Transmedia Storytelling!

So,  I remember a a child before bed my mother would read to me. She did great voices for each character and the smooth  pitch of her voice allowed me to imagine what she was reading. It was almost as if I was in another land or time. She was that good. Today, parents do not have to put forth that effort (although I encourage them to) when reading to their children at night. No, today we have books that read to children by themselves or prompt the child to hop on their ipad and find out the rest of the story.

I am all for interactivity, but in a sense transmedia storytelling for young children has the potential to replace their imagination. The computers and ipads just give the information to the child, without any thought. Just simply…swipe your finger left to right and push the button.

There are some positives that accompany transmedia storytelling though. So don’t worry, I don’t hate it completely. For students in younger grades, transmedia allows them to adapt to technology with ease. For example the teacher reads a story and the students are responsible for looking up the ending of the story online. The students learn the story, critically think what to search for in the search engine, and are satisfied with the end product because it was simple to attain through the internet. Everyone wins…. well almost.

At the end of the day, technology is a crucial component of our lives. It has become a necessary evil in some instances. I often find myself saying what would I do if I did not have Siri? I never want to find out either. However, I will be the type of parent that incorporates transmedia storytelling into my child’s life, but not during bedtime when screen time should be non existent for a good night’s sleep.

 

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The Funny Thing About a MEME…..

From hilarious to controversial, Memes represent today’s culture. These familiar images with text illustrate the creator’s message not only through text but with image. So, it is safe to say that a picture is worth 1,000 words and a Meme is worth 2,000 because it has both picture and words. I often find myself creating Memes to humor others, and on occasion I have spent hours than I would like to admit looking at them because they are addictive.

Memes are very influential in this world driven my technology. Take for instance, the Kermit the Frog sipping Lipton ice tea. This particular Meme is very controversial as Kermit looks turns the other way and sips when confronted with a serious issue.

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One of best components of today is that consumers are also producers. For example, I am a consumer and also had the ability to create my very own Meme. Not only was it fast an easy, but it required no editor or producer to “Ok” before it was official.

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A Meme is a very influential peice of communication because typically the creator is anonymous. This anonymity prevails any qualms one may have regarding content, which leaves some Memes to have a certain explicit vibe. So remember when creating your own Meme that content and image matter. It should create a cohesive message, and not represent anything you would not want to associate yourself with. Remember, anything is traceable nowadays.

Folk Art’s Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Folk art’s essence is relative to its origin. Its ability to reveal characteristics regarding a person or culture is uncanny. Folk art encapsulates history. Think about it, we have gained an abundance of knowledge from folk art. Take for instance ancient hieroglyphics – we have been able to determine how cavemen survived over 2000 years ago simply from pictures drawn along cave walls. This primitive folk art depicts everyday activities and common beliefs of the time.

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The Romans, Greeks and Egyptians utilized folk art to express struggles, survivals and even notable deaths. These inscriptions, paintings and sculptures depict stories of the past that promote our knowledge of these past civilizations. These early forms of folk art offer information that was (is) vital to determining the past, present and future of the world.

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Today, folk art’s ability to represent a culture and those that inhabit it still remains. And although most art is not drawn or painted on walls (with the exception of graffiti), the various types of folk art varies from person to person. Some is moving. Some is disturbing. Its goal is to depict something and illicit a response. But whatever your reaction is, be sure to appreciate it. After all, it is this art that tells a story that future generations may use to learn about our time as it is now.

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What is this Convergence Culture You Speak of?

According to Iphone-1-Henry Jenkins (the Mcluhan of the 21st century),

“Convergence is the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who would go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they wanted.”

We are in a full force convergence of content in today’s world. Think about it, every time you tweet about an episode of Lost during its aire time you are contributing to convergence. You, as the consumer, are a major part of our participatory culture. By participatory culture I am referring to the theory that consumers are not only consumers but also producers. That’s right! We create our content, and influence legitamate producers to make the content we desire!

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Think about it, when you create a blog you are controlling the content and images. Today, anyone can become a producer or a blogger and that provides an overwhelmingly amount of content. But I promise that someone, somewhere will want to read it.

There is one downside to a culture made entirely of producers – content quality. How do you know that what you are reading is factual? Information that is well known can be considered safe, but grabbing info from ask.com for a research paper may not be the best idea.

