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The Art of the Remix: Collaborative Writing in the Social Media Classroom

Session Four: Sunday 10:30am–12:00pm
Room 311
Dr. Leif Gustavson, Vanessa Scanfeld
Affiliation: Arcadia University, MixedInk
Conversational Focus/Audience:
High School, Middle School
Conversation Description:

MIT's New Media Literacies Project calls "appropriation," or the ability to sample and remix content, a "new literacy." Unsurprisingly, the NML Project does not condone plagiarism or illegal appropriation; pretending someone else's work is your own is clearly wrong. It argues, however, that "students learn by taking culture apart and putting it back together." [1] Writers are inspired by the world around them; from Homer to Shakespeare to Nabokov to Bob Dylan, some of the world's greatest works have resulted from the transformation of previous creations. Our tendency to teach in absolutes: "Plagiarism is bad;" "Wikipedia is not an acceptable source" deprives students of more nuanced realities that help them become fluent writers. In emphasizing the ideal of the autonomous artist, schools "sacrifice the opportunity to help [students] think more deeply about the ethical and legal implications of repurposing media content, and they often fail to provide the conceptual tools students need to analyze and interpret works produced in this appropriative process." [1] The educational benefits of "the remix" are clear: remixing encourages analysis and evaluation as students review and choose material worthy of reuse; it pushes students to conduct high-level synthesis to create standalone products from disparate sources; and it challenges students to evaluate a range of work implicitly, rather than formally. With nearly one-fifth of teens already remixing online content [2], we believe educators should design writing opportunities that enable and encourage collaboration, while helping students to navigate the complexities of building upon and others' ideas.

Conversational Practice:
Conversational practice: If a critical mass of attendees have laptops, we will create a "mini remix" using MixedInk's collaborative writing platform to form the basis for conversation. In addition, students from Arcadia University, who have been using MixedInk this year, can join the conversation about their experiences remixing.
Elluminate Rooms ( instructions for launching Elluminate )
Stream via Elluminate: Room 311 — Channel B


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