Archive for the ‘DigiLit’ Category

As part of our DigiLit class, we were tasked with a 30 day endeavor involving the Internet-lauded Daily Create challenges. We were also (rather helpfully) given the qualifier that we didn’t necessarily have to do the ones posted that particular day, we could choose whichever ones we liked, we just had to do a month’s worth of them.

I may or may not have procrastinated on these. So, they’ll be arriving in 3 groups totaling 30 at the end. Each Daily Create will also have the link to the page from whence it came. This third one will feature the category Video.

TDC362: A Letter to my 13 Year Old Self:

TDC674 – Water:

TDC959: Slo-Mo:

TDC997: Water (wine) and Glass:

TDC370: Unusual Story Item:

Canto

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As part of our DigiLit class, we were tasked with a 30 day endeavor involving the Internet-lauded Daily Create challenges. We were also (rather helpfully) given the qualifier that we didn’t necessarily have to do the ones posted that particular day, we could choose whichever ones we liked, we just had to do a month’s worth of them.

I may or may not have procrastinated on these. So, they’ll be arriving in 3 groups totaling 30 at the end. Each Daily Create will also have the link to the page from whence it came. This second one will feature the categories Audio and Drawing.

Audio:

Drawing:

A Movie in Two Panels: 

20150508_171704

A Flag for my Very Own Country:

20150508_172103

Anti-Keep Calm Poster:

get-angry-be-afraid-love-feel-something

A “Special” Letter:

20150508_172455

Face a Fear:

20150508_172857

Cellular:

20150508_173442

Canto

As part of our DigiLit class, we were tasked with a 30 day endeavor involving the Internet-lauded Daily Create challenges. We were also (rather helpfully) given the qualifier that we didn’t necessarily have to do the ones posted that particular day, we could choose whichever ones we liked, we just had to do a month’s worth of them.

I may or may not have procrastinated on these. So, they’ll be arriving in 3 groups totaling 30 at the end. Each Daily Create will also have the link to the page from whence it came. This first one will feature the categories Writing and Photography.

Writing:

Fast Fiction:

It was her favorite.

It was a small, black, lacey sort of top with three stone buttons. I mean, it wasn’t really a top, it only covered her bust, but I’m not fashion-savvy enough to know what else to call it. She would wear it over a tanktop, usually. Red or black, sometimes silver. It was her favorite. Or at least, I think it was. Maybe it was actually mine. I picked it out whenever she asked me to choose an outfit.

The closet is really offset now, without all of her stuff. It’s just my small, lonely corner with a few suit jackets and a pair of dress pants. There are no shoes lining the floor. No scarves tossed about like confetti. It’s empty.

I bring it up to my nose and breathe in deep. Her scent is long gone from it – it’s been washed too many times, and she hadn’t worn it again before the accident. Still, I can pretend. Try to squeeze some of her out of it. Her voicemail inbox is already full of blank messages from me. I keep calling just so I can hear her voice again. All I have to hold on to are these little scraps: a top, a voicemail greeting, a stray hairtie or bobby pin. Maybe if I find enough of them, I can piece her back together somehow. Have her here with me.

But I know that isn’t how this works. They say time heals all wounds, but they don’t account for all the empty space in between. The time spent dicking around, talking about nothing – the time spent picking out outfits and laying together.

5 in 1 Story (Grab 5 books, make a story out of certain sentences from each): 

In The Shadow of the Mountain

On July 16, 1923, I moved into Exham Priory after the last workman had finished his labors. I mopped it up with napkins from the dispenser and tried not to cry. Henderson stood up with his spade in his hand. In the night a storm broke in the mountains above them and came cannonading downcountry cracking and booming and the stark gray world appeared again and again out of the night in the shrouded flare of the lightning. Through this he passed with his rose.

[Rats in the Walls by H.P. Lovecraft]

[Jumper by Steven Gould]

[War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells]

[The Road by Cormac McCarthy]

[The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers]

Virgin Haiku (for first-timers to The Daily Create):

Wait, you’re telling me

They expect me to draw stuff?

No fucking way, man

Creepy Two-Sentence Story:

Well, that’s strange. I could have sworn I shut this window…

Life in 7 Words:

I have no idea what I’m doing.

