Final Project Update #2

I’m still in the hand coding stage in this project. I had to refer back to some JavaScript video tutorials. I’ve started work on the main page, and one other sub-page, but I haven’t accomplished much yet. My pages are very basic, and I’m trying to get some creative inputs from other blogs to improve the visual aspect in my website. So far, I’ve created the header,footer, body, left navigation and logo section. Using JavaScript, I want to make a horizontal sliding webpage, but it seems like a far fetched dream at this point. However, I’m confident that I can accomplish it eventually if I keep playing with the code. I still have a long way to go in this project, but I sort of enjoy creating websites, so I can’t complain.

Final Project Update #1

I’ve begun collecting the content from the individual who asked me to do the website. So far I have a good amount of text, and media to get started. I’m also looking at different educational websites to get an idea of how I should move forward. I’m working on the JavaScript code, in bits and pieces, so I can include it in the HTML documents later.  I made a basic wireframe design in Balsamiq, so I have a model to depend on while hand writing the JavaScript and HTML code. The biggest hurdle I’m facing at this point is I know how to incorporate, and write the pages in HTML, but I’m trying to work in a way that I use maximum of the JavaScript programming skills that I’ve acquired so far.

Designing Culture – New Text – 3

Word Cloud of key terms by Anne Balsamo

Reading this book made me think about how key terms really differentiate the work of each scholar. Anne Balsamo’s work  on the subject of New Media, sets her apart from other scholars due to her unique approach and ideas. She uses everyday terms like imagine, and innovate as the main central idea in her book.  All of us think of innovation when it comes to technology, but imagination is something we tend to overlook. The terms in Designing Culture make it a highly provocative book, which pushes the reader to think and act.  Below are some of the important key terms, with accompanying quotes from Designing Culture:

  • Technoculturethe interaction and politics of technology and culture.

“Technoculture must be understood as a historically specific formation: it is contingent on particular historical actions and forces, but not necessarily determined by them.” (Balsamo, 8)

  • Technological Imagination: A mindset that enables people to think with technology, to transform what is known to what is possible. allow for the continuity of cultural experiences across generations.

“The education of technological imagination is not just the business of engineers and computer scientists; on the contrary it is the responsibility of educators across the curriculum.” (Balsamo, 7)

  • Innovation: technological innovation: Balsamo gives us ten lessons of Technological Innovation. These lessons help us in gaining an understanding of her definition of Innovation.

“Those who engage in technological innovation are not simply involved in the creation unique consumer goods, digital applications, gadgets, and gizmos, but also in the process of designing technocultures of the future.” (Balsamo, 5)

Balsamo, AnneDesigning Culture: The Technological Innovation at Work. Duke University Press, 2011. Print.

Designing Culture – New Text – 2

There are only four chapters in the print version of Designing Culture. Since they form the main important aspects that Anne Balsamo tried to convey through her work, I wanted to do a review of them in the wiki page.

Chapter 1 – Gendering the Technological Imagination 
This chapter is an extension of the discussion on the topic of gender from her previous work. Balsamo states that, “Technology was always gendered. We just didn’t recognize it as such.” This chapter draws heavily from many feminist theories. The chapter begins by explaining how “intrinsic aptitude” is known to be the cause for imbalance in high-level positions held by men and women in many sought after fields. Towards the end of the chapter, Balsamo argues that the aim of femenist technocultural studies should be to theorize and critically analyze the situation of gendered subjects.  As a femenist, Balsamo herself intents to participate in the act of designing technoculture in ethically and socially responsible ways.

Chapter 2 – The Performance of Innovation
In this Chapter Balsamo shares her experiences as a member of RED (Research on Experimental Documents). This was a collaborative research group at Xerox PARC. They were responsible for creating experimental reading devices and new media genres. Balsamo shares her experiences as a new media designer for the development of RED’s interactive museum exhibit, XFR: Experiments in the Future of Reading.

Chapter 3 – Public Interactives and the Design of Technological Literacies
This chapter focuses on the literacy a designer must always take into consideration when designing interactive media. Balsamo examines new forms of literacy and scholarship. It also reflects how the interactives draw on existing literacies and require new ones for the future. It looks into the ethics of designing public interactives.

