Wednesday, July 27, 2016

We all Float on: ILT5340 Final Reflection

Ok, so this song is supposed to play when you open this page... I am very angry at my digital self for giving up, but it will be there one day as a gadget like it is supposed to be... so if you don't mind a little music while you read, press on! 

It is bittersweet that this class has come to an end, this marks the final class for my first M.A and my 15th year as a college student all as I embark on my third year of teaching. I am a life time learner, and through this class I have become an even better learner, student and contributor to education. 

As a learner in this course...

At first I didn't believe the hype. (Osgemeos, 2014, San Diego)

Though it has taken some time to adapt to a 'new style' of learning, where everyone is a learner, teacher and viable part of a community, I feel that I have come full circle. As a active participant I have become an authentic learner, sharing information and engaging in 'convo's' with people all over the globe. It is quite fascinating when you think about it, all that we have accomplished in 8 short weeks, what once felt overwhelming now seems like a drop in a bucket in comparison to what I hope to continue to learn. It is a tremendous feeling being in charge of your own learning, we are told when we go to college that we get to choose what we learn, but this for the first time in my 15 years has actually happened. I have learned it's not just about choice of what you learn, but the act of participation in that choice that leads to true authentic and valuable learning. Unlike any class that I have ever taken, this somewhat self guided and lead course has changed the way that I think about my own teaching practises. How valuable is learning when you dive in, and figure things out for your self. This semester as I conquered each tasks that I thought I would never be able to do, I found my self toting my confidence, as that confidence arose, my participation grew, and in turn my followers, and digital connections also grew. There is so much that I want to share with my students, from daily creates to making connections all over the globe. Where I once thought of being 'connected' narcissistic and egocentrical, I find exhilarating and full of wonder and excitement. There is so much to teach, digital responsibilities, and navigation, but most of all I want to teach through exploration, just as I have learned here in ILT5340. I have gained so much through being a connected learner and teacher thus far, I am sure the possibilities are endless... I mean look, in only a few hours I have become a 'not quite master of storify, check out my final portfolio!

My co-design of this course...

It is all about diving in, something that traditional academia does not require! I have never experienced learning in this way, but 'I like it'. At first it seems so, lackadaisical and anything goes, but then you realize that that is the point, we are all learners, not one better than the next, the instructor holds no authority over the learning making for quite a different but surprisingly amazing learning environment once you get used to the waters. It took me about half way through the course to catch on, accept and come to terms with this. Participation is so key, the more you reach out and participate the more feedback, connections and learning that you will do. I did alright at this in the beginning, completed work, required reading, posting and comments, but I wasn't feeling great. I think it was in week five when I joined a 'flash annotation' that I really saw what participation looked like on an active level. After participating in multiple convo's and learning/building a PLN, it all makes sense, and for the rest of the course I was enjoying my new digital persona. The daily creates help to build a network of colleagues, through this network I learned to create my own GIF's, and continued to build an online persona that is quite comfortable with digital affinities. Through sharing a favorite reading; "McIntosh's White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack(1989) in week 7, again I witnessed a passion for learning from the community of people that I share this affinity with, though we didn't all agree, it was honest and impassioned conversations that I know for me sealed a confidence in public annotating and learning and this whole digital thing. There was one reading that was already discussed to move to the beginning of the course; Social Reading in the Writing Classroom: A Webinar and 5 Ways to Use Hypothesis for Rhet/Comp, there was so much useful information in this post about blogging, connecting, I really feel that for those of us that are coming to the course with little to no tech or digital experience that it would be very relevant and helpful. 

My understanding of pedagogy...

An excerpt from Daniel Korn's walking contest says it all... I keep double taking, and thinking what just happened... that was incredible, and now I feel a little silly for the way that I felt about digital affinities, twitter and social media. 

