The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

Category — Uncategorized

Teachers Unite

As I read and re-read the “Digital Literacy” article by Dobson and Willinsky and “A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies” by The New London Group, I couldn’t help thinking that something was missing.  Both articles put forth new ideas and provided the reader with valuable and thought provoking information and yet were incomplete.  What is missing is a page in the articles which explicitly states how to “creat[e] access to the evolving language of work, power, and community, and [foster] the critical engagement necessary for them to design their social futures and achieve success through fulfilling employment.” (The New London Group, p.1)  The multiliteracies approach strives to fulfill the above goal, which is a noble one, but the article left me wanting practical strategies which I could use in my Grade 5 classroom, consisting of students ranging in reading and comprehension levels from none at all (ESL students as well as native speakers) to Grade 7.

The authors of the “A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies” article assert that “literacy pedagogy now must account for the burgeoning variety of text forms associated with information and multimedia technologies.” (p. 2) I absolutely agree because if we don’t, then the students will not be able to fully participate in and take advantage of the new media.  I also strongly believe that we must not give ourselves wholly to the new.  We must also make room for three R’s – Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.  For the students to be able to fully participate in their community they must be well grounded in the basics of reading and writing.  I am not sure if we can skip the basics but I am sure we can teach concurrently with teaching them to navigate the superhighway of the new technologies.  The authors agreed that the “disparities in educational outcomes did not seem to be improving.” (p.3)  They went on to state they agreed that “what students needed to learn was changing, and that the main element of this change was that there was not a singular, canonical English that could or should be taught anymore.” (p.3)  The article was written in 1996 but I am glad we still teach the standard English language, including Canadian spelling.  “[Cultural] differences and rapidly shifting communications media” (p.3) notwithstanding, we must have a clear picture of what it is we want our students to achieve and how we are going to do it.  Having a single standard of English language will not hamper students’ progress.  If anything, it will help level the playing field as long as we teach it to all students and expose them to the cultural differences and the rapidly shifting communications media.

The idea of multiliteracies is a sound one but we must not stray too far from reality with its bright, vibrant and multi leveled students who come from an incredible array of backgrounds.  We must remember that many teachers who are currently working in the classrooms come from pre technology based education and will need instruction and support to themselves become comfortable with the new technology.  Not all teachers are yet comfortable in giving up the reins of power and the repositories of knowledge and allowing their classrooms to become collaborative environments not just among students but with the teacher as well.  The change to a classroom where the teacher is the facilitator in students’ acquisition of knowledge is here but it is far from being the norm yet.

The authors assert that “as educators, we have a greater responsibility to consider the implication of what we do in relation to a productive working life.” (p.6)  As educators, we must be cautious not to focus all our efforts on teaching solely to the “working life” of students and the demands of the marketplace.  It is one thing to teach our students to be adaptable, innovative, creative, critical thinkers but we must be careful which one we promote:  “as opening new educational and social possibilities or as new systems of mind control or exploitation.” (p.7)  The authors, when stating that “it may well be that market-directed  theories and practices, even though they sound humane, will never authentically include a vision of meaningful success for all students” (p.7) need to take a stronger stance and state that it will never include all students, and it should not include all students.

If “our job is not to produce docile, compliant workers” (p.7) then we need to allow students to question, teach them how and then allow them to question the teachers and the information presented to them and the way it is being presented.  We cannot ask students to “develop capacity to speak up, to negotiate, and to be able to engage critically with the conditions of their working lives” (p.7) without allowing them to do the same in the classroom.  We must go even further and demonstrate it by questioning ourselves.  We cannot produce students who are critical thinkers by ourselves being “docile, compliant workers.”

I feel that these articles highlight the disparity between the academically centered educators, and those of us in the trenches.   While their ideas are good, they lack grounding in the real world issue of a modern classroom.  If we are to achieve a true multiliteracies approach, there must be a melding of the classroom teacher and the academic educator.

Dobson and Willinsky’s (2009) chapter “Digital Literacy.”   Retrieved November 15, 2009, from http://pkp.sfu.ca/files/Digital%20Literacy.pdf

The New London Group.  (1996) “A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies:Designing Social Futures.”  Harvard Educational Review 66(1), pp. 60-92.

December 7, 2009   1 Comment

Reflections and Connections

ETEC 540

Revisiting Commentary # 1 and Reflections

A Symbiotic Relationship: The Written and Spoken Word

Writing, the new technology of Plato’s era, was being promoted as the elixir for improving memory. It was seen as the “specific tool for memory and wit.” However, Plato argued contrary to this and suggested that it would foster “forgetfulness in learners’ souls.”  Plato further elaborated that learners would have a show of wisdom without reality.  Ironically, Plato had his ideas and teachings written down and this is why we have access to them today. Walter Ong (1982, 2001) suggests that it is impossible for pre-literate cultures to operate as literate ones do. According to Ong writing has led to the expansion of literacy and a restructuring of human consciousness. He does not see this as negative as he states, “[t]echnology, properly interiorized, does not degrade human life but on the contrary enhances it” (Ong, p. 82). He also suggests that to understand writing “means to understand it in relation to its past, to orality, the fact that it is a technology must be honestly faced” ( Ong, p.82). Neil Postman (1992), on the other hand, seems less accommodating in his pronouncement that [n]ew technology alters the structure of our interests: the things we think about. They alter the characters of our symbols; the things we think with. And they alter the nature of community: the arena in which thoughts develop” (Postman, p.120). Regardless of the criticism leveled against new technology, my experience throughout this course has taught me that their emergence is inevitable.

