30 December 2010


Grand total of Tibet books to read this semester: 12

Movies to watch: 2

Here are my findings from the library just now:

17 December 2010

Norbu's Answer

I am feeling all sorts of awful.  I really wish we'd been able to interview Norbu live for our digital civilization event.  I just got on Skype for the first time in a while, and Norbu immediately sent me this:

[12/9/2010 8:44:14 PM] Norbu: hiu there
Norbu: hi
Norbu: hi
Norbu: thanks for your help in spreading infor about Tibet n likewiase
Norbu: Here is the answer forthe Q you asked:
Norbu: What is the one thing that you want to tell the world about Tibetans?

- First of all, we’ve lost our beloved fatherland to China in 1959, since then we lived in exile for over 50 Years under the Leadership oh His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. Whatever we are today is all because of the tireless effort of H.H.

- Secondly, we’re struggling with so many things here in Exile; from regaining our Tibet back to preservation of our Tibetan Language, Culture and Identity against the all odds of world of diversity and modernization.

- We are people under threat & we’re in despair. We definitely need your support!

- People of the World (esp. the World Leaders) there’s something called Humanity & Righteousness than mere Economic Development! You got to RE-THINK on the ground of truthfulness, humanity & genuine global issues concerning all people of world!

Norbu: thanlks to you all for enlightening others about the  Tibet and its cause...we really appreciate your help and continued support...

Kristen Nicole: Norbu
Kristen Nicole: you're the best

Norbu: hi

Kristen Nicole: how are you?

Norbu: am good n n?
Norbu: so u seem to be so relaxed after your semester completion...
Norbu: wats your plan...next?

Kristen Nicole: oh, I am going to have a Christmas break
Kristen Nicole: that won't really be a break :)
Kristen Nicole: but next semester I'll buckle down and figure out my project
Kristen Nicole: and then I'm coming to India in the summer

Norbu: oic

Kristen Nicole: I'm so sorry the live interview didn't work out! I wish you could have said all that to our audience
Kristen Nicole: it's brilliant

Norbu: well its..ok there's always next time..

Kristen Nicole: mmm yes
Kristen Nicole: did you get to see the video?

Norbu: ya
Norbu: its nice...

Kristen Nicole: oh, I'm glad you liked it!
Kristen Nicole: Norbu, I really should go to sleep because I'm tired and it's late
Kristen Nicole: but I'd love to talk to you another time!  have a great day

[1:21:36 AM] Norbu: ok good night

16 December 2010

Oh, goodbyes

I'm quite sad that this semester is over!  It went so quickly, and it was so glorious!  My digital civilization classmates were brilliant and gorgeous, the class was excellent, and Drs Zappala and Burton were the masterminds behind the magic.

Our Digital Civilization event went very well, even though there was a miscommunication between Norbu and me about the time of the event.  (I promise I checked and double checked!  I don't know what happened!)  I was expecting that I'd miss lots of the presentations because I would be trying to get a connection going with Norbu, and I was right!  I didn't even watch my group's video.

Here's a secret--I almost did not take this class.  I had actually already completed the GE requirement that Digital Civilization fulfills, and who wants to sit through TWO history GEs in one year?  Missing this class would have been a mistake, though, since it was perfect for my India field study preparation.  I was thinking about Tibetans all the time, Skyping with Norbu, and I even had fantastic group members with whom I completed a beautiful interview and video.

08 December 2010

Last Minute Preparation

[10:05:10 PM] Kristen Nicole: hey Norbu!
Kristen Nicole: how are you?

Norbu: hi am good n u?

Kristen Nicole: I'm great
Kristen Nicole: do you want to see our video?

Norbu: ya
Norbu: sure

Kristen Nicole: okay
Kristen Nicole: I'm just tying up some loose ends
Kristen Nicole: and then I'll send it to you
Kristen Nicole: what email should I send it to?

Norbu: [censored]

07 December 2010

Progress Report

Here's the thing: video editing is really hard.  I am definitely feeling the pressure to get this one done, and I have a feeling that it won't be polished the way I want it by tomorrow morning.  But you know what?  Some things are more important than finishing my project video.

Here's my Skype with Norbu:

[12/6/2010 8:36:55 PM] Kristen Nicole: Hey Norbu!

Norbu: hi

Kristen Nicole: how are you?

Norbu: am fine n u?

Norbu: goood

Kristen Nicole: I'm great :)
Kristen Nicole: I haven't talked to you for a while.  What has been going on in your life?
Kristen Nicole: Norbu, would you mind if I used your pictures of flowers and landscapes in the video I'm making about your interview?  It's the one we're going to share with our class

Norbu: ok its fine
Norbu: u can use them

Kristen Nicole: thank you so much

Norbu: u are welcome

Kristen Nicole: Norbu, would it be possible to do a live interview on Friday morning?

Norbu: friday is holiday fr us
Norbu:  ita 10 dec...nobel peace prize day

Kristen Nicole: oh
Kristen Nicole: !
Kristen Nicole: so you won't be available.
Kristen Nicole: that's just fine!

Norbu: you can set another time for that

Kristen Nicole: I actually can't
Kristen Nicole: because our event is December 9th, 2010, from 7-9 p.m.

Norbu: oic

Kristen Nicole: which would be 7:30-9:30 on Dec 10 for you

Norbu: well then i'll try to make it

Kristen Nicole: okay
Kristen Nicole: that would be awesome
Kristen Nicole: what time do you think you'd be able to?

Norbu: ya any time between 7.30-8.30

Kristen Nicole: okay, deal
Kristen Nicole: I'll try to work that out
Kristen Nicole: you're the best!

Norbu: hmmmmmmmmmm

[1:38:20 AM] Kristen Nicole: you really are!

Tibet and Western Civilization

Tibetans are not directly linked to much of Western history, but I've been drawing parallels throughout the semester to relate my research to European civilization.  I began with Tibet as a Utopia, in More's use of the word for his book of the same title.  While discussing the printing revolution I pondered the revolution of authority in the digital renaissance and its implications for research in India.  I linked democracy to the digital world to the Tibetan situation in exile.  In comparing the digital world to the American frontier I explored the possibility of Tibetan students feeling overwhelmed by the digital mass of information as I do.  On that same train of thought I found a common ground in future shock, Darwinism, and Tibetan religion.  I marveled at the way modernity has changed what is actually "common sense," specifically in what I have been able to do (for free!) as I prepare to go to India.  When we read Freud I disputed his quote in relation to the Tibetan community.  Of course, I discussed the modern digital revolution itself in relation to Tibetans as well as technology itself, and I wondered about both positive and negative results of digital literacy.

