MIL Activity 12.2: A picture of globalisation

Write a short (200 word) entry in your learning journal describing some of the ways that globalised goods or services are used in your local context.

Blueberries are a regular feature of my breakfast. In winter, they fly in from Chile. In summer, from New Jersey or British Columbia. Bananas and coffee arrive from Costa Rica. Milk is local.

There are no Canadian-made electronics in my home. If/when China stops exporting, I will be forced to use my phone, computer etc. until they wear out or find others on the black market.

The local Wal-Mart contains little or no domestic product. In addition to providing cheap products to budget-conscious shoppers, it exports their money to the US and overseas. Costco provides the same services for those with more disposable income.


The 2013 clothing factory collapse in Bangladesh implicated Loblaws, our major grocery chain, which includes Joe Fresh, a line of clothing manufactured in Bangladesh and featured in each megastore. There were several images of the Joe Fresh label among the rubble and debris during the rescue efforts. The CEOs of each company made public statements, not claiming naïve innocence but pledging to help the injured and to improve working conditions among garment workers.

There is no question of living in a globalised culture. The question becomes, ‘how do we do so ethically?’


Activity 12.1 – Globalization – who owns?

Who owns the local newspaper, radio and television stations?
Canada has one public television broadcaster and a few private broadcasters.
Recently, its major internet and telephone provider purchased its largest private television network.
There are one or two major newspaper chains.
There are several radio networks, including one public network.
There is also a very large number of weekly/monthly independent newspapers.
For the most part, Canadian media institutions are Canadian-owned.
Who owns the social media networks?
These are the shared networks used by other North American and European countries: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Do all of the news sources seem to give the same story, or do they present alternative views and diverse sources?
There is little diversity in the perspective of news sources.
News outlets subscribe to news services (Reuters, Canadian Press, Associated Press), all of whom employ stringers in foreign countries.
They get most of their news from government and corporate news releases.
There are small publications attached to marginalized groups, but these have small audiences.
With the advent of the internet and alternative news organizations and bloggers, there is now greater diversity of perspectives. Gawker is one example. A Canadian example is, which promotes an alternative POV.
The low cost of publishing on the net has provided a place for dissenting voices, like

Bomb Girls Defused


Global Television has cancelled Bomb Girls by pretending that a made-for-TV movie tying up plot ends is good news. The cancellation is for the usual reasons: low ratings. Lots of other shows have been cancelled for low ratings and some have been famously supported until they could build an audience. Bomb Girls could be such a one and is a good candidate because it does such a fine job of serving an important and underserved demographic: women 18 – 49. Read the rest of this entry

Understanding and Appreciating Attack Ads

Justin Trudeau’s early days in Parliament as the new Leader of the Liberal Party were accompanied by Conservative Party attack ads. Attack ads criticize personal attributes of their targets rather than the policies they might promote. All political parties use attack ads, but the Conservative ads have been harsh and effective. Mr. Trudeau is the 4th Liberal leader in a short time, each of whom were the objects of strong attack ads. Mr. Trudeau follows Stephane Dion, Michael Ignatieff and interim leader Bob Rae, who took over after Mr. Ignatieff lost his seat—and Official Opposition status—in the 2012 election. Read the rest of this entry

Boston Bombing Case Study

The Role of Media in 21st Century Public Life

The April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon and the subsequent events have provided a fascinating opportunity to explore how  the digital media environment has changed life. The affordances exercised in the search for and apprehension of the Tsarnaev brothers has provided a powerful and illustrative case study for the current state of media presence and influences. Some of these have been well-documented by The Washington Post, but the salient items for media study are as follows: Read the rest of this entry

Activity 8.6 Information society – Knowledge society


> What is the difference between information society and knowledge society?

In emerging knowledge societies, there is also a virtuous circle in which the progress of knowledge and

technological innovation produces more knowledge in the long term.

While information is a knowledge-generating tool, it is not knowledge itself.

Information is in many cases a commodity, in which case it is bought or sold, whereas knowledge, despite certain restrictions (defence secrets, intellectual property, traditional forms of esoteric knowledge, for example), belongs of right to any reasonable mind.

A piece of information, “enhanced” though it may be (to eliminate noise or transmission errors, for example), does not necessarily make sense.

Knowledge is information processed for beneficial purposes.”

> Why is information literacy important for communities and citizens to participate in a knowledge society?

