Backstory Driving into work I was listening to NPR and they were interviewing Nikki Giovani a poet from Virginia Tech. In high school I was one of those people who really suffered reading the The Red Wheelbarrow and other non-rhyming poems. They irritated me in the same way people seem to be annoyed by White Paintings or 4’33”. In any case, in college I took lots of English classes. One of those classes was on poetry with Donna Hickey. The class selection was driven more by fitting my schedule and a vague notion that I might minor in English rather than any real interest in poetry. The first day of class she had everyone list their favorite poets. I don’t recall what people chose but I remember feeling like my choices of Shel Silverstein and Dr. Suess was not of the same category. In any case, I had a great deal of fun with the course and using poems as games and puzzles to think around and through. I later took a graduate course with Dr. Hickey1 in poetry and made my first digital liberal arts website around 2001 or 2002. It focused on breaking down various Richard Hugo poems and creating attempts at multimedia experiences.2 That stuff is all long gone from the UR website. I might have backup […]
I had the chance to talk to the kind folks from Middlebury about digital fluency Friday. I’ll probably do a better job getting into the depth of things with this as I was moving pretty rapidly for the 20 minute presentation. It’s also super-meta in a way that’s hard to articulate verbally so I’m going to try to use digital elements to allow that to surface more obviously. You can view the original presentation in the reveal.js framework here.1 I thought this was funny. I considered translating it to French to further emphasize the “this is not a pipe” thing but after surveying a few people in the office I became less confident anyone would know what I was talking about and I would have to rely on Google Translate for the French which seemed risky given Middelbury’s language focus. Part of what I wonder, now even more than a few years ago, is what people are thinking when they talk about digital fluency. There’s just so much there and it’s so entwined with so many other things. My goal was to have people vote on a 1-5 scale on how complex an example of digital fluency by holding up their fingers. That didn’t work to well because Zoom doesn’t let you do the gallery view of participants when you […]
I was asked to speak at the VCU School of Education’s Teaching Literacy in a Digital World Conference this past Saturday. I’ve haven’t spent much time thinking about “digital literacy” in the past few years. It’s been somewhat mashed together with other terms that overlap like- digital fluency, computational thinking, etc. – and like those terms there’s not much agreement on what it is. I glanced at a few definitions prior to making this but didn’t really stick with one. When Dr. Leila Christenbury started the conference she referenced the “find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet” definition of digital literacy so I added that while I waited and it makes as good a framework as anything else. A chunk of the presentation is on GitHub here or you can fork it here. I opted to do the presentation with reveal.js and on GitHub mainly because I need to be expanding my own competencies (digital and otherwise). I struck the “differently” portion because I wanted to orient things more towards the idea of doing things and didn’t want people getting caught up in the nuances of whether it was really “different.” This was an attempt to connect with the audience. I believed they were mainly k12 teachers or faculty in the School of Ed (who […]
If it seems like I’m playing lately it is because I am. The last week or so has been an exploration of all sorts of fairly odd things. Markov chains, Twitterbots, McRibs1, photo walks to name a few items. These are easy things to dismiss as trivial. It’s not necessarily obvious how these strange wanderings connect back to outcomes that other people may want or how they mesh with the idea of online learning at VCU. I believe that’s because we’ve created a belief that (in many things) we know both where we are (point A) and where want to go (point B) and that whatever gets us between these two points most “efficiently” is the best path. I’m going to try to both justify the value of a wandering path by pulling in pretty disparate examples2 from time/space with some recent examples of these wanderings coming to fruition. Similar patterns of over-narrowing happen in lots of areas. People tend to think they know lots of things they don’t.3 I see elements of this narrowing in terms of the echo chamber, the specification focused patterns of today’s world4, and the general lack of joy evident in work and school.5 Here’s a fairly typical pattern for me. Stage One – September 2011 On Sept. 22, 2011 at 10:48 PM6, I took […]
