Remixing The Internet

When looking at Creative Commons I immediately think of the things that have become popular among my students over the past four years of my teaching career. The first one is NFL bad lip reading, a compilation of NHL players having superimposed voices. Quite funny and in most cases hysterical.

The next is a Taylor Swift goat remix also very funny, there are a number of these goat remixes on YouTube!

After watching the Ted Talk by Larry Lessig it really affirmed my belief that 21st education is going in a digital/technological direction. This is an important concept for teachers in the 21st century to come to terms with and start integrating new and exciting technologies into their classrooms and teaching styles, in his talk he states:

Tools of creativity have become tools of speech, it is a literacy for this generation.
We need to be aware of the different ways students are utilizing technologies and how we might be able to hook them into the world of education through those avenues. If we become resistant to utilizing technology in our classrooms we will lose the interest of the majority of our students. It is important that if there is a collective buy-in among teaching professionals we will see a decrease in the amount of resistance seen in the student population.

Larry also talks about, “…taking and recreating using other people’s content and using digital technologies differently.” Students love to incorporate anything that has to do with pop culture into their education experience.

Last year I had a grade 7 student remix the pop hit by Nikki Minaj, Anaconda (I am not linking to the video because it is VERY suggestive). For a presentation he created a song called Mitochondria explaining how that part of a cell works. This was a student who rarely had his work done but was very capable. When he approached me and asked if he could create a sort of parody I though immediately, “Anything for you to buy in!” I allowed it and in his rendition he articulated through a remix of a pop culture hit how a mitochondria works…definitely a highlight in my teaching career thus far.

When thinking about the prospect of having everything on lock down and being unable to utilize certain creative outlets due to major restrictions we need to ask ourselves how are we doing anyone any favors? Creative commons helps to fix these issues ensuring that the user knows how the content may be used (all rights reserved, some rights reserved, etc.). It is important that we teach students how to honor these requests and give credit to artists and authors.

Thank You For Being a Friend

When I watched the documentary The Internet’s Own Boy I have to admit I was a little shocked by the amount of information that is not available for the public to access without paying for it. The documentary about the American hacker, Aaron Swartz, who started a revolution against payment enforced information that should be accessible for anyone was incredibly eye opening for me. Amy Singh’s latest blog posting highlights this very well. It is interesting how many different companies and schools keep their articles on lock down from the public eye without seeing some Benjamins! This is where I see the beauty of a class such as the one I am currently enrolled in, EC&I 831 at the University of Regina. Sure, I had to pay tuition to take the class but the real breath of fresh air was the fact that I did not have to purchase a $85-$150 text. All of our resources are accessible from one of the best resources out there today, the internet. This is where I have ultimately opened my eyes to the library that is available at my fingertips. Open education is becoming more prominent every year and it’s easily accessible for anyone. My hope is that major universities and colleges jump on the bandwagon and start to let their libraries freely available online for anyone wanting to learn.

…….I just realized I do kind of pay for my readings… my internet provider! Next step, FREE INTERNET for ALL!!

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