Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blog Post #8

"This is How We Dream" Response
This is How We Dream, Part I
Dr. Miller sitting at desk smiling
"It is possible to collect together the threads of experience
and weave them into a coherent document."

- Richard E. Miller
In Part I of this lecture by Rutger's University Professor Richard E. Miller, Dr. Miller describes what he terms "Incremental Changes" in writing both in academia and our culture as a whole.  Not only has our writing changed from paper to desktop, but the way in which we research has moved from the library to the web.  We now have instant access to the contents of libraries across the world at our fingertips.  Another "incremental change" highlighted by Dr. Miller involves how we share knowledge.  Articles and books no longer go out of print; they are "shared infinitely" through the web.  I found this to be a quite scary concept that many of the youth in America don't quite comprehend yet.  Once information is put on the web, it can be close to impossible to delete.  From a research standpoint, this is phenomenal.  However, young and immature students could post something to the web that may end up haunting them later.  The last "incremental change" discussed in the video is the move from simply print documents to "visual documents," documents that use sound, images, and video along with print.  This may be the most important incremental change.  He describes a collaborative project he was a part of about Martin Luther King, Jr.  The project not only included pictures, video, songs, and print, but also included input from many different scholars and lecturers. His comment about this project (seen as the caption for the picture above) has proven to be one of my favorite things he has said. As a future history teacher, it's exciting to be able to use primary sources, interviews, videos, songs, pictures, etc... in presentations to my students. There is no better way to bring History alive! So this last incremental change sums up the move from the lone writer with pencil and paper to the collaborative, visually-stimulating writing project of today.
This is How We Dream Part II 
In the second part of his lecture, Dr. Miller begins to talk about material and fundamental changes to writing.  He outlines tools such as iTunes U which have made a  big impact on the way educators communicate with their students. However, he wants the process to go beyond simple videos or podcasts into the concept of teaching visual literacy. When I heard the term "visual literacy," I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the concept.  He describes it as "composing using the web itself" with visual representations of the "Humanities."  He admits that presently educators do not have access to the tools or spaces they need to accurately teach visual literacy; yet, he imagines a world (even his own building) where composing a lecture or paper would not be one dimensional and where ideas can be easily shared and understood.
My reaction to Dr. Miller's concept is mixed. I agree with him that this type of learning environment does not quite exist in feasible terms at this point.  This has been a common theme with many of the ideas we have seen put forth through this course.  However,  someday perhaps we can jump the hurdle of lack of resources.  I also agree with Dr. Miller that a multi-dimensional media is a better way to present what he terms the "Humanities."  The generation of students that will face us when we graduate from USA are stimulus-driven, everyday technology users, and easily bored.  In order to stimulate an active interest, we must incorporate more than just a lecture or note taking. We must also challenge them more than just a five paragraph essay.  This new "visual literacy" makes me think back to my ideas on THE NETWORKED TEACHER, where the teacher becomes more of a mentor/guide. In order for me to be prepared to write with multimedia, I must educate myself, practice, and actively search for new and diverse resources and inspirations.  I think my students will definitely have the ability to write with multimedia, but I must equip them with the right tools and guidance.
My only fear with this transition would be that the art of writing would be lost.  I know Dr. Strange would disagree with me, but sometimes it makes me sad that books, real books with paper pages and leather bindings, are going the way of the dinosaur.  It also saddens me that the art of letter-writing has vanished.  I'm sure there are some kids out there that think "LOL" is in the dictionary.  I see the change and know that to be relevant I must also change. However, I do not want to transition to multimedia writing for the sake of using the technology available.  The academic integrity of the project must always be maintained. If a child leaves my classroom and doesn't know how to write (the old-fashioned way), what would be the point?
computer with a face teaching to a stack of books

Carly Pugh's Blog Response
First and foremost, I must say that I enjoy Carly's laid-back, reader-friendly writing style.  Her post, in which she was to create an assignment that she thought should be incorporated into EDM310, proved just as enjoyable. Her idea was to create a youtube playlist of at least 10 videos that encompass above all your teaching philosophy and incorporate what you have learned in EDM310. Then you would write a blog post about said philosophy and your playlist.  What an appropriate post for teaching visual literacy! In the same way that Carly uses youtube in this post to convey her teaching philosophy, she could easily compile a youtube montage to teach future students.  This technology and idea crosses disciplinary lines. It could be used just as easily by a Math teacher or a History teacher.  Her post incorporates all the elements of a true visual document.  Thank you, Carly! This is one of those posts that I know will prove to be a valuable resource for us in the future! On that note, wouldn't that be a great assignment for my future History students... to compile a playlist of youtube videos describing themselves or an event??!??  Great idea!

