The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

Category — Making Connections

Making Connections

Personal Connections– Learning

Four years ago I suffered an injury that tore one of the tendons that controls movement in my thumb. I eventually regained use of the thumb and was able to perform all daily activities with little trouble. All except one. It was difficult and very painful to write. So I turned to using the computer. I bought myself a laptop and thankfully my part-time job was a fully computerized environment. At first I saw it as a very efficient substitute writing tool; it was much quicker to type than to jot down notes. About half a year later I began to feel that learning was becoming more difficult, and causing more fatigue, and my creativity had been highly impacted.

It wasn’t until I took this course that I began to really investigate the relationship between the two.

In thinking about the definition of text and looking at the evolution of writing spaces and technologies made me reflect on my current and previous modes of learning. Earlier notes were meticulously underlined, highlighted, written in different colours (while also possible on the computer, rarely used these functions because I owned a black and white laser printer). The handwriting was all over the page, with little clumps of information, connected by arrows and diagrams. The margins were reserved for ‘outside links’, where I made personal connections and devised memory aids to help me synthesize and remember information and ideas. This practice also extended to any papers, textbooks, and novels that I read. However, the injury discouraged this and I ended up typing a few notes on the computer (instead of directly on the page—which made the information feel … disconnected).

Remediation

The concept of remediation was also very useful in my understanding of the difficulties with embracing technological use in schools. As a TOC I visited many schools and saw many classrooms wherein the computer lab was used for typing lessons, KidPix, or research. Many schools also have Interactive White Boards (IWBs), and teachers use them as, in essence, a very cool replacement for a worksheet. Remediation helps frame and pinpoint the reason for this phenomenon: the use of technology is not just a set of skills, it’s a change in thinking and pedagogy. Literacy is not just literacy anymore, it has become multiliteracies and Literacy 2.0. Teachers cannot continue to teach reading and writing the same way as before, because text is not the same anymore.

December 22, 2009   No Comments

Connecting a Course

Strength of Weak Ties

As other 540ers have confessed, I also did not devour every word posted in our multiple places. It truly would have been overwhelming (at least for me!) to keep up with the assigned readings, interactivities, and assessment for multiple courses and then read everyone else’s assessments and commentaries. It tended to mirror the overall information overload of today that was an undercurrent or tangent of many 540 discussions. In many ways it felt as if ETEC 540 were a mini-information overload all its own. To cope, after the course’s first, few weeks, I tended to zero in on posts from particular people. Initially, I fooled myself that running eyes over the screen on everyone’s entries constituted reading their posts. This could almost be conceived as a double cheat given the course’s focus! However, I did favour certain contributors over others. I do wonder what I missed by this concentration, but it does seem to suit the course content. Discussions in the last two modules communicated heavily around the students of today soaking up and using information differently and I do view it as a coping mechanism. Part of the changing spaces of reading and writing is organization. Ordering how we locate, access, evaluate, and synthesize the data and information as personal sense-making and way-finding. The ambush of information in 540 made me realize I need more work in this area. Owning up to lacking organizational skills is an extremely difficult truth for a librarian to face!

Another Kind of Divide

Many interesting posts centred on the digital divide in every sense of the word – age: natives to immigrants; economy: haves and haves not; format: print versus digital. Another splice of this was the divide between practice and theory. I believe this was most apparent in Module 4’s “Modern Literacy and New Media”. Rise of the spectacle took a back seat to discussing personal and practical observations on the benefits of using images in delivering curricula. This was representative of another personal challenge with 540. The breadth of posts provided great interest, but made depth difficult. With such user-generated content and course direction, the possibilities are truly endless. It was a hurdle to contribute to postings that really did come from every possible angle. I suppose I learned too long another way. My experience with education began with “sage on the stage” and progressed through to “guide on the side”. ETEC 540 evolved as we went and was based on participants’ experiences. Since we are speaking of making connections, I never fully transitioned to free form. Perhaps I am too used to guiding principles and regulations – to prepping for a focused discussion of material.

Takeaways

I cannot say that the postings’ positions, although persuasive, changed my approach or understanding. (Perhpas I am just stubborn…) However, my formerly strong notion of advancing continuum did collapse. The prompts and postings highlighted the recursive nature of technologies and introduced the notion of how much of the previous is taken forward and revisited beyond that.

On a practical note, the interesting ways colleagues are using web 2.0/social media did inspire. Although my focus is on post-secondary faculty, I can easily tweak (steal!) class colleagues’ innovative ideas. It was also comforting to find (especially though the Rip Mix Feed strand) that not all MET candidates think in code and text in their sleep. The mix of what appear to be innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority. and perhaps a few laggards was very non-threatening. The heterogeneity of MET courses continues to impress.

Although not a benchmark recognized outside of me, the readings and postings of 540 provided the most number of entries to my notebook of pull quotes. I can predict they will be heavily consulted and used moving forward in the MET program and my work.