   The past few months have been a bit challenging due to my limited knowledge of the technological world which has gone through much deconstruction! Hypertext, digital literacy, multiliteracy, social technologies and Web 2.0 were unfamiliar terms. But I thought I knew about ‘orality’ and ‘writing.’ It turns out that I had to refashion my thinking about these. I never viewed writing as technology. Ong transported me to imagine a world without literacy which ended in a misreading of Daniel Chandler’s ‘Phonocentrism.’ This led to much rethinking and reordering. As a result of this experience and my research project on silent reading, I have come to recognize writing as a technology which has become deeply interiorized by many including myself. I now believe that orality is more natural and has to come first as children develop literacy skills. As children become exposed to print they become aware of the symbiotic relationship between writing and speech. Writing has become so much a part of our lives that we see ourselves in and through our media. Our innocent children observe our behavior and develop emergent literacy according to studies done by Marie Clay (1992).

   As we traversed this course we discovered how orality and writing was represented on papyrus scrolls, codex and the printing press and then eventually moved on to hypertext and word processing technologies. My reading of The Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext and the Remediation of Printby David Jay Bolter allowed me to understand the development of a new kind of literacy that has emerged as humans moved from oral to visual literacy and back. Digital literacy and emergent multiliteracies have now become terms which have to be seriously considered by educators. The journey for suggests a combination past and present technologies merging. While I am somewhat concerned about the sustainability of the dependence on technology, I remain aware through the work of the New London Group, Dobson and Willinsky’s article and Bryan Alexander’s “Web 2.O and Emergent Multiliteracies,” that digital literacy is the way forward whether we want to admit it or not. The important thing is that we recognize that our students are going to need critical skills in order to make sense of everything that is presented on the Internet and train them well. We cannot be satisfied with just knowing the basics if we want a future generation that is wise as are result of having so much information at their fingertips.

As I sang a duet with a student recently, I realized that we can’t turn back the clock and wish away a return to the classical training I went through but we could merge the old and the new to create a new delightful symphony. This is how I am beginning to view the era of multiliteracies. The appeal to the senses that the ripmixfeed offers will certainly lessen the generation gap which exists between many teachers and students. As the curtain falls on ETEC 540 I know its spirit will live on in our pedagogy. We have certainly proved the critics wrong. Even though I did not participate as much as I would have liked, I felt part of the community of learners. Classmates were more helpful than when I was in a physical setting. One of things that I thought was strange too is that I felt compelled to produce quality work for others to see, due to motivation from my peers’ posts. There were times to that I felt I couldn’t measure up to their standards. I remain very positive about this course as it fulfilled its mandate to explore the changing spaces of reading and writing and I certainly had more than enough spaces to read and write.

 

References

Alexander, B. (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? EDUCAUSE Review, 41(2), 32-44. Retrieved from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM0621.pdf.

Alexander, B. (2008). Web 2.0 and emergent multiliteracies. Theory into Practice, 47(2), 150-160. doi: 10.1080/00405840801992371

Bolter, D. J. (2001). Writing Space Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print.New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbalm Associates.

Ong, W. (1982, 2002). Orality and Literacy.London and New York: Routledge.

December 4, 2009   No Comments

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

I feel like in the past few months of the course my original ideas on communication technologies have been completely torn apart at times, stretched out to accommodate new ideas at others, and turned around, upside down and shaken out when I have least expected it.  I came into the course with specific notions of orality, literacy, and hypertext/social technologies.  I realized very quickly that my ideas were quite closed, and desperately needed to be challenged, opened up for debate, and in some cases, revamped in their entirety.

Projects and discussions in the course offered great theoretical thought provoking materials, such as Ong and Bolter ‘battling it out’ for a win on two different sides of the arguments regarding technological determinism.  Throughout each stage of the course I found myself stopping frequently to consider the information, search for further reading on topics of interest, and eager to begin research for commentaries which would help me to come to terms with issues that left me with more questions than answers.

Orality and Literacy

Considering a world without literacy was an incredibly rich experience.  I had never considered literacy to be technology, and had not thought in depth about the implications of print to a society or culture.  Questions regarding the effects of literacy seemed to fall out of the pages as I read about changes in our society over the past few thousand years as communication moved from orality, to a combination of orality and literacy(through the lifespan of papyrus scrolls, codex, the printing press), to more modern technologies (hypertext and word processing faculties).  Real-world examples came to mind in my own area, of the First Nations cultures in my community that have been, effectively, ripped from orality and heaved headfirst into literary traditions.  Where many, if not most, cultures have had thousands of years to adapt, what happens to cultures that are expected to openly adapt, and adjust to the dominant literary traditions in less than a century?  There are still First Nations people alive today that can remember a time of pure orality. 

New Technologies

I began to realize that communication technologies affect our lives as we choose to (or are coerced/forced/manipulated) into adopting them.  We take on new technologies, realize they ease our daily lives and as a result, develop a perceived need for them and then work to develop increasingly efficient and effective technologies that we can no longer seem to live without.  I wonder at how our world will change as a result of online technologies including but not limited to social media technologies and hyperlinking trends.  We seem to be in the midst of a huge revolution in an Internet presence that is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere.  This presence that we can not see or physically feel, is affecting our society in exponentially increasing degrees.  Michael Wesch’s, Youtube video, Information R/evolution really brings to light the dramatic changes that have already occurred since the introduction of these new technologies.

Branching occurs whenever a new technology is introduced.  Literacy has branched off from oral traditions and new technologies are creating yet another branch in the media of communication.  In a world where “social media” and Web 2.0 are new terms arising from technologies of the recent few years, the rate of change is exceptionally fast, as new technologies build upon old, answering the needs of current society.  As Francois de la Rochefoucauld reminds us, “The only thing constant in life is change.” 

orality to literacy

Please take a look at the chart I have attached which provides a general overview of some ways the transition from Orality to Print to Hypertext and Online technologies has occurred.  It provides an overview of the branching off which has occurred as a result of these three technological movements.  In their book, Remediation: Understanding New Media, Bolter and Grusin state, “Our one prediction is that any future media will also define their cultural meaning with reference to established technologies.  They will isolate some features of those technologies…and refashion them to make a claim of greater immediacy.”  (271)

References:

Bolter, J. and Grusin, R.  (2000)  Remediation: Understanding new media.  Accessed at: http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=3468&mode=toc

Theexist.com. Accessed at: http://thinkexist.com/quotation/the_only_thing_constant_in_life_is/196458.html

Wesch, M.  Information R/evolution.  Accessed at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4CV05HyAbM

December 4, 2009   No Comments

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

Stories at the Edge of the Envelope

la beau sha shoo 1

In 1995 Métis author Maria Campbell published Stories of the Road Allowance People.  As Ron Marken relates in his Foreward to the book, it is a collection of stories “that have come a long journey to be with us from Mitchif[i] through literal translations through the Queen’s Imperial English and back to the earth in village English” (5).  Stories of the Road Allowance People challenges a host of conventions about such issues as purpose of print media, access to publication, language use, story ownership, and how text is read.  Although this is a traditionally printed work the debates it inspires extend to newer writing technologies in ways that may not be immediately obvious.

