vicki's e-portfolio

Blurring definitions

July 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Most of us probably grew up in educational cultures where sorting opposing terms could be done cleanly with a T-chart. Maybe with a Venn if there were shades of grey. A Venn diagram detailing black and white would have us grasping for straws, finally writing “they are both considered colours” (knowing that white is not) and “they both work in totality” (white reflects all; black absorbs all).

Not here.

Initially ready to contrast allopoiesis and autopoiesis as they apply to this being but not that creation, I instead found myself ready to challenge the concept of exclusively defining beings as either allopoietic or autopoietic. Just in time, Murphie and Potts (2003) moved from defining to applying, quoting Guattari: “there is always a relation between [autopoiesis and allopoiesis], and … most assemblages contain both” (p. 197).

We can separate these opposites by definition, but not in application.

Regarding signs that mean and signs that operate, again, the presentation of the distinction suggests there is a dividing line that separates the two. Defining operational signs as those that make us do and meaningful signs as those that make us think, in application I cannot think of one that makes me do without also making me think, and vice versa. A sign operates in a particular way because it has meaning. If it is more concrete than this, then I clearly still require assistance, but I see here another blur of intended contrasts.

The blurs continue as the concept of ecology expands metaphorically from its origins of being a way of seeing systems within the natural environment to a way of seeing ourselves and our social systems. In line with the themes of complexity and chaos, ecology becomes difficult to isolate within tight boundaries as diversity within one layer is bound to connect to another layer with or without notice: how do we examine one individual (taking the second ecology) without gradually morphing across ecologies, considering alliances, relationships, the socius (the third ecology), or the natural environment in which that individual sits (the first ecology) (Murphie & Potts, 2003, p. 199).

A similar trend occurs with the third nature. It is not a linear pattern of progression where we might be tempted to think of the third nature as the next step. The natures interact and always have. Wherever we now have the second nature (essentially anything “we” have been a part of) we will also find the third (communicative media – whatever the technology of the time is/was for this); even as we work with the first (agriculture), communicative technologies influence eg: our knowledge of how-to. (Murphie & Potts, 2003, p. 200)

Public and private space – and our sense of the two – are also blurring.

What I am enjoying about these in particular is the thematic connection throughout and how it is coming together, threading together all the little pétit narratives to reveal the overarching pattern amidst the appearance of complexity, if not chaos.

As we ‘unfold’ the learning, it all folds back into itself to reveal the whole.

It’s kind of like watching “Happy Feet”: it starts with a picture from outer space, moves into the detail of the Antarctica, moves through a variety of issues requiring attention, then zooms back out for the greater global… no, universal picture. And it all comes down to “how do we want to live our lives?”


Murphie, A. and Potts, J. (2003). Culture & Technology. New York, NY; Palgrave Macmillian.

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Next Stop: ETEC 531

July 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

I’ll have to make a new page for it… COURSE #8!! We’re counting down, baby!!

OK, back to my academic voice: I’m just waiting for my latest production to finish publishing to youtube and it occurred to me I should be posting it here. This is my first assignment for ETEC 531: Media studies in culture and technology. It’s very interesting and intriguing in terms of realizing just how proliferated – completely infiltrated – our culture, our lives, our very being are by technology, and more so to read the theoretical pinings, the foresight, visions and cautions that have long been stated. Our concerns are not new. The question is whether anyone is listening, and then for those who are not listening, who are they and what will be the consequences of their heedless steadfastness?

Here’s my production. I made this one on my gee-what-have-I-got-in-this-computer-anyway software. You know, the stuff that comes with the machine or shortly thereafter when you load your latest of Windows onto it. So that equates to Windows Movie Maker with the help of the snipping tool from Windows 7 and also the sound recorder that I didn’t even know I had until I went problem solving a couple of hours ago. The images and music are off the Internet, of course. Images are Creative Commons/please-attribute photos unless they are from the Stelarc or Green Day youtube videos listed in the credits (Stelarc’s The body is obsolete and Green Day’s 21 Guns, the two of which served as my initial inspiration along with thoughts resultant from my readings in Murphie & Potts’ (2003) Culture and Technology). I have been concerned about use of third party materials but am resting confident that 1) I have credited all diligently; 2) my use falls under fair dealing as per the Copyright Act as best as I can see – criticism for the purpose of education with due credit given. The composition and voice are mine – the speaking voice. Not the singing or the music. That’s Green Day.


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After 565

October 7th, 2010 · No Comments

I’ve come back.

I know I have a portfolio in my future… a big one.  It’ll have a number name too: 590.  So with that in mind and a desire to try to keep things organized, I thought I might make this my hub.  I’ve linked in my original e-portfolio that I did when I started MET about this time last year (long way, baby) and also the blog from one of my current courses: ETEC 540.

