Class Blog: April 21st

We decided to create the Spring 2016 #DigLits survey for our collaborative blog post this week. Our aim is to examine our class’s views about participatory politics and civic engagement in a digital age by using digital media, google forms. Please take a moment to follow the link and answer the following questions. We will publish results once all responses are in. We look forward to seeing your responses!


Class Blog: April 14th

For our post, we wanted to compile different resources for teachers to facilitate the integration of technology into the classroom. Check out our original and pre-made infographics, cool classroom apps, helpful hashtags, and 3T notes!

Readings: Reflective and Recursive Cycle


Stats on Widely Used Social Media Sites in the Classroom



Check out these cool classroom apps! Links below.

Descriptions and links to classroom apps

Write About — digital writing for classrooms

Google Cardboard — virtual reality experiences

Versal — create interactive courses

Noisli — create playlists to help you boost productivity

Formative — digitize assessments, get live results, and give feedback

Periscope — take someone else’s perspective

#helpfulhashtags #intheclassroom #jointheconvo








#ntchat (for new teachers)

#ptchat (connects parents and teachers)

#ccss (discussion on Common Core)

3Ts: Questions/Cautions — Philip & Garcia (2013)


Questions: What new texts will be introduced by the technology? How are traditional texts altered or remediated through new technologies? Why are these texts important for what students will learn?

Cautions: Beyond the initial allure, simply re-presenting traditional texts as pixelated displays does little to improve a learning experience


Qs: How does the tool offer ways of collecting, representing, visualizing, analyzing, and communicating information that contributes to improved learning? What is the context of learning that makes this tool imperative to students’ lives?

Cs: without strong pedagogy to further guide students’ inquiry, students used the bulk of their time to simply alter background colors, fonts, and formats


Qs: How do we support classroom talk that leverages the texts, tools, and new forms of communication introduced through the technology to support student learning? Are the ways discourse transpires within classrooms made more robust as a result of this tool? How are forms of communication limited?

Cs: Attempts to presumably win youth over with textspeak can also sacrifice the limited opportunities that students have to grow as participants in academic discourse


Class Blog: April 7th

In our blog post this week we wanted to play with the idea of what is and isn’t considered plagiarism.  We have pulled a couple of quotes from each of the readings. We have pulled some quotes and images from our blogs.  Some of them have been given “proper attribution” some have not.  


We will also share the link to our Google Doc as well, so that people can see our train of thought as they are watching the video:

Class Blog: March 31st

What do people say about digital reading?

• “I now have totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on the web or in print ”
• People in general, and young people in particular, are doing more screen reading of digital materials than ever before.
• The decreased reading of print books and of literary genres (novel, plays, and poems)
• Reading skills (such as the ability to identify themes, draw inferences, etc.) are declining too.
• Digital devices prevent people from e ciently navigating long texts, which may subtly inhibit reading comprehension.

What’s the differences between paper reading and digital reading:

Reading on Papers Digital Reading
The brain regards letters and words as physical objects, and perceive a text in its entirety as a kind of physical landscape. Papers provide brains with such sense of location and landscapes. Screens may inhibit comprehension by preventing people from intuitively navigating and mentally mapping long texts.  (locate)
Paper is easier to read for eyes. Screen results in higher levels of stress and tiredness.(displace)
Reading on papers results in more efforts made from readers, which brings higher concentration and memory of the content. When reading on screens, individuals seem less inclined to engage in metacognitive learning regulation setting specific goals, rereading difficult sections and checking how much one has understood along the way.(efforts)
More long-term memory; less working memory. More working memory; less long-term memory.
Our brain is more  familiar with literary reading. Hyper reading tends to affect brain’s structure, making it harder to concentrate: a media-induced state of distraction.
  1. Normally collect facts
  2. more trust on the content provided
  3. More one-direction conversation
Reading online requires several practices:

  1. identify important questions
  2. Locate information
  3. Critically evaluate information
  4. Synthesis information
  5. Communicate information

What should we do?
• Understand the differences between reading on paper and reading on screens, and know how to cope with them differently.
• Combine close reading, hyperreading and machine reading.
• We have to teach our minds how to translate the symbolic characters we see into the language we understand.


