Remixing is a term that has been floating around in the public sphere for around 3 decades. Originally it applied to music and has since spread to other fields such as movies and visual art. This week I was reading Dr. Mashup; or Why Educators Should Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Remix. The article is interesting, but as I read I felt that I had seen this idea before.
In high school and university I remember being given countless papers to write. Most involved me using information from a variety of different sources to create a new piece of writing. Throughout my five years of university and three years of high school, I went through this process countless times. The purpose of a remix “to mix and record the elements (of a musical recording) in a different way.” As technology is always changing this definition has evolved to include movies and other media. However, looking at my past research papers and how I took information from various sources, I believe they too could be considered remixes.
With the advancements in technology, remix culture has become increasingly mainstream. I know I increasingly find myself looking at memes made from my favorite television shows and movies. However, as educators how and why should we care about remixing?
If we think of the classic paper that students are asked to produce as a remix, then what is the problem with students creating a movie using remixes to help demonstrate their point. For example, in a high school English class, if I wanted my students to demonstrate their understanding of satire, or parody, I might provide the option of writing a paper or allow them to create a remix that shows their understanding of the concept.
As I reflect on the people with whom I went to school, I wonder if many of those who were not able to succeed were unable to do so because the option to express themselves a manner that suited them was not available to them. By allowing our students the opportunity to express themselves and their ideas using a variety of remix tools to create a product, whether it be a paper, sculpture, movie, or a piece of music, then I believe that we could see an improvement in our graduation rates. After all, education isn’t supposed to be a set page length or word count, but about the exploring, expression, and development of ideas both old and new.
Remix Now by topgold found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed
Star Wars Uncut: Directors Cut found on YouTube, uploaded by ragingpugh
Everything is a Remix Part One The Song Remains the Same by Kirby Ferguson found on Everything is a Remix