Monday, October 31, 2011

MAC Week 2-BP4: Think-Out-Loud PPP

Giving some thought and consideration to this issue I am leaning strongly toward making a presentation at the International Conference of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations / ASCAC. ASCAC is an organization that has been in existence since 1985. The ASCAC Midwest Regional Conference is this weekend (November 4th-6th) at Kent State University and the international conference will also be at Kent State in March 2012. I will be presenting in the Creative Productions plenary session this weekend on Creative Technologies & Education in the 21st Century. People attend ASCAC conferences from all walks of life from around the world. There are a lot of attendees who are artists and educators seeking to improve the quality of education for people of African descent and dispel the stereotypes that have been associated with Africa and African people.

For the conference in March 2012, I plan to use my Capstone project to create a presentation that relays how incorporating web 2.0 tools and technologies with culturally relevant material can improve the motivation and engagement of African American and other students. Increasing the motivation and engagement of students will serve to create students that are life-long learners. I can begin the conversation at the regional conference this November and get more in-depth at the international conference in March.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

MAC Week 2-BP1: Art of Possibility

Zander & Zander (2000) Art of Possibility, put into words several concepts and ideas that I have not been fully able to express. I believe in thinking outside of the box. A concept often quoted but never fully realized by those of us who use that term. But I have, for quite awhile thought outside of the box, which is why I do the things that I do the way I do them. Zander & Zander (2000) stated, “all life comes to us in narrative form; it's a story we tell.” This is how we learn, from the stories that we are taught about the past, the stories that we hear, the stories that we tell others and ourselves. Zander & Zander also stated, “It’s all invented anyway, so we might as well invent a story or a framework of meaning that enhances our quality of life and the life of those around us.” I like this statement so much, and I think it’s a wonderful way to look at life. I also liked the idea of the paradigm shift, shifting the framework to allow for the outcome that you want.

On the first day of class, I express to my students as we review the syllabus that they all start out with A’s and they decide if they will maintain them. It works for a shore time but the students still begin to be stressed over assignments and grades. I appreciated how the “A” concept was articulated and feel even more confident that I can relay the “possibilities” to my students so that they are empowered. I thought that the exercise of having the student’s write a letter from the future was brilliant. To gets students thinking about themselves in a different way, they write the script, and this gives them more control. It gives students the opportunity to verbalize the best of what and who they are. Zander & Zander also stated, “The only grace you can have is the grace you can imagine.”

All of this leads to the chapter on “being a contribution.” Deciding, making a conscious decision that you “have worth” and have something significant to contribute to the world changes how you function in the world. Understanding that your presence makes a difference in the world. It reminded me of George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life. Clarence the angel who had to earn his wings shows George what the world would be like without him. We often feel that if it’s not some front page, 10 pm newsworthy thing that we do, it’s insignificant. But I have found that just saying hello to someone you pass on the street makes a world of difference. “The only grace you can have is the grace you can imagine.”

Friday, October 28, 2011

MAC Week 1-BP4: Free Choice Entry

Collage created by Rosetta Cash

One of the aspects that really got my attention in viewing and reading the material this week is the fact that because of private ownership important culturally relevant materials are no longer available to be viewed. I find it appalling that Eyes on the Prize and other important documentaries are, in my opinion, being held hostage if you will. I mean, $500,000 as a relicensing fee, really! It makes me wonder (my conspiracy theorist mindset) if it was deliberately done to keep it from the public eye. Just a thought. I do know that there are people who think about nothing but money and perhaps it is just as simple as the “almighty dollar.”

Mind you, I was told several years ago that Michael Jackson owned the copyright for the song “Happy Birthday” which is why when you are dining in restaurants and someone is celebrating a birthday; the staff has made up a celebratory birthday song to sing to patrons. What I didn’t know was that it would cost $15,000 per verse. 

As stated in the short video “Eyes on the Fair Use of the Prize,” “unwieldy copyright laws and extortionate royalty fees are forever changing history.” It seems that the history being affected / changes relates to culturally relevant materials that tell African and African American stories, my history. So how does one combat this? How can this be rectified? When you change one peoples history you change the history of the world, we are all affected.  