I take screenshots of things I think are strange or perhaps illuminate something about the strange world we now inhabit. Think of it as my personal take on The New Aesthetic. All of these images are pulled from my actual life and interactions with former classmates, friends, coworkers etc. There are a blurred out series of iffy pictures down there if you’re easily offended you might opt to skip this post. Laser toe fungus available now. Social media makes some really awkward conversations permanent. I am influential in Zoolander, very, very influential. This happened shortly before I deleted all of my authority. Some things you shouldn’t tweet from Harper’s Weekly Review(which would also make a great project). Laptops don’t even make the list any more. Strange times. The app-ification of education is proceeding at full speed. Reality doesn’t matter much and we’re losing the war of perception. These four images are someone’s Instagram likes posted in Facebook.I can’t believe he realized this would happen, yet here it is.Social media makes for some really uncomfortable juxtapositions. Modern day job benefits are not what they once were. Geek desks and monster monitors are pretty attractive to me though. Someone I follow re-tweeting CNN’s coverage of Greek issues showing up right next to Real Time WWII Tweets also dealing with Greek issues. Everything […]
I’ve spoken to the PTA at Tuckahoe Middle School for the last two years about social media. It’s been pretty interesting both times in that I take a closer look at things that I tend to take for granted. I think both conversations have gone pretty well. I’ll document the conversation below (mixed with a few things I did with our principals a while back) for anyone who might have to do the same. Introduction I start with a slide that mixes the pictures of as many radically different people with Twitter accounts as I can find. I get the audience to try to identify the people. The one I’m using now has the Dali Lama, Rupert Murdoch, Sarah Palin and a few others. My goal was to have a few easily identifiable people and a few that took a tiny bit more effort.1 I wanted a wide diversity in political views, ages, etc. After we’ve ID’d the people, I ask “What do these people have in common?”2 I mention that you’ve probably heard references to Twitter after shows like Good Morning America, etc. Hopefully this gets people into the mindset that Twitter (and social media in general) is becoming more broadly adopted and is being used by mainstream media. My next move is to argue against polarizing social media. […]
NBCLearn Safe and trustworthy – each resource is selected to be K-12 appropriate, and held to the highest NBC News Standards and Practices. Washington Post NBC told this blog today that it would investigate its handling of a piece on the “Today” show that ham-handedly abridged the conversation between George Zimmerman and a dispatcher in the moments before the death of Trayvon Martin. A statement from NBC: “We have launched an internal investigation into the editorial process surrounding this particular story.” Great news right there. As exposed by Fox News and media watchdog site NewsBusters, the “Today” segment took this approach to a key part of the dispatcher call: Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black. Here’s how the actual conversation went down: Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about. Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic? Zimmerman: He looks black. The difference between what “Today” put on its air and the actual tape? Complete: In the “Today” version, Zimmerman volunteered that this person “looks black,” a sequence of events that would more readily paint Zimmerman as a racial profiler. In reality’s version, Zimmerman simply answered a question about the race […]
Rocks are going to REVOLUTIONIZE education! Just look how easily rocks cover all levels of Bloom’s! Remembering I write things on my rocks and it helps me remember. I can also use rocks as eco-friendly flash cards. Understanding Comparing my rock to other rocks demonstrates my understanding. Sometime I categorize all of my rocks. Applying I apply what I know about physics and use my kinesthetic intelligence to skip my rock. Analyzing I like to use conglomerates to help me differentiate between components and analyze the role of different composite pieces. Evaluating Sometimes I just sit on a large rock, quietly reflecting on my rock- thinking about how we are all on a large rock and stuff like that. Creating My rock can be used to make many things. I use it as a hammer mostly but I can stack my rocks into cool towers, use it as a canvas, make it into an arrowhead, or use to ground grain.
In case you’re feeling masochistic, here’s my 5 minute Ignite style presentation on Henrico’s path to 21st century skills.1 You can see the other 5 min presentations here. It’s an interesting national look at what people are trying to do. I’m always interesting in how these things overlap. 1 Yes, I plan to transition to awkward PPT based comedy in the near future.