I believe that these relationships are sufficient to link Western civilization to our project interviewing Norbu, but I could also add a blurb about British colonialism.  Until shortly after the Indian mutiny in 1857, India was a colony of Great Britain.  Thus, Indian writers like Salman Rushdie have contributed to literature in English.  In this way, India itself has directly become a part of the Western tradition.

04 December 2010

Falling Action

Back in junior high I learned the dramatic structure.  It begins with exposition, continues through the rising action, climax, and falling action, and concludes with the denouement.  Our fantastic interview with Norbu was the climax of our Digital Civilization project, and now the video editing is the falling action before we present our work.

Norbu Jinpa during our Skype interview

Let's have a round of applause for Norbu!  As Mike Lemon says, that man is solid.  He's the reason that our five minutes of the Digital Civilization event on December 9, 2010 will be fabulous!

02 December 2010


After much deliberation, my best blog post choices go to:

Historical Content: Jeffrey Whitlock's Evolution and the Gospel.  Jeff was responding to Jake's post, which shows that he is connecting with his peers (good for you, Jeff!) and produced a thoughtful, informed response.  His post begins with a personal experience that certainly captures the interest of his BYU audience and proceeds with quotes, an outlined argument, and scripture.  Way to go!

Computing Content: Sarah Wills's Screen Capture.  This post is the perfect digital literacy lab post.  I was a little embarrassed to admit that I had been trying (and failing) to do a screenshot for some time before I read this post.  Because Sarah's post was informative and thorough, I have now successfully captured several screenshots.  Sarah teaches screen capture for both PC and MAC computers, and for several different versions of windows.  She then provides examples of her own screenshots.  Perfect!

Self-Directed Learning: Erin Hamson's Self-Directed Learning: a whole different story.  This is a post about self-directed learning, but I think she makes really good points.  She discusses the difficulty she had deciding on a direction for self-directed learning and then documents her personal journey there.  She notes the importance of Diigo bookmarks and MIT's Open Courseware website, noting the ways she's successfully directed her own learning.  I think she did a great job documenting her success.  Good job!

30 November 2010

Digital Revolution: Upgrading Education for Digital Civilization

On Thursday, December 9th from 7-9 p.m. in 3108 JKB at BYU, me and my Digital Civilization classmates will be showcasing our final projects.  Also, we will be serving refreshments.

Come check it out!

Photo credit Andrew DeWitt

29 November 2010


We just had the most fantastic interview with Norbu Jinpa!

We would ask him our questions and he gave long, golden answers.  They blew us away.  I don't know how he managed to give such a great answer to every question, but that's Norbu for you!  He's just that great!

We have about 40 minutes of recorded interview, 15 of which are video chat.  It was a better connection without the video so we disbanded it for most of the interview.

Here's the behind-the-scenes of the interview, the Skype text conversation:

23 November 2010

First Interview

We spoke with Norbu Jinpa last night.  He was in India, we were in Provo.

You can listen to our recording, with all its flaws, on our website.  (That is, as soon as I figure out how to get it there.  Sorry!)

We had some microphone problems, background noise, and no web cam, but I am really happy with what we have so far!  It's Norbu telling us about himself.

I've been thinking about the format for our final project--five minutes we'll present on December 9, 2010.  We need to make every one of those five minutes count.  Parker and Sean suggested that we conduct more complex parts of the interview in text since we had quite a few technical difficulties with this first interview.

22 November 2010

Norbu's Photography

Norbu gave me permission to share some of his photos here.  Hope you like them!

19 November 2010

Facebook and Facetime

What, you may ask, is facetime?

Wade Jacobsen, a BYU student, recently conducted a study in which he found a correlation between the time students spend on Facebook and facetime, or face-to-face interactions.

Initially the researchers suspected that digital media would partially replace offline socializing.  Instead they found that face time increased by 10 to 15 minutes for every hour spent with social media and cell phones.

Jacobsen notes that "unlike when the Internet was relatively new, the friends you have online now are the same set of friends you have in real life."  He believes that "the technology helps students get together and make plans."

At first when I read this study I thought, really?  Only 10 minutes for a full hour of Facebook time?  But then I realized that not only did face time not diminish but it actually increased!

To Establish Rapport

Here's the thing.

I actually feel like Norbu Jinpa is my friend.

Isn't that cool?  Slash great?

I was on Skype today, and I had a bit of a rough moment because I didn't know what to say to Norbu outside of discussing my research.  I've been thinking a lot about what Jay said in his comment on our interview questions.  He said "establishing rapport is a big part of interviewing.  I think you'll want to spend a decent amount of time at the beginning of your interview on the 'tell us about yourself' question and follow-up questions."  I realized that I have been really, really bad about that when talking to Norbu.

17 November 2010

Interview Questions

I've just been revising my group's interview questions so that I can send them to Norbu and I realized that I wrote really awful ones!  My questions were good avenues for inquiry based research but not something I would pose to Norbu.  

I've learned from my Skype conversations that I must be careful when speaking to Norbu.  He is not a native English speaking college student like me and my peers.  We are dealing with language barriers and cultural barriers.  Mike put up a great post about cross cultural communication addressing this issue.  As I read through and simplified our questions, I realized that we have some basic themes that will be the core of our interview.  Here are the 21 revised questions that I've sent to Norbu for review:

Tell us about yourself.  What is your name and what do you do for work?
Tell us about the Tibetan culture. What is it?
How long have Tibetans been in India? 
How have computers and the Internet changed your culture?  Do they create problems?
How do students learn in your community?  How do they learn with computers? 
How has the computer changed the way students learn? 
Are books or computers better for teaching students?
What do you think about your native land, Tibet?
How do you use your computer? 
How do you use your computer to talk with other Tibetans?
Do you use your computer every day? 
Do students use computers every day?
Do teachers use computers or electronic tools in their classrooms?
How many Tibetans have computers?  How many of those computers are connected to the internet?
How do you think your experience in India would be different without computers?
Why are computers important to you? 
How can computers help Tibetans?
If you could tell the world one thing about the Tibetan people, what would you say?

Will these questions transcend the barriers?  What other revisions and questions would be particularly effective?


I chose the telephone because I really want to talk about the cell phone.  The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, believed it "conceivable that cables of telephone wires could be laid underground, or suspended overhead, communicating by branch wires with private dwellings, country houses, shops, manufactories, etc."  His grandiose dreams are realized and surpassed in the cell phone.

13 November 2010

How Did All This Get Here?

