Michael Wesch provides a really interesting analysis of YouTube. Below is a video of his June 2008 presentation at the Library of Congress. He also has several other YouTube videos that are listed here.
Baraniuk’s vision of an open source system for sharing digital texts is consistent with our vision for the History of Missiology web site though admittedly a few steps further down the road. We are trying to provide a body of texts that can support teaching, research, investigation, and conversation about the the beginnings of Christianity in the non western world, the founding of indigenous churches, and early theories of comparative religion. Mission thinkers produced some of the first ethnographic studies of people in primal societies, and histories of encounters between westerners and people from Asia, Africa, and the America. In a course setting, the site provides for the students and professor to engage in conversation through blogs, discussion forums, and chat. Baraniuk has taken the vision a step further to encourage a real mashup of the texts in a way that I find to be a really fascinating possibility.
Naturally, his vision has enormous implication for scholarly publishing…
Engineering professor Richard Baraniuk talks about his vision for Connexions, an open-source system that lets teachers share digital texts and course materials, modify them and give them to their students — all free, thanks to Creative Commons licensing.
But notice how very analog that is, just as much of academia remains analog and simply has not bought into the amazing power of the digital Information Age. For most academics, peer review and print publication are a mainstay. True, academia has made concessions to digital reference sources, electronic full text, and open access. But all of this is simply an electronic format for an analog world in which most of what is available as electronic full text has a counterpart print version. Even those peer-reviewed, open access, online-only journals are produced by the same principles as print productionâ€”submission to an editor, peer review, and publication in tidy volumes and issue numbers.
But isnâ€™t that just the point? Wikipedia users appear to be abandoning a world of certainty for an intangible universe made up of half-blown ideas and blatant errors. The problem is, they have not abandoned anything. They have never been part of the analog generation. Wikipedia is their world, and it has met their needs wonderfully. To tell them to use only the print encyclopedias for reference information is to make them ask, â€œWhy should I when Wikipedia is at my fingertips?â€ They donâ€™t know the analog world very well, and what they see is a law of diminishing returnsâ€”too much effort for too little benefit.
I would add that it seems to be more than simply a difference between analog and digital culture. It seems to me that Wikipedia assumes a different epistimological model than does a print encyclopedia (and most of academia). Wikipedia assumes that knowledge can be gathered, developed, organized and made accessible through collaborative social networks that are not based on sources authorized by the traditional structures of expertise of academe.
Despite the numerous charts, graphs and tables in To Read or Not to Read, a careful and responsible reading of the complete data provided by the NAEP and the NAAL undermine the conclusions the NEA draws. Two examples of problematic uses of primary data sets will illustrate the issues.
I’m glad Kaplan did the careful read. Her analysis confirms the impression I had based on a quick read that the conclusions reflected more bias than they should. The report assumes the primacy of text as a medium of communication.
ps: See also Ben Vershbow’s earlier comment.
Though clearly offered with the best of intentions, the report demonstrates an astonishingly simplistic view of what reading is and where it is and isn’t occurring. Overflowing with bar graphs and and charts measuring hours and minutes spent reading within various age brackets, the study tries to let statistics do the persuading, but fails at almost every turn to put these numbers in their proper social or historical context, or to measure them adequately against other widespread forms of reading taking place on computers and the net.
I’ve been reading McKenzie Wark’s Gamer Theory in print and find it a fascinating experience. I’m reading with the book open to two pages. You may know that he wrote the book online through a system developed by the Institute for the Future of the Book that invited user comment on the text. Those comments are published with the book as “Cuts (Endnotes).”Â I’m accustomed to looking to footnotes or endnotes for citation information and expansion of an idea, but this is the first time I’ve encountered reader comments. It’s a little like reading the transcript of a conversation, though Wark doesn’t directly respond to the comments. The book is available online. It may actually be easier to read online than in print.
I listened again to the audiocast of the MIT Communications Forum from last week. I’ve been thinking more about something Ian Bogost said during the conversation. He was referring to the often stated criticism that video games allow the player to escape into worlds they create to suit themselves. Bogost stated that he is most interested in just the opposite, living in a world you don’t construct…
By living a life that is constrained by a particular situation, we can gain insight into what it would be like to be in that situation.
Henri J. M. Nouwen talks about hospitality (I think in Reaching out the three movements of the spiritual life) as making space for the other. It seems to me that game players in a sense move into another space make available to them by someone else. I’m fascinated by the parallel. At another point, Bogost talked about an almost meditative state that into which the gamer enters. I wonder if I understood gaming better if I would view it as a kind of spiritual practice?