<![CDATA[43 ENDS - Blog]]>Wed, 16 Dec 2015 07:27:31 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[my first youtube video!]]>Mon, 08 Dec 2014 16:33:05 GMThttp://43ends.weebly.com/blog/my-first-youtube-video
My friend Kate and I made this video for EDUC 420 class at the University of Calgary. It was the first video either of us had ever made, and we both feel that it turned out pretty nicely. The assignment was to pick one topic from the text book or class lectures and then create a video to teach our classmates about that topic. We chose participatory culture, and I dressed up as Henry Jenkins. We opted for full-on comedy, and we made a farce of the project. The teacher loved it of course, and we got 100%. 

Credits:
Starring Kate MacLachlan as "Teacher," Alec Whitford as "Henry Jenkins," and Caity Whitford-Brown as "Student." Special thanks to the man himself, Henry Jenkins.

Written, filmed, and edited by Kate MacLachlan and Alec Whitford. Camera help by Caity Whitford-Brown.

Works Cited:
Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Music: 
"Cantina Rag" by Jackson F. Smith 
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Jac...
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<![CDATA[Leaving Facebook - A Glimpse Of The Past]]>Mon, 27 Oct 2014 04:00:59 GMThttp://43ends.weebly.com/blog/leaving-facebook-a-glimpse-of-the-pastI deactivated my Facebook account today, and though I made a big deal about it to friends and "friends" alike, it was difficult. Over the years, a lot of my psyche has come to be structured around my daily Facebook visits. I've come to depend on the downward scroll and the flood of family photos, snippets of life, and viral videos that came streaming through my mind. I've watched so many people grow as sequences of status updates and profile photo changes on my Facebook news feed, and that feed has come to serve as my primary space of interaction with so many of those people. Multiple times a day I checked in on the lives of people that I either knew intimately or that I spoke to once 6 years ago.

In essence, Facebook takes the question of Auld Lang Syne--should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?--and answers, no. With Facebook, no old acquaintance can be forgot, and that is its strength. No matter what, you can log on and see people you haven't spoken to in years in a closeness that no other generation has ever known. We are more connected than anyone in any other time could conceive of. But I've come to realize that all that connection has come at the cost of the old types of connection that I used to depend on so much. My life used to be punctuated by daily phone calls and emails to people far away and close, but I've noticed that I just don't do that anymore.

I've not forgotten any acquaintance, but I've forgotten what made me love them in the first place: communication. I know all communication is mediated by forces beyond our control--media, money, advertising, literacy, etc--but there is something about the way Facebook mediates communication that makes me feel like it actually drives us apart more than it connects us. I'm not sure exactly what that factor is, but I think it is the way Facebook makes you feel like you are on display. Sure, Twitter and Instagram are displays too, but they are not set up to be a person's only communication with their peers like Facebook is. When I go on Facebook to communicate with someone, I automatically feel like I am on display for the whole world, which impresses too much negative energy on my thoughts and ability to communicate them.

So, I am going back somewhat to the days when I walked around all day wondering what my people were up to, and, if the wondering started to burn too much, I would call them or email them. I wouldn't passively observe them over Facebook and know everything they were doing but not engage in meaningful discourse with them. I had a lot of meaningful connection over Facebook, but most of it wasn't.

To answer the old question for myself:
Should old acquaintances be forgot? Yes, but when they are brought to mind, you should reach out to them.

Goodbye Facebook "friends." Hope we communicate soon.

Al.]]>
<![CDATA[An Account of Why I started a Blog]]>Fri, 24 Oct 2014 03:02:19 GMThttp://43ends.weebly.com/blog/an-account-of-why-i-started-a-blog
Drunk Jeff Goldblum from 1999 states the exact thoughts that went through my head when I decided to start a blog. If you've ever wanted a glimpse into the strange place that is my mind, this video is as close as you'll ever get. 
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<![CDATA[Kids On The Bus - A Test Of My Negative Capability]]>Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:28:33 GMThttp://43ends.weebly.com/blog/kids-on-the-bus-a-test-of-my-negative-capabilityI am doing my first practicum right now for my BEd, and the thing I'm finding is that most schools are in far flung areas without a lot of parking. So I am spending a lot of time on the bus right in the prime high school student rush hour. I used to be quite annoyed by kids on the bus because, let's face it, they can act like a bunch of buffoons sometimes. But one of my major goals for becoming a teacher is to learn to exist and sit peacefully in a bus full of jabbering kids. I am not there one hundred percent, but I am getting there.

