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Discussing Juhasz and Anderson

Oops!  In my haste in preparing for travel, I completely forgot about posting the place to discuss this.  Sorry abou that.  So if this discussing carries on through the Thanksgiving break through to next week, that’s okay.

Anyway, now that you have gotten the movie making process well-underway and/or almost finished (hopefully!) and now that you have read the essays (hopefully!) by Alexandra Juhasz, “Why Not (To) Teach On YouTube”  and Daniel Anderson, “The Low Bridge to High Benefits: Entry-Level Multimedia, Literacies, and Motivation,” after all that, I think we now probably have a better opportunity to discuss these essays.  So that’s what this post is about.

I’m guessing that the first part of Anderson’s essay is a little rough-going for many of you since he’s talking about some pretty theory-heavy sort of stuff.  I guess what I want to get you to focus on is how the idea of technology as being an “interchange” between people more than being about “tools” and “stuff,” and also about how the reason why you want to include stuff like “low-bridge” technologies in writing classes is to get students to see literacy differently.  The second half of the article has some interesting examples of how he has used technology to “transform” his own teaching.

I include Juhasz specifically for a couple of reasons.  First, she’s almost directly responding to the claims Wesch made in his video about the positive possibilities and potentials of YouTube, and that’s based in part on her own experiences.  As she notes in her chapter, she actually taught a class about and on YouTube a few years ago, and she received a fair amount of press about it.  I believe she made one of those lists that occasionally pop up in the popular media where people are flabbergasted that there is an actual college course about something.

Second, as she notes, her experiences with YouTube were not “great.”  Now, I don’t completely agree that the only two extremes on YouTube are amateurish junk and commercialist pap for the masses, and I am not exactly “coming from” the same place in terms of critically reading media.  I think it’s fair to say that Juhasz sees herself as a radical, avant garde, and activist filmmaker.  I suspect she is as critical of most things in the mainstream media as she is with YouTube.

Still, she has a point.  YouTube does seems to have a way of replicating popular culture in rather uncritical ways, and, given that it is owned by Google, it seems likely to me that the poor searchability of the site is on purpose.

Posted in Class Readings.

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