Amy's Whimsical Musings

“Digital Life”: an augmented music video parody #edcmooc final artifact

For the final assessment task in the “E-Learning and Digital Cultures” MOOC (#etmooc) we were asked to, in the form of a digital artifact/artefact

“express a question, an idea, a problem, a hope, a worry or a provocation that the course has raised for you. Consider how you can express something of your own context as an educator, student and/or technologist. What has the impact of this course been on your understanding of e- learning?”

I was suddenly and overwhelmingly inspired to get back in the History for Music Lovers saddle and develop a parody music video. One song called to me – “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. Not only did this have the early 80’s vibe I yearn for, but it was in fact the first video to appear on MTV – an entity which defines my generation. Moreover, the original lyrics center around nostalgia, change, and technology – all elements I wanted to revisit with my new lyrics.

Bare-bones version:

“Pop-Up” augmented version

***you will need to pause the video and explore the hyperlinks (Firefox , Safari and Chrome should work…it depends on your settings. JAVASCRIPT must be enabled. If you can’t see the pop-ups, then please switch browsers)

Screen Shot 2013-02-23 at 5.44.39 PM


1. Lyrics

One afternoon after school I hashed out the lyrics- some lines flowed while others I labored over for 3o minutes or more. I wanted the song to be a social commentary on how “digital life has (fundamentally) changed who we are”. I’m a bit of a technological/media determinist and great fan of Marshall McLuhan, so there’s a lot of influence there. But primarily the lyrics were derived from personal observation of myself, my students, and friends. They are more a reflection of “it is what it is” than a judgement of the negatives. Of course I held fast to my usual cheekiness.

We’ve had the Internet since 1992

And now I never have a sense of “what to do?”

Because  we’re all just nodes- connecting- me and you

Oh-a oh

We wonder if all information should be free

And with our education – how “tech” could it be?

..If our devices might change our biology

Oh-a oh

I’ll get my Mac Pro

Oh-a oh

and go to Google

Digital Life has changed who we are

Digital Life has changed who we are

We’re bi – nary in our hearts

Oh-a-a-a oh

And now we tweet and blog and hashtag all our thoughts

Our children start to play with personal robots

Nothing is real until we Instagram our shots

Oh-a oh

You gotta post it

Oh-a oh

that makes it Le-git

Digital Life has changed who we are

Digital Life has changed who we are

GPS to drive my car

my phone finds me restaurants and bars

Oh-a- oh


Digital Life has changed who we are

Digital Life has changed who we are

Sometimes I think it’s so bizarre

I’m with you but my mind is far

Distraught when I lose Wi-Fi bars

just want to be a YouTube star…..

…a viral video star

2. Recording.

The next day I recorded all the vocal parts using my trusty snowball mic and Garageband. After listening to my exported file in the car for a few rounds I was satisfied that I could start filming.

3. Shooting and Editing

Back when my creative partner and tech guru Herb Mahelona were in full swing with History for Music Lovers we would take a few hours to film a video (several times through with different angles, costume changes, and a hi-def camera). He would then use his magic Adobe After FX skills to craft some elaborate footage. But this time I had no camera and no Herb – I knew I needed to shoot everything with my little iPhone4 and edit in iMovie. Thankfully, the look I was going for was lo-fi vintage ’80s cheesy music video, so it worked (with the help of some contrast altering, disco balls, windy fan, and raster effect).

4. Augmenting in Popcornmaker

From the get-go I know I wanted to release 2 versions – one just-video version and one “pop-up” version augmented with explanations and resources. For this I used Mozilla Popcornmakerwhich unfortunately cannot be embedded (iframe issue) in WordPress. I used my Diigo lists to locate articles and videos I’ve saved throughout the years that would be relevant to the lyrics (some specific ones I had in mind while writing the lyrics).

5. Reflecting

I am really thrilled to have completed this project in a relatively short period, and to have branched out from my usual song topics. More than that I surprised myself in doing everything myself (perhaps I’ll now tackle some Historyteachers videos we’ve had on the backburner). When I released the first version, I received some great feedback from my PLN on Twitter, Facebook, and G+. Someone must have asked their students to compare the original with mine because I happened upon this series of blog posts (and this one )

We’ll see what happens with the assessment, but for now I’m pretty pleased. Hope you enjoy it too.

By the way, my favorite line is “Nothing is real until we Instagram our shots” – what’s yours?

NEW! Theo Kuechel has included this in his thought-provoking post : The Cultural Iconography

32 comments on ““Digital Life”: an augmented music video parody #edcmooc final artifact

  1. Gitte Bailey
    February 23, 2013

    Fav lines are:
    I’m with you but my mind is far

    Distraught when I lose Wi-Fi bars

  2. Absolutely brilliant! What a fantastic job – congratulations

  3. alison
    February 23, 2013

    Amy, thanks for the great video AND sharing your process. Bravo!

