Tag: drumbeat

  • DML 2011, Cool Stuff & My Stuff

    I totally survived.  In fact, I kind of sort of had an amazing time.  By far though, the most amazing for me thing was the Echo Park Film Center:

    I first saw them at the Mozilla Science Fair, on Thursday night, the night I arrived, and was exhausted (the super shuttle took 2 hours!!!).  I also presented at the Science Fair on Future class (more on that later), and was put next to this table with tons of DVDs, prop films, buttons, and two super charismatic guys (I wish I had taken a picture.  I’m sure someone did, and I’ll find them and add them later).

    Anyway, Out the Window consists of many film and media centers that are doing outreach to marginalized youth.  It gives them a space to create, express themselves, explore etc.  They brought a group of kids that had participated in the various programs to speak during their panel, well, really during the question and answer session.  They were AMAZING!!! All of them said that they were empowered, and all of them, without prompting, explained their experience as a chance ot think critically.  I LOVED it.  So I had to ask a question, that is related to my research interests of course.  I asked them if participating in these groups, and learning how to and actually creating these alternate narratives and representations of themselves and their neighborhoods and communities had changed how they view their communities, neighborhoods and how their role in them.  One kid stood up.  He was latino, tall, lanky with long hair and a red ski cap on.  His name was Walter.  Let me tell you, Walter blew us ALL away.

    He talked about how all the representations he’s ever seen were made by people who had the money to control all the messaging that gets out on a massive scale, and all that messaging made people like him and from his neighborhood seem bad, less than and not worthy.  But the project had allow him to see what he can do, and explore the rest of LA and see what it was like, and he was just like everyone.  His participation made him feel empowered, and let him think critically about the situation and it allows him to show it for what it was.. and you could just feel the love and empowerment and it was seriously, tears.  I talked to other people and they had the exact same experience.  Just phenomenal and mind blowing.

    The best part of all of this is of course that there is a big blue bus called the film mobile that has been gutted and turned in to a mobile cinema and production studio and it will be coming to North Carolina over the summer.  I am SOOOOO there.

    Even cooler, I got a couple of the DVDs of things the kids have made and I’m planning on sharing them with some of my classes and of course, guarding them as the sacred items they are for years to come.

    Then there was the DML Showcase, which was amazing! I will have to write more about that later (probably with video), but it was soooo inspiring.

    On to what I did

    SCIENCE FAIR: Future Class

    So, there was a Mozilla Science fair at DML2011.  I exhibited as Future Class.  I had my drumbeat site up and explained that my role in the class was to see how digital media could be used in ethnographic projects.  The best comment was “isn’t that just a blog?” my response was of course, yes, and I explained that the purpose was to show a quick and easy way to create a discursive space where you field site can visibly say yay or nay to your observations. Even if it is just a blog, most people aren’t allowing for that type of exchange yet and blogs are easy and simple.

    I also had a very small activity.  I explained that future class was about thinking in the digital age and exploring what that means and what the challenges are in the university setting.  It was a project based tutorial for the most part, but we also had to determine what needed to be different than the traditional classroom experience.  I had tons of post its and pens and let people cover the table with words, sentences and paragraphs of what they needed to be changed.  Almost everything centered around assessment and community/engagement.  There were also quite a few on media.

    A Taste of Mozilla Drumbeat: Storming the Classroom Grading and Community

    The next thing I did was have a workshop session at the drumbeat workshopping session.  The purpose of this was to create a foundational idea of what we want grades to do so people could then move on to brainstorming tools and methods to get them to where they needed to be.  I had the smallest group but we had a wonderful time.  I brought a ton of markers and a roll of paper and we created a “cloud” of thoughts (there were 4 of us), first on what was bad about how grading currently works, then what was good about how grading currently worked and finally on what are wishless was for how grading should work in the future.  Everything ended up being that grading needs to be a community driven type of thing that allows for continuous feedback rather than relying on test that are incapable or measuring what people actually learn.  Oh, and collectives.  Classroom spaces need to be more community driven.  I think the paper we had ended up being at least 14 feet. We taped it up on the wall.  Even though we were few, we did something big, literally.

    PANEL: New Collectives HASTAC Scholars as a Case Study

    The last thing I did was a panel with Cathy Davidson, Fiona Barnett and Dixie Ching, on the HASTAC Scholars.  I showed a short film (final edited forth coming) and share a website:

    The other three women on the panel? Simply amazing. I continue to be humbled to be sitting with these people.

    I also shared my big revelation from DML2011.

    ACADEMICS are just HACKERS and REMIXERS and FORKERS of KNOWLEDGE! By that I mean, what is a dissertation or a thesis other than taking the existing body of knowledges, mixing them, remixing them, forking them, modifying them, changing them, breaking them and coming up with something new and then publishing them?  We just do it on paper (and that is starting to change slowly but surely).

    I don’t know why it took me so long to come to that realization.  When I think about academic work like that though, it makes me super happy.

    So, all in all… wonderful amazing trip.  There are so many people out there doing amazing work, and being around them is simply inspring.  I’ve got to do more. I just have to.


