MVL 3: Mac Vs. PC

A link to my third media project

It compares how Mac was marketing itself as the much better alternative to PC, and specifically Vista.

Response: Transforming the Paper with Collaborative Group Writing

An article written by Peter Kittle and Troy Hicks

I’m really happy that these educators have zoned in on the realization that in group projects, there is always those one or two students who carry the weight of the group, and it is  terrible. As that person who ends up doing the work, it is completely miserable working in a group when you’re not getting any feedback from your group members and you stay up til 4 AM writing the 9 pages that everyone was supposed to be contributing to.

I also like that these authors talk about a “remix culture” and how group members may say that no one voice should stand out. This reminds me of how our MVL projects were meant to be. We all wrote a section that was meant to be cohesive and connect. The point was the everything was supposed to relate to each other. The example of using students who had a wiki about Latino Pride in which they put their own writings on display, edited the work of others, and together found a meaning within the text is an awesome way to describe remix culture.

I honestly wish I could figure out how to make co-authored writing. For the most part, what I’m used to doing is compiled writing where everyone is responsible for their individual sections. It kind of stinks because you don’t really get feedback. Everyone is kind of out for themselves in that type of writing. Once upon a time in my 3rd year of  my undergrad, I had an assignment where 3 other girls and myself were to write an introduction for a fairly new (published within the last 5 years) American novel. It was a very cool assignment. We had to meet up to figure out ways to make all of our sections connected to each other. In that way, we had to coauthor because we had to agree. But we never checked up on each other’s work. We weren’t getting a grade based on the whole of our topic. We were being graded on our own individual work. It meant we had to do our own individual research. Our sections were still ours and no one else could touch them. However, I’m not sure it was really effective if the goal was to show us how publishing works. Introductions may be a one person job in reality, or maybe not. I just know that I certainly felt lost without a higher level of group cooperation.

Peer Response to Sam: iWrite Chapter 6

Another class member of mine, Sam, also wrote on Chapter 6 of iWrite.

 I would consider introducing them to Reddit as well because it is a much more interactive medium to communicate directly with communities of interest. Often it is also a way to speak directly with celebrities and other interesting personalities they may want to hear from.

Introducing students to Reddit seems like a pretty good idea to me. There are a lot of different types of literacies that are present on this website alone. You may see the rage comics show up or other memes that students can relate to. It seems like a pretty decent idea to me to have students use a popular meme that they found on reddit and use it to help characterize a character in a novel or a situation in whatever work we are reading at the time. I would find that to be not only engaging, but relevant to the students’ every day lives. I don’t know of a single person who doesn’t enjoy one type of meme over the other.

Sam also writes

If I could count the number of hours spent trying to solve a complex video game problem I would lose another few days completing the task. I know that I have World of Warcraft characters on an account with over a month of logged hours. I do not mean that I played them for a month; I mean that actual logged game time exceeded a month. I have several characters like this. I have spent 8 hours straight logged in with a group of 40—assisted by a voice chat service—trying to figure out how to down a dungeon boss. This level of dedicated group-oriented problem solving can be found nowhere else. This is especially true of hobbies for teenagers. The only thing I have seen close to this may be a summer camp activity.

This really takes me back to chapter 6 of iWrite. This is an example of how group cooperation can be demonstrated as well as could even be an opportunity to produce a narrative. Taking notes after those eight hours could make for an interesting analysis of plot in game play or in games where there is no specified plot, how each quest is a unique story line. I’m glad I was able to find someone with a gamer’s perspective. Someone like my boyfriend, who is extremely obsessed with the Halo series, always talks about how great the plot of the game is. This is definitely something I will take into consideration when teaching.

Peer Response to Claire, “Scrutinizing the Cybershell”

A classmate of mine also wrote on the same article I did. She had something to say about using what Crovitz said that I thought was interesting:

We did similar actives in our technology class that’s discussed in the article, and one of the main things I noticed was the potential to have great class discussions from various points of view since a picture, advertisement or article provokes people differently. I think it’s important to promote some kind of dialogue on the subject because a lot teens aren’t even aware of how they are being targeted in ads. I think a great class activity would be for students to work in groups and come up with an ad targeted at themselves. By going through the different rhetorical strategies and picking a part what attracts them to a product, hopefully, they will start to see what all goes into creating an ad and strategically targeting a specific demographic, in turn, getting them to think critically!

This is such a cool way to implement technological literacy into the classroom. I’m seriously impressed by the creativity. I think once they’ve gone through the add they could also create an ad themselves about any product they’ve made up and then should try to sell it to their class. It would be awesome to see what strategies the students think they are susceptible to. It’s sort of like when we looked at that Candies perfume ad where there was a guy pulling down a girl’s shirt and spraying perfume down it. Does that make anyone want to buy that perfume? Why? For me, it doesn’t because it seems awkward, but maybe some girls respond to an attractive guy flirting with a girl that way, if that is even what it is. I have to wonder if students would respond differently if the product were food versus a clothing brand or an electronic gadget. Thank you, Claire for inspiring me a little bit!

Peer Response to “Who’s the Problem and Where’s the Solution?”

Kacee had this to say about Mark Bauerlein and his book I detest:

I do agree with Bauerlein and his stats about the massive amounts of money spent on technology in schools. It seems wasteful to funnel funds to technology if it isn’t helping kids get “more educated.” It is great to have computers and Internet in every classroom; but if you shove 40 kids into a class, does it matter how many computers you have? There is definitely a crisis in education, and I don’t think technology and its use are the root of the problem

I also wonder this: if test scores didn’t change when school went “digital,” doesn’t that mean technology is NOT the problem? I think there are lots of problems that have NOTHING to do with technology! Aarrgghhhh! I feel like Bauerlein is so busy bashing technology in schools instead of offering any practical solutions. Maybe there is more wrong with kids and schools than the Internet.

