Some lists for reflection
One from JManassa: What Have I Done (sounds ominous): list of blogs viewed, articles read, sites visited, how to’s learned, all with a disclaimer that more’s coming.
One from wadesandstrom: What Wade’s done so far: urls, Daybook posts, and a set of notes. These are all included in the post rather than linked to. That’s aggregating, remixing: drawing all the stuff together in one place to see what he has. Wade also makes some comments on his comments, and uses those to point up what problems, what he’s learned, and what he’s achieved in doing it. The comment on creating a prezi shows this best. Also catches up with that prezi in a belated project: Digital Media and Our World.
[Wade’s prezi is worth a study. He uses the action on the screen to specify the relationship between each statement: two opposing views are on opposite ends of a swing; statements that are conceptually near each other are also spatially near each other; the size of the font and length of the sentence define emphasis and hierarchical relationships. There’s an interesting deictic move, where one statement – “This is known as cultural determinism” – points back to the previous statement by way of movement. “This” points to the previous view rather than a noun in the previous statement. Mostly white text on black ground, using blue text to define sections.]
treygeorge gathers stuff together in a way similar to Wade: a link to the source, and a comment on each: what he did, what happened, value or significance of that doing. At the end of the post (rather than standing on its own), he has a link to a MindMeister map: week1-week6. Map nodes link to activities. The map shows how the list can be repurposed – in this case, reorganized and made ready for more annotation. That is, the map gives far more affordance to annotating, organizing, and taking further notes and observations than Trey’s first set of notes. It can also become the framework laterreflections: branches added, cross-links added, icons, images …
jadeowl posted Week 6: Summary: a chronology of dated events (cf the blog post order of reverse chronology). As others do, she aggregates links to what she’s done, now collected under date and framed with an italicized title and a few observations on the activity. Those observations move between technical moves and content notes.
Some really interesting starts- the major trope being repurposing: students are aggregating and annotating their work of 6 weeks as a preparation for repurposing. Bang on the money for Stephen Downes and How This Course Works. More reflections coming, I assume.
Reflection appears easy: Just write what you think, off the top of the head, fast and furious, no revision because that wouldn’t be authentic. That’s the start of reflection, but you miss a lot if you stop at that. Better to start with just a list. That way, you don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ve reflected.
I want to say “Reflection is hard,” but it’s not really that hard. It’s first off a stock-taking, which is easy enough. Get your ducks in a row, your shit together, your poo in a pile … Make a list. The first move of ordering or collecting or gathering represents what’s significant and what’s less so; it specifies those artifacts that are going to be part of the new artifact; it represents what that stuff is going to be this time; and it represents the relations between the stuff. The problem is that people often stop with the pile-making. “There’s my list. Now you sort it out.”
I could sort it out. So could the list-maker. But there’s so little to work with at this point that the working out is boring and trivial. We both need another move.
To reflect is to go one step further make semiotic sense of those now-collected artifacts. It’s one of those moments when we freeze the ongoing internal semiosis by putting it into external form. That’s the harder part. Hard for the rhetor. Not so hard as to be undoable. It just requires a little more effort than a mind-dump. But it’s the interpretation of the artifacts, the re-presentation, that really opens to the reflection.
But the situation is this: The rhetor is only so adept with with the affordances of the artifacts. To the rhetor, that he represented what he learned as a list of statements, ordered not by time of occurrence but by order of recall, may not have any semiotic potency. To the rhetor, the ordering of the list might be insignificant, inert. To the rhetor, what might be significant is compiling the list itself: the task represented, not the representation.
