28 July 2010

Adventures in the World of New Media

Well, I just spoke to Dr. Burton who is my mentor for this adventure, and he helped me to see where I can go from here. I have over 1,000 potential contacts through the Tibetan Children's Village facebook group, and I may even be able to conduct interviews via the internet before I go to India.

Because Dharamsala is becoming more touristy, we may go to Bylakuppe instead. Bylakuppe is a protected city (not accessible to tourists) and it is home to two Tibetan refugee settlements. There is a TCV school in Bylakuppe (pictured to the left) with 1530 students. My program facilitator, Nephi Henry, has worked with students in the past who were unable to gain access to TCV schools, so he thinks I'll need to find a different school for my research. Right now I am inclined to agree with him as I have not received a reply to the email I sent some time ago. I'll send a few more--to Janyeal Tamdin, the director of the Bylakuppe school, and the general email address for teachers at the lower TCV in Dharamsala. I hope that I'll be able to establish contact with some of these teachers and administrators and thereby prove that I am trustworthy. If that doesn't work, then there is also a Central School for Tibetans in Bylakuppe, which is equipped with a computer lab.

I've just created a profile on EDUCAUSE, which is "a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology." As a member, I'll have access to other members who have registered interest in India or are from India. EDUCAUSE collaborates annually with The New Media Consortium to publish The Horizon Report, a research enterprise established in 2002 which "identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry on college and university campuses."

Here are some plans for my next posts:

  • More on the 2010 Horizon Report
  • A profile of Paul Levinson's book The New New Media
  • Nicholas Negroponte and the OLPC

Since I still don't know my focus, my efforts feel somewhat random to me, but as I continue to delve into this new world I'll be able to find what is interesting to me--such as this fascinating New York Times article about cell phones in third world countries. Dr. Burton told me that cell phone technology in third world countries tends to leapfrog that of first world countries--for example, in Kenya you can pay for a taxi by cell phone. I don't know if this is relevant to Tibetans in India, but it's certainly intriguing!

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