Friday, June 27, 2008
Last night’s presentations were great. It was really nice to see what other groups had been working on over the 6 week course, and it was interesting what everyone’s video topics were. There was great variety among them. I was also surprised with how many groups used a website to create their final project. I agree with Grace’s post about “Learning it Digitally.” We were given the opportunity to use a “new” literacy ourselves. We were given an example, but then as the presentations show, each group played around with the “new” literacy in a different way. This shows how we successfully incorporated a “new” literacy into our classroom. Thanks Liz for letting us do this! I think if a teacher allows their students the chance to play around with different literacies, they will eventually learn new ones. But if they are not exposed to such types existing, they will never learn.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
After reading Gatto’s essay, I was so empowered and amazed. She is such a great teacher, and example after example is able to create a community of learners environment for her students, where they truly are enthusiastic about learning. Since most of the activities she did in her classes came from her students questions, the kids were engaged and interested in the subject matter. This is a great way to make them involved in the learning process! Why aren’t more teachers doing this? Also, the fact that schools mandate teachers to teach from certain books is crazy. Gatto said, “How would any company know what words my students need for their writing and reading? I do not even know until it comes up, and it is never the same from year to year” (p.19). She is right; how can a book company possibly know what students need to learn? Each student learns differently, and only after time, can a teacher recognize their learning style and know their strengths and weaknesses. Why are companies determining what schools teach? If the teachers are the ones who really know their students, why aren’t they coming up with the curriculum?
She also mentioned that in order to create a meaningful community environment for students, teachers need to collaborate together, to share ideas and affective strategies. We mentioned this in class that having a support system is really important to being a successful teacher. How are we supposed to create this support system, if teacher’s doors are closed all the time? I think we need to just break out of our shell, and get involved with other teachers so that we can all learn from each other.
Monday, June 23, 2008
My guy feeling is that qualitative research has its value but that trying to describe an organic classroom experience in light of a post-hoc applied learning theory will inevitably cause the researcher to miss traits/qualities that are outside of that theories framework.
It seems to me that if we're hell-bent on qualitative analysis and the use of learning theories that we should instead design a program around a learning theory and then do qualitative analysis of that, otherwise we should just analyze the classroom experience for all that it has to offer rather than limiting our field of view to a theory that we're applying after the fact.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
After last night’s presentation of slam poetry, I was left in awe. I have never really seen slam poetry done, although I am aware that it exists. I was so impressed with Elliot’s poems, especially the subject matter. He is so educated and knowledgeable of so many issues, it just surprised me that he is only 16. I thought he was much older. I know many teenagers are as smart as him, but he just has his head on his shoulder, which many teens do not. Also, he was so articulate in what he was saying, which is another difficult thing for teens, or anybody to do.
We didn’t really touch on how his presentation relates to literacy though. He talked about his feelings of school and what not, and about his process, a little bit, but we never made a connection to literacy while Larson’s group was there, and I thought that was kind of weird. I definitely consider slam poetry to be a form of literacy. It is such a powerful way to express your views and feelings, which involves the use of language. Any other thoughts on his presentation or it relating to literacy?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
For the final web 2.0 assignment I decided to discuss a website that I created. The link is http://white.pierce.googlepages.com/mr.white%27shistoryhome. The website was easy to create. I just went to my Google account and then went to Google pages and began to create the site. Although it was an easy process, it did take a considerable amount of time to make everything look the way that I wanted. I ran into a few problems as I was creating this site. One of the issues that I ran into dealt with the embedding of YouTube Videos into the site and also how to get the pictures to show up in the final version of the page. However, when I figured that out it was smooth sailing. Some of the literacies that are used in this process are the same literacies that have been used in other web 2.0 assignments such as technical and media literacies. I think that this could be a positive literary tool in the classroom, if there was a blog space where students could talk about things that they have learned and/or questions that they may have.
