Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Final Blog- Using Technology in "Real" Classrooms

Nicole Darko
May 6, 2009
ENGL 518
Dr. Tryon

Using Technology in “Real” Classrooms

After completing this course I have a greater appreciation for the potential uses of technology in the classroom. I learned about using popular tools like Twitter, Facebook and blogging to enhance my classroom instruction. However, the reality of using these technologies leaves me less than enthusiastic about the sweeping phenomenon of incorporating technology in the classroom. The reality of most schools is that they don’t have enough computers or software to adequately incorporate technology in their schools. These lack of resources make most of the “technological revolution” unavailable nor unobtainable to the majority of students. This paper will explore the implications of a technological disparity among American students and how they can be rectified.
We all agree that incorporating technology is necessary and can create greater opportunities for learning. According to Colburn, in order for students to meet business, industry, and government expectations, they must be able, more than ever before, to reason, solve problems, apply their understanding, and write and speak well (National Education Goals Panel). Students should be able to “handle new situations and meet new intellectual challenges” (Salomon, 1993, p. 128). Additionally, researchers have stated that effective use of instructional technologies leads to positive outcomes for both students and teachers (Cradler, 1994; Office of Technology Assessment [OTA], 1995; PCAST, 1997). Technology has been advocated as a tool that supports constructivist approaches to instruction (Cradler; Honey & Moeller, 1990, online abstract; Means, 1994). Research on the benefits of using instructional technology has shown that frequently it is accompanied by a shift from a traditional direct instructional style to one that is more student centered. Current standards and recent reports support the promotion of generative learning and the use of constructivist approaches in K-12 classrooms (OTA; PCAST). Despite this consensus, there is an overwhelming number of students who never become partakers of increased outcomes as a result of technology.
According to the FCC Chairman Reed Hundt while giving a speech at the Technology and Learning Conference /National School Board Association in Dallas, Texas on October 24, 1996 he said,
“If we don't give schools and teachers all the tools and support they need, we risk making technology just another tantalizing apple of education -- always just out of reach for many schools. If, for example, we adopt a policy that just gave every school the exact same amount of money, for half the schools it would probably be more than they need and for the other half it wouldn't be enough. We need to have a policy that recognizes the disparities between schools and helps to bridge the gap. Schools on tight budgets can't strike a good deal on phone connections if they can't get monetary help on putting wiring into the classrooms. They can't learn with the Internet if they get a discount on a phone line but still have to pay high rates for usage. Indeed, it would be a cruel and all too usual punishment for our children if we said -- "Those of you whose parents or communities have deep pockets can get it; the rest of you, tough luck." This speech was given over ten years ago and every assertion holds true today. While greater uses of technology in the classroom have been heralded by many not much has been done to ensure that all students have the same access to these uses.
Research has been conducted by Somger, Lee & Kam, 2002 and quoted by Ashburn which states,“While many teachers across the nation struggle to incorporate technology into their classroom activities in meaningful ways, teachers in low-income, resource-poor urban classrooms often face particularly daunting challenges. These challenges include inadequate space, materials and equipment.”
How do we bridge the gap among the technological savvy and the novice technology users? According to the U.S. Department of Education "integrating technology into existing curricula means making technological tools, including computers, multimedia, the Internet, and digital input and output devices, integral to learning. It does not mean learning to use a given technology only for a particular task or function. For example, learning to use a word processor or to search the Internet are not examples of technology integration if the expected outcome are expertise with word processing or understanding of a search strategy. Learning how and why to use a word processor to better communicate ideas or to search the Internet for information related to curricular goals and activities enhances the curriculum and teaches literacies that students will need to know and be able to use." The study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education goes on to say that “while great strides have been made over the years in access to the Internet, a digital divide still occurs in the way technology is often used with low-income students. Providing universal access so that everyone can have access to the Internet regardless of income level or job status is only one part of the solution. Students must improve technology literacy so that they can participate intelligently and thoughtfully in the technical world around them. It is critical that students not only be given access, but training to better understand the Internet and its value, because the more likely they will be to make the effort to learn how to use it. The disparity in available computer hardware between the “haves” and the “have-nots” is striking.”
The solution to lessening the technological gap as proposed by Paige, 2003 is “providing every student with a laptop that can be taken home will have a tremendous impact upon those who are shut out from the world of technology, but only if we implement it fairly.” Maisie MacAdoo has summarized the importance of equity extending beyond boxes and wires. “The issue of equity now centers not on quality of equipment but on the quality of use. The computers are there, yes, but what is the real extent of access? What kind of software is available? How much computer training are teachers getting? And are schools able to raise not just students’ level of tech-nical proficiency, but also their level of inquiry, as advanced use of technology demands?” Finally, the article Bridge the Digital Divide states as its guiding principle, “all students must have access to appropriate tools and to challenging curriculum in order to bridge the digital divide by moving beyond basics and towards 21st century skills.”
As an educator I am hopeful that all students will be provided the opportunity to learn, use and become proficient at using technology to enhance their learning. While I'm hopeful I am also very aware that as long as money informs school, local, state and federal decisions their will always be a disparity among the haves and have-nots.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Daily We"

The article "Daily We" discusses how using the Internet is like a democracy. Cass R. Sustein talks about how people have so much freedom when it comes to using the Internet. I think the Internet is an excellent tool, when you want to find information. I use the Internet to search for the information I want and I only go to websites that I'm interested in. I think that this freedom is great! Why would I want to go to websites that I have no interest in? I don't feel that I'm limited in receiving information. The Internet exposes us to information a whole lot faster than ever before, which is a good thing. If I want to know something, I look it up on line. The news I want to learn about is ready and available. I also read the newspaper and watch the news. There are so many different ways to gather information. The articles that I find interesting in the newspaper, I read. When I'm watching the news I listen to what I think is important or what interests me. I agree that the Internet is like a democracy and I think it's great that we have the freedom to choose.

"The Daily We"

According to Cass R. Sunstein he agrees that the "developments he discussed makes life much more convenient and in some ways much better. But from the standpoint of democracy, filtering is a mixed blessing. An understanding of the mix will permit us to obtain a better sense of what makes for a well-functioning system of free expression. In a heterogeneous society, such a system requires something other than free, or publicly unrestricted, individual choices. On the contrary, it imposes two distinctive requirements. First, people should be exposed to materials that they would not have chosen in advance. Unanticipated encounters, involving topics and points of view that people have not sought out and perhaps find irritating, are central to democracy and even to freedom itself. Second, many or most citizens should have a range of common experiences. Without shared experiences, a heterogeneous society will have a more difficult time addressing social problems and understanding one another." While I understand Sunstein's point of view, I also think that his premise is a bit of a paradox because he is spouting democratic ideologies, yet he believes that the right for people to choose to "tailor" their existence is errorneous. If indeed it erroneous, it is their right to do so and shouldn't be deemed as dangerous or unpatriotic. I feel like the article was redundant and continued to address the same issue with various examples.

