The Full View: Virtual Reality Journalism

Imagine you are reading an article on Antarctica. Sure you can imagine what it’s like but you’ve never actually been there. Now imagine you put on a headset and all of a sudden you are standing on an iceberg, looking at the Antarctic glaciers. This is the very real capability of virtual reality.

Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. On a computer, virtual reality is primarily experienced through two of the five senses: sight and sound.

Although seeming like something from the future, devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have made VR technology accessible to mainstream consumers. While big in the gaming world, VR technology has also opened a world of possibilities for a variety of industries, including journalism.

Considered the next phase of video journalism, VR has established a new form of audience engagement and encourages a deeper connection between viewers and the content. Through VR technology, viewers can be physically immersed in a story, expanding on traditional, narrative journalism.

Immersiv.ly is a London based company established in 2014, which creates and sells editorial content in virtual reality. They specialise in immersive, interactive narratives, which offer users a special feeling of personal agency and involvement where media is less mediated.

When the 2014 pro-democracy protests broke out in Hong Kong, Immersiv.ly used VR technology to capture the events demonstrating how VR can be a powerful news platform. Hong Kong Unrest gives viewers the opportunity to be physically connected to the events and have a better understanding of what it was like in Hong Kong at the time.

The film editor and interactive video specialist Edward Miller said, Platforms like Twitter and Facebook can offer instant news far quicker than larger media organisations can react. So I see news organisations moving towards the role of the analyst.”

“It’s this progression towards ‘slow news’ and long form, which I think will make content such as virtual reality a compelling way to provide extra value that users couldn’t get anywhere else.”

“Watching [Hong Kong Unrest] in a virtual reality headset gives the user a sense of what it was like to have been at the protests alongside police clashes, capturing small details that simply would have been missed with traditional fixed perspective cameras.”

Discussing and analysing the immersive experience of VR journalism for the first-person experience of news, researchers found that being in the specific place, believing events to be real and having a physical experience of a first-person participant in the particular events to be three major factors in virtual reality that could contribute to journalism that may potentially lead to greater audience involvement.

Many journalists are hoping to utilise these assets of VR technology to create a greater sense of empathy between audiences and stories. Particularly those in warzones and places that are not easily accessible.

Journalist Nonny de la Peña collaborated with the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 2014 to create Project Syria for the World Economic Forum. Project Syria is a full-body experience that places viewers at the scene of a bombing in Syria and allows them to explore a refugee camp. The aim of the project was to create a realistic representation of the Syrian war from the perspective of everyday civilians. Conducting extensive research, the team pulled stills and frames from real video footage of explosions in Syria to create the VR setting. They also travelled to a Syrian refugee camp to capture footage and audio, which was used in the project to create authenticity in the scenarios.

Commenting on VR journalism, Peña stated, “Journalists will realize really fast that VR has a unique power to place viewers on the scene of an event—instead of watching it from outside—and that that’s a really powerful way to engage them emotionally. It’s also particularly suited to certain kinds of stories, where one significant event takes place in a defined space. People will learn fast that, ‘Oh, this is a story that should be told in VR”.

Virtual reality has given a new meaning to story telling by transforming journalism, not only for journalists but for everyone. We are no longer limited to only hearing stories and now have the ability to truly immerse ourselves in other forms of life. VR journalism will take us beyond our imagination and will change the way we see the world.

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Gabrielle Ramponi – Health and Lifestyle Fad Hacks

This semester Gabbi has created a health and lifestyle series on YouTube and WordPress. Her official aim was to try and make popular healthy lifestyles accessible and easier for people to break down. Spending 1 week on each fad, she would be testing whether they were realistic and/or effective. They would be unlike the content created by “insta famous” who’s videos and blogs are often an unrealistic reflection of their lifestyles. As Gabbi was not being paid or endorsed by any businesses to create her series she did not have the pressure to create a certain image of the health fads like many popular social media stars. It would be completely unbiased and realistic.

In the first week Gabbi looked at mental health strategies and was completely open in her blog post about her personal experience with mental health. In doing so, she created a sense of trust with her audience as it was clear she would be 100% honest in her reviews and experiences. The first blog post introduced the topic and Gabbi’s aims for the week, which was to do a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (C.B.T) exercises and meditation, and to use a gratitude journal. This would be done through a variety of mental health apps that have become quite popular in managing anxiety and similar mental health issues. Using Headspace, Smiling Mind, Moodnotes, Breathing Zone and Talk Space, Gabbi wanted to test out how effective these apps are in increasing positive vibes and mental health. Could they replace a psychologist when a person is unable to access professional help?

