The Fischbowl – Did You Know? 4.0

Monday, September 14, 2009

Did You Know? 4.0: The Economist Media Convergence Remix

The Economist Magazine is hosting their third annual Media Convergence Forum in New York City on October 20th and 21st. Earlier this year they asked if they could remix Did You Know?/Shift Happens with a media convergence theme and use it for their conference. Scott McLeod and I said sure, they got XPLANE to create the presentation, and the result is farther down in this post. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the Forum, as I’m already missing school a few days this fall and I just couldn’t justify missing a couple more (it was very kind of The Economist to invite Scott and me), but it looks like an interesting event.

A few anticipatory FAQ’s about this version.

  1. It’s the first one that I’ve been part of that does not have a specific education focus (although I certainly think the media convergence ideas discussed in the video have great relevance for education). The idea behind the original (and subsequent) presentations was to start/continue/advance the conversation around certain ideas, so I see this hopefully doing the same thing around media convergence (and, selfishly, it will hopefully get some of the folks attending The Economist’s Media Convergence Forum to perhaps focus on some of the education ideas in the previous DYK’s). And, given the Creative Commons license on the previous versions, folks are not limited to remixes that only talk about education.
  2. They decided to designate it version 4.0 even though there have been only two previous “official” versions. But the Sony/BMG remix that is currently the hot version is typically referred to as version 3.0, so who are we to argue with the wisdom of the crowd?
  3. I should not get much, if any, credit for this one. I sent along a fair amount of statistics for their consideration, and certainly provided some feedback along the way, but otherwise didn’t have nearly as much to do with this version. Laura Bestler, Scott McLeod’s graduate assistant, did most of the research for this one, and of course XPLANE did all the graphical work. (I should, however, still get most or all of the blame if you don’t like it, since I started this whole mess.)
  4. Like the previous versions, this one is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license, so you’re welcome to use/modify as you see fit, as long as you follow the terms of that license.

Finally, an observation. In a recent email Scott McLeod wrote, “It’s amazing, the legs this thing still has.” I would have to agree. The various versions have been viewed well over 20 millions times (my guess is that with downloaded versions and audience showings it’s probably closer to 30 million times, but 20 million would be the safe number). It’s been shown to audiences large and small, educational and corporate and everything in between. It’s been shown to the leaders of our national defense and to incoming congressmen. It’s been shown by university presidents and kindergarten teachers, televangelists and politicians, folks just trying to make a buck and those trying to save the world. And this week it even made an appearance in Nancy Gibb’s essay in Time Magazine.

What does it all mean? (Well, besides the self-referential and now self-serving answer of “Shift Happens.”) I think the fact that a simple little PowerPoint (some folks would say simplistic and they would be right – it was meant to be the start of a conversation, not the entire conversation) can be viewed by so many folks and start so many conversations means that we live in a fundamentally different world than the one I (and most of you reading this) grew up in.

I know some folks would dispute that, and that’s an interesting conversation in and of itself, but if you buy that – if you buy that on so many levels the world is a fundamentally different place – then it just begs us to ask the question of whether schools have similarly transformed from when we grew up. If your answer to that question is no, as I think it probably is for a large majority of you, and if you see a problem with that, then what should we do? What is my responsibility, and your responsibility, for making the changes we believe are necessary? What are you willing to step up and do?

Here’s the presentation. Source files will be uploaded to the wiki shortly.

I kind of wish I hadn’t seen this, as I now think anything I pull together in inimitable sticky tape and string fashion is just so hopelessly outclassed! I’ve just seen a couple of XPLANE vods and think that the curve at which homemade video content was good enough has perhaps already been passed.

However, what’s most interesting to me, aside from the great vod, is the history of Did You Know and Shift Happens. Congratulations Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod and everyone else along the way. Keep it up.

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