~ J. Rice’s >English A and W. Weather’s Grammar B ~
My cookbook pieces stem from the philosophies of Jeff Rice as “I consider the role of English hypertext A in writing is the relationship between new media and the history of writing and education” and Winston Weather’s as “The criteria by which a writer selects the style, organization and pattern he is to use in preparing any particular composition”.
I have included discussion elements of these philosophies and how they are juxtaposed. Another item is taken from an MCTE article which makes connections between savory restaurant practice and engaging classroom practices. Additionally, I have included items of traditional writing process theories and lessons utilizing the hypertext linking ideas of both Rice and Weathers. Finally I have incorporated a hypertext lesson that borrows methodology from Rice, Weathers, and Sirc, based on the use of biography boxes.
My default setting is most comfortable at Rice’s English A and Weather’s Grammar A; it is where I instinctively begin. Most of what I write, and most of my perceptions, therefore, stem from this traditional perspective of using the alphabet in sentences to convey meaning. I like words; they’ve served me well. I like using them to evoke sensation, I like dressing them up with pretty eye candy – Microsoft Office has been good. Once in a while, I’ve reached a limit, a designing block, when I have wished there was more offered that could unlock what I’ve imagined and hoped to create.
My very next impulse, following “which words shall be used”, is to think “how can this be different, radical, innovative, fun” – a leap generated from my teaching practice in designing instruction to engage students. Since instruction can be freshly designed to entice student performance, then, naturally, so can the methods of writing/communication and ideas also be revved up.
Innovative methods The idea of applying this mindset to be more innovative in methods of writing, or communication, is a natural catalyst for me to investigate just how much innovation is out there unbeknownst to me (a lot) and just how radically is it being used (very). I’ve barely begun this journey of discovery and it is immediately clear it will be a work in progress of excitement mixed with angst as I grapple with new areas of learning. How much is out there, is an amazing much; so much, I know I’m only seeing the tippity top of the iceberg! So many wild ideas to use technology to twist, flip and manipulate the abundance of genres to communicate (it now feels inadequate to refer to as writing – still associated in my mind with letters and sentences); the mix and match is endless.
Luscious and daunting Those approaches, so similar to one another, of Rice’s >English A and Weather’s Grammar B add the spice I am searching for to enhance my beloved letters in sentences. The intrigue of stylistic communications draped in the sleek vehicle of our media technology is a lure both luscious and daunting to contemplate. As a teacher of course, I am obliged to first consider all devices in the classroom from a vantage of rigor, validity, and measurable goals; however, after that is ensured, it’s a short jump to configuring objectives into creative, productive, applicable learning, and oh, yeah, learning wrapped in fun.
Food for Thought In the MCTE’s April edition is an article by Janice McGeorge, titled Food for Thought: Classroom Connections Inspired by a Famous Food Critic. In her article, Janice shares her experience of a seminar by author and food critic Ruth Reichl. I especially loved her comparison of restaurant success and classroom success because the resonance created connections of my own between her article, and two other pieces I have recently read.
Understanding audience/Stimulating curriculum “what makes a great restaurant?” Ruth said, “You must understand your audience. You must serve wonderful food in an environment that makes your guests feel special and welcome. And then, the chef will live up to your expectations.” Naturally, McGeorge made her own connection to the classroom stating, “What makes a great classroom? You must understand your students. You must read aloud wonderful literature in an environment that makes your students feel special and welcome.
Sirc & McGeorge: Strong life/Strong creation Strong personal connections are made between historical, imaginary, and fictional characters when students can identify with them as people who are much as they are. Assignments that develop context and strong characters can lead to strong, insightful student writing creations.
Rice’s & Maciuna’s Biography Boxes Biography boxes have given me an idea of using biography from book characters into writing assignments for students who can host a party to introduce a favorite character to their friends.
Resource R./Blended Writing Invitation Students will create a party invitation in honor of their favorite character in books that they’ve recently submitted book reports on for their regular English classes.
Print, Hypertext, & Image A short sweet writing assignment such as a digitally created invitation, is rich in new and old media potential. It combines print, though typed, colors, utilizing program features, graphic images, with search browsers, and a hypertext compatibility with the Internet, digital photography, and possibly audio media, involving transferring storage devices.