Class Blog: March 24th


One things 4 sure, #Brevity is key to #Microblogging

As is #Immediacy and #ParticipatoryCulture

@Joyce made a great point in her G+ confession about her love of #HarryPotter. “Digital writing could, by the power of the mass, go borderless.”

@Joyce praising #ParticipatoryCulture “The more interaction I got, the more motivated I was”

She spoke about how #fanfiction influenced her language learning. The same could be said for many #DigitalNatives about social media and growing #WritingPractice.

@Rachel is right on the $ with her analysis of #Genre via her media interactions. Flexibility is great when educating students @ informal vs formal writing

@Rachael “out-of-class writing is in fact ‘real’ writing”

But #Form when it comes to #Genre cannot be ignored.

#Form can be altered as @Colin points out with his Spin project #MakeDocumentationFun

#Genre is always changing because people are always changing.

#Reproduction is cool, but #CriticallyBreakingConventions might be cooler.

#Audience and #Medium is important.

@tejucole demonstrates this with his twitter story #Hafiz

“Revolution isn’t about the tools, but how the tools are being used” #LandscapeOfDigitalWriting

As we’ve learned, #Microblogging is akin to #JournalWriting.

@Penzu anyone? Great site for online journaling. #TechnologyMeetsWriting

#Microblogging often blurs the line between #Authors and #Readers

#LauraRandazzoBlog. Authors, readers, teachers, it’s all the same.

#Collaborative #Storytelling is just another way as @Colin pointed out, 4 “us to consider how to we need to adapt to changing text forms and practices.”

All of this means students are learning no more no less, but #New Ways of #Navigating and #Remixing the old.


But WE must not 4Get that #ParticipatoryCulture and #Access does not = #EffectiveUse of #Tech

Consider #Enculturation. Act skillfully. Contribute. Make meaning.

That’s why teachers are still important.

They have the power to #Guide, #NotDumpJustInformation

And not just thru integration of technology. But by “uncovering most powerful uses of tech to accomplish learning goals for specific students” (29).

Writing means taking risks. Let’s take risks together #DigLits2016

Class Blog: March 17th

For our collaborative blog post, we decided to connect via Google Hangouts to discuss our thoughts and opinions about this week’s readings on transcultural digital literacies. Our original intention on Google Hangouts was to conduct a quick, online brainstorming session for the “real” written blog post. However, as soon as we started chatting, several points of contention and “aha” moments arose for each of us, thus we decided it’d be interesting to capture these moments in a real time, screen-captured two-way interview.

From our discussion of  Appadurai’s (1996) notion of culture, to Stornaiulo & LeBlanc’s (2014) scale, to personal thoughts on the K-pop craze (Kim 2015), we attempted to explore a few of the key themes in this week’s readings as well as some of our own feelings surrounding the ideas presented in these texts. By asking and answering each other’s questions, we were able to explore in greater depth the points that puzzled and intrigued us in the authors’ discussions of culture, digital media, and globalization, and we hope that the questions posed in this video can serve as a jumping off point for further in-class discussion of what it means to be “transcultural” in an increasingly globalized and technologically-mediated world.

Class Blog: March 3rd

Digital media is more expansive than we might think. Just because it takes shape online does not mean it is limited; if anything, the platform offers more opportunities for growth, expansion, and connections. Leander and Mckim (2003) discuss the need to disrupt binaries that are present in the digital world, binaries such as online/offline and real/virtual (p. 224). If we continue to think in such simplified ways, we are missing out on the complex interactions that produce meaning. Nothing is black and white, and this sentiment goes for online spaces as well. Rachael discussed the struggle her Persian instructor had with Facebook, as it served as a popular yet restricted site in Iran.There is also the “apparent disconnect between her professional and personal opinions regarding the Facebook platform.” While it is easy to think of these binaries as separate and independent entities, Leander and Mckim challenge us to consider how they might overlap and influence each other. As we think about complementing forces, consider Adina’s Upworthy post about the First Lady providing free e-books, devices, and internet access to kids and families around the country. With access to greater libraries and the infinitely powerful tools of the internet, ConnectEd is leveling the literacy playing field for the youngest generation. #thanksobama

