Thursday, July 30, 2015

Digital Storytelling Final Course Portfolio and Reflection

See Storify Link

How did you learn in this course? How do you understand your social learning practices given theory shared by L&K?

As a learner relatively new to online social learning, the practices of this course INTE 5340 Digital Storytelling, were at first, challenging to adopt. Prior to the start of the course, I set up a Twitter account and started participating in discussions like #edgamechat, and looking for people to follow in regards to education and personal interests. I set up a website called Designing To Learn to feature my professional and educational work that tied in with the blog I had already set up. I also read a majority of the course text New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning 3rd Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Nobel. However, I did not fully comprehend what I was reading or doing prior to the start of the course, things quickly started to make sense after the first week of engagement. By the practices as outlined in Ds106 how to write up assignments like a blogging champ” and the syllabus for the class, I was able to quickly participate in ‘new literacies’ as described by Lankshear and Knobel.

Social learning, as described by Lankshear and Knobel, simply put, is complex and self-reliant. Engagement involves aligning oneself with affinity groups and social media networks to participate in discussions and perform works that have meaning to the participators of these networks. Although in theory one can participate in these networks simply by being a passive read-only member, the requirements for this course meant that students were read-write participators. This means production by making blog posts, carefully crafting critiques of media, producing original Tweets, and a host of many other creative things as outlined in the ds106 assignment bank, the storytelling affinity group which this course was aligned. The choices and works produced in the course were decided upon through self-interest and focus on a particular theme of scholarship, essentially creating a sense of self reliance and autonomy in one’s own learning. Success and failure may depend on one’s ability to participate in online social learning and deep thinking through synthesis of multiple resources and networks. Ultimately, successful online social learning creates a sense of identity and ‘learning to be’ that sends learners on trajectories to become masters in their own crafts and domains.

How might your experiences in this course inform how you learn in the future, whether in formal (graduate) coursework or when pursuing your own interests? In what ways do you understand yourself a connected learner, someone networked into other communities (like DS106) and also linked with other people?

Through the connections made in this course, some weak and some strong, I can potentially engage with people on future projects or collaborations by continued membership and appreciation of the affinity groups which I belong to. Or refer others to their works for guidance. This sense of being a member to a community of practice transcends the course and formal education. I may interact with others through the connections made next year or ten years from now through twitter, blogs, ds106, or other means of communication. I may listen to Mariana Funes podcasts and continue to correspond with her on Twitter. I may enjoy tweets from Dr Garcia as she practices drawing exercises and offer advice and encouragement through tweets and retweets. Who knows if this will happen? The important thing to note is that it can happen because of the connections made and shared interested in being a digital storyteller. In essence, the affinity groups, connections, and affordances by web 2.0 have provided the means to be a life-long learner.

How was this course different from prior (graduate) courses?

I can imagine the design of this course was very different from many other available graduate courses in the ILT program, or in any other program at any other school for that matter. This is because what Remi has put together is ‘new’ and relevant to the technologies and pedagogies of today (refer to Remi’s Ecological Pedagogy). There are similarities to what was outlined in the Lankshear and Knobel text in the last chapter, however we utilized several divergent platforms that were not mentioned in the text. Namely, the use of Twitter and course alignment with ds106. This is in stark contrast to courses held in the confines of a LMS with a small number of students. Our interactions in this course overlapped many networks and engaged professionals and students alike. The result of this ‘externalization’ of course discussion and products, in my opinion, yields more professional and fruitful results. As stated in my response to chapter eight in the Lankshear and Knobel text, there’s no ‘secret’ LMS hiding intellectual gems from the world. This motivates participators to succeed because anyone, co-workers, colleagues, classmates, future employers, and the like, may have the ability to witness the products of the course, and perhaps it will mean something to someone else. In final reflection of this, I prefer to engage with ‘the rest of the world,’ instead of limiting Discourse and discourse to the secret minds and murmurings of the few who would choose to take a digital storytelling course that only uses a LMS.

How did you contribute to the development of this course and our learning community?

The initial two weeks of this course were rough. Most students shared that they are new to social learning practices and leery about exploring topics outside of the LMS. Additionally, the syllabus and pace of the course left little room for fault. As directed by Remi, students were to attempt to answer each other’s questions in the LMS within the first two weeks. Many issues came up about using Twitter, or making ones avatar show up, or how to best implement a feature on a blog, or clarity in assignments, etc. Through the online practices in the courses I currently teach, I felt desire and ease to help students with many of these logistical questions at the beginning of the course. As the course developed, I shared my expertise in drawing, design, and illustration and I believe I contributed to the development of techniques and ‘know how’ in regards to some of the daily creates and visual-design assignments as represented in tips and tutorial links in my blog and tweets.

In what ways were you responsible for directing both your own learning and also the shared experiences of peers/others?

Whenever I had a questions or concern I also shared this on Twitter #cudenver15 to notify other students. My two biggest concerns this semester that were ‘open air’ questions and answers on Twitter were in response to copyright concerns and morality / ethics. Mariana Funes was very helpful in suggesting readings and guidance as well as Lisa Dise in regards to copyright. Mitchell Woll offered some inciteful tidbits about morality issues in light of the Charleston shootings by reminding us about artifacts like manifestos created and shared by affinity groups as I was seeking answers to chapter three responses and trying to cope with news about senseless killings at the same time. Asking the tough questions and sharing the explorations of these inquiries very publicly helped direct my learning and contribute to others in and outside of the course simultaneously.

How would you have designed this course differently?

First and foremost, many of the practices and social learning that was engaged in this course was appropriate, current, and enjoyable. The course was only eight weeks long, the learning and participatory practices were intense. Although it was mentioned that it may require a minimum of fifteen hours a week to properly complete course work and engage in social learning, I probably spent 25-30 hours a week devoted to this course. Part of this may be because of the choices in assignments or new technical learning in combination with divergent platforms. It’s easy to get distracted and follow learning down rabbit holes to other topics and musings. Knowing the high possibility for technical error and multiple paths and choices delivered through autonomous learning, I would choose to reduce the amount of assignments each week. I would suggest a week of production that looks more similar to this:

  1. A Daily Create
  2. An Assignment Bank project
  3. A response to L&K text synthesized with scholarship
  4. A critique of a digital story
  5. A response to another student’s reading response
  6. A response to another student’s critique
  7. A response to another student’s AB project
  8. A weekly reflection

The last requirement, “a response to another student’s AB project,” was not a required part of this course. I think this would be a welcomed addition to further learning, analysis, and critique, in place of one response to the Lankshear and Knobel text. This may reduce potential redundancies with multiple responses to other’s Lankshear and Knobel text each week. Also students would be well served to receive critical feedback on their work especially in an educational setting. Being able to carefully, and critically, craft responses to peers work is a highly valued skill in professional work as well as being able to accept criticism. As a professional design and an instructor of design I can attest to these skills, not just in my day to day practices, but also from community feedback at the college where I teach.