The Internet and Democracy/The Internet and Social Communities

The article “The Daily We,” by Cass R. Sunstein mentions ways in which the Internet can foster democracy. He provides examples of tools that can be used to make it more efficient to engage in entertainment and news. The user can customize music, movies, news, sports, and fashion programs. Programs can also be manipulated so that they can be recorded and viewed at the users will (e.g. TiVo). Because such a wealth of information is close at hand, Sunstein explains that this availability allows users to learn about so much more now than they have ever been able to before the Internet. This knowledge gives users not only a choice, but it also allows them to establish a voice. In this a la carte Internet world, Sunstein suggests that there may be a drawback in this design. Tailoring what we view and listen to actually limits democracy because it limits what we are aware of in the world and even in our own community. Disallowing these limits puts the user in a position to become conscious of issues and facts that they would have otherwise never known about. But allowing the user to filter unwanted material creates a less informative environment.
In chapter eight of the article, “Here Comes Everybody,” Clay Shirky mentions a lot of the things we discussed in class such as Wikipedia, the Wayback Machine, which is used for archiving sites. He also focuses on the need or importance of social communities. He suggests that participating in such communities benefits people by not only providing them with company, but it does more than that. It creates trust. Shirky seems to imply that this relativity may even prevent crime. This concept is logical. When someone knows you and they know that you know them, they are less likely to steal from you. My mom always said, “Get to know your neighbors.” Being a part of this type of community ensures that someone will be there for you more likely than if they do not know who you are. Moreover, you will more than likely be there for them. Shirky believes that the Internet can provide this and more.

Monday, April 27, 2009

First Reading

I'll post a second reading later today, but for now, you can start with Cass Sunstein's "The Daily We."

Update: For now, here is a Google Books version of Shirky's "Solving Social Dilemmas." If that link breaks, just Google "shirky solving social dilemmas" without the quotation marks. If you have Shirky's book, the reading is chapter eight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Hoping to find some other examples, but here are some pedagogical uses of video games:

"The Classroom of Popular Culture"

While the premise that video games purposefully engage players to think critically while moving through the game, the article fails to fully explain how. As an educator, I advocate using technology to teach students critical thinking skills and key concepts related to my subject matter. However, merely stating that this can be accomplished without explaining in detail what skillls are being taught, how they're being taught and the instrument used to assess the effectiveness of the game leaves me scratching my head.
Professor Jenkins Goes to Washington
This was informative in that it exposes "Washington's agenda" to stack the deck in order to prove their point. While I do believe that the media has a big effect on the choices that some teens make, I do believe that all sides of the issue deserve to be heard and understood.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Video Games

The first and only comment that my daughter made to me as I read the article, “Professor Jenkins Goes to Washington” by Henry Jenkins was, “Why is it so black?” She was referring to the background that this article was written on. This display is something that I honestly did not notice. But it sealed my suspicious thoughts about Jenkins’ position on video games, and generally, his position on “popular culture.” Just like Congress, I was fooled into believing that he acknowledged the effects of video games on our youth. The title alone of his book from Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games evokes feelings of good versus evil. This tone was misleading. It led me to believe that Jenkins would take a more prosecutorial point of view on the topic of violence in video games much like the one Lloyd Garver took in his Newsweek article titled “A Veto on Video Games”. But in fact, he literally brings the very opposite to the table. He is defensive on the matter. I thought that the purpose of his testimony was to discuss the possible effects of popular media on the youth. But it didn’t. Even if his goal was to explain the devastating effects of children combining their own problems with this type of medium would have been understandable. But that is not what he did. Instead, he used this platform as an opportunity to vent on behalf of children who display all the socially unacceptable behaviors that lead to bullying and, consequently, retaliation. Congress called Jenkins to witness on the effects violent games have on children. In fact, he states in his speech to Congress that “[t]he mass media didn’t make Harris and Klebold [students who participated in retaliatory violence in Littleton, Colorado] violent and destructive… but it provided them both with the raw materials necessary to construct their fantasies.” Although this very comment suggests that violent games foster maladjusted behaviors and violent tendencies, Jenkins turns his attention to blaming everyone else for Harris’ and Klebold’s actions instead of the games. He suggests that if they were not feared or bullied and just accepted for who they are, then they would not have turned to such enabling tools that led to their violent acts. While Jenkins goes on to say that our fear and reactions to it will ultimately “…lead us down the wrong path,” he still does not own up to the fact that popular culture is leading many of our youth down the wrong path and encouraging them to stay there. After coming to the conclusion that Jenkins is comfortable with “…the very concept of giving yourself over to the ‘dark side,’” I see that there is no wonder why he chose black as his background color for his article to be written on. At the end of his speech, he urges us to “[l]isten to our children.” I agree that we should do that. But, instead of fearing them, I believe that we need to fear instead is what they listen to—and I believe that Jenkins falls somewhere in that category!
In James Paul Gee’s article, “The Classroom of Popular Culture: What video games can teach us about making students want to learn,” he talks about just that. While reading the article, I felt intimidated about the strong attraction video games have on students. I feel that we teachers cannot compete. This makes me think of the possibility that one day computers will take over the job of teaching our children. This must be the feeling that people got when new machinery came and took over jobs that factory workers once had. Still, it’s cool how video games allow children to participate in designing the game or strategies as they play. They can “…customize games to fit their learning.” This appeals to what we educators describe as multiple intelligences. It allows kids of all learning levels and styles to monitor and adjust their own learning. Another thing that appeals to the gamester is the fact that they can “…learn to view the virtual world through the eyes of a distinctive personality.” Players are also encouraged “to take risks” because “…they can start over…[which gives them] a real sense of…ownership, and control.” They learn and build concepts as they play. They build skills by learning and applying them to each sequential level of the game. These games also provide realistic experiences that foster real world skills. The only question, however, is how can we transfer this virtual world into our real classroom experiences.
In “The War between Effects and Meaning,” the author suggests that video games should not be banned. He states that video games do not teach gamers how to behave but allows each individual to gain his or her own meaning from it. Then he contradicts himself by quoting James Paul Gee and by proving examples of how video games can be used as learning tools. He practically says that hate games don’t encourage hate, but in fact “…encourage critical thinking about the roots of racism….” How crazy is that!!!!! He continues to contradict what he’s professing by quoting Kurt Squire and stating that “…game-based learning builds upon player’s existing beliefs…” So, if they believe that killing is OK, then these games will affirm their beliefs. He goes on to discuss the severity of violent games and how certain organizations and video designers are creating less violent games. While in the end of this article the author tends to admit the detriment violent games have on our youth, he begins the article by defending them. This sounds like Jenkins. Is it he???

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Classroom of Popular Culture

This article makes me think about my son, and how he loves to play his games. My son has X-box 360, Wii, Guitar Hero, Play Station, U-dance, and Nintendo DS. He can sit and play on all these systems hours at a time. However, being that I'm a concerned parent I don't allow him to do it! This is very common with most young people today, they love video games. I agree that if they could incorporate what is going on with the video games, into the classrooms, schools would probably close the achievement gaps. I have observed my son playing many of his games, and they are not easy to play. There are kids that play these same games and are able to master them, but are not able to sit still in a classroom and read for 30 minutes. What's going on? Well, the games are interesting. My son loves his X-box 360, one of his favorite games is WWE Smackdown vs. Raw. In this game you have over 40 wrestlers you can choose from and 20 different matches. You can create your own wrestler, change your skill level, create your own moves, and entrances to the ring. All of these things make this an enjoyable and challenging game for my son. Not to mention all the stuff you have to do with the control. All of these things require students to think, concentrate, read, and follow directions. Which in school, some of them act like that can't do any of the above. I think that we need to bottle the same devices that are being used in these video games. Maybe it would help students to become more disciplined learners in school.