The YouTube video consisted of Gabbi talking to the camera and reflecting on her experiences with the apps during the week, explaining their purpose and functions. Although she personally found them ineffective, Gabbi made a conscious effort to point out that the effectiveness of each app would differ from person to person and may potentially help others. The video concluded with Gabbi introducing the following topic which would be yoga. I found the combination of the video and blog post really effective and would suggest shortening the video from 6-7mins to about 4-5mins and including more of the video content in the blog post.

The next week focusing on Yoga followed the same layout as the mental health week with a blog post and video. In this video, Gabbi included a clip she had recorded in the middle of the week. I think this was a great addition and I would love to see more of the progress and experiences during the week, e.g. actual footage of you doing the yoga. This weeks video was also much shorter which I found more effective as it kept me entertained and interested for the entire video. I think it would beneficial to add more information about the specific yoga you did in the blog post as well. You could possibly include photos of the poses or screenshots of the tutorials.

In Gabbi’s third and fourth week she tried a sugar free diet and vegetarianism respectively. The posts included a food diary, recipes, rules as well as other information on the diets. Gabbi mentioned in her Beta presentation that at this stage of the process she found she wasn’t happy with the videos and how they were turning out so decided to stick to the blog posts only.

I found the blog posts were a lot more informative from this point however I really enjoyed the videos and found they complimented the blog posts very well. Gabbi felt as though she couldn’t get her thoughts in order when speaking to the camera and didn’t like the staged feel of the video when she followed a script. As this series is still in its early phases, I would suggest trying different styles of videos and seeing if they work better. For example, you could try filming during the week rather than a reflection at the end. I think it would be really entertaining and interesting to see your process, emotions and reactions as they were happening. You could film yourself grocery shopping, cooking new recipes specific to the diets, eating out, etc. With anything you will get better and more confident with practice so keep at it!

Overall I think this was a really great project that has showed how Gabbi has applied the skills she have developed in digital media to something she is passionate about. Gabbi said that this is something she would like to continue after DIGC302 and I think that’s a really good idea. I can’t wait to see what you do with it next!

BCM332 Contextual Essay: #diversifyhollywood

In Chris Rock’s opening monologue at the 2016 Academy Awards, the host spoke about racial inequality hollywood. Although making jokes on the topic, his overall message was that they just want the same opportunities as white people, that’s it. Since 1929, only 6.4% of acting nominations at the Oscars have gone to non-white actors and in the last 25 years alone, only 11.2% of actors were non-white (Berman & Johnson, 2016). This is clearly not a new issue and yet the statistics have not changed enough for it to be better.

2016 saw the release of a number of amazing films which represented diversity, from their creators to the story lines such as “Beasts of No Nation”, “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton”. and yet it was the second year in a row that the academy has had zero non-white nominees in the acting categories. As a result, the Awards received a lot of negative reception with celebrities such as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett-Smith boycotting the ceremony altogether (Gray, 2016).

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, released a statement in response to the criticisms stating, “I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes.The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond….We have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly” (Isaacs, 2016).

The video I have created is a PSA / campaign video for a mock social movement called #diversifyhollywood. It aims to highlight the racial discrimination still existent in Hollywood and bring about change. Chris Rock’s speech is contrasted with the announcement of past Oscar winners who are all white. The fact that the awards ceremony can have an African American host yet cannot recognise the work of other non-white creatives in the industry highlights the irony of the issue. The end slogan, “This issue is black and white – so why isn’t Hollywood?” reiterates the clear message and using a rhetorical question influences viewers to truly think about the issue. While visually the message is clear, it is emphasised with a statistic to prove the reality of the situation and it ensures viewers it is not just a mashup bias to the cause.

Contextual Essay References:

Berman, E., Johnson, D., 2016, See the Entire History of The Oscars Diversity Problem In One Chart, Time Labs, weblog post, 20 January, viewed 26 October, http://labs.time.com/story/oscars-diversity/.

Galloway, S., 2016, ‘Academy President ‘Heartbroken’ Over Lack of Diversity at Oscars’, Time, 18 January, viewed 27 October 2016, http://time.com/4184688/academy-president-oscars-diversity/.

Gray, T., 2016, ‘Academy Nominates All White Actors for Second Year in Row’, Variety, 14 January, viewed 27 October 2016, http://variety.com/2016/biz/news/oscar-nominations-2016-diversity-white-1201674903/.

Video Sources (in order of appearance):

Oscars, 2016, Chris Rock’s Opening Monologue, online video, 23 March, The Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqhVNZgZGqQ.

