Multiliteracies in ELA Classrooms

Entries Tagged as 'Weblog Activities'

Blog Post #2- Response to Good Video Games and Good Learning

July 17th, 2014 · 2 Comments

The notion of “fun and games” often alludes to children playing games and having fun in their spare time outside of the classroom environment. If children and adolescents have fun outside the classroom, shouldn’t they be able to have fun inside the classroom too? In James Gee’s article, Good Video Games and Good Learning, he articulates the value in playing games in a classroom setting in order to develop a particular skill set involving problem solving, risk-taking, and exploration. Gee states that students “cannot apply their knowledge to solve problems or understand the conceptual lay of the land in the area that they are [currently] learning” (Gee 34). Rather, students are often taught to develop memorization skills and in turn, their ability to regurgitate facts. Although memorization may be a valuable skill, it does not prepare students for entering a world that requires the ability to problem solve and think critically on a daily basis. Students should be taught skills that are transferable to real life situations. The incorporation of games of all forms in the classroom environment will allow students to take risks and have fun in the class and will thereby motivate students to become more engaged in classroom activities.


Prior to reading Gee’s article, I can’t say that I had thought much about incorporating gaming into my own classroom environment. Yet, I think that many of the skills that you can learn from gaming are incredibly valuable and would be beneficial for an individual as they move forward in their life. For instance, one key skill learned when gaming is risk-taking which I think is a skill that many people overlook. Gee states that gaming encourages students to “take risks, explore, and try new things” (Gee 35). Gaming can allow students to create narratives based on the stories they create within the gaming world. Gaming also gives students the opportunity to fail and try again. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Gee argues that in the gaming world “failure is a good thing” (Gee 35). In many online games, an individual may lose a level and then be given the opportunity to restart that level shortly after. In this type of environment, students get the chance to make mistakes, learn from them, and then apply their new skills when they try the level over again. With age, students will learn that much of life is about trial and error. Learning how to take the knowledge learned from one’s mistakes and how to use that knowledge to find success in future endeavors is a life skill that is applicable to any person’s life.


Classrooms around the world are often filled with bored and unengaged students. Games have the ability to engage students for hours on end and encourage students to consciously think about the decisions and choices they are making online. The modern classroom should engage students and make them excited to come to class. Gee writes in his article that “Humans actually enjoy learning, though sometimes in school you would not know it” (Gee 34). I think that using gaming in the classroom has the potential to give students agency and will give students a sense of control and ownership ownership over what they are doing (Gee 36). I don’t believe that games should make up the entire curriculum for any particular course. However, I believe that if educators use games in the classroom environment in conjunction with traditional methods of teaching, student will become more engaged and more likely to remember the material they are taught.


Gee, J. (2005). Good Video Games and Good Learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 85(2), 33-37.

Tags: gaming · Weblog Activities

An Education for Instability

July 16th, 2014 · 4 Comments

In his article “A Curriculum for the Future”, Gunther Kress writes that a radical shift in thinking and curriculum in ELA classrooms is due to occur in response to the different needs of the contemporary adult in 21st century society. He states that the world has changed so much that the 19th century model of education is just not applicable anymore. Kress calls for a shift in curriculum from an education for stability to one for instability:

“Associated with this are the new media of communication and, in particular, a shift (parallelling all those already discussed) from the era of mass communication to the era of individuated communication, a shift from unidirectional communication, from a powerful source at the centre to the mass, to multidirectional communication from many directions/locations, a shift from the ‘passive audience’ (however ideological that notion had always been) to the interactive audience. All these have direct and profound consequences on the plausible and the necessary forms of education for now and for the near future.” (138)

The notion of a multi-directional communication and a shift to an interactive audience is what stands out for me in Kress’ assertion. As such, I have designed an activity for use in an ELA classroom that allows students to be creators and participators in such a communication. Using a variety of online tools, students are able to work collaboratively to create a co-authored product. The product can be inspired by whatever you are currently studying in your class—it could have a thematic or topical connection to a literary text, or it could simply be a pre-writing exercise begun with a prompt. The only stipulation is that the activity be carried out in silence thus disturbing the notion of passivity and activity, telecommunication and proximity, and the product of the individual vs. that of the group. So far in this class we have explored the following topics:

• modes of representation in ELA classroom/21st century literacy
• visual literacy and rhetoric
• media literacy
• social media and the notion of participation
• new literary forms/e-literature
• computer mediated communication
• gaming

I also designed this activity to address pieces of all of the things we have discussed thus far in regards to these topics.