Purpose and Audience As McGeorge noted, a clear understanding of audience and an exciting purpose serve to effectively motivate students. As the targeted students are adolescents, who write socially and have a lot to say to each other, a party invitation should be fun for them to think about, and short enough to accomplish a goal.
Character’s name hyperlinks to book In their invitation students will be able to make the character’s name link to a description of the book the character appears in; or if there are not “characters”, the event named will link to the book, some Internet sources include e-text versions of the book – reasonably unrestricted Internet access would be needed.
Character description: audio or print? Students describe their character in a few sentences; with a vocal recording using a software download such as Audacity, opening in iTunes when a key phrase is linked prompting the program to open: requiring 2 downloaded programs, or students may directly type a few descriptive sentences. A choice taking into account a variety of factors.
Host’s photo upload Finally an author’s snapshot will be taken to save on a media card and copy onto student’s invitations. When printed, their photo will be displayed on their work; which will create ownership and creative pride.
Materials, permissions, access Technological new media requires a fair amount of frontloading; testing software programs, considering the assistance students will need to accessing it – IF software downloads are permitted on school computers – which swings from “the more the better” to “absolutely not”, and equipment must be reserved – probably for twice as long as you think you need it.
My heroine Jane has what it takes Jane Eyre, requires an old-fashioned appreciation, which I identify with in reading print media. Like Jane, who adapts to situations, confronts challenges head-on, stays true to her course, and in the end savors satisfying achievement – I slowly but surely adapt to new technology, welcome challenge to incorporate new media, am in it for the long haul, and enjoy the achievement that rewards an open mind and dedication.
Even better the second day (Practice) As long as I remain eager to discover new innovations, and the more I use the new options available, the closer I will move to a new level of default setting. I want to continue to explore and practice new technologies and media at the pace that works best for me; slowly and repetitively, re-purposed, and with continued use.
Leftovers meets recycling Another great thing about combining new forms of media technology with writing is the flexibility to patchwork elements from one curriculum design to another. An activity that works well for an assessment may work just as well as practice in another assignment, or two elements of instruction, review or assessment can be combined.
Concluding credits I’ve used the work of Jeff Rice, Winston Weathers, Janice McGeorge, Geoffrey Sirc and Halavais
Entry: 1. Rice and Weathers
Weathers, Grammars of Style; Rice, English A, <A>; and Rice reference (61, 62), Tofts D., Kinnane R., and Haig A., “I Owe the Discovery of This Image to the Convergence of a Student and a Photocopier.” Southern Review 27, (1994), p. 252-60.
Rice reference – “Like Landow and Bolter, Tofts, Kinnane, and Haig explore hypertext as educational. Interactive technologies, promise a high degree of intervention and involvement in knowledge production” (Rice 61/Toft, Kinnane, Haig, “I Owe the discovery of this image to the convergence of a student and a photocopier”, 25).
Weathers – “By “grammar of style” I mean the “set of conventions governing the construction of a whole composition; the criteria by which a writer selects the stylistic materials, method of organization and development, compositional pattern and structure he is to use in preparing any particular composition. This “grammar” defines and establishes the boundaries in which a composition must take place and defines the communication goals to which a composition is committed” (133, 134).
Rice – “My interest in exploring <A> as a keyword is in making it travel in all directions at once. As if this chapter is itself a networked, social space, an initial connection I want to make as I consider the role of <A> in writing is the relationship between new media (represented by the markup) and the history of writing and education” (53).
Theory components Rice’s English <A> – “The network I imagine creating is flexible, shifting, a never stable entity, <A> causes these entities to form and dislocate, becoming larger and smaller bodies as they do so…the moment one pedagogical space engages with another, both spaces link and then change on the basis of what and how they assemble. The terms they use socialize, the ideas they use socialize, the people they use socialize, and an assemblage occurs. To do an assemblage for education, I engage with the ideas presented here as well as the logics of several social software programs without calling for actual usage of these programs. And as I engage with each, I make a larger pedagogical network. My software choices, overall, are among the most basic applications available, yet each can contribute new meanings for <A>” (62).