My classmate, Shuan Pai, has also been keeping a blog for our digital civilization class.  She's done very well in incorporating historical content into her blogging, particularly in her post on economics.  "What if . . . ," about psychology, is particularly well filled with images and videos.  She incorporates modernism into her review of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock," showing some beautiful self directed learning and even a create lab!  She tied the chicken and egg debate to the religious doubt of the Victorian age.  Her Industrial Revolution post had great content as well.

Several of Shuan's posts indicate that she uses the consume-create-connect model with her digital tools.  In "Neopets" she shares the methods of a neopet creation and her own enjoyment therein.  I really like the Scribd she added into her psychology post!  She has a great blurb for google translate as well, a consume lab (or perhaps connect because of the way she uses it to mentor?) and mentions Pandora.  Shuan gives a great synopsis for Diigo as well, proving that she is consuming information effectively.

One fault I noticed was the length of blog posts--they are quite long, and I usually skimmed the end.  Shuan could make her ideas more accessible by writing more concise posts.  Shuan didn't often address digital culture or computing concepts, but that may be just as well.  Also, I wanted the blog to have some sort of cohesion between posts, and perhaps a bit more variety.  However, altogether, it's very well done!

Progress and Reflection

On the whole, I think I'm doing well.

I've used the historical content to find new ways to think about Tibetans and digital literacy as well as other topics that interest me.  My post "Common Sense" brings modernism, Einstein's theory of relativity, the digital age, and Tibetan cultural preservation into an interesting blend.  In "Freud and His Discontents," I discussed Freud's theories, religion, and, again, Tibetan cultural preservation.  "Future Shock" is a musing on digital revolution, ideas from Darwin's Origin of Species, and Tibetan Buddhism.  Finally, in "Did You Know?" I compared swift technological advances to the diminishing American frontier of the 19th century and wondered if Tibetan students also feel overwhelmed by online information. This was Dr. Burton's challenge to me at the last midterm interview, and I think I've done reasonably well.

12 November 2010

Norbu, Skype, and the Final Project

[2:30:25 AM] Kristen Nicole: Norbu! It's been a while. How are you doing?

Norbu: great

Kristen Nicole: I'm glad to hear it
Kristen Nicole: I have a question for you

Norbu: ya sure

Kristen Nicole: How would you feel about me interviewing you over Skype video?
Kristen Nicole: Not right now but in a week or so

Norbu: its fine but wat purpose

Kristen Nicole: Well, I'm doing a class project about digital literacy in your community in India
Kristen Nicole: I'm not sure yet exactly what questions we'd ask you, but we'd want to make a video to present to our class and post to our website about what we learn about Tibetan digital literacy
Kristen Nicole: Does that make sense?

Norbu: ya but its strange
Norbu: if u interview me..i dont know wat am i gonna say
Norbu: justtt curious

Kristen Nicole: well, if you want, I can send the questions to you in email before the interview

Norbu: ya

Kristen Nicole: and you can let me know if they are any good
Kristen Nicole: and maybe you can even tell me what questions we should be asking instead of the ones we think of
Kristen Nicole: so that you'll know everything before we even start the interview
Kristen Nicole: Okay, let's talk more about his later, shall we? Thanks so much for your help!
Kristen Nicole: I"ll talk to you later

[2:50:09 AM] Norbu: sure

Review: New New Media

Paul Levinson’s New New Media is a succinct, clear synopsis of today’s newest media based on the author's own extensive experience.

Photo credit Krista76

Here are some sections relevant to my research on digital literacy:
  • One of the hallmarks of new new media blogging is that "you sit at your computer and type your words, and those words can tip the world in a better direction, or at least the direction you think best" (47).  That's exactly what Chime Tenzing is doing with his blog The Barking Dog.  In a recent post he writes, 
"Over the past five decades in exile, we led a world of our own and retained all that is lost with the invasion of our country. . . .  Despite all the challenges of our exile life, we still have the 'luxury' to speak about 'our' government, 'our' leadership, 'our' language, 'our' culture, 'our' religion and most prominently, 'our' Dalai Lama!  This is our victory and this is a befitting message to our tormentors.  So let's celebrate this!"  
 Chime Tenzing is blogging to change the world.

Tibetan Exiles Grow Impatient - India

09 November 2010

Game Theory

I am probably too familiar with the Prisoner's Dilemma that Dr. Zappala described in his post.  I've played it several times in high school seminary, each time with disappointing results.  In class today, Dr. Zappala demonstrated the dilemma with two students.  Both students chose to remain silent.  He commented that it was probably because we are nice religious people since that result is highly unusual.  Does that mean that my seminary classes weren't religious?

Not once did my entire seminary class manage to "remain silent" while enacting this Prisoner's Dilemma.  My team always chose to "remain silent."  Why?  Because I believed that was the right thing to do.  I am a woman of principles.  I do not yield to win a silly game.  Yet I found myself on several occasions frustrated to the point that I doubted my actions--it's not fun to be the class doormat. 

The game was meant to teach the law of consecration, particularly why we do not live the law of consecration right now, and that it did well.  How can we live the law of consecration if we cannot risk our own best interests in a seminary game?

So maybe I can analyze this interview that my group is planning to set up for our final group project: Our interviewee can agree or disagree to an interview.  If he consents, we both benefit (2, 2).  If he refuses, we lose but he saves himself some trouble (0, 1).  Either way, if we do not interview, then neither party gains (0, 0).  So, isn't mutual agreement a Nash equilibrium?

I hope he agrees!  I would if I were in his place.

Photo credit Stuck in Customs

03 November 2010

La Technologie

Tomorrow, we'll begin the chapter entitled "les sciences et la technologie" in my French 201 class.  My assignment is to write a paragraph about my relationship with technology.  Mademoiselle Garver posed the question, "La technologie, cause-t-elle plus de problèmes ou de solutions?"  

Joe's owner summarizes some of the pros in "A Logic Named Joe":

If you punch for the weather forecase or who won today's race at Hialeah or who was mistress of the White House durin' Garfield's administration or what is PDQ and R sellin' for today, that comes on the screen . . . .  Also it does math for you, an' keeps books, an' acts as consultin' chemist, physicist, astronomer, an' tea-leaf reader, with a "Advice to the Lovelorn" thrown in.  The only thing it won't do is tell you exactly what your wife meant when she said, "Oh, you think so, do you?" in that peculiar kinda voice.  Logics don't work good on women.  Only on things that make sense.

Logics are all right, though.  They changed civilization, the highbrows tell us.

No one could argue that computers don't have any merit.

