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Blog 10: Digital Humanities Place in English

This topic is actually a portion of what I’m incorporating into my thesis. With all the concerns we have in the digital sphere of learning, there’s a lot to gain for the English departments across the country and the world. Twitter and other sites as mentioned in the “What is Digital Humanities and What’s it doing in English Departments?” article have gotten people to express themselves through writing and other new ways of communication.

The digital sphere as we’ve heard time and time again allows for students to have a feedback audience quicker and more substantive than just their professor and classmates. The choice of blogging with photos, colors and designs also makes students extra excited to start writing their responses to articles. It also helps more reserved and quiet students out in the network sharing their ideas and points with the world.

There is also a lot of resistance from longtime educators who are used to doing things a certain way and see that this digital sphere is a threat to how things should be in their eyes. This field needs people to be bold and take this risk of taking on this whole new sphere of learning. Overall this will keep modern students completely engaged in their English classes than the typical class of today. Some classes have resorted to abolishing the use of digital devices while in the classroom but as technology is expanding and more used this will do more harm than good in ensuring classroom engagement. Digital humanities is the answer to keeping students engaged and motivated to continue learning.


Blog 10: Lit Review Update

I know I don’t really have to read my entire sources but as far as chapters and articles I’m doing that and it’s a lot. Then trying to summarize the main parts to is really time consuming. That’s why I’m trying to finish this the 27th rather than later. It’s better to be ahead than behind. The literature is enjoyable tho 🙂

This week’s reading has helped me consider how to write better creatively as well.


Blog 8: Being a Great Narrator

Being a Great Narrator: Blog 8

 

This week’s readings “Writing About People” and “Here’s What Happened” were absolutely fantastic. I was completely engaged and able to relate to the material as I haven’t been able to do in a fairly long time. There was no favorite for me this week. Both articles were equally great. There were so many great points that I took away. I also started to reflect on my own writing process as a future author. Sometimes I have known that I’m missing the elements of what makes a great narrative in stories I write and this is why I stop writing. If you don’t think readers will keep reading, why should you keep writing?

I wish I had someone to interview right now. I’m so excited about having more information about how to do a great interview. I did take an Intro to Journalism class sophomore year but things were still pretty new to me at that point. I interviewed a coworker of mine who met many celebrities, etc. for a national magazine. Unfortunately, he didn’t like the final product. When I read “Writing about People”, I recalled certain areas where I went wrong. Such as leaving quotes as said rather than editing them to sound better and not calling back to make sure that I had completely gotten what he had said. It would be cool if I could redo that interview but nevertheless I learned from that experience. One of my take-aways from this reading is that people are what makes stories turn from ordinary to extraordinary. Imagine if all the greatest stories we have read had no people in them. That would be completely insane. I wouldn’t even want to think about that for too long. One thing the article mentioned that I really had beef with was the fact that recorders “aren’t writing” shouldn’t really be “a machine” working for the writer. The author has a point but I think it’s good to have recorders along with your pencil and paper. Sometimes we cut off people when they were just about to say something completely beautiful.

Order and detail are keys to a great story in my opinion. There’s nothing like a story that is all over the place. It jumps from the beginning to some future time back into the past. When stories don’t have great timelines it kind of kills readers interest immediately. I think people have to know have to tell stories orally to others in order to know how they write them properly. Main key points from “Writing a Narrative:”

a narrative has:

*A clearly identified event

*A clearly described setting

*Vivid, descriptive details

*A consistent point of view

*A clear point


Blog 7: Social Action

This week’s readings were great. I’m glad that there is a movement for youth to have their voices heard in terms of social justice. There are too many youth of today that are lost in FB, Twitter and other forms of interaction focusing on things that don’t matter. They really need to get involved in movements that actually matter. Young people are the future. In the time of segregation and injustice towards blacks, it was the youth who helped boosted the movement along with older people. Every voice counts and everyone can do something.


Blog 6: Weekly Reflection

Identity Construction Weekly Reflection

I really don’t think there is anything wrong with youth obtaining parts of their identities while online. I think fan fiction communities really keep writing alive in youth today when schools lessen the amount of creative writing assignments. There’s only the matter of youth safety and privacy online but other than that I think this is fine.