I’ve got delicious on my list of things to become familiar with.  That should broaden my sense of better ways to organize, I suppose.  And I’ve started another wiki for another group project.  Looking at the work of others, I can see I still have so much I want to learn & become proficient at, but I don’t think I’m doing too poorly either.  I’m certainly appreciating good aesthetics and layout choices & options.

Oh, and I finished my next painting.  It’s not an original this time, but a copy of August Macke’s Lady in a Green Jacket.  I learned so much by imitating his style in copying this piece.  I love it.

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Somebody done someblog wrong song

August 4th, 2010 · No Comments

It’s me, my blog. I’ve done you wrong. And in so doing, I’ve left myself in a bit of a lurch as well. Natural consequences. I’ll “come down from my lurch with an unpleasant bump” but apparently this is all part of going places (Suess, 1990), so I remain optimistic.

To my snoopers, well, first off, “Welcome,” now let me share with you. If you are a fellow METer, take heed. When we have a blog, we should blog. If you don’t blog, then what are you doing with a blog??

This is not a repository, and this is where I owe my blog an apology. I have treated you, my blog, as such. I have come to you in my times of need to drop off or build an assignment, spend some time looking around to admire my creation that really has a lot to do with the people behind the scenes at WordPress who actually know html beyond 5 handy tags and have created such a device that I can see my own words recorded and published for public consumption at the click of a mouse. I have allowed my interaction with you to be prescribed. Had I not, but rather taken advantage of your ready and willing pages, I would now, as I reflect on an as-of-yet empty synthesis and course site page, have a plethora of notes, a record of my tracks… rather than the abyss of my mind, rank with memories that echo with “hey, you should remember to put this in your (synthesis/course site) page!” rather than the concrete ah-HA-or-arrg-moment-that-inspired-such-a-thought recorded for all cyber-eternity here with you, in my blog.

The beauty – tragic beauty – is that my learning is not yet done. As we come to the close of another semester, I can rest knowing that I have learned. I’d like to think that for future courses, I will extend my blogging opportunity beyond the required. The potential here to become my new notebook is newly realized. This, of course, is with caution. I do recognize that not all my notes or thoughts are blog-worthy – this one even is questioned as I write – but here my stories can come and develop, and join the larger community of knowledge for consumption by those who so choose and be open to further development. Then, with my increasing loyalty to you, my blog, that development of know-how and know-what can also become mine.

And so my e-portfolio can begin to become a Portfolio. I can choose that which I would like to display as featured work, but so too can I leave a bit of myself, as reflection of my learning beyond the prescribed, beyond the assignment. In a post, I can reflect not how the assignments and work display themselves, but rather how their synthesis has inspired, molded and changed…me. And so, I learn. And so I shall blog… more.


Butler, L. and Moman, C.  (1975). (Hey won’t you play) Another somebody done somebody wrong song.  Performed by B.J. Thomas; ABC Records.

Suess, Dr. (1990). Oh the places you’ll go. Random House; NewYork.

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Some Stories are Easier to Tell…

July 21st, 2010 · 2 Comments

Our project: to create a digital story.

I hadn’t done this before.  Back in teacher ed., we did a one-class thing on iMovie, but it didn’t ever seem to be for anything more than vague familiarity.  This was back in the day, 2004, where technology was just beginning to be given some sort of precedence in terms of preparing teachers technologically-speaking… or so it seemed.   The learning objectives certainly didn’t seem clear to me other than to ‘play’ which seemed to be supported by only spending one class on the project, never to see it or talk about it again.

Anyhoo, I recently acquired for myself Windows 2007 to update my stone-age might-as-well-be-DOS system on my laptop. From this exciting new update, I discovered I now had Windows Movie Maker on my laptop – yee haw! New to the game, I played there and got a great sense of what I wanted & how before going back to review our criteria.  I had had an inkling Movie Maker wasn’t the way to go & so luckily had not invested too much time – just enough to get my feet wet.  No swimming – good thing: our criteria clearly states the story is to be created online via a Web 2.0 tool such as those posted at CogDogRoo. So that’s what I did.

And did… and did.  It felt like today was never going to end – not happily anyway.

I don’t know how many applications I tried – or how many accounts I have set up! – in order to replicate something akin to what I was able to create on Movie Maker.  Troubles varied: one site wanted to put my slides in its preferred order rather than mine (myPlick).  Another wanted me to give voice to a single picture (VoiceThread).  One showed itself as logging in for an exorbitant amount of time after I created an account there (Joggle).  I discovered Tar Heel Reader, which might be really cool someday to use to create books with my students.  PhotoPeach looks cute, but wasn’t what I was looking for.  For learning purposes & general awareness as an educator, it was an interesting exercise to go through all these, but ultimately Google searching for more info about digital storytelling and following leads like this one and this one from other classmates from another class all seemed to point to using software such as Microsoft Photo Story 3, iMovie, and Movie Maker.

