i remember how excited my elementary aged students were when they made their first avatar in the program Comic Life. Though the choices were very restrictive from the options provided, i still had to give guidelines of no weapons , it had to reflect who they were, not the most bazaar creature they could create within restrictive options and not to alter anyone else s avatar. It actually created some cyber bullying issues with rearranging derogatorily so, some classmates avatars. I felt the activity, though connecting students to technology was more of a passive environment than active. Many spent hours creating avatars rather than make their comic strip in the activity provided . When creating their own comics and avatars, they really were not socializing with each other.
One fascinating use of virtual activities that I learned about years ago at a Teacher Librarian conference, was having executives take home the game Sim City and create their family dynamics and return it. It was an eye opener to the executives how they porttrayed themselves and how their family viewed them. The virtual world allows you to create how you perceive your real world , which may not be how others perceive you.
Another aspect of the gaming world de Castell suggests is the interactivity in games, game creation. However, inordinately fwe players actually program their own game mods. Coincidentally, I just heard on CBC that someone has invented a game that plays all by itself so there is no DIY but don't do it at all, just watch!
de Castell, S., "Mirror Images: Avatar Aesthetics and self Representationin Digital Games." DIY Citizenship. Pp 213-221
This topic immediately brought to mind how I taught teen movie making.. I started by explaining the genres that most movies fall into to create a structure for the students to develop their storyboard around. Through years of teaching this I found they had tons of ideas but they did not flow. Taking the genre topics from the book 'Save the Cat' The screenwriters guide to every story ever
told by Blake Snyder.
The discussions and readings surrounding DIY and DIWO created a broader understanding and enthusiasm for this topic.
I have immediately thought of a number of students that would be totally engaged from being involved in the maker society. (I have been looking for maker spaces inthe Oshawa Whitby area to no avail yet)
The reason maker spaces appeals to me is the design; it promotes inquiry in an authentic setting, starts with a problem. It is a four step model with assessment through the whole process and that they are physical spaces where people gather to share resources, knowledge and work on a communal problem together. I like how solving problems is a good thing. People are inspired by others ideas and vision of the problem
I was reminded of the movie I just saw The Martian and the crux of the movie and joy in the astronauts was solving problems, one right after the other. Even in the original Tom Hanks movie, the famous quote was "Houston, we have a problem" . The other key in DIY and DIWO is collaboration., using your own problem solving skills but also listening to others ideas for different solutions. If the team had brushed off the 20 something astrophysicist because he was a bit odd and not part of their team, they would not have solved the problem with his suggestion
An other important caveat in DIY is self directed learning and we learn best by doing, hands on. The indri auld takes responsibility and initiative for what occurs. Individuals select manage and assess their own learning activities, which can
be pursued at anytime, through any means, at any age.
I was amazed that Edward Bernays had/has so much of an impact on how our society works...from encouraging women to smoke in the 20's (torches of freedom)to making us believe a democracy is a good thing. In a sense I feel hoodwinked into believing something through psychoanalysis. Knowing human beings innermost desires and nasty thoughts.
It mortified me that we can be so easily manipulated because of our wants not our needs or common sense.
How hitting people with factual information doesn't work to change our ways. We see that through knowing we shouldn't smoke, eat and exercise to preserve our health, wearing seatbelts, distracted driving are all to our detriment but common sense does not prevail . How d o we use this information for a good purpose. I think of my students, who I am trying to provide them with opportunies to show