Week 6 Reflective Summary: Getting Back Into the Flow

Returning to the course a year after starting my work brought a mixed bag of challenges. Taking time to figure out where I left off required relearning some of the simple things like posting in WordPress, creating links, and remembering the flow of the course were required. When I opened my blog, I had written a few lines in my reading response and it did bring me back to a very challenging time in my life. Revisiting can elicit some grief or shame, but overall it almost felt like I was revisiting the work of my former self. The toxicity of my personal life this time last summer made my professional life and this course stressful. I noticed that when I got back into the flow of completing the course I had learned a few things, but I also recognized that I enjoyed being creative.

The story critique was a bit challenging because I felt a little removed from the structure and guidelines around this. With the digital story that I selected, there was an element of privacy and a moment of extreme openness and vulnerability as the anonymous author dares to question a possible family secret that would bring a lot of emotions including anger, fear, shame, and guilt. Anytime someone shares a story that is personal there is a cathartic moment for the author, but also the hope to create shared meaning or a new perspective for consideration. As I write this summary, I realized that I was more vulnerable in my posts this week, I showed up and shared more authentically my experience with my personal focal theme.

When I chose vulnerability as my focal theme it was really based on research by Brene Brown. I found her work in grounded theory applicable and incredibly interesting. I wanted to learn more about what is involved in becoming resilent. How do some people grow from situations that seem beyond their control? I had no idea I was walking into my own arena and the battle was going to leave me marred and face down. When I originally set out to complete week 6, I remember thinking “you can do this, just get through it!” As I was starting my reading response that week I was in the midst of total personal shame and fear. People get through those feelings because they show up as themselves, for themselves. I asked for help and the ability to complete the course at a later date.  I am glad that I asked because it freed up space to confront some big issues in my life. I was also treated with respect and, which was an is a gift as was my focal theme it turns out.

What I learned and enjoyed was that digital storytelling allows you to add depth and another text in order to create meaning. This week’s digital assignment surprised me because I knew what song I wanted to use, but I was able to write about my experience with it. I have attempted this before, but I had never really shared through a public post. After it was out there, I did think “uh oh!” However, it was within my theme and I was ready to share. As I think about what I would rate myself as this week I did exceed my own expectations and I can see that what I was learning a year ago was relevant in an unexpected, but grateful way.

 

 

 

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The Complexities of Home: Week 6 Story Critique

This digital story was found on StoryCenter whose mission according to the website is to support individuals and organizations in using storytelling and participatory media for reflection, education, and social change. I was drawn to this story because it discusses the complexities of returning home after one has emigrated to another country and the feeling of vulnerability of being away and yet desiring a connection to home.As an online

Online Space

There is a well-defined theme for a place to record and discuss digital storytelling. It was easy to find when searching for digital stories. I think that being on this site or a personal blog or website would be appropriate spaces for this story. You could widen access if you linked to organizations that may focus on immigration, family, or trauma.

Presentation and Performance

The story opens with an image of a text message and invites to a family reunion. There are colorful images of cultural artifacts missed by the author. This conveys excitement and energy and a craving to revisit. It visual element then moves into family photos with the images of the faces in the photos being hidden. It gives the sense of protection of witnesses and players in a deep family secret. The focus on the images moves slowly in and out and I think this works well with the narrative being shared. The author speaks quite slowly and in a melancholic tone as the story progresses. At first, I felt it was a little too monotone, but after viewing it a few times I see that the voice is what demonstrates the emotionality of the story, it gives a sense of vulnerability.

In a way, it invites you into the discovery of why family patterns exist and continue to cycle. I also thought that the narrative invites us in and allows us to wonder what may or may not have occurred to create such a family dynamic. Towards the end the story there is a series of questions reflecting upon what is unspoken and sense of wanting to reconnect with home, family, and nostalgia. However, we are left with this desire to go back, but also trepidation about how the history of the family may now inform choice and decision of how one will interact.

Involvement

The author is telling her own narrative of wanting to return and reconnect with her family from abroad. However, through the interactions with her family, another story starts to evolve and she is not directly part of the hidden history of the family story. She is beginning to wonder what damage or injury may have been caused by the women and girls in her family, by the men of her family. She then is potentially the first woman to speak of this in her family and maybe a catalyst for healing.

Suggestions for Improving the Digital Story

As I mentioned, I thought the tone of the author’s voice was a bit monotone throughout and potentially she may have been able to distinguish her mother’s voice.  I think at the beginning of the story her voice sounds a little apathetic, I felt there was a chance to highlight the excitement of returning home. I understand the blurring of the faces in the family photo and it may have been necessary to protect privacy. However, I think exposing her own face towards the end as a little girl may have added connection to the audience. While this story was more serious in tone, I think it matched the content and purpose of this digital story.

