Informal learning and the globalization of Internet social media


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Keynote presentation at the 2nd International Conference on Popular Culture and Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Dec 2011.

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Informal learning and the globalization of Internet social media

  1. 1. Informal learning and the globalization of internet social media Phil Benson
  2. 2. Globalized online spaces <ul><li>e.g. </li></ul><ul><li>Club Penguin </li></ul><ul><li>Barbie Girls </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Flickr </li></ul><ul><li>World of Warcraft </li></ul><ul><li>Farmville </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube </li></ul>
  3. 3. (1998) <ul><li>2.2 million users (2010) (2009- 1.3M) </li></ul><ul><li>30 languages </li></ul><ul><li>Users: US (37.4%), China (9.1%), Mexico (5.9%) </li></ul><ul><li>564,000 Harry Potter stories (2011) (2010 – 466K) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Flickr (2004) <ul><li>Aug. 2011 – 6 billion images (2010 – 5 billion; 2008 – 3 billion) </li></ul><ul><li>June 2011 – 51 million registrations </li></ul><ul><li>Chinese, German, Spanish, French, Korean, Italian, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Indonesian </li></ul>
  5. 5. World of Warcraft (2004) <ul><li>10.3 million subscribers (Nov. 2011) (2010 – 11.5M) </li></ul><ul><li>Servers in the US, Europe, Asia, Australia and South America </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple language packs </li></ul>
  6. 6. FarmVille (2009) <ul><li>30 million monthly users (Dec. 2011) </li></ul><ul><li>7 million daily users </li></ul><ul><li>English and Chinese </li></ul><ul><li>CityVille </li></ul><ul><li>(49m/10.5m) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Globalized online spaces <ul><li>have template structures, </li></ul><ul><li>depend on user-generated content </li></ul><ul><li>+ social interaction around content, </li></ul><ul><li>are ‘place-like’ </li></ul><ul><li>are co-extensive with the web </li></ul><ul><li>are multilingual / multimodal </li></ul><ul><li>are growing very very rapidly </li></ul>
  8. 8. YouTube (2005) <ul><li>490 million unique users per month / 150 million per day </li></ul><ul><li>52 million+ channels </li></ul><ul><li>Servers in 35 locations in Europe, Central and South America, Africa and Asia (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) </li></ul><ul><li>51 language interfaces (25 – 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Fastest growing social media service </li></ul>
  9. 9. Digital media vs. traditional media <ul><li>Semiotic codes - invite more seamless forms of multimodal text (co-)production and interactivity </li></ul><ul><li>Time - allow immediate exchange of mediatized forms of communication </li></ul><ul><li>Place - widen options for mediatized communication to virtually everywhere </li></ul><ul><li>Social relations - intensify meaning-making practices as forms of action, participation, collaboration, and reflexivity. </li></ul><ul><li>(Drotner, 2008: 18) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Digital media & informal learning <ul><li>‘… the digital world lowers barriers to self-directed learning…. New media allow for a degree of freedom and autonomy for youth that is less apparent in a classroom setting’ </li></ul><ul><li>Their efforts are ‘ largely self-directed , and the outcome emerges through exploration, in contrast to classroom learning that is oriented toward set, predefined goals’. </li></ul><ul><li>(Ito et al. 2008: 2) (US Digital Youth Project) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Digital media and globalization <ul><li>“… mobile devices and the internet impact on social relations in that they serve to widen users’ options of creation, communication and participation [i.e. informal, self-directed learning] across space , and these options become increasingly globalized …” </li></ul><ul><li>Drotner (2008: 19) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Public pedagogy <ul><li>How the media teach us and what we learn from interaction with the media (Johnson, 2005 – ‘everything bad is good for you’; Gee & Hayes, 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>or </li></ul><ul><li>How we teach and learn from each other through digitally-mediated social interaction around multimodal texts, in increasingly globalized environments </li></ul>
  13. 13. Alex Juhasz <ul><li>Taught a course on YouTube at Pfizer College, CA, in fall 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>All processes and outcomes through YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewed on Henry Jenkins’ blog </li></ul><ul><li>‘ For those used to my blatherings about the virtues of participatory culture, you will find her skepticism about much of the content on YouTube a bit bracing.’ </li></ul>