December 19, 2009   No Comments

Connections

Making Connections

I have found this  course to be enthralling. Beginning with the very first assignments in which we looked at the changes from orality to print, my attention was captured. In my role as a library media specialist, I have found ways to incorporate our activities in class with collaboration with my teachers. For years I have struggled to convince my teachers of the acceptability of Wikipedia as a resource. When the comparison was made between the development of the Oxford English Dictionary and Wikipedia, I found the pathway to acceptance. Our readings on the development of a print based society with the development of the scroll and codex enabled me to make connections with students as well as discuss with teachers how the format of print MAY have influences Aristotle’s plot structure. Interestingly enough, one of our Grade 7 Social Studies standards addresses the changing formats of communications, so I am developing a unit around the change from scroll to codex to digital—my social studies teachers are willing to let me teach it!

While I enjoyed both Ong and Bolter, I found Bolter’s writings to be more palatable because of the conversational tone of his writing. Ong’s more scholarly format was more difficult to comprehend; although I found his premise that the shift from primary orality to literacy changes the way humans think to be quite thought-provoking and fodder for many collegial discussions. Bolter’s writings were quite intriguing as well, particularly his concept of the Web as a textual universe. Kress’s article and his premise that a multimodal approach to communication is necessary sparked an interest in multimodal forms of literacy and the dichotomy which exists between the artificiality of educational institutions and real world literacy; forming the basis for my project. My project has since taken on a life of its own,  and I am scheduled to investigate some business training simulations in January in order to contrast them with educational simulations.

As Erin demonstrates in her final project, a dichotomy exists between the world our students inhabit outside of the classroom and the educational world. As educators, our mandate is to prepare students for the world they will enter and to find ways to bridge the gap between the educational arena and that world. As  George Siemens expresses, the ability to see connections between fields, ideas and concepts is a core skill and one which most students fail to master.

December 18, 2009   No Comments

Connections

I have thoroughly enjoy ETEC 540 I wish I had more time to mull over some of the ideas- but taking 3 courses don’t allow for that pleasure.

For my connections I decided to look at different postings, commentaries, projects and papers on images and how these are changing the way we think. .

In the discussion forum people have lamented the decline in the prominence of text and the rise of the image. Comments like “ images tend not to promote higher level cognitive functioning”, or communication is suffering as a result of the rise in images reflect many people’s fears of the rise of the image. Bolter says that images lack “narrative power”. .

Personally I think we should celebrate the rise of the image and what an exciting dimension it will bring to our understanding of the world. .

Tracy Gidinski in her final project “The Holocaust and Points of View” begins with an image taken during the holocaust because it “allows for students to connect with the past with people who where roughly their own age.” The students could have read text written by students the same age- for example The Diary of Anne Frank, but I doubt it would provide the same impact this photo has. She goes on to say that it will also allow for students to see different points of view. This is interesting because often text does not allow for various points of view- only the one the author presents. Kress (2005) says that images are far less open to interpretation. Rich Biel says, “I would argue that images can be manipulated to highlight different aspects of the images and downplay others and thus lead viewers to interpret the images in a particular way. This requires viewers to interpret- a higher level thinking skill.!.

In a post supporting the image Maureen Coyne quotes Driscoll,” Graphic representations have been particularly effective in facilitating encoding and memory storage of information” (Driscoll, 2000, p.106). .

In addition, graphics help learners acquire “structural knowledge, which represents relationships between concepts in a content domain” (Driscoll, 2000, p.106). As a result, I think a decline in textual modes of representation is not such a bad thing considering graphics help learners learn easier..

Sarah Wood in her research project Photography :History and Cultural Impact says “Photography (image) is a more powerful medium than written or oral discourse to communicate messages of social importance. The visual stimulus forces people to look and decide for themselves what the truth is. I think this makes a very important point-even if text allows for more thoughtful consideration-it does little good if it doesn’t attract peoples attention. .

In the book On Photography Susan Sontag (2001)makes a valid point about the rise of the image or more what she perceives as the decline in print literacy. She says at one time reading and writing were activities for the elite. In order to democratize the world, the goal for universal literacy has been pursued. She feels that the only ones who consider traditional literacy to be superior are academics and so once again they will become a medium only for the elite. While I think there is truth in this, I believe that while traditional literacy is democratizing, I think visual literacy is even more so. Sarah Wood says “ Photography reduces language barriers and no longer requires the audience to be literate to decipher the message.” .

While I agree that the image is becoming more powerful that text I don’t think we need to worry. Just as we teach people to read and think critically about what they read, we need to teach people how to read images. I appreciate Caroline Faber’s post ,”While I do appreciate that there are times when the exclusive use of either photos or text is appropriate, it seems more that the coupling of the two results in the greatest degree of understanding.”.