How do you understand Remi's course design and ongoing decision-making? As many of you are educators (whether in K-12, higher ed, or corporate settings), how did this course change your understanding of pedagogy?

From the beginning of the course when Remi discussed ‘ecological pedagogy’ and ‘open’ course design I was eager to experience the course practices and theory as a student. Similarly to Ken Robinson’s concepts of ‘organic systems’ in relationship to learning, Remi suggested pedagogy that creates the conditions to cultivate learning through a multiplicity of learning environments, platforms, and settings. In essence, this pedagogy allows learners to make their own learning choices by finding ways to flourish in the rich landscape of web 2.0 platforms. The particular way in which we ‘learned to be’ in this course can be represented as the ‘pull’ model rather than ‘push’ as defined in the Lankshear and Knobel text. There was some necessary ‘push’ in the form of the syllabus and requirements for the course, however individual choices ‘pulled’ individuals in directions that supported their own interests and learning goals. Pedagogy that can be classified as ‘pull’ is a departure from most courses I have taken or taught. The practices in this course has made me appreciate the autonomy and ability to choose ways in which I define to learn.

Has your understanding of "instructor" changed, and if so, how?

I have also come to appreciate collaboration with others in social learning networks as ‘instructors’ in their own right by demonstrated expertise and the sharing of knowledge in areas in interest. This in some way has changed my idea of instructor(s) and the roles they serve. In this course Remi was for the most part ‘hands off’ and allowed students to explore ideas and ‘teach’ each other. Remi offered advice and inspiration in the form of screen casts and tweets, but the day to day practices of the course were essentially, in the hands of the students. Although I would not suggest this approach for all classes and subjects, it was very appropriate for this course at this particular point in time at the graduate level.

What feedback would you like to share with Remi as he (or a colleague) will likely teach another version of this course in the future?

For the most part, this course was excellent. I thought engagement and social practices were evident for most students. It was very challenging and motivating and I would gladly do it all over again. If I had to make any suggestions, it would be to lighten the load in the first week and require students to create a screencast to introduce themselves and share their strengths. This may help students direct questions or promote an overall sense of comradery and personality from the get go. This perhaps will also allow students to deal with logistical questions and concerns with social learning and the requirements of the course. My second suggestion would be to change weekly production to what was shown previously in response to "How would you have designed this course differently?" Week one and week eight would be less typical production for introductions and conclusions to the course. Overall the course was solid and requires only minor tweaks if any. I can’t wait to apply what was learned to the courses I teach and develop new curriculum with these online social learning practices in mind.

New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning Third Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Nobel. McGraw-Hill Education 2011.

Robinson, K. (2006, Feb). How Schools kill creativity.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Trajectories and Reflections: Week 7 Reflective Practice

Week 7 Collage


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 (Video Assignment)
Creative Education Compilation: VideoAssignments1736

Response to Lankshear & Knobel “New Literacies” chapter one and selected scholarship
Social Learning Trajectories: A Response to Lankshear & Knobel Chapter 8

Digital story critique
The Cake is Not a Lie: A Critique of Portal 2 Puzzle Maker "Making Space for Physics"

Comment peer critiques (x2)
Week 7: Critique

(I only found 1 critique to examine posted by other classmates this week!)

Comment peer chapter responses (x2)
Moving Towards "Pull"- Last L&K Response

We need a remix for that books ending!

Reflective summary
Trajectories and Reflections: Week 7 Reflective Practice

What was challenging?

As usual, the assignment chosen from the video assignment bank was the most challenging product of the week. I had to search for and review dozens of YouTube videos around the focal theme of ‘the importance of creative arts in education.’ Then I had to figure out how to process these YouTube videos into something I could import into Adobe Premiere. Once imported, I made many clips from the videos to merge into a single cohesive video that synced with the music. Some parts synced better than others, although I was happy with the completed result. Another challenge this week was finding a quality ‘remix’ that I wanted to critique using Lankshear & Knobel literacy dimensions and coordinate with the focal theme. I did happen to find a great digital story about modding as used in education and synthesized with core subjects. The critique of which was challenging however due to lack of depth in the story. Overall I think many of these digital stories available for critique lack some depth because they are designed for rapid consumption on the internet. Overall, with both the video assignment and critique, I had to reach to get what I needed.

What was most enjoyable?

The most enjoyable part of the week was seeing the video I created come to life with the music. It brought me great joy to remix these videos of students enjoying creativity and the arts along with the music. This week was also enjoyable to Tweet with members of the course about looking forward to wrapping up this class. Also a couple of students created interactive, collaborative stories that were fun to read and engage with. Although I missed the boat on contributing to the story because I was very busy working, I enjoyed seeing the collaboration.

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

What emerged this week as an issue or area of concern was brought to light by Anne Melzer in her response to the Lankshear & Knobel text. She was very critical in her response and mentioned that it may be unfair for instructors to teach who do not know how to use technology, or may be illiterate in ‘new literacies.’ My question for her was essentially, “how can we help?” As students and teachers at CU in the ILT masters program we hold a unique responsibility in our communities to, in some ways, inform others about these ‘new literacies’ and how they may be leveraged in courses and communities of practice. My concern is that there may not be ways to reach current instructors from K-12 to higher education in our communities because there are not systems set in place to inform and instruct. I can say from experience at the two year technical college where I teach, there are some workshops, but seldom to never do these workshops inform others about how to use ‘new literacies’ in their classes, and more in general, how to be computer literate. This is touchy and complicated issue because many of my colleagues are of mature age where they perhaps did not ‘learn to be’ with digital technologies. Some may not wish to learn these new technologies or simply have a hard time grasping ‘new literacies.’ My hope is within the next couple of years I can work through the systems, and build some programs to support faculty and staff better to integrate and understand current technologies to facilitate learning and engagement.

Points earned 10/10?

Although we were assigned less work this week, I still challenged myself through the video assignment and critique. I also researched potential ways to deliver the portfolio final assignment by practising with various applications. I discovered, through Emily May’s assignment in Storify, that it seems it is the best platform to produce a portfolio for this class because of the ease to leverage social media. I appreciated the awareness by Remi to drop the daily creates so we could spend some time preparing for our portfolios and produce quality and depth in our last assignments. I also noticed an increase in engagement on Twitter this week and there were some great discussions and collaborations. For continued self-criticism and engagement with others, I give myself 10/10 points this week.

New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning Third Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel. McGraw-Hill Education 2011.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Cake is Not a Lie: A Critique of Portal 2 Puzzle Maker "Making Space for Physics"

As part of the continued practice in digital storytelling, in INTE 5340 MA ILT at CU Denver, I will consume a digital stories and offer critiques. Until now the course has focused on Jason Ohler’s assessment traits as criterions to assess stories. For the remainder of the critiques in the course, I will focus on “everyday remix practices” as described in the Lankshear and Knobel text New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning Third Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel, on pages 127-140.