Wordle: Text as Art

Wordle: ORCA
My ORCA application in a wordle

So, my wordle turned out really small, but I really like it so you should click on this link and look at it in its proper size. Go ahead, click on it!

Really, do it!

Okay, thanks.

Freud and His Discontents

I mentioned once before that I took AP psychology in high school and thought that some of the things I learned aligned with eternal truths. Here's one example:

Have you ever thought that your dreams come from "unguarded thinking" of your subconscious brain? Sigmund Freud's ideas have become ingrained into modern thought, but this particular theory holds water. Elder Richard G. Scott said that "some bad thoughts come by themselves." This suggests a relationship between the wandering bad thoughts and Mosiah 3:19:

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

01 November 2010

Digital Literacy Expanding Borders: A Final Project Proposal

Do you think about the digital renaissance as a worldwide event?  Do you know that advanced technology is transforming developing nations like India as well as developed nations like the United States?  

27 October 2010

Common Sense

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen." --Albert Einstein

Modernism has a lot of ties to our world today.  From the definition, modernism includes a "sense of cultural crisis which [is] both exciting and disquieting."  Important general features are the loss of a sense of tradition and the increasing dominance of technology (which is both condemned vehemently and embraced as the flagship of progress).

A key element of modernism is the break with the past.  Albert Einstein's general and special theories of relativity are a beautiful example of this.  Here's an explanation of relativity from Jake's blog.

Google Reader

One thing I've struggled with in this digital civilization class is time.  It takes me a while to read through enough blog posts to find something worth saying about one of them.

Enter Google reader!  As I said on Betsy's blog, I am a doubter when it comes to simplifying life by adding more technology to it.  Doesn't that seem counter intuitive?  In this case I believe I was wrong.

Google reader allows me to quickly scan all of the blogs I follow without jumping around to different websites.  I then can decide which ones to read more carefully and comment on.  Brilliant!

26 October 2010

ORCA: The Office of Research and Creative Activities

My university is now accepting applications for $1,800 research grants through ORCA. I've been working on my application, so I'll post my third draft and open for critiques. Let me know what you think!

Importance of project: We live in the midst of a digital renaissance, reflected in swift technological advances and cultural revolution. Often, those living in the United States have nearly constant access to technological resources, especially the internet. Developing nations like India, however, have significantly limited access by comparison. The Tibetan community living in exile in McLeod Ganj, India is a contradiction--the residents boast a high level of digital literacy but usually lack desktop, laptop, and mobile computers. Though Paul Levinson and others have studied the implications of the digital renaissance in first world countries, that which concerns developing countries has focused on the digital divide between nations. Now, due to the advances of mobile technology, the phenomenon of developing countries "digitally leapfrogging" developed nations displaces the notion of digital divide (Fink and Kenny 15). This results in a gap in scholarship concerning digitally literate communities without prime access to technology, especially for the Tibetans' unique exile in India. The digital renaissance is global in its effects, largely because global communication is easier than ever. Therefore, scholarship concerning digital literacy must extend beyond national borders just as its subject matter does.

20 October 2010


My daddy didn't like that I took AP psychology in high school. He doesn't like psychology at all. When I asked him about it, he would say that they psychology is the philosophies of men.

(Disclaimer: I actually really like psychology, I think the discipline has helped to emphasize some eternal truths, but I also believe that some psychology is not of God)

Lately, I've been thinking about the philosophies of men. They spring up everywhere. 2 Nephi 9:28-29 says,

O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.

How often have people become so caught up in science, technology, literature, or anything and ultimately forsaken God for their own wisdom?


Today in my writing literary criticism class we were talking about our research papers that are due next week. My professor said that several students had contacted him needing help with finding sources. In response, he spent a significant portion of the class telling us to look for sources with a plain old Google search.

I doubted him. I went to the library search first, then to Google scholar. I found next to nothing that was useful to me.

Then I went to regular Google and typed "digital leapfrogging." Here's what I found:

  • An article about leapfrogging in Korean firm and digital TV
  • Another article entitled "Myths of digital technology in Africa: Leapfrogging development?"
  • A blurb about mobile phones on the Goldstein Report, "The best of technology news on the net"
  • A news item from the Asia Times (unfortunately outdated but with the great title "Developing world leapfrogging the digital divide")
  • A paper, The Role of Leapfrogging in the Future of Youth Work and Workforce Preparation
So, altogether, not the best sources but still informative.

19 October 2010

Little Skype

I've heard of field study students having a hard time getting into TCV schools, so I thought I'd ask Norbu about my chances.

Kristen Nicole: Hello Norbu! Are you well?

Norbu: ya...very much wat happen
Norbu: n u?

Kristen Nicole: I'm doing great thanks

Norbu: so
Norbu: hows yiour study going on

Kristen Nicole: it's going very well, actually
Kristen Nicole: I"m trying to get funding right now

Norbu: ok

Kristen Nicole: but I've narrowed my focus to digital literacy
Kristen Nicole: and I think I'll primarily conduct interviews and surveys and observe classrooms

Norbu: poic

Future Shock

From Wikipedia, future shock is "a term for a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies, introduced by Toffler in his book of the same name. Toffler's shortest definition of future shock is a personal perception of 'too much change in too short a period of time.'"

As I cited that article, I thought about how this rapid change is not reflected in academic documentation. Wikipedia is ever changing, so who is to say if that quote will exist tomorrow? Am I to cite some this moment in the Wikipedia archives instead of the page itself?

Anyway, Charles Darwin's Origin of Species says of dominant species, "each large group tends to become still larger, and at the same time more divergent in character. But as all groups cannot thus succeed in increasing in size, for the world would not hold them, the more dominant groups beat the less dominant."

The digital revolution displays natural selection in such ways as: blogs that are read and blogs that aren't, online and physical newspapers, and the fluid online battle of ideas in forums like Wikipedia, and the speed of digital evolution lends itself to future shock.

The public reaction to Darwin's claim was widespread doubt. Evolution challenged religious fundamentals, specifically the book Genesis. Darwin himself lost his Christian faith after training as a clergyman. We, too, live in a time of widespread doubt as the Victorian age. Perhaps we have lost some capacity for faith because of the future shock phenomenon. Because we now have the ideas of instant, accurate information, an overwhelming sea of internet, where is the place for a God we cannot see or friend on Facebook?

What effect does the digital renaissance have on Tibetan religion? How does the Dalai Lama manage the technological wave and his religious position? How do students deal with the onslaught of information? Do they experience future shock?