In a group setting, students will work in silence to participate in a back channel conversation while they co-author a textual document with a particular purpose. This purpose may be nebulous or fixed. The backchannel application I use is Today’s Meet and the document will be created in Google docs. Each student will be invited to share the document and simultaneous editing will be possible. Google docs also has a “chat” capability which may or may not be used. I will begin the class by explaining the task and the “rules” as well as work with the students to determine the loose direction of the task. Once we have a sort of trajectory, we will begin and allow the interaction to take us where we will. The backchannel and the doc will be projected on the screen for all to witness (though it occurs to me that maybe just the backchannel might be appropriate). After the time is up, we will take the product (the created text) and render it in a text visualization tool. A teacher could then take this one step further and have the students create a found poem from the word cloud that serves as their reflection on the task.

After I execute this today, I will post the products as an exemplar.

Works Cited:

Kress, G. (2000). A curriculum for the future. Cambridge Journal of Education, 30(1), 133-145.

The Products:


Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 3.45.43 PM

The Today’s Meet chat transcript was lost to the ether but, interestingly, the group chose to communicate via in-doc Google chat instead.

Tags: computer-mediated communication · e-literature · Lesson Plans · multiliteracies · Presentation · Seminar Prompts · Social Media · Visual Literacy · Weblog Activities

Principles of Gaming and the Classroom

July 15th, 2014 · No Comments

Anyone who has ever had a Candy Crush addiction will tell you that the game is a major time sink. The game seemingly never stops, and even if you beat all available levels at some point, more are shortly added. What keeps people coming back? The game does feature many of the principles of games identified by Gee, however the real appeal of the game seems to be that it takes an activity that is “hard, long, and complex” (Gee 34) and makes it seem like it is shorter and much simpler. The time needed to play a single level is deceptively short, and it is only when factoring in level after level that the true time drain is apparent. Also, the game is a seemingly simple match-three game that anyone could master, but through the addition of bonuses, power-ups, obstacles, and game challenges it becomes far more complex. Rather than try to memorize every one of the principles that Gee outlines, I opted to focus on the key goal of “get[ting] someone to learn something long, hard, and complex, and yet still enjoy it?” (Gee 34), and use a little Candy Crush inspiration for techniques to reach that goal, namely reducing the perceived time or energy investment involved, and making things seem more simple by breaking down complex tasks into smaller chunks. For example, if the purpose is to have the students create a writing portfolio, rather than assign it all at once as a large project, instead do a number of smaller short term projects that they accumulate and edit along the way, and then at the end select a few pieces that they are proud of to submit for the final portfolio. In this way the class could learn “how to play the game” (Gee 34), in this case become familiar with a number of strategies for writing in different genres, in response to a number of prompts, and so on, without being overwhelmed by a long, complicated project all up front. The time commitment and difficulty of any one writing activity would be fairly small, and also this example includes many of the other principles of gaming, including encouraging risk taking, agency, exploration, cross-functional teams (if you do peer reviews, for example), and performance before competence (Gee 35-37), and likely others. While this might seem like a bit of a trick, to trick students into doing a fairly large volume of complex work by breaking it into smaller pieces, it is a very effective tactic to help keep students engaged with a “hard, long, and complex” (Gee 34) process of learning, while keeping the risks low and preventing them from feeling overwhelmed by the scale or difficulty of the project.

Works Cited

Gee, James Paul. “Good Video Games and Good Learning.” Phi Kappa Phi Forum 85.2 (2005): 33-37. Web. 14 July 2014.

~ Amanda Cameron

Tags: gaming · multiliteracies · Weblog Activities

Gee Response (Weblog #2 – Ashley Slade)

July 14th, 2014 · No Comments

I really enjoyed reading James Paul Gee’s article “Good Video Games and Good Learning”. There are several reasons for this: I enjoy reading classical literature, I enjoy playing video games (on or offline; single or multiplayer), and I enjoy interactive learning through the incorporation of technology in the classroom. I was hooked by Gee’s personal narrative at the opening of his article: he talked about the curiosity he had while watching his son engage in a child-starred game. He wanted to play the game to see what was so fascinating about this playing experience (Gee, 2005, p.33). From there, he began to look into how game playing can be used as a model for in class education.