Through the weeks we have explored the changes in communication from orality to hypertext. There is no doubt that each one has changed our culture significantly and so to will the next ones. And we will always have those who react to the change with criticism (which is not a bad thing). Change is what humans do best. We will perhaps stumble and make errors but ultimately we will adjust to the changes until the next one comes along.

December 7, 2009   No Comments

Connections between my learning and my life

This course has allowed me a unique opportunity.  As a Teacher-Librarian I am mired in questions about the future of print and often find myself challenging my colleagues to see beyond what they percieve to be their role today and to honestly look at how they may need to morph that role to meet the the changing space of reading.

As many of my classmates have stated I particularly enjoyed reading the work of Bolter.  His writing style held greater appeal for me as a learner.  I found it to be much less scholastic than that of Ong and this too may indicate a paradigm shift in how people read and gather information.  Like my Net Generation students I am moving most often in a digital world.  I expect to be engaged in the material.  I want to be hyperlinked and hypermediated.  The MET degree that I have almost completed and my Bachelor of Education degree have both been done without ever setting foot in a library.  I did not conduct a catalogue search, wander through the stacks or crack open a dusty tome. 
I, too, am experiencing a remediation of print.

Having an opportunity to question my beliefs about this “unprecedented” change in reading and writing that we are currently experiencing has been the best part of this course for me.  I truly enjoyed the chance to see that while the scale of the change may, indeed, be fantastic in the digital world it is but one of series of major remediations that has occurred as text and technology have evolved.

Additionally, I would like to thank all of my colleagues for their generosity of thoughts, ideas and observation as we have co-created the community weblog together.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your work and have learned more from the collective in this case than from the “published” authors. 

On a personal note, for all of you who sent messages to me as I went through this most difficult of terms, a most sincere thank you. 

Cheers,

Louise Thomson

December 4, 2009   1 Comment

Making connections… one frame at a time

The process of creating the social media projects has proved incredibly rich in terms of practical application of theoretical ideas from the course.  I chose to pursue a slideshow montage for my presentation and after exploring various sites, discovered that there were many approaches to creating slideshows.  Some sites (slide.com) offered bare basic applications which allowed for slide show creations in minutes, but with few means to truly personalize the show.  Other sites offered extensive possibilities for paying users but limited to no services for site visitors (kizoa.com). 

            As I attempted to locate a site which would meet my needs I tapped into the resource of extensive know-how within the course via course members.  Responses directed me towards sites such as Photopeach, Diigo, XTimeline, Capzles, and Slideshow, realizing that these sites, together with the rest of the list of sites I was accumulating, were representative to an enormous diverse amount of program options available.  I began to explore multilingual options as well, such as Myslide (myslide.com), available in both French and English. 

After entering into a conversation in the discussion groups led by Erin, I realized the potential value of a site which would list some of the social media technolgies available for use.  The site could be organized in categories alphabetically, and be filled with social media application resources added by MET students based on MET student needs.  The Wiki can be found at Social Technologies List and provides a stepping off point for a comprehensive, non-overwhelming, useful tool for searching out useful social media technologies.  I was pleased to come across Ryan’s bookmarks on Del.icio.us boasting an extensive list of links to nearly a hundred social media sites, all tagged effectively for easy reference.

The slideshow was still in the midst of creation and needed some attention.  In realizing that I had been thus far unable to find a site that offered everything I needed, I chose to utilize Kizoa, which allows for great affects which I could not create through another program.  I knew that I would have to combine programs to achieve the effects I was looking for.  Because the school district I work for does not allow open program downloading, I located and utilized, for the first time, and online photo editor to add text to my images thus working around a restriction within the Kizoa program.

In the end I achieved an effect which was very close to that which I had in mind at the onset of the program.  In exploring the projects of others I saw that this theme of pre-existing ideas which did not seem to fit within the framework of certain programs was not unique.  A video montage had been created, after I imagine, hours of work, but had been abandoned as programming shortcomings interfered with actualization. 

John created a great Photopeach slideshow about a trip to Asia, Travels to Asia, including textual information to guide the viewer through his memories, brought me back to my own trips to Hong Kong a few years ago.  Peg created a wonderful Slideshow of miscellaneous experiences over the past few years in her Museum of Memories.  Noah offered an artsy slideshow, Sunshine, complete with music to set the scene, about Vancouver.  The pictures brought me back to the time I spent living in the lower mainland and the beauty of and relief experienced from seeing the sun come over the mountains on the city.

I must say a personal favourite would have to be the witty slideshow movie created by James.  Initially as I opened the show entitled, How to Cook a Hard-Boiled Egg I expected a brief cooking show, much the same as the 5 minute video recorded cooking shows my grade 9 students had created for the class.  I knew in the fist few slides that I would not be learning how to cook this egg and instead would enjoy a hilarious, witty, satirical look at the extensive memories and feelings a hard-boiled egg can be responsible for creating.  I also had to chuckle at the line from the Beetles song he chose, chiming in at the perfect moment, “I am the Egg Man.” 

Seeing the various programs available for slideshow creation and realizing the seemingly limitless possibilities made me realize not only the potential needs that could be met with such programs, but my own goals and preferences as well.  While slide.com would be great for teenagers looking to put together a s quick show and link it to Facebook, Twitter, or Bebo, other shows offered extensive possibilities in terms of text (mytimeline.com), music allowances, (Photopeach), artsy photo effects (Kizoa.com) and more.  Slideshows can be an extension of artistic creations or a simple way to collect images in one place to share with others.

Some other great slideshows to view are:

What a great activity with incredible results! 

Caroline

December 4, 2009   No Comments

Connections

In trying to make some final connections between my own research on Graphic Novels, increased literacy and multimodal texts, I read a few of the projects that seemed most relevant to me.  What follows are my thoughts. (Just pretend the italicized words are my thought bubbles.)

I just want to remind myself to consult Drew Murphy’s Wiki on using Digital storytelling for the reluctant reader.  It might be an interesting contrast to what I did for my project.

http://wiki.ubc.ca/User:DrewRyan#Creating_Classroom_Community_Through_Digital_Storytelling

I turned out his project was more about engaging students in storytelling using digital media, rather than getting them to read more.  I think that would be an excellent next step to promoting reading with graphic novels and other types of visual media.  As I thought when I read the title, this is an excellent example of a further remediation of text.  As Bolter describes it, one technology building on the other.  In the same way, the skills learned using multimodal texts allow the reader to progress onto the next, more sophisticated media.  The use of digital texts also allows even more input and creativity from the writer (consumer as producer).

This quote from Noah Burdett: “With the need for speed a literate person needs to be able to think critically about the material in terms of its relevance and its authority.”  NoahBurdett_ETEC540_majorproject  http://blogs.ubc.ca/etec540sept09/2009/11/30/final-project-literacy-and-critical-thinking/

“To become multiliterate “What is also required is the mastery of traditional skills and techniques, genres and texts, and their applications through new media and new technologies” (Queensland, 2004). “from Learning Multiliteracies by Carmen Chan

Philip Salembier discussed the New Literacy and Multiliteracies in From one literacy, to many, to one.

He really explains how we have to be prepared as teachers and parents to understand that literacy means more than reading and writing and that digital literacy is not just understanding how to navigate the internet.  All of these are aspects of the new literacy, along with social networking skills.

Fun interactive story http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:ETEC540/2009WT1/Assignments/MajorProject/ItsUpToYou by Ryan Bartlett.  Might use this style to get the seniors to do a research project on Social Injustice.

Finally, just because this one blew me away! From Tracy Gidinski http://blogs.ubc.ca/etec540sept09/2009/11/29/the-holocaust-and-points-of-view/ I hope I can use this style at some point either with my Marketing or International Business class or perhaps even a simpler storyline for an FSL course.

December 2, 2009   No Comments

Hyperculture

The last two chapters of Bolter (2001) were an excellent choice to close our readings.  As an aside, I would like to say how much I enjoyed the sequencing and intertextuality of the readings in this course.  Most courses I have taken offered carefully chosen readings around the key ideas and topics, but none linked them so successfully and recursively as was done here.  It was helpful to my own thinking and enjoyable to read Bolter on Ong, Kress cited in Dobson and Willinsky, and so on.  I could cite such pairings all the way back to the first readings.  It’s one of those subtle displays of good pedagogy that makes me wonder if I could do a better job selecting and sequencing the readings in my classes.

It was inevitable.

It was inevitable.

To return to Bolter, however, the argument that the technology used for writing changes our relationship to it (p. 189) seems almost self-evident.  I know that my approach to writing changes when the tool is a pen versus a word processor.  And it is largely for this reason that I avoid text messages.  I worry how typing on a tiny keyboard with my thumbs to any great extent would affect my relationship with writing (which is already sufficiently adversarial).  The discussion of ego and the nature of the mind itself as a writing space was also interesting.  I’m not sure that I can follow where Bolter leads when he suggests that if the book was a good means of making known the workings of the Cartesian mind, hypertext remediates the mind (p. 197).  That, it seems to me, accords too little to the ego and too much to networked communications—at least as they currently exist.

Bolter is certainly correct, however, when he asserts that electronic technologies are redefining our cultural relationships (p. 203).  This is especially true for my students.  Writing in 2001, Bolter preceded Facebook by at least three years, but he could have been doing Jane Goodall-style field research in my school (watching students use laptops, netbooks and handheld devices to wirelessly access Facebook) when he suggests that we are rewriting “our culture into a vast hypertext” (p. 206).  My own efforts at navigating the online reading and writing spaces of the course were, I fear, somewhat hampered by having lived most of my life in “the late age of print.”

