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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:

https://vine.co/v/OeutnrelgZA/embed/simple

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

THE END

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Design Decisions – a presentation

It is becoming increasingly important for writers to think visually. If we are going to survive in a world of screens, we need to begin to think about how to go about it. One of the tools we already have is design. We already think about the margins and fonts we use when we create a traditional style essay. And those of us who tweet, blog, or use instagram are thinking about the presentation the 140 character message, the blog we keep about running, or the instagramming we do of our food.

In 2002, Diana George claimed in her article, “From Analysis to Design” that “to talk of literacy instruction in terms of design means to ask writers to draw on available knowledge and, at the same time, transform that knowledge/those forms as we redesign” (26). George goes on to quote the New London Group on the matter: “Designing transforms knowledge in producing new constructions and representations of reality.” For both George and the New London Group, design is an impactful part of our rhetorical approach to whatever project we’re working on.

Today I will be talking about 3 web tools that we could use to do a variety of projects and presentations. We will talk about the available designs and capabilities of these tools, and we will talk about how to decide which is best for whatever projects you may be working on. In 2005, Anne Wysocki made an argument that is still very important, which we should keep in mind as we walk through the tools below: “to ask after the constraints as we teach or compose can help us understand how material choices in producing communications articulate to social practices we may not otherwise wish to reproduce” (“awaywithwords” 56).

Prezi is a presentation tool which has both a ‘path’ feature, and a zooming feature you can use to create a linear OR non-linear presentation to keep your audience engaged. Prezi has templates you can start with, or you can design your own prezi using your own background pictures or shapes.

Here are several examples.

Sugar the Quiet Killer

The above was created using a template. I chose to do a prezi because of its embedding capabilities, because of the availability of this particular template, and to show my students what prezi can do on a basic level. I did alter this template somewhat.

Stitches Book Recommendation

This one is a student project done for a comic book classroom. The student took advantage of the storyline in which a boy goes down and into the story. For this one, the student did not use a template, but took scenes directly from the comic.

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wordpress is a blogging tool that you are currently looking at. Blogs can be used as presentations, like the one you are seeing here, they can be formatted into whole single projects, they can be turned into websites, and they can be traditional blogs, among other things. The wonderful thing about wordpress is its versatility – if you can think of it, you can probably design it on wordpress. Keep in mind that the themes are rather limiting, as each theme has different capabilities. Traditionally, we think of what we put inside the theme as ‘content,’ and the visual design as ‘form.’ But as Krisitn Arola pointed out in 2010, “the form/content separation is problematic in that form is implied as not content” (“The Design of Web 2.0 6).

Here are some examples of wordpress blogs used in different ways:

Accidental Devotional

The above is a traditional blog kept by a teacher, mother and activist right here in Atlanta. You can see how simple the author has kept her blogroll, with a plain background and not a lot of flashy widgets. And yet she has a wide audience, and has even given a TEDex talk.

GSU Tools prototype

This is a wiki prototype that is in the process of a build through the Student Innovation Fellowship. If you compare it to the first blog design, it is almost unrecognizable as the same type of tool, unless you know what you are looking at. The theme on the above blog allows the boxes to display in the way they do, and each theme has different menu capabilities that some others do not have.

Travel Portland

And this one is a webpage made by wordpress. The theme is likely an expensive customizable one which delivers a clean presentation to help the reader get more information on travel to Portland, Oregon.

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tumblr – is another blog site, but it has a much different design aesthetic than wordpress, and is even pretty well-known as a social media site where users display predominantly visual blogrolls, or feeds, as we typically think of them when we talk about SNSs.

Here are some examples of how people are using tumblr.

Obama is checking your email

The above is a satire tumblr making fun of a claim about a year ago, that President Obama is checking our email. This tumblr went up and content was quickly added for a short period of time. The purpose of this tumblr was to make fun of a news story that would likely be forgotten very quickly. It was important that this tumblr be plain, and contain almost all visuals so the reader could scan through, have a good laugh, and move on.

Vintage Black Beauty

This tumblr is an excellent example of how these tools can be used for larger projects like collecting digital artifacts for display in an archive. This tumblr has a much different theme than the Obama one does, and it takes advantage of layout to give the reader a sense of the types of images collected within. This tumblr is actually being used as a part of the author’s dissertation.

 

 


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Happy Birthday, Internet: Today’s Use and Privacy

If you hadn’t heard yet, yesterday was the 25th birthday of the internet. About 25 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee was working as a physicist, and decided to connect up some computers to each other. Well… that’s the really short story of it.

There are a bunch of great stories on public radio this week to mark the internet’s age. For example, here is a little clip about Berners-Lee and his new idea – the world wide web:

http://www.npr.org/2014/03/12/289594960/a-very-special-proposal-anniversary-for-the-world-wide-web

Sure, it’s all terrifically interesting, but what does it all mean for us right now? The short answer:

We still have no idea.

What has really been catching my attention lately is all the talk about security, privacy, and surveillance. According to Colin J. Bennett’s 2011 article “In Defence of Privacy,” the concept(s) of privacty “is not, and can never be, the antidote to surveillance” (485). This took me back a bit – isn’t that what we hear in popular media all the time these days? Isn’t privacy the opposite of surveillance?

Reading further in Bennett’s article, which is largely a literature review about many of the opposing views concerning privacy, we don’t really have a cohesive concept about privacy at all. So how are we to decide whether or not our privacy is being ‘invaded’ if we don’t even really know what privacy is? I put ‘invaded’ in quotations here because ‘invasion of space’ is only one concept of how privacy works (488-489).

Rather than go on and on about how much we don’t know, I find it worth my time to explore more of how we discuss privacy, particularly in terms of rhetoric and composition pedagogy and theory in the last 25 years.

For now, I leave you with last week’s Science Friday exploration of security on the interwebs in which the expert, Bruce Schneier claims, “It’s less a little brother, and more a lot of little brothers” (Schneier), concerning networked items that can track what we do.

Later, our noble host, Ira Flatow asks, “Can we opt out?” – In short, the rather unsatisfying answer is that we kind of can’t.

http://sciencefriday.com/segment/03/07/2014/delving-into-the-security-of-an-internet-of-things.html 


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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 ncte.org

Taken from ncte.org

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:

Technology

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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Infographing the MOOC

I have pretty much always a fan of the infograph, yet still haven’t made one myself. Of course by always, I mean since last year when I discovered they were, indeed, a ‘thing.’ Recently, a woman named Allison Morris emailed me with this infograph about MOOCs and it’s worth passing along.

And while I must note that the infograph is a little too optimistic about the MOOC, what it does, and who it serves, it’s a great way to start explaining what a MOOC is, especially if you’re like me, and you’re on a single-woman crusade to get everyone (and their grandmother) to do some personal-information expansion.

Below is the MOOC inforgraph taken from http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com/minds-behind-moocs/

MoocMinds_OnlineCollegeCourses-2.com_1


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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.

Cheers!


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MOOCMOOC2sday

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.