Friday, July 1, 2016

Blogging as Story Telling

This week proved to be a better one for me in the course.  I found the Davies and Merchant chapter to be intriguing primary because it forced me to look at blogging from a different point of view.  I am still not completely certain that I even view blogging as a form of digital story telling.  This may be because my experience with digital story telling has been about creating narratives--and stories about our lives and experiences.  I never considered the collaborative work we are doing in hypothesis to be digital story telling-or even story telling.  For me at this time, it is creating community around a shared work space which allows for multiple points of view and modalities to be shared, expanded upon.  Upon further reflection the concept of re-mixing from Week 3 begins to appear as a very real part of the work we are doing online.

One idea that keeps reappearing in all the readings for me is this connection between creating identity through digital media.  From a developmental psychology perspective many of our students are creating identities and trying on new identities as they work to find out who they are in the context of their families and communities.  I have started exploring this idea of  identity formation through digital story telling and spent most of my week exploring research on this particular thread. This is a reoccurring theme for me as I really struggle on many levels with how adolescents form identity in a digital world where personas can be created and discarded--and judged by others.  The primary issue I have is that when the world is virtual and it is impossible to tell who is representing the best of their authentic selves versus those who are creating a persona or a new identity for themselves, can an adolescent use the judgement and comments of others to assist in identity formation as a real barometer or calibration for their beliefs and actions?

This is a question that comes up in the comments section of our groups hypothesis often--along with the blurring of public and private lives.  I was challenged by Remi's response to a comment I made about teachers being coached to keep public identities separate from private identities thaMy opinion is that such coaching - and even such policy - is a detriment to educator agency and prevents school from serving more democratic ends. "

I find this interesting--because in K-12 education, this has largely come about as inappropriate relationships have been formed -- often through social media--between students and teachers.   I know I have worked in districts where social media contact between students and teachers is a violation of district policies.  Those policies were designed to limit the opportunities for inappropriate behavior and actions between students and teachers.  Is there a happy medium in this?  I suspect that in my district, the use of hypothesis would be strongly discouraged if not forbidden altogether because of the possibilities for public annotations which could not be vetted before they were posted.  How do we balance those areas in our schools?

I am also very interested in explore the idea of Openness in our current system.  At this point in time, it appears that some districts maintain a very top down approach to what is available for teachers to use or employ in their classrooms.  I happen to have worked in a district last year where the IT department literally dictated what we could use and how we could use it.  The idea of using open resources would have been anathema to that department.  I found myself contrasting the situation I have worked in against the Becker article on open PD and really felt like I had experienced a situation where the IT department was driving what happened in classrooms rather than the student's needs driving what occurred in the IT department.  It feels very intuitive now to stop and think through things like an 'approval' process for open resources.  I am also more and more skeptical of corporate led professional development which seems driven more by a product than by student or staff need to solve a problem.  I wonder what possibilities might come to fruition if we intentionally engineered serendipity through letting individuals sit in a room together and see what percolates to the top in terms of design, problem solving and solutions.  We have missed the boat on this type of organic work that truly can change what we are doing.

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