On the other hand, this quote made me think: “In a world of constant movement and flow, media images of advertising and commerce seep into our lives and strongly identity development.”  This makes youth extra vulnerable to what is promoted to them and it’s up to educators and parents to help the youth stay in the right path and guide their identities in the right direction.


Social Action & Service Learning

This week, my class and I had the pleasure of getting to read two article that Stephanie chose for her presentation. I will say that both articles were interesting and engaging, but ultimately didn’t give as much as I oped that they would. It is inevitable that change is upon us and its necessary considering the current economic and political climate the world has found itself in. The discussions that need to be ongoing seem to be starting and stopping to say the least. I am glad that Stephanie chose this kind of overarching topic as it is both stimulating and timely.

The first article, “Principles for Practice: What is Social Action?” by Jennie Fleming and Ian Boulton began simply defining social action within the context that the authors were going to discuss is (more as a methodology for in-class teaching vs. society’s traditional view of the term). I chalked this article up to be about the ways in which educators can get students motivated and interested in the work that they are doing as learners and activists (whether they openly identify as activist or not… but they are!). The second article that I will mention later has the same message, to me, but talks more about service learning. I liked the idea in this first article about the inclusive nature of the practice of social action in the classroom, and how everything begins WITH the student. The authors point out that the process starts with the student’s understanding and replies on their endeavors.

I do agree with the authors in that anyone (if they are so inclined and willing) have the opportunity to create social change. I was even more ecstatic that Paolo Freire was brought into discussion. I usually always allude, at some point, to his work The Banking Concept of Education to get some point across. The banking concept mainly got across the theory that students are like receptacles that take in all of the information that educators *cough* oppressors already know and are going to relay unto them. basically, students aren’t collaborators with their teachers/professors; they are looked at as the individuals they do not possess the knowledge so they must have it bestowed upon them.

WRONG!

Any who, I appreciate the diagram of how social action is carried out: What, Why, How, Action, and Reflection. This is a straightforward way to get students thinking in a new way about the things that are going on around them. An attentiveness to awareness is crucial with the progression of life itself. I keep thinking back to the amazing Letters to the President project that Stephanie mentioned she did with her class and her joyous reactions and responses to how they were doing with that project. I felt she had understood that that project made an impact. Her students WANTED to do it, and more importantly they felt like they could… like they had a voice… like they mattered! They do! I feel that is a perfect example right there of the ways in which educators can start to incorporate these concepts into the classroom and get students motivated to learn again, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Speaking of motivation, I would like to move (briefly) into the last article I read for this week which was “Service and Self-Renewal: Service Learning as a Means to Invigorate and Renew Teachers” by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Whitney Douglas, and Sara W. Fry. An excerpt from Ralph Peterson showed up in this chapter from the authors, and he expressed some thoughts about the way humans learn and what it has to do with. Peterson stated that “the way we learn… has to mean something” (p. 111). I couldn’t agree more, and I wrote in my journal that I took notes in: “!!Motivation!!” because that is what it is all about. Now, this article didn’t really explain what service learning was, and I was disappointed by this. It gave all the reasons as to why service learning can be beneficial, but I wanted a set definition for what it is and what it means. Furthermore, the article gave examples of how this was taking place in schools and with families, which was great, but I found myself wanting more from this article too.

As aforementioned, I felt like this article could be chalked up to being about the ways in which educators can get students motivated and interested in the work that they are doing. The article touched on students being collaborators and engaged learned and Dr. Zamora’s (my professor) lovely face appeared in my head because I know she is for this and I personally experience this kind of identification and growth within myself as a student just from knowing her for the time that I have. Moving along, other than the 3 possible approaches teachers can use to implement this kind of learning in the classroom, there were two other highlights that I thought were very important. The first highlight was that of the idea of introducing new forms of learning, and how teachers are automatically set up to fail in some way or another. This is so important to note, and unfortunately, so common.