What is immediately apparent about Stories of the Road Allowance People is that it challenges accepted English usage for recognition as legitimate, and confronts the colonization of Native languages both in common use and (especially) in print.

Maria Campbell has not only used print to preserve the stories of her people but has also used the stories to challenge conventions of print, in order to reproduce and to privilege the authentic voices of the storytellers.  And – in a departure from mainstream print use – the reader is invited to become a listener and even a speaker in interaction with the text.  As Marken says, “we must do more than simply read [these stories] . . . it is essential that we read them with our ears first. Say them aloud.  Listen to them . . . light a fire and speak them to the children and grandchildren” (5).   While turning a modern literary form to serve the forms of a traditionally oral people, Campbell also brings Western print back in touch with its own early history when reading aloud was the norm[ii].

Many writers, not all recent, have departed from formal English to give verisimilitude to portrayals of characters and dialogue from various classes and places.  Of late the practice has prompted discussion – and controversy – about such topics as the motivation for, and the ethics and propriety of, presentation of language in idiosyncratic forms that may historically have been used to belittle or ridicule (dialects, pidgins, accents, etc.); whether using such elements of voice is a privilege restricted to members of the community that is “speaking”; and the effects and desirability of changes in language through adoption of idiom and vocabulary from other languages and from communities outside the mainstream.

But while academics debate, a multitude of ‘writers from the gaps’[iii] have been addressing these and many more questions through their work.  Even a very brief survey of significant titles from the past one hundred years or so shows a steady progression toward deliberate representation of idiomatic speech as an assertion of authentic voice – both characters’ and authors’.  This shift results from an increase both in interest among mainstream writers (and readers) in marginalized cultures, and in participation by traditionally marginalized people in published literature.

And although such discussions may seem to belong in the fields of comparative literature and anthropology, they in fact also need to encompass technology.  Personal computing has brought about many changes in writing technologies – or at least put a variety of such changes in the hands of a large and varied enough mass of users to make them take root and wing.  As a result, many voices that have hitherto been marginalized are gaining expression in the dominant and privileged form – published text – even as they find ways to challenge its traditional claims to supremacy.  Stories of the Road Allowance People provides an example of how this can be done, and its impact and implications are technological as well as literary and social – and show that all three are in fact closely entwined.

Increasingly as text and communications technologies are embraced by users whose needs, intents, and imaginations differ from those of the technologies’ originators, the technologies themselves must be – and are – revisited, reimagined, and reshaped.  In the process the very idea of the user –the ‘audience invoked’ – is reshaped.  Boundaries of common practice and ‘proper usage’ are thus continually changing.  And users become – individually or collectively – designers, thus contributing to changes in design norms – either directly by breaking into mainstream design and production (of software, etc.), or indirectly by creating and/or supporting alternatives that by their grassroots popularity force commercial companies to respond in their own interest.

Some functional aspects of writing technologies affected include spell checking, grammar and style checking, auto-correct options, languages supported, document layout options, and methods of publication.  In a basic example, word processing dictionaries are expanded – to recognize words hitherto outside accepted usage and add new technical terms[iv], but also to include as elements of language such things as company and brand names; this aspect of change in writing technologies could alone sustain a lengthy inquiry and debate.  (A commercial gaze always follows the expansion of boundaries, calculating the potential gains that lie beyond.)

As well, writers in a wider variety of languages are acknowledged and served.  For example, MS Word™ supports (though often only to a limited extent) more languages at each release, having added just between the 2003 and 2007 versions: Alsatian, Amharic, Bashkir, Bosnian, Breton, Cherokee, Dari, Divehi, Edo, Fulfulde, Hausa, Hawaiian, Igbo, Inuktitut, Irish, Kanuri, Kinyarwanda, Luxembourgish, Maori, Mohawk, Oromo, Papiamentu, Pashto, Persian, Quechua, eight additional variants of Sami,  Setswana, Sinhala, Tigrigna, Uighur, Wolof, Yakut, Yiddish, and Yoruba, among others.  Features previously only available in specific language versions are now available across versions, enabling creation of documents not only in multiple languages but using multiple alphabets.  Authors (working singly or collegially) can write across cultural and linguistic boundaries[v].  Market research is one factor driving such advances, but they are also led, pushed, and augmented by users and by smaller software companies that have through successive versions produced add-ons in languages not yet supported.

Document layout options have changed dramatically in recent  years, both as a result of greater flexibility within print-oriented software, and through the rapid growth of alternative methods of publication – or disbursement – of both commercial and private work, print and non-print.  Print media are influenced by digital media in their use of space and image; digital media are increasingly flexible in this respect, carrying aesthetic experimentation skipping across gaps geographic, cultural, political, and ideological.  Fonts have proliferated wildly, responding to both linguistic diversity and artistic inspiration.  Just as voice and language no longer must conform, the very letter itself returns to its individualized and illustrative roots, ranging from undisciplined scrawl to brilliant artistry.

Stories of the Road Allowance People also anticipated a wave of renewed interest in aural aspects of literature, which digital technologies have both ridden and driven.  As video and audio media increasingly supplement traditional written forms in both formal and informal work, writing and writing technologies have increasingly taken on spontaneity, informality and immediacy hitherto denied them.