Oscars, 2013, Jennifer Lawrence Wins Best Actress: 2013 Oscars, online video, 4 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDU7zLAd2-U.

Oscars, 2015, Julianne Moore Winning Best Actress, online video, 6 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzR3CUU51IU.

Oscars, 2013, Christoph Waltz winning Best Support Actor for “Django Unchained”, online video, 4 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWdn7pFmtdQ.

Oscars, 2016, Leonardo DiCaprio winning Best Actor, online video, 23 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpyrefzvTpI.

Oscars, 2015, Eddie Redmayne winning Best Actor, online video, 6 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_ZVJgM-bZI.

Oscars, 2014, Cate Blanchett winning Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine”, online video, 11 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=squYKgRWZN0.

Oscars, 2014, Jared Leto winning Best Supporting Actor, online video, 11 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCtch3DzLRs.

Oscars, 2016, Alicia Vikander winning Best Supporting Actress, online video, 23 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdlzqmMDF3g.

Oscars, 2011, Colin Firth winning Best Actor, online video, 3 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aO5R6ezqio.

Oscars, 2016, Brie Larson winning Best Actress, online video, 23 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_lq5wORkYA.

Oscars, 2011, Nicholas Cage winning Best Actor, online video, 30 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jXi-Z3M9Us.

Oscars, 2010, Hilary Swank Wins Best Actress: 2005 Oscars, online video, 29 November, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWGNsP26ttQ.

Oscars, 2008, Julia Roberts winning an Oscar, online video, 24 April, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZV0YbYECU7A.

Oscars, 2011, Christian Bale winning Best Supporting Actor, online video, 3 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsEGpXlpcO8.

Oscars, 2009, Angelina Jolie Wins Supporting Actress: 2000 Oscars, online video, 28 September, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPWpHWr1L7s.

Oscars, 2014, Matthew McConaughey winning Best Actor, online video, 11 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD2cVhC-63I.

Berman, E., Johnson, D., 2016, See the Entire History of The Oscars Diversity Problem In One Chart, Time Labs, weblog post, 20 January, viewed 26 October, http://labs.time.com/story/oscars-diversity/.

DIGC302 Contextual Essay: Reflection of digital artefact

Being in my last semester of university I needed to be thinking about future job prospects. Keeping in mind the outline of the DIGC 302 subject, which was to spend the semester working on a project of my choice, I wanted to create a digital artefact which would demonstrate the skills I have developed over my degree and would be something to showcase to future employees. I began designing websites in the digital media subjects as submissions for digital artefact assignments. It is something that I have grown to be really passionate about and I feel is a very valuable skill to have.

The past 2 years I have worked at Champagnat Catholic College in an administrative role. While this job is only part time and not necessarily the field I want to have a career in, I made the staff aware of these skills I have developed through my degree in hopes of gaining the most out of the job, further develop my skills, expand my portfolio and potentially lead to future jobs. As a result an opportunity came up at the beginning of the semester for me to create a website for Champagnat Catholic College’s trade training centre and thus became the focus of this assignment.

This process initially began with a meeting with the director of the trade training centre where we discussed the brief and vision for the website. My official aim was to create an aesthetically pleasing website for Champagnat Catholic College’s trade training centre (TTC) that includes all information on the centre and has a clean and easy to follow layout. As this was a job I was being paid for, I felt it was extremely important to work closely with the staff involved and to make sure I met their criteria to a high standard.

According to the article, “Designing a school website: contents, structure, and responsiveness” by Klein and Tubin, school websites are an effective tool because they help expand a school’s integration with outside communities which is an important process in a school’s success. A website can be a great marketing tool, increasing a school’s capability for positioning itself in the public, providing better control of ‘word of mouth’ communication and building a solid reputation. The site contributes to the school’s reputation and accountability as content on the website can show that the school is a good place to learn as it becomes the online “face” of the school. It is also a channel of communication for reaching different groups of clients such as current and prospective parents, students, staff and businesses (Klein & Tubin, 2007, pg. 191). These points were the main focus of the social utility of the website. I wanted it to be just as beneficial for the school as it was for those who would be visiting the website. Henry Jenkins who has done a lot of research on participatory culture and digital media believes schools need to operate more along the principles of collective intelligence and social networking. Rather than learning taking place at different stages, your education is an integrated ecosystem. Networks are created by students and teachers reaching outside their community (parents, educators from other schools, experts, businesses, etc.) to create a participatory platform to share information, advice and feedback (Jenkins, 2012). A large aspect of the TTC is outsourcing businesses related to the trade subjects (e.g. mechanics for automotive students) so in this sense, the website will serve as the platform for a participatory culture between the school and those involved. It is also a way to promote the TTC to the community and potentially gain more businesses and students involved with the centre

Deciding the platform for the website was my next step. I have experience with WordPress as it is the site I use for my blog however I have had more practice with Wix as it is the platform I have used for my past website design assignments. There is an official VET website which has links to the other trade training schools websites in NSW. I was to use these as a guide in terms of information to include however the physical design of the website was open to my own creativity and abilities. These websites were mostly done on WordPress however I felt that I could produce better content with Wix.

