9 Dec


4chan: Anonymity and Freedom of Expression on the Internet


4chan and Anonymous

13 Oct


Underwood, P. C. (2009) New Directions in Networked Activism and Online Social Movement Mobilization: The Case of Anonymous and Project Chanology

I could not find a book related to 4chan or Anonymous, but I did find this dissertation. It discusses Anonymous as a form of social activism, and focuses on a case study of Anonymous “trolling” the Church of Scientology.


(2009) Us Now: What Society Gains From Online Collaboration

This video, viewable online, discusses the various ways that large groups online join together and take action.


Ward, D. (2010) 4chan’s reach is a reminder of the Internet’s land mines. PRweek, 13(9), 21.

This short article discusses what online trolling is, and its relation to and use by 4chan and Anonymous.




Grigoriadis, V. (April 2011). 4chan’s chaos theory.

This is an online article from the print magazine Vanity Fair about 4chan. In the article the founder of 4chan, Christopher Poole aka moot, is interviewed.

digital learning

7 Oct

key ideas

  • Media and digital literacy is going to be crucially important for everyone within a matter of years, and we need to be teaching children media literacy.
  • Media literacy should be, and can be, integrated into the education system.
  • Excessive playing of video games is seen as negative, when in fact games teach them problem solving, amongst other skills, and give them motivation to continue to learn.
  • Collaboration and collective thinking is an important part of the learning process as well

key phrases

  • “People say oh, digital media’s killing reading and writing. Not true at all, it’s changing the ecology of reading and writing.”
  • “What’s important about this curriculum is that the individual student is being inspired and encouraged to follow a different path…they’re going to believe more in the contribution they can make to this world”

For me, the most exciting moment was when the girl who was a senior in high school talked about having her own class of sixth grade students. The shots of her teaching the class were compelling because the sixth graders were so excited to learn, and she was so excited to teach them.

I think that incorporating digital media into the education system is an excellent idea, but would function better as a program, rather than a full on education system, like in the Quest to Learn school.

For me, questions that were raised were: How will we still incorporate reading, writing, and literature into the classroom? How can we make those subjects exciting, while keeping them separate from digital media?

jersey shore trailer under a media literacy light

22 Sep

The trailer for the fourth season of the hugely popular and successful MTV reality show “Jersey Shore” was most likely created by editors or producers of the show. The message the commercial gives is that the cast members of the show have fun, drink heavily and party, get into fights both physical and verbal, and live an exciting lifestyle in their apartment and on the streets of Florence, Italy. The purpose of this message can perhaps be interpreted as the producers hoping the viewers seeing this trailer will want to watch the program to see the full sequence of the small events shown in the commercial; another purpose could be that people who view the commercial will want to emulate the cast’s lifestyle.

The trailer draws the viewers attention in through the loud dance music playing in the background, the quick cuts from short scene to short scene, and the dramatic glimpses of events taking place. Additionally, the celebrity and recognition of the show’s cast and the franchise itself makes the trailer exciting to watch for anyone who knows even the slightest information about the show.

The lifestyles portrayed on the show could be misconstrued as typical of people in their twenties; some people may relate to their lifestyle, while others may be offended by it. The cast members drink excessively and have promiscuous sex, which could be a harmful message to younger viewers that see this commercial. Also, the cast members reflect the stereotype of an Italian-American “guido”.

This trailer portrays a lifestyle that can be harmful but is still concieved to be the norm because of shows like the Jersey Shore.

video games and learning

16 Sep
“Good video games incorporate good learning principles”
  • This quote from James Gee implies that video games can be used to help children acquire various skills such as problem solving and retaining information.

“At a deeper level, however, challenge and learning are a large part of what makes good video games motivating and entertaining. Humans actually enjoy learning, though sometimes in school you would not know it.”

  • Here, Gee highlights how for many people, learning through reading and writing is not an enjoyable activity, despite the fact that (arguably) all humans love acquiring knowledge. When we have the opportunity to learn in different ways, in this case through video games, we enjoy it more, and learning can become “motivating and entertaining”, as he puts it.

“Decades of research, however, have shown that students taught under such a regime, though they may be able to pass tests, cannot actually apply their knowledge to solve problems or understand the conceptual lay of the land in the area that they are learning.”