Peter Elbow – writing in 1985 – contrasts writing and speech:

Where the intention to speak usually results automatically in the act of speech, writing almost always involves delay and effort.  Writing forces us not only to form the letters, spell the words, and follow stricter rules of correctness (than speech); we must also get into the text itself all those cues that readers might need who are not present to us as we write, who don’t know the context for our words… (68).

Comparing the spontaneity and celebration of learning to speak with the travails of learning to write, Elbow observes that “[s]tudents can never feel writing as an activity they engage in as freely, frequently, or spontaneously as they do in speech” (69).

Works such as Stories of the Road Allowance People directly challenge many of these conditions of writing, and the conventions upon which they are based, in ways that anticipate new writing technologies soon to follow.  Media, forms and environments that create context, provide cues, combine forms, and flout strict rules subvert conventions of writing not only in their form, but in their spirit.  The writing that may result can be nearly as “free, frequent and spontaneous” as speech.

la beau sha shoo excerpt 2 no checks bright

_____________________________________________________


[i] Mitchif, or Michif, is the language of the Métis. To hear a sample, visit the Louis Riel Institute’s website: http://www.louisrielinstitute.com/education/michiflanguage/24-grant-threebears-improved.mp3

[ii] See https://www.vista.ubc.ca/webct/urw/lc5116011.tp0/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct?JSESSIONIDVISTA=zYlfLSwS3nVMClQnWjL6dX6gyw31tGwj1Jb8nm9Q4YZh9QrZvRzj!-1364924364!node02.vista.ubc.ca!20001!-1!292784358!node03.vista.ubc.ca!20001!-1

[iii] An oblique reference to Voices From the Gaps, an excellent though rather erratically maintained resource on women writers of colour.  http://voices.cla.umn.edu/

[iv] An ironic example of a disconnect in this respect can be found in Jay David Boulter’s Writing Space, on page 74, in the heading to Table 4.1:  it is clear from the text that the table should be headed “Emoticons and Their Intended Meanings”… was this passed by a human or a digital editor?

bolter_emoticons

[v] My thanks are due to Chris Pratley, General Manager, Microsoft Office Labs, for providing information on the progression of language support in Microsoft Office.

_____________________________________________________

Boulter, Jay David. Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2001.

Campbell, Maria, trans. Stories of the Road Allowance People. Penticton: Theytus Books, 1995.

Elbow, Peter. The Shifting Relationships Between Speech and Writing. Composition in Four Keys: Inquiring into the Field.  Wiley, Mark, Barbara Gleason, and Louise Wetherbee Phelps, eds. Mountainview, CA: Mayfield P Co., 1996.

Marken, Ron. Foreward. Stories of the Road Allowance People. Penticton: Theytus Books, 1995.

Pratley, Chris. Personal email. 1 December, 2009.

Rubenstein, Dan. Big Brother is Spell-checking You. http://www.alternet.org/media/11130?page=entire

December 3, 2009   No Comments

Rip Mix Feed – Delphine’s Touch

View more presentations from Yassie.

Hi  Everyone

Though late in time, I am finally posting my RipMixFeed

I am so glad that I finally see how the slideshare could work in education especially in my department. Once we get the hang of it, it should be fairly easy to work with.

It’s just the story of an eventful year and half for me. I hope the narration will be audible.

Delphine

December 2, 2009   No Comments

Final project: Literacy and Critical Thinking

Here is the abstract of my final paper and a link to both a podcast and a print version.

Abstract:

The New London Group (1996) starts their discussion of multi-literacy by presenting the needs of future citizens in the work place of tomorrow. They argue that to engage and negotiate critically with a working environment, students need to have multi-literacy skills or the ability to communicate meaning through a variety of mediums. Students also need to participate in literacy activities as members of communities; they need to be able to discern meaning from multiple media sources and produce meaning using these “new media.” The change in participation and literacy is in part because hypertext, the Internet, and associated applications have changed the way knowledge is created and presented.

The author is no longer the authority. As we all become authors of a collective knowledge the authority of knowledge is no longer clear, print is no longer associated with truth as it may once have been. Knowledge is created changed and rework, represented mixed and fed in to what is becoming known as a participatory media culture. The following is both a historical and modern understanding of how western society has understood the transmission of knowledge and how the transformation of the transmission has changed what it means to be educated or knowledgeable.

Critical thinking

NoahBurdett_ETEC540_majorproject

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

Major Project: Integrating Online Technology into Classrooms

This paper examines the issue of effective integration of online tools and technology into classrooms.  For me, there is a deeper issue other than funding and support that is stalling education’s participation in the technological shift. This deeper issue revolves around the remediation conflict currently occurring between the classroom space and the online space. Developing an effective model for integration involves understanding this conflict and creating an online tool that allows teachers to make the transition towards effective integration of online technology into their classrooms.

Below is the research paper. I’ve posted the paper at Zoho with support materials.
Click here to see this online version…

A Model for Integrating Online Technology
Drew Murphy

The Remediation of Classrooms
Business, communications, politics, media, are all experiencing significant change under the influence of online technology innovation. Yet, as we witness technology inducing staggering change in the world at large, classrooms are conspicuously absent in their participation in this phenomenon.  Many people will point to inadequate funding, lack of technical support and professional development as significant obstacles (Tech Talk Survey, 2006) However, new technologies are eroding these barriers.  Essentially, there is a deeper issue that is stalling education’s participation in the technological shift. This deeper issue revolves around the remediation conflict currently occurring between the classroom space and the online space.  Bolter refers to this remediation issue in terms of print text and digital text where “This debate turns on the question: which form is better at constituting the real, the authentic, or the natural” (1995, p.43) This debate holds true for classrooms and computers as well. For print centric classrooms to participate more actively in the greater technological shift, teachers and technology need to reconcile at a deeper classroom cultural level, pay homage to one another and restructure together in incremental but important ways.

