We were assigned two articles this week to read. They are about the new phenomenon of “mash ups” and “remixes”. Lamb talks about how many people do not consider mash ups and remixes to be original works. It’s almost impossible, unless you travel way back, to find a work, of any kind, that is completely original (has no outside influence or archetype upon which it was based). Even Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, as Lamb points out, could be considered a remix of Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe. I am all for originality…if you can find it…but I also will not dismiss mash ups and remixes as entirely inappropriate or unthoughtful. It takes a lot of creativity to take a photo or song or application and turn it into an entirely different thing or recreate its purpose. So long as credit is give to the artist of the original piece that has been used (proper copy right laws observed where applicable) I think it’s perfectly fine, and quite intriguing to see how a person can take a two songs and throw them together in just the right way so that you hear something completely different and new.
The fact that McBride starts her article off with Pogo’s Alice in Wonderland remix made me extremely happy. I stumbled across this artist a couple years ago and spend hours listening to the different videos Pogo created. Another well done remix is Upular (from UP)…if you’re ever in a bad mood I suggest listening to it…too cool. I agree with McBride that we need to seriously consider involving new media and tools into the stagnant education system. Thanks to ds106 I have been introduced to an entire new arena of information and tools that I never knew existed. I now know how to operate a blog and how to do audio mash ups. I think of the internet now as a super brain for the entirety of the human population. Unfortunately, just like our own physical ones, we use very little of it’s full potential. Some people, usually from my parent’s generation (no disrespect meant to those who have already embraced or are working their way into mainstream internet society), say that the internet and all it’s websites are a distraction….before the internet life was simpler. Life was also more difficult. Could you send x-rays across the globe to a surgeon in the operating room and consult via skype 10 years ago? No. Could you have an instant conversation with more than maybe one or two people, plus be able to access and share an archive of media and data that everyone could access at the same time and then discuss….certainly not. While there are aspects of malintent involved with the internet, I believe that we can harness the good stuff to make a difference in the lives of our youth. Instead of just reading from a text book about a foreign country…why not have an interactive game where the students try to recreate an ancient battle…are they as smart as the generals of old? Instead of writing and grading paper after paper…have the class come up with a way to incorporate the life of 1860 American Civil War soldiers into their own? Make the past come to life…take the far away and put it in your hands. DS106 has allowed me to document my learning process for this semester in a way I never thought was possible or logical. I think we need more aspects from classes like DS106 to be incorporated into the everyday teachings of the masses. The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination.