The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

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. 


Louise Thomson

December 4, 2009   1 Comment

Fun with Rip.Mix and Feed

I have spend the evening playing with Dump’r- looking at a variety of different slide-show tools, cartooning sites, loading my pictures of Peru to Flick’r and then plotting them on a This is going to take a while to complete so won’t post the results here- but it has been fun. I thought I should try something I had never done before- well I’ve never used Dump’r before either but I thought I should learn a little more about widgets. Robin Good has 6 very imformative videos about them on YouTube So just to try it I created one in Pol-Daddy- Here is my widget.

December 4, 2009   No Comments

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.



Alexander, B. (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? EDUCAUSE Review, 41(2), 32-44. Retrieved from

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

An article to share = 540 Reflection

   Hi all! I was asked to write an article for the International Baccalaureate Organization’s (IBO) grassroots educational magazine in Hong Kong titled The International Inquirer. I work at an IBO school, in a bilingual environment and I teach the Primary Years Program (PYP). The article is a reflection on what we learned during the digital literacy exploration in 540 and I really tried to blend MET with my actual practice. I asked permission to share the article here and I was encouraged to. Way to go CopyLeft movement! My article is more generalized than my MET work, and it is written to inspire ed-tech integration. I would not have written it as well without help from this community and knowledge gained through this course. Thanks for inspiring me! During the copy process, some formatting changed and I can’t seem to fix it. The article is not supposed to be APA as the format for references is up to the editor, but I certainly aimed for APA throughout! Erin

A Concept-Driven Curriculum and Educational Technology Integration

In 2001, Mark Prensky, an influential voice in the field of educational technology, considered students in kindergarten-college, who were born into a technically advanced society, to be “Digital Natives”. Prensky’s (2001) Digital Natives were the first generation literate in the digital language of computers, the Internet and video games. Individuals born prior to the introduction of home computers and broadband are considered Digital Immigrants, and they speak “digital” with a strong accent (Prensky, 2001). Similar to Prensky, Don Tapscott (1998) considered  students born between 1977 and 1997 to be members of the Net Generation, a generation of critical thinkers who question the values contained in information. The Net Generation have “grown up digital” and in 2009, we are teaching the new Net Generation, some  members who are being raised by the first “Net Geners” (Tapscott, 2009). Curriculums will never catch up with the digital language this generation speaks unless there is a shift toward centering the learning experience on the individual and providing learners with the tools of new media to enhance interactivity and, importantly, constructivist connections (Tapscott,1998).


 Kids on PC teaching adults at a conference how to play a game(Kids and Computers, 2007)

 In 2007, cultural anthropologist Michael Wesch posted a video concerning this issue on YouTube. The video, A Vision of Students Today, emphasises how the educational system of the 20th century fails to meet the needs of the 21st century learner.  Web development never slowed down to let Digital Immigrants catch up. In 2004, Tim O’Reilly coined the phrase “Web 2.0” and the new Net Generation spoke another digital language dialect (Alexander, 2008). Educators inhabiting the world of the new Net Generation must revamp and extend their prior technology skills to address emergent multiliteracies in the Web 2.0 world (Alexander, 2008). An exploration of how the PYP could meet the needs of the new Net Generation learner through the educational design of a concept-driven curriculum opens up learning possibilities for student and teacher.

The concept driven curriculum in the PYP is a pedagogical approach to learning and teaching that supports inquiry based learning (IBO, 2009). The eight key concepts identified in the PYP (form, function, causation, change, connection, perspective, responsibility and reflection) support the transdisciplinary model of teaching and learning (IBO, 2009). Integrating educational technology opportunities, specifically Web 2.0 tools, into a concept driven curriculum is one way to enrich lines of inquiry (Alexander, 2006; Levy, 2008; Reid, 2007; Wesch, 2007).  Web 2.0 tools give educators the means to incorporate digital literacy opportunities into the inquiry process to help meet the transdisciplinary learning needs of the new Net Generation (Alexander, 2006; Bolter, 2001; Cameron, 2004; Prensky, 2008).

The selection of Web 2.0 tools is dependent on a number of factors, not all of which can be discussed here. For the sake of making reasonable recommendations, it is assumed that the digital divide in Hong Kong IB schools is not a severe restrictive concern. Students need access to a computer with a reliable Internet connection and teachers may require in-house technical support (Bates, 2000). It is also assumed that educational technology integration has been discussed at the administrative level and the school has a general atmosphere of culture change in favour of designing educational spaces with Web 2.0 technology. Staff enthusiasm for learning new Web 2.0 tools in an already stretched schedule is one indicator of this cultural change (Bates, 2000). It is recommended that the terms of service and privacy policies for Web 2.0 applications be analyzed with the school’s online student safety and intellectual property policies in mind (ISTE, 2008). Finally, grade level planning meetings concerning how concepts could be supported with specific technologies during the inquiry planning process would clarify the purpose of the Web 2.0 tool.