The Impact of Web 2.0 Online Services
With the development of new online technologies, the improvement of hardware and software systems, and the access to high speed internet connections, new possibilities are available for classroom teachers.  In the new millennium, the web has exploded with interactive content, social networking and user generated content functionality.  Coined as Web 2.0 (O’Reilly, 2005”), these online applications and resources are creating new possibilities for classroom technology integration.  Needing little or no training and often provided for free, barriers around cost and onsite support traditionally inhibiting technology integration are eroding.

For teachers in particular, there are a multitude of services for creating interactive slideshows, photo galleries, timelines, flowcharts, sketchpads and more. However, a closer look reveals that most of the applications are aimed at a broad market of internet users and not classrooms specifically.  Without specific classroom conscious remediations many of the applications don’t adapt well to the time pressured practices of traditional classrooms.  Wikis and blogs are somewhat of an exception.

Wikis and blogs are getting serious attention as tools that offer classroom integration possibilities. These tools create opportunities for new online teaching methodologies which emphasize creative, resource rich, self-directed learning experiences for students. (Bruns, 2005). Yet these, powerful, flexible Web 2.0 tools still require significant technical understandings on the part of classroom teachers.  These online spaces also create a whole new environment of engagement , access and control that represent significant shifts away from traditional classroom cultures (Bruns, 2005), where the teacher still leads the learning process, orchestrates classroom talk, designs and sets the activity schedule and measures learning progress.  Thus Wikis and blogs, although pedagogically valuable, are broad and challenging tools that remain as peripheral, somewhat complicated innovations.

For most teachers, web 2.0 tools are complementary resources offering novelty engagement or broad innovations requiring leaps of professional faith.  It is the technology itself that is often the innovation.  The ability to create the slideshow, the video, the flowchart in an online environment is an innovation in and of itself but it is not an innovation that directly impacts the inner workings of the classroom delivery model.    They are innovations that represent radically new modes of teaching and genres of communication for teachers.  Can they be beneficial for students? Yes.  Do they represent innovations that can readily integrate into traditional classroom methods and practices, unlikely.

The Nature of Classrooms Today
Understanding why technology integration in schools is happening slowly, against the backdrop of rapid social integration, involves understanding certain key aspects of classroom cultures.  Classrooms are pre online technology environments.  Technology, in general, is not new to these classrooms where the use of overheads, tv’s, vcr’s and projectors, has been common for years.  However, these older technologies have become part of the methods and practices developed by teachers over many years and are deeply engrained in the culture of the classroom medium.  At its core, the classroom model is a learning production model within a hierarchical leadership structure. The are exceptions and pockets of innovation but in general for most classrooms, the teacher leads the learning process, orchestrates classroom talk, designs and sets the activity schedule and measures learning progress.( Helena Austin, et al, 2002)  Resources such as desks, textbooks,  handouts,  whiteboards, overheads, projectors, etc.., all contribute to the efficiency and productivity ethos of this curriculum delivery system.  Classrooms are still primarily print based cultures that value and promote print based literacy.   And, it is a model where, over the years teachers have discovered and exercised numerous efficiencies and economies of scale to create effective learning environments.  Persuading teachers to integrate new technology and the accompanying new methods and practices into this kind of deeply entrenched classroom culture requires a special type of innovation.

Looking for Incremental Innovation
Looking at the characteristics of effective innovations, we find research shows that incremental change to current practices is a common feature of effective innovation (Marquis, 1969).  This makes sense for classrooms too.  Relevant innovation for teachers means constructing web tools that make key incremental improvements to current classroom practices.  Radical innovations, although offering possible pedagogical improvements, are typically much more difficult to integrate.  Effective incremental innovation comes from understanding how teachers work in classrooms and how they currently engage with the online environment.

As previously mentioned, classroom teachers typically lead the learning process, orchestrate classroom talk, design and set the activity schedule and measure learning progress.  Within this general process, teachers use a variety of tools and resources including the internet.  In particular, research indicates that the majority of teachers use the web most often to look for online content that might be used to support their curriculums. (Kenton, 2005, NSW Department of Ed., 2007).  Numerous content aggregation sites aimed at teachers such as WatchKnow , 2Learn and Teachertube attest to the usage of the web as a major source of classroom content.  Connected to this usage is the act of browsing for websites as a common teacher activity (Project Tomorrow, 2008) as evidenced by the popularity of bookmarking services such as Del.icio.us.  All of this online activity makes perfect sense in the context of a classroom.  Using web tools to find appropriate and engaging online content is itself an incremental innovation that both builds on and adds to the methods and practices teachers currently use in classrooms.   The question for educators is what are the next incremental innovations that might induce effective integration further.

Discovering the Moment of Remediation Conflict
If we build on the current online behaviors of teachers and link them back to their fundamental classroom methods and practices, we can start to piece together an incremental innovation model that is both realistic and transformative.  Research shows that teachers inherently understand the value of technology to enhance teaching and learning. (Teacher Talk, 2006). Furthermore, the popularity of web browsing as an online teacher activity and the use of the web as a source of content demonstrates a fundamental connection the web has with traditional classroom practices.  In other words, the web has content and classroom teachers will seek it out to use it.  The question thus arises as to how do teachers integrate this web content into classrooms.