  • Memorization is not a way to actively retain knowledge, and students need to apply the knowledge they gain to actually learn. Video games teach children concepts, and then they are forced to immediately and repeatedly apply those concepts, so the knowledge sticks.
No deep learning takes place unless learners make an extended commitment of self.”
  • This quote resonated with me because it reminded me of Gee’s discussion of discourses in his “What is Literacy?” essay. This specific quote is part of Gee’s bulletpoint on identity in video games, and how identity translates to learning. It reminded me of discourses because shaping our identity also means shaping the discourses we participate in, and these discourses then contribute to our literacy.

“People are quite poor at dealing with lots of words out of context; that is why textbooks are so inefficient. Games almost always give verbal information either “just in time,” that is, right when players need and can use it; or “on demand,” that is, when the player feels a need for it, wants it, is ready for it, and can make good use of it. Information should work the same way in school.”

  • I chose this quote mainly because I loved it. Gee points out earlier in the essay that video games are just challenging enough; that is, they cause the user to think creatively to find solutions, but they aren’t frustrating. When they do become frustrating, assistance comes along. If there were a similar set up in the classroom, students would be able to work through problems themselves, and when they had done all they could, they would receive help from their teacher.
Paul, James. 2004. “Videogames: A Useful Teaching Model.” Distance Education Report 8, no. 17: 2. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost(accessed September 15, 2011).
This article highlights how video games teaches children learning, instead of simply memorizing. Typical classroom learning only prepares children for tests, but does not give them the skills they need to actually apply the concepts they learn. Through the playing of video games, they get to apply those concepts, so that they get more out of them and become more literate.
I found this article by searching “videogames for learning and literacy” on Academic Search Premier on the Paley Library database. I chose it because it was short and concise.

Incorporating McLuhan’s Ideas into Today’s Learning

8 Sep

Although Urban’s essay about McLuhan was somewhat critical, he still highlighted Marshal McLuhan’s main philosophies about media, and I found those philosophies highly interesting. I have learned about McLuhan in previous classes of mine, specifically McLuhan’s most famous idea: “The Medium is the Message”. However, this reading helped me to more completely understand McLuhan’s ideas and apply them to our study of media as a learning tool. Furthermore, the second chapter of the “Digital and Media Literacy” textbook helped solidify the ideas presented in McLuhan’s studies how new media technologies can be used to strengthen student’s learning.

Marshall McLuhan points out that, “[o]nly a fraction of the history of literacy has been typographic” (Urban, 149). Here, he understands the heart of what our Media Literacies class is about; to assume that literacy only applies to the printed word is to overlook the vast amount of different forms of media that we, especially in today’s world, have to “read” on a daily basis. The assumption that print is the only medium we must be literate in is one of the reasons that McLuhan criticized print as a medium and celebrated the new (for the time) mediums of television and radio, and the learning that could be done through them. McLuhan argued that while only some people have the ability to read the printed word, everyone, everywhere, can watch television and understand it. Urban describes the segregation that print as a medium creates in the world: “[P]rinted books dichotomized the world into literate and illiterate sectors and institutionalized the superiority of the former over the latter” (147). McLuhan celebrated television and radio because anyone could understand it; and because anyone could understand it, anybody could use it as a tool for learning.

The idea of using tools other than books or print media for learning is further explored in the textbook. The description in Chapter 2 of Mr. Fisher engaging his high school English students using an in-depth study of a reality show highlights one of the ways that the new forms of media can be used in an educational setting. While surely all of Mr. Fisher’s students had the ability to read the printed word, it is likely that not all of them enjoyed it, and probably a decent amount of them did not find that learning from reading a book was not actually the best way to learn for them. In addition, while it is useful for students to learn how to read and understand the written word, in our modern society it is also extremely important and necessary that students learn how to be “literate” in many other types of media. Through Mr. Fisher’s Teen Mom project, his students learned how to “read” television, and through their research online, they learned how to “read” the internet. Ultimately, they got more out of this project in terms of their literacy skills than they would have only from reading a book.

The example of Mr. Fisher’s integration of new medias into the learning environment builds on McLuhan’s ideas of rebelling against print being the only medium we see as useful. Surely, McLuhan would have been impressed with Mr. Fisher’s ideas.

Hello world!

30 Aug

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