What Gee claims holds us back from using games as a method of learning is the content found within games (p. 34). Some people may believe that when you play a game, you are only exposed to content (or game) specific material. For example, if one is playing a video game set in a distance fantasy world, the content they are being subject to is not real or applicable to the lives they live here on Earth. However, games require learning of content and processes, which is something that teachers should be doing within their classrooms as well. For example, an English teacher needs to ensure their student can read and write before expecting them to write an essay. Just like the person playing the fantasy space game, the student will need to learn the rules of the game, how to operate the technology, and solve problems within the game itself.

The best section of the article was the list of learning principles that Gee claims are found in good games that should also be found in the classroom setting. The principles of learning that I feel are most important to include in the classroom are the principles of interaction, risk taking, and performance before competence. Interaction is important no matter where you are or what you are doing: engagement occurs when your actions are required for something further to happen (p. 34). Gee also states that in good games, and good learning, players or students are encouraged to take risks (p. 35); in most schools, we discourage risk taking in our Grecian Urn model of teaching: we assess summative work and give students a value based on what marks were deducted or “wrong”. This can hinder students from experimenting with their own inquiry based projects, because they are afraid of handing something in that is less than “perfect”. This is a serious flaw in our education system. This could be changed through the incorporation of a more problem or project based teaching curriculum in which students are given the opportunity to explore and use a genre, style, or method before knowing all the rules. This performance before competence approach (p. 36) could actually encourage our students to be more creative and engaged with topics and material.


Gee, J. (2005). Good Video Games and Good Learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 85(2), 33-37.

Tags: Uncategorized · Weblog Activities

Seminar Lead Response – I See, I Do: Persuasive Messages and Visual Literacy

July 6th, 2014 · No Comments

With an article devoted to “addressing persuasive visual messages” (Farmer 33), and which opens with the line that “if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a few images can constitute a persuasive argument” (Farmer 30), I found myself taking a closer look at the image presented at the beginning of the article, and generally paying more attention to the visual layout of the article, in an attempt to analyze it in the same ways that it suggests that teachers should train students to analyze advertizing and other media. The article suggests that what makes an image persuasive is “content, context, and connotation”, so with that in mind, I delved deeper into the article’s visual presence.

The initial image content is of a young woman in a blue shirt, with crossed arms and a skeptical expression on her face. At first glance, we might take the contextual meaning that she is a visual model for the championed stance of skepticism and critical thinking. Looking deeper at context and connotation, and applying some of the analysis techniques recommended by the article, such as considering “who created the message”, “why was the message created”, and “what values, lifestyles, and points of view are represented or omitted” (Farmer 32), I took time to think about why the image was included, why that image was specifically chosen, how it influenced me, and whose values and intentions were being communicated. I was certainly struck by the use of colour, as my second look prompted me to realize that the young woman’s shirt was the same cool azure as some of the accent text, bullet point markers, and dividers between sections. I questioned the effect of the colour scheme, and also questioned whether the young woman’s photo was changed to make her shirt match the scheme, or whether the colour scheme was matched to her actual shirt colour as photographed. The colour scheme of azure, rust red, white, and a much paler azure used in some of the charts, not only granted a coherence and cohesiveness granted by the continuity of the colour scheme, but it also had aesthetic and emotional effects. It is a non-threatening and visually appealing colour scheme, which created an emotional feeling of calm, stability, and authority, that I feel encouraged me to take on a trusting demeanor. The colour scheme connotated an environment of comfort and trust, and helped convince me of the textual argument. Taking a cultural perspective and trying to further understand their “visual coding system” (Farmer 31), I also suspect that as this article was produced in the United States of America that there may have been a subtle connection to their flag, whether it was a conscious or unconscious decision, and that the basic red-white-blue colour scheme would be likely to evoke an American’s patriotic sensibilities and cause them to feel an ethical responsibility to their students and by extension, a responsibility to the wellbeing of the country as a whole, in an endless feedback loop.

These visuals were subtle, yet had a powerful impact of the article’s effectiveness. My own education in visual literacy, possibly augmented by the approaches recommended by this article, have equipped me to unpack the article at both textual and visual levels, and to better understand the meaning being communicated. These skills assist me in assessing visual and textual messages every day, and while I am able to recognize the techniques being used to persuade me in this article, I am the one who has carefully weighed and considered, and decided that the argument has merit, rather than being passively led to agree with Farmer’s conclusions.

