Don’t grief my conference!

So here I am, on the last day of the DiGRA 2007 conference, Situated Play, trying to wrap my poor suffering brain around the contents of two conferences while Tokyo glitters and calls with delicious beeps and bells of consumer electronics just outside of the airconditioned lobby. I am in the lobby of the hotel, as the Wireless does not reach my 5th floor room, surrounded by similarly engaged researchers. The tapping on lap-top keyboards resembles rain on tiles, a constant and soothing background noise to people coming and going.

It’s been an intense experience on many levels, and as this is, surprisingly, my first DiGRA conference, also a new and overwhelming one. Conferences are about new people, new experiences, new connections, but also reinforcement,  rediscovery, reassurance. We go here to see not only what we haven’t thought of, but to be reminded that what we do is part of something bigger than ourselves: A network of thoughts and ideas spreading around the planet.

It was in this mood an assembly of happy game scholars sat down to listen to Edward Castronova, a well-respected economist invited to deliver the first keynote. He started out well, if somewhat simply, with playing a game. A few mutters along the lines of “Marinka Copier did the same in….” stilled as he took it a step further, and used the game to illustrate his points. He sent the voluntair players away with their hands full of shiny coins, and the audience was happily warmed up and ready to play.

That’s when everything changed. Castronova lowered his voice to a register of intimate persuasion, and started qouting scripture. No, not the Bible, but Tolkien and several other heroes of the gaming nerds. With powerful emotional reinforcement, he drove his message through: We have to protect the magic circle. Play must be protected, if we are to protect the world within which we live.

So, why does this message bother me, and so many other who were present?

First, there was the content. Castronova, inventive and interesting as his economical analytical writing is, is not a game scholar. His use of “magic circle”, “fantasy” and “play” is highly simplified – certainly not up to the standards of sophistication of many in the audience.

Second, there was the emotional manipulation. That was not a scholar up there, delivering a talk based on logos. That was an evangelist, drawing on the style of religious agitators, pushing buttons ruthlessly at a non-analytical level.

It is interesting that this talk is what has really made me think this time. Rather than being inspired by exellence I am working through my own surprise, investing energy in understanding. A conference is, in many ways, a game. It has a limited amount of players, it has rules, it has an arena. It is even, in many ways, possible to win a conference. Or, you can grief a conference. Castronova neglected the common rules of academic discourse and played his audience according to a whole different set of rules. Oh yes, he made an impact, he did move the audience and he got attention, but so does a griefer in a game.

Writing this, I wonder if this was the act of a brilliant evil genius. If so, it’s possible to imagine that it was all set up to deliberately make people angry and unhappy, to drive the point home: Respect your role, respect my space. It was a clear demonstration of the rules of engagement in Academia, and how intensely uncomfortable it is to have them ignored. And that is a lesson about ritual space, perhaps even more strongly demonstrated than intended.

No matter how good or bad we think this was though, it will go down in the history of the Digital Games Researchers Association’s history as a shared moment. And such things communities are made of.

Now about that flashmob lesson!

I have lectured about viral marketing, flashmobs and information dissemination 5 times in HUMlab this term. And it seems that each time I do it, it takes a more activist slant. The more I explore flashmobbing, the more appealing I find it. (Possibly dues to my background in theater and past bouts of activism?) Flashmobbing seems the perfect marriage of performative outrage/awareness and public response/participation. There is strength in the infectiousnesses of flashmobs… But I have to wonder, if they were to really saturate a culture (as they seem to have in England) could the message become stronger and stronger, or would they loose potency? Is the power in the infectiousnesses or the ability to surprise an onlooker? (I should ask Jane what she thinks…)

In today’s lecture, however, we talked about the pillow flashmobs, the BBC flashmob opera and silent discos. At the end of the lecture, we had small groups of students design their own flashmob – the catch was they had to motivate it. The classes left excited about the concept and it would not surprise me at all if Umeå did not have groups of FM’ing students suddenly appear downtown!

(an aside…I think the term ‘performative outrage’ – I am using performative in the linguistic sense – as in a performative utterance (saying ‘I do’ at a wedding, to name one example). Maybe performative outrage lends a purpose to the anger and distress rather than stripping a person of his or her control.)

cross-posted from the sum of my parts

update! for any students from those lectures, I just found the site Flashmob Sverige. Might be useful 😉

report from days of the media labs I

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday this week in Amsterdam. I had a great time. It was very intense. I would have liked to say on for the rest of the PICNIC conference, but I had to go back to Umeå.

