The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing


I am attending an IT conference put on by my school board today.  So far, 2 of 3 sessions have been useful.  One session, however, was disappointing in that it was not what we’d hoped to learn about.  The general gist of the presentation was about students being involved in creating their own assessment.

I am sitting here reflecting on what exactly I am learning in the current session, realizing that we are all on a learning journey.  As adults in this professional learning workshop, we’ve been able to choose what to explore.  So we hope to maximize our learning as a result of choosing sessions that are part of our learning path.

When relating that to students choosing their own assessment or being involved in it at least, I wonder if that’s possible because they don’t have the ability to choose their learning path as we do.  They might choose certain elective courses and even what stream they want to follow, but those are so limited.

When you consider that most digital natives are used to choosing their information path because of the nature of the internet (hypertext links and all) and the speed at which they access all the information they need/want, is it any wonder they can’t sit still without being connected to some electronic device or feel they can decide the outcome of everything they put effort into?  I think it explains why my students seem to think they can negotiate every assignment I give them.

November 22, 2009   2 Comments


word cloud commentary 3

Social media is interpersonal media.  It supports the sharing of personal exchanges in new and unique ways. It is not the relationship between humans and machines that makes social media powerful. In contrast, it is the relationship facilitated between people through the use of machines to foster the building of social networks and a new network society.” (Barnes, Susan. 2009, p.23)


Social networking sites and online communities have, as Bryan Alexander (2006) states, “emerged as a major component of the Web 2.0 movement”. When using these sites, individuals can present themselves in a variety of different ways by choosing whether or not to accurately reveal their name, age, gender, physical appearance, personality and history. Individuals’ online identity is shaped by the details and information they do or do not indicate about themselves and the persona they present in each online community they belong to. As Bolter, (2001, p.190) mentions, “…we write both to express, to discover, and to share who we are, and in a postmodern age our identity is, like hypertext, dynamic, flexible, and contingent.”


In professional or work related online communities, individuals may chose to accurately reveal certain details (name, age, gender) about themselves while omitting others (history, groups you belong to). On the other hand, multi-user virtual environments such as MOOs and MUDs encourage or even require individuals to assume a completely imaginary persona. “Almost the sole purpose of chat rooms and MUDs and MOOs is the construction of and experimentation with the users’ identity” (Bolter, 2001, p.198).  Most other social networking sites and online communities fall somewhere in between, allowing for the individual to choose the depth of information they wish to share and whether that shared information is accurate or not.


“Higgins (1987) distinguished between ideal, ought, and actual self-concepts: the ideal self contains those qualities one strives someday to possess, the ought self those qualities one feels obligated to possess, and the actual self the one actually expresses to others at present.” (Bargh, McKenna, & Fitzsimons, 2002). The true self differs from these three as it is what one currently possess, but unlike the actual self, it is not fully expressed in social situations.


Wiszniewski and Coyne (2002) describe how whenever an individual interacts in a social setting they portray a “mask” of their identity. This “mask” allows the individual to choose what aspects of their identity they reveal. Individuals who act very different in the ‘real’ world than how they are really thinking and feeling inside, may feel more comfortable revealing and expressing certain aspect of themselves without fear of persecution in online situations.


John Suler mentions in his article The Online Disinhibition Effect (2004), “online identity has given people the opportunity to feel comfortable in wide-ranging roles, some of which may be underlying aspects of the user’s life that the user is unable to portray in the real world.” These opportunities may allow for the expression of ones true self. “Our true identity tends to be what we reveal about ourselves spontaneously, often right on the surface for others to see but without our being consciously awareness of it” (Suler, 2004). For some people, online situations allow them to become, as Suler (2004) says, “disinhibited” and reveal aspects of their personalities they wouldn’t normally share. A young man might be the ‘life of the party’ in the online chat room, yet be very shy in his day-to-day life. In this case it would seem that his outgoingness when communicating online is an aspect of his true self, whereas his shyness in face-to-face situations is an aspect of his actual self. Both are important aspects of his identity.