Consider Rice’s alternate space of English <A>’s description of what-it-is-not network and the individual: “The networks are not spaces where one may study multiple subjects, interlink multiple subjects, or study in nonlinear fashion, because to do that work would reinforce the individuality of English A that most hypertext theorists want to move away from” (62). Would networking as it is described above necessarily defeat the purpose and essence of networking? Do you see a value place remaining for the individuality context of English A possible within English <A>?
Weather’s Grammar B – “An alternate grammar, Grammar B, with characteristics of variegation, synchronicity, discontinuity, ambiguity and the like. It is…a mature grammar used by competent writers and offering students a set of options that, added to the traditional grammar of style, will give them a much more flexible voice, a much greater communication capacity, a much greater opportunity to put into effective language all the things they have to say” (136/137).
Weather approaches communication in his examination of grammars of style by incorporating the social element while supporting the individual in the writing process. Do you see Weather’s Grammar B with “characteristics of variegation, synchronicity, discontinuity, and ambiguity” (136), as a possible forerunner of Rice’s English <A>? With what contrasts?
This definition of Weathers does not seem out-dated to me, though Jeff Rice, viewing English curriculum from the historical perspective of the late 1800s to the mid- 1900s, would possibly consider it so. He presents English curriculum (as if it has remained unchanged) as an “educational protocol, of long-term ideological consequences. Valuing writing as a private, individual experience ensures emphasis in correctness, a necessary skill within a variety of communicative practices, but also deemphasizes the need for relationships. In the English A model, writers and writing content are considered to be independent bodies” (58). Nonetheless, both Weathers and Rice clearly value foundational English usage.
Just for fun, could Weather’s use of “Crot” be considered a metaphoric precursor of hypertext? (Crot: bit or fragment; compares to the “stanza” in poetry; “ranging in length from one sentence to twenty or thirty sentences, an autonomous unit, absent of transition relating it to preceding or subsequent crots” p 136).
Rice believes traditional curriculum to lack relational context; which he addresses by recommending a framework of the English <A> as networked hypertext using tagging; a notion I recognize, albeit it tenuously, in Weather’s earlier proposed framework of Grammar B, as crots. Significant distinctions between the frameworks are obvious as technological advancements between 1976 and Rice’s contemporary position make those inevitable. However, both innovations include increased social context and multi-functionality.
How do you see English <A> implemented in the classroom to “evoke collagist writing as interesting networks of themes that open up a conceptual map” (Rice 61/T.K.H. 258) in a way that complements English A’s “values of writing as a private, individual experience ensuring emphasis in correctness, a necessary skill within a variety of communicative practices” (Rice 58)? Alternatively, do you see an incompatibility? Are social and individual writing solely exclusive? Do you view the applications of one requiring the elimination, or under-emphasis, of the other?
Rice proposes a network pedagogical framework of <A>, characterizing the elements he creates as:
“…flexible, shifting, never stable entity (or even entities), <A> causes these entities to
form and dislocate, becoming larger and smaller bodies as they do so. Indeed, to follow
Latour’s concept of the network, the moment one pedagogical space engages with
another (which, in essence, would be every moment), both spaces link and then change on
the basis of what and how they assemble. The terms they use socialize, the ideas they use
socialize, the people they use socialize, and an assemblage occurs. To do an assemblage
for education, I engage with the ideas presented here as well as the logics of several social
software programs without calling for actual usage of these programs. And as I engage
with each, I make a larger pedagogical network. My software choices, overall, are among
the most basic applications available, yet each can contribute new meanings for <A>. Each
offers a possibility for <A> that English A could not provide” (62).
I see the hybrids of English <A> and Grammar B implemented in the classroom to complement those elements of English A and Styles of Grammar, “values of writing as a private, individual experience ensuring emphasis in correctness, a necessary skill within a variety of communicative practices” (Rice 58).
What suggestions would you recommend for assessing this hybrid model formatively? Summatively?