The first day was a closed discussion for the media labs and some other parties, and this was carried out with the help of paired discussions, double-pair negotiations, interviews, structured dialogue (where you were supposed to keep track of the argument and give accounts of previous points) etc.

I was not sure about the term ‘media lab’ at first – not least because I would probably not describe HUMlab as a media lab. But it worked really well and I think the Media Guild and PICNIC did an excellent job of bringing different people and organizations together. A well worked out composition.

One of the things discussed was the values of a media lab, and this is how Andrew Bullen – our host – summarized some of the points made in the open session the following day.

andrewa.jpg 

The second day was action packed with a great many 12 minute presentations of lab activities and selected projects/concepts. I liked this. Despite – or maybe because – the brevity of each presentation, there was a flow of ideas, impressions and perspectives. And the space was really cool. This shot is from before the event had started. The remote control for the projector did not seem to work properly.

projector1.jpg 

One important point is that what made the second day interesting was partly the examples and demos. David Polinchock did a great demo of a game-like application which used a web camera and audience participation.

crowd.jpg 

This concept was developed for the release of Spiderman 3 I believe. Here is a video.

At the end. Andrew presented some of the ideal conditions for media labs discussed the day before.

andrew2.jpg 

I will reflect more on the presentations and the rest of the activities in a later blog entry.

What can eyetracking say about game design?

Eyetracking is the subject for this short video and the topic for the first HUMlab seminar this term. “Integrating a Tobii Eyetracking System with the HiFi Game Engine” by Charlotte Sennersten, Blekinge tekniska högskola och Högskolan på Gotland will take place in HUMlab Tuesday 2 October at 13:15 in HUMlab (under the UB buidling at Umeå University). A short description of the presentation goes like this:

Charlotte Sennersten (a doctoral student in computer games) works with Professor Craig Lindley in such areas as the invative use of eyetracking in game play analysis.They are intersted in both the design and the anlytical perspectives. One question is how the measuring of eye movement can give feedback for the design of computer games. The method used by the pair is new and involves analysis of dynamic 3D-stimuli with the help of eye movement technology.Those experiments that will be described in the seminar will include worked done for the Swedish national Defense Research Institute.

“Charlotte Sennersten has a M.A. in Cognitive Science from Lund University. Her interests lies within eyetracking which is a part of the HCI field, games, cognitive psychology, physiology, graphics, non-verbal communication and differences and similarities concerning perception in natural versus virtual environments. BSc degree from University College of Arts, Crafts and Design and Stockholm Institute of Education in Media and Information Communication Technology. Also studies performed at Media Technique at KTH. In the upcoming PhD studies she will focus upon how and where game players (subjects) direct their gaze within the virtual world and/or a natural setting in a task related environment. The main game genres to be studied are First Person Shooter´s and Role Playing Games. The 5 year project goes under the working title: Game Psychophysiology, Semiotics and Design –through eyetracking methodology. This research is conducted at the Department of Technology, Art and New Media at Gotland University and within the departments of Eye & Vision at Karolinska Institute and the department of Machine System Interaction (MSI) at the Swedish Defence Research Agency. My main concerns in life: Teamwork and humour.”

The seminar will be live streamed as usual and the channel can be accessed HERE (opens a few minutes before the presntation). See you in HUMlab!

Day of the Media Labs

HUMlab has been invited to participate in the Day of the Media Labs in Amsterdam on Tuesday and Wednesday this coming week. There is a closed session with about 15 media labs on Tuesday: Collaborative Innovation: Redefining the Media Lab and the Community.

Tuesday September 25th 2007 in collaboration with PICNIC, Media Guild organises ‘The day of the Media Labs’ (Part 1) where a selected group of Media Labs from around the world will discuss the future of the Media Labs in relation to Media Innovation, Research, Social and Cultural Application, and Regional Development.

The aim is to explore the perceived role of “media-lab” type institutes, their current creative work, and potential collaboration formats. We will discuss such aspects as:

– Understanding/Use of the term “media lab”. Present relevance
– Methodologies for innovation / creativity applied across disciplines and cultures
– Changing cultural, social and economic role,
– Public/private, project-oriented funding
– Long-term/short-term research and development models
– Local/global community relationship

On Wednesday there is an open session.