MAC Week 1-BP3: Comment 2

Thank goodness for Ted talks.  Watching these hours worth of copyright issue videos was enough to make a teacher quit her job.  So, rather than dwell on the extremes that many of these videos did, I want to focus on the little bit of hope I found within the creative commons information and within Larry Lessig’s TED talk.   
Lessig quoted John Phillips Souza in 1906 who said that these “talking machines” referring to radios will ruin the artistic development in this country.  And, in fact, the 20th century became a culture of “read only” people.  However the 21st century seems to be assuming artistic development again.  Thanks to the $1500 computer, the tools of creativity have become tools of speech.  It is what the next generation bases its life upon.   Yet, Lessig insists, the law has not greeted this revival with very much common sense.  It prohibits to such an extreme degree that legal creativity becomes stifled, at best.  
Creative Commons offers possibilities and hope and does in fact seem to be a “bridge to the future”.  This will begin our journey to thinking more about communities and less about content.  However, in the meantime, educators have to find a way to give our students the tools and information they need to legally create, express, and use the digital technologies that are available to them.

Posted by Jennifer Williams at 6:45 PM

Rosetta Cash said...

Jennifer, I too find that Lessig and Creative Commons have come up with a viable solution for artists to use for their copyrighted materials. I agree that they are attempting to build that “bridge to the future.” My hope is that the direction that they have taken is the beginning of the dialogue and opens more avenues to protect and promote artistic creativity in its many forms. And yes, we must make our students aware of the legalities when it comes to the productions and use of created works including their own.

MAC Week 1-BP2: Comment 1


MAC Blog post #1

When I started watching the documentary and the opening segment starred Girl Talk, I was very excited! I absolutely love his All Day mix and have run miles of trail listening to it. I have often wondered if or how he obtained permission from all of the artists he sampled. I downloaded the track for free, and I guess I figured if he is not making money from it, he is in the clear. I also thought that it is similar to being in a club with a DJ who samples and mixes at his/her own will. But I suppose this falls under the "improvisational" category of what cannot be copyrighted. It also occurred to me that the artists sampled would be flattered and appreciative of the quality of the product.
As an art teacher I require visual images and examples for nearly everything I do and teach. Before I had an interactive white board in my room, I bought hundreds of mini art reproductions (of very poor quality) and laminated them. Now, if I want to teach a lesson on Miro, I grab an internet image and put it up on the Activboard. I also save these lessons with images in them (like Powerpoints) for future use. It is still somewhat of a grey area for me as to whether this is ok.  If it is a famous artist whose work I am displaying, I am obviously giving proper credit to the artist, but often I use images that simply illustrate a point or concept, without concern necessarily for the creator. I continue to hope that I am protected if I am using images for educational purposes.

Rosetta Cash said...

Hi Lara! The lines of legality are difficult to read in these instances. As educators, especially when it comes to written material we are very careful to warn our students against plagiarism and it’s repercussions. But that tends to be as far as we go when it comes to copyrights. From the materials we’ve read and viewed it would seem that you are protected by the “Fair Use” guidelines because you are using the images for educational purposes, you are not changing the images, you acknowledge and give the artist credit, and you are not trying to sell the images.

MAC Week 1-BP1: CopyRight or Wrong

Copyright law seemed very straightforward. But then I watched Good Copy / Bad Copy and discovered that it truly depends on your perspective and literally where you are in the world. We tend to think of things as being applicable universally and then we step outside of our borders and see that others have a different take on what is legal and what is not.

The words “pirate” and “piracy” popped up a lot in the documentary. When I hear the word “pirate” I immediately think of poor, oppressed people trying to finds ways outside of the designated norm to improve their conditions. Looking at the producers of remixed music in Brazil and how they don’t really make any money from the remixed CDs they create, the artist don’t make any money but they have these huge parties where their remixes are played. I found the aspect of remixing fascinating and the perspectives of the people who are involved is that they see what they do as an art form and creative expression.

Fair Use makes an attempt to find a solution by setting parameters on minimal use of copyrighted materials under specific circumstances. But they make it clear that legally it is a “defensible position” and not a “right.” Some saw the need to create the “Fair Use Best Practices Document.”

Larry Lessig and Creative Commons seem to have found a better solution to the copyright issues. Especially the copyright infringement issues that are encountered by the multitudes of young people who remix music. Creative Commons attempts to forge a balance between artists whose works are protected by copyright laws and the youth who creatively use copyrighted works to remix them using digital technologies. CC allows the artist to determine how his product can be used by others and allows those digitally creators to legally operate within those parameters. A step beyond Fair Use.

As I consider myself an artist and a talented, creative person, I want my intellectual property protected by copyright in every way possible. I think the Creative Commons solution is a viable and equitable solution for those who want to share their creations but still have some control over how they are used.

(Above image created by Rosetta Cash)