Friday, February 25, 2011

Wesch, "From Knowledgable to Knowledge-able: Learning in New Media Environments"

"From Knowledgable to Knowledge-able: Learning in New Media Environments" by Michael Wesch


Learning in new media environments is absolutely the epitome of what our educational institutions need to understand and implement in classrooms across America. However, what is equally important,  and Wesch does consider this in his article, is teaching in the new media environments.  Wesch states “As we  increasingly move toward an environment of instant and infinite information, it becomes less important for students to know, memorize, or recall information, and more important for them to be able to find, sort, analyze, share, discuss, critique, and create information.”  Teaching and learning , is changing its form, and students of today are ready for the shift to take place.  We see it slowly happening in the college classrooms but the high school classrooms are still archaic. The teacher lectures, the students take notes, and then there is a test on the notes.  This learning through technology is not going away. Students have instant information at their fingertips and it might be said that many, if not most, students are more knowledgeable then their teachers when it comes to this  important and life changing venue. Wesch argues that “This is a social revolution, not a technological one, and its most revolutionary aspect may the ways in which it empowers us to rethink education and the teacher-student relationship in an almost limitless variety of ways. “ Technology is not going away and young people are very savy with it, why not tap into this passion and intriquing power the youth of today have aquired in this “new” world of information. I say “why not” but we must engage in this ever changing vast of knowledgeable.
Wesch understands the value in transforming the classroom into a innovated, knowledge- able learning and teaching atmosphere because students are tuning out.   This is  “the crisis of significance.” Educators need to bring “relevance back into education.” In the online article “How Web-Savvy Edupunks Are Transforming American Higher Education” by Anya Kamenetz, she touches on an even more thought of urgency.,0&partner=rss%23
Her article claims that if we, as a society do not do something about the lack of technology in the classroom that professors will be out of a job. Online colleges will take over. “"If universities can't find the will to innovate and adapt to changes in the world around them," professor David Wiley of Brigham Young University has written, "universities will be irrelevant by 2020." Although for  many of us, the traditional college campus is still a prominent ideal, but Professor Wiely is not far off. Today there are many online colleges offering college classes right from the comfort of our own home. Realistically these online classes were first designed for the continuing educator.  Mom and dad’s took advantage of this new educational venue because they need to earn a higher degree, or earn thier bachelor’s degree to increase their salary to provide for their families. Today, these online colleges are a haven for all who seek an education. In the New York Times online “Room For Debate” blog articles, many discuss this new form of education. Many agree with Wesch that it is a crisis of significance. Greg Von Lehman states in his article “As Good as Classroom Lessons”  that there is rise in online education. “UMUC offers more than 100 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and certificates fully online. The university has approximately 90,000 students worldwide.”  He also confirms that it is not just the working class who is seeking this technology education, it is everyone who wants to be educated.” This should get many educators worried.  
Points to Share:  Are the youth of today getting a quality education online?  Can our instructors be replaced by screens? Is personal interaction a thing of the past?

Grinner "Hip-Hop See No Color"

“Hip –Hop Sees No Color ” by Leslie Grinner
This author argues that the media brings out dominant ideologies which reinforce stereotypes and racism.. Grinner, skillfully has come up with an acronym for these specific ideologies called SCWAMP, which stands for Straight, Christian, White, Able-bodied, Male, and Property holding. In this specific article she is referring to a movie called Save the Last Dance.  Grinner claims that the film secretly and skillfully reinforces white America.  AS she states in her article, “Though it claims opposition  to white supremacy, Save the Last Dance actually reinforces whiteness as a standard of superiority.  While the cast of the film  is predominantly Black, the ways in which Blacks and whites are coded indicate that whiteness is considered more valuable throughout the film.  The film defines Blackness in a certain way, with poverty, drug abuse, and violence at its core” (184).   Grinner argues that this film, like many Hollywood films, sets up a good plot, and most people watching this film will see the theme as a young person reaching the American dream when it fact the undertone is very racial and stereotypical and fits into the SSHWAMP ideology perfectly, she states ‘But there’s something else-an invisible set of ideals that guides this film and others.  We need to make these ideals visible, and in doing so we can become a more media-literate population”(181).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Raby, "A Tangle of Discourses: Girls Negotiating Adolescence" By Raby