I didn’t post a lot of comments, although I attempted to chime in on the Vista discussions.  What I realized late in the game was that I should have been more active in posting comments to the Weblog.  The strange thing is that I enjoyed reading the weblog posts—and especially enjoyed reading the comments people made about my weblog postings.  For some reason, however, that didn’t translate to reciprocating with comments in that space.  Perhaps it’s because I’m not a blogger or much of a blog reader outside of my MEd classes.  I still prefer more traditional (read: professional, authoritative) sources for news and opinion.  Though, truth be told, I probably read as much news and opinion online as in print. It doesn’t hurt that the New York Times makes most of its content available online for free and that I have EBSCO and Proquest access at work.  It might also be because the other online courses I’ve taken in the past two years tended to use the Vista/Blackboard discussion space as the discussion area, so I think of that as the “appropriate” space for that type of writing.  It’s fascinating to analyze one’s own reading and writing behaviours and assumptions in light of what we’ve read and discussed.  It also takes me again to my own practice as a teacher.  When I next use wikis, for example, with my students, I will try to devise a way (survey, discussion tab in the wiki, etc.)  to find out how they believe their previous online reading and writing experiences influence their interactions and contributions.

References

Bolter, J.D. (2001). Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

December 2, 2009   2 Comments

Connections & Reflections: A Visual Learning Gestalt

Hello People,
Making Connections:
Unfortunately, I have not been able to post in proper sequences this term, so please forgive the late entry here. Also am hoping the size of the visual works better, it shows up fine on the preview….am hoping it does not shrink as it did on my last post[!]

An attempt at a visual gestalt: Reflections on ETEC 540

This is my attempt at constructing a visual representation of my own personal learning trajectory through ETEC 540. I really believe that the more complex the information, the more important the visual component [as a way of communicating] becomes.

Ideas around Connections: New Knowledge
The ideas I was working with here including trying to map out how course content [the four modules] and topic areas [the remediation of writing and the legacy of orality] tracked through western cultural and political history, fused with my own prior knowledge and with the incredible resources available [including other students and online media] to create new knowledge for me.

Fusion of Content:
Content is so rich in this course [including contributions from fellow students] that all that is shown here are broad strokes and highlights of major subjects, authors and texts within ETEC 540. It is not meant as a comprehensive representation of the course, but more as a visual aid, a conceptual window into one student’s personal learning path, reflections that fused with conceptual connections, to form a kind of visual gestalt.

Thank you! to everyone for all the information shared, learned a tremendous amount from those around me in this course, as usual.
Yours,
Barb
Here is the Visual:

ETEC540ConnectionsReflections09

December 1, 2009   4 Comments

Making [Re]Connections

This is one of the last courses I will be taking in the program and as the journey draws to a close, this course has opened up new perspectives on text and technology. Throughout the term, I have been travelling (more than I expected) and as I juggled my courses with the travels, I began to pay more attention to how text is used in different contexts and cultures. Ong, Bolter and the module readings were great for passing time on my plane rides – I learned quite a lot!

I enjoyed working on the research assignment where I was able to explore the movement from icon to symbol. It gave me a more in-depth look at the significance of visual images, which Bolter discusses along with hypertext. Often, I am more used to working with text in a constrained space but after this assignment, I began thinking more about how text and technologies work in wider, more open spaces. By the final project, I found myself exploring a more open space where I could be creative – a place that is familiar to me yet a place that has much exploration left to it – the Internet.

Some of the projects and topics that were particularly related to this new insight include:

E-Type: The Visual Language of Typography

A Case for Teaching Visual Literacy – Bev Knutson-Shaw

Language as Cultural Identity: Russification of the Central Asian Languages – Svetlana Gibson

Public Literacy: Broadsides, Posters and the Lithographic Process – Noah Burdett

The Influence of Television and Radio on Education – David Berljawsky

Remediation of the Chinese Language – Carmen Chan

Braille – Ashley Jones

Despite the challenges of following the week-to-week discussions from Vista to Wiki to Blog and to the web in general, I was on track most of the time. I will admit I got confused a couple of times and I was more of a passive participant than an active one. Nevertheless, the course was interesting and insightful and it was great learning from many of my peers. Thank you everyone.

December 1, 2009   1 Comment

This is it!

I must be honest and admit that I simply could not take in all the assigned readings, the forum discussions, the wiki building, and the community weblog; however, I was able to learn a lot from what I could absorb.   Reading Ong and Bolter were some of my favorite activities in ETEC540 for a couple reasons.  The first reason was that I really enjoyed seeing the contrasting views of these two authors and the second reason was that the reading was on paper.  Even though I have a nice new monitor, my eyes could only handle so much digital reading and I found myself craving reading an actual book.  That was an interesting realization as we were learning about different writing spaces and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Before reading Bolter, I found myself seeing eye-to-eye with Ong.  His great divide perspective about technological determinism is so black and white and makes sense.  Then we read Bolter and his humanistic perspective not definitively labeling a cause and effect relationship on the remediation of writing was slightly disconcerting at first.  Being more of a humanitarian myself, I have come to agree more with Bolters ideas than Ong’s.  By understanding their contrasting views of text technologies, I was able to gain a solid understanding of the implications of the evolution of writing all the way from papyrus to Web 2.0.  To be honest, I as slightly impatient learning about all this history while I was reading about it, but I am glad to have as good of perspective on writing as I do now.