 

 

 

Week Six: Reading Response

Calibrate your voice. This just represents the “push” mentality of creating spaces for learning. “We,” those who have power will give you what you need in order to learn and “we” will attempt to control what is allowed into a space. Calibrate your voice… this just instantly did not sit well with me.

I began this post a year ago, and as I was re-reading for this week I still had the same reaction. My educational background is in Communication Studies and while I was earning my master’s degree at CSU, we were pushed and pulled into the world of teaching. Each year we taught sections of Public Speaking and I have taught Public Speaking on and off for the last 15 years. My favorite thing about teaching this course is that you are able to witness people find their public voice and in turn gain confidence that their voice should be heard and spoken. There have been far too many voices that have been marginalized, blocked, forbidden, or threatened throughout history and in the present. Currently, in the age of “fake news” there is a terrifying push for blocking voices, information, and knowledge from the office that has more power and responsibility to protect the right to free speech. We may need to calibrate the energy we put out through our words, but to assume control over a person’s tone tends to just lead to arguments and disagreements.

I entered the educational technology space at the beginning of 2016 and immediately noticed there was a different learning style. There was no learning plan. There was no structure. There was a real collaboration. I can see that I was accustomed to the “push” method of learning, however, I still think there is a need for some foundation of what needs to be learned. Lankshear and Knobel stated:

A ‘pull’ approach assumes ‘passion-based learning’ that is ‘motivated by the student either wanting to become a member of a particular community of practice or just wanting to learn about, make, or perform something’ (ibid.). Under these conditions, resourcing learning is primarily a matter of building platforms to support (collaborative) social learning.

For learning with a ‘pull’ approach there needs to be a platform to support the new member in their learning. There also needs to be a culture of supporting that social learning. I remember hoping into our companies online Q&A for the first time, spending time reading threads, trying to navigate the culture of the team. It was like stepping into the middle of a conversation without knowing any context. It felt unproductive to be guessing where I should be starting. I continued to ask for input on how to navigate the platform and was met with, “Well, what do you need to know?” The internal and outward statement from a few of us new team members was, “Well, we don’t really know what we don’t know.” Hind sight, I would have asked where to start and the best way to navigate my training and see if this would have produced a more productive and collaborative learning experience.

While I do not think one should be told to calibrate their voice, I do think that in the new era of ‘pull’ learning words and the tone of those words do matter. In an environment where much of communication is typed, texted, or instant messaged there is a lot of room for interpretation and misunderstanding. In a collaborative learning environment, I think it’s important to not assume someone’s attitude, heck we have emoticons to help try to convey tone and meaning. However, honoring when someone is new to a team or organization matter’s if trying to foster a ‘learning to be’ approach. If a person is trying to get to the level of “deep” learning they need to ask basic questions, learn by doing, and build the ability to speak with confidence. Brene Brown, an expert on resilience stated, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” In order to bring passion and persistence to learning, you have to allow people to take risks and think big. In my opinion, many organizations are still struggling with how to let that type of learning evolve within the constraints of ROI, profit, and time.

On a final note for this reading response, there is a need for alone time without technology or people. The smartphone has provided the world with an out for feeling okay with being alone. It’s the crutch as you dine alone at lunch or wait for the subway. Some of my most spontaneous moments have happened when I sit and observe the present moment. Now, I will admit that I often end up talking to the stranger next to me, so I end up not being along. What can I say, I’m an extrovert.  However, after a challenging year, I was forced to get quiet and I found it incredibly restorative to just be in solitude. It was in this place of being alone that I finally heard my inner grit telling me to find a new way to passion and perseverance.

 

 

 

Digital Assignment Week 6: Learning to Rise Again

The journey began a year ago. I signed up to take INTE 5340 and chose the focal theme of vulnerability. I did not know it would become a person theme or that my life was about to be broken open- wide open.

Brene Brown wrote, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.” This time last year my entire being knew that the only way to continue living an authentic life was to step into my truth and recognize that I had been enabling my marriage, my husband, and myself in order to protect the image of us.  The realization of this was the final crack in our glass house. It shattered while I was standing under it. Our home was no longer ours. Within 20 minutes, an army of friends and a civil standby my life was loaded into cars and unloaded into my parent’s basement.

Divorce is painful and personal. It can feel like a failure. It can feel like the most necessary thing in order to live a full life. It’s sad, naked, and unafraid. My divorce was final four days before Christmas.

Three months later I found myself studio sitting in NYC for a friend. A chance to see a new area, new views, walk new streets and perhaps start to find my feet again. I was there for three weeks and planned on a few long weekends, while I worked during the week. March 3, 2017, over the crackling of a WebEx meeting the words, “We are terminating your employment” was stated. It felt like I was spinning in slow motion as documents filled my inbox and words like “bottom-line” continued to be spoken. It wasn’t graceful, it was freefalling. In ten minutes the conversation was over and I was disconnected from the working world. A career I had been building for sixteen years- gone. I was face down in the arena and it wasn’t pretty.