Entry: 2. Exciting Menu and Exciting Curriculum
An exciting item recently caught my attention that will adapt nicely into my cookbook collage as an item tying instructional perspectives of a veteran teacher and two textbook selections. Taken from the MCTE’s April edition of the e-met journal is an article by Janice McGeorge, MCTE Elementary Chair, titled Food for Thought: Classroom Connections Inspired by a Famous Food Critic. In her article, Janice shares her experience attending a seminar by author and food critic Ruth Reichl.
McGeorge writes of her unexpected discovery connecting the restaurant experience to the classroom experience. I especially loved her comparison of restaurant success and classroom success because the resonance created connections of my own between her article, and two other pieces I have recently read. McGeorge concludes in her article an inspiring reflection of Ruth Reichl’s response to the question, “what makes a great restaurant?” Ruth said, “You must understand your audience. You must serve wonderful food in an environment that makes your guests feel special and welcome. And then, the chef will live up to your expectations.” Naturally, McGeorge made her own connection to the classroom stating, “So then, what makes a great classroom? You must understand your students. You must read aloud wonderful literature in an environment that makes your students feel special and welcome. You must provide ample time for writing while guiding young writers with the literature you intentionally choose to share. You must expect your students to learn and do well. And then they will live up to your expectations”.
Setting high expectations, not only in rigorous curriculum and instruction, but also in the expectation of students’ ability to achieve high standards, is an essential component in a high-performance classroom. An aspect of high expectations I had not considered before, was from the perspective of student ability tracking and the potential influences on student achievement. After reading McGeorge’s restaurant piece reminding us to “Expect your students to learn and do well. And then they will live up to your expectations” I was pleased to subsequently read of setting high expectations in the Handbook of Adolescent Literacy Research text. Of particular interest, was the chapter on Tracking and Ability Grouping, where a quote appeared on page 231, from Donelan, R. W., Neal, G.A., & Jones, D.L. (1994), from The promise of Brown and the reality of academic grouping: The tracks of my tears, Journal of Negro Education. The reference to “Brown”, as in “Brown v. the Board of Education”, the landmark case that in 1954 determined segregated public schools were not, and could not be made, equal, and that segregated public schools violated black students’ constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment, triggered my special education interest. Further, the text went on to speak of student achievement and stimulating curriculum and instruction in much the same way as McGeorge had spoken. Notably so when Donelan is quoted as “Teachers must be prepared to organize and facilitate stimulating experiences for all students. They must see all students as capable and expect their active involvement” (HALR, 1994).
Another recognition fell into place for me from McGeorge’s piece, particularly when she spoke of “providing ample time for writing while guiding young writers with the literature you intentionally choose to share” as I read about a pedagogy practice in the text Writing New Media. In the chapter by Geoffrey Sirc, Box-Logic, in which he writes, “True connection with one’s composition is when the work has a strong life in the writer, when it’s part of an on-going project, which means it continues growing, appearing in variant versions. Thus, no draft is ever finished, especially in the arbitrary scope of an academic semester. The raw, then, not the cooked. A loose, unthematized collection; (reminds me of a cookbook genre) the parts not necessarily inflecting each other as in a traditional essay”. I think it is fun to visualize the stimulating, appetizing, environment that makes guests feel special and welcome as suggested by McGeorge, as the aesthetic approach to writing practices suggested by Sirc, that encourages students to inject their “hearts and souls” into their creations. Sirc elaborates on his perspective by suggesting, “A pedagogy of the curio cabinet, an aesthetic of the objet trouve. Celebrating the basic image, seeing perception as a performative gesture”; much like cooking I notice, as cooking television channels create their following, and in certain restaurants chefs’ garner acclaim and perform their culinary skills in live performances to the dinner guests.
As to pedagogy and curriculum, Sirc further encourages “The new classroom activities to refine these elements let students use what they really care about and love (or hate) as the new subject matter in their work. Homepage as homage; personal immersion in the stuff of one’s other tradition as a writer’s material composition”. A perfect application example is presented by Jeff Rice as an assignment “Asking students to pick the date of their choice and research what was happening then in areas such as history, politics, literature, film, comics, music, art, business, or science, (and I could suggest here ‘food culture’) building a hypertext catalogue of the results (Rice, then, has unwittingly re-invented Maciunas’s famous ‘Biography Boxes’) – Sirc’s second set of parenthesis.