Question to Consider:
Visual literacy extends beyond the critical analysis of illustrative or photographic image, and includes all of the visuals included in a given product: the colours, shapes, fonts, and layout. What conventions of this layer of communication do you consciously understand and interpret, and how much of it is interpreted on a subconscious level?


Farmer, Lesley S.J. (2007). I See, I Do: Persuasive Messages and Visual Literacy. Internet @ schools, 14(4), p. 30-33.

By Amanda Cameron

Tags: multiliteracies · Presentation · Seminar Prompts · Visual Literacy · Weblog Activities

Farmer Article Response for Seminar Lead Assignment (Weblog #1 – Ashley Slade)

July 5th, 2014 · 1 Comment

Lesley Farmer’s brief, four-page, article has been one of the most practical articles I have read since September. As part of our Education program, we have been exposed to many theories and questions surrounding literacy: what is literacy? how many literacies are there? how do we use them? define them? etc. Farmer’s article aims to clarify the concept of visual literacy, and readers are not only provided with a definition of what visual literacy is, but we are also given examples of construction concepts and principles, deeper level thinking prompts to ask our students, extra resources on the topic, the reasons why teaching visual literacy is important, and much more. Overall, the article was laid out in simple language which made it a pleasure to read, and, coincidentally, the layout of the paper made the text more appealing to the eye. I felt that the most important parts of the article, when looking for theoretical discussion points, were the introduction and the last page as they discuss what visual literacy is and why it is important. The rest of the article was filled with the technicailities behind visualliteracy and examples of how to discuss this with, and develop it in, your class.

In the introduction, Farmer describes visual literacy as the ability to be “critical visual consumers and producers” (2007, p. 30). This means that our students need the skills not only to understand and analyse presented visuals, but also to create their own visual pieces. I found this extremely interesting, because when I have thought about literacy in the past, I have only thought of it in the sense of reading, or internalizing something, not creating it. However, I see the benefits of having the term literacy include both understanding and production. In order to start developing an understanding of visual messages, we should have students “evaluate visual messages in light of what the producer is trying to convince the viewer to do or think” (p. 33). This relates to the traditional English classroom definition of literacy in that in understanding a literary work, we try to analyze the author’s tone, mood, and intention. In order to further establish this literacy, though, we need to have students move on from understanding to actually using these manipulation techniques themselves (p.33). Such techniques can include altering digital images through cropping to remove a certain context, changing visual sequences to alter the cause-and-effect implications, and changing the size of certain items to change perceived importance (p. 32).

The most intriguing and most beneficial part of this reading, in my opinion, is the section (on the last page) in which Farmer outlines specific ways in which students (or any audience) can identify image alterations. By providing us with this information, Farmer is providing us with tools to identify manipulative images. I feel that this will highly benefit our students who live in a world where they are subject to a bombardment of photo-shopped, and otherwise altered, images that tend to have more of a negative impact on their mental health than anything.

Question for Discussion during the Seminar:

Some digital images are edited so well that it is impossible for the average person to tell if an image has even been altered. Do you feel that critical viewing should only be applied to photos that have been altered? Or should we assess and evaluate all visual images regardless of editing?


Farmer, Lesley S.J. (2007). I See, I Do: Persuasive Messages and Visual Literacy. Internet @ schools, 14(4), p. 30-33.

Tags: Presentation · Seminar Prompts · Visual Literacy · Weblog Activities

I Found My Poetry and a Surprise!

December 5th, 2012 · No Comments

For my second creative post, I decided to write a found poem based on random status updates from Facebook. I think found poetry is a great way to make a poetry unit more engaging and relevant to students, since they are able to get inspiration from many different sources.

The following poem was made (with permission from my FB friends) and with a Wintery tone:

Seven new notifications

Six friends a-posting

Five minutes ago

Four chocolate chip cookies left

Three Little Pigs

Two more weeks

and one Starbucks coffee

Keep the “Twelve Days of Christmas song/poem” in mind when you read this. 🙂

And finally, for the surprise…if you haven’t had a chance to comment of my previous creative post (the wordle about my novel) you might want to do so before you read the rest.

