Readings, and Related Inspirations

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NCTE Eye-Opener

This weekend I had the priviledge of attending the 2013 National Council of English Teachers 103rd Annual Convention titled “(Re)Inventing the Future of English in Boston.

Taken from

Taken from

I made a lot of observations during the conference that have affected me both emotionally and professionally (like how cool of a city Boston is), but for this entry, I chose to focus on just one thing:


As many of you might know from reading past blogs (I haven’t made any recently 😦 ), I am very interested, and immersed in ways to harness technology that are interesting and relevant to my students. But one thing that absolutely blew me away, was how little technology is allowed in public school classrooms.

Middle and Secondary school teachers I spoke with reported the restrictions of websites in their classrooms to include any social medias, youtube, and even google. That’s right. Students can’t google anything.

In the interest of keeping this short, I would like to link you to an article that is definitely worth reading to find out more on this topic:

How Shadowing my 2nd-grader Led to a New View of Tech in the Classroom

This is a must-read article. The topic, in my personal belief, should be one that all educators make a big stink about. And not just educators, but parents, and people who care about children, and people that work for companies that might one day hire someone that is now a child.

Please pass it on, and make the move to comment (either here, or in Hybrid Pedagogy, or elsewhere) – we all need to hear this.


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Sound Shorts

This post is undergoing some serious post-iPad editing as of 22OCT2012 10:52AM PST

I’m currently suffering from an access issue, so this blog is going to be a little out of the ordinary for me. I just finished THATCamp Hybrid Pedagogy, and am currently using someone else’s iPad, which I have pretty much no idea how to use.

That said, I was able to access the blogs that we read, except for one of them. However, because I don’t understand fully how to use this machine, I can’t figure out how to listen to the tracks. This prompts me to write about two interesting topics for me: interface and found sound.

One of the things we talked about at THATCamp this weekend was whether or not scholarship needs to be long. I contend that it does not. Our sound articles for this week prove to me that really rich content can be had without a long traditional, journal-style article. And also, I love HASTAC. I recommend that if you haven’t ever been on HASTAC before that you visit and consider becoming a member, as the sharing community there is large, and deep. The members of HASTAC throw out some wonderful ideas and they do it in short bites, much like the Sound Out! blog, and our own blog entries here.

I tend to really enjoy the blog entries, like the HASTAC entry and the São Paulo entry. The Sao Paulo entry reminds me of a concept called found sound because of its focus on all the sounds that exist around us, whether or not we want to hear them. Found sound is when you create meaning out of sounds you hear around  you. For example, sometimes, when I’m waiting for a train, I sing a song to the bells and even do a little dance. I can’t help it. It’s like music that the Santa Fe line has provided for me several times a day (if I’m hanging out in Flagstaff, Arizona). The Jessica Barness site does this exceptionally well.

Click on the dots to get a sound – all the sounds have a similar beat and they make ‘music’ together.

But if we thinking about it, there are a LOT of found sounds all around us. During a talk that Audrey Watters gave at THATCamp this morning,

Audrey Watters gives a talk on her blog

the sound of clicking came from almost every person in the room (look at all those laptops. I see 3 and a desktop in this shot alone). This was not strange because it’s 2012. But if I think about it, ten years ago, this would have been such a strange and distracting background sound feed. Often, as I type, I find that I type with a bit of a beat. And maybe I’m the only one that does this, but I definitely feel a beat when I compose using a keyboard.

I have reached the end of my ‘playing with this iPad’ experiment. I plan on revising this entry and adding my usual image/video/hyperlink addition, but I have to wait to get back to my computer.

— I would like to add an additional statement about my small experiment in access: this weekend I did a lot of ‘winging it’ during the conference and ended up a lot of places without a computer. I also I don’t have a smart phone. I tweeted the conference out by texting my tweets to twitter. But I couldn’t read anything coming in, nor could I participate in the google docs work that was happening at the conference. Thankfully, Pete had an extra iPad on him, so I got to learn by ‘being thrown in the water’ – and I feel like I learned SO much about computers and composition here, that I recommend that you jump onto the conference and check out the virtual link to see some of what we did there: ThatCampHP Virtual


The Digital Divide and Gadgets

This week’s readings are an interesting mix of ideas involving techno-literacies (or New literacies) and arguments about the divide between the connected and the un-connected.

Selber gives us very useful (if a little outdated) information on ‘functional literacies’ – which involves students understanding not only the uses of the technology, but also its limitations. I can’t express how often I get students blindly trusting their grammar checker to fill in a thousand semi-colons because the student suffered from an incurable bought of comma-splice-itis.

Further, Cynthia Selfe (in her 1999 article “The Perils of Not Paying Attention [an article many of us got familiar with in Harker’s course]), give us a bunch of statistics from the Clinton era, that were very startling when they came out. I remember hearing a lot of it in the news.

Grabill‘s essay then, (and he used to be a GSU prof, for those of you who didn’t know) looks even deeper into the issue of the digital divide among class, race, and gender, and gets us into the idea that the interface we are so familiar with may be a little… culturally idealistic.

In the interest of bringing everyone in the Computers and Composition course this semester more up to speed with what has been happening very recently, I will be showing you a few ‘new literacies’ that I have picked up just in the past few months. I will use twitter, storify, and a few other ‘tricks’ to illustrate how there is no such thing as a digital native, and that there is, in fact, quite a divide in what our young writers are bringing to the composition classroom. After the presentation, I will post the storify for all of you to look at more closely. It will have a bunch of links you can follow, if you are interested in pursuing this topic further.
For now, I leave you with a few, more up to date, statistics in a friendly form.

Below is an infographic from the Pew Institution (the information for the site was sent to me through Helen [thank you!]) showing what percentage of adults own internet-capable gadgets, separated out by several factors: age, income, education, and race & ethnicity

While this infographic is certainly interesting, it’s not the whole picture. Pew has a bunch of other stats and interesting facts, which I encourage you to surf around in this weekend.