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Week 3 Reflection

June 22, 2017

Thinking back on week three, I feel as though the class is starting to take shape – twitter is where everything gets posted, shared, and tagged, hypothesis is the discussion forum for articles and videos, and our blog is our main delivery system for putting it all together. This week was a little more in the weeds per the topic of copyright/fair use and the open source education, but I enjoyed it. It got me thinking about education and platforms for community participation, sharing, and creative exploration. I think in general these are exciting ways to view and transform educational practices, but the site/class I focussed on – Anth101 – had two professors working together with an WordPress guru, which gives me the general sense that a massive amount of planning, trial and error, technical skill, creative vision, and what not are required to build these types of classes. Not to mention they require students to have 1 to 1 computer classrooms, so for my low income high school classroom that has spotty and old tech, I can incorporate aspects of this type of learning, but it will probably not be sustainable to run a class like this or build/manage one without more supports.

The daily create was a cool challenge per what kind of animal you connect to. I took a picture of one of my favorite linoleum cut prints of a wolf and referenced a verse from Genesis about Benjamin being wolf-like. It came out alright…

I dug deeper on the assignment bank as I tried to utilize some of the WordPress apps that added sound or mapping to tell a story, but ran into a lot of technical issues. I uploaded files to SoundCloud and copied links into the app, but there were technical errors and html coding problems. I worked for over two hours trying different things, but it all fell apart. I think this is one of the more difficult aspects of the course since there is no direct instruction, you are on your own to try new things per software, and if things don’t work, well you are on your own. It was frustrating. I persevered though and created a 30 second story about AM hour coffee consumption. 28 seconds of the clip are in black and white and have no sound – life before coffee – and once caffeine enters the system sound and color return. It took a while to think it through, shoot and edit, but I am happy with it.

I did see that you are not supposed to use the same media as last week, but after my blog app fail, I just went where the creative winds were blowing. Next week I will move away from video towards another medium.

I am still finding hypothesis to be a difficult medium to communicate as the sorting and information seems to get buried a bit, but I will keep after it.

Anth101 Case Study Crit

June 22, 2017

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Wow. I want to take this class. “The Science of Human Beings The Art of Being Human” is the title of this cultural anthropology class being offered through Kansas State University. You can take it for credit, you can take it for free, or you can use it as a template for teaching your own class. There are 10 lessons that are accompanied by 10 challenges. The professor, Michael Wesch, is a dynamic educator with a penchant for roller blades, long distance running, and using POV video as an essential teaching element. You tag along as he uses the outdoors as a classroom – literally. I especially enjoyed his video on Nacirema – American backwards – culture viewed through the lens of a cultural anthropologist. It was smart, funny, and a nice foil for his lecture on his time in Papua New Guinea and understanding witchcraft. Overall the website is the primary interface for the class and it it draws you in with its clean design, well crafted video, and simple interface. It is professional and it makes a difference with regard to promoting use.

The weekly theme of Inte5340 is “Copyright and Left,” which as our teacher writes, “…will look broadly at copyright & fair use in juxtaposition to open pedagogy. We will look at Public Domain & Creative Commons licensing and resources for digital storytelling and development of open educational resources (OER).” I see Wesch’s Anthropology class as an example of digital storytelling that emphasizes open educational resources. The class is free to the public, the resources and materials are also available for teachers/learners, and the purpose of all of this is to push the learner towards having agency. The act of creating knowledge is not merely consumption, but also sharing, communicating, and contributing to the process. This is a more democratic and horizontal approach that OER supports.

Thinking about my own teaching and learning, this is something that I would like to get better at. As a learner, I was drawn into the videos and probably spent too much time clicking around, rewatching, and thinking about the themes of the week. It was welcoming, creative, and interesting. In many ways, it is like my current class on digital storytelling. There are weekly themes, challenges, and input from our teacher via podcasts, videos, and social media. My students would enjoy this format as well. They love to do real world, authentic, project based learning and when framed properly, they dive right in. That said, as a teacher, I would be interested in seeing that backend of this type of educational structure. I worry that it might be somewhat unmanageable to create, track, give feedback, and grade the class. What would the pace be if everyone was moving along at different rates and exploring different projects? It is one thing to have a class of 20-30 college students, but having 130 high school freshman is a different animal. I think that I could take aspects of this class and incorporate them slowly over time and build towards something larger – step by step…

Week Two Reflection

June 17, 2017

Thinking back on the second week there were a number of adjustments I had to make in order to engage with the content and the class. I tried to respond to my peers and use Hypothesis as a forum for discussion, tweet more, and generally connect. I am still having some trouble using Hypothesis though Brad’s video on the subject was helpful. For some reason my browser does not always let me annotate…

I really like the daily create and the assignments. Drinking coffee and messing around with panoramic tricks? Pretty awesome.