I have chosen this network of perspectives that I feel fit uniquely into my cookbook, as it is saturated with the metaphoric interjects I enjoy, the insightful and effective pedagogical practices I admire, and offers influences from scholars whose perspectives I’ve chosen to highlight, noted in the Cookbook Introductory, as Rice’s English A, English <A and Weathers’ Grammar A, Grammar B.
Food for Thought, Janice McGeorge http://api.ning.com/files/YCs0Q9hog629zlGqH33q2Bf8086yzux6HL2vcOwmh5aFNXaB7GBphJhpzySh9QZxgcKqs0Y2sTx8xlMEZmNiunsrtOuipWb/april12.pdf
Entry: 3. Jeff Rice’s, Networks and New Media, 2006
Written only six years earlier, this article opens with the assertion “college English should be new media” in order to situate areas of writing within the media network, “whose role in shaping and sharing information continues to increase within the media world we inhabit” (127). By the very fact that six years later this observation of media networks (prevalence) is taken for granted, supports the idea that media writing and networking affects increases in shaping and sharing of information but also points to the influences in concepts of speed and time; rendering what has taken place as late as yesterday, to be nearly inconsequential, in specific contexts, by tomorrow – an effect itself worthy of study. While what used to be standards of “contemporary” time, written in the last decade, in standards of present time, what was written a decade ago, not only may have already borne fruit, but may have passed into common assumption a decade later.
After six short years, Jeff Rice’s and Jay David Bolter’s assertions and observations of “Our culture’s practical engagement with digital forms as the World Wide Web, may compel us to rethink the relationship of media theory and practice in the humanities” (127) has been borne out by efforts of teachers at all grade levels to incorporate technology writing media into classroom curriculum for student production as embodied within the nationally-developed Common Core State Standards.
What Jeff Rice describes as the “network spaces, literal and figurative, of connectivity, ideological as well as technological spaces generated by various forms of new media that allow information, people, places, and other items to establish a variety of relationships that previous spaces or ideologies of space did not allow “(128) and “the space of the page and singleness of an author, keeps bodies of information, and thus bodies, separate” (130). I would have to live in a cave to be unaware of or unconnected to, the term being “off the grid”, this networked space Mr. Rice refers. While I don’t think page-writing has gasped its last breath, I clearly see the over-lay of digital writing and, as Mr. Rice explains, the saturation of digital writing in all areas of English studies; if networked connections of digital writing have not yet dominated, without explicit efforts to contain, it will become the mainstream in education as it has socially and economically.
One concern of mine regarding a social mainstream entirely based on digital networks is the isolation of the individual from institutional beings; of non-fraudulent identity loss through lack of face-to-face interactions that have been transformed into action-taking only available online; those isolated interactions of politics, economics, socializing, that may exacerbate ripe conditions for the socio-path – but that concern may be a little too sci-fi.
The “growth that generates complexity, reflexivity, contradiction, ambivalence, redundancy, affect, and other features in emerging ways” (132) has taken on King Kong proportions when the model of connections and linkages of complex nodes shifting in flux is being continuously reconfigured by the entities that develop and host network products with continual system expansions. Did Jeff Rice see the connected network going mobile? When it did go mobile, did we know it would not take long to go viral? With the innovated leap of systems offering “freedom to extend and maintain their brand and products on all of their mobile assets, while easily integrating with their existing data and website systems” Sechrist, 2012 your work can proceed no matter where you are, even while on vacation. Does anyone else see this as not so great?
Sechrist, S. (2012), mobiManage v.2.) Offers Single System Sign-On to Boost Mobile CMS.
Entry: 4. Print text, in newly renovated, media
Diction in informational and persuasive text Lesson
Context: advertising, Audience: public school, Skill Areas: reading, writing, language: parts of speech.
Objective: students will discern informational and persuasive text, identify adjectives and adverbs, and be able to create self-advertising cards using informational and persuasive language to demonstrate descriptive word choices and usage of adjectives and adverbs.
