Readings, and Related Inspirations

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Week 1 DigiWrimo Story

The Girl Who Tried to Save the World

She had a lot on her mind that week: 500 words a day on the dissertation, carb loading and light training for the 1/2 marathon coming up that weekend, sew a princess skirt to wear during the run to contribute extra bounce and happiness to the event, try to save the world — it wasn’t a normal week for her. It was special. And so she tweeted

and instagrammed:

and then she sat down to research just how she might save the world.

After some careful deliberation, she decided that the job was not possible. The materials to save the world were not in place. There were only republicans and democrats – or as her father taught her “republican’ts and democrappies” – with a few libertarians sprinkled in for good measure. There would be no world saving that day. No matter how loud she yelled at the voting polls that day only 2 things would happen:

1. her voice would only somewhat be heard through voting

2. she would get kicked out for disturbing the peace of the other voters.

She went for option 1:

She got a sticker for her attempt. But the world would not be saved as long as there were only 2 choices.


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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.


Participant Pedagogy in Games

Hey all –

For today’s MOOCMOOC challenge, I would like to re-introduce the idea of gaming in the classroom. Some of us had mentioned this in the first #moocmooc discussion on Sunday.

Based on our readings, and some thoughts I have had about decreasing the grading load, especially for us composition teachers, I have come up with a game to play to teach my students rhetorical, audience, networking, community, online, blogging, google doc, and honor system skillz – all rolled into one.

I invite you to check out the game on my syllabus: What’s Making Me Happy. Please please please respect the spaces I have provided for my students and keep the Google Score sheet clean.

I welcome ANY feedback you might have about the game. It launches (in my classrooms) in about 3 weeks. It has never been attempted and I’m not sure what exactly to anticipate.


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Last August I participated in my very first Massive Open Online Course hosted by Hypbrid Pedagogy. It was called MOOCMOOC. It was a MOOC about MOOCs – it answered questions like, “What is a MOOC?” and “Where does learning happen?” But it also opened my eyes to a lot of new experiences I had never had before. And most of these experiences I did from inside my house.

As soon as the board at Hybrid Ped said, “We’re going to do another MOOC,” I cheered loudly – inside. And of course, I’m at it again. This time, it’s MOOCMOOC2. Essentially, it’s the same thing as last time. Which brings me to my post here. Today is Video Tuesday and below, you will find my video which answers the question: “What do I value in learning?”

You might have noticed, if you’ve watched my previous videos, that I seem to have learned to use my Live Movie Maker, and that I have found a camera… with sound!! Not that that matters, because I also learned to use Audacity. Can you tell I had a busy semester? I’m no professional, as you are about to be able to tell, but it was fun making this film, and I hope you enjoy it.



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Twitter, Zombies & Permanence

Last weekend I became undead. It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was sitting at a coffee shop in downtown Decatur, Georgia.

I yelled.

I shouted. People at the coffee shop stared.

I called a friend to see if her friend could save me.

He was in California at a rock show. He was busy.

And so I turned.

This is how it went down:

I was bit by @myunnaturalself – and then

I pleaded for my life. I had dodged earlier, and my dodge was up.

But then:

I was saved… for the moment.

Little did I know – the zombies were stalking me.

They got me. And then they zombie high-fived. It was painful. I pleaded. I called others on my cellular telephone in real life. But there was no help.

And so I turned.

And I began to stalk others.

I lost several hours out of my workday dodging zombies and swiping them away for other zombies.
The rules were simple. There were only 5 steps:

1. If you are on twitter (anywhere on twitter) in the last 5 minutes, you can get bit, and you have 5 minutes to get saved.

2. If you get bit, you can #dodge 1 time an hour

3. If someone else gets bit, you can #swipe for them 1 time and hour.

4. If you become a zombie, you can #bite once every 30 minutes.

But like all things on the internet, these rules had little permanence, which is why I haven’t linked you to them.

Here is the twitter vs. zombies website.

There, you can see how the game is laid out. There is a scoreboard, and a rule sheet – all housed in google docs.

If you have ever used a google doc, you might know that they can be changed by anyone with permission. In our case, the google doc was open to the public. Anyone and everyone that landed on the page could change these documents. Their permanence was fleeting. The scoreboard changed any time someone used #dodge, #swipe, #bite, or turned into a zombie. The rules changed every 12 hours or so and became much more complicated, adding several other literacies in such as photographs uploaded to tweets, and the creation of storify narratives, such as this one by Lee Skallerup – #TvsZ A Love Story

Why is this important?

As I played this game, I had to juggle several digital literacies: tweeting using several hashtags, managing a google document scoreboard, and commenting to help develop the rules into more complex, and slightly more rigid, play. This is a brilliant idea to teach multiple digital literacies through play.

To get a brain-full of the discussion concerning the build, launch, and implications of this game, I leave you with the video below. Creators Pete Rorabaugh (@allistelling) and Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer) delivered their experimental twitter game in a presentation at Duke University this past Monday. The video contains that presentation, and an extensive line of questions concerning the game.

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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


For Your Consideration – Environment Matters

This morning I heard this story on NPR – A Lively Mind: Your Brain on Jane Austin – it’s only 4min36sec

The study finds some interesting things about how we read. I am wondering if the findings would be different if the participants were reading from an actual book with pages, versus a computer screen (like on a PDF or something).

I am also wondering if our brains act this way when we are writing, and if there is a neurological difference in our brain’s participation rate if we write on a computer, versus on a piece of paper.

If anyone has heard whether these studies have been done (as I’m sure people are studying typing versus hand-writing), it would be interesting to know – and also know what you think about these kinds of studies.