Studies show that teachers typically accompany visits to websites with paper handouts of instructions and questions.(Kenton, 2005 NSW Department of Ed., 2007)  Other typical integration practices involved writing instructions on the board or giving oral instructions regarding the teacher’s desired usage of web content.  Herein, lies the point of conflict between classroom spaces and online spaces. Traditional print based mediums and teacher oratory are being used to cast off students into online content spaces. This bridging of print to screen is a radical transformation because the nature of the digital screen “changes methods of organization, structure, consultation, even the appearance of the written word.” (Chartier,1995, p.15).   Having students switching between paper based information or board posted instructions as they interact with browser based content is a major obstacle to effective integration of online content into classrooms.  The changing modalities of paper and screen interrupts the cognitive flow for the student as they mentally re-focus back and forth between the conflicting stimuli of what McCluhan called the hot precise and visually arresting nature of print text versus the cooler meaning making nature of online multimedia mediums (1964). The mixture of mediums creates subtle confusions of organization and meaning and changes the focus away from learning and more on mechanically understanding the instructions as students look back and forth to verify what they are reading.  Kress describes the screen as an environment of “spacially organized representation” (2005, p14) where the placement of elements in relation to one another conveys significant meaning.  Kress goes on to say that “the arrangements of visual representation, which we can also aptly call syntax, are also developments and elaborations from the logic of spatial display” (2005, p14). In the case of the text handout, the lack of proximity of the teacher’s text to the spacially organized syntax of the screen implies a grave syntactical error in the “grammar” of the teacher’s instructional process.

In my own experience I have often observed other teacher’s classes shifting between handouts, the board, a word processor and a website.   Needless to say these “trips to the lab” are loud and disruptive affairs where the teacher’s hopes for an engaging web experience are never truly manifested in the actual lesson event. And so the impetus to integrate technology into classrooms is mired in an ineffective remediation process between classrooms and computer screens, where at the moment of transaction when the teacher says “Read your handouts and go to this website and do this….” students fend for themselves in the new modality.

A Tool Designed for Remediation
A possible incremental innovation is, however, possible in the form of a new web tool design.  The tool should build on the teacher and the student’s classroom relationship and tie their online content experience more closely together.  Once someone is online, user’s eyes and minds should remain online, starting with the teacher’s initial experience of browsing for content.   Once a teacher finds a site they like, teachers should not have to create a handout as a student guide.  Instead, the teacher calls up an online application that attaches a simple expandable side bar to the web page.  The sidebar is a widget into which the teacher may give instructions, pose questions, post a discussion, or create a simple activity for that site. The sidebar also contains a form into which students submit their responses. All student responses are collected in a separate feedback window for the teacher to view, respond, moderate or assess.  Now, when teachers send students to the site, the sidebar activity is waiting there for them in direct visual proximity to the site and thus the web experience stays in a single modality. The sidebar is integrated into the spacially organized representation of the screen and implies a syntactical cohesion with the other elements on the webpage. The sidebar also conveys a sense of authorship on the part of the teacher that accompanies the students into the space and mediates a constant relationship between the student and web content.  The sidebar’s direct proximity to the web content, creates a new online relationship between student, teacher, and computer and opens up new pedagogical possibilities.

This simple idea incrementally builds on what teachers already do in traditional classrooms, namely design activities around content. Of course this is a simplistic model and teachers want to do more than just ask questions about content.  But if the tool also allows for multiple questions, discussions and tasks in various combinations for any one or many websites, the pedagogical possibilities begin to rapidly expand. The mindsets of traditional teachers can now enter into the vast wealth of online content with incremental simplicity attaching simple questions to sites or, in time, building out into richer processes and sequences of enquiry and discussion.  Once the handout is eliminated the full focus of teacher and student can be on exploring and exploiting web content. The proximity of the sidebar also puts the pedagogy of teachers into closer contact with online media. Questions and discussions become lenses through which teachers can shape critical responses to web content.  Teachers are also composing directly in context to web content and constructing meaning making processes of inquiry and discussion born from their direct experience of the online in the moment. Finally, with the feedback window, the teacher stays in the online feedback loop, moderating and assessing the process and helping themselves migrate over from their classroom space into their digital web presence and discovering new efficiencies and economies of scale that come with digital database functionalities.

Over time, as the teacher collects and creates more activities, teachers begin to harness web content in a codex like fashion categorizing activities in terms of durations and themes, archiving activities into sets and building out a personal canon of lesson content. The plethora of web content is thus repackaged and republished in the daily course of teacher planning.  Ultimately this innovation allows for the incremental blending of classroom practices into their digital realm.

This, of course, is one of many possible routes to incremental innovation that could be considered and it is by no means perfect or even proven.  However, its persuasive design potential comes from understanding the remediation processes occurring between classrooms and computers in schools today.  Through this process we can establish possible foundations on which other incremental design innovations might be built so effective integration can occur.

References
Austin, Helena, et al. (2002).Schooling the Child: The Making of Students in Classrooms. New York: Routledge-Falmer.

Bolter, J. D. (2000). Writing Space:  Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation
of Print. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Bruns, Axel, Humphreys,Sal (2005) Wikis in teaching and assessment: the M/Cyclopedia project, Proceedings of the 2005 international symposium on Wikis, p.25-32, October 16-18, 2005, San Diego, California

CDW-G, (2006), Teachers Talk Tech Survey. Retrieved November 19, 2009 from http://newsroom.cdwg.com/features/feature-06-26-06.html

Chartier, R. (1995). Forms and meanings: Texts, performances, and audiences from codex to computer. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Kenton, Jeffrey. (2005, December 22). Toward technology integration in the schools: why it isn’t happening The Free Library. Retrieved November 26, 2009 from http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Toward technology integration in the schools: why it isn’t happening.-a0138483291

Kress, G. (2005). Gains and losses: New forms of texts, knowledge, and learning. Computers and Composition, 22(1):5-22. London: Elsevier

Marquis, Donald, G. (1969). The Anatomy of Successful Innovations . Innovation, November, 1969, Technology Communication Inc.  retrieved November 20, 2009 from http://www.wepapers.com/Papers/71882/Anatomy_of_Successful_Innovations

McCluhan, Marshall. (1964). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man; 1st Ed. NY; McGraw Hill

NSW Department of Education and Training (2007). How do NSW DET teachers discover, access, and use online learning resources in their practice? Strathfield,  NSW: Centre for Learning Innovation.

Project Tomorrow (2008). Speak Up 2007 for Students, Teachers, Parents & School Leaders Selected National Findings – April 8, 2008. Retrieved November 19, 2009 from http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/speakup_reports.html

O’Reilly, T. (2005). What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software.  Retrieved November 19 from http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html.

