Sunday, June 19, 2016

Week Two: Weekly Reflection: Life Meets ILT5340

This has been a really interesting week.  I have been playing around with a lot of ideas--starting with remixing.  The Lankshear and Knobel reading really emphasized some of the technical aspects of what exactly was happening during a remix and I felt really got into the technicalities so much that they overlooked how remixing may also change how the remix is understood and perceived by individuals who were consuming the remix.  I noticed this is several of the comments by my colleagues on the piece as well.

I also really enjoyed some of the recommended articles which I found very helpful for my own practice and understanding.  I appreciate the broad differences in the approaches of the recommended readings and the contribution they are really making to my exploration of change, transitions and risk-taking.  I am also enjoying the flexibility to explore academic, peer-reviewed articles and then juxtaposing that research oriented approach with a more experiential approach which explores how individuals are constructing their own meaning within this digital space.  I was and will continue to be fascinated by the concept of a 'collapsed context' which I discovered during my own research this week and which I referred to at length in my reading critique this week.  This is a really interesting idea which was completely new to me.  It is not often that I stumble across something new since my dissertation literature review is nearly complete.  So while I now have a very valuable addition to the literature review, I also have another way of thinking about digital spaces and creation.

Since this is my focus theme for the summer, as I am reading and exploring the various readings and daily creates, it seems that this is a theme that is pervasive.  I am not particularly having difficulty finding interesting and even provocative digital stories which easily accompany this theme.  Nearly every digital story explores this theme from multiple perspectives.

This was also an incredibly personal week.  With the events in Orlando at both Pulse and Walt Disney World, I found it difficult to distance myself from my own feelings of empathy and sympathy.  I despise the 24 hour news cycle in that it smothers us with information before the information can even be verified.  At the same time, I was moved enough by my own experiences with my own children at Walt Disney World to filter my second daily create assignment through that particular lens.  Yes, I have an interest in emotional intelligence and empathy which has worked its way into my academic research--but I chose that as an area of research because I believe there is something about empathy which is worth researching and understanding.  I was very much surprised at the sheer emotional impact the Orlando tragedies had upon me.  I was equally surprised that it filtered into this class as a means of expressing empathy and my shared feelings for the families.

This was true with the audio daily create as well.  I chose a very evocative piece of music that speaks to me in many different ways.  Is it about empathy?  I do not know--but what I do know is that the experience of listening to music is qualitatively different from listening to a lecture or a TED talk.  It takes us down a different set of neural pathways and while I am not an expert and I am certain that a significant body of research exists already, my experience with music tells me that it inspires me differently than the spoken and written word.  That takes me directly back to the idea of medieval minstrals singing the stories from one age to the next.

So often in my research, life has intersected with courses--or maybe I am more attuned to listening for that intonation.  In any case, this has been an extremely interesting and valuable week.

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