Saturday, July 30, 2016

Final Reflection and Portfolio

I have had some serious fun in this course. For my final portfolio, I used MS Office Mix to create a narrated video. Hopefully, it's not too long but contains some of my thinking from a journal I kept during the summer to help me organize my thoughts week by week. The creation of the Office Mix was incredibly powerful for me as it really is a lengthy reflection of my thoughts through the summer. I think my work has changed my thinking.    As a critical reader, of the texts,  I found myself continually attempting to draw links or to even to see links between what was happening in class and what was happening in other areas of my research and professional life.  I do not know if it was serendipity, coincidence, or that I simply have begun to see these webs as I work to decompartmentalize my thinking about teaching, learning, and schools.
Lankshear and Knobel really reshaped how I thought about digital literacy and storytelling.  I have been so focused upon digital storytelling as a shared narrative.  Part of this is through the work that I have done with Narrative 4, which is a non-profit organization seeks to, "build a community of empathic global citizens who improve the world through the exchange of personal narratives."

As I read the various readings by Lanksear and Knobel, I began to let go of my myopic view of digital storytelling and broaden my thoughts around it.  In fact my first story critique was of an audio story.  I is a dual or shared narrative which is something I am profoundly interested in.  However, it did not contain any video--it was simply a shared audio narrative.  That in itself was powerful and uncluttered.

I found the idea of literacy as developing a contextualized understand compelling.  To understanding literacy as simply a de-coding competency no longer seems adequate.  We living in increasingly complex and ambiguous contexts which require a deeper understanding and relational ability than we may have required even 20 years ago.  I see increasingly stronger threads in shared experience, collaboration, and the ability to create a shared experience in a digital space.  I believe that this will only become more important in the collapsed digital spaces we live and work in.

I continue to be fascinated by the profound ideas surrounding re-mixing and ownership.  As I watch my students and others deeply engaged in the fanfic movement, I realize that they are creating something new and extending previous creative works not only to entertain themselves, but to share and create community and relationships with others.  Understanding this phenomenon in a social-cultural context allows us to understand how affinity groups are created, and re-created through digital media.  Again, prior to this course, I had not considered how valuable this might be in identity formation and literacy development.

If I had to point to a singular experience in the course which truly changed how I looked at collaboration, it would be the hypothesis flash mob. I was doubtful at the outset.  However, once I got into the 'conversation' I can clearly see multiple ways to use this in classrooms at my school.  I will admit my new staff is skeptical and I may have to launch a hypothesis flash mob of my own to show them how this may work in a very positive way for our high school students.

I appreciated several articles which I thought addressed important elements of creating culture and identity in a digital context.  I completely resonated with the Scott Campbell article, "Being Alone in the Digital Era."  We are so bombarded with input through our digital devices that solitude becomes essential and unplugging becomes a discipline rather than a natural course of daily events.

I mentioned in my Mix presentation how much of this course was influenced by the course of daily events this summer.  It has been such a tumultuous few weeks and the readings which challenged ideas of white privilege and race in America.  I took Shelley Zion's course on Power and Privilege several years ago where intense discussions occurred.  Professor Zion was amazing--but it really forced me far outside my comfort zone.  I found myself outside of my comfort zone again--as it is clear that privilege and race are conversations that we need to continually engage in.  Digital spaces can create spaces where these conversations can happen.

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