leamirella's blog

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I'm still anti-Hunger Games...

After yesterday's discussion about Hunger Games, I do not think I have been convinced by the inclusion of Hunger Games into the curriculum. While KCHarris made a fantastic suggestion of putting Hunger Games in conversation with another text, I'm still not sure that I would consider the text to be of great value to a classroom -- it just seems that there are other books out there that might address some of the things that we discussed.

1. I felt that a lot of the emotions surrounding the inclusion of The Hunger Games revolved around how it would motivate students to "read". But what do we mean by "reading"? Do we mean (as N. Katherine Hayles talks about in her essay, "How We Read") hyperreading, close reading....? What about the motivations for reading? To be able to think about how The Hunger Games would really affect the ability/love of reading, I think that these are important questions to consider.

2. I do see the point that some of our classmates made passionately about tailoring books to fit in with student's backgrounds. While I didn't take the comment about not being taken seriously in certain contexts personally, I do urge the consideration of how well these students will be prepared to enter college. (Since this seems to be the path that MGuerrero mentioned as being the "model") Would The Hunger Games prepare students to do the type of analysis/close reading required by freshman seminars? I can't speak generally, but probably not at Bryn Mawr.

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FIELD NOTES - Post Halloween...

What? 

I think I'm getting to the point in my placement that I can expect how the day is going to go. But today, it seems as though the students had a lot of energy that I attributed to post Halloween sugar rushes. Thus, while the students followed the schedule as per usual, it was a little bit difficult trying to keep up. 

In the technology classroom, the students had the choice of either playing a game that involved building monsters and going on an adventure, or playing a game online that was meant to help them with their maths skills. 

So what?

Coming out of last week's discussion, I was more attuned to the choices that students were making about which choice they made the technology classroom. I assumed that more boys would pick the math option whereas the girls would choose to play the monster game. However, this wasn't the case. There did not seem to be any preference by either gender.

this exercise made me realise that there was a mass inequality in the class that I am observing. There are more boys in the class which makes me wonder if that has any effect on the way that the girls feel as though they can assert their own gender identity. Also, it was interesting to me to see that it was the girls that were more excited about technology class, rather than the expectation of it being the boys. In fact, the girls even came up with a chant as they were lining up to go. 

Now what?

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"All The World's A Stage"

1. Who are we when we play a game? And what should people who want to teach other people things understand about this? McGonigal says we are purposeful, optimistic agents convinced of our capacity to make and impact and conjoin our activities with others to increase that impact.

In her book, "Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other ", Sherry Turkle begins by stating that "Technology proposes itself as the architect of our intimacies. These days, it suggests substitutions that put the real on the fun". After playing Minecraft for an hour (unfortunately, unable to get very far), I could see how easy it would be to get fully immersed in a gaming experience. And Minecraft is a game that simply requires the player to sit in front of the computer. With the emergence of what the Re:Humanities working group is calling "pervasive gaming" (the Silent History App as a prime example), I have very little doubt that gaming is/will become something that forces individuals to fully engage and immerse themselves into.

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Will I Get a Job? : An Exploration Of The Boundary Between Virtual And Meatspace Lives.

Wanting to produce a paper multimodal, I turned to our syllabus for inspiration. Taking elements from the work that we did with scrapbooks, as well as the "roaming ethnographers" exercise, I have come up with this project. To view all of my posts that relate to this paper, click on the EDUC255 hashtag. (You should see it on the first post!)

My intention with this project was to challenge the method in which academic papers were presented. My approach placed more emphasis on the process of thinking through my ideas and thus, I have intentionally refrained from constructing any sort of "academic claim". Further, in the same vein as the "roaming ethnographer" exercise, I posted throughout the weekend as new thoughts came to me. Armed with my iPad, I captured and collected what I call "digital ephemera" -- items that I found floating around in cyberspace/digital representations of "meatspace" objects, that pertained to my key terms: "online identities", "privacy" (or lack thereof), Clark's term "intrusion", "workplace", "Facebook", "professional", and "employment". Using Tumblr seemed the obvious way to go for me; I regarded it as somewhat of an online scrapbook. 

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Feeling "out-of-the-loop" and "uncool"....

Today's panel made me realize that I am super uncool. The fact that these high school students were coding, really exploring their identities online AND had a level of understanding of new media technology that I couldn't parallel made me want to crawl into a hole and cry.

Ahem.