Wix is a flash-based open-source web tool which allows users to create websites without coding (Kirkwood & Evans, 2011, pg. 108). I have no experience or knowledge on coding so this is the main reason I prefer to use Wix over other website building software. It focuses more on the visual design and utility of creating a website and gives users a lot of creative freedom using simple editing tools. Once the website is finished, the director of the TTC wants staff to be able to contribute and add to the websites themselves. It is extremely easy to learn to use and maintain a website with the ability to use templates or start from scratch. I have also created a simple “user guide” to pass onto the staff of the TTC with little tips and tricks for editing the website. Although limited to certain features, you can create websites on a free account which was another criteria the school set.

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-12-45-35-pm

Flow is a state of consciousness that can be experienced by people who are deeply involved in an enjoyable activity. It is characterised by common elements; a balance between the challenges of an activity and the skills required to meet those challenges; clear goals and feedback; concentration on the task at hand; a sense of control; a merging of action and awareness; a loss of self-consciousness; a distorted sense of time; and the autotelic experience (Pace, 2004, pg. 360). The effectiveness of a website can be understood and analysed by looking at the web-flow of users. A free Wix app called Web-Stat that gives a website creator the analytics of your site. Aspects such as numbers of visitors in real time, maps, visitor details, page view report and click path reports are regularly sent. By adding this app to the TTC site, I will be able to watch how people respond to the website and make appropriate changes if need be.

I found two templates which I felt fit the design I had in mind for the TTC website and used them as a starting point. I chose a very simple colour scheme for the website as I wanted it to have a very clean and simple look to it. The background is white, with black and yellow detailing, bringing in the school colours. This is my favourite stage in designing a website as I enjoy the more creative aspects of the process, however it is easy to get caught up in changing and editing the visual design. Being on a deadline meant I had to be more efficient and decisive when making the creative decisions. This was an important lesson and experience for me in preparation for future jobs.

The school creates almost everything on google suit therefore the website was primarily a place to link staff, students, parents, etc. to the relevant content. The director of the TTC writes monthly newsletters on the centre and hard copies are placed in the office and not many people are reading them. I decided this would be a beneficial addition to the website as Wix gives you the ability to add a blog. While this idea sounded great in theory the director does not have the skills to regularly add blog posts to the site and while he would like to learn, does not currently have time. As a temporary solution, I have linked the google doc version of the newsletters to the website. This has taught me that even the best ideas won’t always work and it sometimes comes down to the employer’s decision, whether you agree with it or not. But as Ted says, “fail fast and fail often”.

Another issue I encountered was the name of the website. The TTC’s official name is Ngalangiil Ngarandhii, an aboriginal phrase meaning ‘a place to sit and learn’. While this name is perfectly suited to the TTC and has a strong significance due to the school’s involvement with indigenous communities, it is hard to say, remember and spell. If even one letter is missing or incorrect, the website does not come up in google searches. Search engine optimisation (SEO) are strategies and techniques used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high ranking placement in the results page of search engines. Wix allows users to manage websites SEO’s while editing by customising google titles for your websites pages. Therefore I ensured that while the websites does come up when you enter Ngalangiil Ngarandhii, it also shows if you enter ‘Champagnat Catholic College trade training centre’ as it is the more likely search of visitors.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-3-44-58-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-27-at-3-45-35-pm

Wanting the website too look aesthetically pleasing I tried to include as many relevant images as possible. Unfortunately, the school has very little photographs and the ones they do have, aren’t the best quality. It was suggested that I take some photos at the school myself however there are legal issues involved as most students are under 18 and I am not an official staff member, even though I am being paid as an employee. While this has been a slight hinderance, I have organised for the school to buy 4 GoPros to take photos and record footage of the school which I can then put into a video for the website.

Since finishing the TTC website, I have now been asked to create on online business directory for the school. I will be applying the skills I have learnt during this assignment to this new project and will hopefully gain some useful business skills. Overall I am really happy and proud of the final product. It has been a great learning experience and it has not only developed my skills in digital media but has taught me many things about working in the real world.

