Thursday, January 22, 2009

Re: [MISP] New Mexico's Film and Education Programs Next Steps

Dear Dr. Flores,
Thank you for your comprehensive analysis,  I strongly believe that if we all pull together in the same direction our future, meaning that of the youth in New Mexico, will be make it better for all of us.
Frank Zuniga
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 2:14 PM
Subject: Re: [MISP] New Mexico's Film and Education Programs Next Steps

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Hi everyone...

Dr. William Flores, Deputy Secretary of Education -- and a longtime promoter of both media industry growth and 21st Century skills -- kindly passed along the following notes for his talk at last Friday's NM Media Industries Summit.

Some people still question the prominent role education has had in growing the media industry sector, and the investment New Mexico continues to make in these programs.  I don't think anyone articulates the increasing relevance and strategic importance of education better than Dr. Flores. I urge you to read the following -- especially if you're talking with your legislators and other leaders in your community:

"New Mexico's Film and Education Programs Next Steps: Creating 21st Century Learning Environments"
William Flores
Presentation to the MIX Conference, January 16, 2009:
  • There would be no film or media programs at a many schools if it hadn't been for Governor Richardson's commitment of $10 million in capital outlay funds to initiate a Film Institute.
  • The Governor's Film and Media Industries Council urged development of film programs as well as efforts to attract film production to New Mexico proceed and a plan be drafted.
  • The MISP strategy was developed on a build-out of film and digital initiatives
  • The Governor submitted legislation establishing the Film Incentive Program, at the time the most generous in the country;
  • Eric Witt, in the Governor's office, met with university representatives to solicit proposals.
  • At the time, I was interim president at NMSU and had already begun discussions with some faculty and staff about coordinating the existing film, television, digital arts and simulation efforts on campus. NMSU immediately submitted a proposal, as did UNM and others.
  • The FTTP program was launched spearheaded by John Hendry
  • Over the next few years, with the help of the Governor and the Legislature, several institutions began establishing film programs and film crew training programs.
  • By 2007, 85 films had been made in New Mexico or were under production generating more than $1.2 billion in revenues.
  • Film studios were built or are underway in Albuquerque and Santa Fe and SONY developed an IPAX center in ABQ. Post-production facilities are in the works.
  • The state has supported Lambda Rail, Internet 2, and a Gig a POP at UNM
  • The state has the fastest supercomputer in the world and the Super-Computing Challenge to ignite the imagination of kids in math, science, and computer engineering.
  • We now have film crew programs, animation, digital arts, and simulation courses and programs underway at most community colleges and several four-year institutions. UNM is initiating its BFA program and NMSU has over 200 students in their film and digital arts program.
  • In 2008, the Governor's Film and Media Industries Council, the Governor's office, and the Film Office began working on a new five-year plan (MISP 2).
  • Middle Schools and High Schools have now developed film courses and programs (including Charter Schools devoted to film and media arts)
  • Also, in 2008, HED was asked by the Governor's office to establish an articulation and transfer program from the two-year to four-year institutions with two tracks and to develop various career pathways:
    • 1) two-year to four-year;
    • 2) FTP to AA and BA or BFA and ways in which those working in the industry can earn credits towards the AA or BA.
    • 3) initiate discussions with the middle schools and high schools to articulate their programs with higher ed.
    HED has formally established a Film and Digital Arts Articulation Task Force with representatives from community colleges and four-year institutions. They met yesterday at UNM and the work is underway. This afternoon Len Malry (HED) and Eric Spencer (PED) will present on pathways and dual credit in the high schools. You will hear presentations on the Super-Computer.

While much has been accomplished, there are challenges ahead. The Film Incentive Program is under attack from several quarters, including some in the LFC who feel the program has not produced funds, but cost money to the state. That concern was worsened by the Arrowhead Center study that maintains that the state gets back only 14 cents for every dollar invested. The Film Office has commissioned a separate study that examines a much broader range of revenue streams (such as restaurant and hotel revenues, catering, lumber and supplies, etc.), which will be released by the Governor's office this afternoon. In the past five years, 115 films have been produced here in New Mexico as a result of the Film Incentive Program and billions have flown into the state.

Next Steps: Creating 21st Century Learning Environments

We have to realize that the world is rapidly changing and that New Mexico can be a center for new and emerging industries. Digital arts and simulation are changing our lives. Just think about how our lives have changed in the past decade. We now text message, read our emails on our phones, watch YouTube and network with FaceBook, pretend to be Rock Stars in our living rooms, and play WarCraft with people we can't see who might be in Croatia, China, Egypt, or our next door neighbor. Some of you own islands or have avatars in Second Life. Most of this didn't exist ten years ago. Some of it didn't exist two or three years ago. The world is changing rapidly and we must change with it.

Gaming and simulation are becoming multi-billion dollar industries. While a film is a blockbuster if it brings in $100 million over a three-day weekend, several games that were released in the past two years brought in over $300 million in their first week of release. There are 1 billion personal computers and more than 3.3 billion cell phones in usage in today's world (about 1 for every two persons). Within a few years, Netflix expects to have more films delivered to television and iPods than are sent in the mail. Television 2.0 means you get downloads to your G3 phone and MP3s and iPods. This morning I watched a news clip from CNM and read the New York Times on my cell phone.

