Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The reality of death?

I wonder how long it will be until (un) 'reality' TV traffics in death - the first televised killing? Instead of being voted off the island you will leave the tribal council area to be fed to the sharks. Or your team mates will be asked to stone you. Death will become part of the show because death is a 'reality'. After all that's what television is about ... isn't it?


Saturday, May 21, 2005

Games chat with Jim Gee

Just found this fascinating online chat transcript with Jim Gee @ The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Have a read. What do you think? It seems to me that this is such an important area and cannot afford to be ignored - especially considering that the Worldwide video games market is now bigger than the Worldwide Film/Movie Industry. Forecasts expect the games industry will soon overtake the worldwide music industry too. Not hard to imagine when you consider the stouch that is brewing with the release of the xbox360 and the PS3.

I say, GAME ON!


Gates warns of information overload

I'm not sure I like Bill Gates as 'prophet of the future'. He's just held his annual 'CEO Summit' where he talks up the 'technological revolution' and the implications for business and then sells them the new MS software 'solution'.

The reconfiguration of working environments, often called a 'new world of work' filled with 'tech-savy knowledge workers', is one reason given for the rethinking of schooling. Colin Lankshear and Michelle Knobel, Jim Gee, Jay Lemke, and many others talk about the changes to schooling that might need to happen if young people are going to be able to 'navigate' through this kind of society. Of course there is plenty of (Sk)hype, and so many of these researchers/academics also advocate a critical approach to all this 'social re-engineering'.


Friday, May 20, 2005

the game

This academic game is odd. There are many reasons I can think of ... cept I can't quite be bothered at this stage to write about them.

CD sounds like she's doing better with the current situation. She's a top chick and I hope she's happy.

Ilana and I have been trying to hack out a decent chapter draft for 'The Handbook of New Literacies' and it seems to be coming along. Ilana spent last week pulling together a whole bunch of stuff and then gave the bones (well more than bones actually) to me for my effort (this was on Tuesday). So I have spent at least half this week refining, reworking and adding things. Not that I can say that my time is always directly focussed on the writing. In the past I have found it useful to disconnect myself (i.e. the laptop) from the LAN so that I'm not distracted by random email or avoid randomly browsing wikipedia. I mean my problem is I'll try to sit there all day plugging away at some small problem (linking one para to another or reworking some sequence of sentences or some other such silly thing) that should be relatively straight forward, thereby making it 10 times more painful and time consuming than it ought to be. An hour goes by and I'm still transfixed on the same 'page' (screen ... you know what I mean). Sometimes I have some lunch, or promise myself I'll go for a walk and grap a drink or something. Today I bought a book (2nd hand - Richard Teese (2000) Academic Success and Social Power. Melb: MUP) to assuage some of the guilt that had built up at not getting more done. It's silly really, because I know that I'd only be satisfied if I actually finished the whole thing in an afternoon.

I do enjoy some aspects of this type of writing and the co-writing aspect is usually always better than doing something by yourself, but it can also be much harder. We have talked about the issues and tried to frame the work over the last couple of months, along with doing plenty of reading and thinking individually. Ilana cut the first basic text, and now I'm recutting the next iteration. Next Wednesday I'll hand it back for her to have another bash at, and then we'll to and fro it more regularly till we're happy (or over it completely).

This weekend Ilana is beginning the other chapter. This one is for an Arts Handbook for Kluwer (I don't know the name) that has more of a technology and LITERATURE feel. So next Wednesday we'll actually swap chapters and I'll have a go at that one too.

Perhaps in a couple of weeks I can get back to the PhD proposal and some serious reading?

Perhaps I should go into work tomorrow (Saturday) to get some more work done? Not sure about that ... I'll sleep on it.

Emma is out tonight doing some IPL practice. So Austen and I went to visit Uncles and Aunts and Grandma and Grandpa (they all live in the same house!) He has been teething lately so he's not the usual happy little chap.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

beginning a rumour ...

I have a sneaky desire to begin a rumour that Lectrice, after finishing up this summer at her inner city london school, is coming to Melbourne to do a PhD ... that way we can both be wanker academics/teacher eds!

that's what I heard anyway ...

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Teenager's iPod goes boom

A young lad down the road from us had his ipod go through the wash and while he performed emergency surgery it blew up on him - burned a hole in his bed!

Maybe it's time to do your own washing young fella!?


"and now there's no ti-i-i-i-ime"

Another great post from Lectrice. Not much more to say really, except that she is absolutely right and I must do better!

Time and again children show us that we teach them by our actions, not by words or by crumpled principles. They do not listen to what we say. Children unfailingly look: at what we do.

... These cultures [i.e. public health, the army, policing, teaching, and social work] do not lend themselves to occupational or professional reflection - time is a high pressure commodity, as is energy, when crisis control is your daily bread. The majority of teachers I know spend their evenings and weekends simply attempting to recharge frazzled nerves, rather than musing upon what makes children read, meet deadlines, challenge authority?

Yet these are the very cultures which most need critical reflection to take place, continually threatened by the push and pull of the general public's hour of need, balanced on a knife edge of governmental under-funding and over-targeting.

If we don't reflect, pause, and take a moment to see ourselves in a self-critical light in these public service professions, then we, like Edward Hyde's bookshop customer will inevitably fall guilty of preaching but not teaching. We are judged by what we do. We must therefore assume less about what we do - open our eyes, look, judge, reflect - to see perhaps what damaging roles we too are playing in shaping young people's sense of the world.


Monday, May 09, 2005

Surf's up. So is the hype

Victorian technology and schools issues are probably the same as everywhere else. The hype is the same too.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Editing our future

The National Library of Australia is going to take a copy of the complete .com.au domain. A record of the Australian web preserved for posterity. I'm not sure I understand the choice of project name though - the 'Pandora project'?


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Kath & Kim in America

Julie is in the news reporting on a study looking at cultural resources and humour. Some American college students were 'uncomfortable' when shown Cath and Kim because they felt they were laughing at the lower-middle class.

Julie says, "It's not about whether they had a sense of humour or not, but about the extent to which they needed to know things to find Kath and Kim funny."

This is classic 'literacy as social practice' stuff. These American college students lack the cultural resources (Australian cultural resources) to help them put the show and its humour in context. A good example of the 'situatedness' of texts and readers.

Jay Lemke might say that the semiotic resources needed to read and make meaning from the representation were not commonly known or understood by the viewers. They were confronted with something that they could make meaning from, but that meaning was very different from the meaning that the 'typical' Australian might make watching the same stuff.

Go Julie!


Aust study uses mobiles to monitor teen angst

This is very interesting. Young people who seem to resist seeing a psychologist for depression are being 'monitored' with mobile phones. It's not really a surveillance issue as I first though and more of an example where adults have realised the potential of a social practice (teenage mobile phone use) for helping find out more about young peoples' depression.

So rather than filling out diaries and logs of their feelings, young people respond to a couple of txts that ask them questions about how they are etc.

While there are many reasons for not wanting to go to the psych this seems like a novel way of getting around the issue.

I just want to know who gets the revenue from all the txts?


Japan to watch movies on the go

Full feature length films played through your sunnies? How long till this comes here I wonder?