There was a discussion in class about this, and I believe Stephanie and MaryKate were the ones to bring it up where they alluded to the system (a particular school, education system, and its curriculum) having influence on what is able to be done/get done in that location. Stephanie alluded to hang more leeway to try out things with her students where MaryKate does not have the same benefits. There is a lot that has to go into being able to introduce something new to students, and it far exceeds having a willing and exciting teacher to do it. There are constraints. The second highlight was the section of the chapter that talked about connecting with parents. I feel like this is such a cliche phrase, but “learning starts at home”. This is true. However, learning should start at home and be an on-going process. Stephanie mentioned in discussion once that some parents put sole responsibility onto the teacher and that’s a lot of pressure. Learning starts and stops at school for some students, but that is an epidemic that needs to be stopped in the areas where it is far too present.

Overall, reading about service learning was insightful and I feel like I DID learn, but I found myself asking “So, what now?” after reading these article. I am now excited to learn more and do more, but I don’t feel like I have enough information or know of necessary tools to begin after reading both sections, which is okay… I just have to do more research now. I feel lien the authors could have done more. The examples towards the end of


Blog 5: Participation

I had a really hard time getting through the Joyce Neff Grounded Theory article. It was all predominantly new information to me so I didn’t have much comments on it. I mostly just absorbed what was said but didn’t have any particular statements that stood out to me. In the other reading “Enabling Participation (7-21)”, on the other hand I was completely encaptured. I think maybe because it was so much more “real” so to speak. Like as I was reading a lot more applied to me than in the other reading in my own opinion. There was a lot more to agree or disagree on. My top key quote that I took away was:

“Not every member must contribute but all must believe they are free to contribute when ready and that what they contribute will be appropriately valued.”

I think that this was so beautifully written and is really accurate in regards to internet participation and authorship. I still have to say just because it’s on the internet does not mean that every writer will feel comfortable. It depends on the individual. Some people may feel comfortable since noone sees them but then others will feel like they are put on the spot. There is no real way to make sure all writers participate in these kinds of interfaces and there are always many considerations an individual must keep in mind while on them.

The article also mentioned the difference in who has certain access to the technology needed and etc.

“What a person can accomplish with an outdated machine in a public library with mandatory filtering software and no opportunity for storage or transmission pales in comparison to what person can accomplish with a home computer with unfettered Internet access, high bandwidth, and continuous connectivity.”

This is also very true as everyone’s economic situation is not the same so therefore technology access is very varied. I have heard that our internet is supposed to be completely free. It’s just in the air. Anyhow I think there is still a significant amount of students who are lacking the access so we aren’t fully participatory and won’t be anytime soon.


Blog 4: Writing in the Future

digital-tunnel-wallpaper1

Both of the articles for this week was considering the future trends of writing. I liked Ann Amicucci’s How They Really Talk article the best this week. I’ve read a lot of articles similar to this one. These articles hint to a growing concern on where writing is heading and how digital interfaces can be used in education inside writing and beyond.

I don’t think we need to be concerned about this. This class and the other classes that I have had with Dr. Zamora demonstrate to me that the transition into using digital environments in learning is working out very effectively and will continue to do so over the next few years. Even during my undergraduate experience this was shown to be true and only increased during the years I was still an undergrad. I can only speak for my experience though.

I definitely agree with this fact because I like to have a wider audience than just my classroom. I get to meet new people over the internet and develop a greater network than I would get through just sharing within the classroom environment.

“Students’ own perspectives have been largely missing.” (Amicucci 484) Amicucci brought out a good point regarding the research done about digital usage. Not only teachers should be the source of the research we read about but also we the students. We have the hands on usage of these tools and sometimes we can even contribute ideas that teachers would never think about.


Blog 2: The Researcher is Already Within Us

Female researcher taking notes

This article hit me on all levels. I could totally relate to everything they were saying. The authors brought up very important points that undergraduates today have to deal with. I believe that researching has to be made fun and simple. Educators on the undergraduate level don’t always do a good job of accurately informing students of how they should conduct research.

Students do not need to abandon their pre-developed research identity. This is a part of what makes them the researcher that they are today. The rules for research need to be universal so that it is less confusing for students. It is not uncommon for different instructors to have different viewpoints for what is acceptable and unacceptable in terms of researching.

As technology continues to expand and develop throughout the years, legitimate materials will likewise change as well. I believe some instructors of today are stuck in the old ways in terms of educational content and researching. They really need to become more open minded and understand that the youth can teach them as well. I personally believe that as people tap into more technology and digital communication what we consider research will likewise change also.