Method: students will examine advertising cards differentiating among informational and persuasive language and graphics, identify purpose of adjectives and adverbs within advertising context, explore and practice word choice effectiveness, and apply knowledge and skills to created product for evaluation refinement and revision. Final products to be displayed, or mailed, for public readers.
Materials: Mail order advertising cards, technique questions to check understanding, pc, projector, Internet links, power point to pace and reinforce lesson, 2 sets blank index cards per student, magazines, calendars, scissors, glue-sticks, color pencils, hardcopy lesson/assessment criteria.
Prior Knowledge: Genre: Informational and Persuasive. Text: Advertising. Word Choice: descriptive language – Adjectives, Adverbs.
Plan: Introduce lesson, purpose, objectives and assessment; open Powerpoint presentation. Slide 1: Reinforcement: Descriptive word choice; defining parts of speech & grammar usage: adjectives, adverbs
Build Background: Advertising characteristics: Succinct language – opposite of expanding, extending, developed.
Precise language –attention-getting, powerful, persuasive, word with the most exact meaning – opposite of synonyms of similar meaning, weak, common, over-used words; include dynamic, eye-catching colorful graphics. Slides 2 – 3: Open preselected web links that exemplify objectives – elaborate on examples of media advertising.
Check for Understanding: Cold Call & Extend It techniques: descriptive, informational, persuasive, precise.
EvaluateText: Pass out advertising cards to all students to critically read and evaluate effectiveness of layout; description, information, persuasion, precision, adjectives, adverbs, color, placement, size, style, interest…
Collaboration Practice: Elicit student’s indications of adjectives/adverbs from cards and post their input to blank slide 4: (Recognition of descriptive/persuasive language of adjectives and adverbs. Build group culture.)
Multiple text viewing: Direct students to rotate cards – farthest left column to pass cards to front and collect. Direct students in each row to pass card to their left. Give collected cards to front of farthest right column to pass to back. (Rotate cards as time permits; keep cards accessible as samples; Accommodated Instruction)
Repeat: rotation/collaboration, posting students recognized descriptive/persuasive adjectives and adverbs.
Check for Understanding: Select Sampling & Boomerang techniques (documented evidence; Differentiated Inst)
Independent Practice: Direct students to create self-advertisements containing informational and descriptive text using precise language of adjectives and adverbs. Pass out blank cards, magazines, calendars, glue sticks, scissors, color pencils, and hardcopies of lesson and assessment criteria – display objective criteria, slide 5. Collect completed cards and pass out Lesson Assessment slips.
Self-Advertisement Assessment: check cards for met objective criteria, non-graded: provide guiding commentary for revision (subject matter too sensitive for peer feedback). Day two pass out blank cards for final display and mailing (addressed/posted envelopes) of self-advertisements, graded to criteria (separately).
Lesson Assessment: Ask students to evaluate lesson effectiveness using statement rating scale (hard copy). Compare and analyze for patterns of strengths and weaknesses, adjust lesson/assessment as indicated. Use documented evidence (check for understanding/select sampling) to update progress notes.
Remediation: Organize cards & students according to missed criteria and re-teach in weak areas; document any specific struggles and note emergent patterns as students recreate final drafts independently.
Enrichment: Pass out blank cards for students to advertise elements outside of themselves; how they spend their time, what they enjoy, what would interest them further…using precise and specific descriptive language.
Applicable ELA strands, standards and benchmarks:
Strand 1: Writing, Speaking, and Visual Expression 1.1 Understand and practice writing as a recursive process. Benchmarks 1.1.3, 1.1.5, 1.1.7, 1.1.8. 1.3 Communicate in speech, writing, and multimedia using content, form, voice, and style appropriate to the audience and purpose (e.g., to reflect, persuade, inform, analyze, entertain, inspire). Benchmark 1.3.5.
Strand 2: Reading, Listening, and Viewing 2.3 Develop as a reader, listener, and viewer for personal, social, and political purposes, through independent and collaborative reading. Benchmark 2.3.8.
