Reflecting on this year’s #Netnarr class, I realized that our journey was very different than last year’s in a number of ways. Even though we participated in connected learning, used most of the same tools, and even revisited familiar faces in our studio visits, they were two separate experiences. If I had to describe last year’s class, it would be more “creative”— and by creative, I mean there were more chances for imagination, interpretation, and remix. We had opportunities to write, draw, and imagine an alchemist alter ego.
This year, however, I would categorize it as a class that was “self-aware.” While we did some creative things, the majority of our efforts in class projects all had a level of awareness and reflection. We learned more about digital tracking, and the consequences of our digital footprint & identity. Along with that, when we talked about things such as “redlining” or “empathy games,” we were also really reflecting and becoming aware of the significance of what high-risk areas in Newark mean, or the realities of what it means to live in Syria.
And when we weren’t being “self-aware,” we were dabbling in other digital activities. Having students learn how to make GIFs, cut audio, crop and layer images, use tweetchat, create bots, make memes, and much more, is an important asset to this class. It may seem like we’re having a lot of fun (which we are), but I think learning different digital skills can make all the difference for some of the students as they continue their life in the professional world. You never know when your company may want you to make an image transparent, or more importantly, when they need you to make a funny meme. The daily digital alchemies also offered a window of creative opportunity for the class to have freedom with and flex some of the digital skills they had learned along the way.
For me, though, I think the most informative part of the class were the discussions we had revolving around how our information is being used in digital spaces. Innocently, we enter things into Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, and so forth— a lot of the times, we do not think twice about entering our name or location, because we naively trust the website we are giving it to, because everyone else is doing it. However, in light of recent events, like Zuckerberg answering questions about Facebook, I think a lot of us are going to look at how we share our digital information differently. We learned about digital tracking from week one, and how our data is used against us for target marketing schemes. I think that’s why I did my e-lit concept piece on thinking about how we use our information online— if we knew what we knew now, I think a lot of us would have used the Internet differently, or at least demanded guidelines at the start of the digital age to how it would affect people later in life.
I would definitely suggest other students to take this class - I think it's a wonderful blend of being informative and artistic. During this semester, there were a lot of things we learned that, moving forward, are important in life - from being self-aware about our online presence, to knowing what a bot really is and how to make one for fun. We also got to put a lot of ourselves and our interests into our projects, while still being relevant to the course - after all, this is our "digital life," and it's important that we know how to take care of it.
|@stryii on the outskirts, but @ketsunya closer to the center... maybe I should turn that bot off? haha.|
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