If I'm going to dedicate my life to the chalk (my metaphor for teaching), then I will need to learn to share their spaces. Kids see the world in such a different way than I do, and it is actually kind of fascinating to watch them interact with eachother. I am learning a lot about social dynamics just by watching behaviour on the bus. I am looking at the bus as an advanced teacher training course. Every day I sit in a sea of teenage tomfoolery and I am left without one the teacher's greatest tools: the "HEY STUDENTS PAY ATTENTION TO ME!" outburst.

Teaching is negative capability, existing in a strange space and not grasping for easy answers, and the bus is the greatest test of that.  ]]>
<![CDATA[Henry jenkins on Participatory Cultures]]>Tue, 21 Oct 2014 03:49:00 GMThttp://43ends.weebly.com/blog/henry-jenkins-on-participatory-cultures
This is the video that I was quoting in the post below. I highly suggest watching it for anyone who wants to know more about Jenkins and his idea of Participatory Culture. 
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<![CDATA[I am done with facebook]]>Tue, 21 Oct 2014 03:45:09 GMThttp://43ends.weebly.com/blog/i-am-done-with-facebook1Hello friends and new readers. I am going back in internet time and making this--a blog!--my main point of contact with the internet. I am simply done with Facebook. After 8 years of posting status updates that pushed the creative boundaries of what a Facebook post could be, I am tired of making the owners of Facebook billions of dollars off my intellectual effort. Over the years, I've lived and loved on Facebook, but it is time for me to move on. I've learned of deaths and births and all in between on Mark Zuckerberg's blue interface to the world. And every post I've written on every social event I've witnessed was a completely original idea from me. I've gotten a lot socially from all that posting, of course, but he got a net worth of 33 billion dollars. 

As for the positive aspects of Facebook--increased social connection, seeing my friends act stupid or inspiring, communicating with people instantly from all over the world--I leave them with a heavy heart. It has become the main point of contact between me and my family, as well as between me and my oldest friends. But after much soul searching, I just can't have the temptation of putting my creative energy into Facebook. I find that no matter what, no matter how profound of an idea I find in my post, or how amazing or sincere the comments from my friends, I am left with a sense of disenchantment or disenfranchisement in knowing that a small group of people got very, very rich off of my hard work. 

I've been reading a lot about participatory cultures for school, and I really think they are the wave of the future in education and social connection. According to Henry Jenkins, who coined the phrase, a participatory culture is one in which the people who are experiencing media participate in the interpretation, construction, and distribution of the media they are experiencing. It turns out, participatory media culture is the wave of the past, as it is what allowed a couple nerds like Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel to be able to create fanzines to spread the word about their new science fiction villain Superman. As history tells us, Superman became a hero, but not through the creator-owned fanzine version he originated in, but through a mass-media empire. And of course, Siegel and Shuster were heavily bilked out of a lot of money from that empire. But times have changed, and we are now able to control so much more of our media. But Facebook impresses too much control, control that has shaped every word I've typed there, and I am now aiming to participate in the internet in a new way. A way where I have a little more control.

I think that through our hard work--status updates, baby photos, visual gags, memes, and art--we have become the Siegel and Shuster of our time. We created Facebook. We made it what it was, and we didn't get anything for it. We made this generation's Superman, an idea that changed the way the entire world functions. But, there is a plus side, we have made participatory culture cool. We have made it the norm and the increasingly standard way to experience media. This blog is my attempt to experience a little more of that participation without any of the baggage of Facebook. Some posts will be long like this one, and others will be short. But I will participate fully in the creation and distribution of every one. 
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