Strand 3: Literature and Culture 3.4 Examine mass media, film, series fiction, and other texts from popular culture. Benchmark 3.4.1.
Strand 4: Language 4.1 Understand and use the English language effectively in a variety of contexts and settings. Benchmark 4.1.4.
Entry: 5. Because Digital Writing Matters
Computer labs I guess, I took for granted; I knew some thought went into the structure of a computer lab, but not really any deeper thought than allowing full visual of all monitor screens to the staff supervising students. In the classic set-up (rows ending perpendicular to a wall) it was more difficult to supervise students by the wall because they always closed out the window of inappropriate sites leaving the accountability up to the firewall and the call from I.T. department to report the inappropriate usage. Figure 3.2 (69) with tables lining the walls and all screens facing the interior of the room makes much better sense both for supervising and for best spatial design for teacher assistance.
It seems like acceptable use policies were rewritten every semester to try and plug whatever loophole had been breached. I like the all-year parental consent; I signed one of these myself the last couple of years, and while I noticed it was innovative, the convenience and logic didn’t fully sink in, it was just one of those passing “That’s a good idea” thoughts. A blanket permission is sensible, given that students are writing and producing so much more content digitally and publicly. I agree some specifically outlined lessons are needed surrounding identity, privacy, credibility, authorship, and participation – this may tie in with professional developments. It is one thing to learn and apply the technology and digital tools, but it is still another to understand and explain the ethical and academic legal issues, even if these concepts are often a fine line.
What I liked best about these two chapters, is the inclusion of “places to go and things to use” along with the broad concepts and detailed examples of situations, such as Youth Voices, and the Teachers Teaching Teachers podcasts facilitating collaborative planning and curriculum. I can identify with much of the findings noted in technology professional developments. When we first received smartboards, the training was a couple of hours held once, we were advised we could best learn how to use it through “using it” – an excellent way to learn something, however, as teachers, time to fool with stuff is not time we have available, especially for something large in scope. Like many new gadgets & systems, the programs that “came with”, were not all that useful, the better programs were “sold separately”. Personally what was most disappointing, was that the materials and lessons I created in Word, were not available for the functions of the program (ie: cloze activities, other ELA functions) – the functions work only with Internet/online texts. So, the technology was great for sharing Internet/online texts & sites with students and was an excellent, but limited, supplement.
As the authors (116) point out though (NSDC, 2001) nothing replaces sustained and developed teaching for effective learning. As a student I have had a few technology courses, and I’ve learned a few things; and I’ve learned them for a single, or twice-performed practice; then I don’t have the time to replicate my learning, and after a few months, I have a sketchy recall of what I may or may not have authentically learned of a technology/webtool.
From a special education technology class, I know my computer is capable of far more than I knew of, and of which I remain fairly ignorant. From a grad technology course requirement, I know there are some free sites that allow me to create academic activities for students (webquests), but I should know more. I know, from taking online courses in general, there are things such as blogs (I hadn’t utilized until now), and wikis (still do not know how to administer/proctor), and web pages (still don’t know where or how to create), and podcasts and audio files which I also wish I knew how to do.
Public schools have been using Fusion pages, accessible through the school websites, where teachers post lessons (though I do not know where, or how, these are created). I don’t know how these differ from a webpage (maybe because they are pages on a shared website), but this is my Keyword for investigation, so I expect I shall soon find out these details of Fusion pages.
It alarms me I am in the dark to some of the basics of computering; like how to “back up” everything on a storage device before taking a pc in for cleaning (wiping it out to its factory default and it comes back with nothing) – certainly an essential task to know how to perform! Simple things like google docs – still a mystery. I don’t need a multitude of complex things yet, maybe a few really really good ones, and the essential basics necessary to a constant user, as constant users teachers will all be. Isn’t the more you access and download the greater the quantity of debris collected and the frequency the necessary clean up? What a pain.
The individual state’s Writing Project stories woven through out were intriguing, as were the digital supportive communities such as Edublogs, Nings (??), and E-Anthology. Good too was the digital storytelling (still a mystery to me – but now I know where to look) of places like Nicenet, Tapped In, or del.icio.us. also writing projects, like the one in Red Cedar, WRITE, and Write for Your Life Project. As often as Selfe is cited, it looks like he has a lot to say and his books would be great resources leading to great online resources.