Chipper Series and EDM310 for Dummies Reply and Video Idea

Bear Grylls with volcano behind him and reads Bear Grylls, he simply walks into Mordor
The primary message that I got from both of these blogs was that EDM310 is only as hard as you make it.  Procrastination and looking for the "easy answer" will not cut it in this class. Also, one of the keys to success in EDM310 is to use the resources and tutorials provided. It's amazing how easy it can be to answer your own questions using the tools provided by the blog, facebook, and instruction manuals.
If I were to make a video like one of these for EDM310, I would like to make a EDM310 survival guide in the style of Bear Grylls and his show Man Vs. Wild.  We could call it "Student vs. EDM310" complete with a thick-accented nature guide showing students how to "brave the wild" of the EDM310 blog and other resources! If we ever did a project like that, I would love to be involved!

Learn to Change, Change to Learn Response

classroom with teacher helping kids at their desks, kid on the computer emailing, kid doing math problem on the board, some students in their desksIn our current education system, most of the classrooms are teacher-centered and school-centered.  The proposition made in this video seems to be to reverse this, providing a student-centered environment where the venue moves from classroom to the community.  It would be technology-based and provide students with talented teachers regardless of their school zoning or district.  I think that the most important idea from this video came from the man who described the changes in the types of things being taught.  It again relates to the idea of the educator as a guide/mentor.  He said that students should be able to find, validate, synthesize, and collaborate with information.  They should also be able to use this validated, synthesized information to problem solve.  I agree with his assessment of moving from simple standards to actual concrete skills.  The problem I have with most ideas that we have been exposed to in EDM310 are problems of implementation.  I agree that a schools "without bricks and mortar" are completely possible... but are they practical?  It would be a slow transition from school to community, and I don't necessarily think that getting rid of the physical school would be a great idea. I think that what happens inside the building should change. I also think that students should have more hands-on learning experiences in the community.  The video also mentions the disparity in resources and innovation from within the school and outside of the school. Children are in a richer, more creative, and well-networked environment outside of most classrooms.  We have to find a way to integrate what they use in their daily lives (email, chat, video games, youtube, facebook, texting, Skype, etc...) into the classroom.  I think this class is brining education in our area a little closer to the school of the future outlined in this video.

Scavenger Hunt on Web 2.0

The first thing I found was how to make my own comic.  To view my Comic, click below:
My Comic
(The only problem I had with this site is that it doesn't have an "embed" option. You can either email your comic or print it out.)

The second tool I found was how to create poll anytime or anywhere.

The third tool I found was a video tool I had never used before called Animoto.
This site takes your photos, videos, and music and turns it into a unique video using what they call "Cinematic Artificial Intelligence," which is supposed to make each video take on the style of the selected music and images.  Cinematic AI is also supposed to be like having a professional director and editor for your movie.  Movies can also be done in HD and look professional because there is no Animoto label in the video.  This site also provides a music gallery and a large style library that helps you set the tone of the video you are producing. It also looks like a good site to combine make a presentation or project like the one described in the "This is How We Dream" post above by using AnimotoEducation!


  1. Hey Jessica,

    Great job on this post! I can tell that you put a lot of thought and time into this blog post. I actually used the exact same picture you did of Dr. Richard E. Miller in my blog post # 8. Good choice! :) I like the fact that you bold certain points that you feel are important throughout your posts, that really caught my attention. I also really liked your idea of making an EDM310 survival guide video and naming it, "Students vs. EDM 310." I think that would be so helpful for students. Like you, I would also want to be involved if we were ever able to do a project like that. Lastly, I think your topic of the Poll you put together is just great since the book and movie are so popular right now! Good thinking!! I haven't seen Hunger Games yet but I've heard so much about it and cannot wait to see it.
    Once again, Great post!!

    Good Luck with the remainder of the semester!

    Amanda Warner

  2. Jessica,

    Yay! I am assigned to you for the next few weeks! I agree with your comments on the "This Is How We Dream" video. I think physical writing should never phase out. Not that I am always thinking of the future negatively, but if war or some other event led to this technology being unavailable, I feel basic reading and writing skills would become very important as a means for communication. Also, the loss of these skills separates us even more from understanding our own history. I also agree that the physical classroom should stay intact. We just need some major reforms in those classrooms!

    I like your idea about "Student vs. EDM 310." You could totally do this for your final project!

    I only have one thing to criticize about your blog post. You could have taken a screenshot of your comic and posted that into your blog post. Otherwise, I really enjoyed reading your post. It was well thought out and detailed. Keep up the great work!

    1. Hey, Elizabeth!
      Finally, you are reading my blog! YAY! I racked my brain for an hour thinking of how I could get that comic on this post! Why didn't I think of a screen shot?? I guess I should have asked for help: lesson learned.