To coincide with my theme, ‘the importance of creative arts in education,’ I’ve reviewed and critiqued some everyday remix practices of teachers in creative curriculum settings. This week I wanted to look at another creative way students ‘remix’ learnt material. I was inspired to look at Institute of Play after reading chapter 8 in Lankshear & Knobel “New Literacies.” Chapter 8 describes in some detail how Institute of Play creates ways for K-12 students to engage in creative and social learning that utilizes ‘new literacies.’ As can be seen in the video, using game mods in an excellent way to solve problems and experiment with practical applications of math and social learning.

Kind of Remix: Modding video games

From modding video games: “Likely to involve lots of trial and error and retrial, etc..”

Math students use Portal 2 Puzzle Maker, a mod of portal 2, to create scenarios that can demonstrate learnt knowledge such as solutions to mathematical problems. Lisa Castaneda, a teacher at The Evergreen School describes how she used Portal 2 Puzzle Maker to demonstrate parabolas and vertical motion. However, the process of creating this was not directly shown in the video, I can imagine it took several tries to successfully create a level that operated correctly and applied mathematical problems. Joshua Weier, Project Lead at Valve,goes on to describe how Portal 2 lends itself to the creation of these levels and puzzles by mod communities. What was done in puzzle maker reduced the barrier to entry easy so that any student or teacher can create their own puzzles. Although accessibility makes the mod and game easy to create with, it still take lots of trial and error to make a fun and functional mod level that makes sense. Yasser Malaika,Developer at Valve talks about playtesting, iterating, and implementing as processes that Valve uses to create levels and how Valve wanted to give this process to the creators in the puzzle maker mod community.

From modding video games: “May involve sharing tips and problem-solving advice on forums.”
Joshua Weier talks about how a week after Portal 2 Puzzle Maker launched they received nearly 120,000 level submissions. He then talks about how it’s exciting because people are sharing their maps. Today there are several communities where ‘puzzle makers’ can contribute tutorials and commentary about level creation. For instance, on the Steam Community (Steam is a platform utilized by Valve to download and play video games, chat with other gamers, share achievements, etc.) web site for Portal 2 there are 88 guides to ‘modding.’ There are wikis, blogs, YouTube videos, and a website dedicated to teaching with portal called The product was such a success there are many social learning communities to engage with.

From modding video games: “Paying attention to design, layout, what can and cannot be done within the terms of the original game to make the mod workable or user friendly, etc.”
The primary way to interact as a player in Portal 2 is to create portals in the walls to move from an area to another. The level creator will design levels to make moving from area to area a challenge. Leslie Redd, Director of Education Programs at Valve talks about a “low threshhold” and being able to transfer from the tools to build a level to actually playing the level within seconds. This makes the mod user friendly and relatively easy to engage creators and players. This promotes engagement with ease, which is why this mod is so appealing to learners and educators.

Overall, Valve created a really inspiring product that just so happened to be useful as an educational tool. It’s nice to see that once Valve learned how their product was being used in schools they developed programs to support this learning. I really enjoyed learning about how this mod was used in educational settings. I just wish the video demonstrated more clearly the practical applications such as the parabola example given in the first part of the video. How was this problem given to the students and how did they solve it?


Creative Education Compilation: VideoAssignments1736

Creative Arts in Education

Throughout the semester while researching scholarship related to ‘the importance of creative arts in education,’ I’ve looked at many YouTube videos. I’ve critiqued and examined mostly creative everyday remix practices of teachers and the works of Ken Robinson. To round it all out, I wanted to create something that showed the students. What does it look like when creative arts are implemented into education?

Different Colors

I chose to compile the videos set to Walk the Moon Different Colors. Since the first time I heard this song it made me think about why teachers do what they do and fight to make better experiences for their students. Hence the lines, “this is why we’re biting the bullet, we know the kids are right.” It’s not easy to change the landscape of ‘high stakes testing’ and integrate engaging, creative curriculum. Although there have been great improvements at some schools, as can be seen in the compilation video, others still lag behind due to governmental policies and funding. Never the less, we can see instructors “biting the bullet” as they may struggle to implement creative curriculum.

The lines, “Different colors! We carry each other,” I also thought were poetic in regards to education. We know from Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences that everyone has several modes of thinking and learning. When assessed, we find some are more dominant learning perspectives than others. In the classroom and school setting these different ways of being and thinking must be attended to in order to fully engage students. This is why the arts are so important, because they engage students in several other ways that are otherwise alienated by sitting in a chair quietly studying for a test. There is additional poetry in the lines, “Different colors,” that can be seen in this compilation by the various ethnicities and cultures. As a member of various cultures one may belong to various Discourses through which they develop a sense of being and seeing the world. These often are expressed in the typical school day and must be respected and appreciated. I believe through various means of expression whether it be physical activity, the creation of visual art, or music, one can find ways to relate to another who may identify with a very different culture. These means of expression bring out potential collaboration and social learning.

How This Video Was Made

I first had to watch many YouTube videos to get a sense of some that may work for what I was trying to achieve. I tried to find some videos I knew would work with the lyrics and structure of the song. Fortunately, I was able to find most of what I needed on the Edutopia YouTube channel. I also used a video from Institute of Play. To edit these videos, I had to convert them into a format that I can import into Adobe Premiere. I used “clipconverter” to do this. This tool is nice because it is all web based and does not require the user to download any software. It is important to note that with ‘“free” to use software and web tools there is always potential for malware and viruses. I noticed the tutorial for this assignment linked to tools that were considered malware by my virus scanner. Hopefully I dodged a bullet on that one, but it’s another important lesson to learn about engaging with ‘new literacies’ to not blindly trust these “free” softwares or sources linked by others.

Once I had all of my videos and music collected in Adobe Premiere, I was able to make different cuts and arrange them as I saw fit to sort of sync with the music. I also created a title screen and credits roll, and a few other transitional effects such as the flashes for “tonight we raise a fire!” I learned how to do all of these things previously last week when I created “Fish Out of Water - Boundaries Exercise tdc1276” a daily create. I was able to accomplish all of this simply by spending a half hour to an hour watching tutorial videos about Adobe Premiere.

The intent of this remix is for educational purposes only. The work is intended to be transformative in nature. The work is not for sale and it is not to be used for profit. This work was a requirement for a graduate course INTE 5340 Digital Storytelling. Please see citations for additional links add credits.

See 17 U.S. Code § 107 - Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use.