13 October 2010

"A Certain Colouring of Imagination"

The famous preface to Lyrical Ballads explains that the principal object of them
was to choose incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as was possible in a selection of language really used by men, and, at the same time, to throw over them a certain colouring of imagination, whereby ordinary things should be presented to the mind in an unusual aspect; and, further, and above all, to make these incidents and situations interesting by tracing the manner in which we associate ideas in a state of excitement.
Dr. Burton has experimented with the form of his own poems, and here's the result on his blog.

12 October 2010

Lyrical Ballads

My group has chosen to read Lyrical Ballads, by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, for our digital civilization book group. Here is a link to the full text, free online! Oh, the wonders of technology.

Did You Know?

The drastic changes of 19th century American expansion share characteristics with the digital revolution. Here are some points for comparison:

1. Americans were heading to the physical frontier then and now we face the digital frontier

2. As quoted in Turner's 1893 text, "We are great, and rapidly--I was about to say fearfully--growing!" We have this paradox today: the digital world is so great and advancing so swiftly. . . but is that frightening? What are the consequences of a digital renaissance?

3. Turner also writes that "the frontier is the outer edge of the wave--the meeting point between savagery and civilization." Much that is associated with the digital world, like informality, is a drastic departure from the expected decorum of the past.

4. Thoreau's Walden is a return to simplicity from an increasingly complex world. Some people resist the digital onslaught of information, like those people who refuse to get facebook.

I found a great video that illustrates our expansion into the digital frontier:

The most significant fact from that movie for me was this: "It is estimated that a week's worth of the New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century."

Now, I don't know how anyone could come up with such a statistic, but it is interesting to note that we truly live in a more complex world since we have access to masses of information.

Do Tibetan students feel overwhelmed as I do with the mass of information in the digital frontier? How do Tibetans in India perceive the digital frontier?

07 October 2010

The Magic of Harold

Today, Harold, otherwise known as the Harold B. Lee Library, reintroduced me to the physical world. It is a wonderful place!

Here's the story. First, check out Harold's commercial, if you haven't already.

I use Harold primarily as a study spot. I can always find a computer or a desk in a quiet place. Most BYU students, according to my ongoing scientific study--which consists of studying in the library and, occasionally, looking around--don't browse the books. Most use only computers and desks like I do.

So today I was sitting at a computer in the library, as usual. I got on to the library website and searched for Paul Levinson's New New Media, which I decided I want to read again. After searching the catalogs and finding that Harold has let me down, I requested the book through inter-library loan.

Now the good part! As I was searching for Levinson in the catalog, I found three more of his books that looked interesting: Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium, Cellphone: The Story of the World's Most Mobile Medium and how it has Transformed Everything!, and The Soft Edge: A Natural History and Future of the Information Revolution.

Then! I decided to get physical copies of all three books, even though two are available online! I remembered that I get headaches from looking too long at a screen of light. So there I was, browsing the bookshelves, when I found two of the books! The third was a bit more tricky. I had looked up the library floor maps online, but I'd forgotten where on the fifth floor my book should be. Annoyed, I started to walk over to the computers so I could look up the floor maps again.

On my way to the computers, I stumbled upon a huge physical floor map! Hey, that's right! They have several of those things on every floor! I looked up section P, found my book, and danced off to check out my new finds.

Here are some of the chapters I'm most excited about:

  • The Mind Behind the Screen
  • Way Cool Text: Cultural consequences
  • Television as art in the Digital Age
  • The Drawbacks of Always Being in Touch
  • The Chinese invention of modern Europe
  • New online faces--inter, smiley, and more
  • A short history of intellectual property
  • Information may want to be free--but creators in information still need to eat

Maybe these books will be helpful for the ORCA grant that I'm writing, or maybe they'll just be interesting! In any case, I'm glad Harold brought me offline and showed me some of his magic.

06 October 2010

Book Club

My digital civilization class is doing small group book clubs, and I have three ideas for what we can read.

1. Hard Times by Charles Dickens

The novel includes characters who espouse the idea of utilitarianism and shows the impact thereof. There's a direct parallel between the "stifling, suffocating, suppressing, and constraining impact of some kinds of cyberspace interactions" that Elder Bednar discussed and the effects of utilitarianism.

2. Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The themes of the Romantic period are evident in these poems, and they'd be a great springboard for discussion.

3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I really just like this book!

05 October 2010

Prezi--Finding my Focus

For my field study strategy session today, I made the following prezi presentation that summarizes my ideas about digital literacy for Tibetan students. I think I've finally come to a reasonable, interesting topic for my field research.

We live in the midst of a digital renaissance. Those of us who grew up with internet have brains wired for digital literacy, and the effects are manifest in our culture. To what extent does Tibetan culture exhibit these same effects? What difference does regular internet access make in student digital literacy?

04 October 2010


My mentor Dr. Burton asked me to document my efforts (outside of classmates' blogs) to become involved in online conversations. Here's a list of some places I've commented:

The one I'm most excited about is a recent discovery. I went to talk to Rick West, an Instructional Psychology and Technology professor at BYU, and he gave me the address to his class website. Not only does he have great, regular posts, but the blog has links to the student blogs for everyone taking his class this semester! I will never run out of online conversations now!

29 September 2010

Virtual Democracy

The online community is a democracy. Let's use blogging as an example. When we sign up to Google's blogger, we give up our natural internet sovereignty (could we not, in theory, create our own blogging platform and make our own rules?) and surrender it into the hands of the community, as Locke discussed in "Of Civil Government." So, online we have the same rights as any other individual online--we can read blogs and comment on them and even create our own blog as we choose (there are some exceptions, but they're insignificant).

How does this online democracy affect those in communistic nations? How does online democracy change their worldview? How do people living in exile (like the Tibetans in India) use virtual democracy to forward their cause?

28 September 2010

Digital Civilization: A Love Story

Can it really be time for midterms?

I've come to love this class for the wide variety of interesting topics we cover and because it requires me to post on my research blog. Here are my thoughts in response to my midterm questions:

How has my digital literacy assisted my self-directed learning in the subject areas of this course?
So far this semester, I've learned plenty of new ways to access useful information. I especially appreciated my mentor Dr. Burton's suggestions for internet searches, which have helped me to find better, more relevant sources about technology for the Tibetans. Learning Skype has allowed me, twice, to chat with Tibetans. Also, with Diigo, I'm able to keep track of the sources I find while browsing (or surfing, to use that fun 90s term) the web without emailing links to myself.
How has my creation of blog posts and digital media impacted my learning?
My most recent posts, the digital literacy survey and results, have helped me to define my understanding of digital literacy in light of the digital renaissance, and they also allowed me to discover that my classmates generally think the same way that I do with regard to digital tools. The various readings and blogs allow me to think of my research in different light, such as in relation to Cavendish's "Observations Upon Experimental Philosophy."
How have I connected with other class members and with the general public in these areas?
I'm generally interested in what Mike Lemon has to say, which is probably due to the fact that we're both English teaching majors and interested in technology in the classroom. I regularly comment in his blog. As I mentioned above, I've skyped with several Tibetans, and I've posted comments on numerous blogs and online news articles.
Altogether, I feel like I am beginning to master the course material and procedure. It is certainly helping me focus on technology in education in India!