Video Game Readings

Here are the video game readings for Wednesday:
  • "Professor Jenkins Goes to Washington" (you can also read the version in Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers if you bought it).
  • "The Classroom of Popular Culture," James Gee.
  • For "The War Between Effects and Meanings," try this link to a Google Search that takes you to the chapter (you'll have to click through a "preview" page and then click the appropriate link for Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers). Let me know if this doesn't work. Again, if you have FBG, you should just read the chapter there.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

English 110 Discussion

For English 110 students a couple of sample review links:
I'll post this to Blackboard later, but didn't want the links to be hidden/broken, which often happens on Blackboard.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cumberland County Spring Break

Because the county schools are on Spring Break this week, I will give you the week to catch up on your papers and other course reading assignments. If yu have any questions, feel free to email me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lisa Gerrard: Feminist Research in Computers and Compositions

In Feminist Research in Computers and Composition, Lisa Gerrard suggests that understanding women’s “epistemological perspective” and their “position in society” will help us understand “how our male and female students are learning in the computer-based writing course…” She describes computers as having a masculine quality. Because of the nature of the computer, it may not meet the needs of female students. The purpose of this study is to raise and answer questions about “feminist research in computer and writing.” Computers were created by men and were used for “masculine” jobs e.g. warfare. Mostly men hold high computer tech jobs and have high tech skills. They also dominate the Internet. Gerrard does acknowledge a few women who took part in programming and computer inventions. She also mentions that computer companies recognize that more females are participating in this technology, which has created a market for female consumers. Because “composition,” or writing, tends to lean towards women and computer use leans towards men, Gerrard suggests that the playing field is evened out as far as final output is concerned. Nevertheless, the question exists as to why computers appeal to boys versus girls. While computers appeal to both boys and girls equally before fourth grade, by the time they’re in fifth grade, girls lose interest. The computer software that appeals to boys are the violent games and the stereotypes appeal to the girls, e.g. Barbie games. Studies show that girls spend less time playing games and prefer doing something useful and entertaining. Men “tinker and explore…women want to accomplish something.” Non-stereotypical games have been created for girls to meet these needs. Still, girls have less computer experience than boys going into high school and college. When girls have confidence in using the computer, they have more confidence in wordprocessing and blogging, etc. on the computer. Computers affect writing styles. Women are more “intimate” and prefer more privacy, but men are more public and informative, and therefore post more than women. Studies show that being more involved on the Net allows girls to become more socially involved. It presents a less inhibited environment. It allows the girls to create a “public voice.” Some sites are geared towards women and allow them to express themselves and provides a collective voice for females especially when so many other sites that gear to men use language that many women are uncomfortable with. Towards the end of this piece, Gerrard does explain that no matter the differences studies show about men and women and computer technology, generalizing leads to inconsistencies; because not all men or women fit the stereotype.
One statement that I found interesting:
The image of the composition instructor is described as a “sadomasochistic disciplinarian.”

"Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites"

Danah Boyd writes an interesting paper about the role of social network sites in the life of teenagers and young adults. It examines how teenagers use MySpace and other public sites in order to communicate with one another and share information anout themselves. I am unfamiliar with the inner workings of MySpace so this article enlightened me about how social networking sites may be useful.

"Male Designs on Technology"

Judy Wajcman's chapter on Male Designs was extremely uninspiring! I wasn't sure what motivated her research even though she states that "the point was to identify major areas of gender inequality and oppression, and seek to change them." I was more interested in the way women relate and interact to technology and that wasn't realy addressed. Wajcman asserts that "post-industrial theorists concentrated on hierarchies of class, rather than those of gender and, like thier predecessors, the new theorists of technology also fail to consider whether this technological revolution might have a differential impact on women and men. While the common theme is that everything in the digital future will be different, it is not clear if the social relations of gender will also be different becuse the question is seldom raised. While the optimistic commentators on the digital revolution promise freedom, empowerment and wealth, rarely do they show any consciousness of the relationship between technology and gender." I believe that there may be very real differences among genders as it relates to technology and its advances but I also believe that those differences shouldn't hinder the freedom, empowerment and wealth of all people. "Many studies identified the structural barriers to women's participation, looking at sex discrimination in employment and the kind of socialization and education that girls receive which channel them away from studying mathematics and science. Schooling, youth cultures, the family and the mass media all transmit meanings and values that identify masculinity with machines and technological competence." While I do agree that boys and girls are socialized differently, I also think that despite that socialization girls and boys can develop preferences and skill sets outside of their "normal" gender "role." Therefore, girls can contribute to technological advances just as easily as boys and can enjoy the "masculinity of technology." I was unsure as to why the author felt like women must forsake their femininity if they enter the world of technology if its systems aren't emasculated. There are women who don't desire a husband and children and prefer the long hours of research and to suggest otherwise is misleading. "Technology was seen as an extension of patriarchal and capitalist domination. As a result, feminist approaches mainly dismissed technoscience as inherently patriarchal and malignant." I don't agree with this line of reasoning and think that it fails to utilize the role that women can play even in a perceived patriarchal technological existence.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Hi everyone, the "Technofeminism" reading by Judy Wajcman should be on the library course reserves page. I'd also like to talk briefly about this University of Richmond wiki project, History Engine, treating it as a possible model for some discussion.

I can't find the other reading offhand, so unless you've found it (in which case a link would be appreciated), here is an alternative reading, danah boyd's article on social networking technologies. Since we have been discussing many of these ideas all semester, please start with the Wajcman article, but I think boyd raises some important questions about how these tools are used.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Menu Driven Identities

The article "Menu-Driven Identities" was very strange to me. I can't understand why race is important on the internet. It seems to me that Lisa Nakamura is saying race should not matter, however we still in some kind of way need to be interested in race when we are on the web. The difference between blacks and whites having access to computers or being on line, is not about race. I think it is more about socio-economic issues. This article made me think about some of the students I have taught in the pass. These students were not computer literate because they did not have computers in their homes. However, the students who did, were computer literate. These students were both black and white, they just came from low socio-economic backgrounds. The school where I teach now, both the black and white students seem to have access to the computer. I don't think it is about just black and white, it seems to be who can afford a computer. I think at the end black students realize how important it is to be literate. They must use all of their resources outside of the home to become more involved with internet.

The Persistence of Difference

Todd Taylor’s article, “The Persistence of Difference in Networked Classrooms: Non-negotiable Difference and the African American Student Body” is not one that I understand fully why it was written. According to Taylor, Online attention has been predominantly given to differences in gender and those of various sexual orientations, but not enough attention has been given to racial differences. Taylor believes that these “electronic and networked learning environments” can provide cues to “teachers and students to become more responsive to racial differences” and can help “the teaching of writing in general.” I think that Taylor wasted time arguing over the definition of difference in order to explain “the debate over assimilation versus reverse acculturation.” He goes on to discuss the need for white educators to have a better understanding of black students. I guess, in order to successfully teach them. What does this have to do with computer literacy? I ask. Blacks are just as interested in going Online as Whites. I think that this difference is an economic dilemma, not a racial one. When Taylor talks about body language and cues teachers interpret from students as they use the computer, I fail to see what it has to do with race. To me, it has more to do with multiple intelligences, or learning styles. He says that teachers can read student body language better when students are on the computer and therefore can tell if they’re on task or are having difficulty than they would have if they were in a regular classroom setting. Again, what does that have to do with race? Taylor makes too many, what I consider racist, assumptions. “[Chris] is less comfortable speaking in class than…Stephanie, perhaps due to self-consciousness about his predominantly black spoken dialect.” I’m offended!!! What does dialect have to do with participation? Did he conduct a survey on this theory???? He can’t read minds!!! Maybe Chris had a zit or forgot his Tic-Tac.:) Maybe the black students have more of a problem with the professor than the class. The rumor may go as such: “That professor is weird!!! He’s always staring at the black kids and writing things down.” That’s probably why the black students are so timid. Maybe Stephanie is a nark. Or maybe Stephanie just has high self-esteem, and Chris and Felicia have less confidence. This has nothing to do with race. While I disagree with points mentioned in this article, I do have to agree with Taylor’s final thoughts about the fact that in the end “[w]e need to consider individuals as individuals…”

"Menu-Driven Identities"

Lisa Nakamura's chapter on Making Race Happen Online proved to be wordy and convoluted at times. I chose this topic because I was interested in how race effects users of the internet and if there is a correlation between frequent usage and race. The introduction to the chapter spent a great deal of time explaining how particular websites define arrange and offer inforamtion about specific races. I found this information to be unneccessary and unconvincing in trying to explain the role of race on the web. I did find the paragraph dealing with Excite's organization of race and gender intriguing. Nakamura says, "Excite's guided reading of race on the web performs another interesting textual move: it lumps gender, sexual orientation, religion, and age together with race. This organization of identity does not include"white" as a category: it is not on the menu at all. This omission is a disturbing example of the colonist or imperialit gaze that sets up a racial other: whitness is defined by its invisibility rather than its presence. The racial category of "whitness" is assumed to be a default option, thus creating a guided reading of the web that assumes that its reader is white." "Disturbing?" Why is Nakamura disturbed? The web reflects our society and its norms. "Whiteness" has always been "the standard" and everyone else is the exception. To contradict this notion, Nakamura sites Zickimund's statement that states, "the openess of the Internet may endanger the notion of a closed community and could become an ally in the struggle against bigotry and racism." Despite the anonymitiy of the web, races aren't merely defined by skin color but preferences, hobbies, and interests can be shaped by race as well. Therefore, identifying someone's race maybe apparant through their searches and browsing. "Web demographics are always in flux. It has been known for some time, however, that racial minorities use the web less than do whites. Whites are more likely than African-Americans to have access to a computer at home and work, while African-Americans are more likey to want access." Despite this, "government al funding to support computer instruction in public schools in the 1980s tended to favor upper-middle-class and white students who were, ironically, already those most likely to possess access to computers in the home." This is a very interesting fact that demonstrates the causes of the "digital divide" among races. Overall, this chapter dealt with controversial topics and sought to expound upon the premise that the web creates menu that fail to address ALL people, thus widening the digital divide.

Menu-Driven Identities

This article, “Menu-Driven Identities”, is really starting to confuse me. First, it is not fun to read; the text makes it hard to read. Second, I don’t know what Lisa Nakamura is talking about. First it’s all about race or the lack there of on the web, then she starts talking about portals and the overload of information found on the web. She compares it to literature. Then, she loses me. I wish that at least at the beginning she would stay focused! She then discusses how portals have discreet way of identifying your race by tracing the type of sites you focus on. The portals mentioned above refers to Yahoo and something I’ve never heard of: Excites. This portal does focus on race. In fact, they use white as its default race. Gender is also included. This article seems to feel that while race should not be an issue via the Web, identifying race is important. I say this because the author seemed to be slighted since some of the ethnic groups, such as, interracial,l is not listed as a choice. Would you make up your mind? Guess what, as long as race is important to people, racism will be an issue on the Internet. As mentioned, while participating in chatrooms, people sometimes live out stereotypes. The article eases its way into the discussion of the division between Whites and Blacks and their computer literacy and access. While the lack of a connection is made with Blacks of the World Wide Web due to the fact that the creators are white, Blacks are encouraged to get involved and create web sites that address their needs.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sample videos

In the context of Alex Reid's essay on podcasts, here are some videos I'd like to discuss:

PowerPoint Is Evil

“PowerPoint Is Evil” by Edward Tufte is an opinionated article about why he thinks that PowerPoint is not a preferred mode of displaying and presenting important information. While the concept of displaying a presentation using slides and bullets is not unique, the ease and availability of PowerPoint has created an over-use of the product. Tufte says that it encourages the user to present as little information about the topic as necessary. Tufte believes that this takes away from the whole concept of the topic and important points that may not be able to fit in the slides. He feels that a PowerPoint presentation should not be the final product. Rather, it should be an accessory to the final product. He also discusses how it is being over-used in schools. While students are using this medium for creating their work, they should be writing more substantial pieces not on PowerPoint. This, he believes, takes away from what they should be learning and practicing. I agree that it should be used in moderation.

Tuning In

Students and iTunes University was basically discovered by students who wanted to record lessons. "Coursecasting" allowed students to share information about lectures, web sites, and databases. This allows the students and faculty to communicate, which I think is a good idea. Students and faculty can upload and download information easily. Students using technology such as blogs and wikis to communicate is a great addition to a students learning. However, I don't think it should be used by itself. I think that students need various ways to write, whether it is through technology or not. Students only get better when they practice. The more they practice writing, the better they get. Exposing them to different ways of communication is the best way.

Digital Divide

In this article, The Myth about the Digital Divide…”, Hawkins and Oblinger discuss the meaning of the term Digital Divide. First, they explain that there is still a divide even though the gap is gradually shrinking. The reason that the divide still exist is the fact that the divide can mean a number of things. While students may have a computer, it may not be a new model and therefore lacks special features that new systems have. Students who may have a fully loaded computer may not understand how to use all of the features. Still, some may be savvy with using certain Online tools, but may be inefficient in other areas. Still while the system may contain all of the features, the student may not have access to the Internet. Again, even with all of the capabilities, the student may not have the access to sources that can provide tutorials or coaching when they run into a problem with their system or how to utilize functions and tools that they may not understand. In the study titled, "Second-Level Digital Divide… ", Eszter Hargittai, discusses pretty much what Hawkins and Oblinger mention. She concludes that the digital divide goes beyond the ownership of a computer and even the access to Online features . She explains that ability to efficiently and skillfully use the Internet is another type of digital divide which age does play a role in. She explains that younger users from the teens through the twenties are more savvy users. Still slower users, with practice and time, have room for improvement.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuning In

In the article “Tuning In” , Alex Reid discusses the wide range of iPod and mp3 media player use. Educators are aware of the popularity of these technologies among the youth. So, their goal is to merge this interest with the academic world. Professors are using iPods to broadcast assignments and to communicate with student. They then use this medium to blog and twitter. This method is also being used in the workplace to communicate with employees as well. It seems to me that everyone is trying to get someone’s attention in order to get them to do what they should already be doing without the aid of incentives.