Walk the Moon (December 2, 2014) Different Colors, Talking is Hard ℗ 2014 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Edutopia, (June 15, 2015) “Rolling Out” a Game in the Classroom

Institute of Play, (December 5, 2014) Say Yay to Play: The Anti CookieCutter School

Edutopia, (May 21, 2013) How a Longer School Day Can Improve Academics

Edutopia, (August 29, 2012) Arts Integration for Deeper Learning in Middle School

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Social Learning Trajectories: A Response to Lankshear & Knobel Chapter 8

Digital Storytelling For The Illiterate Generation(s)

The eighth and final chapter of New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning Third Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel was like reflecting on the past seven weeks of my life from a programmatic point of view as a digital storytelling student. My first response to this was “Why didn’t I read this chapter first so I knew what I was getting into?” Then I realized, I probably would not have understood any of it had I not experienced ‘digital storytelling.’ As I was reading the chapter, I was constantly analysing the program Lankshear & Knobel suggest, and comparing to what I am experiencing in current curriculum. The first major difference in the curriculum noted in the text versus what students at CU Denver Masters in Information and Learning Technologies program experience was some limited face to face and group instruction. The MA program at CU Denver is completely online. Students may meet face to face if they reside in the same relative geographic location, however many students in the program live in various ‘out of state’ locations. This changes the dynamic of the course. We did not work in groups in face to face or even telecommunicative means. We instead, entered a much broader network more similar to a MOOC. Where students created their blogs, set up Twitter accounts, and participated in the online practices as described by ds106. None of which are centralized in a typical classroom or even online practice of a university such as the use of a LMS. Canvas was used in the course as the LMS but it wasn’t by any means critical to the course and was only seldom used for logistic reasons. By doing this, students were expected to ‘pull’ information and resources from any number of places in the larger network of online social learning. In fact, in many instances fellow ‘ds106ers’ contributed to the more intimate conversations and inquisition on Twitter #CUDenver15 or on personal blogs of students. In essence, the course experience by CU Denver masters students can be viewed as many overlapping networks and communities of practice.

Although students did receive, help, guidance, comment, and critique from fellow students and members of the broader communities of practice online, there is a sense of isolation. This, at first, makes engagement challenging, especially during the first two weeks when ‘learning to be’ a digital story teller. However, reflecting upon the solitude of the experience in digital storytelling with CU Denver, I appreciated the autonomy and ability to ‘win or fail’ through my own desire to ‘pull’ in various directions. This of course, creates a more stressful situation perhaps, but the reality of the situation rapidly prepares students for meaningful participation on their own terms. Successes and failures are our own publicly seen. There’s no ‘secret’ LMS hiding intellectual gems from the world. This motivates participators to succeed because anyone, co-workers, colleagues, classmates, future employers, and the like, may have the ability to witness the products of the course, and perhaps it will mean something to someone else. In final reflection of this, I prefer to engage with ‘the rest of the world,’ instead of limiting Discourse and discourse to the secret minds and murmurings of the few who would choose to take a digital storytelling course that only uses a LMS.

“Because the ‘natural home’ of social learning is the everyday world of social practice at large, it maintains points of connection to human lives as trajectories in ways that are often lost by hiving off formal education into contrived spaces, time frames, and idiosyncratic ways of doing things.”
(Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 248-249).

Preparing The Next Generation

The second interesting part of chapter eight in Lankshear & Knobel describes scenarios in which ‘new literacies’ and social learning is deployed in K-12 settings. In short, this is inspiring and fascinating to me because what is described aligns with the focal topic ‘the importance of creative arts in education,’ and prepares young students for the world in which they live, whether they intend to go to college or not. According to Ken Robinson,

“In practice, teachers in all disciplines usually do, and should, use a wide repertoire of approaches. Sometimes teaching facts and information through direct instruction, sometimes facilitating exploratory group activities and projects. Getting that balance right, is what the art of teaching is all about.”
(Robinson, Ken Ph.D. 2015, Ch. 6).

What Lankshear & Knobel describe as ‘gamelike’ instruction at the Quest to Learn school, exemplifies social learning practices that are engaging both ‘push’ and ‘pull’ influences. Essentially, a pedagogy that is ‘balanced’ and relevant to the everyday practices of the times. Students understand complex identities in situated learning scenarios where they must assume the roles of designers, scientists, historians, mathematicians, inventors, etc. These roles are assumed by the deployment of various quests that include group and solitary activity. (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 247). What’s really inspiring, is the curriculum spelled out in the Lankshear and Knobel text. In summation, I have taken points from the text to provide in list form. This can be understood as:
  1. “Five key conditions for learning: sharing, reflecting, responding to and providing feedback, evaluation, and distributing knowledge and understanding.”
  2. “Three competency dimensions: Civic/Social-Emotional Learning, Design, and Content. Across these dimensions include: learning for well-being and emotional intelligence; design and innovation; complexity (or ‘systemic reasoning’); critical thinking, judgement and credibility; learning using a design methodology; and learning using smart tools (ibid.: 46).”
  3. “Five learning practices: system thinking, play design, intelligent resourcing, meaning production, and tinkering (ibid.: 66).” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 248-249).
The list is impressive by higher education standards let alone K-12. If these things are truly engaged one can see extreme value of pedagogy that brings these things out through social learning and creative thought processes. All of these things are, in essence, designed to develop one’s way of ‘doing or being’ along the trajectory of their lives. The ultimate goal of this trajectory is to become mature learners who can engage by various means and roles necessary to solve problems, or at the very least, be literate or know how to become literate in ‘new literacies.’ (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 252-253). Additionally, these learning trajectories, in theory, should create ‘prepared’ students for college or life in general.

Designing To Learn

It is in these practices of social learning and ‘new literacies’ that I find great passion and motivation to implement new pedagogy into the design classes I teach. The next semester is just around the corner but there is still some time to plan and implement a few of the many great things I learned this semester. Although I am not sure it is possible to do so, I am starting to think through some of the questions I have about applying social learning and online practices such as: Can students set up blogs to post and discuss their assignments? What platforms and social networks are best for design students to engage? Other than the LMS, how can I engage students outside of the classroom in hybrid courses? Will these social learning practices be accepted by the college where I teach? Will my students be motivated to engage in social learning? How does this all align with the competencies of the courses I teach? In truth, to address all of these things may be a huge undertaking. For the moment it is worth focusing on a few things that will promote engagement and relevance to ‘the everyday lives’ of design students. For the future, I dream of design MOOCs and ‘game like’ scenarios. I know if I continue on my own ‘trajectory’ by designing to learn, many great things are possible.

New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning Third Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel. McGraw-Hill Education 2011.

Aronica, Lou; Robinson, Ken Ph.D. Creative Schools the Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education. 2015. Narr. Robinson, Ken Ph.D. Tantor Media. May 8, 2015. Accessed June 20, 2015. Digital File.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

'Pulling' Things Together: Week 6 Reflective Practice

Week 6 Collage


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

The Daily Create (x2)
Fish Out of Water - Boundaries Exercise tdc1276

Look at all the people - hyperbolic tiling tdc1285

DS106 Assignment Bank (Web Assignment)
What Is Your Passion Archetype Character Buzzfeed Quiz

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

Comment peer critiques (x2)
Critique: Machinima- The Druid: Tree of Life - (A WoW Machinima by Nixxiom)

Mash-Up Lecture Series

Comment peer chapter responses (x2)
Chapter 7. Pedagogical Implications
New Literacies Review (Ch. 7) – An Need for a Changing Education System

Reflective summary
'Pulling' Things Together: Week 6 Reflective Practice

What was challenging?