I think that this class has completely changed my ideas of pedagogy, I love the idea of open learning, where everyone is an active participant in the learning including the instructor, this class modeled the role to a 'T' and is now something that I will incorporate into my own pedagogy. Of course at first, I thought it was crazy, like a spoiled teenager, I just wanted Remi or Lisa to tell me the answer, or say that I am right, or for that fact, wrong. This never happened, I learned from my peers and made connections to answer questions, connections that now serve as PLN, connections that serve a far greater purpose than just answering a single question. By being connected I have made contacts and have been exposed to so many media outlets, all this would have taken a million boring years to learn in a traditional learning environment, but because I became passionate about the learning, I guided my own path at my own speed. I am sure that we all will leave ILT5340 with different things of importance, but I am sure that we all are much more aware of the necessity of being a participant in this ever changing technological world. As an educator I feel so much more equipped with teaching technology, and can't wait to share my experiences with my fellow educators that are not yet 'connected'. 

With this ends ILT5340, but is no where near the end of my participation, I am just getting started... Thank you for equipping this change agent with new weapons to advocate, inform and spread art around the globe! 


Unknown artist

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Participation, Change, and branching out: Weekly reflection

This week was an especially special week both in ILT and in my summer expeditions, as we continue to read about participation, I become more involved in the digital and take the same philosophies to my reality life to become a more active participant in the community. 

Even though each week  of ILT has encompassed some sort of understanding of participation, this week's reading and efforts for me were full force into participating at the highest level. Where one might think that this would add a lot of stress, I actually feel the exact opposite. I feel full filled, rewarded, and like I can accomplish anything, a great way to inter my third year of teaching. 

Most important this week, I have continued to jump in, and where I thought before that diving to far into digital would take away time from my creative studies, drawing and artistic endeavors, again I am pleased to announce that I have probably done more drawing, creating, and made more contacts with my digital self and real self working side by side. 

Working along side a dear friend, and with a company that I fully believe in, I volunteered this week at a Fashion Denver Fashion Camp. The camp is designed to give young girls and boys of every background the experience of creating, helping and learning through the fashion industry. Each camp starts with getting to know each other and making friends, discovering what each others strengths are and then most importantly identifying your own strengths and fierceness. This all leads into a great chat from a local author about body love and acceptance. 
These young girls come in so shy and timid and leave as little powerhouses of confidence and humility, it is a remarkable experience for the kids, and even more so to witness as an adult. 

As the girls campers create, they also learn about recycling and helping those in need, each camper brings items that they are willing to donate, and they meet a amazing duo from The Urban Angels, who talk about the importance of writing and journaling, and sharing their ideas and thoughts. Here Participation is key and it is vibrant, watching these kids so uninhibited in their ideas and participation is completely inspiring. The quickness of each camper to help each other and make friends reminds me of what humility really is.  As I watched, I was so impressed with these young campers ability to recognize their differences and embrace one and other, I couldn't help to think about why this is so different in our schools? Is it the small group, the space, or the passion for what they were all doing that united them? How do we ignite this kind of passion in education? 

BlowBrush font
I am a typography and vocabulary junkie, I have yet to admit it here in this affinity, but all my students know, that I love words and how they are created to make meaning artistically speaking. 
'Fluid' when things all work together, this is my word of the week (this is also a new act of participation, a new word and font each week, challenging myself a little more). As the campers were practicing their cat walks, Professional model and agent 'Tanesha' explains to the campers that they are fluid when they all become one by being their individual self and rocking it on the cat walk. I repeat the word a million times in my head, and think about it's endless applications in the classroom. Such a simple word but so profound.

This week I felt FLUID, though convo's, blogging, posting, daily create... it was all FLUID. And it felt great

Friday, July 22, 2016

A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes the written word is just as beautiful: A reading response

Before I die, Candy Chang, New Orleans 2011

In a prolific example of participatory art, New Orleans artist Candy Chang has created an epidemic of expression, hope, and prosperity through her expansive graffiti murals. Much like the participation necessary for an affinity 'convo' to take place, or the public annotation of an article, without the participation of the people around it, there is nothing.

Before I die....  I hope to inform and inspire as many people possible about whiteness, art and humility.

