Education Minister Ramona Jennex posted an op-Ed piece regarding cyberbullying and their efforts to combat it. You can read the full piece here.
I’m really interested in their focus on cyberbullying, how it means that bullying can come right into the student’s home leaving no place safe, as well as factors regarding anonymity and the role of bystanders in these instances. It’s a good direction and I’m pleased to here it coming from Minister Jennex. My heart goes out to the kids and their parents who must deal with these issues.
What is Bully For You?
Bully for You is a powerful tool to teach anti-bullying, character development, and new media literacy—all housed in a secure, self-contained social networking environment.
Click here to watch the Bully For You Trailer
How do I get it?
You can purchase a teacher license for Bully For You in Canada by contacting Scholastic Education. We will soon also be launching through Scholastic in Australia and New Zealand. If you are interested in using the product in the USA or other countries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if a student loses their password?
Using the Teacher Area, please click on your student’s access code. Enter in a new password and click ‘Submit’, the student’s password should now be updated.
What if a student wrote something inappropriate on their profile page?
On all areas of the website their is an incorporated swear filter. If however a student has written something inappropriate on their page please go to the Teacher Area, click on the offending student’s access code, delete the relevant content and click ‘Submit’. Their profile will now be updated. If the student continues to add inappropriate content, you may wish to disable the student by clicking the ‘Disable’ box to the left of the student access code.
How long will the program take?
New Media products allow for differentiated instruction. Some students will complete a session quickly (within 15-20 minutes) where as others will find the program more challenging. Students can help each other by asking questions on the incorporated instant messenger. We have divided the program into three Sessions thereby providing natural opportunities to stop for discussion. The longest the program should take is three class periods.
What if I don’t want the student’s to start, but I’ve handed out the codes?
You may disable all of your students by clicking the ‘Disable’ box to the left of the student access codes on your Teacher Area.
Objects seem out of place in the program, what’s happening?
It is most likely that you are using an unsupported browser. We support the following browsers:
- Internet Explorer 7 and 8
- Firefox 3.X
- Safari 4.X
The program will work to varying degrees in other browsers.
If you have further questions please comment or email, email@example.com and I will respond and update this section.
Please follow the link below to watch a complete Demo of Session 3.
Please follow the link below to watch a complete Demo of Session 2.
Please follow the link below to watch a complete Demo of Session 1.
In a recent Ted.com talk, Seth Priebatsch, CEO of SCVNGR (part location based game, part platform) discusses building a game layer on top of the world. My take away is that when game dynamics are integrated into stories it has the potential to make narrative more engaging.
He mentions four important game dynamics:
1. The appointment dynamic
– The requirement for people to do something at a predetermined time. He uses the example of Happy Hour and Farmville, where in the case of Farmville you have to return to water your crops or they will die.
2. Influence and status dynamic
– American Express Platinum Card as a status symbol. Badges, levels, etc in many games such as WoW. In school we have grades and awards. In digital stories we can certainly have badges and awards.
3. Progression dynamic
– He uses the example of LinkedIn which tells you how far along you are in the progress to develop your profile. He confuses this a bit with status, but in a story it’s important for us to let students know how much more they have left. With a book, they know how many chapters and pages are left. We need to provide some progression dynamic to students.
4. Communal Discovery
– This leverages the network. Digg is an example of a crowdsourcing application for the best stories. We can expand on this to include fostering a discussion around the discovery. With differentiated instruction the community can help students progress at whatever pace and help they require provided we give them the means to interact with the community.
Seth was only willing to dole out 4 of his 7 game dynamics, but I think it’s interesting to consider them in the development of any new form of Internet narrative.
You can watch the whole talk here.
In our first product, Bully For You, we use three and four. I wonder how to integrate number 1, but in the case of Influence Dynamic, we can certainly add that component!
New Media Literacy is as much about critical thinking as anything else. And BP’s actions regarding the oil spill and their attempts to control the story can be informative.
In a recent examiner article it is revealed that BP has purchased a number of Google adwords ‘perhaps’ with the goal of redirecting searchers to BP content. The adwords included ‘oil spill’, ‘BP oil spill’, ‘Deepwater Horizon’ and ‘oil spill response’.
The article ends with a question we all should be asking, but perhaps should be asked of every search response, every ad, every blog post, comment, etc. What was their motivation?
The proposed Bill C-32 is perhaps most beneficial to educators over anyone else. With the implementation of this Bill, teachers will now be able to make use of copyright material for teaching purposes under certain circumstances, this runs along the same lines as the so called Fair Use policy in the USA although I have not identified the exceptions.
