Copyright comic!

Although this is based on US law it is a great and engaging look at the issues around Copyright at the moment and the erosion of concept of the ‘public domain’.

A documentary is being filmed. A cell phone rings, playing the “Rocky” theme song. The filmmaker is told she must pay $10,000 to clear the rights to the song. Can this be true? “Eyes on the Prize,” the great civil rights documentary, was pulled from circulation because the filmmakers’ rights to music and footage had expired. What’s going on here? It’s the collision of documentary filmmaking and intellectual property law, and it’s the inspiration for this new comic book. Follow its heroine Akiko as she films her documentary, and navigates the twists and turns of intellectual property. Why do we have copyrights? What’s “fair use”? Bound By Law reaches beyond documentary film to provide a commentary on the most pressing issues facing law, art, property and an increasingly digital world of remixed culture.


Teenagers & mobile phones

From SMH today.

Mobile phones are the portals to friendships and social networks, the ultimate measure of social status and portable shrines to self-image, he says. And if no one’s calling, there’s little shame in programming your phone to ring you, checking for non-existent text messages or talking up a storm with an imaginary friend.

“Kids are talking incessantly on mobiles or messaging from the back of the bus to the front of the bus; they are constantly reinforcing the message that they are in the loop, that they are part of the in group,” Katz says. “To not have a phone feels like social banishment. It really is an issue of being excluded, of being an outsider.”

Interactive Media Young people & museums

Games, learning & gender

More interesting research over at NESTA.

2.Social cultures – games play, it is often reported, is not characterised only through playing the games, but through the systems of exchange and discussion that surround them – the purchasing of magazines, the swapping of software and cheats. All of these are seen as centrally important aspects of what makes games an important social activity. To date, however, these ‘games cultures’ seem to remain predominantly male. Certain commentators have argued, for example, that boys are more likely than girls to participate in these activities because games are seen as a ‘safe’ way for boys to maintain friendships, while girls are less reliant on these mechanisms (McNamee, 1998). Research for the Screen Play study reported that boys tended to dominate classroom discussion of games and, even where girls were games players, boys tended to retain the ‘authority’ in the classroom and peer group for determining which games were ‘good’. Similarly, in the home, boys were seen to be significantly more intense games players, with 33% of boys compared with 13% of girls reporting playing games every day and, in detailed observations, boys were seen to ‘own’ the games technology in the home on a more regular basis. (Facer et al, 2003 forthcoming)

And from Justine Cassell (ex MIT) on gender and human computer interaction. Cassell also has some work available on the same site about StoryMat and digital storytelling and learning in classrooms.

As we move in this article from the example of videogames for girls to other aspects of designing technology for women, it is instructive to apply McIntosh’s model to the design of technology. We have left phase one behind: no longer is it possible to build womanless technology. Currently, there is widespread recognition of the importance of taking gender into account in interface design (witness the presence of this chapter in a handbook on HCI). And we have passed through phase two: public perception of the role of women in technology has changed radically, due to the efforts of activist computer scientists and historians who have highlighted, among others, Ada Lovelace’s seminal role in the birth of the computer, and Grace Hopper’s essential contribution to computing. Now, however, we find ourselves at a stage where women seem to pose some kind of problem for the design of technology. Tech companies pay consultants to help them figure out how to design for women. One gender and technology consulting firm refers to its ability to help companies succeed at “the notoriously selective and lucrative demographic of teenage girls.” A consultant for online businesses advertises its knowledge of “what makes women click”: a six-step program from initiating the relationship through subtle tactics of banner and home page design, through deepening the relationship by asking motivating survey questions. The goal is “the inside tract to get inside women’s minds and keep them inside” the website. In fact, many websites for women have sprung up, but the majority treat the same topics as women’s magazines that have been around for hundreds of years (the banner on one women’s website invites readers to learn about “Making your home a haven for your family”).

Read the full PDF.

Interactive Media Young people & museums

More Schaller & Allison-Bunnell on educational interactive media / Egan, Gardner, Prensky

Schaller & Allison-Bunnell’s paper here offers an excellent study of game types and learning models/stages.

What Egan’s theory offers us as designers of online learning experiences is valuable guidance about the kinds of abstractions people will find innately relevant and meaningful. We were inspired by these ideas during the development of the Shedd Educational Adventures online activities with the Shedd Aquarium. Since this project entailed producing online learning modules for five grade groups: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-10, and 11-12, we kept Egan’s kinds of understanding in mind during our development process, letting them inform the themes we developed and the stories we told.