These are the words that one day I hope to write on an inspired Chang mural at school or in the community. Unlike many artist, Chang holds no authority over her work, it reminds me a lot of my time in ILT5340. Chang has set out to inspire, teach and inform people about reflecting, hoping, believing and coming together in disparity, to do so she has presented the same philosophies of critical digital pedagogy to mural painting, though she is the artist, she wants people to take the idea of the mural and create their own, in a way remixing her own work to be individualistic in each community it is painted. Chang offers DIY instructions, including ideas on seeking approval for public spaces along with a shopping list of materials that can be purchased from a distributor or on the makers own terms. The the original mural was painted in New Orleans, after Chang lost a loved one and was unsure how to cope, she turned to the public, and together the healing began.

"Before I die..." now appears around the world, in over 70 different countries, and has made its mark on the digital world as well, though Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I find Chang's work to be both inspirational and controversial, as it causes use to think about the inevitable death, an uncomfortable subject like speaking and reflecting on whiteness.
It was through deep reflection that both McIntosh and Chang are able to invoke emotion and deep thought. So impassioned about whiteness theory, it was hard to sit back and only read comments, as I now imagine that it is hard for a instructor or professors to do. I wanted to see what people would write on the 'wall', before participating myself. The convo this week was great, participation was high, as I expected with such a controversial subject, I wish that as many participants joined in on the Critical digital pedagogy article as well, as to me the two really went hand in hand. Participation is key in both scenarios, rather it is teaching about digital affinities or whiteness, both seem to work best at an even playing field where no one is named the be all say all. 

As I look through the many "before I die" walls, it reminds me of McIntosh's long list of the  daily effects of white privilege, some are obvious, just as people write to end hunger or for world peace, but then it goes much deeper, when we are forced to reflect on those things that go beyond economics, and dive into the truly invisible. In any participatory act there will be the passioned people that go beyond 'ya, me too' and 'I feel the same', and will truly express and reflect and this is what makes critical digital pedagogy and Chang's work so moving. The allowance to be and say what you are in a space that is relatively secure, and opens the door to truly learning about one and other. This is learning, my friend, these are the experiences that will guide our decisions in the future, the act of participation has built a memory bank of how to receive and output communication to solve problems, create and change the world we live in. 
As the course comes to a close, I have completely changed my perception of digital stories, their importance in education and my own existence. It has taken a while, and like the few that are reading McIntosh for the first time, it was hard, as change in a belief is. The idea of remixing continues to surface, as I hope people will read 'Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" and think of their own situations that may not be listed where in their own whiteness has affected the people around them. There will be non- believers, and the can't changers, but in time as we all use the tool of reflection, to really look deep we can hope that racism and equity will change, like a hopeless heart after loosing a loved one, it takes participation on a community level to heal... 

Before I die....

So, What would write.... what would you do...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Looking into IMJ, reading the directions! A digital story critique

What the heck is macroanalytics, visual culture and why would you make a movie barcode? 

While completing a recent Ds106 assignment I stumbled on this web page that takes movie stills and turns them into bar codes, montages and plots. Cool right- Well if you follow the directions...Thankfully I did read a little after the fact of course, and I found this blog entry by the creator. It would have been very resourceful to read it prior to creating the assignment, but hindsight is 50/50 right! 

Microanalytics:  (from the

n. pl. mi·cro·a·nal·y·ses (-sēz′)

The chemical identification and analysis of extremely small quantities of matter.

mi′cro·an′a·lyst (-ăn′ə-lĭst) n.
mi′cro·an′a·lyt′ic (-ăn′ə-lĭt′ĭk)mi′cro·an′a·lyt′i·cal adj.

Visual Culture: 

Visual culture works towards a social theory of visuality, focusing on questions of what is made visible, who sees what, how seeing, knowing and power are interrelated. It examines the act of seeing as a product of the tensions between external images or objects, and internal thought processes. (


There is a lot of involvement, in this piece. From the creation of the IMJ site, to the expected users, and then of course the users that are using the site. The creator created the site because there was not a user friendly site available, he created it for his students, and the general public to use. I love the idea that he has made it so simple, but then also offers his blog page on the creations for deeper understanding, furthering the involvement by all the users. Because the site also incorporates three different outputs, I think that it reaches a further audience, and creates greater usability and involvement. 