Here is one I made of me and my friend…
Last class I brought up that you could try to write grants for different technology or supplies for the classroom. Here are a few links, I will also try to find the information that Ann Panella gave us. She is in charge of writing grants for the warner school so shes a great resource! http://sites.target.com/site/en/corporate/page.jsp?contentId=PRD03-001818 www.nsta.org/pd/tapestry/ http://www.grantsalert.com/gsft.cfm?action=view&gsft=135 http://teachersnetwork.org/grants/
For my last web 2.0 assignment I also decided to do Pandora. After seeing so many others in class try it, I figured it was time to try it out myself. It was very easy to sign up. I provided my e-mail address, created a password, gave my zip code and year of birth, and finally my gender. After this I was brought to the main Pandora page and was able to type in an artist or song title to create my own radio station. I was really impressed with how it is able to match the kind of music you put in to give you options of other similar artists. The one thing I noticed though was that there wasn't a color scheme type of think like there was when Tamara shared her Pandora page with us I'm not sure if they took that feature off of the site, or if I just wasn't in the right spot to see it. The site overall was easy to navigate. The hardest part was thinking of artists to put in. I'm horrible at remembering names of groups or artists, I just know I like them. I guess I would consider Pandora to be a new technological literacy, but I'm not sure how it relates to school that much. Like we were saying in class the other night, what really counts as literacy? I think Pandora is a great tool and source for music, and it could be useful for presentations. For example if a group of students were putting together a video clip for a presentation, they could go to Pandora to find music they wanted to put in the background of their video. I am also concerned with the comment Genna wrote about whether or not you can filter music in Pandora. It would not be good to play or use inappropriate music in a school setting.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I've tried three stations with varying levels of popularity of the initial band I entered. The popularity of that initial artist really had an effect on the overall success of the computers choices in the station.
I started with Snow Patrol - an Irish band who has an urgent combination of beautiful melodies (and a great accent) and jagged guitars and drum loops (mixed with classic Irish jangly guitars ala U2). This band has risen to popularity in the US initially through use in indie films but have had two breakout albums in recent years with significant radio play. Here's the playlist that I got off of Snow Patrol:
1) Snow Patrol - great first song choice
2) Keane - didn't surprise me that they were listed, all my friends and my sister keep suggesting them to me and I just don't like them (even though on the surface I should). I think the computer picked this for the same reasons that my friends do, but they are missing the intangibles that cause me to like a band - thumbs down
3) Snow Patrol - I didn't actually know this song, from a rarity or B-side I think
4) The Fray - obvious choice by the computer, but a good band
5) The Bloc Party - never heard of them - not polished enough (even rough and disjointed can be polished - ala Sonic Youth - these guys just aren't there yet) - thumbs down
6) U2 - yuck - I respect them greatly - love the guitar work - but can't stand the songs - thumbs down
7) coldplay - obvious choice - but okay
8) Snow Patrol - great song, single from most recent album
Overall Station success: 7/10 (good stylistic similarity, missing the intangibles)
Station 2 - Matthew Good Band (relatively unknown in US - currently broken up too)
1) Matthew Good Band - great first song choice (they're a canadian band who was popular in the late 90s but very few know about them state side)
2) Foo Fighters - love love love dave grohl (he and I swapped hair styles for many years - I'd start a trend, he'd copy and vice versa - he's one of my idols!)
3) Splender - never heard of them (but recognized the song), but definitely part of the early 90s sound - but pretty generic - it'll stay in the lineup I think
4) Weezer - great, but very different mood than Matthew Good Band (what's the computer thinking here? is it just looking at the year, i know they say they don't but the last couple selections sort of point that way) - not very stylistic or emotionally similar to MGB
5) Matthew Good Band - great great song
6) Red Hot Chili Peppers - they were respectable in the early/mid 90s but are terrible since. This is one of their worst albums - they also are 180 degrees opposite the emotion or lyrical point of MGB - poor choice by computer - thumbs down
7) Weezer - again - good band, wierd combo with MGB
Overall Station success: 4/10 - some bad bands, no stylistic or emotional similarity
Station 3 - Paramore (currently very popular)
1) Paramore - good starting song
2) The Veronicas - good, unexpected follow up
3) Cartel - good
4) Everlife - good enough if a little bland (they're a disney band I think) - i'll keep for now
5) Paramore - good song, 2nd single from the 2nd album
6) Anberlin - AWESOME to include this in a Paramore station! GOOD JOB computer
7) Yellow Card - makes sense to include them in this group
8) the used - very good selection
9) everlife - again already, maybe not so good, i'll dump them
10) Flyleaf - nice thought - a little bland but very acceptable - love girl fronted hard rock!