PowerPoint is Evil

I really enjoyed this article about PowerPoint being evil. It does seem like a bad prescription drug that seems to have way to many side effects. I don't see why people think it is such a big deal to do a PowerPoint presentation. I think that it's ok in the business arena, or when you are trying to sell something. However, in the school setting, I'm not sure it is real effective. Students need to be able to do research and write papers. In the article by Edward Tufts I agree that the PowerPoint presentation in school minimizes the reading and effort students need to put into their work. Learning how to write and do research for a report should be more important than a PowerPoint presentation. However, I think it is good to know how to do a PowerPoint presentation, but I still think the old fashioned way of doing a presentation is better! I think it requires less work than if you actually sat down and wrote a paper. Students today, are always looking for a short cuts to keep from doing work. When students do PowerPoint presentations, there doesn't seem to be a lot of work put into the presentations. In other words it seems to be more about using the technology than the quality of work itself.

"Powerpoint is Evil"

Wow! Tufte was really reaching when he entitled his article, "Powerpoint is Evil." His assertions are based entirely on opinion and are purely subjective. I attended a leadership conference on this past weekend and found the use of powerpoint extremely effective an engaging. To write off the entire tool as evil is rather silly and immature. The users have more to do with a single presentations effectiveness rather than the tool itself. Tufte goes on to say, "Particularly disturbing is the adoption of the PowerPoint cognitive style in our schools. Rather than learning to write a report using sentences, children are being taught how to formulate client pitches and infomercials. Elementary school PowerPoint exercises (as seen in teacher guides and in student work posted on the Internet) typically consist of 10 to 20 words and a piece of clip art on each slide in a presentation of three to six slides -a total of perhaps 80 words (15 seconds of silent reading) for a week of work. Students would be better off if the schools simply closed down on those days and everyone went to the Exploratorium or wrote an illustrated essay explaining something." I disagree with this overarching generalization and believe that powerpoint has been an effective tool in the use of summarizing, interpreting and evaluating literature. Students must select pertinent information to place on slides which uses higher order thinking skills. I totally disagree with Tufte's opinion and am curious as to the "real" reason he believes that powerpoint is evil!

"Tuning In"

Mr. Reid states in his closing arguments that "the challenges that result are not only technical or institutional but they are intellectual and disciplinary as well as we are forced to consider how our disciplinary paradigms have been shaped by the technological conditions of a print culture, conditions that are quickly fading away." I agree with his assertion because as an educator I find it rather daunting to incorporate technology with pedagogy in such a way that both are enhanced and better together than seperate. In addition, Reid says, "Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this ongoing innovation is faculty development. As it turns out, learning the technical matters of networked media composition proves to be only a minor challenge in comparison to reshaping one's pedagogic practice. From this perspective we have only begun to experiment with the implications of working in a media network that cuts across our courses." This will be the goal of teacher education programs as they prepare educators for the 21st century learner.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wednesday's Readings

Sorry for posting some of these so late:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Rhetoric of Technology

In summary, I believe that Hawisher and Selfe's article focuses on the use of technology in the classroom. I get the impression that they do not believe that many opinions of educators who use technology in the classroom are credible. These teachers are advid users of technology in the classroom. Therefore, what they have to say about it is positive. Hawisher and Selfe build this doubt off of two observations. First, the teachers are bias and leave no room for expressing counterarguments. And, through observing classrooms, they have discovered that the results are not always positive. I believe that if you support something, you're only going to focus on the good because your goal is to "sell" the idea. In this case you can't believe everything you hear because the opinion is not well-rounded.

"New Media Literacy"

This article primarily deals with the possibility of erroneous information being masqueraded as truth via media outlets. With the rise of blogs and other web-based news sites the probability of these incidences rises drastically. I think the author made valid suggestions at the end of the aticle when he says to be skeptical of everything but not overly skeptical. When receiving news from the Internet it is imperative to check sources and verify the validity of the information.

"Old Growth Media and the Future of News"

The author of this article is optimistic about the rapidly evolving landscape that is technology. He believes that these changes have created a necessary flow of information in an expedient manner. This allows for the expansion of unpeeded knowledge to those who desire it. I for one am not one of "those" and find reading the newsapaer or watching the news adequate to disseminate information that is pertinent to my life. I felt like the article was too wordy and failed to capture my attention.

New Media Literacies

This article, “ Principles of a New Media Literacy” by Marko Ahtisaari, (or is it Dan Gillmor?), focuses on how various forms of media, whether contemporary or traditional, can not be trusted. While some news contributors may have good intentions, they way the story comes across may not represent the whole truth. In other cases, the news contributor may purposely ill inform the public by “putting a spin” on the story. This practice was overtly used against now President Barak Obama during the course of his run for the presidency. I was surprised, but should not have been, to hear that politicians and businesses such as Wal-Mart have paid people to create favorable blogs on their behalf. This turns a testimony into a lie. The use of technology has generated a host of new contributors to the media. While Ahtisaari/Gillmor sees traditional media sources as being watch dogs for each other, he sees this open criticism used more readily over the Internet. I believe that this is due in part to the anonymity these Internet reporters can hide behind. Maybe this obscurity encourages more honesty. In this case maybe the Internet can actually be more trustworthy than the big media stations. Who knows? In summary, believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear. Ahtisaari/Gillmor seems to end his article with tips to go by when deciphering what you should believe and not believe from any media source. What I got out of the article, “Participative Pedagogy for a Literacy of Literacies” by Howard Rheingold besides the fact that he likes southwestern colors is the fact that Online communities did not create a group of people who love to socialize and help other people for nonprofit, but it is in fact, the other way around. Basically people how like to socialize and help other people created these Online communities. The article, “Old Growth Media And The Future Of News” by Steven Berlin Johnson must have been the short article you were talking about. Because of its brevity, I was rather confused on where the article actually stopped and someone elses blog began. All I got out of this was the fact that Johnson couldn’t wait to get the next copy of MacWorld. …..Well, I guess this turned out to not be the short article. Johnson still talks about the evolution of Online news seekers began with the computer junkies who loved to get the latest technology news from magazines. Now they get it quicker from the Internet. And they’re not the only ones using this technology. In fact, many people who would have been less likely to interact and share the same interests in the past tend to now cross paths frequently while browsing through the same Internet sites.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Media Literacies

Feel free to ignore the statement in the syllabus that you have Teaching Carnival posts due. I'll handle that on my one, although I will explain Teaching Carnival and invite you to participate. Here are the readings for Wednesday that aren't in the textbook (including one relatively short article not listed in the syllabus):

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dr.Tryon on Twitter and the tool that cries back

In response to your contribution on Twitter, Dr. Tryon, one thing I have to say is well-written! No offense, but could you have tweeted that? LOL:) :) :)

In response to the new technology that monitors typing speed and characters, I have to say that students and teachers would find this tool exciting but for only a short while. Eventually it would get on everybody's nerves!!!:)

Tweets on Twittering,

Going back into a previously discussed assignment on Twittering, I focused on the article “Twitter for Academia” by Dave Parry. First of all, I enjoyed reading his work. I liked the fact that I could relate to his encounter to Twitter. He did so with hesitation especially when it came to applying it to his classroom. Once he made the decision to use this technology, he did find several benefits for its use. It fostered inside and outside classroom discussions that eventually encouraged blogging on these ideas. Twittering allowed the students to get to know each other better; it also allowed Parry to get to know his students better. The fact that twitter is global makes it interesting to students. They get to see what people all over the world are up to. The interesting fact that Parry pointed out is how you may find blogs in a variety of languages. That’s so cool! I never really thought of that. Twittering allows you to track words and events; it provides instant feedback. You can find out about topics that interest you in your profession or a profession that you are interested in. What would be attractive to students that I teach on the middle school level is the fact that they can tweet a celebrity!!!!!!! How cool is that???? What may be interesting to a teacher is Parry’s point on how Twitter is “good for teaching grammar.” As the article mentioned, twittering allows for “teachable moments.” It also allows teachers to teach grammar in reverse. While students have a limited amount of space to convey their thoughts, they must be mindful of each type of punctuation that they use due to the fact that the 140 character maximum can often lead to “ambiguous” messages. Still, Twitter allows students to brainstorm and share ideas. It can also make writing assignments, such as round-robin, fun!:) I recommend that teachers read this article because it is successful in encouraging teachers to incorporate this type of technology into the classroom.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Is Google Making Us Stupid?"