Creating the buzzfeed quiz was the most challenging part of the week. I developed this assignment over the course of the week. I researched multiple intelligence theory and practiced several multiple intelligence assessment tests in order to craft it. I completed several versions of the quiz and opened it up to friends and family before I published it to work out some of the kinks. Ironing out the questions, the images used, and results was the most time consuming and challenging. I would have liked more time to test the quiz before I made it available but it’s hard to do everything I would like to do in the short amount of time available for these weekly assignments.

What was most enjoyable?

Overall I must say many people that took the Buzzfeed quiz after I posted on Facebook and Twitter commented saying the result seemed right for them. Seeing people comment or discuss their results from the Buzzfeed quiz was the most enjoyable part of the week. And some also mentioned they took the other self-assessment multiple intelligence test to see how they scored there as well. The idea of exposing people to this knowledge through a fun and humorous test designed for social media is inspiring.

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

Chapter seven in the L&K text clarified what I was suggesting from week one - ‘mastery’ is a part of diving in to these ‘new literacies.’ It takes countless hours to develop true skill in various areas of interest fueled by passion. Finding these passions at an early age through diverse learning practices and exploring creative arts is essential to provide a backbone in understanding many of the ‘new literacy’ practices and online social learning.

Points earned 10/10?

I pushed myself again to deliver a quality ds106 assignment. I also participated in social media discussions throughout the week regarding area of focus and course topics. I really felt like my response to the L&K text felt natural and effortless because it answered many of the questions I was begging to know the answer to since week one. I give myself 10/10 points this week.

New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning Third Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel. McGraw-Hill Education 2011.

Look at all the people - hyperbolic tiling tdc1285

Colorful People Hyperbolic Tiling tdc1285
Dailycreate tdc1285
This is a great way to synthesize art with math to make pretty visuals by formulas.
You can make your own with the help of this website:

Saturday, July 18, 2015

What Is Your Passion Archetype Character Buzzfeed Quiz

Archetype Collage (Buzzfeed quiz cover)

What are your natural aptitudes? Based very loosely off of multiple intelligences. Are you the Artist, the Technologist, the Naturalist, the Performer, the Musician, the Poet, the Athlete, Puzzle Fighter, or the Renaissance Man or Woman?

Diana Ziv -

A Meaningful Assignment

This week I focused on Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory and Ken Robinson’s The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. In so many ways this scholarship resonated with chapter seven in the Lankshear and Knobel text as well as my focal theme ‘the importance of creative arts in education.’ I wanted to find a ds106 assignment that could help me synthesize scholarship with ‘new literacies’ application. The literacy dimensions and cultural appreciation in order to craft a Buzzfeed personality quiz that has humor and meaning is really challenging. To create a quiz in this nature, one must use writing skills, logic, artistic, and technical ability. This is exactly why I chose to do this assignment: WebAssignments, WebAssignments1641. I wanted to ‘apply’ multiple intelligences and share this theory with others. I believe understanding and application of this theory as teachers and learners, one can better know oneself or their students. This understanding leads to better study habits or lesson planning and engagement. It’s important to note that as a teacher, this would also mean catering to several different types of learners, thus, why it is important to practice creative arts disciplines through synthesis of core subject curriculums. If you are new to Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory, I suggest watching this brief video here.

After watching the video take a short self assessment test. With the results of the assessment in mind, then take the Buzzfeed quiz. The Buzzfeed quiz is intended to add an extra dimension to the concept of multiple intelligences. In that it suggests you may favor certain roles or archetypical characters. It is this idea of these ‘characters’ that makes the ‘just for fun’ Buzzfeed assessment inspiring. As opposed to Howard Gardner’s classification such as “visual-spatial,” the Buzzfeed quiz suggest you are an artist or a designer. Not just any artistic character, Salvador Dali, was in fact the artifact image I chose to represent artists. I think by using artifacts in this way, it has great meaning to the test takers. Perhaps more meaning than knowing one is ‘logical’ or ‘visual-spatial’? Or for test takers that are unfamiliar with the chosen artifact it gives them an opportunity to click the link for the source image and read about the character represented. All things considered, this assignment for myself, and I hope the test takers, is meaningful and fun. (This is for entertainment purposes but some may still find the quiz inciteful).

Take the Buzzfeed Quiz

Crafting a Buzzfeed quiz

At first, I brushed off the Buzzfeed quiz as something that may be relatively easy to do. I’ve made quizzes before as an instructor, but actually, the dimensions to the Buzzfeed quizzes are far greater than a typical quiz you may give students in a brick and mortar classroom. For instance, every question requires a picture which then needs to be given appropriate credits and linkage. These images as cultural artifacts are intended to have meaning to a vast number of people. So the breadth of cultural knowledge to consider is challenging and then also the choice of one cultural artifact over another. 

Then there’s the questions - witty, meaningful, with a little bit of tact (hopefully not too offensive). Also embedded in each question there are three answers. For each answer, the quiz maker can assign a result and this is the tricky part. The way in which the answers are phrased (biased of course) can mean more or less probability for one result over another. For example:

Q1: I like to paint, draw, or create things.

A1: Yes, Creating art is my life.

A2: No, Art is boring.

A3: Sometimes, When I feel inspired.

If “No” is selected, I can assign that result to ‘logical’ or ‘technical’ based characters as they are, in my mind, the opposite of artistic. This is a stereotype of course but the Buzzfeed quizzes, in my experience, are intended to be funny and rely on these stereotypes. Just like a good comic makes his or her jokes relatable to the audience, they use artifacts that rely on stereotypes - it’s part of humanity and culture. Ultimately, these responses to the 20 total questions created 60 possible answers to sort through. I decided to make equal chances for each character result and after I tested this it was too boring. I tested the offline quiz and had a few friends and family members take it as well. I took the quiz at least 10-15 times and I tried to enter a frame of mind of each character to result in that character. I had to spice up the responses a little to make it more funny to engage the audience.

I added the characters here for amusement. There are 10 different characters so chances are you will only result in a couple. I hope you enjoy the quiz!

The Artist
You might be good at creating compelling imagery, sculpted objects, or motion graphics. You observe the world and interpret it through artistic expression. You thrive in disorder and lack of income.

The Designer
You seek order and perfection in all things man-made. You may practice drawing, CAD, 3D modeling, and building structures… and sometimes you may also practice obsessive compulsive disorder.

The Technologist
You specialize in using technology to your advantage. You may be good at coding and (or) electrical engineering. You have an intimate relationship with your computer(s).

The Naturist
You love nature. You often long to be outdoors. You may enjoy hiking, gardening, and taking care of pets or domestic animals. Baths are optional.

The Performer
You like being in the spotlight. You may like to dance, act, or play and sing music on stage or in front of the camera. Your excellent at ignoring the strange looks in public transit for reenacting all the parts from entire plays.

The Musician
You enjoy listening and (or) creating music. You find meaning and purpose in experiencing life through music and can’t live without it. When lacking inspiration, you may find interesting places to put tattoos and piercings.