  4. Sonia
    February 23, 2013

    Gorgeus! I like a lñot. Great job!

  5. applejux
    February 23, 2013

    hats off lady. superb. 😉

  6. collegeethics
    February 23, 2013

    Hi Amy, I am so impressed. You did all this on a mobile phone???!!!! Very helpful to read about your process. Really inspiring.

  7. Brilliant, Amy – and when I share with my students, they will be able to use your insights to build something oh so much better than they thought! Thank you.

  8. carol yeager
    February 24, 2013

    The process is great fun and the results … ??? a fabulous learning experience !!! Thank you so much for creating and sharing and opening our minds a bit wiser in the process.

  9. carol yeager
    February 24, 2013

    I actually meant “opening our minds a bit wider” and yet, wiser works as well 🙂

  10. David Jones
    February 24, 2013

    Blown away. Fantastic. Hoping this can offer some inspiration locally. Thanks for sharing the process and showing what can be done.

  11. johnfontaine
    February 24, 2013

    Wow. That was really great. I loved the kid with the hashtags. One minor point I think the “we’ve had the Internet since 1992” is incorrect if it is meant to be a historic date. 1982 was the standardization of TCP/IP. ArpaNET launched in 1969. This is all covered in @drchuck’s fabulous MOOC on the history of the Internet.

    • amyburvall
      February 24, 2013

      Yes, I debated about that…but I wanted to reference the launch of the World Wide Web (“information superhighway”) in 1991-2. I know the “Internet” dates back to ArpaNET in the 60’s but for me personally it really took off with the WWW in 1992…I knew that would be an issue so I stuck it in the augmented version. I guess when I sing “we” it means the masses rather than humanity.

  12. wryerson
    February 24, 2013

    You are a video star in my book…I am amazed at what you’ve created!! This EDCMOOC has introduced me to such brilliant and amazing people Thank you!

  13. Derek C. F. Pegritz
    February 24, 2013

    BITCHIN’! As a fellow child of the ’80s and a major New Wave freak, I worship The Buggles/Trevor Horn like a god–and this is a very fitting update to his work!

    • amyburvall
      February 24, 2013

      that is the best compliment (I grew up saying “bitchin'” to just about everything in SoCal.

  14. Amy wang.
    February 24, 2013

    This is very inspiring! People worry that they are lost in the massive content in the class, I think I got enough out of it just to see this video, especially the augmented version. I am inspired! I hope the faculty would promote this in their website so more people can see it.


  15. cathleennardi
    February 24, 2013

    Amy. Last week I told you I hoped it would go viral, and this week I wanted to thank you for posting the process and sharing the augmented version. Your creativity is inspirational, and your movie, of course, is bitchin!

  16. Sarah Siegel
    February 24, 2013

    Brilliant! You *are* a video star. All of them were my favorite lines. How very clever this is. I have seen only the bare bones version and will come back to the annotated one. Thanks for the gift.

  17. Pingback: Soundbitification | Amy's MOOCs: Professional Digi-velopment

  18. Jonathan Purdy
    February 24, 2013

    Fantastic, what a great music vid paraody and popcorn version collection. The popcorn augmentations are still keeping me enthused..some I’ve stumbled across already but many I haven’t…I now have a binary name, thanks

  19. Pingback: “Digital Life”: an augmented music video parody #edcmooc final artifact | Erin Luong's #Etmooc Experience

  20. Heikki Hallantie
    February 25, 2013

    I liked Amy’s work very much!

  21. Giulia Covezzi (@giuliadid20)
    February 25, 2013

    My favourite digital artefact, brilliant!

  22. Valentina Jaramillo (@vj_CR)
    February 25, 2013

    Awesome work!! Great example of creativity!!! Kudos!

  23. Maddie
    February 26, 2013


    My fav,

    Now I dont have a sense of what to do
    Nothing’s real till we instagram our shots
    Distraught when I lose wi-fi bars

  24. Pingback: #edcmooc Final Artifacts | ilonka hebels's blog

  25. David Wees
    March 1, 2013

    Freaking amazing. I’ve shared it widely. Very cool.

  26. Charlie Gerancher
    March 2, 2013

    Thanks for insight into your process. I’m not wondering about making something similar for elementary level children on various topics. But, I’d like for students to be the stars. Thanks for more inspiration. Finally, if you haven’t seen his stuff, check out “Mr. Parr’s Videos”. I shared his “Water Cycle Song” with my students this past week. It was a natural magnet for them.
    Check it out here:

    Mr. Parr has a series of science videos put to popular songs. Very cool.

    Rock On!

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