27 September 2010

Survey Results



Heartfelt thanks to those who took the survey. Four is, I think, a decently-sized sample of our class, but just keep the total participants in mind.

1. On a scale of 1-5, 1 meaning barely proficient and 5 meaning extremely able, how digitally literate are you? 75% responded 3. 25% responded 2.
How interesting! I rate myself at five, perhaps four. Perhaps I'm overconfident :) Or perhaps I wasn't clear by what I wanted. A five, to me, doesn't mean a computer programmer or computer science student. A person with level 5 literacy in English could read and understand the basic meaning of any text written in English. A person with level 5 digital literacy could function in a digital capacity (like navigating websites and using digital tools) without too many problems.
2. It is crucial for students to learn online communication techniques like blogging to be literate today. 100% yes
Literacy: now available online!
3. Online learning, such as collaborative writing on a wiki, is more effective than traditional methods such as individual writing. 25% yes, 75% no
When Dr. Dean, associate chair in the English department, interviewed me for my major application, she told me that one of the most effective ways to improve writing is through collaboration. Strange!
4. I regularly search for general information online. If I need basic facts, I turn to Wikipedia, Google, or the like. 75% yes, 25% no
This statement certainly applies to me. I can usually find the information I want with a quick search on one of these sites.
5. I expect to find information quickly. I am annoyed if my internet connection is slow or if a search engine doesn't immediately yield the results I want. 75% yes, 25% no
Another statement that applies to me. I am all about immediate, concise information. I love that I can type control F wherever I am and search for exactly the words I want.
6. I can generally figure out new computer programs that I've never used before. 100% yes
How hard can Prezi be, really? Give me 20 minutes and I'll have a cool presentation of my own.
7. I expect the tools I find online to be free. I wouldn't like to pay for online resources like Facebook, Skype, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, or Diigo. 100% yes
This is one of Paul Levinson's hallmarks of New New Media--it is free. My mentor Dr. Burton just wrote on this fascinating topic.
This survey outlines my understanding of the critical mindsets of the digital renaissance. The question remains, to what extent are these same attitudes and abilities present in areas without the same Internet access? Do the Tibetans in India live independent of the digital revolution because they aren't as directly involved, or is the internet changing their lives, too?

23 September 2010

Survey--Digital Literacy

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

21 September 2010

Return to India

I've wavered some from my focus on Tibetans in India, but I'm back again to share some of Dr. Burton's ideas and my thoughts about them.

We have, as participants in the digital renaissance, a different outlook on life and especially on education thanks to the conveniences of technology. We have new social-based ways to learn (Dr. Burton mentioned the information commons in the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU, which is a place where students can talk and eat unlike other places in the Library).

No longer are we worried about not having access to facts. As iPhones and other mobile devices with internet access become the norm, the necessity of memorizing facts will diminish and the potential of social learning will explode. What if, instead of learning French with a class of Utah kids, we skyped with a French student? What if, when learning about Indian culture, we contact someone who lives in that culture?

Digital literacy brings worldwide change just like print literacy did. Suddenly, anyone with Internet can access information that was, formerly, exclusive. Suddenly, like Mike told me, we graduate from college with less reading under our belts than ever before (but think about all that we read and write informally--emails, Facebook statuses, twitter, blogs, websites).

Another aspect of the digital renaissance is its worldwide scope. The World Wide Web is just that, and the shifts in attitudes and educational practices are not limited to the United States of America. Thus, how is the digital renaissance evident in the lives and attitudes of Tibetans in India, and how do the features of the digital renaissance overlap with elements of Tibetan culture like Buddhism and exile?

20 September 2010

The Cavendish in Me (and You!)

I read Cavendish's "Observations Upon Experimental Philosophy" for my British Literary History class last semester, and I recall my classmates deriding her for her ridiculous perspective on the "Art of Micrography" (the use of microscopes for scientific discovery). Here are some of the passages that invoked scorn:

"Wherefore those that invented Microscopes . . . [did] the world more injury then benefit."

"But as Boys that play with watry Bubbles, or fling Dust into each others Eyes, or make a Hobby-horse of Snow, are worthy of reproof rather then praise, for wasting their time with useless sports; so those that addict themselves to unprofitable Arts, spend more time then they reap benefit thereby."

Hindsight is 20/20, so of course we know what wonders the "Art of Micrography" has done for scientific discovery. We can laugh at silly Cavendish's shortsightedness.

This parallels to our oft-stated perception of internet use. We have a great deal of scorn for people addicted to technology (Facebook, video games, Internet, etc.), and we aren't ashamed of it. Are we, too, displaying our shortsightedness? Have we dismissed Facebook as a worthless waste of time without realizing its potential to do good? I can't say I know a way that Facebook, for example, will change the world for the better, but I do know that it has allowed me to find addresses to write to my friends on missions, contact Tibetans in India, and find old friends who'd moved far away, all of which would have been very difficult without Facebook.

We do, however, have specific counsel from an apostle of God concerning the digital age. Elder Bednar said:

I raise an apostolic voice of warning about the potentially stifling, suffocating, suppressing, and constraining impact of some kinds of cyberspace interactions and experiences upon our souls. . . . I am not suggesting all technology is inherently bad; it is not. Nor am I saying we should not use its many capabilities in appropriate ways to learn, to communicate, to lift and brighten lives, and to build and strengthen the Church; of course we should. But I am raising a warning voice that we should not squander and damage authentic relationships by obsessing over contrived ones."

Technology in the classroom, used appropriately, can "lift and brighten lives" by helping students to learn effectively. However, our scorn for technology obsession likely comes from the "suffocating" effect of misuse, the dangers that inspired Elder Bednar's warning. How are we missing the full potential of technology? How can we keep from slipping into improper use?

