Master New Media; a logical choice.
The first week at the Master New Media was interesting and it gave a good view of what we will do in the upcoming year. It is nice to see that the classes consist of so many students from different nationalities and disciplines. It will be a whole new experience for me as a BA student Media en Culture. Although I have research experience in new media, I want to widen my research topics; gaming, participatory culture, social media and politics in this year of new media research.
When I finished my bachelor degree, I knew which master I was going to follow. The Master New Media at the University of Amsterdam was the first option because I followed the BA Media and Culture. Spending a lot of time playing games in my high school years, I started the bachelor Media and Culture in Amsterdam in 2007. In the second year of the BA you had a choice which field you want to specialize in; film, TV or new media. With my gaming experience it was clear that I choose new media as my specialty.
Throughout my BA-career I think there are three main fields of interest. First is the field of gaming. I did research about how we can use gaming, as a concept, in our classrooms to motivate students and to teach several skills. Nowadays, students are distracted almost every second when they enter the classroom with the ubiquitous presence of media in the form of laptops, smart phones, etc. I think gaming can motivate students to pay more attention on what they are learning and keep them highly motivated. This might be a solution to the problem of motivation and as James Paul Gee mentioned: “When motivation dies, learning dies and playing stops.” ((Gee, James Paul. ‘What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy.’ ACM Computers in Entertainment. Vol. 1, No. 1, October 2003)) Besides this motivational aspect of gaming, it is becoming a huge part of the entertainment industry, it is maybe already the leading and driving force. This is one of the reasons that I want to do more research about games and how we can use serious games in our classrooms.
The second field I am interesting in is the participatory culture. I think it had its booming years with the rising of new media in society in the beginning of 2000. I find it very interesting how this participatory culture provides; new links, structures and opportunities in society and your own social life. With the rise of YouTube, back in the days, you can tell that this had a huge impact on the copyright system of music and video. Suddenly, everybody was able to upload and share his or her music/videos with the rest of the world. Besides, what about web journalism and the rise of weblogs in the early years of the last decade. It transformed the journalist sector totally by providing the public more first handed news. News that was not affected by the big news agencies and you, as reader, could empathize more what the writers were trying to say. It gave a more differs look on a conflict because the other side of the conflict now had a voice as well.
The last lineage that runs to my BA-career is the notion that new media have a big influences on politics. In my BA-thesis I did research about how local parties in Amsterdam are using social media. I started this thesis with describing a new public sphere 2.0 that is arising because of the Internet and the use of social media in particularly. People can debate online instead of coming together in big halls to discuss politics. But it is quite difficult to create this new public sphere on the web because anonymity is one of the webs key elements. In this way everybody can dump and say anything online. Maybe this is one of the reasons that online forums and social media are so big. On the other hand, I think it is very interesting to research how these politicians are using social media and coping with this fact of anonymity. And do the politicians understand that there are different rules in the online media compare to the offline media?
After finishing my bachelor I wanted to do something practical with my knowledge of new media. So I started at the Medialab Amsterdam to do a new media project for half a year. I was in the Culture Vortex project that is a part of the Institute for Network Cultures. The aim for this project is; how to get more people involved into online digital collection and let people participate/use/reuse/remix those collections. In our project we got the digital collection of the Netherlands Institute of Sound & Vision in Hilversum. They started a project were they are digitalizing old broadcast material from Netherlands; Open Images. These images are free to share/reuse because they have got a creative commons licenses. I find this an interesting topic to talk about. Especially, are these images public domain or not? Is indeed all taxed payed government work public domain?
We, as a group (Led It Up) of international student from different backgrounds and disciplines, had the task to come up with an idea to reuse these images and show them to a public on a festival. We decided to make a game (one of my interests) around these images so that people got to know about them. We created several games and people could play them against each other on en big LED-screen that was provided by another partner of us, Dropstuff. We launched our project on Festival Mundial in Tilburg last July and it was a great success. Because of this big success at Mundial we are now working on a different version of the game for the Dutch Film Festival on the 21st of September in Utrecht. See you in Utrecht!