Aside from this, I found myself asking the question: how do we educate a younger generation about technology if they seem to know so much more than we do? Technology is evolving so fast these days -- whatever pedagogical approaches to technology that we come up with/theorize about in this course may not be relevant a couple of years down the line. AND whatever technology we teach them to use in schools now might not be useful when they get into college and the wider world.

For example, I was made to do an DiDA (in my day, AiDA) Edexcel GCSE course in ICT. (More info here) I received a certificate that indicated that I could competently use computers. But, a couple of years later, I found that the skills that I used in this course redundant, and a waste of time. All I had was a pathetic little certificate that said that I could use a computer back in 2005. (or was it 2006?) This attempt by my education to ensure that I had the "skills" to use computers later on in life failed.

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Media Literacy And Education

Writing my first paper (actually writing a traditional"academic paper": printed, double-spaced, 12 pt font) made me remember a whole bunch of questions that came out of a Serendip class that I took last semester. (Literary Kinds) In this post, I lamented about my "lack of media literacy" and how I was so frustrated with not being able to present information multimodally. But then I wrote this paper as my final for that same class where I really interrogated what it meant to be multimodal, and how this affected the genre of the academic paper. What I never did (and what I hope to really question and push throughout the course of this semester) is to link back my assertions in that final paper to my assumptions that I wrote about in that post.

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Technology Toolkits

Deborah's point about the consumerism that fuels our need to constantly upgrade our devices was definitely true -- coming from
Hong Kong, a place notorious for it's materialistic citizens, I cannot get over the long queues at the Apple store everytime a new
iWhatever comes out. That said, I'm not sure that Deborah's consequent point about the difficulty of having to constantly upgrade
our "toolkits" to be able to use each and every new device quite stands.

We're at an interesting point in time where technology is moving at a faster pace than at any point in history. But what we some-
times neglect to remember is that rather than to work in order to use individual devices, we should really focus on being able to use
a variety as new technology keeps pouring in. This means getting to the core of how these new tools work: our toolkits should really
focus on being able to intuitively switch between different mediums as well as be able to anticipate/adapt to new forms.

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Separate Twitter Accounts

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to share my experience using Twitter to "microblog" (whatever that means) about my day
last class but I wanted to share something that I think fits in quite nicely with the article that Jen Rajchel tweeted under the
#netloged255 hastag about the use of your real name on Facebook.

I'm not an avid fan of Twitter but I do have two accounts: one that's personal (and protected) and one that projects a more
"professional image". In fact, my best friend (in a tweet no less) commented on the "proper-ness" of my account. It's interesting
to reflect on why I choose to have two accounts. In my personal account, I follow various popular figures and my friends. The
people who follow me mostly know me personally and I consider it as somewhat of a brain dump. Scrolling through my past tweets,
I see my inner thoughts, inside jokes, and a lot of mean comments. (What does this say about me? I don't even wanna...) However,
my more "professional" account has tweets about my academic interests, tweets from another class I took, and the tweets I wrote
for #netloged255.I don't know the people who follow me personally, nor do I really know much about the people who I follow.

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Evolving and Emerging: The Possibilities of the Academic Paper

For this paper, I have worked with the "genre" of the academic paper. My paper details some of my numerous attempts to play with academic writing as well as defies the directed reading that traditional papers require. I highly encourage you to click on the different links out of order to see if it still makes sense. Also, please feel free to leave comments in the comment boxes on every page: they're there to spark conversations, just like Serendip's commenting function!

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Diffraction: Literary Kinds

Looking back to the very beginning of the course, I remember thinking that I would be looking at some hardcore theory and a wider range of genres. At least this was the impression that I got from reading the first few readings in the course syllabus. I was really excited. However, the course took a slightly different path than the one that I described and I found myself, at times, struggling to find significance and also, limited by the limited genres that we encountered.

That said, I did enjoy the course as a whole – I see that by concentrating our (and my!) efforts on a handful of select genres, I was able to more fully appreciate and understand them. However, I still would have liked to see more of a theory-based spin on things, as I believe that it would have allowed me to really ground my claims as well as push me intellectually.  Additionally, I wasn’t quite convinced that beginning the course with the digital humanities and the form of the academic paper was really effective. Perhaps building towards it would have been a great idea or, at the very least, I would have liked to link back to it throughout the course as I think that it is an emerging genre that is particularly pertinent in a classroom, where we are invited to generate “web events”.

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