The collection of material created by my classmates on the community weblog is incredible.  There are so many creative and innovative ideas incorporating much of what we have read about and lots of other knowledge brought to the table from outside this course.  Our blog is a good example of the wisdom of the crowds and thankfully most contributors have added appropriate tags and have categorized them accordingly making it easy to find connections in the contributions.  I only wish I had access to our community weblog indefinitely for an instant source of inspiration!

Thanks to all of you for sharing all your knowledge and making this a very enjoyable course.

December 1, 2009   3 Comments

Negotiating Spaces and Making Connections

Throughout this course we have interacted with several spaces for reading and writing: our course wiki, the community weblog and the discussion boards. We have also engaged with several spaces outside of the course through peer projects that make use of websites, videos and Web 2.0 technologies. For me, this course has really been about how reading and writing changes within each of these digital spaces.

Bolter (2001) states that “the reflexive character of each technology permits writers to find themselves in the texts they create and therefore to know themselves in new ways” (p. 189). The discussion forums were an essential reflection tool for our course. In the Digital Literacy and Multi-literacies forum, Kathleen Cavanagh reflected on writing in online forums and provided a list of best practices on creating postings that grab the attention of the digital reader (Do Web Browser Affect Literacy, Nov. 21, 2009). In the same thread Erin Gillespie pointed out the importance of generating community for knowledge creation. She also mentioned how ‘the personal touch’, ‘shared insights’ and ‘co-construction of knowledge’ are what makes discussion forums motivating and engaging (Nov. 24, 2009). Drew Murphy followed up by stating that “posting[s] could become a very intense learning experience when people’s ideas are squeezed into a small, community space” (Nov. 24, 2009, para. 2).

Within the short 13-week span of our course, I believe we have built a learning community through simultaneously making use of multiple digital reading and writing spaces. Though work-related challenges limited my participation at times, this environment for me, extended my understanding of the course concepts as my peers provided unique points-of-view. Through individual postings, we collectively pulled together ideas and in turn each person could come away with a new understanding of themselves.

Online, our thoughts can be hyperlinked and thus be flexible, interactive and quickly disseminated. This made me think about how the spaces within our course shift our writings from being informal (discussion threads or weblog comments) to being formal (assignments posted to the weblog, wiki, etc.). However regardless of what is posted, in these content spaces we continually move between being consumers and being producers. Just look at the Community weblog to see exactly how much content, we as a group have generated in such a short amount of time. Then look at all the links we have generated!

In terms of readings, I particularly enjoyed Bolter’s chapter “The Breakout of the Visual” as well as Dobson and Willinsky’s article “Digital Literacy”. With the proliferation of images in multimodal realms there is a need for students today to be multi-literate. In the Multimodality and the Breakout of the Visual forum, Dilip Verma stated that he sees graphic design skills as eventually becoming “as valued as spelling and grammar in the 21st century” (Nov. 5, 2009). In another thread entitled “Visual/Textual?” Kelly Kerrigan reflected on how visual representation has become prominent in society today and that MET courses reflect this transformation by encouraging students to explore different modes of representation. ETEC540 supports this claim as we have had the opportunity to present our work in shared digital spaces, leaving room for us to make use of hypermedia and hyperlinks. It was interesting to peruse the projects where people took a more visual approach:

Final Project – Graphic Novels, Improving Literacy
Catherine Gagnon

A Case For Teaching Visual Literacy – Bev Knutson-Shaw

Pen and Paper Project – Ed Stuerle & Bruce Spencer

Navigating the Hypermedia Sea – Marjorie del Mundo

Hopscotch and Hypertext – Liz Hood

I thoroughly enjoyed this course and appreciated the opportunity to engage frequently in the various spaces of the course.

References

Bolter, J.D. (2001). Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

November 30, 2009   2 Comments

Invention

Working from the starting objectives of the course I have linked some of the best examples of how we as a learning community have met these objectives and how the objectives have influenced my understanding and changed or confirmed my opinions.

Through the posts, the authors examined such varied topics as the invention of specific aspects of writing, determinist and digital divide concepts, current technological innovations and the impact of the visual.  As a group of authors, I feel that the commentaries and the projects reflect the movement as a group through a thoughtful consideration of how writing has and is modifying human societies.

On a personal level I feel that we are currently involved with that modification, and those that reviewed and discussed current debates appear to fell the same.