And now…(insert drumroll)…for the FABULOUS excerpt of my novel. This is the first part of the first chapter of my novel and all the text I used to create the wordle. Please, keep in mind that this is intended to be a young adult novel, so the language and the scenarios are not as sophisticated as you might be used to…

Now, read on:

Chapter One: The Dragon of Delphi

As soon as Delphyne smelled the putrid breath of the dragon, she knew Apollo had lied to her. Again. Python, as the locals referred to the beast, would not be an easy kill.

The colour of trampled grass, the dragon was at least a hundred feet long. Its body was covered with impenetrable scales and horned spikes that made him near invincible. His eyes were large orbs of black, with a reptilian yellow slit for a pupil, that tracked even the slightest of movements. It was rumoured that the primordial goddess, Gaia, had created Python from the foul-smelling swamp waters that surrounded the region of Delphi to protect the oracle from invaders or those who sought to use its power for personal gain. In Gaia’s last attempt to hold on to the fleeting power of the original gods, she’d placed part of her own essence into the beast.

The once lush lands of the Delphic oracle were now barren, after an hour of hard battle. The ground was sodden with the poison that Python spewed from his mouth. The poison had eaten away at the grass and trees in the area. The trees that had survived the acidic downpour were uprooted and tossed asunder. The dislodged trunks now decaying, the bark wilting away.

“Keep it occupied and I’ll shoot it down from above.”

Her dark braid whipping her back as she dodged to avoid another of Python’s swinging claws, Delphyne dared a brief glance behind her. The movement made the strap on her sandal tighten awkwardly, biting into her skin. Sure enough, she could feel the beginnings of a blister.

Apollo was hidden safely behind one of the large boulders that surrounded the sunken ground of the oracle, the sunlight glinting off the golden bow in his hands was the only clue to his current location.

Coward. Delphyne scowled. It was easy for him to give orders. He wasn’t the one who’d nearly been sliced in half four times in the past hour.

“How do you suppose I keep a hundred-foot serpent preoccupied? Maybe I should just stand still and let it rip me apart?” The retort rolled naturally of her tongue, as Delphyne dodged another of the Python’s attempts to dislodge her head. “It seems to enjoy doing that.”

“She,” called Apollo from his safe haven.


“The dragon. It’s female.”

“Oh, really. Well, does that not just change everything.” She was beginning to sound like a hysterical fishwife even to her own ears. The pressure of nearly dying over and over again must be getting to her.

“Dodge left.”

Delphyne swerved left on Apollo’s command. A flaming arrow flew past her, only to hit Python’s armoured shoulder and bounce off harmlessly. The flame extinguished by the damp ground while the arrow joined its fallen companions – Apollo’s previous attempts at killing the dragon.

Apollo let out a foul oath.

“Perhaps you should distract it while I shoot it down,” Delphyne said. “Oh, pardon me, that’s shoot her down.”

“You can’t aim worth a drachma,” said Apollo. “With your luck, you’ll shoot everything but the dragon. Move right.”

Another arrow shot out. This one landed close to Python’s eye, but not close enough to do any damage.

“That would be different from what your doing how exactly?”

“I need to get a better angle, just keep dodging,” was all Apollo said in reply.

Apollo didn’t seem to understand that her strength was wavering. Her sandals were chaffing and the dents in her tarnished silver breastplate dug into her ribs with every move. Her under-tunic was soaked with sweat, the small sleeves clinging to her arms, restricting her movements. The metal wristbands on her arms also made her arms heavier and manoeuvring her sword that much harder.

Not to mention that Python had no intention of letting her avoid its spewing mouth for very long. Every time she twisted out of its reach, the creature followed her movement, ready to spit more of its acrid, green poison in her direction.

Delphyne heard the beat of wings behind her and knew Apollo had launched himself into the sky. The thought brought her back to the moment when she first met the young god, four years ago.

Delphyne was in the hidden glade not far from her home, practising the sword-fighting manoeuvres her Spartan father had recently taught her, when the god landed in front of her. He looked magnificent with his wings of light and flame, as if he had forced rays of sunlight to take shape at his back. His wind-tousled hair an array of shades between pure white and the deepest of gold. A laurel wreath snaked around one wrist, while the other was left bare by his sleeveless, belted white tunic.

      But it was his eyes that startled her, more than the soft golden glow of his skin or the perfection of his face – with it’s high cheekbones, and smooth skin that lacked her father’s scruffy beard – or his incredible height. The pale blue of the winter sky, they were like chips of ice in a torrent of fire. Those eyes stared at her with an intensity that scared her.

