monday or possibly by this Friday.
The url is: http://socallib.org/blacklistedTeachers/

Timeline:

When researching the mobile voices papers, I was pretty sure what I was looking for. It seemed logical to me that the only real way to incorporate the platform into my project would be to use cell phones to access the website. However, I soon began to question that after reading “Mobile Phones in the Classroom: A directed study project by Toni Twiss.” In the “Context based content delivery”  section, Twiss writes that the “key findings of the mLibraries report was that while the technology was capable, students were not ready to make use of a service which placed a large component of a libraryʼs resources on a mobile phone.” Clearly, trying to access a website via a phone is not the most prudent way to be making use of the resource. It appears that a mobile phone is best used trying to supplement a major resource instead of providing a direct link or platform for that resource. Twiss goes on to say, “what was useful was the potential to teach students to learn their way around the library through providing audio guides accessible via the studentsʼ mobile phones. Thus, providing a learning opportunity, facilitated by the mobile phone in order for students to engage with their physical context.” Such a plan certainly seems ideal. Hopefully, the website will create enough interest in nearby students and/or teachers to make them actually pay a visit to the Southern California Library. Having audio tours that they can listen to through their phones would prove to be an accessible and cost-effective way to sustain and develop whatever interest the website may have stimulated.



Week 9-10 Post
April 5, 2011, 11:40 pm
Filed under: mm4sc, Reflections

Last week, I was unable to meet and talk for very long since the library was holding its book sale. The book sale went very well and actually extended into this week until Wednesday, so meeting up this week was cut short as well. However, I’ve gotten a lot done individually in this time. I’ve redesigned the homepage, begun linking together the numerous html pages, and found out how to get my page onto the library’s server. I’m now in the process of creating a separate individual page for each item in the archive collection that the coverflow pages will link to and am about 1/3 done. After that’s finished, I plan on filling in content for the historical background, teacher biographies, and getting started sections of the site. The jury’s still out on whether video will be integrated into the site during this project. Likely that will hinge on how readily I can find and schedule interviews. Editing the interviews would be minimal as the content uploaded to the video interview section would basically be a slightly polished version of the raw footage perhaps with a bumper in the beginning. The only real editing would be for the 2-3 minute historical overview video where all the B roll footage would be resources in the collection. So if the interviews slot in easily into my schedule and can be wrapped up in a week, then I might go ahead and do that. My trial in Dreaweaver actually expires within a week, so most of the website needs to be finished and live by then. I can drop into the IML for any slight additions or modifications, but hopefully we can focus mainly on marketing by next week. The library was hesitant in discussing marketing until a finished product was in hand. I floated the idea of having facebook, twitter, or share buttons but didn’t really get a response. I expect though, that once the website is polished and basically complete and the book sale is over, that we can have a serious discussion about marketing the site. My vision is to approach marketing in two ways. One is to get as much traffic as possible to the website and the other is to actively approach teachers and try to get the resource immediately integrated into class curriculums. Hopefully at the end of the next school year, I can integrate into the webpage testimonials/reports on how the various teachers are using the site in different ways. I’m also hoping to do a large scale in-person pitch/discussion at the library since I know the library said that the last time they gave a talk on the blacklisted teachers collection and invited UTLA (united teachers of la) that over 200 showed up. Ideally, actual blacklisted teachers perhaps even one or two featured in the site can be present for that pitch along with possibly USC faculty to form a panel. Also if possible, the event would be taped and if it goes well, then it can be edited and placed on the site. That could also be a place to film video interviews so as to kill 2 birds with one stone. This presentation would be a great way to spread the site and to get feedback/advice/concerns from teachers that might actually use the site. Again, once the site is essentially complete, I can get going on these bigger plans.



Haran’s Week 8
March 23, 2011, 2:56 am
Filed under: Reflections

Wow, it’s been a really long day. Today, or yesterday rather, I went to the Southern California Library and finished (I think) scanning in all the documents I’m going to use for the website. I’m over 450 documents at this point, so I hope I have enough. I also showed the basic architecture of the website (devoid of any real content) to Michelle and got the seal of approval. All that’s left now in terms of getting a prototype is slotting in the documents.
Segueing to the reading, the Youth Media project is clearly relevant to my project, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had unknowingly been doing quite a bit right. The very essence of the library project is to create an interest-driven and self-directed learning and educational experience online. For that reason, I have gone to great lengths to make sure that the website has been designed to never present too much information in one page. I wanted to keep scrolling to an absolute minimum. Rather, it is a matter of clicking and discovering content instead of being presented everything and being overwhelmed. One aspect brought up by the article I did not really consider was the peer-based learning experience. Having thought about it, I’m struggling to find a way to incorporate it into the website while staying true to the original vision. I suppose research has generally been an individual endeavor and often is most interesting when it is kept that way. I think that through this project I’m aiming more to facilitate a traditional experience through a non-traditional medium as opposed to completely reinventing the research experience. However, I do think that finding a way to make sharing both the website and the resources easier could be beneficial for generating buzz and for creating an educational community.



Haran’s Week 7
March 9, 2011, 1:52 am
Filed under: Reflections

Like everyone else, I found the presentations very informative. It’s really exciting to see everyone’s project plans and to see how wonderfully different and unique all of them are. I went ahead and took the advice I was given and researched existing platforms that would aid me in creating my website. I found some cool timeline creators, one of which I shamelessly stole from Jason and Liz’s presentation, as well as some html code that enables a coverflow style layout for images. This would be ideal for showcasing collections of documents. Needless to say, the task at hand certainly now seems quite a bit less daunting although it’s still formidable.
I also stopped by the library and got a website layout fully approved so the basic conceptual architecture is already in place. Now it is simply a matter of executing it over spring break. Having gone through the archives in the library fairly extensively and having had a site map approved, I feel confident that I can slot in scanned resources rather quickly into place. So, I’ve decided to focus my attentions away from scanning and towards implementing the planned designs. This week I aim to get reacquainted with website design (I’ll be looking at both Dreamweaver and Rapidweaver) and consulting others for help should I run into any difficulties or need any assistance. I figure this process is best begun while I’m on campus and have access to such resources so that I’ll be well-equiped once I head home for spring break and begin seriously working on the website.
I’ve also realized that the filming of interviews with professors will almost certainly have to be pushed back to April. I feel that such material is indeed secondary, and while a valuable addition, it is not necessary to have when marketing the website to teachers. Nevertheless, aside from that, everything seems to be coming along and it’s very exciting to be delving straight into the action and working towards realizing this vision. Hopefully a working prototype of the website will be ready by the end of the month.



March 2, 2011, 1:48 pm
Filed under: Reflections