TV Guide Remix (re-write the synopsis for a movie to make it sound like something totally different): 

A man and a woman lead a witch hunt for a monster who has plunged their village into an eternal winter.
(Frozen)

Photography:


Urban Landscape:
20150412_230927

 

Horrid Selfie:

20150508_114946

Eye Selfie:

20150508_140803

Awkwardly Placed Object:

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Joy in a Photograph:

20150508_135504

Inspirational Poster:

inspiration

Creo

It’s been a tough one, boys and girls. I’m not gonna lie. I have most certainly run out of “give-a-fucks” here for my last semester at CSC. Soon, I’ll officially be a college-educated fool. I’ve done a lot of typing over the semester. Blogs, tweets, papers, comments, etc. etc. I suppose I should feel somewhat grateful since I type about eight hundred million miles faster than I can hand write anything. That being said, as part of our DigiLit final, we were asked to go back through our blogs and comments and analyze them. Find some commonalities, some changes, some surprises, etc.

So, for the final time, let’s get this freakshow on the road.

Marc Palm Photo CC-by Marc Palm, tangentially relevant

Repeat Offenses

A lot, and I mean, a lot of my blog posts this semester tackled problems I found in my own and in others’ education. I’m definitely not a proponent of traditional “sit down and shut up” classroom etiquette. We need to shake things up, identify alternative strategies, and figure out how to incorporate them into classrooms. The problem here is the immense amounts of bullshit teachers have to deal with. Curricula being designed for them, not by them, as well as stuffy administration or government mandates requiring they continue to recycle the same busted-ass methods are doing no one any favors. Oh, that’s another common thread: I despise closed-mindedness, tradition for tradition’s sake, and pretty much anything remotely resembling an authority figure imposing its will over others. I’m so edgy (this is sarcasm).

Another thread that joins a lot of my posts and comments together is a contrarian viewpoint. Call me a hipster, call me a douche, whatever, but in most facets of our education this semester, I did my best to look from all angles, and not just take everything at face value. Sure, I can read 15 articles and listen to 12 TEDTalks about how this new innovative idea is so great and will change the world, but I don’t need a pat on the back, and I don’t need idealism. I need results. I need proof. If you want me to believe that your idea is fullproof, I’m going to try to find the holes that can be poked in it and see how you plug them. I’m not trying to be edgy or be “that guy,” I’m really just trying to cover all bases here. A great idea is great.. in theory. Can it hold up to practice? Can it hold up to peer review? These details do matter. Ideas are good. Acting on them is better.

Photo CC-by Sean MacEntee

Sean MacEntee

Takeaway Points

A key point that a few of my blogs mentioned that I feel is worth mentioning again is that we need to abandon the fetishizing of ideas and of innovation. People walk away from TEDTalks feeling good and optimistic for the future, mostly because somebody else has a good idea. What TEDTalks have you actually put into practice? Good for them, they’ve reached a successful point in a career and are coming to share their results with us. What does that do for us if you don’t act on it? If you don’t incorporate it into your own life in some way more than a Facebook share and a “oh hey this was really cool”? I’m a hypocrite, because I think talk is cheap. Words are my favored medium, and still, I get tired of them from time to time. I get tired of soapboxes and causes. I want something I can see – not yet another person like me, rambling on but doing little in practice to implement any differences.

Hypocrisy aside, that’s one of my favorite things about these weekly blogging exercises. I’ve got a week’s worth of Tweets, articles, blog posts, and so much more bubbling in my brain, and I’ve gotta let it out in some manner. I also, oddly enough, love attention. My blog is my soapbox. I can write about social injustice and feel less like a shit person when I fail to notice instances of it in entertainment because, hey, I wrote about it! It’s like the whole “being an asshole concept,” where people believe that by somehow prefacing being a dick by “Hey, I’m kind of a dick,” that makes whatever offensive thing said okay. I feel like writing is one of the few things I can feasibly do to make a difference. I can at least raise awareness about causes. That’s something, right? I like to pretend so. It makes me feel better about myself.

Shawn Carpenter

Photo CC-by Sean Carpenter

Ch-ch-ch-changes

One thing I noticed as the year went on, in my blog posts, my bravado and usual “funny sarcastic guy” schtick began to fall in favor of unfiltered cynicism or flat out boredom. I won’t lie, certain blog posts this semester just did not have my attention. They were definitely cranked out for the sake of an assignment. As we went, I became more and more aware of my own flaws, more conscious about the things I didn’t like about myself or my work, and rather than try to cover them up with a fascade of humor, instead decided to let the truth be the truth. I’m thankful for my education here. I’m thankful for the things I’ve learned, the people I’ve met, and the things I’ve seen. Still, I’m left with a sour taste in my mouth at the end of the day. Do teens really need to commit 4 years of their life and thousands of dollars of money they don’t have for what is essentially a repeat of a high school education? The government sure wants them to think so.

I think the gradual change in demeanor is equal parts the inevitable exhaustion that accumulates for students and teachers alike over the semester, as well as the pre-graduation jitters. I’m going to have a Bachelor’s Degree. I’m going to be expected to be a functioning adult. I’m already being harangued about grad schools. I don’t want to go to grad school, goddammit. At least not yet. I’ve been in academia for a good 16 years straight. I’m calling a time out. I’m done for now. I’m going to experience life a little, be it mundane or absolute chaos. Besides, I have no desire for a higher degree besides “it would make me feel good about myself.” I don’t want to teach, okay? Stop fucking asking. Maybe I’ll give substitute teaching a try, but for now, it’s not in the books.

I know a lot of people whose senioritis kicks in and gets them excited about graduating. I don’t think I could be more lethargic. I took my last hand-written final this morning, potentially ever. What was my first thought after?

“Shit, I need a nap.”

emdot Photo CC-by emdot

Truth Time

In all honesty, my growing cynicism and lethargy aside, I’ve loved this class. I’ve loved (almost all) of my blog posts. This class has forced me to look a lot of things I’ve never considered, and consider a lot of viewpoints I’d never known about. I actually learned something in an online class. Holy crap.

Despite the fact that for the last 8 weeks solid I did the dumb thing and waited until 10 Sunday night to do a week’s worth of homework, I always did my best. I always tried to put some substance in my work, never opting for lame “I agree!” replies or bare-bones blog posts. That’s something I’m proud of. To my classmates: it’s been fun. New perspectives, and a lot of new faces. To Dr. Ellington, thank you for showing me that the ideas regarding innovation and shaking up the classroom aren’t all just blown smoke. To Fish, you’re awesome, and I love you.

Continuing the theme of truth, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some Daily Creates to catch up on.

Contendo

“Unlearning.” That word by itself kinda hurts my brain. Isn’t that the opposite of what we want? Don’t we want to grow? Isn’t the way to grow to expand, to intake, to gain? Well, yeah, of course, buuuuuut…

A lot of people, educators and learners alike, live by the doctrine of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

That’s a problem.

Bindaas Madhavi Photo CC-by Bindaas Madhavi

“Unlearning”

Will Richardson’s article about “unlearning” mostly deals with throwing out old misconceptions or outdated methods of thinking, particularly in classroom settings. Verbatim, Richardson claims “it’s simply learning to see things differently or to at least be open to it.” I’m going to kick this section off with the last of Richardson’s claims, and say that the most important thing that needs “unlearned” is that real change can happen just by thinking it into practice. This is not a thing. Action needs to happen for change to happen.

Unlearning simply means re-evaluating old concepts, and being open to new ones. In education, this is probably the most vital piece of advice that can be given. Too many times I was at the mercy of teachers who utilized tired-out techniques they learned in school, and were unwilling to budge in any way, shape, or form. Each person learns differently. Each person has different passions. In order to harness all of this potential, flexibility needs to be a key factor.

This semester, I’ve unlearned quite a few things. I’ve unlearned that no one is making a charge to reform education. I’ve unlearned that social media is useless for anything besides cat videos. I’ve unlearned that blog posts are useless, because there are people somewhere out there paying attention. I still have a ways to go, though. I need to unlearn that most authority figures are pompous assholes who have no intelligence or empathy. I need to unlearn some of my cynicism and be a little more willing to believe in the good in humanity. I’ll get back to you when this happens.

Don’t hold your breath.

Thomas Hawk Photo CC-by Thomas Hawk

Innovation

In George Couros’s look into the mind of an innovator, he writes himself a mission statement:
“I am an innovative educator and I will continue to ask “what is best for learners”.  With this empathetic approach, I will create and design learning experiences with that question as a starting point.”

As an educator, Couros wants to focus on new ideas. He wants to focus on open-mindedness, much like Richardson, and above all else, he wants to focus on what’s best for learners. For educators, this involves quite a bit of humility and searching.

It means acknowledging that even if you are an expert in your field, you don’t know everything there is to know. It means acknowledging students as people and accepting the fact that they have things to teach you as well. It means figuring out how to work with each individual learning style, and doing your best to realize that teaching a group en-mass using the same technique is a busted-ass idea from the get-go. Couros understands that these things mean going out on a limb, upsetting an established status quo and taking risks for a reward that involves maximizing learning output for students.