I looked out the window, twenty-six stories high and overlooking the Freedom Tower and World Trade Center Memorial. There have been worst days and I was still alive. I got dressed up and decided I needed to get outside and walk or this could swallow me whole. So, I walked about 10 miles that day around the city and practiced with strangers who asked, “What do you do?” Those poor strangers or everyday saints didn’t expect to be invited into my vulnerability, but if I was to become resilient I had to step into my truth and be authentically me.

So take a listen to this song and feel determined to get back up. If you’re face down in the arena it’s okay to take the time to be quiet, to process, and to fall a few times as you find the courage to stand again. I had days where a bed, Netflix, and sleep were all I could attempt. Healing is a process, but it’s a beautiful opportunity to find your way again.

Week 5 Reflection

Week five was a busy one for me and I found myself challenging myself to learn some new techniques and applications. I faced the frustration at times because that is what it means to engage in DYI learning. You have to get in, try, and hopefully find the play in the process.

As I mentioned in my reading response this was a heavy week in the world, but it was good to dig into the readings and look into some new research on the issues facing us as a society. I felt like my posts and tone this week were more focused more on social justice and the importance of discussing  who has access to produce texts and who gets to be heard and who may be silenced in the mainstream rhetoric. I feel it is important to ask critical questions of what it means be collaborative on-line and deliberative in taking on issues, rather than ranting. I found that my daily creates are coming more naturally for me and I find myself being able engage with the community more fluently. I also feel like my group is giving me good feedback and helping me read the texts from a new and more interactive way. I am seeing how annotation can make the meaning of the text become more rich from all their perspectives.

The mashup assignment was a great challenge for me, but it also became the assignment that I felt like I really pushed myself to work with new applications and learn new things. I found myself wanting to know how to negotiate the systems faster. However, I realized that once you get in and learn the next time I use video I will be more fluent and probably be able to focus on the quality of production more. I think I would like to learn more about video making applications and learn about how to make video that is stylistically sophisticated. I am getting an idea for a digital story that brings my focal theme together, and I am surprised that I am seeing some illustrations in it. I would not consider myself a talented artist, but I am envisioning some attempt at this. I am surprised that my theme of vulnerability has been leading me to think about what this means for the public realm and how the role it plays in how we may be able to engage in learning or not participate in the process of learning. As I mentioned it seems as a country we are entangled in the negative and positive emotions that comes with being vulnerable.

To conclude, I think I am started to exceed my own expectations in this course. Some may not agree, but I feel as if I was able to think critically and take on more challenging mediated assignments. I suppose I am starting to feel more literate within the digital space of learning, participating, and contributing.

Week 5 Daily Create 2: Bob and Sue a Lifetime of Adventures

In this episode of “The Adventures of Bob and Sue,” we find Bob at a loss of what to do. He has a night on the town with his old buddies from high school. Their antics and banna comsumption lead to some poor choices. Sue is left unimpressed and Bob will have to find his way back into her good graces.

bob and sue

Week 5: Mash This Baby!

Make-Believe and Imagination #ilt5340 #ilt5340d #ds106#MashupAssignments, #MashupAssignments1481

BOOM! My first mashup, complete with natural audio and many attempts at figuring out how to do this assignment. It ain’t perfect, but it’s there.

My process for this assignment was born out of an evening taking care of my close friends kids. It involved play-do, which we all should still play with to engage with creativity and fun. I then was their “chef,” with a take-and-bake pizza. In the midst of preparing their dinner we had a potty training moment while the fire alarm went off. However, in the end we saved pizza night! I filmed these sessions with Vine, which in the end I hope conveyed the energy of the evening. I thought about adding music however, the background noise seemed to convey the story better.

I then had to figure out how to download the vine clips in order to create the mashup. I used Freemake.com to combine the videos. When I was in this I made sure I turned on the join files feature (top right of the screen). My biggest challenge was getting the files to download as MP4, my computer was not giving the option to save in this format.At this stage of the process,  I’ll be honest I made some angry gestures at the computer and I was told my face was displaying frustration by a stranger in the coffee shop.  I ended up downloading an application called VideoGrabber and using the free trial. They don’t make the free trial option very intuitive. As a tip: when you add a download it takes about 5 seconds to load when you click evaluate, but I was it leads you to think you need to register or purchase. I then created my first You.Tube video and uploaded this into my blog.

I’ll say that this assignment required patience since I had to watch quite a few tutorials and play with new applications. I almost gave up… but, I didn’t. And while this will not win a Oscat, I figured out how to do this and that felt quite good. My theme for this assignment was finding ways to play and be joyful after a week that could make any adult feel a little vulnerable. The gift of being around happy kids is that they can make you imagine a whole new world filled with stories, make-believe, and when the melt downs happen sleep cures all!