      Confused and afraid, she attacked – believing he meant to carry her off, as gods were wont to do. Her sword caught him on his cheek, cutting a thin line before he could react. He moved away from her so swiftly after that, a quick beating of his wings that launched him in the air. He hovered there for a heartbeat, his fingers tracing the cut in his cheek.

      And then he left, as silently as he had arrived.

      Delphyne stood in the glade, her heart thundering in her chest, until she finally came to her senses and ran all the way home. She thought for sure that the god would return and retaliate for the way she’d scarred his perfect visage.

      But he never did.

      A week later, Delphyne assumed that the god had forgotten about her and went back to the glade at the foot of the mountain. She’d thought about finding another spot to practice, but had been loathe to give up the secret place she and her father had found together. There she practised for nearly an hour, hidden from sight by the lush, green forestry that surrounded the area, before Apollo returned.

      She hadn’t known who he was, since it had been the first time Delphyne had been in the presence of a god, but she suspected he was an Olympian.

      He landed further away from her than the last time. And this time, Delphyne noticed the sword strapped corded, gold belt at his waist. Later, she would admire the ingenious craftsmanship and the perfect balance of the blade, but at that moment, she concentrated all her energy on swallowing her fear. The best way to intimidate an enemy was to not show fear, as her father would say.

      And so she forced herself to stand still, sword in hand, as he slowly walked towards her. She prepared herself for the inevitable fight and death – hers.

      But the god took her completely by surprise when he stopped in front of her and said, “Teach me.”

A sudden swipe of the Python’s horned tail jarred Delphyne out of her reverie. The spiked edge caught on her under-tunic and tore through the fabric.

Refocusing her attention on the creature in front of her, Delphyne swung her sword again and, again, for what seemed like the hundredth time, the metal glanced off the dragon’s mud-green scales. Her sword made not a mark on Python’s flesh; her slashing seeming only to make the beast angrier.

Python groaned, spitting poison that melted away more of the earth. Drops of the liquid landed on Delphyne’s arm above the wrist guard, burning her skin and eating through the cloth of her sleeve and leaving angry red marks. The attack unbalanced her; the sword falling out of her hand.

Python swung its claw again. Too slow to react, Delphyne slammed against the rocks as the blow landed. The back of her head struck the stone hard enough to make blood trail down her face, matting the dark strands of her hair to the skin.

“Zeus’s left heel,” she cursed under her breath. Had it not been for the ambrosia Apollo made her drink earlier, the impact would surely have rendered her unconscious. Even ambrosia, however, had its limits. Any more of the serpents staggering attacks and she wouldn’t be able to maintain her stance.

Python seemed to smirk with triumph, its gaze tracing the route of her blood as it soaked her once white tunic and tarnished her armour further, the reptilian slit in its yellow eyes contracting with anticipation. Moving forward, the creature opened its mouth to spray her its poison. Without thinking, Delphyne used her remaining strength to rush forward. Grabbing her sword with her uninjured arm, she stabbed the dragon inside its open mouth.

There was a spray of acid as the Python reared back, the still-stuck sword – protruding through the dragon’s chin and tongue – preventing it from closing its mouth.

Apollo took the opportunity to launch a flaming arrow inside the creature’s mouth. Moments later, two strong arms surrounded Delphyne from behind as Python was set aflame.

Delphyne wanted to shout in triumph, but she was unable to find her voice.

From the relative safety of the sky, Delphyne watched as the dragon’s flesh sizzled from the inside out. Its body writhing and thrashing against the boulders, as if the creature were trying to put out the fire that burned within. Chunks of stone flew through the air, less and less as Python began to weaken. Piece by piece, the dragon burned away leaving ashes scattered the on the barren earth. The remnants of the beast mixing with the fallen arrows on the battlefield, like dirt among twigs.

If it hadn’t tried to kill her just moments prior, Delphyne might have felt some pity for the dragon. But Delphyne was too busy trying to remain conscious. The blood still seeping from her head wound causing her vision to blur.

Carrying her gently to the ground, Apollo released her. After a heartbeat of stumbling about like a drunken sailor, Delphyne found her footing and made her way to the nearest boulder. Sitting, she bent her knees so that her feet rested on a second flat stone in front of her. She fumbled with the leather straps of her sandals, biting her lip when her fingers accidentally touched an open wound.