Resources

Jenkins, H., 2012. Textual poachers: Television fans and participatory culture. Routledge.

Kirkwood, H. and Evans, K., 2012. Embedded librarianship and virtual environments in entrepreneurship information literacy: A case study. Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 17(1), pp.106-116.

Pace, S., 2004. A grounded theory of the flow experiences of Web users.International journal of human-computer studies, 60(3), pp.327-363.

Tubin, D. and Klein, S., 2007. Designing a school website: Contents, structure, and responsiveness. Planning and Changing, 38(3/4), p.191.

What’s Hidden: A family tradition

I asked my sister what was an event that our family loves, and she said Christmas. She said, “I remember waking up on one Christmas day and hearing some noises and I got really excited. I’m pretty sure it was Santa.”

We don’t have many secrets in our family but this is one that we hold close to our hearts. Having a 10-year-old sister who believe in Santa means the Christmas traditions in my family are the same as when I was younger. Each year she receives a reply from Santa, to the letter she leaves him along with the eaten cake for him and half eaten carrots on the front lawn for his reindeers.

The idea that Christmas revolves around Santa and all the family traditions that go along with that is not something my family is ready to give up. Even though my sister is now older than the age my brother and I found out Santa wasn’t real, we are trying to keep the tradition alive as long as we can, not just for her but for ourselves.

My mum hadn’t really given it much thought before but became quite emotional talking about the next phase of my sister’s life.

“If she was starting to question it and people were making fun of her for believing I would probably tell her but I don’t want to take that innocence and magic away from her before I have to. I think the day she does find out that Santa isn’t real will be a sad day. I guess we will still keep wrapping up presents and putting them in the Santa sacks, but the whole idea that you don’t need to put Santa sacks out anymore and there’s not that anticipation of excitement of seeing your faces the next morning when Santa delivers the presents will make it a very sad day in the family. Talking about it now I didn’t realise I would get so emotional but I guess it is the next step of your baby growing up and you don’t have that same connection with your kids as you do when they are little.”

Jean Racine said, “There are no secrets that time does not reveal”. It is inevitable that one day, the Secret of Santa will be no longer hidden in our family. When this time comes we will make new Christmas traditions that we will grow to love and cherish, but for now the magic of Santa will continue.

Tweets:

Emotional History Task 1


EMOTIONAL HISTORY TASK 1 – JRNL102

AUDIO REPORT: EMILY RITCHIE

INTRO SCRIPT: Driving in the New South Wales National Park is tricky even at the best of times. A snap decision put things into perspective for Rachel who learnt the true risks of being an inexperienced driver in bad weather.

IN: “When it was…”

OUT: “…there at all.”

DUR: 2.00

MUSIC: Maxence Cyrin – “Where Is My Mind”
(https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/maxence-cyrin/id117052677)


REFLECTION

My emotional history audio piece tells the story of when my friend crashed her car driving down to the National Park during bad weather. It was her first major car accident and it occurred fairly recently so I knew the emotions she felt towards the event were very raw and strong. As mentioned in the lecture, it is important to find a talent who has passion and can convey their emotions very well (McHugh, 2016). My friend spoke very clearly and the audio I recorded was of a high quality as we were able to record in an empty room with the door closed.

By conducting an interview in the form of a narrative, whereby you have your subject tell their story “beat-by-beat” you automatically create narrative tension as listeners want to find out what happens next (Ira Glass, 2016). When conducting the interview, I gave my friend a list of questions to go off but encouraged her to give long answers and tell the story as naturally as possible. As a result, I ended up with a complete story with a beginning, rising action, climax, ending and reflection. While my friend gave me a lot of content to work with, her sentences often ended with a high rising terminal (Collins English Dictionary, 2014). Unfortunately this was something I didn’t notice until I was editing which made it had for her narration to flow. For future reference, I would be cautious to listen out for such vocal “ticks” and would try to get my talent to adjust their voice, in order to make editing easier.

Because there is such a specific and clear story to my emotional history, I felt as though there were many ambient noises I could use. Due to the story particularly focusing on the bad weather, I found a windscreen wiper sound effect. When played with the other audio, the effect sounded muffled and unrecognisable. I decided to not use the windscreen wiper sound as I felt it would be detrimental to the overall ambience of the piece. I chose to use a storm sound effect instead which consisted of cracks of thunder and a mix of light and heavy rain. This audio helped to set the scene of the story, as I wanted listeners to feel as though they were in the car with my friend as she was explaining the weather conditions and crash.