Literacy Dimensions

The literacy dimensions of the blog post are easy to identify, and it becomes obvious that it is written by a teacher. Though I am not really a tech person, Whalen uses terminology that is easy to connect to and offers explanation for those that are not, making decoding and using quite easy. Whalen's person is apparent, as an educator in a digital affinity he does not claim professorship, leadership and shows that he is open to learning from those that use his site, read his blog by asking for ideas, suggestions and improvements to the program. The quickness of the program and the multiple outputs allows the user to make meaning and understand the program by just playing around a bit. 

I don't think that there is much that I would change, I always like to have a how to video, but the instructions are so well laid out that there is really no need. Where does one find this kind of stuff, would be a section that I might add, I think that it is important to keep the participant engaged, so perhaps a few links to other similar users or what other people are doing with this technology.  

The technology is easy enough, and l was pleased to see that even Whalen used the program to chart color change over a period of Van Gogh's work, it gives yet another interesting aspect to talk about in art fused with 21st c skills and technology. I am going to have to try it again, this time with better understanding as I have read the instructions, I expect that I will have a much better end product.  

What other uses do you foresee with this technology and program? What film or artist would you IMJ? 

Not quite a Color Field: Playing around with movie stills and Image Macroanalysis in Javascript (IMJ)

Gene Davis Phantom Tattoo, 1965

This weeks Ds106 assignment did not turn out exactly like I had hope, true to nature this is one that you have to follow the directions, and we all know that I fall a little short in that department.

I wanted to do something a little challenging, I thought. Then I stumbled upon this assignment, create

"Image Macroanalysis in Javascript"

what ever that is... But it looked cool, and reminded me of the great color field painters of the late 60's and early 70's. Much Like the street art and graffiti movements of today, color field painters objected the norms of art and produced works that were not at first accepted. Graffiti has been around for years as was color filed painting, the style branched off of abstraction in the 1940's, and was the first to be completely void of all absolute form. 

The assignment takes you to a web page created by Zach Walen, though it is very user friendly and easy to use, as mentioned you should probably follow the directions closely. You are directed to upload either individually or via a folder up to 9999 images or stills from your favorite movie. Well that's a whole lot of images, not being the most tech savvy, I copied about 7 images that I found of Stand and deliver and then made about 27 copies of each of those and placed them in a folder. This gave me just under 200 images, and I can say that I am not quite as impressed with my turn out as the suggested image on the assignment page of Ds106. 

I think the key to success here is to follow directions, and use 9999 or close to it of different images, this would then give you the colors and striation that is seen above. 

I think that I will have to do a little more research into film stills, and try it again. It could also be a fun little project for students to put together an artist body of work or their own, so even though it wasn't my favorite or as successful, still has potential to be used again. 

Have suggestions, or know how to capture an entire film in stills? I would love to hear! 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Where it all got started: Week 6 reflection

Graffiti in Middle School: students interacting with Professional grade sprays and a professional artist. 

As I look back on my experiences this week, I can't stop thinking about how all this love got started. This week, I feel reaffirmed in my teaching style and process, building relationships and focusing on what really matters, and it ain't no test score! I have always been passionate for all types of art, but as I have grown to understand and become an advocate of social justice, it seems graffiti and street art has taken a hold...

a story about the beginning-

This year I wanted to do something different, something that would engage the students, blow their minds and show administration what happens when you allow students to do something beyond the ordinary.

It all started at the TEDex conference last summer, there in the middle of the green was a young man, hundreds of cans of spray paint, and a large black sculpture. The young man was inviting the public to try their hand at a little graffiti. I was hooked, and the wheels started to spin. Would, we, could we do this at school, would he come and help out? After a few minutes, we had exchanged numbers, and that is where I met and began following Ratha Sok and the Rawh brand. This artist would become one of the biggest inspirations and influences on my teaching, he is completely amazing! 