  (ICT Enhanced Interative Writing, 2009)

A number of Web 2.0 technologies are available to teachers and choosing a tool may seem daunting. However, it is up to the teacher to decide how the tool could be integrated to make concepts in the planner relevant to the student. Alexander (2006; 2008), in his discussion of multiliteracies, identifies four qualities of Web 2.0 tools which help students develop their digital literacy. They are considered by Alexander (2008) to be the creation of microcontent, social connectedness, openness and social filtering. The new Net Generation speaks this language and learns in this manner (Bolter, 2001; Anderson 2008). When choosing tools it is important to identify characteristics of the new Net Generation in order to inform educational design. These students desire faster interactions with information, multitasking, processing multiple data simultaneously,  informative graphics with a text backup, hyperlinking through materials rather than reading linearly,  networking with electronic communication devices, immediate and clear feedback or reward in return for efforts (Bolter, 2001; Cameron, 2004). Our students see technology as empowering and necessary (Bolter, 2001; Cameron, 2004).


Web 1.0_2.0_comic(“Ed-Tech 1.0 Meets 2.0”, Gillespie, 2009. Created on MakeBeliefsComix)

Digital storytelling and the emergent form of Web 2.0 digital storytelling is a tool popular with educators (Banaszewski, 2002; Benmayor, 2008; Meadows, 2003). Enthusiast, educator and Web 2.0 researcher Alan Levine has created an excellent resource for anyone interested in Web 2.0 digital storytelling at Blogging and wikis have been popular for over a decade and both have been researched and found to be supportive of constructivist learning opportunities. Some recommended tools are Landmarks’ Class Blogmeister (, Edublogs (, Wikimedia’s Wikikids ( and PB Works ( For a snapshot of wikis in use, visit Educational Wikis (

Other excellent Web 2.0 tools to support digital literacy and inquiry are Kerpoof Studios (, M.I.T’s Scratch (, Make Beliefs Comix (, Voice Thread ( , Prezi (, Gliffy diagram software ( , the Jing screen capture application ( and the sound editor Audacity ( Creative Commons ( is an excellent place for student and teacher to search for “copyleft” and reusable and web content. The above Web 2.0 tools are designed in English, but some lend themselves to bilingual content. Generally, they are tools which can be mixed and “remixed” with one another. For example, a wiki could have an embedded 2.0 digital story which is itself hyperlinked to a blog in order to meet the student’s digital literacy preference for nonlinear reading. In addition, the forums on the online curriculum centre (OCC) are rich resources concerning the practical implementation of Web 2.0 tools. Several Ning ( networks, wikis and TED ( talks have been created by IB educators for IB educators.

Our students are memory stick carrying members of the new Net Generation, a generation defining emergent multiliteracies. In a knowledge society, our learners need liberal arts skills to be integrated with information technology (Bates, 2000).  It is the educator’s responsibility to integrate tools with meaningful relevance to our 21st century students in order to help them reach their greatest potential when navigating a concept based inquiry. Today’s students live Web 2.0 digital lives and a growing number of teachers are beginning to explore and develop new ways of teaching with these technologies and practices (Alexander, 2008). It is the intention of this article to provide inspiration for IB teachers to integrate Web 2.0 tools in order to help students construct knowledge necessary for a meaningful understanding of concepts.



Alexander, B. (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? EDUCAUSE Review, 41(2), 32-44. Retrieved from

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

            Bates, T. (2000). Managing technological change: Strategies for college and university leaders. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Beetham,H., & Sharpe, R. (2007). An introduction to rethinking pedagogy for a digital age. In H. Bentham & R. Sharpe (Eds.), Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age. (pp 1-10). London:Routeledge

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

Cameron, D. (2004). The net generation goes to university? Journalism Education Association Conference , Griffith University. Available online from

International Baccalaureate Organization. (2009). The IB primary years programme. Available online from

International Society for Technology in Education [ISTE]. (2008). ISTE’s Educational Technology Standards for Teachers. Available online from

Lamb, B. (2007). Dr. Mashup or, why educators should learn to stop worrying and love the remix. EDUCAUSE Review, 42(4). 12-24.

Levy, P. (2008). Inquiry in the Web 2.0 environment: Tools for students for ‘design for learning’? Learning Through Enquiry Alliance Conference 2008. Available online from

Reid, P. (2007). Inquiry based learning with Web 2.0. Educational Computing Association of Western Australia 2007 Conference Proceedings. Available online from

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6. Available online from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Prensky, M. (2006). “Don’t bother me mom-I’m learning!” St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House

Tapscott, D. (1998). Growing up digital: The rise of the Net generation. NY, New York: McGraw-Hill

Tapscott, D. (2009 ) . Grown up digital. NY, New York:McGraw-Hill.

Wesch, M. (2007). A vision of students today, video. Available online from

Image References

Kids and Computers. January 13, 2007. Flickr upload by shapeshift. Available online November 25, 2009, from

Owen, H. (2009). The ICT Enhanced Iterative Writing Process \’;//.[Electronic Version]. Retrieved from

Gillespie, E. (2009). Ed-tech 1.0 meets 2.0. Created on MakeBeliefsComix , GNU license

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)


Bolter, J. and Grusin, R.  (2000)  Remediation: Understanding new media.  Accessed at: Accessed at:

Wesch, M.  Information R/evolution.  Accessed at:

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 ( 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 ( 

            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 (, 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 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 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 (, music allowances, (Photopeach), artsy photo effects ( 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! 


December 4, 2009   No Comments