Couros also heavily endorses technology as a medium for learning. He claims innovators can do their best by connecting to others globally, gathering , comparing, and discussing ideas from all perspectives. That being said, Couros also claims we no longer need to throw the title of “digital” on everything: literacy, storytelling, learning, etc. It’s now all implied. Learning is changing. It all ties back together in the fact that we need to “unlearn” the traditions of old in favor of innovating. As I said, learning is changing.

I’m not sure I’ve done much in the way of innovation this semester. If anything, I’ve played it close to the chest and stuck with what I know. Same routines, same attitudes, same techniques.. because they work. And because I’m afraid of change. Soon I won’t have the crutch of academia as an excuse anymore, and we’ll see what kind of innovator I really am.

Yikes.

Novus

In a true “better late than never” fashion, it’s that time of year. Forget Hellweek, this is

FINALS WEEK

Keeping up with tradition dictates that I put off gobs of assignments until the last possible moment, and even then, I stumble or limp to the finish line in my attempts to get them done. For our Week 14 assignments in DigiLit class, we were asked to put together a digital story entailing a metaphor about learning: how we learn, what we think about learning, how we teach, something along those lines. I thought about this one for awhile (obviously). How do I learn? What do I think of it? This isn’t something I’ve ever really thought about. What defines me as a learner? How have I made it to where I’ve made it?

Then it clicked. Without discipline, routine, and determination, I wouldn’t be the learner I am. These components sound strikingly similar to another facet of life that I take almost no part in. The irony of my metaphor is palpable, but I felt it was the best one that fit. Rather than go the Powerpoint or YouTube route with my digital story, I decided to roll with something I’m a bit more fond of: the Podcast format.

For the lazy or time-constrained among you, here’s the story transcribed into text:

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Learning is a workout routine.

Not literally, mind you. If I know anything, it’s that exercise and I get along together about as well as fire and kerosine.

No, no, learning is a mental exercise. And not in that “Lumosity.com” kind of way. Your avenue, whether it be a classroom, books, or the internet, is your gym. Learning, much like physical activity, is a process that requires strict discipline, definitive goals, and oddly enough, variety.

I have friends who are weight lifters (the protein shake and Facebook memes kind), and they have a very methodical process. Each day consists of a warm-up, a workout of a different particular group of muscles, a cool down, and the maintaining of a strict diet designed around whatever their particular goals might be. Need bulk? Protein all day, everyday: chicken breasts, eggs, steaks, etcetera. Most will give themselves one rest day a week so their bodies don’t completely rebel and shut off completely from the immense stress.

Learning, I’ve found, is almost exactly the same. Learning will not just come to you out of the blue. You need to dedicate yourself to the process. Randomly surfing through Wikipedia articles doesn’t count, either. If you want to learn about something, you must discipline yourself to do so.

When I was in middle and high school in Alliance, Nebraska, marching band was an extremely popular activity. It reached across the boundaries of “cliques,” uniting the jocks, geeks, and stoner kids alike under a common banner. As you can probably imagine, trying to teach 100 pre-teens / angry teenagers how to march in time, let alone play an instrument, was nigh impossible. For band director of 33 years Dick Rischling, however, anything less than perfect was unacceptable. Dick Rischling was a man who would go for a 2 mile run and smoke a cigarette every step of the way. The man provided us with gems such as, “I love conflict! I win them all!” and “I hate cymbals, they sound horrible.” Every morning at 7:30 AM, a half hour before classes started, all 100 of us would show up, line up on a practice field in the rain or snow, and march with Dick Rischling barking commands from a megaphone. The man taught us to stand up straight, carry ourselves with some dignity, and above all: discipline. This discipline is something I’ve carried with me throughout my schooling career. Without it, I doubt I would have reached any level of success. In order to do well, you have to want to do well. You have to want to improve to improve.

Once discipline is instilled in a learner, different learners will find that they have a different “core group” of muscles that are already strengthened: some people are naturals at maths and sciences, but awful at humanities. Along this same vein, different people have different primary methods of learning. Some are auditory learners, preferring to listen to lectures or podcasts, while others are strictly visual, favoring note-taking and reading. Others still are “hands on” learners, better at learning through a “do as I do” method of teaching. While it’s natural to want to focus on your best attribute in terms of subject material, just because exercise is routine doesn’t mean you should forego adding variety to your workout. At some point, you will plateau. You will reach a ceiling that will seem impossible to break out of, and the best way to continue is to try something different before returning to that plateau. This is why weight-lifters rotate the muscle groups being worked on each day: an immensely powerful upper body is useless without the leg day to support it.

