5. In & Out of School


Week 5 Theme: In & Out of School

What does digital authorship look like in different educational contexts?

AGENDA, February 21, 2018

  1. Renee reviews your completed work
  2. View and discuss Rhode Island children engaged in creative media play in non-educational contexts
  3. Review the process of finding partners and address questions about producing LEAP 2 (due Feb 28) and homework assignment for next week


Week 6  Theme: Identity in a Digital Age

How does authorship help to construct personal, social and political identity?

1. READ & ANNOTATE: Read the article below and engage in a careful process of reading and digital annotation. As you annotate, please include 3 – 5 notes that summarize, analyze, question and critique. Respond to the annotations of others as appropriate.

TEAM 1. Mary, Jamie, Alida, Erica, Angie, Joanna. Buckingham. David (2007) D. Introducing Identity. In D. Buckingham (Ed.). Youth, Identity, and Digital Media (pp. 1 -24). The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

TEAM 2. Kristin, Adam, Sherry, Pat, Megan, Matt P. Buckingham. David (2007) D. Introducing Identity. In D. Buckingham (Ed.). Youth, Identity, and Digital Media (pp. 1 -24). The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

TEAM 3. Chang, Barbara, Matt M., Denise, Tim, Cornelia. Buckingham. David (2007) D. Introducing Identity. In D. Buckingham (Ed.). Youth, Identity, and Digital Media (pp. 1 -24). The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

2. If you did not participate in the Zoom chat, view the video here. Use the “Leave a Reply” function to offer your perspective on this question: Watch both child-produced videos (Sparkles and Chubby Bubby) and compare and contrast them, considering the question, “What are some implications of children’s non-educational play with media for parents and educators?”

10 comments on “5. In & Out of School”

  1. Because I am not a parent, I’m struggling to look at digital authorship through this lens. My friends who are parents have shared opinionated Facebook pages and blogs on just about every aspect of parenting. I wonder what those authors would say about these videos.

    In one elementary school in Woonsocket, teachers monitor recess and some teachers are receiving PD on how to structure play. In the elementary school where I work in Cranston, students play freely at recess and are monitored by paraprofessionals. As a professional, I find the former practice to be most beneficial. However, on a personal (parental?) level, I know there is value in free play.

    How much structure should adults provide children in their play? Play in the realm of digital authorship can be dangerous, but unstructured recess can also lead to bullying and physical injury. Young people should be guided to learn from their mistakes, implying some structure from adults.

    In the two videos we viewed this week, we saw both guided and unguided play. The implications actually serve as a counterpoint to my above argument. The child who is playing alone is making connections to her learning in school. However, the children in the Chubby Bunny video are monitored by a parent but do not make connections to learning and also do not compete fairly in the challenge. Similarly, the child in the Sparkles video maintains her anonymity without any obvious guidance, while the boys playing Chubby Bunny expose their faces and a bare torso. These videos make a case that parental guidance in play does not make digital authorship any safer or more meaningful for children.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. When considering “non-educational play with media,” it is important to consider that the children in both videos are very comfortable with the use of media and are “pretend playing” something that is clear in their minds but might be more elusive to those older than them. Much like a child playing an imaginary game might not reveal any kind of details of reason of rules to the game, the children in both videos are clearly intent on an end to their game. An intent that might be unclear to the parents. Therefore, in both videos, the children exist in a realm of them understanding intent and means to create an end that does not fully include parental understanding.

    The video “Sparkles,” at it’s core is a girl broadcasting her free play. The classroom with dolls role-playing a day at school is enhanced into another dimension when she broadcasts what she is doing as an episode (herself NOT included). I recall my cousin and I making a Star Wars action figure movie on his parents VHS insert camcorder (now available on DVD). To me, this kind of imagined free-play and desire to make one’s own movie shows tremendous creativity and a desire to make what she is doing available. More than just play, the girl in “Sparkles” is doing what any digital author should. She is creating and sharing into a larger conversation. She might hope for her video to be seen, but it seems that she might also be happy just to make it for herself.

    The boys in the video “Chubby Bunny” are, for one, older and more explicitly emulating Youtubers they admire. Being of the late elementary or early middle-school age, they are doing something that is entertaining for the purpose of entertainment. Very self-aware, they play to the camera for the reason of being seen by others and to illicit active response (I would think). Thinking back to that age for me brings up the show Jackass and the age of Tony Hawk Pro-Skater where recording stupid and “cool” things was something to do. The only difference? These boys have an outlet for their domestic creations and middle schoolers of yore did not have that immediate upload-view audience.

    A final contrast that is worth noting is the absence of parents in the “Sparkles” episode and the intervention of parents in the “Chubby Bunny” video. The girl’s parents might have shown her how to record and upload, knowing she was just recording simple free-play games with her toys, in the same way, the parent of one of the boys knows exactly what they are up to and feels the need to hover are. Slime on the ceiling and “don’t put any more marshmallows in your mouth” point to a parent seeking to allow students free range in a fenced in playground.