Secondly, for those of you who are teaching New Media Literacy and are encouraging students to mash up videos with music, much of which is under copyright, you will no longer be breaking the law. In fact, C-32 will go beyond Fair Use with this ‘YouTube Exception’ which allows such user generated, non commercial content.
This is a great start for teachers. I do wonder how it will play out with publishers and not infringe on their rights. I’ve included some excerpts below of the relevant articles of the Bill. If you wish to listen to an overview of the pros and cons, I encourage you to listen to Michael Geist’s commentary.
YouTube Exception – Non-commercial User-generated Content
29.21 (1) It is not an infringement of copyright for an individual to use an existing work or other subject-matter or copy of one, which has been published or otherwise made available to the public, in the creation of a new work or other subject-matter in which copyright subsists and for the individual — or, with the individual’s authorization, a member of their household — to use the new work or other subject-matter or to authorize an intermediary to disseminate it, if
(a) the use of, or the authorization to disseminate, the new work or other subject-matter is done solely for non-commercial purposes;
(b) the source — and, if given in the source, the name of the author, performer, maker or broadcaster — of the existing work or other subject-matter or copy of it are mentioned, if it is reasonable in the circumstances to do so;
(c) the individual had reasonable grounds to believe that the existing work or other subject-matter or copy of it, as the case may be, was not infringing copyright; and
(d) the use of, or the authorization to disseminate, the new work or other subject-matter does not have a substantial adverse effect, financial or otherwise, on the exploitation or potential exploitation of the existing work or other subject-matter — or copy of it — or on an existing or potential market for it, including that the new work or other subject-matter is not a substitute for the existing one.
Production for Instruction
29.4 (1) It is not an infringement of copyright for an educational institution or a person acting under its authority for the purposes of education or training on its premises to reproduce a work, or do any other necessary act, in order to display it.
However, it goes on to add:
(3) Except in the case of manual reproduction, the exemption from copyright infringement provided by paragraph (1)(b) and subsection (2) subsections (1) and (2) does not apply if the work or other subject-matter is commercially available, within the meaning of paragraph (a) of the definition “commercially available” in section 2, in a medium that is appropriate for the purpose referred to in that paragraph or subsection, as the case may be. in those subsections.
In a recent blog post by Henry Jenkins, he brings together contributors to a new book called Teaching Tech Savvy Kids. It’s a great two part post and they cover a lot of ground.
They talk about the importance of play. Of collaboration. And of not providing ‘canned’ applications for educators. This supports part of what I learned from Storytelling X.0. That storytelling will become less about the story and more about providing a curated narrative space. This space can be IMing, a blog, a social network, etc. And THAT is what we’re all about.
I was also particularly interested in their take on remixing in the classroom, where copyright infringment is almost bound to occur.
Erin Reilly said: “Teachers can guide youth to better reflect on these new forms of creation and know the difference between plagiarism and appropriation — the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content.” This last part is exactly what differentiates copyright infringement and art.
When courts are debating these very issues, it strikes me that we first need to be able to tell the difference. Kudos to these writers, researchers and educators for helping to educate me.
So check out the Blog
Then the Book
Then join in the discussion.
Last week I attended a one day symposium about Transmedia storytelling. Say, what? Transmedia is just a fancy way of saying stories that take place across platforms. This is not to say cross platform. Cross platform is taking a book and displaying that book on an ereader device. Transmedia is exploiting the advantages of a device/platform and tailoring or writing content specifically to maximize the potential of the device/platform.
So if I’ve got that out of the way, I want to mention a few cool points. The first is regarding interactivity.
Sometimes when I try to explain to people my digital projects they liken it to online Choose Your Own Adventure. Not the case. I don’t consider this interactive, at least not on its own. Why? There will always be one choice that tells the best story. The author will always be hoping you pick one direction, over another. True, perhaps different people will get more out of one direction than another, but from the standpoint of story, there will always be one choice that tells a better story. This has always been a pet peeve of mine and it was nice to have panelists agree.
Another pointer which I found helpful was to provide progress reports to your audience. Game developers use maps or status bars, and levels, to show how far you’ve come and how far you have left to go. We can learn from that. So, readers/players/consumers like to see progress. Incorporate that into your Internet sprawling story, linear or not.
And finally, if you are going to allow choice, or have the audience influence the story, then be sure to make the reward immediate and obvious. There are examples of broadcasters who allowed the audience to influence story with texting, but it was done in an aggregate, so individuals often didn’t get their way. In another example, the impact of the choice was too subtle for the audience to catch and in another it was too far into the narrative for the audience to recall.
I thought these were good constructive learnings. I pass them along.