Although this area of the web is relatively new it is now a big subject for discussion and an hour is very short space of time to cover it. DG make a very good job of summarising the key points of this title.
As a primer for the lesson the students are asked to watch the video The Machine is Us/ing Us by Michael Wesch which begins by explaining the flexibility of digital text and that its use is much more than just linking information.
In the seminar session I wanted to get the students to try different approaches to formulating creative ideas. Using a combination of the Walt Disney Strategy and a brainstorming technique I got the students to form three groups and split the session into three separate creative themes; dreamer, realist and critic. The original Walt Disney Strategy suggests that the three groups should concentrate on one theme and be installed in three different rooms. I only had an hour and one room to do this so getting the groups to take on each theme seemed a good solution.
At the end of Michael Wesch’s video he suggests that as the web evolves “we will need to rethink a few things” such as; copyright, authorship, identity, ethics, aesthetics, rhetorics, governance, privacy, commerce, love, family and ourselves. Quite a list. I asked each group to pick one of the words and spent ten minutes opening up their minds to immediate ideas, without analysis or criticism. We’d then have a short discussion before moving to the realist stage where the list of thoughts and ideas are honed down to one or two viable ideas. More discussion and debate. Finally the last stage is to critically analyse the final idea by discussing what works, what doesn’t and what issues it may encounter were it to be used.
The students found this a very interesting exercise judging by their great enthusiasm and positive feedback. One of the problems of being creative is that it is not something that you can turn on and off at will. Great ideas often appear at the most unusual and unexpected of times. Generating good ideas in not a 9 to 5 activity and sometimes cognitive tools or exercises like these need to be employed to help stimulate the brain to produce them. From the reaction students in this seminar recognised and understood the value of these techniques.