11) Fall Out Boy - obvious choice for this station, but acceptable
12) Just surrender - never heard of them, but okay, not great, but okay
Overall Station Success - 9.5/10 (good selection of bands, close stylistically and emotionally)
So it seems that the popularity of the band and the recentness of the band are both factors in the success of the station. Matthew Good Band is unpopular and old compared to Paramore and Snow Patrol. But I very much like pandora!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Web 2 Assignment 3
I went to this website to play an online game called Castle Wars. People from around the world use this website to play each other, and I was hoping to find someone who spoke French. After posting a few times in the community chat room and getting no response, however, I enlisted the help of a friend. While waiting, I had played it through a few times, and now I had the hang of it, so I was able to direct her how to play. Once she’d figured out the basics, we were able to chat a bit as well.
I used reading and writing skills in both English and French. I navigated Internet chat rooms and Instant Messenger (so that I could invite my friend to the game). I learned the game itself, it’s specific vocabulary, the significance of the different cards, and the rules.
Learning to play the game was the hardest part of the exercise. At first, I didn’t know what schools, soldiers, and magic did, but I learned a lot by diving in and making careful observations about when I could and couldn’t play, and what happened to my numbers when I played certain cards. Since the object of the game is to build one’s castle, I did not immediately see the utility of the wall, for example. After the first game I played, however, I realized that building a wall is cheaper than building onto the castle, and so if the opponent plays an attack card, it is better for the wall to get destroyed than the castle. Talking with other players helped a bit, too, but mostly I learned by observing. In comparison, using the community chat room and the in-game IM device was easy and very intuitive; it was like many other online communication devices I had used before.
What struck me most about this game was that for a student who is learning a foreign language, whether it’s English or French, this would be a fairly good place to practice. It’s not very judgmental, it’s fun, and it allows one to apply what’s learned in school to real life situations. I think that appeals to kids. I also felt a connection with the problem of Internet danger outlined in Leander’s “Wired Bodies.” Even though there was (supposedly) a moderator, I found that many kids – and perhaps adults as well – seemed more interested in cybersex than in socializing or playing the game. I realize this may be a result of logging on to play at 12:30 at night, but ultimately we don’t want danger to be present for our students at any time. If it’s there at night, there’s the possibility of it being there during the day. I wonder if we’re raising a more responsible group of teens who consciously have to weed out bad information, advertisements, and online characters from the good. It’s impossible to protect them from all the dangers out there, so I guess it becomes necessary to make sure they can make informed decisions. In some ways, we have to let them go and try their wings. Within reason. There is always that fine line, so hard to pin down.
I thought Lankshear and Knobel’s section on fanfiction and scenario build was particularly powerful. Looking at a social studies curriculum I feel it could be use to predict what could happen after a given historical event, how history might be different if a particular event did not occur, or to write historical nonfiction as a well to develop writing skills. But again, many would argue this is not “testable” and it will not be asked of these students on any mandated tests so why use it? Can you argue that in order to complete the assignment students need a working knowledge of history, so it can be used as a review or to track content acquisition? Also, does is matter if student’s have no clue about how fanfiction relates to literacy? Where I sub the middle school is putting on a play that provides 11 different endings to Romeo and Juliet. However, the play was not constructed by students or integrated into their English class only the students in the play have worked with the text of Romeo and Juliet and have discussed how these different endings relate and/or change the original story and if they are justified given their knowledge of the play. Is this still a new literacy practice? Or is my perception as a graduate student seeing a potential new literacy practice where one does not exist?
From Lankshear and Knobel:
“A wiki is about as easy to set up as a web log. There are various free wiki hosting sites where one can register and establish a wiki for the purposes of a collaborative writing project…goal of wiki sites is ‘to become a shared repository of knowledge, with the knowledge base growing over time’” (p.89).
I chose this quote about wiki’s because my group is using one to write our final paper. I had never used a site like wiki before, so the whole process of creating one was a “new” literacy for me. The quote says that it is a place to collaborate, and so far my group has done this. We have each posted our individual writing excerpts online, and some of us have made slight changes to others writing. It is a great space to easily view others work, and it makes the writing process much easier. I agree that it is a warehouse of knowledge. Doing this project online has made me realize that there are so many forms of technological literacies out there that I am unaware of. If I am unaware of them, then most likely most teachers are too. The first quote said that educators who have a broader knowledge of student’s literacy practices will be more successful increasing students learning. I agree with this statement, but how are we supposed to become more knowledgeable with technologies such as wiki’s? Are we just supposed to explore the possibilities ourselves? I have a better understanding of “new” literacies from this course, but what about current teachers who have been teaching for a long time and are unaware of technology in general? Any thoughts?