“A Tangle of Discourses: Girls Negotiating Adolescence” by Rebecca Raby
As a mother of an 18yr. old son it was exciting as a parent to identify with the her “stages” of adolescence; The Storm, Becoming, At- Risk, Social Problem, and Pleasurable Comsumption. With every discourse discussed I found myself self reflecting on my son’s teenage years.  Although Raby’s   research focused on girls, there is certainly evidence to say that her discourses are stages  of all  teenagers.  My son certainly went through all of those stages, some greater than others.  My favorite stage was the “The Storm.” It was in this stage where he learned so much about himself and I learned so much about my son, and myself.
When Jerry, my son, was 11 we moved as a result of a divorce.  Jerry took everything in stride.  He was, and is, a very laid back person. Up until high school he was a straight A student . He had friends, (not a lot but some close friends) and he was, and is, very polite. I am not just saying this because he is my son, but he was the “perfect kid.”  I remember the time in 10th grade when Jerry started to change ; not physically but his ideals changed, his motivation to be a straight A student changed, and the way he dressed changed.  This all happened simultaneously.  Many friends of mine told me this was his way of rebelling.  I never thought of him rebelling, I thought of my son figuring out who he is. Just as Raby states in her text “They assume that all teenagers rebel just because this is the age when we start to become our own person” (433).   One example of Jerry’s “rebellion slash finding himself is when he was fifteen. He was raised Catholic and spent years going to CCD classes. All of a sudden he decided, just weeks before his confirmation, that he wasn’t sure about God and didn’t want to make his sacrament. I begged him to just go through the motions, but he would not. I respect him now for his decision.
 In a school of predominately white upper class kids, Jerry needed to venture out of the norm. He started to do the “Gothic thing.” He wore black , with chains hanging from his pants and black eyeliner and black fingernail polish.  MY friends were so surprised that I “allowed” him to dress this way.   He was still a very polite kid who was still doing well in school (A’s turned into B’s).  My son just needed to experiment. I was happy his experiments didn’t involve alcohol and drugs. I knew this to be just a stage in his life. Others were not so sure.  I will never forget my friend telling me that I should make him wear “regular “clothes and I should never allow him to wear makeup.  I looked him in the eye and said” I do not want a cookie cutter kid.” This Gothic stage lasted for about 8 months. He slowly started to change and evolve into who his is, not who society thinks he should be. He has turned out to be a confident, secure young man who I am extremely proud of. He is in his first year at the Art Institute in Boston and doing great!
Raby’s text was such an eye opener for me because it just confirmed what I knew to be right.  “The Storm” molded into “Becoming” which transferred to “At-Risk”, which thankfully was the least worrisome stage for me as a parent but I think this stage is happening now.  Now that he is on his own and trying new things .  These stages, like Raby states, are “interweaving.” They work off of each other.  I am not convinced that the order is correct but as I reflect back I am happy and relieved that my son has gone through most of them with flying colors.
Point to Share - Do you think teenagers go through these stages in the order Raby states?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Christensen's "Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us"

“Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us”  by Linda Christensen
In Christensen’s article “Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us,” she argues that our society, especially the young, are persuaded and culturally corrupted by the media’s representation of specific stereotypes.
Christensen makes a strong point that the media gives a “secret education” to our children.  This education of stereotyping and the delivery of unhealthy messages that the media is permeating into young minds starts very early and confirms the ‘myth” about people who are “different. ”  As much as we, as society, want to ignore this truth , and “stay ignorant about them and happy” we must understand that the role of women, men, people of color, and  heavy people  are blatantly being negatively  depicted  in all forms of the media.  Shockingly, even in the innocent venue of the cartoons our young kids watch.  Cartoons like Daffy Duck, who portray women as sexy, voluptuous characters to “look” at, and in Popeye in which Christiansen recalls an episode that depicts Popeye dragging Olive Oyl   through the desert by a dog collar.  She argues that this representation disrespects women and encourages racism.  Other venues include Disney movies that are notorious for portraying white America as the heroes and heroines. Her articles also discusses that young people, especially young girls, are given a distorted view of reality as a result of the media’s influence.  This leads to unhealthy messages and prejudice views and conceptions.  Two specific distorted myths: “Happiness means getting a man, and transformation from wretched condition can be achieved through consumption, in their case, through new closes and new hairstyle.”  These myths add to the unrealistic idea of happiness.
Discussion Point:  In what ways is parental influence to blame for the "Myths that Bind Us."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Who I am

Hi ,
I am very excited to continue my graduate courses at RIC.  I am a high school English teacher at East Providence High School.  I teach 10 and 12th graders. I love it.  It has been 4 years since my last college class but I am very excited.  I have two great boys; Jerry, who in his first year in college in Boston and .Quinn , who is in 8th grade.
My biggest challenge for this course I think will be learning the different technology, such as the blooging, but it will be great to learn it and become more tech. savy.