To the interpreter of the reflection, the semiosis might proceed very differently. Like this:
Here’s Kress working with a child’s drawing as he details how Georgia uses the affordances of drawing to represent her place in the family:
In Figure 3a Georgia stands on the right hand side of her mother; in Figure 3b she stands between her parents. I will not elaborate any more than I did in relation to the linguistic examples. In Figure 3b Georgia is the centre both of the representation and of the family (she
Fig. 3. (a and b) Georgia’s family.14 G. Kress / Computers and Composition 22 (2005) 5–22
was then the only child), framed by her parents; in Figure 3a she is on the outside of the group, though next to one parent—nearer to her mother and consequently more distant from the other. The relations between the three participants in the two images are structured and represented as being profoundly different. The means for making these meanings are the resources of spatial and simultaneous representation. Georgia has used other affordances of the spatial mode: size for instance. In reality, she was, at that time, taller than she has represented herself here; hence, her size is the representation and/or sign of an affective meaning: affectively she sees her parents as so much bigger. She has also used placement in the framed space, so that her father is, so to speak, lifted off the ground by several inches; in reality he was much shorter than his wife, but Georgia’s sign endows him with the same height, though remaining accurate about his actual size. Colour is also affectively used: Her mother is drawn as much brighter, much more colourful than her father, more even than she has drawn herself.
When she creates her reflection, the rhetor is in the position of Georgia: Using semiotically active resources to make sense of her recent activities. Not all the potential semiotic resources will be active for the rhetor. This isn’t a matter of awareness, or partial awareness, or deficit. Assume that the rhetor is using the affordances she’s aware of and adept at to create the best possible representation at the moment, and the representation will hold. It will tell us what we want to know: How does this rhetor represent her knowledge at this moment? It’s in this way we can use reflection as a legitimate means of evaluation.
The interpreter has other knowledge of affordances and can use elements that the rhetor may not be familiar with or aware of to create an interpretation of the reflection. The original rhetor will have her interpretation of the reflection, too, which she will create as she knows how. But the interpreter knows, too, according to her knowledge, and we would expect the interpreter to be able to bring more semiotic resources to bear on the artifact. If not more, than other.
3. Then, using your list as a guide, create an artifact that lets you reflect on what you’ve done in the course so far and to consider where you are going next. This can be a mind map or concept map, a time line, a flow chart, a set of linked pages on your wiki, a PPT deck, a comic, a prezi, an online scrapbook … you know the range by now. (But because knowledge is interlinked, a concept map of what you have learned in this class so far might be a good artifact to work with on this one.)
If you’d rather, you can use a written reflective essay (a set of concept maps), extensive poem, video, or audio. Whichever lets you reflect and articulate what you’ve done, what you’ve learned, and where you plan on going next.
The activity was phrased to allow each student to choose the media and mode she each thought would best represent what she knows and has done. I’m assuming that some students will be most comfortable with and feel most adept at the semiotic affordances of the word-processed university essay. I’m hoping that others might try new media, which, being new to them, could make them more aware of affordances as affordances, might even open alternative representations. Making the choice of media is part of the representation of knowledge: It signals which media and mode the student now feels is most apt to the characteristics of what she wants to represent. That was my thinking, anyway.
Like this, again from Kress:
The new media make it possible to use the mode that seems most apt for the purposes of representation and communication: If I need to represent something best done as image I can now do so, similarly with writing. Aptness of mode to the characteristics of that represented is much more a feature now—it is a facility of the new media. Aptness of mode and what is represented is not the only issue: Equally significant now is the aptness of fit between mode and audience. I can now choose the mode according to what I know or might imagine is the preferred mode of the audience I have in mind.
So, what happened? Dunno yet. I’ll save that for t0morrow.
Cited here: Kress, G. (2005). Gains and losses: New forms of texts, knowledge, and learning. Computers and Composition, 22(1), 5-22. doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2004.12.004
See also: Bezemer, & Kress. (2008). Writing in multimodal texts: A social semiotic account of designs for learning. Written Communication, 25, 166. doi:10.1177/0741088307313177
Lots happening this week in Weblogs and Wikis. Wikis seem to have lit a fire on activities. A number of posts, comments, and repurposings have made it to the class: a second prezi, a video on YouTube, a project plan. I’ve added two more delicious streams, here and here.
Over on the wiki itself, not so much is going on yet. Duncan started a StudentPagesHub, and Mel started a GlossaryNotes page. But that’s about all according to RecentChanges. I’ve added wikinames to the main page. There should be a lot more by Monday evening (even with a Superbowl imminent)
And there’s bound to be a lot of backchannel twittering. The #superbowl tag will be jammed up with promotions of all kinds, many just riding on the tag, but tweeters are bound to come up with their own hash tags to stay in front of the marketing crowd and filter out the cruft. That might be interesting to follow and report on this week. #en 3177 Hint hint.
For week 5, we’ll continue with wikis, but also look towards reflection. I’ll wait to see what is posted for Week 4 on Monday evening; and we can start to work with those materials on class on Tuesday. Week 4 gave us a lot to do, and we can use this coming week to gather some thoughts – that’s the reflection part.
post annotations of the required readings to your bookmarking site or weblog
A number of more extensive activities are going on this week as of Sunday am.
Jade sets up an extended discussion / possible project / repurposing concerning Publish – Then Filter and the tension between paper print and digital web publishing:
So, is this an issue of scholastic pride or preference, keeping bloggers from the titles that are preserved for a literary culture? Or is it an issue of our old definitions lagging behind the speed of our new media?
That’s a burgeoning discussion on Jade’s weblog- which, if the discussion takes hold (hint hint people), will make a repurposing.
Jade also has an interesting reflection on how repurposing works: repurposing isn’t a matter of imitating but “recreating from what I’ve seen.” Repurposing draws on what you’ve seen, read, heard to create something else. A Wordle version of a reading or a poem, for instance.
Ditto on Posted Note, where MLChambers considers whether blogging is publishing from a perspective of “entering the real world; searching for a job and living in my parents’ basement.” Links to overviews of the debates set up the discussion. Anyone going to take it? (Behind the scenes, by the way, you can see Mike’s reading on Diigo.)
JManassa also has a brief post concerning the move to ebooks, like MLChambers’s posting, motivated by an imminent move to the marketplace. Using your blog to track and consider possible projects for this course is an example of aggregating – and a smart move.
it is a question I ponder, especially since I would ultimately like to end up in the publishing industry someday. Although it is not directly related to this class, it is something I would like to look into a little bit alongside of how blogging is changing/overtaking the field of journalism.
(A side note: getting started: make a list of possible projects, directions, ideas to pursue. Then, for each, do a preliminary search on google for materials, add those as annotations to each project, and to your bookmarks. Call it a day.)
Muse of Destiny draws together Plato, Rettberg, her American Lit professor, and Robert Frost – and uses a found YouTube audio track of a reading of Frost and an embedded Wordle representation to illustrate (I would say, dramatize) the movement of understanding of a poem. She connects the way of coming to understand a poem in a classroom with coming to understand in blog culture.
In class today, my Am Lit professor explained in detail what the possible meaning behind Frost’s poem might be. She doesn’t know for sure what the author was saying, as she is not the author. In a way, it was like my professor was “commenting” on the poem, as though it were a blog post.
My professor’s comments on the poem led me to make my own conclusions about it. Therefore, I now have something I can say about the poem, other than it rhymes. This is analogous to blog culture – the author writes a post, then readers comment on it, giving other readers insight to the post, and giving them the opportunity to make their own conclusions about it – then the cycle repeats.
And now that I am able to make my own interpretation of Frost’s poem, I am impressed to find that it speaks volumes to me.
Muse’s post has four representations of the poem in it – maybe five. That’s a result her repurposing. I’m not going to list them.
It simply doesn’t occur to me that I could use my blog for my notes on the reading (they are currently 6 pages in a spiral bound notebook). Or that I should add links to the few interesting things I take the time to find on the internet (who wants to know about my lesson plans for my argument class). Twitter as a means of communication!! Such a revolutionary idea.
“(who wants to know about my lesson plans for my argument class)”? I do. So will you. And once they are out there, we can link to them.
And Klealos aggregates a couple of videos here. Aggregate is good. Annotate adds value to the link and can spark repurposing.
What I’m seeing this week is a slow but steady increase in more extensive work: more links to stuff, more experimentation, more consideration. I’m also betting there will be a flurry of last-minute posts when students re-realize that a repurposing is required:
Repurposing: Draft an extended argument, drawing on sources suggested or that you locate (and aggregate and annotate in your social bookmarks), in which you take a postion on using weblogs in your area(s) of expertise. Not whether it’s Good or Bad (leave simplistic bifurcation to others) but how blogging has changed / might change your field, and some of the implications. That’s the extended part: not simply outlining positions (that will take maybe three sentences) but drawing out implications. The draft term implies that it’s an early version, a first pass, that you might get feedback on, return to, and develop later.
