The project allowed me to practice the theories of new media that we learnt in class throughout the semester in a variety of ways. The objective of the project was “To make connections between several of the issues and problematics raised during the semester on the diverse and complex topic of “new media.””, as you can tell, this is very open and therefore gave me almost too much space to practice the theories of new media. Having pondered for a while on how to go about tackling this project, I decided to take a look at the project “forms and examples” that were provided to us:
- A community research project– your group studies a particular online community in-depth, participating in it over time and analyzing its organization and use of digital networked media.
- A web 2.0 story – a narrative deployed in online space, using hyperlinks, interactivity, and/or staggered releases to maximize its reception by your audience.
- A digital game (text-based or 2D) that highlights some aspect of digital networked media.
- A series of videos (video essays, podcast, mashups, remixes, etc.) that use multiple media forms – motion pictures, sound, and the web/interactivity – to make an argument or tell a story.
- An alternate reality game (ARG) design (implementation would not be evaluated for this assignment).
I went with a “Web 2.0 story” because it gave me the opportunity to use a timeline as a tool to educate and entertain my audience at the same time. My topic was the “History of Military Communication”, I enjoy History and therefore this project format gave me the opportunity to practice the theories we learnt in class through a subject I enjoy.
The project offers a student of new media the chance to take what we learned from course material and apply it a real setting. For example, I took what I learned from Janet Murray’s reading about the usefulness of the digital medium, saying it is “procedural, participatory, encyclopaedic, and spatial” therefore I have learnt the benefits of this medium and applied them to producing my own project. Furthermore, other students in the class, used other readings like Nancy Baym’s , and applied it to real life fandoms and online communities. On the other hand, the only limitations that I can see would be that the topic of new media is what our course material provided for us, which was a wide variety- and therefore not really a problematic limitation.
The experience of researching and implementing my project helped me understand how new media influences our daily lives. The research aspect showed me that the relatively new media of the computer and the internet was essential for me to find the information I was looking for, therefore I relied on these tools massively. On the implementing side of the project, I learnt that the simple medium of a screen can influence our lives incredibly. I used a projector screen for my project presentation. It helped the class see my project and gave me the platform to show them what I wanted to see, through screen shots and my power point. Furthermore, the timeline tool (TimeRime) I found online gave me the medium to present my project in manageable, ‘bite sized’ chunks to my audience.
The course readings affected my understanding of that experience in a variety of ways. The Janet Murray reading was the most relevant reading to my project as well as the most clarifying one. Murray’s reading was relevant because it summarised my reasoning behind using the timeline medium; “procedural, participatory, encyclopaedic, and spatial”. This clarified why I used the timeline tool to present my project. Furthermore, you could argue, it illuminated the benefits of this tool to other people in the class when I presented my classmates with my project and Murray’s supporting evidence. Another example of a reading that illuminated my project was Tom Carmody’s reading, who talks about the “10 Reading Revolutions Before E-Books”, one of which being the “printing press”. The printing press was a major event in the development of communication and therefore held a place of my project timeline. Therefore this reading gave me the illuminating evidence to support the reasoning behind putting it on my timeline.
My project, in my opinion, shows an interesting underlying statement about society today and it’s future. My project showcases the development of military communication through time, starting with the basic instruments of the Roman Cornu and Tuba and closing with the recent antics of ISIS’s use of the internet to spread fear and hatred. We, as a society, have gone from fighting face to face with the use of basic tools to communicate to now, very rarely meeting in the flesh and now using the new digital media to communicate and cause conflict with each other. I believe this says a lot about aspects of our society (not the whole of it) today, that although we are now more connected through the wonders of new media (Facebook, Twitter, Etc.) we have grown apart. I see many people today wishing their online friends happy birthday etc but won’t say it to them in person. A slightly less relevant and loosely tied analysis you could gain from my project would be that we, as a society, have and always will find a reason to engage in conflicts with each other. Wether it is fighting off a Roman invasion in Gaul, or dealing with terrorism in the Middle East (and globally), we sadly seem to not be able to live in a peaceful and happy environment.
To conclude, this project has been a great way to express what we have learnt from the course materials into a fashion that we enjoy. I believe my project does a great job to prove this, I took what I learnt from class and applied it to another academic topic that I really enjoy- History. This gave me the opportunity to have an enjoyable experience with a project because I was able to fulfil the purpose of the class (to learn about new media) while displaying what I had learned through a filter of my own liking, military history.