Introducing iRemix Sharing: Media & Badges

 

Revisiting the Walled Garden

In order to support safe and focused social learning networks, iRemix has always leaned heavily towards the ‘walled garden’ approach – letting organizations have full control of exactly who has access to their community’s users and content. While we will continue to empower network owners to customize their communities as they see fit, we are implementing new features that recognize the need for user’s to connect their iRemix identities to their broader experience on the web.

The ‘walled garden’ is still there but iRemix network owners are getting more control over determining how their social learning network’s walls should be permeable. We recognize that youth have valuable experiences in many different places across the web. They have their own identity across their ecosystem of websites and online communities, serving different purposes and often with different audiences. We want to empower youth to take the powerful learning that takes place in a social learning network and connect it to their other online experiences outside of iRemix.

We’re proud to announce two new features that we believe are a great step towards better situating iRemix private social learning networks within a larger connected web.

Sharing Work Outside of iRemix

Users have the option to make work in their iRemix portfolio available to be shared on the web. We’ve introduced a new sharing box to the left column on the page for all posts. This area will show the current ‘sharing status’ of the post (i.e. private to iRemix or available on the web), the button to make a post public or private and for public items, share buttons for popular social networks.

On any original post, the user who made the post can decide press ‘Make Public’, they’ll then immediately see a confirmation screen verifying the action and once confirmed the page will update the sharing status as well as present buttons for pushing to social networks. Once a post is made public, any user on that iRemix network will also have the ability to share it across the web.

iRemix Sharing Screen1

Once a public post is shared outside of iRemix, it lets viewers see only the content of the single post and minimal detail on the user. Following a public link to an iRemix post will not give anyone access to your iRemix network. In addition to the content of the post, the public page maintains the branding of the originating network. This provides context for public viewers around where the post originated.

Sharing empowers individual users to take the best of their work and push it out to their networks across the web. iRemix does however allow network owners to decide whether or not this functionality is appropriate for their social learning network. Admins can simply update their network feature settings to toggle the ability to share on or off for any network.

Mozilla Open Badges Integration

In addition to sharing out media that I’ve created, users can also now share badges that they’ve earned in iRemix. We are proud to announce iRemix’s integration with Mozilla Open Badges (http://openbadges.org). Mozilla has created a great infrastructure to support the growth of badges for learning across the web. Learners can create their own Mozilla Badge Backpack and take badges they’ve earned anywhere across the web and organize and share them in a central space.

For iRemix, youth (or mentors) will be able to take any badges currently in their portfolio and push them out to their Mozilla Backpack to share with the world. Its a great step to in supporting learners and organizations in ensuring learning that happens in one space can be more easily recognized and built upon in another.

On the details page for an earned badge users will now see a ‘send to mozilla’ button.

Clicking this will take you through Mozilla’s process for adding a badge to your backpack and wrap up with iRemix confirming the push was successful.

As always, iRemix network owners have the option to toggle this feature on or off. It can be decided network by network whether mozilla badge integration should be activated.

We’re looking forward to seeing iRemix’ers begin sharing their badges across the web!

 

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iRemix Profiles: Part 2

 

In the previous post I explored how students can creatively engage in the construction of iRemix profiles, while also learning to responsibly represent themselves as part of an online community. On the one hand, the affordance of iRemix as a social learning network is that it turns everyday online scenarios into teachable moments. On the other hand, educators can use iRemix’s new media features to deepen students’ understandings of course material. Profiles embody both of these potentials. In this post I show how teachers can use fictional iRemix profiles as part of larger assignments and projects.

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iRemix Profiles: Part 1

 

Students within my Digital Youth Network media arts courses will often ask if they can spend class time creating and editing their iRemix profile pages. For some students, the ability to create online profiles via iRemix is a motivating factor for logging on and participating in the network. For others it is a way to connect their names to a portfolio of projects, kind of like branding.  For whatever their reasons, I have found that setting aside time for students to create profiles helps foster engagement with the network in general. While I only have experience using iRemix for media arts classes, I suspect that many of my social observations regarding profile creation can carryover and be used for more traditional school subjects.

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Tagging and the iRemix Community

 

On any given day during a school week, we can have over a hundred active users on any one of the Digital Youth Network’s iRemix powered networks. With this many students building their personal portfolios, critiquing others’ work-in-progress , and connecting with media producers it is easy for weekly assignments to get lost in the network. During an in-school media arts class at Chicago Quest, for example, I have twenty-plus students all posting individual assignments, not to mention the other nine classes of students also using the network at the same time within the building. With so much activity it becomes important to be able to find each students media at the end of the day. This is when “media tags” come in handy for both establishing an iRemix community and monitoring students’ activities. However, tagging as a standard classroom  practice does not always come about through simple reminders. To make media tagging part of my students’ routine, I have to make sure they also find them useful during my media arts classes.

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Forums and Community Engagement

While students will often describe what they do in Digital Youth Network (DYN) workshops as media production, activities that teach online participation skills are always prevalent in my daily lessons. As an online community, iRemix serves as space for  students to voice their opinions and engage other users. In a sense, this helps them practice the skills needed to participate in online spaces, outside of iRemix. In particular, the “forums” feature is designed for students and mentors to discuss prominent or subtle issues within the community at large.

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