Here’s an extended work for Weblogs and Wikis – a repurposing as a blog essay with embedded vids and links, by ebinkert: The Empathic Civilisation and Social Networks, addressing “the connections between social networks the need to belong and empathy.” Well selected videos and linked sources. The two videos connect on a communicative level: they both tell stories by evolving drawings. Here’s ebinkert’s point, where he connects his work with Rettberg,
If McLuhan is right and technology is an extension of our biological self, then social networks could have the ability to create family like bonds on a global scale. Lets make a leap of faith and say its possible to create a global family. By necessity the bonds of this new family would need to be weak. Strong bonds on a global scale are simply a numerical impossibility. How much sway would weak bond empathy have and could a social network connect people enough to encourage empathic sociability?
But here’s where ebinkert opens into social media, weblogs, YouTube publication, digital identities, and others and invistes comments and further consideration – and you do have to watch both videos to get it:
The specific scene in the above clip where the camera cuts to the crowed and the music changes and we see people in tears did you feel different? Did the tears give the video more impact? If you followed the artist on Twitter would that have made a difference? Why do videos of people getting hurt get tagged as funny? How can movies like Jackass exist if empathy is so strong?
It’s easy to respond to this repurposing-as-participatory essay with Oohs! and Awws! but while it’s harder to to respond to the ideas eric is raising – how social networks create or maintain empathy – it’s more rewarding.
I’m watching for some common themes running through both the practice and the thinking, and it looks to me that we’re off to a wonky start. That’s no different from what I saw on PLENK2010# as participants tried to get a sense of what to do and how to interact, but I want to trace down that wonkyness, try to characterize it.
CHAPTER ONE – WHAT IS A BLOG?
–to understand, gotta read them. – wonderful.
–analogy – watching TV series
–cumulative process – most posts pressupose some knowledge of hx of blog and fit into larger story.
and he raises a point that’s calling out for discussion and work
–says online diarists and bloggers use writing as mirror to see self more clearly and “construct themselves as subjects in digital society,” but also as a veil that will always conceal much of life from reader.
–MY THOTS: what the hell is “construct themselves as subjects in a digital society??”
–why do this online??? –just keep friggin’ journal! –or see therapist??
First, I fear that employers looking at my Facebook will see my as unfit to hold any sort of responsibility. Facebook has painted a slanted portrait of my life. The only time I appear in photos is when I’m at a party. I rarely find my way in front of a camera when I’m sober. The result? Looking through my Facebook pictures, someone would assume I was a sloppy drunk who does nothing but attend theme parties. Instead of sorting through the photos and untagging the ones that have a beer in them, I’m choosing to delete my account. Keeping it would leave me with about six photos and a list of friends, most of which I can hardly remember.
There are two comments on the post – but there is also a connection between what Rettberg writes about digital identity (chap 3?) – which Mike Driscoll mentions in his notes – and MLChambers’s concern about that digital identity. MLChambers’s post even details how a digital identity gets constructed: “I rarely find my way in front of a camera when I’m sober. The result? Looking through my Facebook pictures, someone would assume I was a sloppy drunk who does nothing but attend theme parties.” That, in turn, complicates idea that identity is intentionally constructed. I think dana boyed argues that that weblogs and Facebook puts us on show and so makes us more aware of how we present our selves, but MLChambers adds an extra angle: the opportunity for creating a performance is skewed. (danah boyd looks into constructions of identities here.)
I have two tracks I might follow at this point: I can look at how participants are creating and managing identities as they make their first posts online. Or continue to catalog the themes that are occurring. Both, I think.
But what I’m seeing is that the posts of these first two weeks are light on bringing forward ideas about blogging itself – those topics that Mike D outlines on Diigo. Some “bird here” phatic signals, and demonstrations of identity and common interests (see Jadelowl and Muse’s comment). And here’s a post identifying the context of the blogging as “for class.” This is also another instance of dumping Facebook (different reasons) and shifting to other social networking circles – a shift that Zach comments on. It’s curious to see the relationship between Facebook and these other means (blogging and twitter) being sketched out.