The labs will do presentations, and I will talk (briefly) about “From floor tiles to blog opera”. All this is a collaboration between the Media Guild and the big PICNIC conference.

And yes. I also plan to participate in the Creative Tour – a boat trip through Amsterdam’s old docklands and canals.

This tour will provide the guests with a lively impression of Amsterdam as an international cross media hub. Introducing the most creative companies in the cross media industry on-site and on-location, including a visit to the Waag and Pakhuis de Zwijger. The tour will be combined with a market and presentations from incubators all from the database of Sytens and Media Guild.

Live Blogging Lisa Nakamura At M3

Lisa Nakamura is Associate Professor of Speech Communication and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. She is the author of Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet (Routledge, 2002) and a co-editor of Race in Cyberspace (Routledge, 2000). She has published articles on race and the new media in The Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies, Women’s Review of Books, Unspun: Key Terms for the World Wide Web, The Cybercultures Reader, Reload: Rethinking Women and Cyberculture, Domain Errors! Cyberfeminist Practices, and the Visual Culture Reader 2.0. Her book Visual Cultures of the Internet is forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press.

Starts by showing a clip of a film, The Island. This material has not been presented before from a forthcoming book on surveillance ; Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet. Especially regarding race and ethnic and identity it is the network that decides our fate. Race is undergoing re definition due to 9/11 with Arab people being reconsidered as people of color whereas before they were not. In the time of Cybertypes, it was about whether you can trust the Internet. The nuance was relatively new at that time, the desire to fix identity remains strong and will always be so.
The Island:
Excuse me, where is an information directory.
Smile for the camera sweetheart.
Facial recognition tech…got ya.
We just go a facial hit on our fugitive. We’re moving. Swipe credit card location. Team proceed immediately. LAPD is moving in.
Car chase.
Films must cross brand. You cant make a convincing film that does not depict interfacial digital communication. Use of surveillance technology. Images of the users as being obviation and psychologically complex is being called into question.
Surveillance is featured in books, films and television at the moment but it is abstract.
The origins of the police force and photography.
Finger printing, cinema, digital networks.
Manuel Castells; surveillance as mediatised practiced. On the fly profiling. It is a new new media practice and therefore we should be studying it.
Biometrics as involving the spectacle of The Island.
The visual culture is under unusually rapid development under the pressures from the threat of terrorism. Despite poor results it is being funded and supported. In the UK young men of colour ar more frequently surveiled than young white women for example.
These practices of human classification are very anti-Arab. The Island, Mission Impossible, 24, Enemy of the State, CSI. New network technology of identity concerned with biometrics is featured in all these films.
Biometrics are used in visual narratives to give them the look and feel of ‘the future’. The future is a ‘plot point’.
Blue screen, wire frame and biometric visual culture references are staples of contemporary film.
The digital facial image is art. In threatening the state and the use of biometrics brings race and state together.
Removal of race as a category is one of the recent streams in the debate.
Some of the rhetoric around sperm donation is racial. Scandinavian is a race in this context.
Other have noted biometrics is seen as racially neutral because it is machine based. Who images are matched in the data base refute this.
Biometric is cinematic, as a cultural interface it is
Visual in the sense of the interactive is emerging. Film from the internet matches this “interactive instrumentation of the human image” description.
Reading email is also becoming increasingly surveiled cinematic (it is moving).
The Island: Shits between the operators view of CCT to the camera image. Match Probability 93% never happens in real life. The British is the most penetrated “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” motto. Bus bomber London; did not use CCT images as it was not accurate enough.
Operator vision of CCT turning heads on screen…not necessary but figurative.
Informationalized knowledge becomes important in biometric.
Characteristics of behaviour based on physiology. Research by Lisa Cartwright, “Static image proves presence of aberrant behaviour”. Early use of photography in Police , psychiatry.
Early use of film lead to the class of people called The Hysteric. Behaviours that define person captured by cinema.
Biometric cinema marks a return of the early history of viewing of moving image.
The people you are viewing are the people you thing they are: The terrorist, The Queer, and so on
The “facial hit of our fugitive” is the visual recognition on the subject.
Database is how this information is organised. The “gold standard” of interactive cinema.
Research idea: fake interfaces of CCT used in film. Functional is just on the surface.
Promotes the technology but CCT is not a moment for branding. “Macromedia don’t want ot own the image of CCTV soft ware. Email and teleconference is branded in film and promoted. CCTV software is important because we are encouraged to trust it because it si dsatnt.
Amateurs are kept out of it.
The Island: Another clip, closer to the end.