Entry: 6. Digital writing lesson as discussed in Introductory Flyleaf – the sample, the lesson link
I would like to invite you to meet my newest friend,
(read her story by clicking on her name)
I am hosting a party in her honor,
celebrating her engagement to Rochester,
being held at the Olive Garden,
3500 O’Neill Dr.
on April 27, 2012,
at 2:30 p.m.
Jane is my good friend because she’s loyal, thoughtful, sensible,
kind, and independent; she’s my heroine because she overcomes
hardship and obstacles with perseverance, honesty and humility;
there’s more to hear of her love story by Charlotte Bronte at
I am excited to see you all on the 27th! Love always, your friend, Robin
View complete lesson plans and Character Bio Invitation in ORIGINAL formatting and images at:
Parkside ELA lesson plan
Entry: 7. Halavais in plain-speak, a refreshing dessert to an ending
Well, finally something that resonates with me and is stated in plain language! Hello again the joy of reading. How discursively “Terminator” though – Halavais speaks of machines in the same “human-entity” way the famous flick speaks of machines. Mark Poster’s book, Information Please, I presume is a play on the query made by telephone operators back in the day of the party-line, when phone lines were shared with neighbors and your party’s number could be given and connection established through the Operator – when the phone book wasn’t handily available, but also wasn’t used top prop a wobbly table leg. I expect such a historical reference was made to highlight the gulf traversed between then and now, when basic (and not so basic) information about your neighbors, and strangers, is provided by the “machine” (ok, search engine, but I like “machine” – it’s so ambivalently suspenseful).
Google not only delivers the information sought but presumptuously offers a smorgasbord of other related information, which can be innocuous enough; maybe in addition to a phone number to a hotel, I may indeed like to read 48 reviews, know what events are happening during my visit, and see some pics approximating what I can expect of the premises. On the other hand, with full credit given to free will, should information be provided that includes helpful tips on how to make a bomb? Yes, the accountability goes to the seeker; but still, wasn’t life a little safer before just anyone could cook up explosives and super-drugs? Where are the good old days when the murder weapon was a baseball bat or a 38 c. single-shot Saturday Night Special, and only one person at a time could be killed and there were near even odds the perpetrator could be taken out? Shouldn’t the intensive labor of some disciplines be left to those with the personal drive to pursue knowledge the old-fashioned hard way through government funding and the obsessions of the basement lunatic?
I can’t disagree at all with Halavais’s (plainly stated) bias that search engine users (I agree that would be everyone) should be informed of “how they work and what they mean to society” (3).” Once they know this, they will recognize the need to take collective action and participate in the management of these technologies” (3), recognized by Selber as Social Actions of a rhetorically literate student (2004), and endorsed by the promoter of “The more you know…(I can’t remember the rest of the concept-slogan)”, essentially “the better off you’ll be”. Though this seems obvious now, however, only a short year ago, my own rhetorical literacy of social action consisted of a healthy distrust based on gut instinct. How reassuring to learn there is a discourse of informed distrust cloaked in the obvious “Knowledge is power” and “the only thing to fear is fear itself” (Patton? Freud? Roosevelt? Anyone know?); Yes, I know I could fuckinggoogleit, but I’d rather be a part of a connected digital community of writers (Gimmeabreak!).
“The appropriate search engine does not promote authoritarian dominion over knowledge, but invites communal finding and search sociability” (3). In contrast, I doubt the search engine is usually held in the regard of such an invitation. I would guess rather, it is more likely to be held in the former esteem of authoritarian dominion, and viewed as the absolute power of given information; especially by those who have literal concrete thinking issues and more readily presume accuracy from a machine entity than from a fallible human. We could be headed in a Vulcan worldview – Lord, I hope not – but from a perspective of younger generations this could be so, as reliance on human authority becomes perceived as less research-based and therefore less valid; in my opinion a dangerous theory smothering nearly all contexts.
S. Selber, (2004). Multiliteracies for a Digital Age, p. 147