Online Communities

The community that I am most excited about joining for my Multimedia Montage Project is the Google + community “Elementary and Primary School Tech” which can be found here:

Although my focus is on middle school (6th-8th grade) language arts education, I chose this community because it is incredibly active, has over 600 members, and I’ve already found some great resources that could be used in any classroom just from scrolling through the page. Because I love bouncing ideas off of other people, the most frustrating thing about searching for a community that I could use to help me with this project was that many of the groups I looked into did not communicate or leave comments for one another. This group, however, is great! People leave many comments on each other’s posts and have conversations about digital tools they are familiar with.

As Elizabeth Daley points out, “Interactivity as a core factor in multimedia is in some ways closely related to performance and can enable the reader/viewer/user to participate directly in the construction of meaning”. In this case, I will be using interaction with my colleagues to help construct the meaning of various digital tools and how they can fit within the context of my project. I hope to inquire about other teachers’ experiences creating their own multimedia design projects and what worked best for them.

The other community that I will be actively participating is the EdTech hashtag on twitter. Although some people dismiss Twitter as a trivial social media platform, “#EdTech” is shared by major public figures, companies and education blogs such as Edutopia and MindShift. I originally discovered this hashtag after watching Jose Vilson’s keynote speech at the NJEA convention and following his twitter account. Even though users can only share 140 characters, they often share links to great articles and websites that contain the latest educational technology.twitterbirf

I also plan to share the actual design of my project periodically using this hashtag to get feedback. Rune Petterson emphasizes in a 2009 edition of TechTrend that message design is a complex discipline that involves “producing, transmitting and interpreting messages of various kinds”. Receiving feedback means that I can better understand how my message is being interpreted by the consumers of the multimedia design, and then eventually my students. Teachers on this platform may also be able to give insight into how a student might perceive certain aspects of the project. Overall, I’m really looking forward to using these communities to help me develop the Multimedia Montage Project.


Analyzing an Advertisement

After examining a Volkswagon advertisement  first with amusement and then more carefully, it is clear to see all of the work and analysis that goes into creating an advertisement. Interestingly, the field of advertisement takes into account all of the elements of information design described by Peterson, satisfying the “aesthetic, economic, ergonomic as well as subject matter requirements” (Tech Trends, 40) to effectively convey a message to its audience.

The purpose of the Ad is, of course, to sell cars. In the version of reality depicted in the commercial, we see that having a Volkswagon with it’s remote start can lead to some hilarious family hi-jinx, perhaps to convey the idea that it is the perfect family car.  It is clear that the intended audience are middle-aged parents who can enjoy the antics of little Darth Vader possibly the most because, having children of their own, they can relate to it. However, the commercial plays to Star Wars fans, or anyone who appreciates humor in advertising. A big part of information design is communication, and if people remember a brand that put a smile on their face, they may transfer those feelings to the brand itself.

We get the most of the commercial through the eyes of a child, and at first, it doesn’t seem like a car commercial at all. However, in the end, we are let in on the joke when we get the parents’ perspective. This kind of leading on definitely made me watch the entire commercial, even though I knew it would be about a car. I was rooting for the child to finally get to use the force. and when he did, I felt victorious too. I think that following the child through his struggles is a smart move because it does cause the viewer to empathize with him. I think that this specific medium is the best possible way to advertise the feature that Volkswagon highlights in this ad: the remote start button. The same effect would not come across in simply print or audio. It needs to be an audio-visual experience for the consumer to really understand what is going on. Overall, I think the commercial is extremely effective in getting the viewers attention and ultimately consider buying a Volkswagon vehicle. The ad I’m talking about (worth the watch!) can be found here: