Storify This!

While I was looking over one of my latest archives on storify, I noticed a new feature (well, I think it’s new; this is the first time I’ve noticed it…okay, I just checked and this bookmarklet came out last fall. Where have I been?): Storify this. Storify allows you to add a bookmarklet on your bookmark bar. When you find something on the web that you want to use in a storify story, just click on the bookmarklet to save it to storify. The next time you want to create a story, it will be waiting for you in your story pad. Nice. As this aside might demonstrate, I haven’t experimented that much with storify; I’ve almost exclusively used it for archiving my tweets. Lately I have been wondering if it might be a better way (than embedding tweets in a blog post) for further and deeper reflection on my live-tweets. I can imagine some cool assignments for students using storify…

I’m still live-tweeting the Brady Bunch

Last night @room34 and I live-tweeted two more Brady Bunch episodes:

Vote for Brady (11)
The Voice of Christmas (12)

Here are some things that were particularly striking (in 2 episodes that weren’t that memorable):

Feminism in “Vote for Brady”

Just a few episodes ago, in “A Clubhouse is Not a Home,” the battle of sexes between Mike/Greg/Peter/Bobby and Carol/Marcia/Jan/Cindy (where does Alice fit into this?) explicitly drew upon feminist language and idea(l)s. In “A Vote for Brady,” the conflict between Greg and Marcia has nothing to do with their gender representations. Greg doesn’t make any claims about being more qualified because he is a boy and Marcia doesn’t argue for equality because she’s a girl. It’s as if all of the conflict and feminist rabble-rousing from “A clubhouse is not a home,” which aired on Oct 31, 1969 (less than two months before “Vote for Brady” aired on Dec 12, 1969), never happened. I’m not really surprised, but I still think it’s worth noting how and when the Brady girls ignore/invoke feminist ideals. Ignoring the feminist ideals of equality, women’s rights and deserving to have and do everything that boys can that she spouted two months earlier, Carol (somewhat passively) encourages Marcia to give up and let Greg win the election:

Religion in the Brady Bunch

In “The Voice of Christmas,” Carol is planning to sing at church on Christmas Day. Everyone is devastated (yes, it’s Brady drama of the highest order!) when she loses her voice. As I was watching the episode I was struck by how rarely church is mentioned on the Brady Bunch. I tweeted:

I’m pretty sure this is the only episode in which they go to church. This makes me curious about how religion gets represented in sitcoms (in the 70s and now). The Bradys are considered by many to be a “family values” family. How does religion fit/fail to fit into their world view and daily practices? In what other ways do they represent their faith or spirituality (my BA is in religion and I’m really interested in how religion gets represented in pop culture and gets constrained by limited/narrow/rigid understandings of faith and spirituality in the family values rhetoric of the Christian right)? I think I might have to make a special note of the Brady’s expressions of faith. For example, do they ever pray before bed? Interesting to note: Cindy is particularly upset by Carol’s inability to sing. Who does she turn to? Santa Claus (not God…no tear-filled prayers for her). I’m pretty sure none of the kids say any prayers for Mom to get her voice back. 

Tweeting for 5 and 6 year-olders*

Recently, I came across (via someone? on twitter) an article about kindergarteners tweeting in TriBeCa, NY. I think it’s a really cool project for helping students express themselves, share experiences/events/details with each other and family members and learn important digital literary skills.

The teacher, Jennifer Aaron, has set up a private account that is available for parents/friends. Several times a week she has students collectively reflect on what they did that day. She types it up and then, before tweeting it, they all discuss their statements–are they accurate? do they make sense? are they tweet-worthy? can they fit in the 140 character word count? The teacher also offers up tips for using twitter, like the shortcut of using “&” instead of “and” in order to decrease character count.

Central to Aaron’s twitter project (and, I’m sure, central to the willingness of parents to let their 5 and 6 year-olders tweet in school or tweet at all), is the fact that the account is private and is only used by the teacher (in consultation with the students). While I usually don’t like making tweets private (for me, twitter is about tweeting to broader, sometimes unknowable, users and learning how to navigate online public spaces), I think it works here. It seems valuable to provide younger users, ones that aren’t yet able to grasp the consequences of their public declarations, with a way for learning (from mentors and with other peers) how to tweet responsibly. Then, when they are older and able to have their twitter accounts, they will have developed important digital literacy skills.

I liked Aaron’s idea so much that I was inspired to tweet about it:

Here’s a cool video about the experiment:

One important thing to note: The success of this twitter assignment seems dependent on how “plugged-in” the parents already are. Anna R. Phillips from the New York Times writes:

Ms. Aaron had more difficulty cultivating a following at her last school, which was in the South Bronx, where few parents had Internet connections. But the parents at P.S. 150 are a plugged-in group.

The article merely mentions this in passing, but it seems like a pretty big deal to me. What should/can be done about the digital divide and lack of access to the Internet? Could this somehow be incorporated into a twitter assignment for elementary school kids? I want to do some research on these questions and find out how different schools are using twitter and engaging with access and digital divides.

*My daughter RJP refers to herself as a 6 year-older (as opposed to 6 years old).