Chapter 4 – Designing Learning – The University as a site of Technocultural Innovation
In this chapter Balsamo discusses Designing Learning, and examines the role played by the University. According to Balsamo, in the Digital age new contexts and new habits create new subjectivities. This chapter also lays focus on the field of digital humanities in the University, and its role in transformative research. Balsamo touches topics like Education 2.0. She makes references to work of  other scholars like Henry Jenkins and Sherry Turkle. In the final section, she discusses how the future is shaped, and spaces are created due to the innovative research.

Balsamo, Anne. Designing Culture: The Technological Innovation at Work. Duke University Press, 2011. Print.

Designing Culture – New Text – 1

The book I chose for this assignment is Designing Culture by Anne Balsamo. I chose this book since I was impressed by the reviews on Amazon which emphasized the deep connect between culture and technology. After doing some research online, I became completely in awe of  Anne Balsamo. As a new media theorist she does a thorough job of presenting her work.
I think as important as theory is in this field, it has to be backed by some sort of obvious practice. Anne Balsamo’s website related to this book is so very interesting. One can easily tell she spent a ton of time, creating a interactive Flash website. I often notice how few scholars, write heavily about technology, but they fail to invest time in their blogs or websites. Since this is a transmedia project, it makes sense to collectively read the print version of the book, and to go through the contents in the website as well. The website was a bit more interesting to me, as it kept me engaged the entire time.Below is an overview of the contents of the website:

Print:  This page has a brief introduction to the author, her research interests, and a brief description of the book.

DVD: The print version of the book is accompanied by a DVD, titled “Women of the World Talk Back”. This resource is on feminist activism, and how it is affected by multimedia.

Exhibits:  This is the most interesting page in the entire site. It has many interactive exhibits. And furthermore, it has a Marshall McLuhan analyzer, that presents the exhibit based on what he would have to say about it.

Wall:  This page has many interesting wall books, which take the user on a journey through the histories of reading. Again, the use of flash to build these pages is outstanding.

Maps: This page has a bunch of amazing mind maps, that present topics such as the museum, technology etc. It basically maps the technological imagination.

Videos: Here are a collection of videos, related to topics in the book. Some of them are created by Balsamo, but few of them are her selections of interactive applications.

Blog: Here Balsamo basically goes into length to discuss some key aspects of her book.

Below, is a presentation of Balsamo talking about the book a few weeks before it released. In the presentation she talks about the highly interesting subject of technology and culture by the numbers. She also focuses on the transmedia aspect of her project, and gives us a short introduction to the book. This video is worth a watch to get the author’s perspective and context of the book.

Balsamo, Anne. Designing Culture: The Technological Innovation at Work. Duke University Press, 2011. Print

IT & R JavaScript Tutorial – Overall Reflection

After some rigorous bonding with JavaScript, I feel I can confidently say I know a lot more about this programming language than I did before. I have to admit it is not as complicated as I thought it was. However, it’s a vast language, and it will take me sometime to master all the intricacies of the script in this language. Here is a brief overlook of what I learnt from the previous tutorials

IT & R 1

  • How to start a JavaScript section within an HTML document
  • Code to write within the head tags
  • How to create interactive Alert boxes

IT & R 2

  • Creating forms
  • Creating objects
  • Finding and learning from useful JavaScript related tutorials on the web

IT & R 3

  • JavaScript code is usually not used independently, it is inserted within HTML files to make pages more interactive
  • Found some cool JavaScript websites which had sliding and scrolling features.
  • Got an understanding of how JavaScript was used in Pinterest.

As a final exercise, I used Codeacademy to learn the basic JavaScript coding. There were a total of eight JavaScript practice lessons. This, by far taught me the most about this programming language, and I also had a lot of fun practicing each lesson.  I was stuck at a few points, after Lesson 5 but I went back to the previous lesson, and built up my skills. Codeacademy has Q & A forums that help users understand where they went wrong. I didn’t feel like a novice, since the code was not given, but I had to understand, and correct myself.

Thanks to Codeacademy I feel confident about doing the following in JavaScript:

  • Creating question boxes
  • Creating Alert boxes
  • Doing Math calculations
  • Playing with Numbers
  • Creating assigning and declaring variables
  • The difference between Lower Case and Upper Case code
  • Assigning strings and substrings
  • Substituting and replacing code
  • Writing comments
  • Assigning array values
  • What if/else statement

IT & R JavaScript Tutorial 3 is the example I chose, for discussion about JavaScript. The reason I chose this is because it’s one of the popular websites, built completely in JavaScript. The interface design, can be one of the major reasons for individuals accepting this site so readily. Although the website may not seem very dynamic, it is a highly interactive site. The design is quite simple, but the interface is very user friendly. There is an option to switch between people, pins, and boards. Transitioning from one page to another, and opening various pinned items is very easy.

