Monday, February 22, 2010

TechBytes Recap: Multimedia

Every two weeks, my colleagues gather informally in a small room over cookies and chocolate to talk for 20+ minutes on technology-enhanced teaching and learning. It's called TechBytes and it's come on-come all-come just a few in very busy and stressful schedules. Thus the 20-minute framework and the cookies.

Last week, we talked about more effective use of media in covering subject matter. A story tells the story better than a lecture. The challenge is to find material and here's a few great places to start:
  • For open material, visit Jane Hart's post of 25 free instructional video sites. As always, Jane researches, inquires, gathers and delivers some excellent links for instructional and educational videos.
  • Tony Hirst put together a "How Do I...?" search engine of instructional video sites that brings it all under one umbrella if you're looking for these.
  • For ASU affiliates, the Library pays for access to excellent resources in multimedia. My favorite is Films on Demand (aka FMG, from the Films Media Group), which include feature-length documentaries and academic videos. These resources are often impossible to find at the Library site, so start at the subject librarian's ASU streaming video guide page.
We also talked briefly about the UCLA vs. AIME lawyers' attack on HE Fair Use practices, but that's a messy can of worms for a short recap on fair and easy use of media. For those wishing to dig deep, I can't more highly recommend the work of my favorite fighter for the common good and 'copyleftist' Lawrence Lessig:

"In real libraries, in real space, access is not metered at the level of the page (or the image on the page). ... You get to browse through the whole of the library, for free. You get to check out the books you want to read, for free. The real-space library is a den protected from the metering of the market. It is of course created within a market; but like kids in a playroom, we let the life inside the library ignore the market outside. This freedom gave us something real. It gave us the freedom to research, regardless of our wealth; the freedom to read, widely and technically, beyond our means. It was a way to assure that all of our culture was available and reachable -- not just that part that happens to be profitable to stock. It is a guarantee that we have the opportunity to learn about our past, even if we lack the will to do so."
Lawrence Lessig (2010). "For the Love of Culture: Google, Copyright, and Our Future." The New Republic, January 26.

The same is true of schools and thus the "Fair Use" section (107) of US copyright law. Just because the world is rapidly changing from flat text to many media options, from paper to digital, from doc to mp3 & mp4, from the classroom to the world room, doesn't mean Fair Use changes for vendors based on form of media or place of the classroom, nor that our access to knowledge should be newly limited or available only to the wealthiest among us. Just the opposite should be true, and if there were anything higher education should be willing to fight for, it is the inalienable rights of everyone to have access to the content that shapes our ideas, our lives, our limits.