A last ditch chance opened Roxio PhotoShow.  After a day of reading Terms and Conditions of Use and Privacy Policies, I really didn’t care anymore.  PhotoShow looked like it would serve my purpose.  And it did:

(Here’s my pre-show caveat: keep in mind that I’ve done this with my students in mind.  They are ESL or ELL – whichever terminology you want to use, they’re learning English, and most of them are from China, Korea, or Taiwan, with some – like one or two for each – from various other Asian, South Asian, Eastern European and African countries.  I would show this early on to promote sharing of individual stories and a gateway to exploring the Canadian content they also need to learn.)

I’m pretty happy with this given the journey I took to get here.

Now the fallout:  I will have to deal with the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.  For one, my story will self-destruct in 29 days unless I switch to a Premium Policy for a reasonably small fee or order a DVD copy of it for $29.99.  I wouldn’t use PhotoShow for my students either: it’s based out of California and so is subject to the PATRIOT Act, though they do observe COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), of course, which is good for children 13 and under.  My students are typically 13 and over and I’m subject to B.C.’s privacy protection laws.   This was the one site too where I didn’t see anything particularly reassuring with regards to intellectual property rights.  I’d rather find a Canadian company for this type of thing or use my Movie Maker.

I might also have to pay out the big bucks ($3.33/month or $39.99/year) if I want to create longer stories with PhotoShow.  The free version stops me at 24 slides.  With needing to give some sort of credit page, that left me with 23 pictures on a project I can see easily eating up twice as many.  Hidden blessings there, I’m sure.  System-induced simplicity for the KISS-challenged.

I did like the automatic application of music to my work and I am happy with the music selection that PhotoShow chose for me.  I was concerned at first as it automatically chose a fourth of July theme for me and started playing America the Beautiful, but we got that sorted out just fine.

For now, this is what I’ve got.  I don’t really want to lose it in 29 days.  I’m glad I completed it after midnight.  Otherwise I suppose I’d only have 28 days.  Mercies of joy 🙂

All the pictures are under Creative Commons license except one, which is of my school and I emailed my principal for permission to use it, which he gave, and another one or two listed as being for public use without concern for any kind of licensing.

Hope you enjoy the show~

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Wiki Wonders

July 13th, 2010 · No Comments

Weighing in a little late here, our wiki activity last week in ETEC 565 did not hold my attention.  Granted I was a little distracted by an assignment in my other course (just submitted – yay! – hence, it’s time to catch up here), I found the wiki less than wonderful.  Instead, it left me waiting and wondering.

Trying to be organized (anticipating the then-upcoming distraction), I checked in early on the wiki.  I did get my thoughts posted in decent time, but then I found I was waiting for others, but it became an out-of-sight-out-of-mind issue.  Given that the majority of our discussions happen in the discussion forum, designed for discussion and asynchronicity, I didn’t like that I had to go through to the learning modules, then to the wiki – too many clicks, and for what?  To accomplish the same task that we could have done in the discussion forum.

I do like wikis.  For anything due for group editing, they work well.  For our summary, it works well.  Fetya posted the challenges and strategies and then they are perfectly editable by anyone in the group.  We could likewise use Google Docs, a Wetpaint site or a PB Works site.  But this served the purpose.

It also served another purpose though: it showed us how wikis don’t work.  Wikis are not the best choice for discussion.  A threaded discussion is much more organized and efficient.

Given our objectives of learning about learning technologies and how to select appropriately, I’d say the task worked.  By putting us in a situation that incorporated both good and bad application, we got to experience both under one roof so to speak.

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My adventures continue…

May 22nd, 2010 · 1 Comment

So, this is my UBC Blog.  This one is specifically for my ETEC 565 adventure.  For previous adventures, check out my other blog, also wittingly called vicki’s e-portfolio (well, that’s what it is, so hey, why be cryptic?).

If by chance you’ve stumbled upon this page & happen to be some newbie saying how do you do this stuff?, have no fear.  I’m right there with you.  Get your hands dirty – oh no, don’t; your keyboard will be a mess.  I mean, jump in & try it out.  UBC Blog & WordPress have both been pretty good to me so far.

I’m mildly pleased that, after all my playing around to get the RSS feed, I figured out how to customize my header on this blog too.   I like my painting – probably ’cause it’s really my only one and it’s got near perfect dimensions to be a web-page banner.  What a fluke.  Anyway.  Painting’s grounded for now.  For now, I’ve got to get on with a different Flight Plan.

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