Multimedia for Social Change

May 12, 2011, 11:21 am
Filed under: Reflections

So I guess the links didn’t work…

Here is the link to my channel, with all 5 interviews.


Stasi- FIOB Interviews are finally up!
May 12, 2011, 11:19 am
Filed under: Reflections

Sorry for the delay!  I had a few compression and YouTube issues, but they are finally up!  Below are the links to the interviews.

I e-mailed Odilia to tell her that the videos are up and running, and that she can link to them on the FIOB website. Although I have the FIOB facebook account information, I did not feel comfortable posting it until Odilia has had a chance to see the videos completed.

Also, as a side note, Koree and I just wanted to address the comments and helpful suggestions we received in class regarding our project. Regarding the pictures of life in Oaxaca that show up towards the end of the movie, we felt that this worked given what the interviewees were talking about at that particular time. In the beginning of the interviews, the conversation is centered on identity and whether or not they speak Zapoteca. However, the second half deals with the culture and about life in Oaxaca, so we felt that the pictures made sense to supplement the discussion. We did add the FIOB logo in the beginning, and also added the scrolling text information that appears at the end (which is a little hard to see) in the description of the video. We also slowed down the scrolling a bit. Hopefully Odilia likes what we’ve done!

Stasi- Links to FIOB videos on youtube
May 11, 2011, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Reflections

Final Presentations- stasi
May 9, 2011, 9:54 am
Filed under: Reflections

First of all, congratulations everyone on finishing (or being really close to finishing, as the case may be for some of us) your projects!

            Tina: I was so impressed with how much you have been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.  You seemed to be a little all over the place in the beginning, and I was skeptical that you would be able to find a way to utilize all of the contacts you had made throughout the semester into one cohesive project.  I liked the way you were able to include the Scripps Kensington residents as well as your contacts at theAlhambrahigh school.  When you are founding an organization as you are, it is extremely important to have as many contacts as possible.  Along those same lines, I think you should consider recruitment ideas that go beyond the digital world.  Having a facebook page is a good way to reach the younger, tech savvy audience, but what about the people who may not have internet access, or who are simply not as social media literate?  We have talked in class about making simple flyers with the ABC logo on it to physically give to people who might be interested in attending the meetings and getting involved somehow.  Also, I am really excited about the idea of possibly organizing events to promote sustainable, eco-friendly transportation- like a neighborhood bike ride!  Events like this would be really fun, and would undoubtedly draw attention to the organization that you have worked so hard to create.  Good luck with ABC’s growth and with making it a more influential presence in theAlhambracommunity.

           Haran: Your website is amazing!  My favorite part is the way the pdf retains the traditional book feel.  Instead of one huge, seemingly never-ending scroll, we can actually flip pages, as we do with real books!  More websites should organize their material in this fashion.  It is such a shame that the library is re-formatting their website and that your hard work is pretty much being put on the backburner.  I would have liked to see what teachers thought of the website, and how they might have used it to enhance their lesson plans.  I think getting feedback from teachers would have been helpful so that we can learn what about the website works well and what could be improved.

            Jason and Liz:  I am glad that you (and Tina) are planning to continue the work you have done this semester into the summer (and beyond).  It is so important to introduce young children to media and technology.  This is especially important for kids like the ones you work with who may not otherwise have the skills or resources to do these kinds of projects.  I especially like that your lessons seem to seamlessly fuse learning about community and health issues with completing media-based projects.  The one thing I would suggest for the future is increasing, or at least thinking more about parental involvement in the projects.  You said that you sent the students home with the links to their projects, but you are unsure whether or not the parents actually visited the projects.  Maybe coming up with some sort of weekly newsletter for the parents regarding Aprendamos and the various projects would sort of reinforce the projects and the ideals you are trying to uphold.  Take the health and fast food lesson, for instance.  It would make sense to involve the parents in this conversation, so that the child’s newfound disgust with fast food could be reinforced and supported by the family.  All in all, though, you guys seemed to have a really good time with the kids, and I’m sure your students (and IDEPSCA) appreciate your passion and dedication.

Stasi- (late) Reflection
May 3, 2011, 12:19 am
Filed under: Reflections

This reflection regarding the games for social change lecture is a little late, and for that, I apologize.  Actually, I would like to make an amendment to the previous sentence.  It seems unfair to call that class a “lecture,” as it was more an exercise, an activity, or a collaborative game-building practice.  Whatever we decide to call it, this class was extremely fun for all of us.

