Beyond These Walls

Learning everywhere

Remix of the remix: All mixed up.

I watched RiP: A Remix Manifesto  this week (recommended by Verena Roberts), an open source documentary. At 1:27:21 this film is a time commitment. I was trying to get into the deep end with this open network topic quickly (I am there now!).

The film opens with the manifesto and provides intimate glimpses into life stories of six people are living the remix.


1. A culture always builds on the past.

2. The past always tries to control the future.

3. Our future is becoming less free.

4. To build free societies you must limit control of the past.

Watching the film provoked two other ideas to fall from my brain attic (stored away since the lovely languid days of summer).

The first to fall was a quote from Joi Ito that: “we have obedienced ourselves out of our ability” and further that “disobedience is really what creativity is at some level, you don’t get a Nobel Prize for being obedient.”

There exists a disturbing juxtaposition in mainstream education in rewarding those who do not re-mix and are consistently iterative.

We (the system) penalize and extinguish those who do remix. Ironically, the former is redundant and devoid of connected thought. The later invites us to be active and forge new connections for ourselves.

The control in our system frowns on remixing content freely and demands we (students and teachers) remain within strident content lines (I see barbed wire). We discourage and even condemn pushing beyond boundaries of content (ie using creative dance to explain DNA replication is viewed as artsy, frivolous and therefore frowned upon, think “Will it be on the test?”).  Moreover cross-pollination between disciplines is frowned upon and this works to strengthen both isolation and the razor-sharp lines of how content must be represented.

In Unlearning How to Teach (my second stored nugget) Dr. Erica McWilliam, suggests that “teacher and student [should] mutually [be] involved in assembling and dissembling cultural products.”  Further she states that the ” teacher who does not add value to a learning network can – and will – be by-passed.”  Students will (and have already) discount our value as teachers if we cannot in a real way become co-creators with our students.

Dr McWilliam’s paper stuck with me, although at the time I found it unsettling. In particular I have hung Titanic-survivor-like in the frigid waters to:

“the capacity to move outside the discipline because there is no threat in entering a larger and more strongly contested knowledge world.  One is strong enough in one world to be prepared to be uncomfortable and ignorant (at least temporarily) in another.”

Now for some serious remix…


8 responses to “Remix of the remix: All mixed up.

  1. Pingback: MASHUP or MIXUP Manifesto? « reflectiveteacher2012

  2. claireonline January 24, 2013 at 5:31 am

    Hi Carolyn,

    I watched ‘RIP’ over the winter break and really enjoyed it. Since then I’ve been exploring more of Lawrence Lessig’s work (Lessig was featured in ‘RIP’) as I try to get a better handle on the concept of Open. Earlier this week, I downloaded Lessig’s book Free Culture and am looking forward to getting a chance to read through it. It is really interesting to see how copyright has been twisted around to protect big company’s like Disney, who’ve basically built their company on re-mixing works in the public domain.

    Watching ‘RIP’ definitely challenged my views about remixing and reuse and I like how you’ve framed it in terms of education and innovation. You mentioned the example of using interpretive dance to represent DNA replication; is it your students who see it as artsy and frivolous? Curious as I used to use role playing when teaching DNA replication as well as for protein translation.


    • Carolyn Durley January 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Hi Claire, I was half way through commenting and then got sidetracked! Yes I too have been exploring Lessing’s work since it was mentioned in the first #etmooc session by Alec. Now I am noticing him mentioned lots of others places as well. I am still struggling, wrestling this topic as it is a new one for me, but know it has been something I have left over looked for too long.
      I find others teachers can be judgemental of non traditional projects, such as the example of traditional dance. I find many view only a paper pencil traditional test as a legitimate way to show what you know. I think this is a cultural thing amongst teachers. I think doing role plays or anything active is a great way for students to wrap their mind around something conceptual as replication or protein synthesis. I would love to hear how the project plays out for you and your students.
      Thanks for the comment and looking forward to reading your latest post today as I catch up on #etmooc!

      • claireonline January 30, 2013 at 2:40 am

        Hi Carolyn, that’s disappointing that you’re finding other teachers judgemental of non traditional projects. I’ve had those conversations too where some teachers are ok with doing those activities, but when it is time to give a grade they stick with only assessing ‘traditional tasks’. Frustrating. I usually found that my grade 12 students were OK with the role plays especially when I framed in terms of being a good way of learning a relatively complex process and when they know it is not the only way that we will be looking at things.
        Thanks for the conversation!

  3. Wayne Batchelder January 25, 2013 at 2:23 am

    Wow! I love your sharp precise words/ideas mixed and remixed. The Ito quotes caught me, as I have been looking through etmooc blogs for some diversity and passion that attracted me, someone who shares meaningfully and obviously is interested in deeper levels of what it means to learn and facilitate in the exciting chaos that we are living. And of course remix – I think I started that technologically about 5 years ago and no-one really cared (at my school). I developed a course (college – web design program) several years ago, where creating a PLN was the course outcome. It was designed as the first class our students took, and intended that they would continue to develop and grow their PLE/N skills. I later did my PhD on the process and my study was with a core group of learners from that course after they moved on into upper level classes. They were amazing. They were not just self-directed, they were zooming beyond the curriculum to what they wanted to learn. They are all very successful in their careers now. But there was no support or interest from the school or even my colleagues. They simply informed me that all teachers must present lectures! I am redesigning and updating the course this quarter, and it is exciting for me and I don’t listen to the distractions.

    Thank you for the refreshing thoughts you shared. Now I can move on and find others as I have not found many to connect with yet. My blog is not as exciting as your writing, but I would gladly accept your comments if you have the time. Being retired from full time, helps : )

    • Carolyn Durley January 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      Hi Wayne, I apologize for the lag to my response, but so appreciate the honestly and intent of your comment. I love the idea of creating a PLN as a course outcome, I am teaching/developing a Social Media course at my high school and still in the first year formulating stage, but that would be a great course outcome. Sorry to hear that you did not get the support and encouragement for your ideas and course. I know from my own personal experience that it sometimes seems easier to get support from people not in your physical environment, that is why I am so thankful for twitter and my PLN. (Are you out on Twitter? I looked for you but no luck 🙂 )
      I feel honoured that you enjoyed my writing in anyway. Connecting through #etmooc has been a bit challenging for me as well, but I know from my time on Twitter that it takes time to cultivate real connections and they start small and grow slowly over time.
      Will definitely head over and check out your space, great to meet you here Wayne!

  4. Wayne Batchelder February 3, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Thanks for your response Carolyn, and my twitter is @wayne_b – I may not have entered it in the etmooc.

  5. Pingback: Creativity: A Short Aside « Clarify Me

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