I have used key words from the below course objectives entered them in the community weblog search engine here is what it cam back with.

  1. Students will consider how the invention of writing, the fundamental technology of all literate societies, has modified human ways of knowing.

commentary-1-an-observation-of-how-orality-and-literacy-have-changed-interactions-between-people/

Title is very self-explanatory.

verba-volant-scripta-manent/

The desire to make orally transmitted information permanent.

whats-wrong-with-ong/

This was harder to place but the nature of the Digital Divide and deterministic challenges I would place it in this category.

before-the-rapture-of-capture/

I found the discussion surrounding the search for information particularly interesting after having made the argument that we need to include critical thinking as part of literacy in my major project.

ibrary-2-0-searching-for-meaning/

technology-and-nature-fusion/

refuting-the-theory-of-the-great-divide/

writing-changed-the-act-of-teaching/

cautions-and-considerations-for-technological-change-a-commentary-on-neil-postman%e2%80%99s-the-judgment-of-thamus

technological-determinism-reductionism-and-the-great-divide-a-commentary-on-w-j-ong/

the-white-flag-of-surrender/

research-assignment-3tv-to-radio/

on-the-air-educational-radio-its-history-and-effect-on-literacy-and-educational-technology-by-michael-haworth-stephanie-hopkins/

how-did-we-get-to-number-1/

unintended-consequences/

yatate-the-writing-technology-of-the-samurai/

invention-of-the-telephone/

perceptions-pre-and-post-gutenberg/

telegraph-the-old-information-super-highway/

icon-to-symbol-its-implications-on-visual-literacy-and-education/

formal-response-2-the-evolution-of-culture-from-oral-to-visual-dominance/

language-as-cultural-identity/

rise-of-cinema/

an-overview-of-a-remediation-from-scroll-to-codex/

hypertext/

revolution-of-communication/

In revolution of communication Sara brings up a great point, one that I wish to expand upon. The rise of web 2.0 allows us to move back towards a characteristic of oral societies and that is knowing the person on a close level that is communicating.  With web 2.0 we are able to develop relationships and build communities with many people around the globe and thus interact and partcipate with the knower on an ongoing basis.  A possibility that was not available due to physical special and time constraint that held back other forms of writing.

web-2-0-2/

Deb Giesbrecht explored the concept of invention through the invention of the idea of Web 2.0 and discussed the recent applications that have been invented to facilitate the interactivity and interconnectivity and participation characterized by the concept of web. 2.0.

November 30, 2009   No Comments

Final Connections

            After reading all of the commentaries 1 and 2 and up to last night the commentary 3that had been posted I have several conclusions to share. Bolter 2001 mentions “analytical reflection” (p.193) and this has been evident in many of the commentaries that I have read. As teachers many of us have accepted that technology must be part of our future curriculum, but not without reservations. We are worried about teacher training, adequate access to technology for everybody, not just the privileged few, critical thinking skills and finally assessment.

            We have voiced our fears and some have shared their knowledge and skills with those of us who are just beginning on this journey. We have formed connections, some of which, I hope will last for a long time. Bolter (2001) says that “writing unifies the mind”, but I think writing these posts have unified many of our thoughts.  He further states that “Electronic communication is increasingly the medium through which we form and maintain our affiliations” and I hope that our blogs and wikis will prove this is correct.

          This is a formal goodbye, but I hope to meet many of you again someday whether online or in person. Thank you for all of your knowledge and wisdom.

November 30, 2009   No Comments

Making Connections / End of Semester Reflections

End of semester reflections.

This was my first semester in the MET program and the past few months were quite a change from what I am normally used to. Not only were these my first online courses I also had to readjust to being a student again. I decided to take a sabbatical from my district this year in order to work on the MET program fulltime, and it was quite a challenge for me.

I thoroughly enjoyed the reading for this semester. I particularly enjoyed reading the Bolter book. Although the Orality and Literacy book was a dense read, the information presented in the book was extremely useful and relevant, not only in this course, but in all of my courses. In taking 3 courses this semester a few things occurred to me. The MET classes are certainly a community in their own right. I have started to recognize names and even the type of writings and views that many of my peers have. I have really enjoyed getting to know everyone, in a virtual way at least.

Posting the projects to the community weblog was a unique experience. Although I am versed in internet and technology technologies this was a challenge for me. Although I read many, many blogs and wikis, I rarely contribute. I am not sure why this is. By requiring us to post on the weblog, it helped me in terms of feeling like I was part of a community. As well, it made me realize that this really is the way that literacy is going to be taught and presented in the future. All in all I had a great experience in this class, and in the semester in general.

David.

November 30, 2009   No Comments

Connections and reflections

This course was my first with UBC and it was a (how can I describe it?!?) somewhat stressful, engaging, rich, eye-opening experience. Having taken my first 5 courses with ITESM, I must say that working with UBC is very different: from the planning and design of activities, methodology and resources used- completely opposite. This was the first course in my MET classes that I’ve worked completely alone… that was a handful to take in.