  14. 14. Alex Juhasz <ul><li>‘ My hope that the students would be able to see and name the limits of this site as a place for higher education were quickly met. By mid-term, we could effectively articulate what the site was not doing for us…. We found the site to be inexcusably poor at…. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Alex Juhasz <ul><li>Allowing for lengthy, linked synchronous conversation using the written word outside the degenerated standards of many on-line exchanges where slurs, phrases, and inanities stand-in for dialogue . </li></ul><ul><li>Creating possibilities for communal exchange and interaction… </li></ul><ul><li>Finding pertinent materials… </li></ul><ul><li>Linking video and ideas, so that concepts, communities and conversation can grow… </li></ul>
  16. 16. Alex Juhasz <ul><li>… the site is primarily organized around and effective at the entertainment of the individual. YouTube betters older entertainment models in that it is mobile, largely user-controlled, and much of its content is user-generated… As YouTube delivers fast, fun, video that is easy to understand and easy to get, it efficiently delivers hungry eyeballs to its advertisers. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Bus uncle (2006) <ul><li>Filmed April 2006 – 1.7 million hits in May 2006 (early ‘viral video’) </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile phone video of an argument on a bus </li></ul><ul><li>Older man berating younger man who has asked him to lower his voice when talking on the phone </li></ul><ul><li>‘ You have pressure, I have pressure’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Chu, 2009, analysed 132 related videos) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Bus Uncle comments (3,000+) <ul><li>I think the Bus Uncle is a very symbolic representative of the older Hong Kong generation. A lot of them are like that - they think they're being logical and therefore they're all correct, and don't stop to really consider things from the other person's perspective. Shoot first, and don't think about it later. For example, it never crossed the mind of Bus Uncle that he  might really have been a bit too loud. As a fellow HKer, I am quite often disturbed by this tendency. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Bus Uncle comments <ul><ul><li>(title… “with Mandarin and English subtitles” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lol!!!!! And BTW it's cantonese  not mandarin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OnlyChrisi  3 months ago </li></ul></ul><ul><li>@onlychrisi  it has subtitles for people who only speak mandarin NOT I REPEAT NOT  cantonese so they can understand it. People who speak cantonese do not need cantonese subtitles!!! sometimes people need common sense joshuathao84  3 months ago </li></ul>
  20. 20. Beijing Welcomes You <ul><li>Fansubbed version of the Beijing Olympics song </li></ul>
  21. 21. Upside down?
  22. 22. … or the right way up? <ul><li>thanksnubby (1 year ago) </li></ul><ul><li>lol he put  it upside down 3:44 </li></ul><ul><li>ciaolyre (1 year ago) </li></ul><ul><li>it's done by purpose the word is fu, which means good fortune /hapiness when we put it upside down, we say it's fudao and dao=upside down but there is a homonym dao(another dao that sounds the same, though not written the same way and has a different meaning), that means to happen/to come so fudao=fu upside down= fu to happen, to come so the meaning of put it upside down is actually to want the good fortune to come  into the house (we usually put the upside down fu on the main door) </li></ul>
  23. 23. I hate the fact that I only know Cantonese… <ul><li>siuyutlong (1 month ago) </li></ul><ul><li>I hate the fact that I only know Cantonese, I  want to know Mando aswell! </li></ul><ul><li>KSH2006 (1 month ago) </li></ul><ul><li>@siuyutlong It shouldn't be too hard. Considering how Cantonese and Mandarin  is similar to each other. :P </li></ul><ul><li>Nejjidragon (1 month ago) </li></ul><ul><li>That's like saying it shouldn't be too hard to lean  Spanish because Spanish and English are both romantic languages. They have similarities, but in the end,they are two totally different dialects </li></ul><ul><li>KSH2006 (1 month ago) </li></ul><ul><li>You're right, but I only said they  are similar. Nothing more nothing less. </li></ul><ul><li>Brashne01 (1 month ago) </li></ul><ul><li>A little thing wrong with your statement. English is a Germanic Language, not  Romance. It IS in fact highly influenced by the romantic language that it's often mistaken as one. ;) </li></ul>
  24. 24. Funny teacher saying foul language <ul><li>Ruby posts vlog on YouTube criticizing English examination invigilator’s English </li></ul><ul><li>Ruby is criticized for making the same errors and worse </li></ul><ul><li>Others say that Ruby is right or a product of her teachers’ bad English </li></ul>