The Poet
You relate to the world through words. You may like blogging, writing in a journal, or creating poetry. Your favorite past time may be curling up with a good book or correcting your best friend’s grammar mistakes.

The Athlete
You can’t sit still for more than 10 minutes. You seek physical activities and competition where you can exhibit your athletic tendencies. You were once diagnosed with ADHD and refused to take your meds… then proceeded to literally climb all the walls in your school.

The Puzzle Fighter
You enjoy exercises in logic. You may be good at solving rubiks cubes, Pi, and the mysteries of the universe. You may enjoy studying the molecular structures of various types of cheeses through sniff tests.

The Renaissance Man or Woman
You excel at many things and you find variety stimulating. You thrive when you can use your multiple talents to solve problems. When bored, you may find yourself looking for employment in a completely different profession or applying to graduate school… again.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Artistic Fan Remix: Critique of Ken Robinson on Flourishing

Voice: Sir Ken Robinson, Director: Jim Batt, Artist: Molly Crabapple

As part of the continued practice in digital storytelling, in INTE 5340 MA ILT at CU Denver, I will consume a digital stories and offer critiques. Until now the course has focused on Jason Ohler’s assessment traits as criterions to assess stories. For the remainder of the critiques in the course, I will focus on “everyday remix practices” as described in the Lankshear and Knobel text New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning Third Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel, on pages 127-140.

Kind of Remix: Fanfiction short movies (if one must be chosen from L&K text)

Three Literacy Dimensions:

1. From making movie trailers: “May involve knowing how to include written text in the remixed video to help convey new storyline.”

2. From creating fanfiction: “Understanding the structure and purpose of narratives and using this to guide writing.”

3. From creating fan art: “Being able to draw/paint etc.”

“May involve knowing how to include written text in the remixed video to help convey new storyline.”

Molly Crabapple, the artist creating the painted images in the video, does a great job of accentuating the narrative by Ken Robinson. She does this by very artistically including choice words into the story being painted. These words are painted large in some parts of the animation to emphasis points, other times the words are positioned by the cat characters such as holding a sign, or thought bubbles. This ultimately takes place to create another clever story using cat characters doing various things. Overall the combination of text and characters creates a new story while still supporting the narrative.

“Understanding the structure and purpose of narratives and using this to guide writing.”

The creators of this animation clearly have a great understanding of the narrative provided by Ken Robinson. The whole animation keeps pace with Ken Robinson’s words, thus the animation had to be planned to keep up with spoken word. This must have been challenging because there are different pauses and pace throughout the narrative. In addition to adhering to the structure of speech, the narrative directly guided the paintings in relative time with each other. This seems like a very challenging process to keep sync but the animation makes this look effortless.

“Being able to draw/paint etc.”

When I first watched this video I took for granted that Molly was painting this. I thought it was a marker or pen. Then I saw her splash paint on the page and I noticed the pool of paint on the sides and the brushes. I started to really pay attention to the craftsmanship and detail and it’s amazing there are very little, if any, visible errors. There is poetry in the creative expression by this ability to paint and what is being said in the narrative. That people are creative and talented and should “flourish” if given the opportunity to practice things which they are interested in.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Can Feel The Pull: A Response to Lankshear & Knobel Chapter 7

"New Literacies" Lankshear & Knobel cover with 'pull' sticker


Chapter seven in New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning Third Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel was like listening to the preacher preach to the choir. One of my mantras all semester has been ‘mastery.’ The mastery that develops in one’s skill by practices in creativity that lead to broader ability in ‘new literacies,’ or the ability to solve a variety of problems by utilizing various approaches through diverse practices in social learning. This may involve being keen to understanding multiple intelligences, and the ability to switch from one mode of learning to another. Or ‘learning to be’ through communities of practice and deep learning (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 218-219). Many of the participators on ds106, and my fellow classmates in the CU Denver Masters in Information and Learning Technologies program, myself included, are learning to do many different things for the first time. We are learning through our frustrations and comparisons to others in the broader ds106 network that we may be much less proficient in ‘the thing’ we are attempting to do than somebody else. This is mostly because we have not been exposed to it through traditional modes of education and practice. Or we previously did not have much interest in the subject. We are not taught any of the many great things we are trying to do by some regimented classroom. We are taking the initiative to ‘self teach’ and let others in the affinity groups to which we belong, help us, critique us, and praise us. We have perhaps never been so frustrated, but at the same time, never been so rewarded for our efforts by the sense of belonging to the affinity groups and broader networks to which we are ultimately trying to engage or reach. Although myself and my colleagues may not consider ourselves masters in any of these ‘new literacies’ which we study, at least we now have the appreciation to know what it takes to develop these skills and masteries through online social engagement, and ‘grit.’

“At the heart of Gee and Hayes’ discussion is what they see as the significance of ‘grit,’ understood as a disposition that combines ‘persistence plus passion’ (ibid.: 67) for experiencing success under current and foreseeable social, economic, ‘globalizing’, and epistemic conditions.”
(Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 227).

A World in Peril

In further synthesis of the Lankshear and Knobel text with my focal theme, ‘the importance of creative arts in education,’ I looked at Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory and Ken Robinson’s The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. In so many ways this scholarship resonated with chapter seven in the Lankshear and Knobel text. The primary statement, of all three scholarships suggest, simply put, - we are not preparing students in the current dominate educational practices for the future, rather, we are preparing them for test taking and regurgitation of learnt material by superficial means. In other words, as Lankshear and Knobel call it, the “push” model. Where educational systems are designed by governing bodies and ‘pushed’ into the schools for consumption (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 221). Or as Ken Robinson would emphasise, this as an industrial model for education when we are, in fact, living in a postmodern society. Which then brings us to the ‘pull.’ The pull from society to make education relevant to the everyday practices of our time and, in theory, our future. Who knows what problems will need to be addressed in the future? We can suggest a few, such as global warming or rapid consumption of resources, or over population. Essentially, the inability to sustain life, as we know it, on our planet. How will we solve these problems?

Another Paradigm Shift

Ken Robinson, Howard Gardner, Lankshear and Knobel, and many others would suggest the problems of the world will not be solved by the ‘push’ model. That’s why we may be at odds with the world and the traditional education system. It’s no longer relevant to our everyday lives. Thus, we are experiencing the revolution that is the transition to the ‘pull’ model.

“This ‘big shift’ entails a move from the familiar ‘push’ paradigm toward an emergent ‘pull’ paradigm as the conditions for ‘being successful’ change.”
(Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 227).

As Lankshear and Knobel describe ‘pull,’ they call attention to ‘platforms.’ Platforms like Twitter, or Facebook, or Wikipedia, or ds106. Essentially, places where collaborative learning can happen, where resources can be gathered, dispersed, and discussed (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 228-229). It is through these affinity groups that we create spontaneous learning and develop a sense of belonging that ultimately motivates people to participate, create, and ‘learn to be.’

