This Salon article full of links to video of actual high school musicals, is a reminder of something that should be rather obvious in discussions of "participatory culture" and schools: that American schools have always been bastions of "a culture in which private persons (the public) do not act as consumers only, but also as contributors or producers." The difference is just that previously the results couldn't be published to a broader audience. That is no small thing, to be sure, but I'm not ready to say that it makes the work better or more important to anyone other than a professor of media studies.
At some point when you're looking at, say, machinima in schools, you need to remember that kids will have the rest of their lives to create little plays with virtual avatars, but being trapped in a schoolhouse provides a unique opportunity to try it out with actual humans and real props and sets.
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