Friday, February 27, 2009

silver in seattle

yesterday morning sarah took me to the airport, virgin america took me to sea-tac, and a taxi took me to seattle where i was part of an event called Join USF in the Pacific Northwest at the edgewater hotel. the event included puget sound-area USF alumni, parents of USF students, a recently graduated USF student, and two admitted-to-USF students.

i began with this photograph.

this generation is the media maker generation, i said while sharing stories about my students in eating san francisco and digital media production. this is the generation of students i've been waiting for for fifteen years - they make media, they share media, they collaborate with media. at the same time, i shared my profound nervousness about the always-logged-on-ness of this generation. they are crazy creative but they are always on and always connected and some seem to have lost the ability to simply be with themselves and their thoughts. healthy attention spans seem to be at stake.

then i shared my teaching philosophy - log off before you blog off. i explained that i require my students to have offline, physical experiences and then use digital media to create and share stories about these experiences. to explain what i meant by this, i shared two student projects - eating san francisco student ali winston's North Beach Storybook 1 and recent USF media studies graduate lulu mcallister's How to Make a Delicious Omelet Using Wild Foods.

then i excitedly described USF's organic garden.

media studies professor melinda stone, art + architecture professor seth wachtel, and two year's worth of USF's garden project living learning community students have created a food-making, sustainable, beautiful, inspiring, and totally delicious organic garden on campus. USF architecture students designed and built a tool shed for the garden and various media studies classes have blogged, reported, and documented the garden and the gardeners. USF's organic garden offers different opportunities for different students in different courses taught by different professors from different disciplines. in two short years, the garden has become a working garden, a place for contemplation, a classroom, a community garden, a green lab.

time was getting tight so i raced through a past assignment for my intro to media studies students: edit USF's wikipedia page. returning to log off before you blog off, i explained that my students were required to work in groups to find books and other bound materials in gleeson library and to find relevant online resources to back up their wikipedia edits and additions. i mentioned that this semester my digital media production students will return to this assignment.

i ended with a map of san francisco filled with pins that link to blog posts and flickr sets created by last year's digital journalism students. i explained how my students began with campus, stretched to nearby golden gate park, and eventually took on the city as their beat. i then asked what would the map look like if it were generated by multiple students in multiple classes from multiple disciplines from multiple universities?

and then i said virgin america planes look like ipods, said something about me media and we media, and thanked them for inviting me to seattle.

(sorry for photographing only one side of the room!)


Lulu McAllister said...

Rock on. Thanks for the shout out out! I just re-visited that photo essay because of your post and it was a happy return.

Anonymous said...

Dr. David:

We enjoyed meeting you and hearing your message last night. I wanted to add one thing to your point on the Obama campaign’s effective use of the internet to raise money. The original effort to contact people to raise campaign funds for the election has now transitioned itself into a network of people with whom the President can conduct cyber fireside chats about the economy. Kind of like sitting around the radio to listen to F.D.R. in days of old…

It was Nick’s good fortune to find you.


Bob Minnott

RGM & Associates

Governmental Relations

Seattle, Washington

206 323-6498 office

206-323-5206 fax

206-948-9090 cell

Anonymous said...

Lulu - you know it.

Bob - thanks for the comment. i think you make a terrific point - too often the media (and media studies profs) focus on obama's groundbreaking efforts in digital media as all about fundraising when in fact, as you say, much of it is about creating networks. indeed: digital fireside chats with the audience having the ability to talk back.

it was a pleasure meeting you both and i hope you will follow Nick and the rest of us this semester as we eat san francisco! thank you for attending the talk. said...

David, this post adds further clarity of my understanding of your digital media syllabus. Particularly para 3. I think you might have mentioned it to me in passing, when we met in SF last year. And now I can connect the dots when reading your class blog and digital media assignments. Nice.

Pat said...

A second attempt to enter the blog takes more than once for the older alumni. David, thanks for the silver metal lecture. The discussion afterwards was a vibrant conversation that I hope can animate future alumni gatherings for a new Seattle community; a truly interesting evening. The title I thought your students might find interesting in the area of cultural implications of food sustainability is "Dirt and the decline of Civilizations" by David Montgomery, a UW prof and recent McCarther grant recipient that traces our industrial style exhaustion of the resource that sustains all civilization. The other book mentioned was "Salt". Both these have interesting predecessors by the same authors: "Salmon, The King of Fish" by Montgomery and "Cod" by the other author. I applaud your effort to let students accountably selfdirect their education using new media...quite a McLuhan like approach to cite an author from my generation. Pat Pressentin

Anonymous said...

Hello Pat - thanks for the excellent comment. last week, during the discussion, when you mentioned the book Salt: A World History a number of others in attendance echoed in agreement by blurting out "yes!" that's when i knew you were on to something. i have requested Salt from gleeson library and it will be part of my spring (or, more likely, summer) reading. i will also pass along these reading suggestions to the students in eating san francisco. thank you for commenting, for the feedback, and for the excellent conversation we had in seattle.

Unknown said...

Dr. Silver, I implore you to post more advanced warning of public presentations in population centers containing many of your former students, such as Seattle!

Thank you ;)

Anonymous said...

Joshua - excellent point, will do! =)

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