    * * *

  • Playing with Forms: Drumbeat Part 2

    Jade Did Drumbeat: A Field Journal

    It’s Interactive & Ethnographic

    That is part 2.  Here is the explanation.
    So, I was sent to Drumbeat as a scholar. I was told I needed to document the Drumbeat experience as part of my scholarship. I needed a form to make sure I had a focus and didn’t produce something meaningless. Currently, I’m enrolled in a performance ethnography class. I needed a field site.  I wanted to make Future Class my field site.  Once I got approval from all parties involved, it was a go.

    One of the requirements of my ethnography class was to keep a field journal. It didn’t need to be shared, but it needed to be done. I have tons of google docs of random notes organized by date.  I also wanted to have some kind of public web documentation.  As I started noticing themes popping up, I thought: self, why not make your field journal into a website.  So I turned my Wordrpress install into a multisite install and made a Drumbeat blog.

    As things and themes started popping up, I started adding draft pages to the blog with notes of what my observations were as well as the occasional quote and link.  I also started looking for a theme that would not create a normal blog hierarchy and would also be able to incorporate video and imagery in a way that made sense.  I went through two themes, and the second one was a keeper (the designer is linked in the footer of the field journal).

    Post Drumbeat, I finished interviewing and started turning my notes in to something coherent and organizing thoughts around my notes, observations and themes I saw bubbling up in in Future Class.  I was thinking of it as sort of a practice not just in creating a field journal, but in creating some semblance of a non-linear story around Future Class that would be useful not just for me, if I had to write an analytical paper around our activity, but also for anyone who was curious about future class, who we are, what we were doing, and our issues and successes.

    I don’t like the distancing that happens a lot of times in traditional ethnographic work.  Performance Ethnography tries to minimize that distance.  I think using the digital minimizes it even more.

    The members of Future Class saw the site before anyone else.  They were able to give me feedback, let me know if they were uncomfortable with anything, give me their gut reactions etc.  They had the freedom to do that publicly in the form of comments (I even encouraged them to use the comment space for that if they had any).  I love that.  It is so amazing that the digital allows that type of dialogue to exist very early on in a project.  It also means that my field journal is a living document, subject to changes, addendum, additions etc.

    While this field journal obviously does not capture all of my field notes, or even all of my video footage, it is representative of the things that were important from my point of view at this time.  If feedback dictates, the members of my field site other than myself also found it to be an honest and accurate representation.  I hope that it allows outside visitors to get an accurate glimpse of Future Class.

    * * *

  • Mozilla Drumbeat: Learning, Freedom and the Web

    Last week, from Wednesday to Friday I was in Barcelona, Spain for the first Mozilla Drumbeat festival on Learning, Freedom and the Web.  I was there as part of the HASTAC Storming the Academy tent and as a student.  I didn’t get to wander too much, but that is okay.  I am using the Storming the Academy tent as a field site for an ethnography project so it makes sense.

    It is also so interesting to hear what people are saying.  I went to drumbeat with one question:  “How do you imagine the involvement of tradition forms of Higher Education in the future of Freedom, Learning and the Web?”  I actually had responses from everyone I spoke with other than “but how are we going to credential” which is not something that has happened yet in academic settings.  Most people there were in agreement that the approach to learning and spaces of learning needs to be more holistic.  However, people were still unwilling to completely let go of some of the ideals of industrialized education.  They are just re-imagining them and making them more flexible.  I would have to do more reflecting and exploring to determine if I think that is a good thing or a bad thing.

    Things that were great:

    • Gunner, quite possibly the best facilitator ever
    • The quality of everything
    • Conversations
    • Technology
    • Variety of people there

    Things that could have been better:

    • More local involvement (I am still not clear how locals are kept out of a conversation on the city as a classroom)
    • Volunteers to translate so participation is more open
    • Finding a means to encourage exploration
    • Putting people/tents closer together
    • Drink/Snack Stations (coffee, water, fruit, crackers throughout the event)
    • Longer time for sessions

    So, on to the points that I am trained to observe that were reproduced (as is normal and also abnormal) at the event.  There was a very clear lack of diversity.  In terms of people of color there were a few of us.  I believe there was one other black American female and one European African female (she was amazing.  Her name was Nadia, and her project makes my heart sing.  It is called the Prototype Project, and yes, you should check it out).  There was also at least one black American male from, from Chicago, a Saffa… and… I might have missed some people.  There were some asian males, from all over, meaning US and UK asian ;0), but not as many as one often sees at big tech events.  I also came in to contact with one asian female from the states.  So that was interesting.

    Now on to the abnormal/positive observation: THERE WERE SO MANY FRIGGIN’ AMAZING WOMEN at the event.  I didn’t realize, though I’m sure I’ve seen it before, that Mitchell Baker, the Chair of Mozilla Foundation, is a woman.  And she was just one of too many to name who were in attendance.  She and Cathy, the prof from the Duke class I was there with, gave the keynotes.  That was super empowering.  Also, even though they didn’t speak about it openly, the people who were interested in using digital media and the open source culture for advocacy were there, and we found each other.  That was a wonderful thing.

    New Things I learned about that I am now all about from Drumbeat:
    (there was so much stuff I missed and didn’t get to play with though.  I am so sad about that.  Even the things mentioned above I only saw briefly.)

    So, I will go in to more detail about what I observed/did/the point was for me in the digital performance ethnography thing I am in the process of working on.  I will post and update and link from this blog once it is ready (hopefully by the end of this crazy month).

    I am hoping I get invited back to next year’s event and that next year is in Amsterdam… but Amsterdam is just a personal preference.

    * * *