    They probably should be riding their bikes more and getting fresh air.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great discussions of the annotated article & other concerns within our class community. The “Sparkles” & “Chubby Bunny” videos show the value of self-guided play. Kids are so aware & organically re-enact the adult version of organization, power, and competition in fascinating, revealing ways.
    Finally, I appreciated the open discussion of #NeverAgainMSD movement at the end of the chat. I agree that everything that we are doing/discussing is hyper relevant to what is happening in the world. These kids are boldly speaking up in ways that our media & elected officials are not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With respect to the MSD high community, I am thinking about the following things: in our society, often when someone experiences tragedy there is an expectation that they will be transformed by it, become an inspirational warrior, make change, champion a cause, make an impact. This is the narrative that we are comfortable with. Is this uniquely American? I worry that these kids are traumatized (they are traumatized) but they are out there performing a hero story for us. It’s like our guns are killing them and then we expect them to fix it for us.

      We are also very receptive to these teen’s voices because they are white. That is the dominant voice of the media and our society. If these children were black or brown I don’t think we would hear their voices as loudly.

      I feel like there are not many places I can share this thinking. If this upsets anyone, I am sorry, but I need to get this off my chest and I hope this is a safe place for it.


      1. Hi Alda, I respect your thinking that “we are receptive to these teen’s voices because they are white” but if we look at Emma Gonzalez, a student who survived the Florida school shooting, she was one of the teen voices that spoke out about gun control and she is not white. She has been one of the most prominent voices for gun reform following the school shooting, She has gained over a million followers in just two weeks. So I would have to argue that is isn’t just white voices that people are receptive to.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I saw both videos as ways for the children to try on, and perhaps inhabit an identity that is proposed to them by the media. Renee mentioned the performative nature of these videos as well as the role of gender in them and I’ll talk about that here. In addition, I watched these videos after reading the Buckingham article on identity.

    “Sparkles” shows Bratz-like dolls, with exaggerated female physical characteristics, in a neat as a pin setting, learning, learning, playing, and working. Everything is “perfect.” The smoothies are delicious, the pretzel eaters are “twinsies.” The students are in happy pairs. The teacher loves her job. Everyone performs to expectations–they are obedient and orderly. There is no male in the room. The girl speaker is safely off camera.

    “Chubby Bunny” is a boy video. The boys are responding to a YouTube “Challenge.” They are brave and reckless in front of the camera, proudly showing their faces and stuffing themselves with Peeps. One is even shirtless. The only female in the room (a mother? an older sister? aunt? babysitter?) tries to impose order, (as good girls will) but boys will be boys and they will do as they please.

    So, yes, these children are playing by figuring out how they are going to fulfill the gender expectations society and the media present to them. This happens in real life and digitally. Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the role of gender in our classrooms or in our homes.


  5. Personally, the “Sparkles” video was very interesting. I kept watching this video and I was trying to find educational implications in the eyes of the educator. In fact, I could not understand what a child was saying. But I think the child seemed to make the situation in school with dolls and some items. What I noticed is that even though the video maker looks pretty young, it seems that the child have a basic understanding of play and shooting. For example, the story is divided into class, lunch time, after school, etc. Or, the child may simply have imitated a TV show. But, in either case, the child needs an adult to talk about why he/she shot the screen and why he talked about the dialogue in the play.

    Meanwhile, I did not know about the Cubby Bunny challenge. The children seem to have played a fashionable game and make video recoding. I am not sure but it seems that the intention of making this video is also non-educational. By the way, “Cubby Bunny” video has an adult watching their play. Adults have provided a minimal guide to rules and safety for their cubby bunny challenge. Therefore, at least for safety reason, adults are needed when the children do some play with media.
    In sum, what I can think of through the two videos is that non-educational play with media can play a role as a potential learning tool depending on the intention or help of parents or educators.

    -Changhee Lee


  6. While watching the Sparkles video I was thinking, this kid is adorable! By watching the video, I could see that she was modeling what her experiences were with school, either by her school experiences or something that she had seen on TV. Based on how she knew math facts, and what animal adaption was, I inferred that she was in school, or if not, she was old enough to read from a script. The way that she stopped recording at various points throughout the video to raise the dolls hands and “eat lunch” was very impressive. I would think that a child who does not have too much experience with media would be seen moving the dolls throughout the video. This is assuming that a parent did not help her edit the video later. In any case, a parent allowing a child to make a video of them playing to create a mini movie is a great way to get children involved in media at a young age.

    The Chubby Bunny with Friends video seemed more of a home video that a mini movie scene that Sparkles was. In Chubby Bunny, the boy moves the camera around to look at the ceiling, you hear the parent talking in the background, mainly telling the boys what to do and the boys are not always seen in the frame throughout the video. Unlike Sparkle, this video was not staged and planned out. (I was also fearing that someone was going to choke on the peeps they were shoving into their mouths!)

    One thing that was alike in each of the videos was they they asked the viewers to subscribe or like their video. You can tell that these children have all watched Youtube videos before and are doing what most Youtubers ask their views to do.


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