“[Music] sets mood, adds pace, underlines a statement and allows your material to breathe” (McHugh, 2016). My emotional history is a story about fear, regret and danger. I wanted the music I used to reflect these emotions without being too dramatic or cliché. The music I have used is a slow piano instrumental piece. It is predominantly in a low key with singular high notes. Having the music quite low in the background helped the overall flow of the piece and then by increasing the volume in peaks, these high sections were perfect for framing important details of the narrative.

By adding effects such as fade ins and outs to a combination of music and ambient sounds, the piece is transformed from an interview to an emotional experience. I hope when listening to my emotional history, listeners can empathise with the feeling of fear when being in your first car accident, as well as the different stages of emotion in the aftermath of the crash.

REFERENCES

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014, “High rising terminal”, viewed 29 August 2016, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/High+rising+terminal

Cryin, M 2010, Where Is My Mind, song, iTunes, viewed 27 August 2016, https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/maxence-cyrin/id117052677

Free Stock Photos of Australian 2010, Mount Oberon Road, View from the road up to Mount Oberon, Wilsons Promontory National Park, Free Aussie Stock, viewed 27 August 2016, http://freeaussiestock.com/free/Victoria/Wilsons%20Promontory/slides/mount_oberon_road.htm

Glass, I 2016, Ira Glass on Journalism, Podcast, 11 August, Sydney Opera House Talks and Ideas, viewed 29 August 2016, https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/sydney-opera-house-talks-ideas/id640445035?mt=2

McHugh, S 2016, Lecture, Week 2, “Power of Sound Pt. 1: Thinking through your ears”, 1 August 2016.

McHugh, S 2016, Lecture, Week 5, “Layering Sound: The art of the mix”, 22 August 2016.


AUDIO LOG

TIME CONTENT – SUMMARY EVALUATION
0.00

0.22

Introduces name *Muffled
0.30

2.12

Explaining accident ***Clear and detailed
2.20

4.00

Aftermath

  • Telling her parents
  • Getting the car out
  • Parents reaction
**Clear but movement in background
4.05

4.33

“No…I’ve been in minor accidents…but this was the first time I’ve had a major crash” ***
4.42

5.28

How she felt when the accident was happening

“..I just had like a fight or flight moment”

** Clear but ends sentences on high rising terminals
5.36

6.31

Weather condition description

“..the rain was kind of like going sideways it was so heavy”

***
6.40

7.20

Tips for future drivers

“…being a p plater…I thought I was invincible”

** Clear but ends sentences on high rising terminals
7.25 Ambient noise of room

#FreeTheNipple Pt 2

In an almost surprising set of circumstances, the #FreeTheNipple campaign is extremely active on Instagram, even though Instagram’s terms of conditions state the female nipple is banned and any images containing a female nipple will be removed if posted. #FreeTheNipple has used this to their advantage making a very important statement about gender inequality. Supporters have been posting images with a male nipple photo-shopped on top of a female nipple to make them “acceptable”, emphasising the ridiculousness of the ban and the unnecessary sexualisation of the female nipple.

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Due to the widespread response #FreeTheNipple has gained across social media, support has spread across the world. At the beginning of 2016, a Facebook event was created by two young women organising a picnic in Brisbane for anyone who identifies as a woman to celebrate the #Freethenipple movement. While many went topless at the picnic, it was not enforced, but rather focused on the support of gender equality and the movement. While the Facebook event gained quite a lot of attention with over three thousand people interested and 800 RSVP’s, only 50 women actually attended the event. This is one of the main issues associated with “hashtag” movements.

The utilisation of social media as an activism tool is a result of the digital age we are living in. It cannot be denied that hashtags are an effective way of gaining mass attention very quickly. However, it can often be seen in past movements that ‘slacktivism’ occurs, whereby people are supporting a cause online with no effort or involvement truly put in. As a result, a cause gains attention but little is actually done to solve or aid the issue. Journalist Malcolm Gladwell stated, “Social media is build around weak ties…where activists were once defined by their causes, they are now defined by their tools” (Gladwell, 2010).

Similarly, the #FreeTheNipple movement has received negative criticism for their supposed biased representation of the female body. Many were quick to point out that the faces (and bodies) of the movement seemed to conform to traditional standards of beauty, aka women who are skinny and pretty.