Individuals present variant aspects of their identity when using different media such as social networking sites, Blogs, online chat rooms, MOOs and MUDs, email, Skype, ‘real’ world relationships, and face-to-face conversations. Each of these different situations allow for an individual to express certain aspects of themselves, while concealing others. It is important to remember that, “The self expressed in one modality is not necessarily deeper, more real, or more authentic than another. They allow us to see the different perspectives of that complex thing we call identity.” (Suler, 2004).




Bargh, J., McKenna, K. and Fitxsimons, G. (2002). Can You See the Real Me? Activation and Expression of the “True Self” on the Internet. Journal of Social Issues, 58, 1 (33-48)


Barnes, Susan B. (2008). Understanding social media from the media ecological perspective. In Mediated Interpersonal Communication Eds. Elly Konijn, Inc NetLibrary, Elly Konijn. Boston: Routledge.


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


Higgins, E.T. (1987). Self-discrepancy theory. Psychological Review, 94, 112-1134.


Suler, J. (2004). The Online Disinhibition Effect. The Psychology of Cyberspace. Retrieved from:


Wiszniewski, D. and Coyne, R. (2002). Mask and Identity: The Hermeneutics of Self-Construction in the Information Age.In K. Renninger & W. Shumar (Eds.), Building Virtual Communities: Learning and change in cyberspace. (pp.191-192). New York: Cambridge University Press.




November 22, 2009   1 Comment

Rip.Mix.Feed Photopeach

Hi everyone,

For my rip.feed.mix assignment, I decided not to re-invent the wheel, but instead to add to an already existing wheel. When I took ETEC565 we were asked to produce a similar project when exploring different web 2.0 tools. We were directed to The Fifty Tools. I used PhotoPeach to create my story. My wife and I moved to Beijing in the fall of 2007 and we’ve been traveling around Asia whenever we get a break from teaching. The story I’ve made is a very brief synopsis of some of our travels thus far. Since the original posting, I have updated the movie with more travels. You can view the story here.  If you’re in China, the soundtrack U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name will not play because it is hosted on YouTube.

What I enjoy most about these tools is that they are all available online, all a student needs to create a photo story is a computer with access to the Internet. To make the stories more personal, it would be great if they had access to their own digital pictures. However, if they have no pictures of their own, they can find pictures, through Internet searches that give results from a creative commons license to include in their stories.

Furthermore, as I teach in an international school in which most students speak English as a second, third, or fourth language, and who come from many different countries, Web 2.0 has “lowered barrier to entry may influence a variety of cultural forms with powerful implications for education, from storytelling to classroom teaching to individual learning (Alexander, 2006).” Creating digital stories about their own culture provides a medium through which English language learners acquire foundational literacies while making sense “of their lives as inclusive of intersecting cultural identities and literacies (Skinner & Hagood, p. 29).” With their work organized, students can then present their work to the classmates for discussion and feedback, build a digital library of age/content appropriate material, and share their stories with global communities (Skinner & Hagood).



Alexander, Bryan. (2006). “Web 2.0: A New Wave of Innovation for Teaching and Learning?” EDUCAUSE Review, 41(2).

Skinner, Emily N. & Hagood, Margaret C. (2008). “Developing Literate Identities With English Language Learners Through Digital Storytelling.” The Reading Matrix, 8(2), 12 – 38.

November 22, 2009   2 Comments

Rip, Mix and Feed with Apture

For my Rip, Mix and Feed activity, I’ve used a widget from Apture.   I’ve just posted a few of the videos I’ve made for my Planning classes.  Apture is a great tool that is being used by newspapers to add value to their content, but it is a great tool for teachers as well.  Hope you find it useful.

November 22, 2009   No Comments

Original Hypertext System

The current electronic literary structure and system is widely used. Because of its ease in accessibility and transferability, students, researchers and scholars rely heavily on e-documents for research. However, the present day system is limiting especially for knowledge workers. In the article “Xanalogical structure, needed now more than ever: Parallel documents, deep links to content, deep versioning and deep re-use” Theodore Nelson offers the Xanadu Project as an alternative that would maximize the advantages and minimize the disadvantages of the electronic document system.