Unlike many websites that are heavily loaded with content, this site has absolutely no issues.   It almost functions as a search engine, as it stores a ton of information. A separate section is allotted for videos. The categorization feature helps users to search within the website. Each section, genre, and category are properly demarcated, and available to click on when the user wants to. Thus, Pinterest functions as a great example for utilizing the JavaScript programming language.

IT & R – JavaScript Tutorial 2

This week I decided to learn something more significant about JavaScript, and found a YouTube channel that had forty tutorials just for beginners like me. Although I must admit I didn’t get through watching every single video, I watched at least 20-25 that seemed important in terms of the JavaScript language. Some of them were related to if/else statement, forms, and objects. I will confidently recommend this channel to anyone wanting to learn basic principles of coding in JavaScript. The videos are simple, easy to follow and the best part is one can simultaneously code in a program like Notepad++ while the guy gives out step-by-step instructions. Below I’ve added the first tutorial that’s an intro to JavaScript tutorial. I started learning coding by following step-by-step instructions from a book, therefore these tutorials really helped me ease into the process of practicing coding in JavaScript.

Another major plus point about the presentation in these tutorials is the way JavaScript is taught as a basic programming language. The other tutorials like the ones from W3C schools that I experimented with, were so complex and advanced, they gave me a sense that JavaScript was too intensive to learn in a short period of time. However, the YouTube tutorials that I mentioned above are a lot more helpful in terms of the mastering few of the important practical concepts of JavaScript.

IT & R – JavaScript Tutorial 1

As this is going to be a self-learning experience, I gladly created my plan of action for this project. I decided to learn about programming in JavaScript, based on what I already know in HTML. For similar learners, the information in the quote below  provides an important starting point to tackle JavaScript.

“Hypertext markup language (HTML) is a language used to create Web pages. The HTML language is interpreted by the Web browser, and it delivers the images and text for the user. JavaScript is a more advanced language to make Web pages dynamic. Both these languages have differences, but they are used in unison to present websites.”

The first difference is seen in the head tags.
1. The tags used to begin and end a script are the <SCRIPT> and </SCRIPT> tags. In the title the following JavaScript tag is used for script type.

<script type=”text/javascript”>

Focusing on the dynamic and interactive nature of JavaScript I learnt two important tag elements for this language.  Using the “Try it Yourself” option found at this link  I created buttons, and alert boxes.

2. Unlike HTML webpages JavaScript is dynamic, therefore creating interactive buttons is vital in this programming language.

<button type=”button” onclick=”()”>All About New Media</button>

3. Alert boxes are another interactive and useful feature in JavaScript. To create alert boxes,

In the head tag

function show_alert()
{alert(“Hello! I am an alert box!”);}

In the body tag

<input type=”button” onclick=”show_alert()” value=”JavaScript Tutorial in Progress for ENGL 766″ />

The Language of New Media (Post # 2)

The following quote by the author Lev Manovich encompasses his personal goal through this book,

“It is my hope that the theory of New Media developed here can act not only as an aid to understanding the present, but also as a grid for practical experimentation.”

Production Process 

As our group was trying to tackle the question about the Production Process, I found the above video, which clearly tied in with the research related content in our book. Taking the writing research class last semester, I learned about research methods, methodology, sampling, surveys etc. In this video Manovich talks about his experience as a professor and his research methods. Many scholars can gain and learn from his methods. He demonstrates how he uses advanced technology to analyze games, images, and other visuals. Therefore the depth of his research work clearly comes forth in this video.

 Film and Cinema 

“The Language of New Media” was quite an intensive read, since it heavily relied on film theory. Some of the terminology used by the author was very deeply rooted in film and cinema related studies. I found a map that made connections of all these terms. Lev Manovich talks a lot about how new media has evolved from the old avant-garde art of the early 90’s.

After reading this book, and many positive reviews on it I’m convinced that as a literary and pedagogical text this book has great classroom potential. The term “New Media” is defined, in a very useful manner with much clarity and depth.

Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001. Print