I know USC tries to provide its students with a broad, well-rounded educational experience that encourages us to approach our coursework from various perspectives, but I have to say this is the first time I have ever thought about games as a method for enacting social change.  Though games would not really work for Koree and my specific project, the overall goal of the videos we have been working on are to preserve the culture and the Zapoteca language for future generations.  Kids love games! 

In fact, many of the parents who attend the workshops have to bring their kids along. I speak from experience when I say that it can get pretty dull being toted around by one’s parents.  It might be fun to incorporate a “kids room” for some of the workshop’s younger attendees.  Some of the high school students could volunteer to run the kid group and incorporate culture-saving games and activities. 

Also, I work with kids and teenagers with behavioral issues, so the card game we played might be a fun activity for me to try at work.  We work a lot on social skills and teamwork exercises, so if they have to work together to create the game, and then they get to play it, we could tap into both of these skills.  Does anybody remember where I could find these cards?  I’m sure I could fashion my own out of some 3 by 5 cards, but they wouldn’t be nearly as nice.

Good luck everyone, and I can’t wait to see your final projects!

Stasi- Cell Phones for Women
April 12, 2011, 11:23 pm
Filed under: Reflections

We have discussed the technology gap at great length in class, but we have failed to recognize that the technology gap is greatest for women of low-income communities. The GSMA Development Fund published a study revealing that although cell phone ownership has increased over the past few years, women are still 21% less likely to own a mobile phone. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, I was unable to access the full pdf article. However, this issue got me thinking…

The article sites many of the benefits that simply having a cell phone brings in terms of financial stability, educational endeavors, and even health maintenance. Women with cell phones report feeling more connected, and yet more autonomous. We’re always talking about how our organization can use media to enhance their presence, reach more people, be more effective, but I forget that this technology is not readily available for everyone. It’s something we definitely take for granted, only realizing how much we rely on our cell-phones on fateful days when our battery dies.

This could potentially be a great project for FIOB to tackle. I know that FIOB is dedicated to empowering indigenous people, both in Los Angeles, and in Oaxaca, so why not organize some sort of cell-phone drive? Shelters for battered women collect used cell phones and give them out to women living in abusive situations so that they can call 911 in an emergency. (Apparently, cell phones can do this, even if they’re no longer in service!) One of the things we talked about at one of the FIOB workshops was domestic violence, so it seems as though this might be an interesting way for FIOB to use media and technology in a very practical minimal-tech way.

The GSMA article was, however, troubling on one particular issue. I am not convinced that simply having (or giving) a cell phone will lead to instant, or even noticeable improvements in their quality of life. Not having a cell phone isn’t an issue of resistance, it’s a symptom of greater cultural disadvantages of certain groups of people. Getting a cell phone won’t erase this, especially because effective cell phone use may not be within this individual’s repertoire. If we are going to tout the benefits of cell phones and if we are going to advocate for greater equality on the technological innovation playing field, we need to make sure that our efforts are doing more than simply shoving a piece of plastic into the hands of all poor women.

Laptops themselves cannot bridge the education gap, but workshops aimed at teaching computer literacy do help in minimizing the inherent advantage wealthy children have as a result of being around computers their entire lives. Classes to teach effective cell phone use for women of low-income communities who have just received the devices may be extremely beneficial. FIOB could facilitate workshops or classes like these. Teaching basic skills that all cell phones are capable of doing, like texting, taking pictures or short videos, would greatly empower these women who have been in the dark, technologically and socially, for so long. The skills may seem trivial, but it’s more about instilling a sense of autonomy within these women than it is about teaching any one specific skill. Gone are the days of face-to-face contact. Our networks live in our technological innovations, and nobody should be left out of this, regardless of financial status.

Project Progress- (Short)
April 12, 2011, 11:01 am
Filed under: Reflections

Finally! It finally feels like Koree and I are on track with this project, which is quite a relief.  We spent most of our Saturday editing in the IML, and we’re almost done with our first edited video.  As soon as we add a short slideshow and music to the intro, it will be ready for upload, which is very exciting.

Also, Odilia conducted an interview with one of the “elderly” on Saturday for us to edit and possibly use in our videos!  Even if we don’t end up editing these elderly interviews beyond simply cleaning them up a bit, I’m interested to see what they have to say.  Odilia was telling us about an interview she did with an elderly recently and her answers surprised us.  I expected her to express some sort of nostalgia for “the old days” or for her culture back in Oaxaca, but instead she talked about how much she loves living in Los Angeles.  She’s not ready to go back once her Visa is up!  I’m interested to see if this is a sentiment shared by many of the Oaxacan elders, or if this particular interviewee was an anomaly.