Nelson describes the Xanadu Project as “an alternative paradigm for a computer universe, with its own alternative history of the computer field and alternative ideas of media, computer life and the nature of connections” (Nelson, 1999) and it is the original hypertext project; [however] it is often misunderstood as an attempt to create the World Wide Web” (Nelson, 1999). The Xanadu Model is more advanced than the world wide web in fact the world wide web was what Nelson was trying to prevent (Nelson, 1999).

In comparison to Nelson’s ambitious xanalogical model, the current electronic literary system operates on many flaws and implications that prevent users from making full use of the global internet system. Today’s e-document is simply an electronic version of the original document and nothing more. Even though the document is viewed online it does not offer any additional features that would enable further reading and understanding of the subject. As a result, the level of connectivity is low. As Paul Delany notes in “Hypermedia and literary studies” the “first essential capability of a good electronic document system is to provide a means of promoting the connection of ideas and the communication between individual scholars. The capabilities can be conceived of as a set of tools for creating a hypertext structure or the underlying framework of all electronic document systems developed” (Delany, 1995). In addition to the limitations, the electronic literary system fails to provide adequate information of related materials and resources used. Nelson believes “serious electronic literature (for scholarship, detailed controversy and detailed collaboration) must support bidirectional and profuse links, which cannot be embedded; and must offer facilities for easily tracking re-use on a principled basis among versions and quotations” (Nelson, 1999).

Nelson’s solution to these implications is by creating a parallel universe which begins with a basic interface model of parallel visualization. Parallel visualization is viewing documents side by side simultaneously as a result creating a web of information. This model will enable knowledge workers to have access to original documents and other related resources all at the same time. Furthermore, the origins of quotations will appear along with the electronic document. This is the result of establishing a permanent link between resources. Nelson also proposed a “valid copyright system … for frictionless, non-negotiated quotation at any time and in any amount” (Nelson, 1999). This will encourage more electronic publications for authors will be credited for their work.

Nelson’s xanalogical structure is practical than today’s one way hypertext structure. Critics such as Gary Wolf commented on Nelson’s model in his article entitled “ The Curse of Xanadu” where Wolf said the Xanadu Project “ was the most radical computer dream of the hacker era. Ted Nelson’s Xanadu project was supposed to be the universal, democratic hypertext library that would help human life evolve into an entirely new form” (Wolf, 1995). The Xanadu model would not only raise the standards of text representation but also transform the way of thinking and learning. Despite these advantages the Xanadu project was unsuccessful. Wolf notes that “the fact that Nelson has had only since about 1960 to build his reputation as the king of unsuccessful software development makes Xanadu interesting for another reason: the project’s failure (or, viewed more optimistically, its long-delayed success) coincides almost exactly with the birth of hacker culture. Xanadu’s manic and highly publicized swerves from triumph to bankruptcy show a side of hackerdom that is as important, perhaps, as tales of billion-dollar companies born in garages” (Wolf, 1995).

Nelson’s Xanadu Project struggles to achieve success against the widely used electronic literary system. In the forty years of development, Xanadu is still in its initial planning stage. Despite Nelson’s lack of success, the Xanadu Project received a great deal of attention and it continues to inspire numerous other software programs. The Xanadu model is built with knowledge workers in mind. This model strives to improve the uni-directional system and transform the ways people interact with electronic documents.


Delany, Paul. (1995). “Hypermedia and literary studies.”

Nelson, Theodore. (1999). “Xanalogical structure, needed now more than ever: Parallel documents, deep links to content, deep versioning and deep re-use.” Retrieved November 14, 2009.

Wolf, Gary. (1995). “The Curse of Xanadu” <> Retrieved November 13, 2009.

November 22, 2009   1 Comment

Capzles – Rip.Mix.Feed

My original plan was to have a short animation re-invention video presentation on Ahead but the application proved too frustrating to use. I kept the link for anyone to see on my website which is run with WordPress. Ahead is similar to Prezi, which I am more familiar with. However, when I went to the Prezi website to create my project, it was down for maintenance so I resorted to restarting something else in Capzle. The Capzles project contains a slideshow of photos from my recent trip to Hong Kong in late September.

If you cannot see the embedded slideshow above, view my Capzles project here.

November 22, 2009   3 Comments