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.

 

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