Saturday, July 4, 2015

New Literacies Reading Response: Digital Remixing

Chapter 4: Lankshear and Knobel - Digital Remixing

Anime Music Videos?!! Who are you and where are you taking me???

I had no idea, prior to now, that AMV even existed. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at all of the new vantage points that the internet is opening up to me. I did do a search for Maguma’s most notable AMV video titled, The Konoha Memory Book, and thought I would post it for those that might want to view:


The authors used Maguma’s personal story and achievements as an example of digital remixing and how it shaped that particular. I respect the example and even admire the work that Maguma did even in the video above, despite the fact that Anime is not a genre that appeals to me.  I was also unaware that fanfiction existed or even some of the other examples provided such as modding, moshing, and machinima. However, what all of these have in common is the availability of technology that allows amateurs the ability to produce and share digital content or remixes. After reading the text, I realized that I’ve seen digital remixing manifested in other forms as well. Today, one can almost find an app or a website that allows them to do homemade audio and video recordings. I even have an app on my phone where my 3 year old can record his own voice and play it back in a number of different tones or sound effects. A year ago, my work had a sales conference and invited employees or departments to create a one minute video that somehow promotes one of our products. These videos were to be shown at the annual sales conference. Our team did a “remix” by recreating Jimmy Fallon’s Thank You Notes sketch but wrote the jokes to pertain to our own work environment. We were able to edit the video with a laugh track and audience sound effects to mimic the popular night host’s famous routine. We ended up winning first place!

One thing that has stood out to me from the text, however, is, as the authors state, “the general principle of remix as a necessary condition for a robust and democratic culture” (Lankshear and Knobel, p. 97). I find this principle fascinating and can now see evidences of this throughout daily life. It’s true the culture is full of remixing – from the jokes we tell, to music, to even the type of fashion we adhere to.  Today, the popular look for men is the slick hairdo with the lumberjack beard. It’s like the 1950s and 1960s decided reunite in the 2010s.

However, in pondering this principle two questions come to mind:

1)      If remix is a necessary condition for culture, would the lack of remix lead to a lack of culture?

2)      And somewhat related – to what extent can we use remix to shape or enhance culture?

I’m not really sure how to begin with my first question or if that question is even relevant. Therefore, I’m going to let it float out into the cyberverse.

I’m very intrigued by the second question though. I would like to provide some thought around it by addressing my focal theme and personal work situation. As a quick background, I work in a sales organization for a large network security company. I decided a few years ago that I wanted to pursue a different career path in instructional design / eLearning. I chose this path for a number of reasons  (all of which I won’t get into now) but mostly because I saw a need. In the fast paced technology industry, sales reps average less than 2 years at a company. Upon being hired, new reps are given a quota and a short timetable to hit that quota with product or policy training as an afterthought. The phrase “jumping in the deep end” is often used in this scenario.  As one can see, there is a major opportunity here for eLearning. Yet, there is another phrase that is also very common in my industry and that is “death by powerpoint.” The practices that we have today are ineffective or bland. I believe that remixing, in some form or another, when applied to training (with an eLearning component) can help change the culture that exists today. I’m not exactly sure how to do so but the hamster wheel in my mind is starting to turn. How can “death by powerpoint” be remixed into effective online learning?
This one has definitely got me thinking.


  1. Mike - my take on question one - remix is culture. You can't have one without the other.

    I worked as a sales rep. for many years too. The sales industry certainly needs some tips from the elearning industry. Sales scenarios are learning scenarios. Typically, they are very presenter-centric (teacher-centric). The mantra being "tell them what you're gonna tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them". Uuugh, really? A former manager of mine called it the spray and pray method. Talk about all the features and hope something resonates with someone. A more client (or student) centric approach fits well with a consultative sales method. Get the client more involved, let them see the product from their perspective and context. Maybe it's more of a "demonstrate, play, learn" approach? I think you are on to something.

  2. Welcome to the wonderful world of AMV! Great to hear the ways you've connected with remixing in your own profession. I also found the subtopics of the chapter helpful in delineating the bigger ideas. L&K still love walls of text though :)