From the experience this semester taking two courses with UBC, I can honestly say I won’t do it again! LOL! There were a lot of very interesting readings and discussions going on that I sometimes wasn’t able to digest because of the massive amounts of information from both courses.

I also have to admit I wasn’t at my best this semester because of personal and work-related circumstances, and although I did read very interesting posts and comments from everyone, sometimes I couldn’t get around to responding. One thing that was very encouraging though, was to find “classmates” willing to give you a hand and share their experiences and expertise wholeheartedly.

I learned to enjoy (I didn’t at first!) browsing and reading through the Weblog, it really spices things up and changes methodologies from the very structured Vista work format. I enjoyed the folksonomic (cloud) tagging, it’s a very visual way to identify were the group was heading to.

I really enjoyed Bolter’s book since it was a very “light” reading, yet full of interesting and powerful statements and messages. I’ve also managed to make my online archive of readings and sites from this course which I’m sure I’ll use later on.

Regarding the course topics, the ones I mostly enjoyed were “Orality to Literacy” and “Literacy and new Media”. These were very engaging topics I hadn’t discussed or analyzed as we did in this class.

Thank you for commenting on my posts and for engaging in rich, motivating discussions. I hope we’ll meet again in another course!

November 29, 2009   1 Comment

Text Technologies – Making Connections

The following is a summary of my overall learning from the course. The “catch” is that I tried to use all of the tags from the weblog’s tag cloud in order to indicate the making of connections. This was actually a little more challenging than I initially anticipated!

The changing spaces of reading and writing are represented through both text and technology and demonstrate a cultural shift in the way we produce, consume and manipulate words and ideas. Oral cultures, through storytelling, laid the foundation by which future generations would evolve into literate cultures and ultimately, the printing press ensured the immortalization of the written word. Artifacts of the past serve as visual reminders of the changing way in which text is defined and technology is defined. Through technology, the concept of literacy has exploded to encompass multiliteracies in an effort to recognize the different ways we come to read and understand information. Modern affordances of typographic culture, such as the wave we are currently riding referred to as Web 2.0, encompasses the remixes and mash-ups that are blurring the lines between traditional methods and innovation. Moving forward, it is clear that hypertext will continue to redefine the way traditionally stagnant language is represented and ultimately, text technologies will be at the forefront of change in education, communication and, of course, writing itself.

November 26, 2009   4 Comments

Making Connections

Throughout the course there has been a lot of reflections in our Blog posts, and many of my classmates have commented on how the very nature of posting to the Blog has made them reflect on how they do so. Some individuals get right into it and type directly into the Blog, others type their entire post in a word document first, to be edited and polished before posting, and others do a mixture of the two methods or alternate between one method or the other depending on the topic or nature of that particular post or comment.

 

The very act of reading and commenting on each other’s posts requires us to reflect and express who we are, what we believe, and what knowledge and ideas we hold and/or chose to change. I really like how Bolter (2001, p.190) describes this as, “…we write both to express, to discover, and to share who we are, and in a postmodern age our written identity is, like hypertext, dynamic, flexible, and contingent”.

 

I have appreciated the use of tagging specific words within our posts to organize and categorize our topics and key words as it made it much easier to jump to similar-topic discussions. The diversity and creativity of topics, images, and ideas that have formed our online collection is stunning. There have been a lot of images and videos used in the Blog posts, not more or even equal to the amount of text (which has been massive!), but there has definitely been a “breakout of the visual” (Bolter, 2001). With the ease of uploading or linking these visual forms of representation, our Blog has become a visual world which has allowed us in many cases (my own posts included) to simply let the image or the video ‘do the talking’ and express the point we were trying to get across to our peers. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.  This was the case in the following posts:

 

The Media Revolution by Ashley Jones

Technology by Liz Hood

Melding the two T’s by Drew Ryan

New technology, old concept by Ashley Jones

Technology – definition by Lindsey Martin

Shedding the light on the meaning of technology by Ashley Jones

A matter of metaphor by Peg

Working smarter not harder by Ed Stuerle

Technology = system by Erin Gillespie

Derrida and writing by Stuart Edgar

Text by Stuart Edgar

Text by Liz Hood

Text we R, text i Am by Svetlana Gibson

Text by Noah Burdette

Text us…. by Ana Cecilia Tagliapietra

 

Although I have chosen to focus on the connections made on the Blog site, I have also really enjoyed using Vista and the Wiki. Using three different platforms has allowed for different methods of expression, high levels of creativity and an increase in the sharing of knowledge. Thank-you everyone for the excellent contributions and feedback, from which I have learned so much!

 

Resource:

Bolter, D.J. (2001). Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print.London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

 

November 24, 2009   1 Comment