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March 29 at 7:29am

The New Skills Needed For Participatory Culture

Okay this is old news, but it is still DAMN F’N relevant!

In 2005, via the MacArthur Foundation, Henry Jenkins released this white paper, pointing out that:

Schools as institutions have been slow to react to the emergence of this new participatory culture; the greatest opporitunity for change is currently found in afterschool programs and informal learning communities. Schools and afterschool programs must devote more attention to fostering what we call the new media literacies: a set of cultural competencies and social skills that young people need in the new media landscape. Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement.The new literacies almost all involve social skills developed through collaboration and networking.These skills build on the foundation of tradi- tional literacy, research skills, technical skills, and critical analysis skills taught in the classroom.

What Jenkins goes on to point out is needed among students, is also very much needed by anyone working in the film business, or desiring a full appreciation  of today’s film culture.

The new skills include:

Play — the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving Performance — the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery

Simulation — the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes

Appropriation — the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content

Multitasking — the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.

Distributed Cognition — the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities

Collective Intelligence — the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal

Judgment — the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources

Transmedia Navigation — the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities

Networking — the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information

Negotiation — the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.

I want to make sure my son has all these skills in his arsenal as he starts middle school.  That said, if I ran an undergrad film school, this training would be part of the core curriculum.  At the grad level, it would be an entry requirement.

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March 13 at 11:11am

Battelle On iPad as Metaphor For All That’s Wrong With Media Distribution

I got hipped to this by MovieCityNews.  I had not read John Battelle before, but in his broadside he sums up what he doesn’t like about the iPad and he sums up our current situation pretty damn well:

Media traditionally has gained its profits by owning distribution. Cable carriage, network airwaves, newsstand distribution and printing presses: all very expensive, so once you employ enough capital to gain them, it’s damn hard to get knocked out.

The web changed all that and promised that economics in the media business would be driven by content and intent: the best content will win, driven by the declared intent of consumers who find it and share it. Search+Social was the biggest wave to hit media since the printing press. And the open technology to make better and better experiences has been on a ten year tear: blogging software, Flash, Ajax, HTML 5, Android, and more and more coming.

Read the rest of the article here.  I look forward to reading more of him in the days ahead.

We are in a battle where the hope and promise offered by a free and open internet is challenged by the traditional drive for total control by excessive capital.

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March 10 at 4:59pm

Could We Have A FREE Wireless Internet?

The FCC Chair, , is suggesting that we may have an opportunity to have a free wireless internet. It would be wonderful if the government could do something that benefits citizens and not the corporations for a change — although FREE internet access could certainly drive e-commerce for everyone too.

The WSJ Blog ran this story the other day and reported that the:

FCC chairman suggested that the agency consider setting aside “spectrum for a free or very low cost wireless broadband service.”

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March 10 at 2:10pm

Tell Iran To Free Jafar Panahi

On March 2nd it was reported that the director of THE WHITE BALLOON had been imprisoned by the Government of Iran.  He is still being detained.  I came across this petition and signed it.  I am sure that there is more that can be done, but this is a start.

Screen points out:

Panahi, who won the Camera d’Or award at Cannes for his debut feature The White Balloon and took the Golden Lion prize at Venice for The Circle, was a vocal supporter of the opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in last year’s disputed presidentaial election in Iran.

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March 10 at 7:57am

Petition Against Florida’s Ban On Films With Gay Characters

Perhaps you’ve heard of the plan to deny films (like all the oscar nominated movies this year) that don’t promote “family values” which to some mean gay characters.

Luckily some people are doing something about it.  For a start you can sign this petition started by R. Michael McWhorter (thank him by following him on Twitter) :



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This site could not have been built without the help and insight of Michael Morgenstern. My thanks go out to him.

Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!