I Love that Picasso
You like Picasso do you Mr Aurant
The girl I brought in will be harvested anyway.
My father was art of the Burnarby rebellion. When he was killed me and my brother were branded so we would be known as less tha human.
When did killing become a business for you.
Oh it is so much more than that….

Clones are secretly grown for their body parts. It is the visual culture of biometrics that enable the clones to penetrate the barriers of the state. The clones are able to break into the sponsors house due to retinal matching on the locks (he is a clone of the owner). However clones are disposable. Are they humans or are they property? The urban environment are covered with CCTV cameras.

“Come on smile for the camera sweetheart”

Biometrics is an aesthetic practice. The way it hails the viewer, the way it tries to convince us of the truth. Biometric cinema function along conventions. Anyone who holds a plate and looks to the front and to the side in a grainy black and white photo will look guilty. Even though we are in a post indexical age of the image people do not believe the image (think Photoshop) these images appeal.
The fake CCTV o The Isfland incorporates the structure of the police mug shot combined to the CCTV image. The linking to governmental bodies of knowledge convince us of the image.
Manovitch urges a move from narrative studies t software studies. The second internet boom (current) has proved Manovitch right. O’Rielly Web 2.0 rhetoric defines the move away from applications to the database. The database has the value rather than the platform. Google, Bittorent are more valuable because the are database orientated. The value of the software is proportional to the size of the data it controls.
Location, identity, public events are examples of such data.
Biometric is built into the concept of valuable internet database. Google gets users to tag information as a game in Google Image Loader.
Part of the wholesale broadcasting of the self. One of the effects of the information network society is the replacement of the name for the number (birthdates) is identity sourcing. The dossier becomes the database for identity.
The database is a cultural construction: Biometric turn
Martin Jay the linguistic turn: a way to understand language as culture construct.
Construction of database is cultural value system and the biometric image illustrates this.
Biometric information indexes the present not the past. When a modern fugitive swipes a credit card the result of the tracking is instant.
Jenkins is optimistic about the possibility of network society. Nakamura; it is too utopian.
Biometric identification satisfies: Not 100% but 93%. It provides information that is good enough. Wikipedia is good enough. Enough to move forward. Not knowledge in the same way “if you were trained in the 80s. Rather than being traditional academic knowledge.
Web 2.0 is similar. We have a facial hit….at 93%.
Is surveillance a media practice? Should we be looking at surveillance and if so how do we deal with genre.
Sleeper Cell, 24, are genres of cinematic surveillance.

Comments
Database discourages close reading (from book culture) because it does not stay around for long enough.
Surveillance Camera Players http://www.notbored.org/the-scp.html offers some disturbance to the process described here but not on a large sacle compared to the block busters of Hollywood.

The Virtual – Interaction

I am at Södertörn University College’s conference The Virtual 2007, the theme of which is Interaction. I will be presenting a paper “Prefacing Interaction: Copyright and Remix in Online Digital Literature” this afternoon but I would like to write about a couple of interesting speakers who presented yesterday.
First is the keynote speaker for the day, Jeffery Bardzell from Indiana University, School of Informatics (Home of HUMlab friend Erik Stolterman). Jeffrey spoke about ‘Massively Amateur Culture’, specifically Animution, Machinima and Virtual Fashion.
First came a general introduction to the field on interactive design under the rubric of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Bardzell is critical of the HCI field not generally asking cultural critical questions in developing ideas and projects. He seems to feel that there is an overt focus upon tools in terms of functionality over actual use (I understood it in the retrospective sense whereby functionality is anticipated and use is in the field). I think this is an interesting idea. He stated that interaction design reflects culture and interaction design produces culture. He proposes interpretive analysis in interaction design looking at meanings, affects, moods, intuitions and social inclinations ( I heard the echo of Stolterman here). Interaction should “delight, enlighten and be just”.
Bardzell cited Susanne Bødker‘s concept of waves of HCI as influential to his own arguments.
Three basic assumptions behind Bardzell’s approach to how HCI should deal with cultural critique:
– multimedia tools shape products
– evolution of languages share characteristics
– interaction with mainstream culture