I found this article to be intriguing because it sought to explain the Internet's effect on this generations ability to access, analyze, utilize and interpret information. This is important to understand, especially for educators, because it could possibly change the way we teach and hold students accountable for their learning. The testimonies from "intellects" that suggest that their ability to read and comprehend significant amounts of information have been dulled due to skimming and scanning of Internet sites is troubling. From my own experiences as a Reading teacher, students can't read and comprehend longer works of literature and this has frustrated me. I remember reading and sometimes re-reading books like Jane Eyre and The Scarlet Letter, enjoying every moment as if I were there myself. Nowadays my students struggle through short stories like Langston Hughes' "Thank You, M'am." This article suggests that it may be a result of my students use of the Internet. If this is true, if our brains are being re-wired because technology, then educators need to find a way of disseminating information in chunks that can be analyzed, interpreted and applied. This is the goal of longer readings anyway.

Write or Die

I came across Write or Die, a little online toy that forces you to write quickly this week in my Twitter feeds. Basically, you set a word length and a time length and you have to keep pace or the computer will make awful noises, such as the sound of multiple babies crying. The screen also goes red, calling attention to your speed. Obviously not for all students, but might be interesting to use in an in-class exercise.

Twitter Talk

In case you're interested, an expanded version of my recent blog post defending Twitter ended up being published on Alternet. I've been amused by most of the comments so far, which tend to allege that I'm either "pro-corporatist" or being paid by Twitter.

Anyway, just thought you might be interested.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Google/Library Research

I really did not find the article, “In Google We Trust”, to be interesting, but instead informative. It was research based and scientific. Basically a study was created using eye monitoring devices to determine how students utilize Google and rely on its service as one would definitions in a dictionary…meaning to say that the first one is the most commonly used and is therefore a more reliable source. This conclusion is based on Bing Pan’s article, “In Google We Trust”. In addition to this, Nicholas Carr, in his article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, further discusses Google’s goal of equipping people with the ability to be their own search engine somehow literally connected with Google.
This is indeed a frightening thought. Once I asked in class whether or not this new language and emergence of instance messaging technology could physically change a person’s brain networks. This article seems to be answering my question in the affirmative. I found it rather daunting and unbelievable how so many people professed how constant engagement in technology (i.e. on-line reading) has disallowed them to think and process long works of literature. Someone who actually was a literature major confessed to no longer being able to sit down and read a book in its entirety. Their brains just don’t work like they used to do while they would read. The unsettling part is learning that one of Google’s goals is to implant some type of device that will enable its users to download information directly in their brains. As the article indicates, this type of technology will make us stupid. If this article has any- merit to it and can be backed up by credible research, then it’s no wonder why our students have such a hard time reading passages on the End of Grade Test. They want technologically advanced schools, but at the same time they may very well be producing less sophisticated humans. The brain is already its own intricate CPU. I say don’t mess with what God already created; you might end up with something that you wish you’d never had.
The article, “It Wasn’t Me Was It?”, by DeVoss and Rosati focused on the issue of plagiarism. It was rather lengthy and boring. However, it discussed the fact that plagiarism should be taught to students in two different ways. First, students need to understand why it’s wrong and how it’s wrong. Not only do they need to understand that it is not honest, but they also need to know when they are being dishonest. The article mentions how one professor was confronted by a line of students, most of which were perfectly innocent, did not know for sure whether or not they were guilty of plagiarism. That brought up the fact that students have to be taught how to properly research and site sources. They have to be taught the difference. The article also recognized how the use of plagiarism can be used as a teachable moment. Tips on how to best address this topic are provided and on-line research is also encouraged. Michelle Sidler’s article “Web Research and Genres I Online Databases…” also encourages the use of the Internet as a primary research tool. While this tool is efficient and accessible, she explains how it does come with its costs. Before students can use this tool, they have to be fully aware of and abreast to the academics of on-line researching tools from the Web address to the Web page itself. Students have to be familiar with what was described as Web language or terminology as well as what to keep and what not to keep. This text was informative more than interesting. I guess I feel this way because it was an article to be more as a source for on-line researching than for entertainment.

Teachers and Facebook

I thought that it was interesting how we have just been discussing the issue of privacy with teachers and these on-line “social networks” such as Facebook, and here it is discussed in the newspaper. I am not one who is so fascinated about the past that I have to “investigate” what everyone I once knew is up to. I also do not have a desire to publicize my post high school or collegiate history to everyone from my past nor to those in my present life. Therefore, participating in on-line socializing is not for me. I like the real thing anyway. If I can’t talk to you and hear your voice, words on a screen are just not that real to me. I’d rather communicate face-to-face versus picture-to-picture. Still, it is rather unfortunate for those teachers who do find entertainment in socializing this way that they have to be judged under a different microscope than almost any other professional would be. I guess you can compare it to someone who joins the military and ends up going to war—You knew what you were getting into when you signed up for the job. So I guess we can stop complaining about being treated on a double standard. On one hand, we want that same respect that teachers of the past once received. On the other hand, we want to have the same rights to display our past times as freely as anyone else does. But, we can’t have it both ways. With on-line social networks, there is no privacy. We are publically displayed even if we don’t create it ourselves as we see the case for Mr. Lopes and his mysteriously created Facebook account. This is what has me worried: What if someone creates an account under my name and then displays unmentionables on my behalf, therefore potentially getting me fired for no fault of my own.

See You After Class/Is Google Making Us Stupid?

When I saw the article about teacher's on Facebook I had to blog about it! This is the very reason why I don't have a Facebook account. Teachers really have to be careful with the information they put out there about themselves. One of the teachers in the article equates herself to being like a local celebrity, which means you have to be on your best behavior at all times. If you are on Facebook you have to be careful with the information and pictures you decide to post because it can cause problems on the job. One of the parents also stated that if teachers do have a Facebook account, that's fine. However, if teachers are out partying that's ok as well, but it should not be public. Teachers are looked upon differently in today's society, because we are considered role models. Its like we are always on stage and being watched, by students and parents. Teachers have to be extremely careful in our personal lives, and make sure it does not effect our teaching. Teaching is what I do, not who I am!
The article "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" was very interesting because I do think that the Internet is a handicap in some ways. People don't even read books anymore. They read blogs and short articles to gather information. It appears to be a whole lot easier to Google something than to go to the library and do research. In some ways, the Internet has made us lazy. Students have become so dependent on the Internet that they do not know how to do research. Its not just students either it is adults. According to the article some people don't even want to read a long blog or read a long article. They actually just skim the blog or article. It appears that Googling is better and does not require a lot of work for most people. The Internet is a good tool to do research, but it should not be the only resource students use. I think it should be an addition to research!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Teachers on Facebook

Thought y'all might be interested in this Fayetteville Observer article on teachers and Facebook in Sunday's paper. See you in class on Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A few more links...