By identifying which style of learner a person is, they can also best figure out how to approach these different subjects. With the internet, there is no shortage of resources for learners of all strengths and weaknesses. If weight lifting isn’t your strong suit, maybe cardio is more your thing. Maybe yoga or some type of martial art is your best avenue. Take whatever learning style is best for you, and apply it to all subjects. See what works and what doesn’t. Identify and improve upon your weaknesses, even if only minutely.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, is that the principle of “use it or lose it” applies just as much with learning as it does with physical exercise. Your brain, the supercomputer that it is, is going to deem skills or knowledge left unused unessential. The way to avoid this is to stay in practice. Remember to review the concepts you already have a firm grasp on, while continuing to strive for new improvements.

While you won’t be seeing me in a gym anytime soon, it is undeniable that the same dedication and persistence found in a good workout regiment can be used just as effectively when building the most important quote muscle unquote of all:

your brain!

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Accipio

Well, it’s that time of year again. I want to pull my hair out and mash my face into a wall until it resembles little more than poorly-prepared hamburger.

Yes, folks, it’s the week before finals week, or what we here at CSC have dubbed HELLWEEK.

Andreas Levers Photo CC-by Andreas Levers, cue AC/DC track here

Blood from a Stone

I’ve learned a lot of things about myself during the duration of my independent learning project this year: namely, I’m shitty at self-motivation. Terrible. Awful. Etcetera, etcetera. I had an open field to walk through, my own path to choose, I could choose literally anything that I wanted, and I still couldn’t motivate my damn self to get the job done. I’m not proud of myself, especially with Ms. Fish absolutely schooling every challenge I’ve thrown her way and making leaps and bounds in her own project.

Why was this so difficult for me? I suppose I could have chosen “wrong.” I can only wonder how it would have went differently depending on what else I had chosen. Some have hypothesized that the reasoning for my terrible time-management and procrastination issues has been that, at the end of the day, regardless of the freedom been given to me, the independent project was still a project. Still an assignment. Desperately as I’ve tried to stave off “senioritis” and continue waking up each day with gusto and a “go-get-’em” attitude, I haven’t. I have what I deem the “fuckits” really bad. Every assignment coming my way right now isn’t, to me, a learning opportunity. It’s a hoop to jump through. I’ve done this continuously for nearly 16 years. I know the in’s and out’s, and I’m fed up. Suggestions for grad schools are pouring in like water from every angle, and my answer (at least for the time being) is a resounding go to hell.

Peter P Photo CC by Peter P

Post-Haste

You’d think that with the aforementioned “senioritis” I’d be excited for the next chapter in my life. I’m not. I’m as bitter and cynical as ever. I’m about to graduate after 4 years of hard work, get a piece of paper legitimizing said hard work, and… what? Then what? I work the same minimum wage job I would have without that piece of paper? I have some fancy titles to put on a resume for an entry-level position in a job where I’ll be expected to eat shit consistently for years until I progress into something even remotely worth my time and effort? I pay back the federal government for helping me pay for an education that largely consisted of re-hashed high school courses? Some people get nervous pre-graduation. I’ve become lethargic. Dangerously so. My band isn’t playing, stories aren’t selling, and I’m in a pretty bad state of mind if you couldn’t tell from the bulk of this post.

The best, and worst parts of my independent learning project have come from my lovely teacher, Ms. Fish. I say best because I get to see the exuberance and passion she feels for the subject. I get to hear tails of shenanigans in China, dreams of going back, and the interesting change in perspective another culture provides. I say worst, because I have by no means made it worth her time. I haven’t dedicated the energy, shared the passion, or made the improvements I should have with such a capable teacher. She wouldn’t ever say so, she probably wouldn’t even think so, but I’ve let her down. Here I sit with a broken understanding of a language, due 100% to my own shortcomings. For these things, I’m sorry.

The longer I wallow in this pool of doubt and cynicism, the more I realize that these are things under my control. I can choose how to react to poor book sales and gigs un-booked. I can choose how to respond to impeding deadlines and being a first-gen graduate in my family. I’ve chosen poorly.

How do I make up for these things? How do I pull myself up out of this? This isn’t how I usually am. That much I know is certain. I suppose this is the proper time for an abstract image with some inspirational text on top.

BK

Much better.

Agonio