The use of the term ‘Languages’ by Bardzell is something that will stir debate, but I spoke to him after his presentation about it and he explained his use of the word in relation to there being ‘languages’ of HCI interactive design. He said he takes the concept of languages from film and visual theory, citing Christian Metz’s semiotic theories of film as a source of inspiration. Bardzell acknowledges that using language theory to describe a multimodal field is problematic but it does “sustain a productive conversation” at the very least and if it is challenged then that is a good thing. He sees it as a good metaphor.
Bardzell’s concept of language in the HCi context is centred on the tools used. These are not merely ‘tool’ in the functional sense but they create certain types of messages. The more usable a feature is the more it is used (this is illustrated with an example soon). These more used features constitute a visual language and these languages seem to solidify after only 5 to 10 percent of the knowledge about the tool use is obtained by the user. Here Bardzell cited Manovitch (continuing with the visual approach) that Art has become a database in digital contexts.
There are three paradigms for how digital tools shape creativity:
– from scratch (coding, building systems etc.)
– from primitives (geometrical shaped 3D objects that can be manipulated but expanded to mean virtual objects of artefacts here)
– from components (compositions of scratch and primitives)

Primitives are “fast and easy” so they are the most popular choice for shaping with tools. Hence the usability of the tool has determined use.

Bardzell then went on to look at Animutation:
– a Flash genre
– acquisition of primitives (images)
– managed by the authoring tool
– works with the ‘logic’ of Flash

Neil Cicierega (b.1986), Bardzell said was the originator of animutation. Animutation, popular on such sites as Albino Black Sheep, is:
– Pastiche or parody play
– has an aesthetic of ‘crap’ (in a similar sense to B grade fans appreciate films like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes)
– Contains commentary and interfaces with other media
– Is highly self-referential

Bardzell cited the piece Making an Internet Cartoon Tutorial (not Work Friendly. Loud.)

Now Machinima:

Basic outline of machinima film production. What was interesting here was Bardzell divided machinima into two categories, Ludic and cinematic. Pretty clear what the distinguishing features are; one is game lay recounted (ludic) and the their attempts of convey story, images of cultural and social poignancy and so on. Production techniques come to the fore in the ltter clasificaion. Game play is often but not always present in cinematic machinima. Some examples of note that Bardzell showed were:

WoW Funeral
To Heaven
1K project (amazing piece of work)
Still Seeing Breen
Big Bue Dress

The generative strategies of machinima proposed by Bardzell included:
– Feature gameplay
– Comment on games
– Fuse game and othe cultural elements
– Demonstrate mastery of the game (credibility as player)
– Gameplay extends beyond the game.

The Rise of Virtual Fashion:

This section began as an explanation of Second Life as a user generated virtual world which led to the “natural” extension that users created fashions. Avatar design is a form of multimedia authoring and the “canvas is the body”. There are 39 body slots in the SL avatar and layers; mesh, skin, underwear and outerwear (shirt, skirt, pants etc.).
Once again the creation of fashion items is done from scratch, prims and components. Usability problems exist with scratch and components as mentioned above. Bardzell claims that SL fashion is “a language built of prims”. The message of SL fashion is developed from the outfits which carry a “diminished functional purpoe to clothing”. The functional purposes of clothing include protection, modesty and immodesty. As there is no climate in Second Life so the function of clothing is symbolic and as sign. In the stylization of the self through clothing in SL it is easier to construct along lines of fetish and subculture or punk, goth and S&M than with GAP polo jerseys (although this was pointed out as being possible by someone in the audience). There are a large number of SL fashion blogs where the “right symbolic lifestyle” is discussed, portrayed, critiqued, and advertised. Such dialogues facilitate interaction.
The common characteristics of Amutation, Machinima and Virtual Fashion are:
– readily available prims
– composition out pf libraries
– libraries borrow
– fuse external and internal – languages for meaning
– comment on both (parody)
– low production values
– high production outputs