Because I forgot to include it earlier, here is a quick pointer to one version of an assignment by UT Dallas professor, David Parry, in which he required his students to use Twitter. David also has written quite a bit about Twitter's uses for academia.

Sample Teaching Blog

Just thought you might be interested in checking out The Open Letter Project, another university where blogging is being used. Jeff Ringer, the course instructor, teaches at the University of New Hampshire, and his course focuses on public rhetoric. I'll add it to the side bar later, but it's a great example of how blogs can be used.

Google Readings

In addition to the readings from the textbook, there are two online readings this week on Google and other search engines:


Wow! I read the article entitled "Twitter: How Scared Should We Be?" and I was amazed at the unflattering comments made by the author. While I don't fully comprehend the frenzy surrounding Twitter, I don't discount it and those who use it as useless. I do find it hard to believe that people have the time to "tweet" and check others "tweets" and maintain a continuous dialogue about meaningless matters. However, I thought the tone of the article was a bit harsh and unwarranted.

My Twitter Thoughts

I wasn't planning to do this, but I ended up blogging about Twitter, too, over on my personal blog. After reading Alexander Zaitchik's column in AlterNet, I couldn't really resist.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


What is Twitter? Well, before enrolling in this class I never heard of Twitter. However, it seems pretty interesting because their are alot of people who have Twitter accounts. Twitter is a great deal of things based on my research. Twitter is social messaging, news reporting, and media marketing.Twitter is being used to keep up with people or get in touch with people. It could be on the job or for just socializing with friends. It is appears to be a good way to communicate via the Internet and people have truly taken advantage of it. Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace, seem to be the most popular ways to communicate on line. I also recognized that during the inauguration, the news reporters on CNN kept mentioning their Twitter pages. They wanted people to log on and post comments about the inauguration. I was kind of excited about it because I knew it was something that I was learning about in class. This was a unique way of keeping up with what people were thinking about the inauguration and a historical moment in history. Furthermore, people were able to post what they thought about the CNN broadcast. The news anchors were constantly talking about the comments people were posting. The media marketing aspect of Twitter is also very interesting. During the Presidential campaign the Internet was used alot by President Obama's campaign. This was the first time in the history of the Presidential campaign that the Internet was so widely used. I think this one of the advantages for President Obama. This gave him an advantage over Senator McCain because President Obama was able to reach more people through the Internet. Twitter is a wonderful way to keep people informed or for just socializing. I think that my objective will probably be socializing, which is fun!

Monday, February 23, 2009


SSL (Sorry So Late)

Unfortunately I was not able to read the chapter “How Weird is Texting?” written by David Crystal since I do not have the book Txtng:The Gr8 Db8. According to summaries and comments written about this piece, Crystal provides an in-depth look at the history and effects of texting. In order to have an idea of where he was coming from, I decided to do a little research on texting myself. Although I had never considered using Wikipedia as a source, I decided that I would this time. It allowed me to find out a lot about texting. Texting, or text messaging, is a part of what is called the Short Message Service (SMS). Did you know that texting has been available not only on mobile phones, but even through the computer? As a matter of fact the first text message was sent via a pager. In 1989 NASA sent a text with a Motorola beeper by “using upside down numbers that could be read as words and sounds.” This reminds me of the messages we used to create with the calculator like 7734, aka hELL. While it continued to evolve, it was primarily used by the deaf and hearing impaired. According to Wikipedia, use by the general public didn’t really take off until the year 2000.
In the piece written by John Sutherland entitled Cn u txt? You can obviously tell that Sutherland has a little something against the idea of texting when you notice how he describes it as “snot-talk” because it’s like blowing your nose on tissue(text is Latin for the word tissue) and then throwing it away. I believe he takes the coward’s way out of expressing his true feelings by blaming them on educators--of course. He says that “Wood-headed educationists will point out that it's a forgiving system: it masks dyslexia, poor spelling and mental laziness. Texting is penmanship for illiterates….” Now teachers, how do you like being called “wood-headed”? And how do you like being falsely quoted in this manner? Well, I don’t! Still, even though I cringe to say it, he does, however, go on to say something that makes sense. And that is the statement that since young people are so used to using their fingers to play hand held video games, it is only befitting for them to take so easily to the concept of texting. But he doesn’t help his case that I have against him by comparing text users to monkeys, or more accurately--apes. Although Sutherland ends his point in an underlying negative tone, he does admit that even though we are now writing, or texting, more than we are speaking, we are nevertheless writing and are therefore “all scribes.” From this article, we see that texting has had an effect in so many ways. As I continued my research via Wikipedia, I discovered other effects of texting technology. First, students use it for cheating on tests and bullying other kids. Lies have been recorded and used in the court of law; advertisers have taken advantage of texting in whatever way they see fit, and riots have occurred. Nevertheless, texting has had positive effects such as allowing people to vote for their American idol, reach out to potential voters for the president of the United States of America, and to rally up a group efficiently. Unfortunately, it still appears to have had more negative upshots than good such as the arrival of something that I choose not to delve into as it may reflect a bit of weirdness on my part which I do not claim. This purely negative result of texting has led to what is coined as sexting. It may be consensual or unfortunately unwelcomed. This phenomenon is reported to have occurred as early as 2005. That’s all I have to say about that. But, I cannot end this blog on this note; so lastly I would have to say this:
After viewing the various web sites that I chose to look at, I actually never realized that there were so many abbreviations in the language of texting until I discovered the Texting Dictionary from the site Here are some that I found interesting and they have the following meanings:

Santa Claus
Having a cold
Get A Life
Great minds think alike
Keep it simple, stupid
Keep in touch
Kiss on the cheek
Kiss on the lips
Long distance relationship
Laugh my ass off
Laughing out loud
Are you Ok?
Totally devoted to you
Thank You
Thanks for nothing!
Wild ass guess
Want to
Welcome Back
Will you marry Me?
With respect to
What the f...
Way to go!
Where are you from?
Wish you were here
Typical Woman
Typical Man

Finally, my only question is how can anyone become completely fluent in a language that is so ever-changing and has so many dual meanings? Can't the intent of a message get lost? How can such a language become standard in its own nature?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Texting and Language

Before reading this chapter in Crystal's book, The Gr8 Db8, I didn't value the "art" of texting. In fact, I despised it because my students continually turned in assignments written in "textese." Not until the completion of this chapter did I realize the complexity of the language and the sophistication involved in order to create meaningful messages. According to Sutherland, "text is penmanship for illiterates" but an illiterate doesn't posses the knowledge to abbreviate words in such a way that they convey ideas. Viewing the poetry entries allowed be to appreciate the art of text in a new and respectful way. I think I might challenge my students to write a poem using "textese" in order to promote higher order thinking skills.


According to the article, "Wikipedia users tend to be more tech-savvy than the rest of the population, and because tech-savvy individuals are more likely to have science and engineering backgrounds, entries on these topics are some of the strongest in the encyclopedia. This website has grown into an immensely useful resource for background information on a wide range of scientific subjects, and can serve as a quick reference for any number of scientific facts. " While these statement bode well for wikipedia's accuracy it doesn't defend why elementary and high school students would need to access this resource. I am not a wikipedia user (maybe because I'm not a scientist or tech-savvy) but I have always been able to find the (mundane) information that I needed. I think elementary, middle and high school students would fail to benefit from such "scholarly" entries.