November 29, 2009   No Comments

Multi-literacy and assessment

Commentary # 3, Cecilia Tagliapietra

Along this course, we’ve discussed the “creation” or discovery of text and how it has transformed throughout the ages; providing mankind a way of expressing thoughts and feelings. In this third and last commentary, I’d like to discuss how we’ve become literate in different areas and how literacy, as text, has also been transformed to fit new manifestations of text. I’d also like to touch upon the challenges we face as teachers, to assess and impulse the development of these competencies or literacies.

As text has transformed spaces and human consciousness (Ong, 1982, p. 78), we’ve also changed the meaning of the term literacy, integrating not only the focus on text as the main aspect of it, but also the representations, and methods in which text is manifests, as well as the meaning given or understood according to different contexts. The New London Group (1996) has introduced the term “multiliteracies” for the “burgeoning variety of text forms associated with information and multimedia technologies” (p. 60). From this understanding and meaning, we can identify different literacy abilities or competencies. The two most important types of literacies we’ll narrow down to are: digital literacy and information literacy.

Dobson and Willinsky (2009) assertively express that “digital literacy constitutes an entirely new medium for reading and writing, it is but a further extension of what writing first made of language” (referring to the transformation of human consciousness, (Ong, 1982, p. 78)). These authors consider digital literacy an evolution that integrates and expands on previous literacy concepts and processes, as Bolter expresses “Each medium seems to follow this pattern of borrowing and refashioning other media” (Bolter, 2001, pg. 25). With digital literacy, we can clearly identify previous structures and elements shaping into new, globalized and closely related contexts.

Digital technologies have recently forced us to change and expand what we understand as literacy. Being digitally literate is being able to look for, understand, evaluate and create information within the different manifestations of text in non-physical or digital media. Information literacy is also closely linked to the concept of digital literacy. According to the American Association of School Librarians (1998), an information literate, should: access information efficiently and effectively, evaluate information critically and competently, use the information accurately and creatively. We can clearly see an interrelationship between the concepts of these literacies; they both rely on an interpretation of text and an effective use of this interpretation. The development of critical thinking skills is also closely related to these concepts and the ability to use information (and text) creatively and accurately.

The use of these new literacies has also changed (and continues to do so) the way we communicate and learn; we constantly interact with multimedia and rapidly changing information. Even relationships and authority “positions” are restructured, as consumers also become producers of knowledge and text.  With the introduction and use of these new literacies, education has somehow been “forced” to integrate these competencies into the curriculum and, most importantly, into the daily teaching and learning phenomena.

As teachers, we are not only required to facilitate learning in math, science, etc.; we are also required to facilitate and encourage the development of these literacies as well as critical thinking skills. Teaching and assessing these abilities is no easy task, as it’s not always manifested in a concrete product. Calvani and co-authors (Calvani, et.al, 2008), propose an integral assessment for these new competencies, involving the technological, cognitive and ethical aspects of the literacies (See Figure 1). In order to assess, we must initially transform our daily practices to integrate these abilities for our students and for ourselves. Being literate (in the “normal” concept) is not an option anymore. We are bombarded with and have access to massive amounts of information which we need to disseminate, analyze and choose carefully. Digital and information literacies are needed competencies to successfully understand and interpret the globalized context and be able to integrate ourselves into it.

Learning (ourselves) and teaching others to be literate or multi-literate is an important task at hand. Tapscott (1997) has mentioned that the NET generation is multitasker, digitally competent and a creative learner. As educators and learning facilitators, we also need to integrate and develop these competencies within our contexts.

Literacy has transformed and integrated different concepts and competencies, what it will mean or integrate in five years or a decade?

Figure1

 Figure 1: Digital Competence Framework (Calvani, et.al, 2008, pg. 187)

           

References:

 

American Association of School Librarians/ Association for Educational Communications and Technology. (1998) Information literacy standards for student learning. Standards and Indicators. Retrieved November 28, 2009 from: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/guidelinesandstandards/informationpower/InformationLiteracyStandards_final.pdf

 

Calvani, A. et. al (2008) Models and Instruments for Assessing Digital Competence at School. Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society. Vol. 4, n. 3, September 2008 (pp. 183 – 193). Retrieved November 28, 2009 from: http://je-lks.maieutiche.economia.unitn.it/en/08_03/ap_calvani.pdf

 

Dobson and Willinsky’s (2009) chapter “Digital Literacy.”  Submitted draft version of a chapter for The Cambridge Handbook on Literacy.

 

New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60-92. Retrieved, November 28, 2009, from http://newlearningonline.com/~newlearn/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/multiliteracies_her_vol_66_1996.pdf

Tapscott, Don. Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation, Retrieved November 28, 2009 from: http://www.ncsu.edu/meridian/jan98/feat_6/digital.html  

November 29, 2009   1 Comment

Classroom Community & Digital Storytelling

Using digital storytelling with my grade seven students has been a growing passion over the last few years.  In particular, I’ve found that this medium not only hooks in reluctant writers but goes along way in building community amongst peers.  Here is the link to my UBC Wiki page.

Classroom Community

Drew

PS – Below are the two student examples I reference in my paper. I was unable to upload them on my Wiki page so I posted them here instead.

purple dragon

Lyndon’sGlop#3

November 29, 2009   No Comments

Final Project – Graphic Novels, Improving Literacy

Before I started this course, I had noticed the increased availability of graphic novels in our school library.  My teenage son is a fan, preferring Manga to the North American style comic books.  When our school recently began school-wide silent reading to promote literacy, student interest in and requests for graphic novels increased further.  There seemed a clear link between this form of literature and the need to improve  literacy rates as part of our province’s Student Success initiatives.

In the past weeks, I researched the topic of graphic novels to find the link between improved literacy and an alternate form of literature.  This website is meant to be an informative document.  My hope is to link it to the school website for parents to find documented answers to their questions about how to get reluctant readers engaged in regular reading.