The Star Wars Kid
– emrgent visual langage tracked as a meme
Became part of an add for Volkswagen “Less Flower More Power” and it was taken up by the Colbert Report. I actually thought this as not such a convincing account of the visual meme concept and felt that Henry Jenkins account of the Bert is Evil meme to be a stronger demonstration of the same principle.
Finally, some of the problems of researching amateur multimedia:
– massive numbers of dispersed users. In the first wave of HCI research focused on the lone user. In the second wave it focused on small teams and in the third and present wave it deals with populations, the smallest grouping being mirco-communities.
Jeffrey made the claim the such research deals with the non-textual (I always get defensive when people start discounting the text but in this case I think I have to agree. The creation of these works is not the textual part of the arrangement, while the individual or networked products I think are textual). Meaning emerges in micro-communities in situations knowledge/information versus affect/experience. It is not even democratice but rather personal why people engage with amateur multimedia.
Eric Stolterman’s concept of “sensibility”; of wine for the wine lover and literature for the literature person is “a developed taste for material’s special qualities”. Sensibility combined with Bourdieu’s habitus is something of the area Bardzell is trying to cover. IHe stated that in order to cultivate habitus researchers must participate in the field of cultural production.

Tomorrow I will blog my notes from a interesting architect from Brussels who spoke about invisible space.

Art history tools and more

I am currently working on an article on the humanities and information technology, and one section discusses a framework for thinking about different kinds of digital tools used in the humanities. One of my case studies deals with multispectral analysis of paintings and while trying to get a better sense of what is going on, I found this very useful AHRC ICT Methods Network working paper (pdf): “What’s in the Art Historian’s Toolkit?” by Neil Grindley. A good overview (although not very extensive, but this also makes the document accessible) with pointers to papers and resources. I know about The Methods Network from earlier, but it is clear that there is a great deal going on here. The list of working papers contains papers relating to a whole range of disciplines. Great. I just browsed through a few of the papers and it seems that there is some variation in terms of depth and scope.

There is also other stuff available from their website. Quite a few mp3:s for instance. For instance “Finding Needles in Haystacks: Data-mining in distributed historical data-sets” (mp3).

It seems, however, that Arts and Humanities Research Council is planning to withdraw funding from the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) which, in turn, provides support for the network. I need to look into this but this is certainly a relevant development in relation to the Swedish situation. This seems to be a clear movement away from centralization (at least in relation to the arts and humanities – I wonder about the social sciences more broadly).

Collaborative authorship

As a continuation on Patrik’s entry – really good collaboration – I can add the following. On Thursday 13/9 Kulturverket presented www.cultumea.com to The Swedish parliaments Committee on Cultural Affairs and the response was phenomenal.
cultumea

Cultumea is a collaborative authorship based community created by HUMlab and Kulturverket. The site is designed to enable an artistic and educational model that goes by the name of “Kids tell pros’ what to do”. The idea is that children and youth work on concepts that are carried out by professional artists and cultural institutions, however, the dilemma with this model is the vast number of children in relation to the number of professionals and institutions that can take care of the projects. That is why we have been working with the idea of collaborative authorship. In November the first project of this kind will be showcased in the form of an opera written in blogs by three hundred teenagers. The individual blog entries remain intact but are assembled by a professional writer. The libretto contains an amazing 99.8% of the teenager’s texts. The opera project is not only a collaboration in text but in music, dance, stage and costume (not to mention HUMlabs planned live-sms-integration. More on that later). This project joins recourses from several institutions, both in the north of Sweden and Rome, Italy. The financial gains in collaborations of this kind are hard to estimate but it’s an aspect not to be taken lightly. That is also why we have been invited to The Nordic Council of Ministers (26/9 in Göteborg) to present this idea at a conference on new ways to finance culture.

I would appreciate any comments on this entry or on collaborative authorship in general.

Stand up and twirl around the lab!

dscn3254.JPGToday we spoke with the students from midgårdsskolan about HUMlab, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and flashmobs. Just as Jane did during a long ago visit, we posted signs up around the lab before the students came in (stand up and twirl around the lab at 10.45).

Exactly at 10.45, my partner-in-crime, Mona, and I went twirling about the room. (I think we shocked the students more than anything.) Some got up and twirled…and some threw up their hands in support. But not many made the whole loop. It was, however, a great intro into the lesson. I was asked to talk to the students about blogging, but most of them already had blogs. I figured this would be the case and was prepared to expand the lesson into audio, visual and flashmobs. I read an excerpt from SmartMobs, showed videos of flashmob pillow fights and ninja wars, talked about the BBC flashmob opera and discussed the power of social networks.

It was a fun class! (And I have heard that they are planning a class flashmob soon!)dscn3247.JPG