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.

Network administrators have the ability to add “New Users” to iRemix.

Click "New User" to add a student to iRemix

Once you click on “New User,” iRemix requires that you include the student’s “first and last name,” “display name,” “password,” and “email address,” before creating the account. The other non-required spaces, “about me,” “my tags,” “profile image, etc”., I leave blank for students to fill out on their own.

When I it turn over to students and they begin to personalize their display names, change passwords, and upload profile pictures, they are constructing themselves as they want other to see them. Truthfully, who doesn’t enjoy this aspect of social media.

Michael's Profile

I think that this freedom makes it important to discuss, as a class, what it means to create and have online identities, specifically those on iRemix. In my video and fan fiction classes, I stress the importance of representing yourself in whatever way you see fit, without misleading other users on the network. I want my students to creatively construct their profile while also considering the impact of their choices. This helps them ethically consider everything from the hair color of their ”manga avatars,” like what you see above, to the personal information they include in their “about me” sections.

While I focus my students’ attention on their own creative abilities to make profiles, iRemix also allows “mentors,” “network administrators,” and “educators” to edit profile content by merely navigating to a student’s page.

Click "Edit Profile" to Change Student's Content

It may be the case that students will include content deemed inappropriate for a school setting or reveals too much information (phone number, address, etc.). While it may be easy for non-student users to just go in and edit unsuitable content, using such cases as teachable moments helps put the learning in “social learning network.”

In a broader sense, thinking about the platform and specific features, such as profile creation, in terms of teaching and learning helps pull out the potential of iRemix as an educational tool. So while profile creation can be used to teach online ethics, it can also be co-opted for more traditional subjects. In the “iRemix Profiles: Part 2,” I will examine how creating fictional iRemix profiles can engage students in a broad range of classrooms activities.

Banner Image Credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalyouthnetwork/6024797774/in/photostream

Screenshot Credits: http://rw.iremix.me

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