In fairness, the movement clearly states its support for equality for all women, however its website fails to visually support these ideologies. In an article exploring the exclusivity of the movement, Georgina Jones stated, “ I’m sure that these women would have welcomed anyone with breasts in any shape to join them. But the unconscious ignorance of diversity is one that we cannot allow within any feminist movement in 2015. Feminism without intersectionality is pointless; freeing nipples and only representing nipples that adhere to patriarchal standards of beauty is pointless” (Jones, 2015).

Although these critics make a valid point, the most important thing is to remember is the main reason for #FreeTheNipple. While women have come a long way, gender inequality still exists and as a society we should not be okay with this. Like anything, #FreeTheNipple has issues and room for improvement but it ultimately encourages an equal world and that should be everyone’s focus.

Sources

Jones, Georgina 2015, Free The Nipple And Its Relationship To Standards Of Beauty: Exploring Exclusivity In The Mammary Movement, Bustle, Weblog post, viewed 23 August 2016, http://www.bustle.com/articles/60103-free-the-nipple-and-its-relationship-to-standards-of-beauty-exploring-exclusivity-in-the-mammary-movement

Mitchell-Whittington, Amy 2016, ‘Brisbane ‘free the nipple’ picnic a quiet affair’, Brisbane Times, 17 January, viewed 23 August 2016, http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/brisbane-free-the-nipple-picnic-a-quiet-affair-20160117-gm7sxs.html

Gladwell, Malcolm 2014, ‘Small Change’, The New Yorker, 4 October, viewed 1 October 2014, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/10/04/small-change-malcolm-gladwell

#FreeTheNipple Pt 1

While we are being shown acts of terrorism and violence on a daily basis in our media, the content that is considered “too scandalous” to show is women’s nipples. Not men’s, just women’s. Even though the biological function of the female nipple is to feed children, our society has sexualised the female body to a point where women are made to feel inappropriate in their own skin. Nevertheless, there are many who are openly and successfully fighting this injustice.

The #Freethenipple campaign is a movement to change the laws that make it illegal for women to show their nipple in public. The movement began in 2012, when filmmaker Lina Esco created the film, “Free the Nipple”, targeting sexist public nudity laws. The film gained mass attention and continued to grow with thousands of supporters all over the world. The main focus of the film is the “hypocritical contradictions in our media-dominated society wherein acts of baroque violence, killing, brutalisation and death are infinitely more tolerated by the FCC [The Federal Communications Commission] and the MPAA [The Motion Picture’s Association of America] who regulate all films and TV shows in the US” (Esco, 2013).

It is currently illegal for a woman to be publicly topless in 37 of the 50 US states. In 5 of these states, a woman can even be sentenced to jail time for publicly breastfeeding. #Freethenipple is a fight for equality against this censorship. While the campaign utilises social media to gain recognition and support through the hashtag, the discrimination for women to represent their natural selves is worsened by the media, which sexualises women to a point where their bodies are now seen as distasteful and offensive. For example, a man’s nipple can be posted on Instagram, no matter how inappropriate the photo is with no complications. On the other hand, a woman who has had a single mastectomy must censor her other nipple otherwise Instagram will remove the image for being “inappropriate”. The point of the #Freethenipple campaign is not to make all women walk around topless but to wear a top if you’d like to, but not because it’s illegal not to (Warnick, 2014).

While gender inequality is still relevant in our society the movement is bringing much needed attention to the issue. In 2014, Facebook removed its ban on images of breastfeeding. This however doesn’t extend its policies to allow the female nipple in other contexts. Esco wrote in a 2013 Huffington Post essay, “When I started my online campaign, Facebook and Instagram banned the photos of topless women that were taken on location, faster than we could put them up. Why can you show public beheadings from Saudi Arabia on Facebook, but not a [female] nipple? Why can you sell guns on Instagram but yet they will suspend your account for posting the most natural part of a women’s body?” The #Freethenipple campaign is aiming to change the backwards views of our society and while there is still a long way to go it is the first step of many, in making a difference.

References

IFC Films 2014, Free the Nipple – Official Trailer I HD I Sundance Selects, online video, 20 November, YouTube, viewed 13 April 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX8czRjkaBI&gt;.

Esco, Lina 2013, Why I Made a Film Called Free the Nipple and Why I’m Being Censored in America, The Huffington Post, Weblog post, viewed 9 August 2016, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lina-esco/free-the-nipple_b_4415859.html&gt;.

Warnick, Aaron 2014, Social Equality Movement Brought About By “Free The Nipple”, The Duquesne Duke, Weblog post, 27 January, viewed 9 August 2016, <http://www.duqsm.com/social-equality-movement-brought-about-by-free-the-nipple/&gt;.