“In knowledge societies, everyone must be able to move easily through the flow of information submerging us, and to develop cognitive and critical thinking skills to distinguish between “useful” and “useless” information.

patient and concerted efforts in such areas as education at all levels, technological catch-up in strategic areas of scientific research and the implementation of effective innovation systems.

Will knowledge societies be societies based on knowledge-sharing for all or on the partition of knowledge?

Closing the digital divide will not suffice to close the knowledge divide, for access to useful, relevant knowledge is more than simply a matter of infrastructure – it depends on training, cognitive skills and regulatory frameworks geared towards access to contents.

Some experts have noted that, far from confirming the hypothesis of “dematerialization”, our societies may on the contrary be in the midst of a process of “hyper-industrialization” because knowledge itself has become “commoditized” in the form of exchangeable, and codifiable information.

Knowledge is common good. The issue of its commoditization therefore should be very seriously examined.”


> How is information viewed and valued in your country?

There is a constant struggle for freedom of information in Canada. Corporations—and the government they control—are desperately trying to put controls on information to preserve their business models and profits. This has resulted in a copyright law that threatens to limit Canada’s competitiveness educationally and commercially. The government has a freedom of information act which it constantly frustrates. It has also put a gag order on its scientists to prevent them from outing its climate change activities.

Information is therefore seen as extremely valuable and potentially dangerous, so it is carefully guarded and husbanded.

> How do people regard printed information (e.g. from the major newspapers) compared with information generated in the electronic media?

Newspaper circulation is dropping steadily as Twitter and Google grow. Our national news agency maintains a healthy broadcast system and a quality website. Twitter is popular.

MIL Activity 8.4 Digital literacy for 21st century learning and teaching

What do you think are the benefits of using digital technologies or ICT (information communication technologies) for school or community-based learning?

Currency – recent thinking and reporting

Variety/diversity – broader range of information than what is available off-line

Suitability – info that matches the developmental stages, needs, nationality of the researcher

Responses to the video 10 benefits of digital tech from Amplivox

1 Students love it

‘Students love [technology]’ is a foolish reason to use it. Students love sugar too, but that doesn’t mean sugar should be the engine of learning. ‘Students enjoy learning using technology’ is a better reason. And this is the FIRST reason? Wouldn’t it be better to start with ‘tech use improves learning?’

2 Engages 4 key components to learning: active engagement, group participation, feedback and connection to real-world experts.

Well, tech can if applied well, but this is a very conditional statement. It depends significantly on the choices of hardware, software and their uses.

3 PD

Again, a very conditional statement, depending on what hardware, software and activities are used.

4 Makes life easier for teachers

Rarely, if ever, does tech make life easier for teachers. It requires a learning curve and maintenance. It can make life more interesting and learning more effective, but rarely easier.

5 Improves test scores

A dubious benefit since standardized tests and their scores are highly suspect as measures of real learning.

6 Helps students with short attention spans

Ironic as many detractors of tech claim that it shortens students’ attention  spans. Combined with #1 above, it can help students pay more attention if they are engaged in the learning activity.

7 Learn from the experts – free resources

This is true when the experts are authentic and communicate at the students’ levels. WWW files are rarely leveled for comprehension and development, so need vetting using IL strategies.

8 Encourages homework (flipped classroom)

Ironic again because it means that homework is done in class, which makes it classwork.

9 Saves money – multiplies teachers in classroom

Direct contradiction of the intro, which states that tech will not replace teachers. It is inaccurate, if not bad PR, to call tech a teacher and suggest that teachers should use it. Tech is learning assistance appropriately applied by professional teachers.

10 Removes obstacles to learning

This plays into the hands of the producer (Amplivox), which manufactures and sells an antiquated teaching aid: amplified voice. Their definition of ‘obstacle’ is hearing difficulty. There is no mention of sight impairment.

Overall, this video presents 10 debatable and inaccurate representations of learning with tech. Most significantly, it omits media and information literacy as benefits of tech in learning.

MIL Activity 7.3: Online content and contact – challenges and risks

Share any experience that you or a friend has had with any one of the challenges outlined in Reading 7.3.

I occasionally receive advice from friends that they are forwarding from other friends. One involved remote car locks, describing someone stealing signals and using them to open and steal vehicles. Another involved the dangers in eating certain commonplace foods. There have been several, each one urging immediate actions be taken to avoid calamity or correct a dangerous situation.