The straps had left little cuts on the pale skin of her feet – one of the few places on her body that remained untouched by the sun from her constant outdoor exploits. Though shallow, the injuries still throbbed with a prickling pain.

“Let me.” Apollo knelt down in front of her and pulled of her left sandal. The wound was worse than she thought.

“You lied to me,” Delphyne said. “That dragon wasn’t guarding any treasure, just land that Gaia had claimed for the Delphic prophetess.”

Treasure was the bribe that Apollo had used to get her to agree with his plan to slay the dragon of Delphi. By the time, she realized that there was no treasure, it had been too late to turn back – not that Delphyne could have gone back on her own, such a task would have taken her days or weeks without Apollo’s wings.

Apollo shrugged. “I didn’t lie to you. You just assumed that by treasure I meant pearls and rubies.”

It was true that her mercenary nature had gotten the best of her. After weeks of ennui from being trapped indoors with only her mother, the servants and the occasional visit from Apollo to keep her company, Delphyne had jumped on the opportunity to embark on a quest for buried gold.

“And you let me believe that,” accused Delphyne. “Exactly, what treasure is here? I see nothing but rubble and swamp water.” The same swamp water that was making her stink worse than cattle droppings.

“The oracle.”

“A useless slab of stone? A useless slab of stone?! You risked my life for a rock?”

-Kiran Heer

Tags: Weblog Activities

We Teach Who We Are

October 30th, 2012 · 2 Comments

So the link below will take you to an online storage site where you can download and watch a photo-essay/memoir that I originally did as my “auto-geography” for EPSE 308. It has a basic soundtrack and narration, and I fashioned it using Windows Movie Maker. It is kinda big (200 mgs) and it is an .wmv file so you will have to view it using Windows Media Player or some freeware player like the VLC media player. I am not entirely happy with the narration part as the sound levels are a bit wonky sometimes but all in all it turned out okay. This was the first time I have ever used the software so I’m cutting myself some slack. The rationale for doing this artifact ties in with the last creative piece I did using Prezi: I think it’s important if we want to teach video/film specifically and multiliteracy in general that we be as proficient as we can be with this sort of software. As well, putting together these projects is a good way for us to practice the craft of video editing ourselves ie visual grammar seems rather abstract until you are really doing it. Movie Maker makes crafting a video fairly easy, but it has enough bells and whistles that your students will be able to hone their skills without unduly taxing them.


– The title of the piece is a quote from Parker Palmer, a very progressive American educator (the person who first coined the phrase was another famous American educator, John Gardner).

– Also there is a section that references Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, and much of what comes after is an extension of the basic metaphor at the heart of that book.

– You will be prompted for a password – it is watch:


PS: Comments would be appreciated, and will be reciprocated when you post your next artifact.

Tags: Visual Literacy · Weblog Activities


October 17th, 2012 · No Comments

Ironically while looking for examples of social media sites to post on the blog, I was on Facebook and one of my fellow writers and bloggers, Sarah J. Maas, mentioned a website for novice writers – Fictionpress. Fictionpress is a nonprofit, free site for people who write original stories as a hobby but have no interest – or at least initially in getting them published. Users can upload their stories and poems or review stories and poems by other writers on the site. Maas was on Fictionpress before she published her novel, Throne of Glass. Originally Maas posted the novel (chapter by chapter) with no intention of publishing but then recieved tremendous feedback from people all over the work – positive, critical and some negative – and decided to remove her novel from the site and polish it for querying and ultimately publishing. In the case of Fictionpress, the site provides a common space for writers to interact – either anonymously or by name – and receive feedback on their work without the pressure of actual publication.

-Kiran Heer

Tags: Weblog Activities

IMDb – The Internet Movie Database

October 17th, 2012 · 1 Comment


I’m not sure if this qualifies for what were to share, but I always find myself coming to this website after watching an intriguing movie. If I have any questions about the movie, I can usually find answers in the ongoing dialogues. Or even if I simply want to engage in a discussion on a topic regarding the movie, this website provides a common space to start and contribute to different conversations.

I also visit the website for their neat ‘Did you know?’ section.

Overall, I think the website provides a good platform for a discourse around movies, but there is a general want when it comes to user-friendliness and the over all structure of forums.

Here’s a link to a movie I watched recently and for which I felt the urge to visit the website to find out more.

Tags: Uncategorized · Weblog Activities