Mobile Learning is "anywhere, anytime learning." It has the potential of reaching underserved children, who may not have a computer, but do have a cell phone. It can promote 21st-century learning through social interactions, by fostering collaboration and peer-learning and mentorship. My 15 year old niece took courses online at UC Berkeley because she joined a sci fi blog, started emailing questions, and met a student at Berkeley who encouraged her to take the course.

Today's youth live in an "always on" world, text messaging to their friends, checking their Facebook and MySpace sites, and uploading photos and videos to Flickr and YouTube. They learn from their peers more than they do from their teachers. And, they have learned digital 'work-arounds' to hook-up on line or 'hang-out' with friends (around parental "grounding" or being condemned to "isolation" in their bedrooms to "do homework." Their networking and native use of media equips them for new modes of learning. 21st Century Learning requires that new media literary be integrated into state and national educational standards. USC has formed the Institute for Multimedia Literacy to develop 21st Century literacy skills. The Dean of the School of Cinema-Television at USC, Elizabeth Daley argues that "those who are truly literate in the 21st century will be those who both read and write the multimedia language of the screen." The Partnership for 21st Century Skills urges educators to integrate visual and multimedia literacy into standards and teaching.

21st Century Skills in k-12 include learning to develop and deliver presentations in various media, understand and critique presentations, and express opinions regarding what they see and interact with. For example, some schools now require kids to developing film clips and PowerPoint presentations in the sixth grade. The MacArthur Foundation's study on Living and Learning with New Media argue that educational institutions must learn to take advantage of peer-based learning and learn how to work within these social networking tools, encourage on-line learning communities, and the use of what Chris Dede and others refer to as Serious Games which promote learning and model behavior.

Each day there are more applications for the Virtual World. Serious games can be applied to solve serious problems that face us on health care, city planning, the environment, and many other areas. Mathematicians at UCLA have developed 3 dimensional virtual surgery based on actual patients to permit surgeons to do the virtual surgery before they cut into the body.

The Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. has launched the Serious Games Initiative to encourage simulation applications and platforms for helping solve every day problems that cities, states, and policy makers confront in education, health care, and public finance. There are now FlickR, Slideshare, YouTube, and Delicious channels devoted to Serious Gaming, as well as a Serious Gaming Taxonomy. A Serious Gaming Summit will be held March 22-24th of this year at the GDC in San Francisco.

Through simulation I have "flown" the Space Shuttle, but my heart beat just like I actually in re-entry. Immersive environments create three-dimensional learning experiences. The NSF has funded multi-user virtual environments for leaning, one such project is River City, where students confront sudden illness in a virtual world, a 19th Century city, and have to determine possible sources of the illness, interviewing residents, hospital workers, and victims of the illness. They learn biology, epidemiology, and public health.

Virtual learning disrupts old paradigm of hierarchical school-based instruction with new epistemologies. It promotes situational and active learning, team-work, hypothesis-building, testing, and multiple correct answers, as well as transfer of what they've learned to the real world. Assessment can be based less on tests and more on performance and application. Simulation-modeling and interactive gaming is being used for First Responder Training. NMSU, NMMI, and ENMU-Roswell have an initiative based on NMSU's training project with DOD that is an interactive digital film for emergency training. Urban Planners and water engineers are using simulation modeling to re-envision American cities, transportation, and water systems.

The U.S. Army has already contracted and universities have begun to offer online courses and podcast courses to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Learning Games, simulations, and interactive problem-solving are being used in K-12 to teach math and science in North Carolina among others. A new study, "Pockets of Potential," released this week calls on the Obama administration to establish a digital-investment fund to accelerate educational reform and to promote mobile learning and innovation, as well as 21st Century digital teaching force.

New learning platforms, simulations, immersive environments all are being developed right here in New Mexico. We have major research universities (UNM, Tech, NMSU) and the national labs. We have the Super-Computer and we have a niche that can develop into new start-ups and, later, industries. We should be developing the software, hardware, and learning platforms that can be used to raise student achievement in New Mexico, but that can become applications that school districts and universities all over the country can adopt.

We have been focusing on film and that's a good thing. I am not asking for us to stop making films, but rather to expand into other fields. Film is simply one medium and the new media are opening up markets that we didn't even think about ten years ago.

The connected, integrated, seamless, and interactive world is the reality of the 21st Century. New Mexico should be on the ground floor of this new wave of digital learning and develop industries to meet that new and emerging market. The Film incentive program has started the way. Now it is up to us to map out the new industries that we will develop to grow New Mexico's economy and to become a national leader in the new wave industries of the future. Let this conference be a beginning step to that future!


New Mexico's 5th Annual Media Industries Conference -- "MIX" -- is coming January 17th.  Sign up at

Eric Renz-Whitmore, Program Coordinator
MSC04 2570
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
office:  505-277-2253
cell:     505-227-1086
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