Again: A lot of this is “bird here!” Checking out the system. Building the infrastructure. Testing the water. Drawing people to twitter streams and weblogs to show them what you’ve been doing in your space, to see what the backgrounds are, and who’s following who.
Anyone want to consider these matters? Goes to Rettberg chap 3 on strong and weak links. Diagrams, notes …
So, here’s my thesis for the day morning: Individually, the postings show fragments. Take those fragments together and I can see playing out some of the phenomena of blogging and social media in general that Rettberg mentions.
One of the arguments for standardizing on a CMS such as d2l for DE teaching is this: “Using the same interface for all courses means the student has to learn the interface only once.” The argument I always used against the CMS has been, “A good interface will be designed to suit the content and task, and the task of d2l is to manage students, not enable students to read, listen, or produce. Get a blog, or a wiki.”
I understand why someone would say this: “To increase the sustainability of portal projects there is a need to ‘work towards establishing common frameworks that will enable applications and services, from different sources, to work together.'” After all, it is precisely that failure that accounts for the indifferent success of community portals, the ‘field of dreams’ scenario, where you build it, and they do not come. But such an enterprise is perhaps best compared with constructing an artificial language: sure, it would make communication easier if evereyone used the standard – but who speaks Esperanto? The growth of community – and hence, community frameworks – is much more organic than that, a product of multiple simultaneous negotiations to create a network of compatible systems rather than a centralized planning department to create a structure.
This argument is similar to the critiques of the artificial, formulaic 5-ParagraphTheme, taught in too many US high schools and even university courses. The problem with the 5-Paragraph Theme is this: It’s an artificial genre, which no one reads (teachers don’t read 5-paragraph themes; they grade them); the form and the exercise aren’t designed to communicate anything other than “I did your assignment.” I know because I have read hundreds of them. Even when the form is not assigned, even when they are warned against it, Good Students drag out the form as a default. They have to unlearn it before we can make any progress in writing.
But here’s what I find a puzzle: Institutions are using d2l – a paragon of walled garden ivory tower teaching – to deliver “real world” – that is, situated – education. Courses (such as here, and here) that are pitched as bridging a (purported) gap between classroom and workplace are placed firmly behind the walls of the garden, using the same accouterments, practices, and channels.
Seriously? Some of my colleagues teach some of these courses – well-meaning people who would argue that they are giving learners choices, providing opportunities – and I suppose they are, kind of. Learners will have the opportunity to learn Esperanto. We can do better than this.
Assignment: Re-reald Prof Morgan’s argument above. What is Morgan’s thesis? How does he support it? What kind of silliness is he passing off as thoughtful consideration? What is he really trying to say? Now, write a 5-Paragraph Theme in which you make clear just how mis-guided Morgan is by considering the benefits of standardized interfaces in education today. Pose. Posture. Beg the Question. 500 words. Typed.
Reading Kress, Multimodiality, I was struck by how his model of semiosis lines up with Downs’s and Siemens’s open course pedagogy of connectivism as it appeared in the critical literacies course earlier this summer.
Here’s Kress’s sketch of the sequence by which semiosis moves:
the recipient’s existing
attention, which produces
engagement leading to
selection of elements from the message, leading to a
framing of these elements, which leads to their
transformation and transduction, which produces a
new (‘inner’) sign.
Or, from the perspective of the interpreter:
interest produces attention;
attention shapes the form of the engagement;
this leads to selections being made;
the selections are framed;
there is the subsequent transformation and transductions of the elements in the frame;
and, in that, the (‘inwardly made’) sign is produced.
The sequence reshapes (aspects) of the initial message, the ‘ground’, into a prompt. Interest is the motive force: it is the basis for attention to the ‘ground’ constituted by the exhibition, for engagement with that ‘ground’; it shapes selection, transformation and transduction; and interest becomes evident in the new sign, the map.
