Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Sound of 'New Literacies': Week 2 Reflective Practice INTE 5340 Digital Storytelling


As part of the educational discourse in digital storytelling each week, I will conduct a reflective practice self assessment. These ‘reflections’ will serve as both formative and summative assessment to the learning goals of the course INTE 5340.

See learning goals in the INTE 5340 syllabus. See DS106 syllabus.

Requirements and Production

DS106 Assignment Bank (Audio)

Rain Chimes

Response to Lankshear & Knobel “New Literacies” chapter one and selected scholarship

Digital story critiques (x2)

Comment peer critiques (x2)

Comment peer chapter one responses (x2)

Reflective summary

The Sound of 'New Literacies': Week 2 Reflective Practice INTE 5340 Digital Storytelling

What was challenging?

The most challenging component of week two was starting to understand audio. This is new to me, I have never taken a music class, or audio editing, or any relevant formal education to sound or music. Being able to engage in ‘new literacies’ requires some knowledge of audio to be effective so I was encouraged to learn. I had to start from the very beginning - What is sound? How is it digitally recorded? What are the differences in file format? How do I alter recordings? How to I edit clips? How do I mix tracks together to make a mix master? These are just some of the questions that needed to be answered in the form of an effective audio assignment. To my surprise, I was able to do it in a weeks time with the help of online tutorials and videos.

In additional to technical and production challenges, it was also challenging to effectively participate in an online course that leverages social media as the fundamental platform which to express digital stories. This week an awful mass murder took place in Charleston that fueled the fires and debate about racism in this country. When one has the ability to participate in this discussion and perhaps even create digital stories to express meaning around the current affair, it's hard to withdraw and continue to produce as normal. What's more, as I am learning more about the criminal that committed these crimes, it seems his rage was fueled by stories read on the internet. Thus showing a need for ethics and morality in digital story telling among many other things.

What was most enjoyable?

I have never made audio recordings and manipulated them digitally. The act of recording some sounds and altering the clips by cutting and adding ‘fx’ was really satisfying to learn how to do successfully. Even more gratifying was being able to take all of the edited clips and mix them into a session or mixed track to make a ‘sound scape’. In addition to learning a great deal about audio editing and mixing, I also learned how to embed media into my blog and adjust the sizes in HTML. Week 1 I only posted youtube videos, which are part of the pre-made functions in blogger. This week I had several different videos, sound clips, and articles that needed to be embedded that were not part of the standard functions in blogger. The need came about to scale the embedded media because when I pasted the HTML code into my blog, the video was larger than the frame I created for my posts. Thus the video was overlapping some text and side-bar elements. I opened up the HTML and started tinkering with the fields where I saw numbers. Sure enough I was able to manually change the size and make it proportional with very little math involved. I also added a Twitter feed to my blog because there has been a lot of Twitter conversation happening in this course. I was able to change the design of this feature to integrate with the style of my blog. This was also very rewarding to create.

What was learned about the focal theme and what issues / questions have emerged?

The most challenging assignment for me is to read the course text and synthesise what was learned in the text with my focal theme. Mostly it’s not a stretch to do this in my mind, but to focus on a select portion of what was learned in the chapter to create a cohesive response is challenging. This week I focused on connecting the dots between Discourse and disciplines learned in school. Such as, math, science, literature, history, art, theatre, music. The last three seemingly optional for some school programs. This was brought up in point in my chapter response. To limit the disciplines of study would simply mean less ability for students to be creative because they have less to draw from when coming up with creative solutions. Without creative arts study students may not be able to synthesise what is needed to add deep sociocultural meaning to works that may be exhibited as ‘new literacies.’ What I struggled with in the digestion of chapter two material was the concept of internal thought versus external social practice, i.e. Reckwitz reference on page 34. When I personally engage in any Discourse I have internal thoughts that may be in contrast to the norm of social practice or goes against the norm of a Discourse which I belong to. These thoughts may never become ‘external,’ per se, so how do we characterize this ‘deep’ internal mental practice within social practices?

Summary and Points earned 10/10?

This week I learned many great things about audio, embedded media, and the continued study of ‘new literacies’ as Discourse in combination with my focal theme. I also made improvements to my blog to add to the ongoing conversations in this course. I contributed to the required post responses to peers as well as additional responses to daily creates and DS106 assignments. I also added to conversations on Twitter to increase engagement with peers with the intent to ask questions to continue the conversations on their blogs. I dug deep into the text to provide my own response as well as contribute to others. I pushed myself to learn new things for the sake of learning beyond the requirements of this course. I give myself 10/10 points.