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.



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 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!

Week 5 Story Critique: Because Being Silly Matters Too!

OMG… I just have to say that this was not my original story, but after fighting with embedding a Facebook video for three hours… I am giving into my second choice. Okay,the vent is done!

I would like to welcome you to the Shetland Islands, where my parents and I immigrated from. I am biased, but this is a beautiful place and the culture and people are even more beautiful. No, this is not a go visit Shetland post, but if you do please know that you need to plan ahead as you will be traveling into the middle of the North Sea. Originally settled by the Picts, it has a strong Norse tradition and yes, Shetland Ponies.

What types of “involvement” – and by the author/creator(s), participant(s), and/or audience – are apparent in this story?

One is supposed to enjoy this piece as an audience, it brings a little fun to the famous pony icon. If you are a participant in this story,  it’s okay to dance along and smile. As the author or creator the motivation for involving the audience it to really bring focus to the locale the background behind the dancing. In relation to my theme, it’s hard to break out of the norm and be yourself. This little pony is dancing their way into joy.

How would you characterize the “literacy dimensions” present in this story? 

Well, I could make the argument that this is an example of fan fiction as it rewrites the traditional notion of the iconic image of the Shetland pony. It is composed to bring them into life with a personality and an attitude of confidence. It could also been seen as a tied to a commercial purpose a way of reading “Visit Shetland” in a more modern and digital way.

Pony on Belstone Common, Dartmoor

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?

There are multiple online spaces for this story. It was found on You.Tube, but was originally created for online interaction. It went viral and some sites that it was used on would include traditional texts such as the Daily Mail, Visit Scotland, ABC News, ITV News and the BBC. It was also seen on Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Pintrest, and many more sites. By having this story of the dancing pony going viral it brought attention to the islands in a very public and inventive way. It engaged potential tourism to the islands and became a sensation on its own. By sharing this story it spread the story of visiting a country.

Based upon your assessment of involvement and literacy dimensions, what modifications and changes to this digital story might improve aspects of narrative, production, media usage, and/or audience engagement? 

This was well produced, they must have waited for a perfect day in Shetland. It can be a day where you cannot even see the ponies because of the fog.Very powerful images of the landscape and scenery. I think the remix of the music was well placed. I may have shown a little more interaction with the other ponies to set the tone for what a “non dancing pony” looks like. I think audiences’ really enjoyed this story as it was spread across the digital space and across the western world. I think there is room to work on the moon walking feet, I could see a little digital modification here, but this is getting quite nitty-gritty with my critique.

Since I know the culture of Shetland, I did laugh at the cliff moment because one must be cautious when waking on the Isles because the cliffs can sneak up on you or have some mighty winds. I also thought the interaction with the tractor was well done. When we are brave enough to be uniquely ourselves we often stop dancing when someone is watching. I thought this added a bit of humor and humanity to the piece. I was engaged and I hope you were too!.