Interactive Audiences

I read Jenkin's article several times because I found it a bit confusing. After the third read through I believe that I have the overall gist of the article. I find myself on the outside of the technological movement and don't know many people who have taken up arms in its quest of world domination. I use computers for work and school but beyond that I do not find myself in the "cosmopedia" described by Levy. I don't contribute to fandoms, blogs (except for this class :), nor do I purchase or sell items via the internet. As I look around my classroom, my students are very similiar to me in their use of technology. One might argue that culture might play a role in this "phenomenon" but I can't sustiantiate such a claim. Is it a socio-economic issue or is it rooted in a fear of change? These are questions that I raised as I read the article because while it talked about engaging the young teenage boy who is technologically savvy, I couldn't identify this boy. I think these casts a light on Jenkin's view about society and his assumptions that "everyone" has and will embrace these technologiacl advancements.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Writing and Citizenship: Using Blogs to Teach First-Year Composition

Dr. Tryons writing...Wow! I feel almost compelled to be endearing while blogging about this...I mean brown nosing to get an "A" right??? LOL!!

I like the fore thought of this writing. Dr. Tryon's goal was to find ways for students to take charge of their writing, to provide them with a sense that writing matters. Richard Ohmann's description was right on the money: "The supposition that higher education and schooling in general serve a democratic society by nourishing hearty citizenship." All writing should foster citizenship and create connections between the classroom and the real world. The use of Web logs I'm not sure of though. Reading should be relevant to the reader, not necessarily the professor or teacher! Blogging is a fun and innovative way to teach and learn, as I am enjoying it tremendously! I will agree that blogging communities do have a reputation for being on the wild side adhering to little boundaries! Which for some parents, and adults who have strong religious beliefs might shun away from this type of curriculum connection, but I would remind those very people that you can't shelter yourself nor your children from everything their entire life. At some point and time people have to experience some things if for nothing else than to open their minds, learn a tolerance, an acceptance, and then how to maneuver around today's idiosyncrasies with ease and political correctness.

Bloggers responding to his assignment with flattery to snark is not uncommon. I am sure that didn't unhenge his door at all! The rhetorical strategies that foster an unhealthy use of language should probably be rethought, or at the least consider the source. There is never room for sensitivity or taking things too personal when blogging. I mean you are opening yourself to a realm of people from all facets of life, so no need to fret. With access to the outside world, or access to think outside the box you are able to create a clearer picture or more diverse opinions about the subject matter. Life is not without taking risks!

Interactive Audiences? The Collective Intelligence Of Media Fans

First let me start out by saying I am not a big fan of reading such long passages! Too much long windedness!!! with that said here goes..

I like how this began..."You got fifteen seconds. Impress me."

We teach fourth grade students to begin each narrative with a "Hook!" A hook is described as an attention grabber! So kudos to Henry Jenkins!

I did enjoy how the new youth consumers were depicted. Although the blonde hair may not always be the case. That isn't exactly "politically correct." The no longer a coach potato I think hits the nail on the head! Today's computer savvy teens appear to be big gammers as well! Some adults might see this as couch potato behavior, but those gammers take it pretty serious!

The cultural studies spoken of is a little out dated! Technology has made quick changes that reach beyond what most people can grasp on to before the next innovation hits. Technology has unleashed a new liberation of this world and everyone in it. Gone are the days of having to sell items at a yard sale, or at a thrift store. You don't even have to purchase an article in the newspaper to solicite sales. Todays technology has promoted sites like Craigs List, My Space, Facebook, etc. that promote do it yourself, free sites to promote anything you take a shining to. For all that goes a hard working person who has no time nor desire to meet singles at a bar can go online and meet any kind of singles they desire and for free at that!

Levy is correct when he said he sees contemporary society as caught in a transitional moment, whose outcome is still unknown, but which has enormous potentials for transforming existing structures of knowledge and power. A critical utopianism....maybe....a correct statement when dealing with the dinosaurs of yester year...probably so!

Computers are forever changing the face of the world! Look at the Lifetime Channel and you'll see that! Fans can go online and follow series, blog comments, questions, etc. A huge movement from the years when my father had to listen to television on a radio.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wikipedia and the New Curriculum

The article Wilkipedia and the New Curriculum talks about how Wilkipedia is not always factual. I agree that it is not always a good source to use, when comes to getting the best information. However, many of our students use it faithfully to do research. I don't have a problem with students using this as a source, but I do have a problem with students using it as their main source of information. The misinformation can be damaging for students if they don't do their research. Accuracy is very important when students do research. Allowing anyone to edit can turn into a big problem. Should Wilkipedia be banned? I don't think it should be banned, but I think students need to understand that all the information on Wilkipedia may or may not be true. Anyone can use Wilkipedia to post information and that information may be false. However, Wilkipedia can be used as another added resource for students.


What fascinates to me about the article Interactive Audiences? The Collective Intelligence of Media Fans by Henry Jenkins is learning that even before On Line technology existed, there was already a “web” network where “ fan communities” could participate in learning about new technologies and where they could “debate theories and assess new technologies” through magazines they read or by listening to the radio. This idea came about through the works of Hugo Gernsbeck in the 1920’s and the 1930’s. This concept was a realization of what Jenkins described as Pierre Levy’s idea of “the cosmopedia,” or the idea that “…citizens more fully realize the potentials of the new media environment.” No doubt, new technology has had its pros and cons. Before this high speed super highway, fans communicated or rallied together either ineffectively or inefficiently. They now do so quicker and with more favorable results. However, technology can leave out groups of fans either due to the fact that they are slow to equip themselves with On Line access or they are slow to view current material and end up learning more about it than they were ready for. This would be like going to the movies after someone told you what it was about. It takes the fun out of it. This article also reminds me of the article Why Heather Can Write. In that article, fans were using the net to recreate a novel, here fans are using the net and other technologies to recreate movies and television shows. This desire to recreate someone else’s work reminds me of the idea behind Wiki’s. Here, the author’s original work is constantly being edited by random viewers. In David Perry’s article Wikipedia and the New Curriculum: Digital Literacy Is Knowing How We Store What We Know he writes strongly about the importance of schools allowing students to use Wikipedia as a tool and to understand its function and benefits. Our school system would be one that he would not want to work at because we disallow the use of this site. I believe this is the case because unlike his ideal scenario of students actually “…consult[ing] the discussion and history pages…” this type of inquiry is something that they would not do on their own. The students that we teach would use the information as gospel without doing any further research on its authenticity.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Quick links for class

Here are a couple of links I'd like to discuss in class tonight:

Blog Weirdness

In my previous post, I had some trouble with some unexpected and unwanted formatting codes popping up. Once I deleted them, everything was cool, but let me know if you are having problems getting things to publish.

Future Readings

Some quick links to next week's readings:
  • Henry Jenkins, "Interatcive Audiences." This version of Jenkins' essay covers essentially the same ground as the essay in Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers. The main concept I'd like you to address is Jenkins' engagement with Pierre Levy's concept of "colletcive intelligence."
  • Clay Shirky, "Personal Motivation," is available from Here Comes Everybody.
  • David Parry, "Wikipedia and the New Curriculum," is available from Science Progress.
  • Madeliene Sorapure, et al. "Web Literacy," is available in Michelle Sidler, et al, eds.