Brian referenced Sherry Turkle’s point in Katie Davis’s article about the “always on” nature of digital media that makes stillness and reflection so difficult. This is a danger we must be aware of as we dive further into the digital world. However, there are some online practices that we should adapt for real-life situations, like Gee’s affinity spaces. Since so many young people have experience with online affinity spaces, such as Age of Mythology, students can compare their shared experiences in those spaces (portals) to those they have in the classroom. Teachers and students can work together to create an environment that promotes meaningful interactions, the exchange of intensive and extensive knowledge, differentiation, and opportunities for growth.

Another way to incorporate youth media practices in the classroom is through countermobilities as addressed in Ehret and Hollett’s (2013) article. Countermobilities are “mobilities that conflict with those their school culture typically espouses” (p. 111). Since adolescents seem to always be on the move, it is important to explore how they keep up with digital practices through this physical movement. The authors encourage teachers to choose “real” apps that have import outside the formal learning environment, such as Viddy and Instagram. Speaking of Instagram, can we take a second to check out the exuberance of #rkoi as presented by Joyce?

Class Blog: February 25th

The Internet is made of cats. Seriously. Don’t take it from us — check out the Wall Street Journal’s take on it. Or spend (some more) time looking at Nyan Cat, Grumpy Cat Ⓡ, and LOLcats.

Despite the goofy nature of these memes, the subcultures that perpetuate them follow particular practices, which, as Lankshear & Knobel point out, reflect ways that we think about literacy. “We think of literacy as having technical, discourse, and evaluative dimensions. Being literate in ways we think are well exemplified by serious aficionados of popular remix practices entails being proficient in each dimension” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2008, p. 29). We can see the rules of remixing come to the fore in places like the LOLcat translation project with the Old Testament (absolutely worth a look!) or in the linguistic patterns of Doge (Doge is a dog, I know, but this analysis is great). Syntax, punctuation, typography — even the smallest details play a role in one’s ability to participate fully in remix cultures.

Within these digital realms, our students can find ways to reimagine the stories that they have read in order to better relate to and/or understand the texts they encounter. Readers in the minority subsets have found it difficult to find one’s own self within texts, especially canonical texts, which typically feature a white male perspective written by the same. In “Restorying the Self:  Bending Toward Textual Justice” Thomas and Stornaiuolo point out that, “…as young readers imagine themselves into stories they reimagine the very stories themselves. We map out different forms of restorying that we have witnessed, as people of all ages collectively reimagine time, place, identity, perspective, mode, and metanarratives through retold stories” (Thomas, E.E. & Stornaiuolo, A 8). Here, we see the concept of restorying as a type of remix, wherein a reader reimagines a story, changing its elements to suit their needs in better understanding or identifying with a story.

Our current digital age better affords readers the opportunity to connect with texts, as well as other readers, in the process of restorying. The popular blogging platform Tumblr, for example, offers a space for readers to write, share and reblog these reimagined narratives. Because of the social, interactive, and sometimes collaborative, nature of these websites “[t]oday’s readers are using the tools of social media to collectively make meanings that are not just independent of authorial intent, but can also deliberately contradict it— in other words, meaning itself is in the process of becoming crowd sourced and jointly imagined” (Thomas, E.E. & Stornaiuolo, A 12). Thomas and Stornaiuolo point out the example of a racebent Elsa, or the fan theory that Harry Potter’s Hermione is black, which each quickly became viral on tumblr. Indeed these tools make it easier to carry out something that has been happening for ages. The concept of restorying is not something new, but our digital age makes it much easier, and our connections to culture are much easier to access.