Zeilinger, Julie 2015, Here’s What The Free The Nipple Movement Has Really Accomplished, Identifies Mic, Weblog post, 21 August, viewed 9 August 2016, <https://mic.com/articles/124146/here-s-what-the-free-the-nipple-movement-has-really-accomplished#.LMmQEDBym&gt;.

Digital Culture In The Classroom

Education is considered one of the most important aspects of civilisation. It provides the foundation for preparing young people for the future. As technology grows and develops, its presence not only in the education system but also in society is inevitable. The use of technology in the classroom is not a separate notion but rather a tool to integrate into teaching methods to further develop the skills and knowledge of students.

So what is the digital culture in the classroom? Through technology a community is evolving where students and teachers from around the world are combining ideas to offer children the most best education possible. In my last post I mentioned the online game Mathletics, which allows students from a variety of countries to learn maths by completing activities based on curriculums and then competing against one another by testing the maths skills learnt. Games such as this one provide a platform for students to interact with one another whilst learning valuable skills. Teachers and parents have the ability to monitor student activity, providing current and up to date feedback on their performances and outcomes. Not only this, but students are learning skills in a fun and visual way compared to traditional learning.

Digital technology and creativity in the classroom prepares kids for the future by Carolyn Fox explores the transformation of the education system as a result of technology. She makes the point that society is moving towards a digital future, therefore teaching and learning methods must be adapted to prepare children for the ‘new world’ they will be living in.

The industrial, mass production model of learning is under fire and being questioned with the influx of digital technology today and globalization. Experts agree that we learn from our senses, primarily through our visual system, which accounts for about 80% of what we process. They agree that a digital world requires different skills and they usually agree that it includes visual skills.” – (Fox, 2013). 

Andrea Kuszewski is a behaviour therapist and consultant for children on the autism spectrum, with a background in neuroscience and psychology. Upon studying intelligence and the performance of autistic children in learning, she found that we actually have the ability to increase fluid intelligence, the intelligence we use to problem solve. So to increase your brain matter and fluid intelligence, you must seek novelty, challenge yourself, think creatively, do things the hard way and network. Believe it or not these are all key aspects of gaming.

Gabe Zichermann looks at this study in more detail in relation to gaming and shows that gaming is only making our kids smarter.

Resources

Fox, Carolyn 2013, ‘Digital technology and creativity in the classroom prepares kids for the future’, Opensource.com, 25 October, viewed 24 March 2016, https://opensource.com/education/13/10/prepare-future-digital-tech-creativity.

Kuszewski, Andrea 2011, You can increase your intelligence: 5 ways to maximize your cognitive potential, Scientific American, weblog post, 7 March, viewed 24 March 2016, http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/you-can-increase-your-intelligence-5-ways-to-maximize-your-cognitive-potential/.

TedxYouth 2011, TEDxKids@Brussels – Gabe Zichermann – Gamification, YouTube video, 9 June, YouTube, viewed 24 March 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2N-5maKZ9Q.

Digital Learning in Theory

Henry Jenkins who has done a lot of research on participatory culture and digital media established that digital education is not another subject for kids to learn. Rather, it is something that should be integrated into pedagogy. Schools need to operate more along the principles of collective intelligence and social networking.

Rather than learning taking place at different stages, your education is an INTEGRATED ECOSYSTEM, that continues you’re entire life. You are creating networks from the beginning of your education. Students and teachers are reaching outside their community (parents, educators from other schools, experts, businesses, etc.) to create a participatory platform to share information, advice and feedback.

Jenkins suggests that students need to be given the opportunity to seek information from multiple channels and work with a range of different people to pool knowledge and combine skills.

For example, Kids are learning to blog in primary school. Gaining feedback and recognition from a larger community than just the classroom. And it also introduces them to the concept of taking greater responsibility for the quality of information they circulate.

While many education systems are taking digital education on board there are still some negative options. I think that this fear of technology can sometimes come from a lack of understanding.

For my digital artefact I’d like to create a resource for parents, teachers and students that still don’t really understand digital education.

It will basically be a collation of all the information I’ve found. A space where I could link my blog posts, and includes the many videos, articles, etc. that I have found. I would also like to add and possibly review/recommend education games.

Resources

Banerjee, P & Bleson, G 2015, ‘Digital education 2.0: From content to connections’, Deloitte Review, Vol. 16, pp. 2-17.

Jenkins, H. (2016). Learning in a Participatory Culture: A Conversation About New Media and Education (Part Four). [online] Henryjenkins.org. Available at: http://henryjenkins.org/2010/02/learning_in_a_participatory_cu_1.html [Accessed 1 May 2016].