Well – this blog is not longer for class readings, but it worked so well to keep some of my thoughts in line, especially in making connections among readings, and generating ideas, I will definitely be keeping it going.
So over break, I’ve been up against some interesting technological challenges (including the fact that the L key is not working particularly well on this computer). I went on vacation to visit my parents, and left my laptop AC adapter at home. No problem, I thought. It’s Phoenix. I’ll just grab up a new one. But would you believe that no one in the PHX area carries the adapter for my laptop? Sure, I could buy a universal adapter for $80 from Best Buy, but I’ve already sold them a piece of my soul for the laptop I love. And of course, my parents’ had JUST put their computer in the shop. The story goes on and one – I ordered an adapter from Amazon with 2 day shipping and had it sent to the wrong address… and so on, and on.
I freaked out.
I freaked out a lot – red in the face, hot skin… all the symptoms of an impending flu. Seriously.
So I sat down and re-evaluated my life.
And I realized that most of the work I had to do could either wait until after Christmas, or could be done in a notebook.
So I did what any person currently obsessed with new media would do in my situation: I read a book about it. Well – I read Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It.
And then I sat down with my purple analog notebook and a pen… and I devised a rhetoric game for my students.
Because I know I will write about it, likely rather often, I will save you the gritty details and just link you to the rules once I get them up on my syllabus. But the short of it is this: instead of forcing my students to write an arbitrary essay identifying rhetorical concepts in some arbitrary reading, I am going to ask them to play a game, using tumblr and a google doc spreadsheet. I’m lifting the title of the game from Pop-Culture Happy Hour, hosted by NPR, and calling it: “What’s Making Me Happy This Week.” My students will post something media related that is making them happy and then compete to convert each other to liking the thing they like. The learning part is in the writing about WHY they’re so happy about the thing they post. It’s also in the sharing, the community of the game, and the major presentation at the end of the 8-week game.
The great thing about this game idea is that if it royally fails, my students and I will both have learned some valuable lessons from the experience. And if it works really well, see above.
So stay tuned, and hopefully I’ll have some really cool experiences to report.