We will give you access to a wide variety of things to read, watch or play with…. , what you should do is PICK AND CHOOSE content that looks interesting to you and is appropriate for you. If it looks too complicated, don’t read it. If it looks boring, move on to the next item.
Once you’ve read or watched or listened to some content, your next step is to keep track of that somewhere. How you do this will be up to you.
We don’t want you simply to repeat what other people have said. We want you to create something of your own. This is probably the hardest part of the process.
Remember that you are not starting from scratch. Nobody every creates something from nothing. That’s why we call this section ‘repurpose’ instead of ‘create’. We want to emphasize that you are working with materials, that you are not starting from scratch.
4. Feed Forward
We want you to share your work with other people in the course, and with the world at large.
Now to be clear: you don’t have to share. You can work completely in private, not showing anything to anybody. Sharing is and will always be YOUR CHOICE.
I wasn’t going to map Kress’s sequence to the course sequence, but I will: The instruction to aggregate let’s the learner draw on interest to shape her attention, to produce engagement which leads to selection, which slides into remix. Remix and repurpose put the focus on framing the elements of aggregation, to produce a new inner sign – which can then be shared, or not.
This connection between theory of communication and pedagogy – I’m not sure if it’s spurious or not yet – also gives the vernacular activities aggregate, remix, repurpose, feed forward a pedagogical strength that I hadn’t recognized before.
I’m starting to pull things together for the E-Rhetoric course that starts in January, so a twitter from Anne that Brightkite was in open beta came at the right moment.
I’m a latercomer to the service, so much of this has been said before. At root, Brightkite is like Twitter but centered on location information: the where just as much as the what. Less bird here than bird here. When a user checks in, they make their location available to others nearby. And that allows for face to face contact and flash mobbing.
The service also has built-in photo sharing, which opens the message up to more than 160 characters. That visual channel makes a difference.
It’s integrated with Twitter, so that posting to Brightkite will also post a location and a link to the photo to the twitterstream. Need to be careful with that feature; it can create a lot of noise on Twitter. (Of course, Brightkite also has a Twitter account, so you can follow them.)
It has the usual friends network set up, and will send notifications vie email or text.
One interesting marketing feature is the Brightkite Wall. It streams Brightkite activity to a browser that can be set as full screen. The persuasive element is the banner encouraging viewers to send text messages that will appear on the wall – without having to register.
But there are some prosaic uses for all this in mobile learning. Students out exploring can trace where they’ve been and where they are, which makes it possible to focus content sent to them. And the wall allows everyone in a cohort see where everyone else is. That says flash mob gorilla theater.
So far, I’m finding Brightkite more interesting to play with than Twitter. Pulling together act, place, and image is pretty compelling. I’ll run it past the E-Rhetoric students and see what they can come up with.
Spent the usual Saturday morning reviewing texts for next semester, this time pouring through Persuasive Technology by Fogg, and having another look at Mader’s Wikipatterns. There are a couple chapters in Fogg that would be useful in making some distinctions when working with ethos (chapters 6 and 7 on credibility). I found two chapter in Mader that I’d recommend to students (chapter 3 on workflow and chapter 4 starting a pilot project). Mader’s focus on workplace limits the use of his book in a more general setting. Students new to wikis tend to take suggestions as laws, so a text more focused on principles tends to me more adaptable.
On a second front, I’m looking at the blogging app Blogo again, in part in anticipation of extra posting for Weblogs and Wikis next semester. Again, I like the interface, but there are little things missing that make life easier: tighter integration with flickr, automatic look up on amazon. Embedding an image from flickr involves a switching to html trick; and linking to amazon involved actually doing some lookup work.
On the other hand, I’m beginning to like the way Blogo handles tagging to categories and tags. While a checklist, as ecto uses, seems smart, a little drop down menu and some predictive text works, too. I won’t set aside ecto just yet, but the feel of blogo is so nice that I’m tempted to work more in it.
And just now had to revise my idea of how blogo integrates with flickr. Images can be drag and dropped from flickr on firefox to the blogo writing space. The image editor opens to allow cropping and linking to a full-sized image. This drag and drop works from any web page. Very nice.