  25. 25. The invigilator’s mistakes <ul><li>zip up your bag -> sit up your bag </li></ul><ul><li>answer sheet -> answer shit </li></ul><ul><li>during -> diuling </li></ul><ul><li>ask your question -> ass your question </li></ul>
  26. 26. Accent <ul><li>okay very honestly, this person is laughing at her own accent. I mean every nation will have their accent right? what's the point of laughing upon this crap? Americans dont laugh at us, English people don't laugh at us, and now you Chinese, laughing at your own accent.  Is there something wrong with your brain kid? Don't try to tell us how sad or how sorry she felt right now, cause what she did, just insulted all the Chinese, all the teens in hong kong. Hello. Be realistic. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Intelligibility <ul><li>Honkies complaining while making small mistakes herself is  funny, but then again a lot of my friends are from hk so this is normal to me. You get use to it... that you dont even think about it. Most important thing about speaking with a person in their not native language is all about understanding what they are trying to say and not their grammer mistakes . Thats what english class is for. Regardless funny stuff </li></ul>
  28. 28. American Speaking Fluent Chinese <ul><li>Iranian American Speaking Fluent Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin) Started learning Chinese at 19 and now speaks perfect Chinese in both Cantonese and Mandarin! </li></ul>
  29. 29. American Speaking Fluent Chinese <ul><li>I think I heard  about five seconds of Mandarin in the whole thing. A bit misleading. cgmadridaz  1 month ago </li></ul><ul><li>But, Cantonese is Chinese.  I think you may have some kind of misunderstanding. cJackt  1 month ago </li></ul>
  30. 30. American Speaking Fluent Chinese <ul><li>@cJackt No misunderstanding here. If a video claims to have an Iranian American speaking both Cantonese and Mandarin, then I like to see a fair distribution of both language skills displayed. He literally, as far as I had the ability to watch, speaks  but a few seconds of Mandarin and then goes straight back into Cantonese. I am guessing that the fact that you think I have misunderstood this derives from your own lack of understanding regarding Chinese languages. There are so many dialects cgmadridaz  1 month ago </li></ul>
  31. 31. American Speaking Fluent Chinese <ul><li>@cgmadridaz I concede. I did not read the video description that claims he speaks fluent mandarin. </li></ul><ul><li>I only read the title where it says he speaks fluent Chinese; that is the cause of my misunderstanding. </li></ul><ul><li>In that context, I hold the video to be true, because speaking fluent Cantonese means speaking fluent Chinese. Whereas I had assumed  that you thought only by speaking Mandarin can one be considered to speak fluent Chinese. </li></ul><ul><li>By the way, I am of Chinese ethinicity,in fact, of 客家 (Hakka) descent. cJackt  1 month ago </li></ul>
  32. 32. American Speaking Fluent Chinese <ul><li>@cJackt I know the Hakka region very well. I have been in  the Mainland for almost seven years with extensive experience in both Dongbei and Minnan. I am about an hour and a half away from Hakka at the moment. The Tulou are very interesting. I have heard that Hakka is the hardest dialect to learn in China next to Wenzhouhua. What do you think? </li></ul><ul><li>cgmadridaz  1 month ago </li></ul>
  33. 33. Conclusion? <ul><li>YouTube – the ‘wild west’ of pop culture and education research – strategies? </li></ul><ul><li>There is evidence of informal learning – but what theories of learning best account for it? </li></ul><ul><li>Multimodality, social interaction, globalization </li></ul>
  34. 34. References <ul><li>Chu, D. (2009). Collective behaviour in YouTube: A case study of ‘Bus Uncle’ online video. Asian Journal of Communication, 19(3), 337-353. </li></ul><ul><li>D rotner, K. (2008). Informal learning and digital media: perceptions, practices and perspectives. In K. Drotner, H. S. Jensen, and K. Schrøder (Eds.), Informal learning and digital media (pp. 10-28). Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. </li></ul><ul><li>Gee, J. P., & Hayes, E. (2009). Public pedagogy through video games. </li></ul><ul><li>Ito, M., et al. (2008). Living and learning with new media: Summary of findings from the Digital Youth Project . Chicago, IL: The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. </li></ul><ul><li>Johnson, S. (2005). Everything bad is good for you: How today’s popular culture is actually making us smarter . New York, NY: Riverhead Books. </li></ul><ul><li>Juhasz, A. (interviewed by Henry Jenkins) (2008). Learning from YouTube: An interview with Alex Juhasz. </li></ul>