A website is unlike a traditional essay in that I found it difficult to conclude the document.  You will find both internal and external links.  Typical of websites, the readers can choose the path to follow – it was never meant to be linear.  Ultimately, I hope this site encourages readers to continue their own journey in learning about graphic novels.

November 28, 2009   1 Comment

Social Technologies List

In response to the  Rip.Mix.Feed activity I created a Wiki in which we can list sites we have used in creating our projects, collaboratively creating a list of resources all in one place that we could access when we need.    I have started us off with 25 sites and would love to have others add new sites and catagories from their own experiences!

The Wiki is called called Social Technologies List and can be accessed with the following information:

  • username:  metubc
  • password: ubcmet

You can also log in through http://socialtechnologieslist.wiki-site.com/ .  It would be so incredible to have an ongoing site we could all add to and pull from when needed!  We can keep it up after the course ends and add to/pull from the site as needed.

~~Caroline~~

November 27, 2009   No Comments

Une Autre Vie

051_5048

For my project I decided to create a slideshow which allowed me to create a sort of montage of abstract feelings, experiences and thoughts about living in Paris for two years. 

In commencing the project I had an idea already in my head of what I wanted but the challenge was to locate programs which would do what I needed them to do and provide the dark, artsy effects I was looking for.  Many of the sites allow for playful photo editing and slideshow production but I managed to locate one that allowed for a bit more. 

I originally created the show through slide.com but found the program limiting despite its user-friendly approach.  I realized it was not really me who was in control of the creation.  I looked at mytimeline.com and while it provided what I was looking for in terms of effects, the background was unchangeable and did not give the right feel to it.  I was searching for a site that would allow transitions, 15+ slides, text additions on the slides themselves, music, and…was free.  I was asking for a lot! 

Through Kizoa I found a program that did everything I wanted, with a few catches, however.  The transition selection is great, slide number is perfect, but you need to pay a fee to either add text or your own music.  In my stubborn quest to find free resources, I continued to search and could not locate a single site which would serve my needs and provide the right feel.  After doing some creative work with Picnik, a free photo edit site which you can access online without downloading, I added text to the images.  Within Kizoa, I located a song that would work and put it all together.

The experience for me was incredibly rich.  I learned so much about available programs, their particular strengths and weaknesses, and furthered abilities to ‘get around’ the limitations of sites by using a patchwork approach of sites, knowledge, and skills.

Please click on the link below for the slideshow.  My approach was to create something technological that represented my feelings… I aimed to cross the barrier between sterile machine and human feeling via the stereotypically sterile medium of the computer. 

Wait for a quiet moment, sit back, relax, open the show to full screen, listen to the music and let the slideshow take you through the 15 slide, 2.5 minute experience.

Une Autre Vie

November 27, 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

ReMix Featuring the Muppets

The Muppet ReMix (Same as embedded video posted below)

This might date me a bit, but nothing was better than sitting down and watching The Muppet Show. Those two critics in the balcony, Statler and Waldorf,  put Simon Cowell to shame.

For some brilliant commentary on Internet culture by Statler and Waldorf, view http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSDj7bjAv2s , and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pCW0bd-gH0.

Enjoy the ReMix below
.

[Posted November 23, 2009 to YouTube by The Muppet’s Studio ]

I thought it was great how Kermit tried video conferencing to discuss the upcoming show with the cast and his stage manager Scooter. What a way to relate to parents who are newish to technology yet entertain the kids at the same time!

November 25, 2009   4 Comments

The Age of Real-Time

I had the opportunity to go to the Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning in Madison, Wisconsin this past August. The last keynote speaker, Teemu Arina discussed how culture and education are changing with emerging technologies. His presentation illustrated how we are moving from linear and sequential environments to those that are nonlinear and serendipitous. Topics of time, space and social media tie into Teemu’s presentation. The video of the presentation is about 45 minutes long but the themes tie nicely into our course and into many other courses within the MET program.

In the Age of Real-Time: The Complex, Social, and Serendipitous Learning Offered via the Web

November 24, 2009   No Comments

MIT Lab and the “Sixth Sense”

As one of themes of this course relates to technology and information retrieval and storage, I thought I would share this video. The folks at MIT have created a wearable device that enables new interactions between the real world and the world of data. The device, based on personal criteria that you input, allows you to interact with an environment and call up relevant information about it, simply by gesturing (e.g. while shopping a hand gesture will bring up information about a particular product). What is controversial about this device is that it makes it easy to infringe on people’s privacy. Filming and photographing can occur by simply moving one’s hand. Also, think about how annoying it is to listen to a multitude of mobile users chat in public spaces – this device allows a user to project and display information on any surface. Imagine, hundreds of people displaying information all over the place at once!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blBohrmyo-I

November 24, 2009   1 Comment

Kerpoof!

I am now officially a huge Kerpoof fan. I read the terms of service and agreed to it. I checked the privacy policy and online safety measures and considered them better than other social networks. One feature I thought was great was the use of a teacher’s e-mail address to create student accounts and class lists, as a level of security. Student’s personal info is not required as they do not need to create their account: The teacher creates accounts and can give students code names. In addition, the teacher can monitor student work and reset passwords if need be. Teachers can search the community for lesson plans and learn how to use the tools very easily. Beyond these details, Kerpoof is FUN!

I learned how to make a movie and how to do a drawing in under 30 minutes. I would link my movie, which really lacked direction and a plot, but Kerpoof stopped me due to text content. I didn’t use any inappropriate words, but perhaps Kerpoof had a high filter for safety reasons. Perhaps you should thank Kerpoof for refusing me a link as my movie consisted of a dog, a snail and a penguin hanging out at the park! Not quite Academy material….The site is designed for children (very graphical with fun links) and there are some great lessons banked for teachers on art, social studies and writing!

Visit and play/learn at http://www.kerpoof.com/teach

November 24, 2009   No Comments

A Case For Teaching Visual Literacy- Major Project

Here is a link to my major project on Visual Literacy.

November 23, 2009   4 Comments