Okay, Kacee, you did remind me that something Mark Bauerlein said was useful. Technology may or may not help education. But I agree with you even more when you disagree with him. The crisis in education does not fall onto the shoulders of technology. After taking English 7741 this semester, I’ve become convinced that if technology is used the right way, it can be equally as beneficial to the furthering of a students education as traditional education. Students can share computers to work on projects. We could possibly create a digital scrapbook or wiki to demonstrate everything the class has learned together during our year. Plus, the great side of technology is that it helps you to stay organized. Think about it, would you have students coming in saying, “Um… I forgot my homework. Err… the dog ate it.” No, of course not. Technically, though it does have its glitches every now and then, compartmentalizes things where you designate them. You can easily find them on your computer by hitting CTL+F to find the elusive document that went missing.

You are also so right in pointing out one of the many ways that Bauerlein contradicts his point. Test scores are the same. Maybe he would have a valid reason to be upset if he explained that we should be trying to raise standardized test scores. But like I have said previously, Bauerlein is obsessed with keeping traditional schooling, and he will not accept that many students have become bored with tradition. He needs to offer solutions on how to make tradition innovative. It honestly seems like the world is spinning on and changing and Bauerlein will be left in the ruins, preaching continuously about why tradition is important while someone who embraced technology may have changed the world by blogging something thought provoking and intelligent.

Response: “The Facebook Generation: Homework as Social Networking”

Stacy M. Kitsis describes exactly why I hated doing homework so much when I was a kid in her first page of this article. It was really just staying up late working on something I hated by myself. There was no interaction, and often times no discussion to further stimulation.

After I read the first page, I got up to get a snack and pondered to myself about how students may not be writing because there is no one to discuss it with, and I was so glad Kitsis said what I was thinking: “Without the sense of writing to a real audience, many students shut down.” (30-31) One of her students told her honestly that he did not try as hard on homework he viewed as busy work or homework that was never checked. He knew he wouldn’t get any feedback from it or have any knowledge of how to improve. Another argued that it wasn’t about assessment, but rather “individual practice”. So where is the common ground in between these two perspectives?

Students don’t want to be graded, but they still want feedback. I’m one of those people in that category. I too would like to know how my work is received. Is it good? Mediocre? Bad? What specifically am I missing from even a simple reflection. Students do actually want to grow as learners.

Honestly, the greatest thing about this article is that Kitsis really made a network and community out of using social networks for homework. She describes students who rekindled a friendship and how everyone in the class felt that they had something to add or “interpretive authority”. She managed to take the distance that usually comes with facebook “friendships” and allowed the working relationships to blossom in the real world. These students actually depended on each other for help, and so they worked harder.

I also appreciate that Kitsis connected blogging to a Socratic Seminar. She’s totally right when she having students comment on their peers’ posts provides almost immediate feedback. And at the same time, the person they are helping grows as they grow and think on what they learned about writing from their peers. Was their work successful? How can I implement that in my writing? And honestly, I like what she did. She got students debating, agreeing, disagreeing, and most importantly, communicating, and participating.

Overall, I would just like to say Bravo to Ms. Kitsis for finding a way to bridge social gaps and motivate students using a platform that most would view as detrimental to  a students education.

Response: “Scrutinizing the Cybershell: Teen-Targeted Websites as Texts” by Darren Crovitz

This is an article written by my professor and MAT advisory, Darren Crovitz. He discusses how he takes online advertising website (specifically Slim Jim and Doritos) and has his students interpret them as one would a picture or a text. As someone who has experienced this teaching style, I really think it has its place in the classroom.

It’s quite simple when you think about it. It’s almost like analyzing a novel’s parts, and then the whole. You can see what Slim Jim views what “being a man” is and reinforcing those stereotypes into their main consumers’ heads: the adolescent male.

If we look at the page now, immediately upon opening it, you see an ad that says, “Suffering From Male Spice Loss?” What does that even mean? Is this something that teenage boys are going to giggle over and say to themselves “OMG I must have a Slim Jim because that’s what men do! Men are spicy!’ All sarcasm aside though, it does say something about how they’re trying to create a reliable consumer that keeps coming back because they assume that everyone who sees them eating a Slim Jim will think, “Wow, that kid is manly at 13.” or for the older gents, “Hey! That guy is WAY manly! I would never think he was a wuss!”

What I think Dr. Crovitz most importantly says, is that having students analyze a text like this gives them a real world example and allows them to connect to something outside from just the normal literature classes. That’s what they all want, right? “I’m never going to use this in real life!” On the contrary, you might just use this activity. And honestly, I do after doing the group work that Dr. Crovitz assigned us. I look at ads, and occasionally get cynical about them when I see the obvious stereotypes they’re chasing after. I enjoyed it, and I may use something similar in my own classroom. In fact, I think it might be a good exercise to warm up what we should expect from literary analysis. There is a lot to say about the information we are fed every day, especially on the side bar on Facebook or the banners that top your favorite websites. Ads nowadays are extremely personalized to entice you to click and buy. In fact, my Google account asked me if I wanted to enable ad personification when I signed up for a gmail account the other day. It is both scary and fascinating.