Our G+ community is populated with attempts to participate in online remix culture: from transmediating memes in our second week of class (Rachel’s Hey, Girl and Colin’s What if I told you…) to cross-cultural comic strips (Rachel’s time in South Korea and Joyce’s look at the Chinese New Year). Where do these examples conform to the practices of remix culture? Where is our own remix illiteracy apparent? These (failed) attempts provide some insights into the complexity of participating in remix culture: it’s unlikely anything our class has produced so far will go viral.

Vasuvedan (2010) spends time speaking to the educational implications of remixing, and the space that it allows for teachers, and even moreso students, to play with power in the school setting as well as outside of school.  “In a national curricular climate where testing too often leads discussions of pedagogy, it is imperative to seek out spaces of education that are governed by principles of discovery and play and that are free from punitive measures of learning and engagement. By paying attention to digital geographies, particularly the navigation across digital spaces and orchestration of multiple modalities, educators can cultivate youths’ literacies while at the same time inspire new sites of education.” (Vasuvedan, p. 79)

Vasuvedan focuses here on the playful nature of digital spaces and how we can use these playful spaces to expand our educational practices.  Colin begins to touch on the “messy” aspects of learning literacy and playing digitally in his discussion with his student and alum.  What is more important and valuable?  Learning on the job or having the foundational skills to be successful?  By letting our students try things out in digital spaces, they may be able to find a playful mix of these two practices.  While Adina felt confused about the direction of her blog.  Should she be, or is this the right space for her to play, discover and be free about digital literacy? Ah-Keisha’s sons felt unheard and ignored at a time when they should have been resident experts.  How could remixing of this history, and the experience of the school’s black students have made a much more rich and meaningful experience for the students at their school?  Megan’s description of her digital journey shows how this play and discovery can happen anywhere and with anyone.  If adult’s are still discovering this new world and learning in these digital spaces, why aren’t we giving our students the same freedom of play?

Class Blog: February 18th

Social network is everywhere. Barely no one could escape it: even if you say no to all social platforms, you may still be tagged in other’s pictures; or be forced to open and manage an online platform due to professional reasons.

With the transformation of social networks, the issue of identity becomes public’s major concern. People’s online identity evolves. During the so-called “connective turn”, there is a trend towards connectivity and narrative from both sides of the users and business. Users gradually learnt how to utilize the developing features of social platforms for their own advantage. They know how to use SNS to carry out self-staging and self-branding actions instead of mere passive self-expression. Dijck (2013) did an interesting comparison between Facebook and Linkedin as two typical cases after their revolutionary change of main features.

After the introduction of Timeline as a narrative biography, Facebook integrates more life narrative elements into its interface strategy, triggering users’ attention on how to and to whom to tell the story, thus complete both self-expression and self-promotion. While users get more skilled at narrative interface, companies strive to present digital storytelling to users instead of ads, and FB itself increases more control over users to build a larger database. Compared to Facebook, Linkedin mainly focuses on offering recruitment and advertising services for corporations and agencies. Despite its characteristic of professionalism, Linkedin users apply a subtler and more professional way to create their image and highlight their strengths.

Unlike G+, on which as Rachel said in G+ Challenge, people are not trying to craft an online identity, users on FB and Linkedin are eager to self-perform and self-promote. In Dijck’s words, people use different platforms to reflect different needs and craft different identities. For example, even if the Linkedin interface emphasizes more on users’ self-promotion while FB more on self-expression, people could still choose what their online identity could be on different digital platforms, and what kind of story they want to tell. However, due to the power struggles from platform owners, employers, and users, people are subject to possible manipulation from social media. People should maintain their authenticity in this digital world of transparency, and treat social media as mere a tool of identity formation rather than a path towards a lost land.

This week’s readings explored the ways people actively participate in social media, and how literacy practices continue to evolve with the development of networked publics. From the design of self through connectivity and narrative, to the acknowledgement of a participation gap that warrants an insertion of criticality as youth engage with dominant ideologies and social control, there is no denying the relevance digital mobility has on all of our interactions, whether professional or personal.

