Thursday, April 16, 2009

Recently I have been interested in two ideas: promoting the types of digital media students can create and share as well as the concept that we are in a “remix” society. I stumbled a across a site trying to address both within the framework of U.S. History. is a site that describes itself as being a "nonpartisan, nonprofit in-browser editing tool that allows citizens around the country to remix the great words and speeches of American History with the hot button issues of today.” Additional language on the site surrounds the idea of creating a platform for ideas, discussions, and public expression.

The result seems to be a lot of videos clips that pull together various media to tell a story, or represent an idea housed on the site where users can view and comment in a manner similar to youtube or teachertube. The site appears to be focused on both past U.S history as well as current events. Like any site that contains user-created content, some of it is very good (I watched a remix titled “Civil Rights 09” which was very well-done) while a lot of it is not. It will be interesting to see if this site will become a real resource for discussing history or a battleground for users to just create negative videos about those who don’t share their views and politics. The site appears to be relatively new—the oldest remix video I saw was from May of last year, but someone is uploading material daily (10 videos between 7:30 and 1:30 today), and much of it looks like student work.

And although I didn’t encounter anything vulgar or profane, I’m sure there is the risk. But there appears to be a system for reporting objectionable content, and with an option to download videos you choose, it appears there is a way to avoid some unwanted content. Besides, there are subjects in history and politics that may not be appropriate for every classroom.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting this is a site to start using right away with students, but I’m interested in its possibilities. And I’m in support of projects that have students engage in creating media and provoke discussions and feedback with a broad audience— has the potential to be a tool to do just that.

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