Interactive Media Web 2.0

Economics of peer production / audience co-creation

I posted this earlier as a comment but it was a bit buried there so here it is reprised.

There’s a more ecomomics focussed (but excellent) article on ‘peer production’ at Bubblegeneration.

2.0 technologies allow production to be atomized – to be subdivided into arbitrarily fine microchunks of value activities. Prosumers can self-select and manage their own interactions with these microchunks, rather than incurring the real-world coordination costs of managers, meetings, and red tape.

Because these microchunks of prosumer-contributed information can then be recombined and reused, the community realizes a second network effect: the total value of the network of microchunks is greater than the additive value of each individual microchunks.

All this implies that peer production is an extremely powerful and hyperefficient way to organize the production of goods and service that meet certain criteria. Recently, investment in peer production models has hit an inflection point: Kleiner Perkins’ recent investment in Zazzle is a bet on peer production, as are the new breed of social search startups, such as JetEye, Squidoo, and, as are vertical communities, such as, Flickr, and Basenotes.

I’d also strongly recommend downloading the Powerpoint titled The Atomizing Hand – The Strategy and Economics of Peer Production, that is linked to the article by Umair Haque from Bubblegeneration.

Interactive Media Mobile

m-Learning & Science Education

Liberty Science Center has been working for several years on some m-learning pilots and it looks as if their first implementation of mobile phone based learning experiences will go live next year.

As you know, the Powerhouse Museum, has also been experimenting and our in-house working prototype Mob Mark takes a slightly different approach.

Bressler, from the LSC, presents this intersting backgrounder on the LSC initiatives.

What are our youth using their mobile phones to do? They text message, play games, listen to music, and take pictures, and that’s only the beginning. Teenagers are the ones establishing the rules of this new mobile culture ad hoc. To them, the mobile phone is not a device for making phone calls, but rather, a ‘lifeline’ to the social network and an instrument for coordinating their everyday life. Can this tool, that has seemingly ensconced itself into youth culture, become a tool for informal science learning? This paper will summarize findings that have been collected as part of the Science Now, Science Everywhere (SNSE) project started by Liberty Science Center. SNSE is a recent technology initative by the Center that aims to explore the unique educational opportunities that are possible when visitors use their mobile phones as tools for learning in informal science education. Coupled with industry research from the technology and museum sectors, project research to date demonstrates an untapped area of educational opportunity that could be used to engage teens in science. Liberty Science Center believes that science centers can engage the teenage audience by extending the learning experience beyond hands-on interactives to mobile phones.

Interactive Media

The ‘Virtuous Circle’

I’ve been reading through a stack of papers from Museums & Ther Web 2006, which, sadly, we are not at this year.

Here’s an interesting one on maximising the benefits of online and in-gallery experiences.

In order to extend and evolve their relationship with visitors, museums need to develop a holistic view of the audience journey across both the physical and virtual spheres. New media offers opportunities to engage the visitor within both the virtual and physical museums. It can continue visitors’ experience beyond the walls of a museum and create a ‘virtuous circle’ between the virtual and physical space. Visitors are inspired on-line to visit the museum, while within the museum access to a variety of media channels (PDA’s, mobiles, kiosks) encourages visitors to extend the journey by book-marking, voting and sending links of relevant information home. The museum experience is therefore personalized and can be explored by visitors in their own time and to the degree that they wish.

Interactive Media

Musuems & the Web survey report is out


Each financial cycle museum Webmasters struggle to justify their budget requests. Whenever statistical reports are circulated someone asks, “How do we compare?” When exploring the benefits of a new function, Web teams ask themselves “Is it worth the investment?” Answers to these questions are hard to come by.

Web 2.0

What is Web 2.0?

Love it or hate it, the term “Web 2.0” is here to stay and if you haven’t come across it yet, you will very soon – again and again.

This article attempts to define “Web 2.0” and it is a great place to start if you want to know what the hype is all about.

I personally think the web is up to at least version 50.2 but one thing is evident. The web is going through a radical shift and web developers such as myself are finding websites can no longer be JUST websites. They need to be organically structured to learn, change and grow on their own.

Interactive Media

Independent Games Festival Finalists 2006

Gamespy has the low down on the best independent games for 2006.

There are some generics but also some very very crazy games here.

Why are indie games so great? Here’s the deal: freed from the constraints of big-budgets and risk-averse giant publishing houses, indie games made on shoestring budgets can actually feature original gameplay or bizarre subject matter. Tired of clones and sequels and licensed products? THIS is the scene to check out.