Being pushed to be creative is always appreciated. Most classes do not allow you this level of freedom to think and respond with tools that feel current and exciting. Thanks Brad! Having a lot of fun working through the week. Looking back on the week and our own learning process, right now I am leaning mostly towards:

(b) con·struc·tion·ism /kənˈstrəkSHəˌnizəm/ (Papert) Papert’s contructionism is learner-centered, project-based learning where students construct knowledge through participation and discovery – leaning toward notions of collective making and sharing.

The projects we have been doing have been learner-centered and we have had the ability to construct meaning through discovery. It feels authentic and it though not always easy, it is welcomed. It is easy to parrot back information or fill in answers on a multiple choice test, but the real learning comes when we work with people, share ideas, ask questions, are pushed, and the process itself is not necessarily a means to an end, but rather a journey. Ach. So cliche, but true.


StoryCorps Case Study Critique

June 17, 2017

The theme this week is multimodality. After reading a few different articles about it on the web, it seems rather complicated as it’s an actual area of academic study relating to semiotics and communication. That said, the surface meaning seems to relate to the way in meaning is created through text, video, image, language, speech, etc… Text used to be the main modality, but in the digital age there has been an expansion of new literacies that flow forth from the technological transformation of smart phones and the Internet.

I chose to critique StoryCorps for my first stab at analyzing a case study. StoryCorps was created by David Isay and is connected to both NPR and the Smithsonian. It has been around since 2003 and states its mission, “…is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” Being a history teacher, I have used StoryCorps as a guide for teaching oral history. Students have gone out into their neighborhoods armed with their phones, recorded conversations, transcribed them, and edited them to make sense of various topics. The students always connect to the project because of its authenticity.

I find it to be a powerful storytelling medium that feels entirely personal, honest, and revealing. One of my favorite StoryCorps pieces is the story of “Facundo the Great.”  It is a great example of cultural awareness or the lack there of, whitewashing, and comedy via storytelling. When you listen to short clips on NPR’s Morning Edition most people don’t realize how much editing goes into crafting a two minute clip that captures a moment, a memory, a conversation. I have found the editing process per radio and oral history to be one of the hardest aspects as there can be an hour of footage and you have to cut it down to a very precise and impactful few pages or minutes of audio. The students also struggle to learn the entire process and it takes a massive amount of scaffolding and practice to achieve results. The modality of radio is an older medium that is not as prominent as television nor the Internet, however when done well, it is singular and deeply moving.



Learning With Digital Stories:

June 17, 2017

I chose to remix vintage public-domain media to explain a modern topic or to tell a modern story for week two’s assignment. Specifically, vintage futurism per, “Edit vintage videos with open source music to create a music video.” The Apollo space mission stock footage was videotaped off my CPU screen – you can see me holding my phone and taping at certain parts 😦 . The screen grab is from

Using iMovie I cut the clip down from 7 plus minutes and synced up an improvisational track I recorded this week with my band Snake Pliskin.  The track has an ambient space feel that worked well with the vintage footage. We are looping an arpeggiated A chord and stacking tape loops, delays, live drum rhythms, and a sample from last week’s daily challenge. It is totally strange, but I think it works as a vintage remix.


Weekly Reflection for 6.8.17

June 8, 2017

As an educator, do you have any ideas for creating a lesson or activity based on anything you discovered this week? 

After watching the story telling videos and reading the article on teaching, I am grappling with the idea of learning as quest. As a high school teacher, I already try and make learning about history and politics real world/authentic, but often when asked about why we learn, I counter with the importance of developing critical thinking abilities, about working towards a worldview that expands beyond our limited geographic boundaries, but rarely do I speak about knowledge as a personal and transformative process. Working on developing curriculum that expands on this idea is something that I will be spending time thinking about and reflecting on.