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Australian Teachers of Media Conference 2006, Brisbane 6-8 Oct.

Still Struggling with Producers and Consumers

My colleague Stephen Barrass from the University of Canberra sends on a link to Todd Richmond's models for producer/consumer and teacher/student relations in analog, digital, and transitional environments (via Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs blog) - including images like the following:

Transitional Media

Spreading the Memes

Over the past few years, I've created a few neologisms - terms such as 'gatewatching', 'newssharing', and of course 'produser' and 'produsage'. While some might frown on this (hi, Jean), in my view it's absolutely necessary for researchers to abandon traditional terminology when it becomes overly limiting, and obscures important new features of their objects of study. So, for example, the traditional journalistic process of gatekeeping is giving way to a new mode of gatewatching in news production; for journalists and other news commentators this is "a shift from the watchdog to the 'guidedog'" role, as Jo Bardoel and Mark Deuze have put it.

Teaching the Produsers: Preparing Students for User-Led Content Production - ATOM Conference 2006, Brisbane

Australian Teachers of Media conference, Brisbane 2006

Teaching the Produsers: Preparing Students for User-Led Content Production

  • 8 October 2006 - Gardens Point Campus, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane

My talk at ATOM2006 outlined the produsage concept, with a view also to how educators can aim to enable students to engage in produsage through the development of their critical, collaborative and creative ICT and media literacies.

What Futures for Media Literacy?

Well, that went well - I went a few minutes over time, but people seemed happy to stay on even though the final panel at ATOM2006 was about to start. I got to the panel a little late, and John Hartley is already in full flight - he looks to have begun by noting that literacy no longer means print literacy, nor even mainstream media literacy: indeed, most media education now takes place outside of schools, he suggests. Multimedia literacy has grown up to be totally beyond the control of the traditional education system. Unfortunately, partly because of this, schooling prefers control and order over change and innovation, and imagination and interpretation are reduced to skills and methods. This manifests itself in the prohibition of Google images and the Wikipedia, in the rise of 'critical literacy' (or ideology-watch) skills, or in 'multiliteracy' (or office software) skills, for example.

Teaching the Produsers

My own presentation at ATOM2006 comes towards the end of this last day - I'm one of the featured speakers here. I'm speaking about produsers and produsage (and I'm happy to have seen the term in good usage throughout the conference already) - and of course at a conference for teachers of media, I'm particularly interested in the question of how to shape media education in order to enable the younger generations to be effective and innovative participants in produsage.

I'm including my Powerpoint here - and I'll try to record the talk as well and will add it to this post as soon as I can. the recorded talk is now also online here.

Towards a Strong Basis for Everyday Social Documentary

The last keynote at ATOM2006 is by Andrew Urban, editor of Urban Cinefile, and previously the creator and host of SBS's Front Up programme. He begins by noting the importance of media teachers for the future development of society; further, he also notes the increasing question of information accuracy in an ever more highly mediatised environment - in Jerry Bruckheimer's words, 'the media are a mile wide and an inch deep'.

Journalism is today still posited as a noble profession, standing for honesty, objectivity, and truth - and Andrew shows an excerpt from Edward R. Murrow's famous 1958 speech (as seen recently in Good Night, and Good Luck) accusing the television industry of its failings - deluding, amusing, and insulating us. Broadcasting - and the media more broadly - today are as crucial as then, but their basis has shifted, now taking in also a broad range of new participants, all the way through to individual produsers.

The Media Worlds of New Zealand Children

Geoff Leland from the University of Waikato is the next speaker in this session at ATOM2006. His research is into the media worlds of young teenagers in New Zealand - how do they perceive their own worlds? This work has taken place through the 1999-2005 period with some 2000 children in Hamilton and Christchurch, and Geoff argues that because of the fast pace of technological research such research needs to be continuous - findings even from only a few years ago are already outdated. Another reason for tracking changes is also that the New Zealand population profile is changing markedly through immigration and its accepting of humanitarian refugees (in stark contrast to Australia's inhumane asylum policy practices which ignore and breach international humanitarian conventions) - one school Geoff has worked with has some 18% Somali refugee children, for example.

Singapore's Media-Literate Society

Next up is Pam Hu from the Media Development Authority in Singapore - which is one of the best-connected nations in the world, of course (next to some countries in Scandinavia, as well as South Korea, and Japan - indeed, the entire country is a wireless hotspot...). The MDA is similar to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Singapore is looking to position itself as an East-West Media Gateway, involving media financing, production, aggregation, and distribution; this is done in part also through the Asia Media Festival (29 Nov. to 3 Dec. 2006), including film, television, and animation components, and Broadcast Asia (in June 2007). Singapore is also increasingly placing itself in international media projects to develop global awareness of what it has to offer. The Media Development Authority was established on 1 January 2003; it is charged with developing the Singaporean media industry and acts as a facilitator, promoter, and catalyst.

New Media, Institutions and Media Education

Ben Goldsmith from the Australian Film, Television, and Radio School is the next featured presenter at ATOM2006. His focus here is particularly on new media and institutions (as well as perhaps also on new media institutions). He begins by noting the convergence of communications networks, computing and information technology, and content (as explored for example by Henry Jenkins). Such convergence touches on technological, industrial, cultural, and social aspects - and it is defined both from the top down (by media conglomerates) and from the bottom up (by consumers and DIY content creators). People (and not only the young) can now control content flows, collaborate, access, and build collective intelligence, and create new content as well as remix old content - and this has a profound impact on the development of the mediasphere. Ben also notes Mark Pesce's view that television died on the day that Battlestar Galactica was accessed by viewers in the U.S. via Bittorrent after its premiere in the UK (rather than waiting for the SciFi Channel to broadcast it some months later) - and yet it is notable that this did not affect BSG's ratings when it eventually did screen in the U.S.

Youth, Media, and Education in the United States

The second day at ATOM2006 has started, and we're beginning with a keynote by Kathleen Tyner from the University of Texas at Austin. She begins by noting the relationship between form, content, and context in studies of the media - and that the relationship between skills and knowledge in media studies and production is very difficult to reconcile. She also notes 'the tyranny of the narrative' - creating a conflict between how things are done, from a practical perspective, and what the storyline of any one media artefact is.

In youth media, there is now a transition to a digital literacy culture, with better access to lower-cost tools; this has also led to a remix culture supported by greater availability of content archives and new distribution networks. Further, there is also now the beginning of more supportive academic standards and practices.,, Livingroomcandidate, and the Library of Congress's American Memory project are all useful archives which can provide raw materials for such remix culture projects.


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