Final Reflection and Portfolio for INTE 5340

 

20160523_165720
Mother Natures cure for stress, the natural Zen Garden. I could read stories by this all day long!

When I reflect back over this course it does feel like a blur. Perhaps, this is due to the fact that I had to take a break in order to complete the course because I knew I had to take care of myself and my life. Choosing the theme of vulnerability feels like a gift in hindsight. I think my readings and engagement with the topic helped me to see my how vulnerable I really had become. It’s not easy to step into the challenge and face it, but it can help us show up a stronger version of ourselves a year later.

This course as a student took me to new places. Each week challenged me and made me push through a place of doubt. At times I wondered, am I learning anything? This feels so open? I don’t think I have been in a graduate class like this where it is self-guided, even in the learning of many of the concepts. I won’t lie I did find this frustrating at times, I felt too stretched. However, I was being stretched so very much in my personal and professional life that my experience may have been influenced. One thing I can say is that I did have many small “wins” in learning in the course. The times where I figured out new technology, learned how to build a portfolio page, get into the grit with new modes of creating and communicating. After returning after a year, there were things I had to review, but I noticed a sense of confidence and trust in my ability to find the answer.

INTE 5340

allowed me to engage with texts in new ways and interact with peers as I thought and read through them. This seemed to broaden my perspective and allow me to challenge my own opinions. There seems to be a lot to be gained by annotation and I was a skeptic, to begin with. There was a sense of ownership in what I was learning and creating. It also allowed me to learn by doing. I thought the public nature of this course would make me feel more of a need for perfection, but the learning was in the posting and creating.

This course and I as a teacher and co-designer challenged me to really take on the role of participant in the learning experience. There really isn’t a way to take a back seat. This was a challenge at times because I felt I needed more structure or guidance. I will say that this was probably a good learning lesson because in the world of industry technology is changing so rapidly that we need to prepare learners for taking on their own learning and diving in even when the water feels too deep! I actually missed the interaction with peers when I returned to complete the work.

My understanding of pedagogy has shifted based on this class. I recognize that I really enjoy giving a lecture, but that I really need to be open to bringing in the “pull” into my classroom or training. Engagement is so important for learning and I think the ownership of a theme and push to take on new methods of communicating, learning, and literacy is key to development. It does mean that as an educator I will have to take the time to figure out what my expectations are for students, let them be a little freer, and yet find a way to make sure I am contributing to a sound learning environment. I do believe that even in a traditional classroom there is a place for some online learning. This could be through Hypoth.is, a blog, ds106, or multimodal assignments. It awoke my teaching to catching up with the new resources that are out there and to update my where and how I stand in the classroom teaching.

Final Portfolio

Week 7: Reflective Summary

The content of this week was important, relevant, and slightly disturbing. The realization that we have so far to go when it comes to having real conversations around privilege, power, and whiteness is unnerving. The readings brought me back to a time where my job was to learn, discuss, challenge, and come to new understandings or perspectives. I suppose that is the gift of a graduate program and my being in my young twenties. I loved engaging in these types of conversations, but I have noticed that the more I moved away from teaching and into more administrative or consulting roles the less we take on difficult narratives. Perhaps, it is the nature of the work, which tends to be more customer service orientated. However, it can become devoid of depth, emotion, and understanding.

The readings this week challenged me to think about how traditional I have tended to see learning or literacy. There is room for multimodal connection and sharing, I just don’t  know if we have figured out how to make this space available for most students. In the working world, I can see certain departments being given the time to build more creative ways to create meaning and collaboration i.e., marketing or consumer research and engagement. However, I think generationally digital narrative can feel overwhelming or unnecessary. As generations grow up with the growing technologies and social media, I see this changing. However, I don’t think we have empowered many to be digitally literate.

I alluded to this in my annotations, but I see broadening the definition of literacy to be beneficial for students and adults who may not be as skilled at expressing themselves and connecting with others through writing or reading. I know that there is a push for Individual Learning Plans and to try to set each student up for success in their studies. Perhaps, there could be more room for a digital portfolio integrated into their plans. Of course, then we need to make sure that faculty or teachers are ready for evaluating this work and encouraging alternative measures of communicating meaning.

In regards to the assignments this week, I recognized that I am getting more confident in being able to use new tools and I am finding the fun in being creative in new ways. Developing a “Bucket List” has been some thing I have been writing down. Perhaps, more on setting intentions for what’s next now that I am starting over in many ways. I have struggled to use visual images and this assignment gave me some strategy in making my aspirations come together visually. Narrative, who we are, and how we tell our stories plays such an important role in how we view our potential and the opportunities we have. How we tell our stories to ourselves and to other matters. How we craft meaning also matters in regard to having a voice in society and it is important to consider as we build curriculums, teach, and learn.