The upside to living in a convergence culture is that information can be shared between users with significant ease. This creates a great big pot of tasty information that is ready to be served whenever a user is hungry.

 

How Television has Changed

I love television. Not only does this tool inform the masses, it inspires and educates. But over the past decades it seems that television has shifted considerably to appease viewers.

There was a time when families would gather around their bunny-eared set and watch the news (which was only on once or twice a day) or an I Love Lucy episode. I would really enjoy witnessing a hoop-skirted ponytail wearing Rydell High senior watch today’s tv. Can you imagine? “What’s the real world, and why are those girls kissing people they don’t know?”

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This simpler time kept tv as a tool, not a way of life. Whereas today we utilize tv not only for entertainment, but to inspire recipes for dinner or how to DIY a home project. Some may argue that tv users today are lazy.

However, it is the medium of television that brings the world into our homes and our homes into the world.

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Today, companies like Netflix and Hulu allow users to access tv from mobile devices and computers. Tv is anywhere at anytime. I often find myself watching an episode of Celebrity Ghost Stories on my phone between classes, but somehow manage to end up back on the Food Network at home just in time to be inspired for dinner.

As long as users recognize that tv is a tool, and not a way of life than this medium will continue to enhance lives. So please watch responsibly, and do not become lost in the boob tube.

 

Art is in the Eye of the Beholder

Art is a subjective form of expression. It varies from person to person, and aims to illicit a response. From sculptures to pregnancy, this creative outlet can mean anything to anyone. Art is a beautiful thing. And although its variety is one of its major benefits, there are people who may not see the beauty and in fact frown upon it. This ignorance is toxic and immature.

To me, the human body (particularly the female body) is art. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it serves a multitude of functions. To further, pregnancy is the epitome of art. Think about it… art creating  art! Each mother is unique and every infant that is birthed holds a part of their mother within them, while adding new features to the work.

Recently, a Jacksonville City Councilmen, Clay Yarborough, fought to have funding from MOCA pulled after a photograph of a nude pregnant woman was featured. Yarbrorough condemned the work by calling it “pornography” and deemed it inappropriate for children.

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It is interesting to note that pornography is defined as work that contains explicit material in an effort to arouse. Obviously, pregnancy is not meant to arouse, but rather illustrate pure beauty that the world offers.

In a society mainly consisting of post-Puritans, we have been taught to hide and cover our bodies. Nudity automatically equals sex. I do not recall being born with jeans and a t-shirt on. We all entered this world naked, so why can’t nudity equal art?

Nude art was not always a controversy. Of course there are works that have caused quite a stir. However, ancient civilizations including the Greeks, portray nudity in many artistic ways.

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The incorporation of nude art back into mainstream society is on the rise. And although it may spark controversy, nudity and pregnancy are considered art as long as they do not fall under the definition of pornography. I think that expressing oneself is crucial in development, and if that means taking a photo a nude pregnant woman than please frame it for all to see.

If You Can Read This….You Beat the Stats

The times of profound words written with quill and ink lit by candlelight are a thing of the past. Today we found ourselves utilizing tools that think for us, all we have to do is ask Siri or swipe our finger. With the conveniences of everyday life that we have become accustomed to, has our lifestyle led us into a state of illiteracy from which we cannot recover? Or has technology only promoted literacy and pushed its users into an intellect that will propel them forward?

The majority of Americans learned their ABC’s to a familiar tune and practiced manuscript (and cursive) on three-lined paper. Teachers were forced to educate based on regulations from the state, most of which taught for a standardized tests. This inhibited many creative minds, and gave an inaccurate representation of the real world to students. Today, these same minds are familiar with taking tests, but fail to think outside of the box with any form of creativity or literacy for that matter.

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There is constantly some type of information flying at us, but unfortunately millions of Americans are unable to read this information because they simply can’t.

            “According to a study conducted in late April by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read.”

Despite the alarming rate of illiterate Americans, it seems that technology may positively influence and motivate students to read and continue their education. Instead of one specific teaching method that may not benefit every student, technology allows flexibility and a one on one approach with the student. When students are engaged with learning, they absorb more and technology promotes student’s learning in the classroom and at home.

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Although our society’s literacy rates are not superb, our digital literacy rates will increase as new generations enter the workforce and school. This shift does not illustrate negative implications, but rather a change in society that we must adapt to.