In “Who Am We?” (1996) Sherry Turkle discusses and quotes from a book that she (and all the other on- and off-line Sherry Turkle’s) wrote, Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (1996):
[T]he Internet links millions of people in new spaces that are changing the way we think and the way we form our communities. That we are moving from “a modernist culture of calculation toward a postmodernist culture of simulation.” That life on the screen permits us to “project ourselves into our own dramas, dramas in which we are producer, director, and star…. Computer screens are the new location for our fantasies, both erotic and intellectual. We are using life on computer screens to become comfortable with new ways of thinking about evolution, relationships, sexuality, politics, and identity.”
Turkle’s own metaphor of windows serves well to introduce the following samplings from her new book. Those boxed-off areas on the screen, Turkle writes, allow us to cycle through cyberspace and real life, over and over. Windows allow us to be in several contexts at the same time – in a MUD, in a word-processing program, in a chat room, in e-mail.
“Windows have become a powerful metaphor for thinking about the self as a multiple, distributed system,” Turkle writes. “The self is no longer simply playing different roles in different settings at different times. The life practice of windows is that of a decentered self that exists in many worlds, that plays many roles at the same time.” Now real life itself may be, as one of Turkle’s subjects says, “just one more window.”
For this project, we are going to think about the many wes that exist in the many windows that make up the Internet. We’re going to directly address the impact that windows, screens, and sites have the construction of identities—online, offline, and somewhere in-between. We’ll also think about how the spaces in which we exist—the information ecologies, as Nardi & O’Day would write, the semiotic domains, as Gee would write, and networks, as others write—how those spaces and the people within them co-construct our many wes.
The final product will be multimodal, composed in Prezi for the visual component and Jing for the audio voice-over. The Prezi will include screenshots of the windows in which you exist, the networks that make up those places, and other visualizations that help us understand just who are the many yous that exist online, offline, and in-between. It may also include photos, videos, and alphabetic text.
The voiceover, which will be recorded with Jing over the Prezi as you move through it, will consist of reading aloud a written narrative that weaves together the theories on identity we’re reading with the visuals that you made in Prezi to make an overall point about what is happening with identity(ies) in online spaces.
Update March 6, 2012
To give you an idea of what this project will look like when the voiceover is placed over the Prezi and recorded with Jing, here is an example created by a former student:
Your project will no doubt look different, but it is important to see how seamlessly the student incorporates the audio and the Prezi.
The Audio Narrative
Though the Prezi is what we see, the narrative you tell is what will blend the whole thing together. As a result, it is essential that what you say is engaging, insightful, grounded in the texts we have read and the ideas we have discussed, and makes a larger point about what identity is, where it is located, how it is being dissolved as a result of online spaces, and so on. The larger point you want to make is up to you, but stay away from cliches like:
- “We need to be careful who we are online because of a job”
- “We need to be careful who we talk to online because they could be some real creepo”
- “it doesn’t matter who we are online because in real life I am the same happy-go-lucky person”
Our readings and discussions show us that the issue is much more complicated. The key to this assignment is to be honest with your assessment of yourself. What are the implications of your online self and activities on your real life self. And what are you (and we a society) to do based on what you have found? Highland’s video about his relationship with video games is so poignant and insightful because of his honest assessment:
What I have only recently come to realize is that beyond the graphics, sound, game play and emotion it is the power to break down reality that is so fascinating and addictive to me. I know that I am losing my grip. Part of me is just waiting to let go.
When composing your narrative, think about all the things we have discussed that shape identity (location, online activities [such as, blog and Twitter usage], third-party institutions, our friends, and so on). Include significant reference to and quotations from our readings. What you write here will inform the kinds of visuals you include in the Prezi and the overall quality of the work.
To complete the Prezi portion of the assignment, you must include screen shots of the following:
- profile or front pages of the online spaces you use most often
- front pages of the online spaces that you created for #tfws12 (such as, Twitter and your blog)
- screenshot of a Wordle of the text of all your blog posts combined
- at least 5 of the following information visualization tools:
In addition, you could/should also use the following kinds of texts:
- alphabetic text that you enter yourself (such as quotations from our readings, from Tweets, from blog posts, from friends Status Updates, and so on)
- samples of alphabetic text that you have written in the past (such as poems, stories, journal entries, and so on that help show a part of who you are)
- photographs taken by you or of you from various stages of your life
- videos taken by you or of you taken at various stages in your life
- audio recordings taken by you or of you taken at various stages in your life
- other screen shots of various online spaces and web sites (such as individual tweets, Pinterest, YouTube, and so on)
- other texts that help illustrate who you are (such as your location[s] on Google Maps, what your residence looks like via Google Satellite view, or even where you are on the Earth—
—and so on)
The Overall Production
The overall production should have the following characteristics:
- 2 – 5 minutes long (that is, the narrative you write should last 2 – 5 minutes when read aloud)
- the audio narrative should take the viewer through the Prezi so each stop illuminates and enhances when you are reading
- if you want to add images that are not your own, you either need permission from the photographer or they need to hold a Creative Commons License
- if you want music playing in the background as you read your narrative aloud, you either need permission from the musician or it needs to hold a Creative Commons license (see Jamendo for free, Creative Commons-licensed music)
Recording the Voice-over
To record your voice-over you will need a microphone. Most laptops now come with one standard and that one should work just fine. Follow these instructions to record the voice-over:
- Open your Prezi online.
- Open Jing.
- Hover over the Jing tool and select the Capture option (the one of the left).
- Move the cross-hairs to the top left of the area you want to record. Click and drag and a box will open over the area you want to record. Be sure that area is larger than the Prezi.
- Select the film strip icon in the lower left of the box. It will let you know if you have an active mic connected. It will count down from 3. After it reaches 1 begin reading your paper and moving through your Prezi. To see an example of this in action, see the above example.
- When you have finished, click the Stop icon (far left).
- You will have the option to watch it, which you should do so you know if you are happy with the product. If you are not happy, click cancel and start over.
- If you are happy, rename it to something meaningful and then click the Share Via Screencast icon (far left). If you do not have an account, it will ask you to create one. You may have to log in, as well.
- Your video will now be uploaded to Screencast. When complete, you will have an option to view it online. Do that.
- Copy the URL at the top of your page and use it when composing the required blogpost for your final draft.
4/24: Prezi draft due online (create a blog post on your group blog in which you provide a brief introduction and link to the Prezi) and electronic text copy of narrative due (bring electronic version with you to class)
5/4: Complete project and transcript due 11:00pm. Link to project in a blog post on your group blog (provide a brief introduction to the project and then link to it); transcript to be submitted with your portfolio
3/27: Prezi draft due online (create a blog post on your group blog in which you provide a brief introduction and link to the Prezi) and electronic text copy of narrative due (bring electronic version with you to class)
4/6: Complete project and transcript due 11:00pm. Project to be added to a blog post on your group blog (provide a brief introduction to the project and then link to it) (NOTE: this post does not count as one of your 8 blog posts; it is just how you are turning in your final project); transcript to be submitted with your portfolio
2/16: Prezi draft due online (create a blog post on your group blog in which you provide a brief introduction and link to the Prezi) and electronic text copy of narrative due (bring electronic version with you to class)
2/27: Complete project and reflection transcript due 11:00pm. Project to be added to a blog post on your group blog (details of the post coming soon); reflection transcript to be submitted with your portfolio