I Can Feel The Pull

As a final note in chapter seven of Lankshear & Knobel “New Literacies,” they include a hint to what will be discussed in the next chapter “social learning into Master’s-level study” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 230). This made me think about my current experience at CU Denver ILT MA program. I can honestly say I would not be willing to participate in these courses if the pedagogy was not current and relevant. Furthermore, I am pursuing a Master’s degree in information and learning technology & education to hopefully be a part of these emerging technologies that are revolutionizing education and the world. In a short amount of time there is already a sense of fulfillment because of the practices in this course. I can’t wait to see what I will ‘learn to be’ as I continue my educational journey.

New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning Third Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel. McGraw-Hill Education 2011.

Aronica, Lou; Robinson, Ken Ph.D. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. 2009. Narr. Robinson, Ken Ph.D. Tantor Media. 2009. Accessed July 13, 2015. Hoopla.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fish Out of Water - Boundaries Exercise tdc1276

Ds106 tdc1276

1. Find two spaces that share a boundary
2. Do something to highlight or alter the relationship between those two spaces.

I chose to highlight the boundaries of fish and terrestrial beings. What would it be like to be a fish in a fish bowl? What would it be like for the fish to be walking on the ground or swimming through the air?

The visible, physical boundaries explored were created by the meniscus of the water and the edge of the ‘fish bowl,’ and the computer screen and the rest of the live world. This was created by filming a youtube video: Fish relaxation scene - real life fish swimming to their delight by PlayerResidentCraft through a wine glass half filled with water. I used Adobe Premier to cut the video and add some text and sounds. I had to learn how to use AP by looking at some tutorials. I browsed and found two tracks to use under creative commons for this project: ryanconway Underwater / Breathing and Robinhood76 WATER related sounds » 01643 underwater bubbles.wav

Boundaries - Zarouhie Abdalian | The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studios

What a great example of how to utilize 'art thinking' to solve problems. This is explored and demonstrated in the video and it was a fun exercise to practice as part of the ds106 daily creates.What kinds of boundaries exist in our everyday lives? Can you create something to highlight this to bring about discussion or change? Or perhaps make someone think in a new way?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

All Mashed Up - Week 5 Reflective Practice

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

The Daily Create (x2)
DS106 Assignment Bank (Mashup)
Internal production and discussion only. See analysis below.

Response to Lankshear & Knobel “New Literacies” chapter one and selected scholarship
Is Design Important? A Response to Lankshear and Knobel Chapter Five

Digital story critique
The Everyday Remix Practices of Teachers: A Critique of Christopher Emdin: Hip-Hop and the Remix of Science Education

Comment peer chapter responses (x2)
What's a Blog?

The Perfect Storm - Ch. 5 Response

What was challenging?

Week 5 presented many challenges. The first part of the week I spent looking at copyright research and in regards to educational uses and remixes in particular. In short, it’s still very vague what can be construed as ‘infringement.’ What I have concluded is that it is better to be safe sorry. It’s important to try to clarify ‘ownership of others’ as much, and in as many ways, as necessary. I don’t believe most of the remixes as seen by others on ds106 do the best job of doing this or making it abundantly clear where source material is derived. But because I am a professional self-employed artist and designer it’s really important for me to understand and respect copyright concerns as much as possible. It’s also important to consider that many others don’t share the same view or opinions as expressed in the Lankshear and Knobel text or on ds106. And there are others that are ignorant to the importance of culture as mentioned in the L&K text. For me I walk a fine line participating in some of the practices of this course because my superiors, co-workers, or clients may not understand these remixes as a cultural practice, rather, it may be viewed as trying to deliberately ‘copy’ someone else’s work. Or that, in some way, I may be un-capable of producing something original. I would not expect all of the viewers of my work to have read the same literature as myself in order to appreciate remixes as a cultural practice so these assumptions are in some ways fair by others.

The second most challenging part of this week was creating a music mash-up remix (ed reform themed) while trying to deliberately create new meaning in a transformative nature. There were many issues in regard to technicalities in Adobe Audition, but as those were overcome, new issues with music technicalities emerged. Once the music and sound issues were resolved then I had copyright issues to contend with. Internally, I struggled with this mashup assignment because of copyright so I decided not to make my mashup public. However I completed the assignment and write-up / analysis. This was really unfortunate for me because I felt like I did an exceptional job on the mashup and I paid considerable attention to many nuances that made it a bit more polished and easy to listen to.

What was most enjoyable?

My favorite part of my week was creating the music mash-up. I liked the sound and the finished product. In fact, I would like to make many more music remixes but after my experience with copyright concerns, I simply will not. I suppose the enjoyment will have to remain intrinsic. I would have enjoyed this week more if I could find clear evidence that these music mashups and remixes are not in fact infringement. Everything I read stated to “get permission from the copyright owner,” which is totally feasible to do, in a week, for a school assignment, with no money. Right? (sarcasm) I think with extended periods of time and planning it is possible to get ‘permissions’ from all copyright holders. But is there a cost associated with that? Is it challenging to get in touch with the copyright holders? How are restrictions of use negotiated? So many more questions about copyright and everyday remixes. I simply could not feasibly deal with all of the questions and concerns around this subject matter to deliver as I would have liked in less than one week.

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

This week I focused on some everyday practices of teachers who integrate creativity into their lessons of ‘core’ subjects to promote engagement and interest of students. Namely, the work of Chris Emdin, a science educator that integrates poetry and hip-hop into his lessons. What I learned from this is that there are many unique ways to integrate creativity to promote interest in the classroom. The way in which creative activities enrich core subjects is demonstrated by Chris. However, for Chris, his unique way of using hip-hop is appropriate for the demographics or urban population where he teaches. This method may not apply to other areas in the country or world. It should be noted that subject matter and methods to integrate creativity should, in as many ways as possible, be relevant to the students. Finding this relevance requires ‘strong ties’ to the community and culture of the school district, individual school, classroom, and the individual students.

Points earned 10/10?

I exhausted myself again this week. I’ve researched subject matter beyond my focal theme. I’ve engaged with others about their focal themes.I participated in discussions about copyright with other ‘ds106er’s’ outside of this course. I spent significant time and effort crafting a remix that has a lot of meaning to my focal subject. I responded to other students questions as a response to the L&K text. In summation, engagement and research was above and beyond the course requirements for exemplary grades. However because I could not find a clear way to make my remix public I have to give myself 9/10 points.

New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning Third Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel. McGraw-Hill Education 2011.

Elephant Element Drawing tdc1278

Elephant Element Drawing
"From The Sketchnote Workbook. We can draw everything with these 5 basic elements. Shall we try it? Find a complex subject for your composition and draw it using only circles, squares, triangles and dots!" -tdc1278

I am not sure it is the intent of Mike Rhode for us to create a drawing of a "complex subject" in this fashion. In my brief introduction to his work it appears the intent is to show how one can draw 'symbolically' for rapid communication and thought processes. However the tdc asked for a complex subject and to draw it with basic shapes. A remixed assignment in it's own right? So here we have it, "Elephant Element Drawing."