15 September 2010

Education 3.0 and Digital Empires

This wonderful graph is courtesy of my classmate hsmaggie, who found the ideas here. Here I can compare my mother's education with my own:

My mother, Education 1.0: My mother began college in 1981. Electric typewriters were commonplace, although teachers did not expect students to type final drafts. Sometimes you could get extra credit if you typed your final paper! And, for those times when you really needed extra credit and couldn't type to save your life, you could pay other students to type your papers for you. At my mother's college, they had some high tech typewriters, too--these had a correcting ribbon that enabled the typist to white out mistakes and type over them. Her perception of a computer was a machine that took up an entire building and was found only in science labs.

Me, Education 3.0: I'll mention a few highlights--last year, I decided that I'd like to go to India for research. This semester, I've emailed, facebooked, and skyped several Tibetan employees in India simply in preparation for research. I keep a blog and easily interact with my classmates through the internet. Right now, I'm sitting in my apartment using a laptop computer that my parents bought for me as a graduation gift.

I was just reading a bit about Zuckerberg, the founder of facebook, and his legal battle that is to be featured in the New York Film Festival opening night showing of "The Social Network." It makes sense, but I didn't know that Zuckerberg is a billionaire and the central feature of the New York Film Festival! He's only 26.

Facebook has become a digital empire, right up in the ranks of Google and YouTube (see Alexa for the top websites). Do you think, like Hobbes, that Google, Facebook, and YouTube should have sovereignty over the web? An unrelated but interesting question: my AP English teacher told our class that the internet generation brains are wired differently, that we do not have the patience to read involved texts anymore. She said that we are wired to seek the easiest, simplest source of information (e.g. wikipedia). Do you think she's right?

14 September 2010

"Wiki, Wiki, Wiki--WHAT?" Tharp on New Media

I recently read Tara Leigh Tharp's English Journal article about wiki pages she used in a classroom project. Tharp teaches 11th grade and AP English in Tennessee, and she noticed her students' high levels of digital literacy. She therefore conceived a collaborative project in which her students worked in groups on wikis to analyze books they'd read. I've just written a paper about my thoughts on her article, and I'll post one of the paragraphs here.

The time of Tharp's article's publication, May 2010, is a critical time for her claim. Tharp was partially motivated to her project by observing her students "in both public and peer-to-peer networks such as MySpace, Facebook, online gaming, and blogs" (40). Today's students grew up with computers and feel comfortable using internet, but many of their teachers do not boast the same level of digital literacy. Hence, teachers often underestimate the potential of classroom technology. Tharp's project employs wikis to bridge the gap between generations. However, though her students may surpass her in general digital literacy, the wikis themselves were as new to her as they were to her students. Thus, she "felt unequipped to set a standard for when, where, and how often students should contribute to the wiki" (45). Young or old, each of us has trouble using a medium that is entirely new to us. Tharp's article not only introduces classroom wiki use but expounds the logistics thereof. Thus, teachers who would otherwise shy away from wikis can feel comfortable because she pairs her glowing success story with her methodology. Teachers working in the midst of a sweeping current of technological change are the best possible audience for Tharp's argument.
I was excited to discover this article, because it describes exactly how one teacher successfully incorporated new media into her classroom. Further, this article has helped to pull me away from my facebook fixation. I am more open to the possibilities of media I've never heard of being the norm in India when I go, much like the minitel (pictured below) was in France. I've never used a minitel, even though 40 percent of the French population did in 1999.

So what is this to me? Am I looking at classroom project that I can analyze and report, somewhat like Tharp? Am I going to conduct interviews to explore existing attitudes toward educational technology? Will I spend my time observing classrooms and quotidian technology use? A class project would likely be the hardest to pin down--and the most fun!

Tharp, Tara Leigh. "Wiki, Wiki, Wiki--WHAT?' Assessing Online Collaborative Writing." English Journal 99.5 (2010): 40-46. Web. 30 Aug 2010.

13 September 2010


Oh man. I don't know Shaun Frenza, but I just read his blog and really connected with that feeling of drowning in a mass of information and responsibility. We lead different lives with different cares, but we BYU students have a great deal in common.

Open Access, Open Educational Resources, and Open Data are triumphs of the digital age. They are markers of the revolution around us. They are also, unfortunately, contributors to a problem in the digital age, a problem that is affecting me even as I type this post.

It's too much! I am a careful student; I like to be sure that I've done everything required of me the best way I can. When I take tests, I generally go through the whole thing at least twice so as to catch any mistakes I'd made the first time. My scholastic style causes me to spend ridiculous amounts of time in preparation for this class, all the while getting headaches for staring at a computer screen too long. Because of the way I set my priorities, the things that I often cut are caring for myself physically (fitness, sleep, nutrition) and attending social functions.

I'm actually shifting my priorities quite a bit this semester, but the theme of too much to do with not enough time resonates strongly with me, as I'm sure it does for many others. Is this a product of the digital age? Is this idea present in other cultures, who don't have the same constant Internet access that we do?

StumbleUpon Delicious iGoogle

Braquel and I got together today and exchanged notes on web browsers and social bookmarking. Here's what I learned:

Delicious: Social bookmarking is the same as adding websites to the "favorites" bar on your web browser, except that you can access delicious on any computer instead of just your own. I like everything about this site except that it forced me to create a Yahoo email address (I now have 5 email addresses to my name and enough log-in names and passwords for a lifetime). It's simple to sign up and simple to use. I find it most useful as I come across websites applicable to my research that I don't have the time to peruse right away. Before, I would send links to myself in email so I'd have access whenever I am online, but I really like the organization of a delicious account (especially tagging).

StumbleUpon: I tried StumbleUpon after I became annoyed at creating a Yahoo account. I was hoping it would be the same--it is not. After creating my account, I checked various interests connected to my research and proceeded to stumble around the suggested websites. The best idea I came across was India Google (through which I found some good ideas); everything else was irrelevant (but check out this crazy motorcyclist!). Other than that, I'm not too excited about StumbleUpon, despite Oprah's endorsement.

Finally, iGoogle: Braquel showed me iGoogle, which I had only visited briefly before. I already converted both gmail and Google Chrome, and I wasn't intending become a Google disciple. I therefore spent a minimal amount of time--adding a translation gadget (I'm studying French) and deleting the youtube gadget . However! When my browsing brought me to seek a theme other than the boring classic Google, I found a beautiful new world of picture formats and immediately fell in love. I've now made iGoogle my homepage, and I'm so excited to change the theme to various things that I love (Calla lilies, France, India, Hubble photographs, Everest, Ranunculus, Harry Potter . . .) Isn't it funny how Google got me this time?