How did you/they deal with it?

In each case, I have searched for the phenomenon on  I have always succeeded in finding a result.

What was the final outcome?

In four of the five cases, presented me with either the exact or similar post, then explained why it was a hoax. I copied the URL and sent it as a reply to the person from whom I received the original message.

In one of the five cases, reported that this was a legitimate warning. I also sent that URL back to the sender, with a thank you.

What lessons did you/they learn?

I learned that is generally reliable in identifying WWW hoax messages.

What surprised me is that my friends did NOT learn, and continued to send me unvalidated posts, i.e., did not check the reliability of the data they forwarded to me, even after I told them the last one was a hoax. They seem to be of the opinion that, if it is on the WWW it must be true. Or, that if they received it from a trusted friend, it must be true. I find this uncritical view of internet information disappointing, and an indication that everyone needs increased media literacy.

MIL Activity 6.4

What are the risks and challenges teachers are likely to face in using social networking for educational purposes?

The risks are less than the challenges.

One risk that teachers need to take is to share more of the power in the student-teacher relationship. Students who are given opportunities to exercise their critical thinking skills and abilities to assess and select will usually commit more to a learning activity, as well as learn ancillary skills, such as reflection and responsibility. Some teachers find loosening their control over the selection and processing of activities very difficult, almost impossible. Taking this risk will almost always improve learning.

One challenge can be runaway success. Sometimes students take activities so seriously that they don’t want to stop when new curriculum needs to be studied. Teachers need to find ways to allow enjoyable activities to continue, possibly outside of class time.

Another challenge can be organizational, where teachers need to know where student materials are stored and can be accessed so that projects can be stored and re-started to fit timetables and to assess and evaluate student work.

Security can be another challenge. Some websites have better security and storage, so that students can be confident that unwanted eyes and hands do not hack their work. Students need to design strong passwords, then remember them so they are not blocked from their own content.

A recent challenge has emerged in the form of copyright. Student work is creative and copyrighted to the student, yet some websites claim copyright over their work. Some websites even use student work to promote the websites’ products, thus monetizing student-made texts without either their consent or recompense. This phenomenon provides teachers with opportunities to help students understand copyright, business models and ethics.

MIL Activity 6.3

> In your Learning Journal, list 3-5 interactive multimedia tools, and briefly explain how each of them could enhance learning in the area that you teach.

Popcorn is a video annotation tool that allows users to add notes and links to existing online videos. Demos of the tool can be found at

An exciting application for Popcorn to media literacy learning could involve students annotating videos to demonstrate their knowledge of their codes and conventions, values and audience uses. Specifically, students could download procedural videos and add annotations to extend viewers’ understanding of the processes. They could annotate promotional videos/commercials to extend viewers’ understanding of selling strategies and target audiences. They could annotate scenes from narrative video to extend viewers’ understanding of their codes and conventions as well as aesthetic qualities.

Storify is a curation tool that allows users to select a variety of WWW items, including videos, Tweets, images, then sequence and annotate them with their own textual commentaries. Storify encourages research, selection, sequencing, reflection, writing and sharing.

Google Earth allows students to virtually visit any earthly location. It provides a satellite’s eye view of any place on earth, although higher quality images occur in more urban areas. It DOES allow students to gain an appreciation of distances, locations, and the characteristics of differing locales. Google Earth images can also be integrated into Storify presentations.

> Also in your Learning Journal, provide an overview of about 200 words, explaining the criteria that seem to be used experts in this field (based on your research), comparing this to your personal view about what is needed for an interactive learning tool to be most useful in teaching and learning environments.
My criteria for interactive learning tools:
flexible to accommodate a variety of learning styles and stages of intellectual development
forgiving so that students do not have to be too specific in their uses and responses
must work as promised first time tried or students will abandon them
interactivity must be compelling rather than silly or condescending
scalable to accommodate both simple and complex uses
encourage or facilitate student reflection on learning
In my research for online criteria, there were few, if any, listings of criteria so much as lists and examples of interactive learning tools. One listing did mention ‘authenticity,’ something that I only made tangential reference to in my fourth criterion: “interactivity must be compelling rather than silly or condescending.” There are way too many inauthentic student activities, and one strength of new media is the potential to offer authenticity.