 I first drew a rough sketch of the forms using simple shapes (you can see the under drawing I kept highly visible). Perhaps like the forms are described similarly to a low-polygon 3D model. On top of that rough sketch I added texture and shade to the forms by use of circles and triangles only. This type of technique works really well for something so textural like an elephant. I had some brushes that I made in Photoshop some time ago that I know would work for this. I used a Wacom tablet to create this drawing after a photograph of an elephant I took many years ago.

Elephant Element Drawing (up-close)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Is Design Important? A Response to Lankshear and Knobel Chapter Five


In chapter five of New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning Third Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel the reader begins to take a detailed look at the practices of blogs and wikis. Much like the changes as seen in web 1.0 to web 2.0, it can be noted that the participation, authorship, and readership of blogs and wikis has changed dramatically since the development and implementation of accessible user interfaces and publishing mediums. Lankshear and Knobel mention this when referring to the limitation of blogs as seen in the 90’s, because blogging in the 90’s required some knowledge of HTML. Fifteen years later, we can see the explosion of blogs, and microblogging in conjunction with social media and accessibility on mobile devices. The result of this ease of access and mobility is diverse content and practices amongst bloggings offering multi-faceted dimensions of engagement in our lives (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 142-144).


Interestingly enough, as Lankshear and Knobel refer to research by Eric Baumer, Mark Sueyoshi, and Bill Tomlinson, “most research on blogs focuses on either the blog itself or the blogger, rarely, if at all focusing on the reader’s impact despite the interactive nature of blogs as a medium.” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 145). Perhaps this is due to the somewhat relaxed nature of blogging and the views which expressed on blogs are typically opinionated, personal narratives. This may or may not be interesting to read based on one’s opinion, but as a collective of blogs, such as the ‘multi-blogger’ Project Runway example given by Lankshear and Knobel, one may find deep interest in the various opinions and accounts of the blogs and responses to posts (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 147,148). The blogging of ‘Project Runway’ evolved over time as technologies evolved and the blogging community grew. In summation, Lankshear and Knobel describe the Blogging of Project Runway as ‘full-fledged cultural practice.’

“The Blogging of Project Runway “is no single blogging practice. It has evolved massively over time: from a static, post facto, monomodal medium to a multi-temporal, multimodal medium which, durings seasons, functions as a real-time mediator of the TV show - but still with the original purpose of enriching fans’ experience of the show."
(Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 156).


In short, wikis are a community of practice, a collaborative work of writing, data, media, and links which people develop and share about a subject over time and space. Wikis can be ‘online’ or ‘offline’ or only available on an intranet, such as typically seen in many places of work where proprietary information would not be seen publicly. Lankshear and Knobel refer to Halatchliyski (and colleagues) who identify “three dimensions of wikis as a medium for knowledge building: content, discursive, and network.” Essentially, content being ‘epistemic artifact’, discursive being ‘scaffolding’, and network being ‘connections.’ (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 164). Wikis can be seen as a collaborative practice and process which enables mentorship, meaning negotiation, and generation of new knowledge by the collective intelligence. (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p. 165)

Collaborative Documents

The last part of chapter five, comparatively, a footnote in the chapter briefly describes collaborative documents such as Google Docs. I think this is partially because the widespread use of such documents was not as prevalent when this book was written and subsequently published in 2011. Because I use Google Docs on an everyday basis since 2011, rather than summarize the text, I will describe from my own experience. From my own accounts, I could see the rise in use of Google Docs in my own places of works from 2011-2015. Now two of the three companies I work for rely heavily on Google Docs to collaboratively collect and track data from multiple team members, vendors, and partners. And recently, as a grad student I can see professors in the Information and Learning Tech department at UC Denver SEHD use these google docs to share syllabuses and other resources with colleagues, students, and sometimes the greater public. In fact, for the course which I am writing this response, I have various folders on Google Drive setup for production and I refer to the syllabus created in Google Docs by the professor.

The main appeal to using Google Docs is that it is more privatized collaboration if you want it to be. Also the documents save automatically and they can be accessed on mobile devices. One could start writing a paper in a lab, then continue working on the paper on their mobile device on the train ride, then again in their study at home, or at the coffee shop, or social meet-up, etc. Additionally, documents that used to be incredibly annoying to share and update, i.e. spreadsheets, can now be shared ‘live’ and viewed or worked on simultaneously. This is incredibly useful when you are collaborating with several co-workers and vendors throughout the country or world. Google for me, has taken the social practice of creating and emailing a spreadsheet to co-workers, which then gets passed on to a vendor, then back to me, and so forth, and simplified this exchange to one live collaborative process. In essence, collaborative documents have streamlined workflow, tracking, and collaboration and have enabled the ability to work seamlessly with many others in various time zones or locations throughout the world, from the comfort of one’s home or from the cubicle on the 40th floor of an office building.

How does this relate to the subjects of scholarship?

How does this all relate to digital storytelling or creative arts education? As can be seen by ‘ds106er’s,’ and the students in the CU Denver digital storytelling course, the comprehensive list of blogs shared on ds106 is astonishing. Each of which describes one’s journey to become literate in these ‘new literacies’ and collaborate with the greater digital storytelling community at large. One begins to construct an identity, and record of personal narrative as they sequentially make blog posts over time. To me, blogging is the fundamental framework for which to craft and share one’s story. The comments and feedback and subsequent sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc., acts as the means for which others to critique one’s work and add to the collective of shared experiences and intelligences.

Although my scholarship in ‘the importance of creative arts in education’ this week did not directly address wikis or blogs, it’s not too much of a stretch to suggest blogging and creating wikis are social practices that involve many creative endeavors such as design and layout, photo-manipulation, creative writing, and a host of other technical skills that contribute to the overall function and design of a blog or wiki. Seemingly simple things like: What font should be used? What layout looks best? What colors evoke a certain meaning? All have bearing on the overall aesthetics and functional use of a blog or wiki yet seldom are these design topics focused upon in typical schooling. As it is now one may learn these things through trial and error and personal interest until they develop an eye for visual design aesthetics. That’s why things like ds106 are so great for the continued development of one’s craft that ultimately contributes to their maturity in ‘new literacies’ and critical eye for design.


I found chapter five relatively easy to grasp as I actively engage in most of the things described in the chapter in my professional and school lives. I’m not sure if this is why I did not find profound meaning in this chapter, or if it is because I am somewhat disinterested in Project Runway? I focused on the remix practices of teachers for my scholarship research this week and I did not stumble across any relative use of blogging or wikis in that search to relate or ‘synthesis’ with this chapter’s material. I suppose questions for my classmates and colleagues remain: How does one learn to effectively use design in their blog? In other words, develop a sensibility for type font, layout, and design principles. Is this something that is or should be learned in school? How confident should digital storytellers be with design sensibilities; is it important?

New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning Third Ed by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel. McGraw-Hill Education 2011.