We’re already in the third week of summer reading. Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:
DIY Media: Background and Contemporary Themes
In the first chapter of Lankshear and Knobel’s book, DIY Media, they begin to introduce us to do-it-yourself media. They take a practice approach to their subject matter and define practices as “socially recognized ways of using tools and knowledge to do things.” They point out that they are not only concerned with the “doing,” but they are interested in the connections that contribute to learning. Connections can involve anything from appreciating someone else’s work to fully participating in media creation.
A term I was not familiar with but was particularly interested in is the idea of “affinity spaces,” which are “specially designed spaces (physical and virtual) constructed to resource people tied together…by a shared interest or endeavor.” Basically, it’s a place where people who have similar interests can come together to help each other, support each other, and share their creations. They give examples of specialized online sites that include Machinima.com, AnimeMusicVideos.org, Aniboom.com, and StopMotionAnimation.com. Some amateur DIY media creators are producing work that would stand up to professional standards.
Participatory culture, when consumers become actively involved as a contributor by sharing and responding, describes how media consumers can become media producers. A participatory culture includes participation at varying levels, from the beginner to the expert. I like the idea that people in the community help each other in their endeavors.
I like that Lankshear and Knobel view “tinkering” as a learning process and not a waste of time. I know many “tinkerers” that know much more about their chosen media than the people who have had formal training. I think this might have something to do with the fact that with tinkering, a person gets to learn and discover within different contexts. Sometimes formal training is more restrictive with regards to context.
Lankshear and Knobel describe the idea of enforced consumption of professional services, meaning that the things people are capable of doing themselves are now things that we pay others to do for us because our culture has “forced” it on us, which disempowers us. Therefore, we are robbed of the opportunity to discover what we might be able to do for ourselves. I disagree. I don’t think we are robbed of anything at all. I think it frees us to pursue the things we enjoy and can enhance our lives.
Creativity Styles and Personal Type
Houtz, et al. write about a study of 62 student teachers who completed the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory (KAI), the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI), and the Khatena and Torrance’s What-Kind-of-Person-Are-You checklist. From the results of the MBTI, only intuitiveness (making your own rules) “exhibited a total causal link to creative self-perception that came close to the KAI.” They explain that extraversion–introversion, thinking–feeling, and judging–perceiving types solve problems in creative ways, but their creativity may be the result of processes, skills, and dispositions more than fluency, flexibility, and originality. Instead of focusing on “how much” creativity a person can have, they studied “how” people express their creativity. They are looking for principles and methods that can be applied to help children improve their “everyday” creative problem-solving abilities.
While reading this article, I kept trying to relate to those who are more or less creative than me. I wanted to figure out if the way I approached things was creative in the “make your own rules” sense or if I use processes, skills, and dispositions to be creative. I still haven’t figured it out. I think much of this has to do with the fact that I am somewhat intuitive, but I don’t think of myself as one who makes their own rules. However, I do see myself as doing something that’s never been done before. That may be in the same vein as making your own rules.