Literacy Abuse is characterized by the naming of any discourse facilitating aptitude being called "literacy" and being branded as the savior of modern education. The long-term consequences are: 1) dilution of a very real term about making and attributing meaning to abstract symbolic representations of a spoken language and the consequent failure to address those needs in society
2) corruption of the very mediums which are termed literacies by their pedogogization
3) a confusion between so called good and bad teaching methods and good and bad teachers.
Photoshoping, youtubing, digg-ing, etc... all may have value and their underlying skill sets surely have value in society, but they are not literacies, they are something else, and by confusing that with literacy we risk confusing the people who ultimately pay for our schools and determine what we must teach. Let's call it something else and justify it on its own terms. Let's also forget that just because we want to teach a 3 paragraph essay doesn't make it evil or necessarily boring. It is what we do with it as a teacher that matters. There is no inherent evil in any of the "traditional" source material or goals of school. There is only evil in poor teachers and poor teaching.
STOP LITERACY ABUSE!
Monday, June 16, 2008
I was inspired by Tamara to make a comic strip using bitstrips.com. To do this, I went to the website and created an account. I then got used to the software by making an avatar of myself. I then poked around with the website and looked at all of the different things that you can do with the comic strips and I also looked at the comics that other people had made.
Eventually, I conjured up the courage to make my own comic (pictured below and inspired by the Warner school). The learning process that culminated with this comic strip was actually pretty difficult for me. It took a lot of practice and frustration to figure out how to manipulate the scenes, people, and props without screwing up the entire frame of the comic. There was no real how-to on the website, so my learning process was really a trial and error type of learning.
My lack of familiarity with online art creation was probably one of the biggest challenges that I faced in creating this comic. Also, there were very rigid things that could and could not be done. For instance, many of the scenes are pre-made. There is also a list of pre-made props and objects that you can insert into the comic. For me this was very frustrating because I was not able to exactly bring to life the image that I had in my head. I also think that I am still quite novice with this software. From looking at the comics from other people, there has to be some controls that I just haven't figured out yet. (so if you know how to create your own scene then I would love to learn how...other than pick that selection from the side menu bar...I tried that and it got me nowhere).In making this comic, I participated in a variety of literacy practices. This whole assignment began when I heard about the website from Tamara in class and from our class blog. I then used a lot of technologically related literacy practices to navigate the bitstrip.com website. The creation of this comic strip in itself is also a literacy practice.I can see how this web 2.0 assignment linked back to the theory that we have been reading about in several distinct ways. The first link that I am able to make is the idea of learning from masters that Gee suggests: “The process involves “masters” creating an environment rich in support for learners. Learners observe masters at work. Masters model behavior accompanied by talk that helps learners know what to pay attention to…learners are aware that masters have a certain socially significant identity that they wish to acquire as part and parcel of membership to the larger cultural group” (pp. 12). On this website there are clearly dedicated souls that are experts (masters) at creating bitstrips. While I did not interact with any of these masters, there is the opportunity to leave messages on comics in a message board venue. Also, I figured out some of the different things that I could do by looking at the comics that others had previously created on the website.Second, I think that this website could be used as a distinct tool within the classroom. As Rogoff (2004) suggests, “Rather than trying to select only one model to use in all situations, we may do well to foster children’s and our own flexibility in using different models in different circumstances” (pp. 226). Introducing students to bitstrips, or the idea of creating comics or drawings in general, to represent what they know may allow students to increase what they have in their tool boxes.