One thing’s for sure: “Mediating technologies […] change everything” (Boyd 125). When looking at the advent of the internet, how we protest oppression and brutality has been reimagined — the era of the Black Lives Matter movement has revolutionized the, “Tools we have to organize and resist” because they are, “…fundamentally different than anything that’s existed before in the black struggle” (Stephen). With gains in forcing issues of abuse and discrimination to the foreground, the level of privacy available to citizens has adjusted and has become even more insidious with social voyeurism, and corporate and political information mongering. The way corporations and advertising use our personal information to tailor ads to us and our networks is just one way, privacy has taken on a new face.

But, there is no denying this new sense of agency at the heart of how young people interact with and craft their social media networks. This is how they learn. As Hull and Stornaiuolo point out in their article on Literate Arts in a Global World, “engagement with distant and global audiences via digital social networks should be throughout curriculum.”

The pervasive nature of publics has managed to impose itself on identity, relationships, politics, and expression. As we negotiate meaning, as active or inactive participants as Colin pointed out in his post on Douglas Rushkoff, there is no denying while social media is in many ways empowering, it also can leave people vulnerable to isolation, peer pressure, myopic views on multiculturalism, and the reinforcement of the status quo all in a single click.

Class Blog: January 28

Our first weeks together have followed an interesting path: from discussion of mediation and the act of transmediating to this week’s exploration of how such practices can invite certain kinds of participation and connection. And while we’ve looked at these concepts on distinct weeks, our class interactions (both on- and off-line) illustrate just how intertwined they are.

There are lots of examples of this – the most obvious being our Google+ site itself, which is a medium that we use to re-mediate ideas in order to participate and connect with one another. Another example is the site Ah-Keisha used for her blog: Medium, which is (literally) a medium (i.e. a blog) as well as a platform for connecting. But we can also see examples offline. Like in Ashley’s blog  post about using transmediation with her students. This not only mediated theories we’ve discussed in class for her students, but also invited their participation in the practice.

As our Google+ community has extended ways of participating and connecting in the class, it’s been interesting to see the variety in platform, style, tone, and topic across individual blogs. There’s been some interesting work in pushing on definitions of “schools” and “success.” Colin’s critique of “teaching” in the “teach a man to fish…” proverb raises some important questions about teachers and their roles in larger networks of learning – a theme that resonates with our Connected Learning reading this week.. Ah-Keisha anticipates some of next week’s readings on “critical literacy” in her powerful post, which examines the structural inequities that “undermine the future of large sects of our young population.”

Some people are also helping us think through the intersections of personal/professional identity in the blog genre and raise some really important points about digital technologies and identity more generally. Meg’s funny, self-reflective post addresses some of these tensions in starting a blog (What should it be about? What do I have to say?). Caitlin links these tensions to the question of identity: what is the difference between a makeshift identity and a “real” one? Particularly in professional, online/offline contexts? Such questions call Jim Gee’s conception of “mushfaking” – or strategies for “making do” when an ideal/real identity is not readily available (basically, fake it till you make it, as they say). From this perspective, a blog itself can become a way of experimenting with and developing professional identities.

This question of identity – whether makeshift, fake, real – raises the question of “authenticity” again. Last week we talked about blogging and authenticity in light of the Hicks and Turner article, and we wonder: can our individual and class blogs be “authentic” if they are a requirement of the course?  If yes, is it the same kind of “authenticity” as that of a person who starts a blog on her own? If no, can required activities, over time, take on aspects of “authenticity?” Is “authenticity” even a useful category for talking about blogs? We were thinking about Adina’s use of the blog to keep track of her reading and Rachel’s as her reflection on learning Farsi–what do these examples help us see about a blog’s multiple purposes and audiences?

We were also excited to see how people interpreted ‘connected learning’ and participatory culture’ in practice through the posted examples (maker movement, collaborative music, audience generated content!). We were talking about how having to translate some of these concepts into practice often shine a light onto the values and ideologies within the different frameworks we adopt (and of course, the tensions between those!). We keep going back to this idea of tensions raised in the first class, as even new ones emerge: what do we mean by digital divide? Digital natives? Why do participation and citizenship matter, and to whom? We are excited to talk more about these ideas tonight!