On Multimedia Blogging

Thanks to Roland Tanglao, not only have I been exploring some terrific recipes and enjoyed his creative, illustrated VanEats blog–makes me want to move to Vancouver pronto— I’ve been learning a good deal about developments in blogging from him. I read with interest the article he refers to by Jon Udell on OreillyNet, Prime Time Hypermedia. The article opens:

When Michael Kinsley stepped down from the editorship of Slate, an interviewer asked him an interesting question: what had he expected of the Web, and where had it fallen short? The biggest disappointment, Kinsley said, was the Web’s failure to deliver on the promise of hypermedia. Online music and film reviews describe songs and movies in words, he said, but rarely, if ever, quote from audio and video streams. The hypermedia Web that he had imagined was, for the most part, not happening.

Ah, I do agree! Integration, integration! This is what we’ve been talking about with the folks at The Center for Digital Storytelling, for instance, and what we’ve been doing in our classrooms. There’s enormous potential to bring together all kinds of media into our “writing” on the Web. Now this is something for the clever and adventuresome students of Arts writing to rectify. Jon Udel goes on to say that there are too many technical obstacles to multi-media blogging: “Almost anyone can create and post a snippet of audio or video, but almost no one can do so easily, spontaneously, or routinely.” What about moblogging potentially linked with Flickr? We have embedded short videos and audio without too much trouble into the blog for one. Take a look at the collaborative research paper in which the students embedded audio, images and video. Of course, we’ve had a server storing the media… And the viewer must have a high-speed connection and Quicktime for viewing…

Some interesting Trackbacks following the article mention these difficulties.
I think the itchiness of delivery and the frustrations with the process are well worth it– witnessing my students
exploring the rich range of viable modes of expression in the college classroom has been as good as it gets for a teacher. Yes, they struggle; yes, I fret. Yes, we have to troubleshoot, and of course, I am always hollering, “Héctor!” or “Paul! when something goes awry. But hey, why should it be easy? Isn’t that the problem with so much of our current world–that we want what we want now? I’m glad that we have to stop and examine the process as we go. It makes us consider what it is we are actually doing, and, hopefully, why…

As I mentioned in a recent post , I am giving serious thought to making the arts writing blog as hypermedia as it gets. I want the students to try out audio reviews in which they excerpt the music they review, say, or video reviews in which they show clips of the films photos of the exhibitions, or skew online gallery images through Photoshop as a way of responding to the art.

I know I know-people keep asking me about copyright, and I keep arguing that we must let our students as loose as possible in pursuit of learning. Let them mess around with all art as long as they cite what they’ve taken and from where–and then let them use the blog to publish their results and see how the world responds to their responding.

Just look at the lovely Two-Worlds Travel Blog that uses all kinds of media to try to express the experience of travel. It’s something to keep pushing in my teaching. Of course, I should be posting audio and visual pieces here!

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