Week 7: Digital Story Telling Critique

I wanted to come back to my original inspiration for choosing my theme for this course, Dr. Brene Brown. I was delighted when I found this short animated film that overlays one of her talks.

  1. What types of “involvement” – and by the author/creator(s), participant(s), and/or audience – are apparent in this story?  I have watched many of her talks and I have always enjoyed them. However, with the addition of the animation overlayed with her words the differences between empathy and sympathy were more visual and effective. The animation brings the research to a visual realm that can be shared with new audiences of all ages. Young participants may grasp the concepts because of the characters displaying the emotions viscerally. I think this short animated digital story welcomes the audience into challenging the reactions to a pain that we have all experienced on some level, at some point. We can see ourselves in the characters more than if we were just listening to her speak. Personally, I found myself laughing when she is describing the reaction to my marriage is falling apart, this happened and it was never helpful.
  2. How would you characterize the “literacy dimensions” present in this story?  I think that this story allows the audience to cognitively take in empathy and sympathy and understand the subtle difference between the two concepts. I think the animation in the story and the visual portrayal of body language in the characters helps to enhance the emotions and the shared meaning of the information being described. I think the sound overlaid with the whimsical animals makes the connection and meaning of the lecture more relatable and less threatening for an audience that may be skeptical.
  3. What are the online spaces and sites that bring this story to life? Why do these spaces and sites matter to the impact of the given story? This video was found on YouTube, which I found by searching her name and cute digital stories. The video is accessible for people to find and watch. It is also not too long, which can make it hard to stay involved in the story. In further searching, this story can also be found on her personal branded website. I think that these spaces matter because an audience may find her work through Youtube and then go on to find out more about the author or voice in this case. I think this is easy for people who have access to the internet to view and use and therefore, it seems effective in reaching an equal audience who may be searching for this information.
  4. Based upon your assessment of involvement and literacy dimensions, what modifications and changes to this digital story might improve aspects of the narrative, production, media usage, and/or audience engagement?  I really think this digital story is integrated well into the voice or narrative. I thought the animator was able to convey the differences and emotional nuances of empathy and sympathy clearly. In this case, I wish it had been a bit longer. I found the abrupt end when entering the discussion of connection to cut off the storyline. I thought the quality of the production was good. The sounds were clear, the animation matched the sound and it was fluid and translated the meaning of the message clearly.

Week 7: Daily Creates

Reading Response: Week 7

I have always been interested in narrative and the power of telling a story. Storytelling has passed down family tales, folklore, connection, and meaning making. There is also great responsibility in the stories we tell the public and ourselves. As Kress asserts, “The world told is different from the world shown.” This completely relates to my theme of vulnerability as it takes showing up and being seen to step into our own vulnerability. I believe I was demonstrating a very different world a year ago than what I was living. Your internal voice just continues to get louder when you are trying to save face or ignore the signs.

As I mentioned in my annotations I first read the article by MacIntosh (1989) “White Privilege: Unpacking the White Knapsack” when I was in graduate school and teaching Intercultural Communication. It was probably the article that got the most discussion and students reacted across the spectrum of denial to new perspectives. I find this article has a unique relevance, which in my opinion, means that we still discuss race and privilege from the margins. Presently, we see white male privilege on display daily in tweets and images from the Oval.

Where is the representation of the diversity of the United States? If a historian were to come in 20 years and look at this picture the context would not be captured in 140 characters and perhaps they would conclude that women didn’t work in Washington. In comparison, a tweet from the Obama administration below; a picture can express a thousand words.

This brings me to the Nilsson article and the importance of examining how we define standards of literacy and the role of digital storytelling in learning. Throughout this course, I have been challenged by traditional modes of storytelling, which I think for myself meant primarily through words on a page with a beginning, middle, and end. However, as we develop more digital access to communicate and make meaning then I think it’s time to expand my personal understanding. As an instructor, I had to be cognizant that students learn in different ways and I was often engaged by their creative use of multi-media in their presentations. I can see the value in teaching and encourage learning through multimodality.

I think the challenge is how do we make sure teachers are literate in the vast ways in which we can utilize social media, image, sound, text, etc., in order to help students creatively express their understanding of the world? How do we make sure students have access to the resources they need to create digital stories? If we are to move to a broader definition and measure of literacy we also need to make sure that educators are literate in these forms of communication. However, the challenge for me is the scale that would be needed to make this possible. With resources already stretched thin, classroom sizes large, and the multitude of methods available I think there would need to be curriculum changes to support digital literacy and critical thinking.

Our social environments influence how we learn, what we make meaning of and how we make meaning. From this week’s readings, there is a lot of unearned privilege that impacts how we interact with our environments. We see that who is let into the circle of influence can be narrow or representative. I think that we also see the power of social media to create meaning or attempt to convey attitude. I think we have to be responsible consumers of the digital world, but we also need to embrace the power it has to engage and create consciousness in positive and negative ways.