“The idea that teachers might “keep doing what [they’re] doing,” and that technology might “enhance” or be an “outgrowth” of the curriculum, is essentially a guarantee that the social space of schooling will be saturated by the relations set forth in current curricular practices…a key difficulty, of course, is that “keep doing what you’re doing” discourse is not merely about refusal, but about giving reassurances to teachers that change can happen gradually and incrementally” (pp. 46). Other thoughts: (Thought #1) In the Leander article on page 38, the author talks about how Barbara compares her use of online spaces to that of Kristin, another teacher. She says: “I mean…for Kristin it’s not a problem. For me it’s a problem. But she’s…she’s in her 20s, I’m in my 40s. That’s the difference.” I think that this ties into the quote above from Larson & Marsh (pp. 71), which talks about whether or not there can be a “perfect synergy” between schools and technology. I wonder if this issue comes from the teachers’ perceptions of their abilities or the schools inability to provide the proper technology training for teachers. It seems, to me, that both of these factors are playing into the situation. (Thought #2)“A prominent conception was that curriculum must remain at the center of anything “new,” and that new technologies must support goals already in place from the curriculum” (pp. 46). In this quote Leander explores how technology should only be used when it furthers the goals of the class and the curriculum. To some extent, I agree with this because (most) everything in class should be linked back to the goals of the course and the curriculum. However, I think that with this era of “new literacies” that our curriculum needs to change to incorporate the new skills related to technology.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
So, tonight as our group was discussing our paper, I realized that we will each be using our own literacy practice with in writing our final paper. We were deciding how to structure our paragraphs for a certain section, and I said we will be practicing our own literacies in that each of us has our own style of writing. I just thought that was interesting, and it reiterates that literacy practices happen all around us! Even with in our discussion and classes. Has this come up in any other groups?
Learning to read is so complicated. If they can come to first grade knowing letters and knowing some sounds, having been read to, they'll be ready to learn to read. I do not get many children like that in here. They do not come to kindergarten ready for kindergarten. So I'm always looking at children who aren't ready to learn yet. And that's a sad fact. But it's true. Nevertheless, you have to keep on truckin'. They come in, in the hole...that you have to dig them out of. That's not a very easy thing to do. I know that people downtown will tell you that it can be done. I'm here to tell you it can't be done.This quote just amazes me/breaks my heart...How do you "get ready to learn"? She seems to suggest that this happens by EXPERIENCING reading at home. So if all this kids aren't 'ready to learn' because they don't have that background, doesn't it make sense to give it to them by letting them experience it in the class rather than trying to teach through worksheets and skill sets? How is reading and other practices at home getting ready to learn and not just learning? And I don't even know what to say about the fact that she thinks it can't be done....it makes me so sad to think that people have given up on kids at all ever, not to mention when they are 5 or 6 years old.
I absolutely love Pandora. My housemates keep making fun of me for not having known about it before, and because I am slightly obsessed with it. My main problem with Pandora-they played Hanson (and their bio called them “a revamped Jackson 5”) and New Kids on the Block. It is kind of my fault, since I did add the Teen Pop shared station, but still….
It was very easy to set up and use. It asks you to start with a band or song and walks you through what to do and how the site is best used. Little pop-ups appear to remind you of things or to teach you new things, like how you can put a song on ‘sleep’ for a month. I at first was disappointed that you couldn’t enter a genre for a station, but playing around with the section at the bottom of the page I realized they have shared stations for genre. The cool thing is that they will still customize what they play on the shared sites to your preferences and they can give you a reason for why they played that particular song. You can also still rate them with the thumbs up or down.
I had a lot of fun reading about why they played the songs they did for me. It is interesting to see what they have decided that you liked based on what you have shown preference for. Apparently I was doing it wrong at first in my enthusiasm, because I was saying I liked pretty much everything. I later got a little pop-up hint saying you should only say that when you like “almost every aspect” of the song and think it really fits with the station. I like a lot of different stuff though, and apparently I am very easy to please.
While you are listening to a song you can read a bio of the band, look at a list of some of the attributes of the song that the Music Genome Project identified and get a list of similar artists. It also shows you some people that are listening to the same thing and the other things that they listen to. There is a social networking aspect of the site, where you can look for people based on either location or their music. Stations can be shared with other users that you meet on the site. You can also bookmark songs or artists. Your bookmarks appear in your profile, and there are links you can click to buy it on iTunes or get the album on Amazon.
Overall, Pandora is pretty user-friendly. You can just jump right in and start doing things, and there is a lot of support built into the site to guide you about what to do next. The menus are very accessible and easy to use and figure out. I wish I had known about it earlier.