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.





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!

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!.

Week 5 Reading Response: Literacy Matters

Heavy would be the word for this week. Followed by the emotions of fear, shame, hate, love, kindness, and hope. You can see and feel the tensions in this country; our differences feel palpable. It’s an uneasy place to navigate. Some of use based on the color of our skin are able to navigate with truly different realities based on the privileges that come with our race. Yes, I am talking about white privilege and it can be an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it’s important to look at what that means if you are white. It’s not a new conversation, Peggy McIntosh wrote this simple article back in 1988 focusing on ways we can unpack the invisible privilege of being white. Looking at white privilege does not mean that we do not have our individual challenges, that we haven’t felt vulnerable, but it does mean that we may walk differently through the world.

In this weeks reading by Henry Jenkins (2008), the concepts of access, privilege, and participation were what stood ou to me. These have always been issues within our society. Who has access to knowledge and learning? Do some have more privilege based on socio-economic status and how does this influence how they participate in the world? Jenkins suggests, “Educational reformers have long argued that schools need to break down the walls that isolate classroom teaching from the larger learning ecology surrounding schools, incorporate outside perspec-tives, connect textbook knowledge with real world contexts through authen-tic inquiries, and link emerging expertise to the meaningful performance of social roles” (2008, pg. 232). We need to break down many walls to allow everyone to engage and participate in society. 

Since we live in a “2.o” world, we are participating and engaging digitally more than ever. There are so many platforms, apps, chats, videos, networks, communities, and sites where digital learning can happen and where the discourse of learning occurs. When you are not face-to-face with someone it can be easy to let this space of learning and communicating become adverse, demeaning, and downright threatening at times. How we build community digitally is incredibly important and how we use it do divide, censor, and condemn is also important. When we blog, tweet, create, and share publically we are sharing our own narratives. In the book the “The Political Is Personal”, “Generically, the autobiographical form emphasizes personal narrative as authentic and authoritative” (Anderson, K.V., 2011, pg. 132). This means that what we post it can be considered a way to enter our voices into the world, but by being authoritative there is responsibility to consider who our potential audience and what meaning are we sharing with each other.

As Jenkins indicates in the goal of the Teacher strategies Guide, literacy should be a generative process, that is purpose-driven, recognizes individual motives, and how those motives can be used for collaborative decision-making (pg. 13). I would argue that as we engage and participate in social media and digital spaces we encourage discourse that is deliberative, critical, and inspires collaboration. These spaces can become a way to spread hate, intolerance, fear, and messages that are meant only for consumption not active engaged discourse. It can also be used as a positive space to consume support, love, and community. My friends mother posted this on her Facebook page (for privacy reasons I am not going to provide the link):

My Darling Daughter:
I love you so much that I have to say this. I do not want you here anymore. I want you in Ireland or Canada or Austraulia or Lower Slobbovia or any Damn Where they do not kill Black Folks. If they are doing it to the Brothers, it is just a matter of time before thE Sisters are next. i love you too much to think about you being one of the martyred. Please leave this damn crazy country while there is still time. I would rather see you as a barrista in Canada or a nanny in Ireland or a sheep shearer in The Outback and know that somewhere on this Earth you were still living and loving and breathing. i am very serious about this. Our country is sick, very sick, and believe me a char woman’s job in Manitoba looks pretty damn good to me right now. Honey please leave and take cHESSIE WITH YOU. lOVE,

Becoming literate with new technologies opens up an individual quick access to connect, communicate, learn, and share. Many people participate and engage with a true sense to learn together and collaborate to create new texts that inform, entertain, and engage. However, mother’s should not have to ask their child to leave their country because the public discourse is creating a society that does not feel safe to be one’s true self. We matter, learning matters, but I get to walk safer today then my friend because she is a black lesbian who does not have as much invisible privilege as I do, as a straight white woman.


Anderson, Karrin V.”The Personal Is Political:Negotiating Publicity and Privacy in Hillary Rodham Clintons Living History.” Telling Political Lives. 1. Marshall, B.V., Mayhead, M.A. United States, 2008 . 132-146. Online.

McIntosh, P. “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” https://www.deanza.edu/faculty/lewisjulie/White%20Priviledge%20Unpacking%20the%20Invisible%20Knapsack.pdf. June 9. 2016.

Jenkins (2008) Afterword: Communities of Readers, Clusters of Practices

Photo Credit: Black Lives Matter isn’t stopping – POLITICO www.politico.com

Week 4: Reading Response Writing and Self


This week the idea of thinking about writing about the self was probably the most terrifying, and yet, needed distraction. I have had one of those weeks where I feel I am being forced to own my story because of the connections in my life. I have been operating this week with a constant thrush of adrenaline buzzing under my skin. It’s like been stuck in flight or flight mode when you really wish there was an easy button to press to get you back to neutral. I have wanted to hide under the covers, but also know I need to stand in the truth of my life. This is what vulnerability feels like, but it allows us to write a brave new ending if we choose. It’s times where you are trying to be brave that the real people in your life show up and allow you to been seen, heard, and supported. I am truly grateful for this and them.

This is where I should probably say, “I’m sorry, that may have been a little TMI!” However, I’m not going to do that because in this weeks readings there was the idea of our authentic self and on how we write about the self in this digital space. According to Davies and Merchant (2006), “Writing online provides us with the opportunity to “author the self ”(Holland et al. 1998), to sustain a narrative of identity (Giddens 1991), and even to explore a number of different stories of the self, but these identities always are forged through our connection with others” (pg.26).  Writing online is in itself a act of vulnerability, it will be seen, read, and commented on. I have wanted to figure out what my narrative would sound like online, but I have never had the courage to place my words into the public’s hands. And here I am today, doing it when I feel pretty raw and open, so I’m going to take the advice of Dr. Brene Brown when it comes to reading comments.

However, it does seem that, “allowing the boundaries between seriousness and play, between home and academ-ic lives to blur is a new way of writing that blogging promotes” (Davies and Merchant, 2006, pg.21). This new way of writing indicates that this form may allow for a more authentic voice to come through, one that combines the elements of live that make up who we are. I was interested in the idea or Expressive Writing and how this form of writing is used. When I used to be a victim advocate writing was a tool for healing. It was often private and not placed in the digital space, but through the act of writing survivors started thriving again. They would often become speakers and advocates themselves. John Evans (2012) suggests, “often, expressive writing is turbulent and unpredictable, and that is Ok. Expressive writing is not so much what happened as it is about how you feel about what happened or is happening.” So my guess is this type of writing is not meant a blog. Step 4 states,  “Write only for yourself: You may plan to destroy or hide what you are writing. Do not turn this exercise into a letter. This exercise is for your eyes only” (Evans, 2012). I suppose that this exercise could lead to a honest understanding of how you are feeling, which may get written into a blog at some point. I think there can be a community within the digital space and perhaps I’ll find my way in to one.

I am late to the arena this week, but I made it to the arena! This week that means I’m still learning and engaging with life. Activities that felt a little daunting earlier this week, so I’ll take that win and go with it.