Reflections on Classroom Tech

I was born in 1991, the debut of the internet rage. My life correlates with technology--we grew up together. My teachers ranged from those who used only overhead projectors to classes that depend entirely on Internet applications, blogs, and online interaction. Recently, on Mike Lemon's blog and Kelly Walsh's blog (these posts), I've reflected on my experience with technology in the classroom. Here's what I've discovered.

My main concern is the sheer volume of new media available versus real time. Certainly, most students today are familiar with facebook and use it, but I'd never even heard of Google Wave or millions of other applications.

I think Dr. Burton's approach in British Lit History was particularly effective because it utilized facebook. Most of us had facebook already, and it was very easy to incorporate a facebook post into our lives. In contrast, his digital civilization class I'm in now is using a "canvas" that is new to me. I'll certainly learn how to use it soon enough, and I don't think it will affect my performance in the course, but the mass of options online worries me.

It's easy to be overwhelmed by online options. In high school I was bombarded by textbook websites and online study guides/practice quizzes/flashcards/links/you name it, and it was far more than I could take. In response, I shut myself off from the internet options because there were too many. I did well in high school, but I am now wary of the dangers of too many options and too many resources.

Certainly, with unlimited time, I could peruse the companion websites for my textbooks and drill myself on the virtual flashcards regularly. However, realistically, I am a student, and my time is precious to me. No matter how high the “gee whiz” factor of classroom technology, I will likely not use it unless I must. It is simply impractical. I cannot spend time lazily exploring the educational possibilities of a class web page when I have invested in so many people and responsibilities. In the end, even when I have constant access to the endless wealth of online knowledge, I have time for only that which matters most to me–those technologies that are crucial to success in my classes.

Perhaps I just hadn't learned to discern those specific online resources that would have supplemented my learning beautifully--and maybe the next generation of students that you and I teach will have that ability inherently.

However, when a teacher truly incorporates technology into the classroom and uses it properly, it can be an indispensable tool for me. The key is to make it a part of the class, not an afterthought.

10 September 2010

More Skype

The second follower of my blog was a Tibetan named Chime Tenzing, a TCV employee in Dharamsala. We are now facebook friends as well, but I had my first conversation with him today on skype. Here's how it went:

[9/9/2010 11:50:13 PM] Chime Tenzing: hi

Kristen Nicole: Hi!

Chime Tenzing: r u the Kristen that blogs on and about Tibetans?

Kristen Nicole: yep!

Chime Tenzing: k ..so nice meeting u heer on skype

Kristen Nicole: it's nice to meet you, too
Kristen Nicole: How did you know about my blog?

Chime Tenzing: yep thanks
Chime Tenzing: wher r u put up right nw?
Chime Tenzing: mmm on FB

Kristen Nicole: Oh! I understand.
Kristen Nicole: But I don't understand your question about "where am I put up right now"

Chime Tenzing: i mean where are you currently skyping frm?
Chime Tenzing: i m in dharamsala and i guess u r somewhere in town too?

Kristen Nicole: not yet! I'm in America, in Utah

Chime Tenzing: oh i see

Kristen Nicole: I'm hoping to come to India next summer

Chime Tenzing: k...

Kristen Nicole: for research

Chime Tenzing: so how did u get to know about Tibet ..maybe connected with ur reasearch thesis?

Kristen Nicole: well, my university offers various international study programs. I just went to a meeting about field studies, one of the programs, and decided that I wanted to come to the Tibetan community in India
Kristen Nicole: I don't know much about you all, but I am learning

Chime Tenzing: k..great..so you will get to see a lil Tibet in Dharamsala
Chime Tenzing: if i can be of any help u r always welcome

Kristen Nicole: What a kind offer. Thank you!
Kristen Nicole: I'd love to know your opinions and insights about technology in education for Tibetan students

Chime Tenzing: yea i wouldn't be able to say anything on the subject but i could give you the informations on the places where you wil find the rigth information for your research.

Kristen Nicole: that would be wonderful!

Chime Tenzing: yea let's see it!
Chime Tenzing: i will be online every weekdays from mon to friday between 8.30 am t0 5.30 pm ( INdian time) so you can ask anything !

Kristen Nicole: Brilliant. Thank you so much! I will be sure to keep you in mind!

Chime Tenzing: ok take care

Kristen Nicole: You too

[12:05:33 AM] Chime Tenzing: 8-)

How kind of him, don't you think? I am so glad that my mentor/advisor Dr. Burton twisted my arm so that I would step out of my comfort zone and contact people. That practice has yielded the best results in my research so far!

08 September 2010

Revolution of Authority

Just like the printing revolution in Europe in the 1500s, our current digital revolution raises the issues of trust and authority. Clay Shirky said of the print revolution:

Copies of Aristotle and Galen circulated widely, but direct encounter with the relevant texts revealed that the two sources clashed, tarnishing faith in the Ancients. As novelty spread, old institutions seemed exhausted while new ones seemed untrustworthy; as a result, people almost literally didn't know what to think. If you can't trust Aristotle, who can you trust?

Our situation today is not exactly the same, but we can draw parallels. Though we may still trust the Deseret News as a reliable information source, we may still be inclined toward online sources such as a fountain of immediate answers. Once we've entered the digital realm, the search for authenticity is much more complex and difficult. Since anyone can publish anything online, that which is posted may be absolutely false.

Paul Levinson discussed this problem in relation to his own research for New New Media. In this digital revolution, authority is democratized. Levinson did not consult scholarly articles from peer reviewed journals as he wrote his book because they do not exist. With the rate of change in the digital world, he wrote on his own authority as an experienced user of "new new media." No longer must an individual be a trained, experienced journalist to report on a significant event--he or she can simply tweet the news. Isn't that sort of journalism much faster and more accurate, anyway? To quote Ariana Huffington, "The future of quality journalism is not dependent on the future of newspapers." Huffington is the founder of The Huffington Post, a blog "featuring various news sources and columnists . . . [including] coverage of politics, media, business, entertainment, living, style, the green movement, world news, and comedy." The Huffington Post and similar blogs may well be the future of journalism. The dominance of trained, experienced, newspaper journalists is in decline.

So what does this democratization of authority, this digital revolution in publishing, have to do with my research? I've thought a lot about Norbu not wanting me to trust his word only during our skype conversation. Who am I to trust as an authority figure in classroom media in India? What scholarly sources can I consult? I doubt the scholarly sources will extend far beyond Levinson's book itself. Perhaps I, too, will come to the conclusion that my authority and experience with new media are the crucial, if not only, sources of information.