In the beginning of the 15'-16' school year, I started the process. Convincing administration to allow middle schoolers to do a little graffiti is not an easy task. Taking all the necessary precautions, the students would wear masks, be able to wear full paint suits, and would go through a training 'pre-lesson' before the date of the official graffiti work. Then there is funding... As an artist myself, I would never expect an artist to do pro-bono work, so I started contacting supporters in my community and friends. If you are in education and or non-profit, you need to be a member of NAEIR. This non-profit websites allows educators and non-profit access to millions of products for nearly free, this is where I acquired the masks and painting suits for nearly nothing. ( really total for 38 masks and painting suits: 5$)

As the year went on and the date grew closer of our project, word spread. By  the time the project had come to full fruition, the district had  offered to foot the bill. Communication, was a key factor, what are we doing, why, who does it benefit, and why graffiti are all answers that I had to be prepared to answer a million times.

Completed Nevelson Installation MCS
The project: We started the unit looking at Louise Nevelson, public art and a little social justice. If  you are not familiar, Nevelson was a female artist that broke the mold and ideations of what women were capable of. The students researched her work and then were challenged to emulate her work in 4 small groups that would use re-use and spray paint, the final product would be required to work as  a whole unit/ installation. Following Nelvelson, we delved into the Chicano Mural movement, students studied the works of Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros, identifying the symbols, colors and line quality that made these artist leaders of the movement. In every lesson, there is always an opportunity to highlight social justice, and here again we look at the role of the female in the arts and community and the importance of the Chicano/Latino culture in art. Students worked in small groups to create masking tape murals featuring protest and persuasion to prepare them with back ground and understating of the history and role of graffiti in art.

masking tape mural: 'A heart is fragile'

As our graffiti project neared, the school became a buzz, all the students in every grade level wanted in. My class of 28 would grow to nearly 45 students as the work began. Five days later, a visit from school board members, a visit from the superintendent and from York International, our IB high school and the project would come to an end.

As this class comes to an end, I have again made so many meaningful contacts and connections, all that I hope to share with my students in one way or another, and I can't help but to begin to ponder how I will top last year. My goal in teaching is to create lifetime learners, if they are a little better at art, great, but really I want my students to experience learning via "pull" method ( Lankshear, and Knobel, 2007). I want them to understand that every person that they come in contact with may be resource, maybe not today, or tomorrow, but making lasting true connections and relationships is more important than knowing how to solve any math problem. Its all about communication, how we communicate and what we do with those experiences.

Ratha and me, 'Mrs D'

Friday, July 15, 2016

Osgemeos: working together, learning and acquiring knowledge: Week 6 reading response

" if you obey all the rules, you end up loosing all the fun"
The sibling team of Osgemeos's work can be seen around the world, the two have been collaborating since birth and have worked with names like Banksky, JR and other top contributors in the industry. Their work speaks to current adversities and global issues all the while being aesthetically pleasing and a bit humorous. Their work is a gentle reminder of the loss of innocence and play that happens as we grow older, and what I think is happening in education today. With so much focus on testing and finding a implement that is a do all for all, I find myself 'breaking the rules' more so than not. 

"This is a version of social learning as a process of proactivity for desirable outcomes."Lanksher & Knobel 2011

Osgemeos's 'Liberate Expression' sums up perfectly this week chapter in whole. The whole idea of social learning is to allow the individual to express in a group, as part of a group, to a group for a common goal or interest. Without the liberation of expression, and social learning we are only digesting that which is given to us, and the question becomes if we are learning anything at all. There is a 'push' ( this now seems backwards to say as Lankshear and Knoble express pushing as giving information rather than pulling from the individual. ) for PBL or Project based Learning, but what is being lost is the social aspect. Having a student follow directions to complete a project is not PBL nor is it social. The act of learning according to Lankshear happens when multiple things occur at a social level. When the individual is aware of themselves and their contributions, and contributes proactively then they are learning. 

serving to prepare for, intervene in, or control an expected occurrence or situation, especially a negative or difficult one; anticipatory:

Changing my own perceptions of being active in the previous week, this proactivity, stuck in my thoughts again. As Lankshear and Knobel suggest, learning occurs as we become participants and proactive in the learning environment. This proactivity recently brought a vandal to justice, as people used the online community to communicate her whereabouts, speak out about her choices and end the end locate her through the very affinity that she was posting. With out the act of social learning and community this person may well still be 'tagging' up up our National Parks. 

Passion also resurfaced this week, we all know that it is important to be passionate, but we need to remember this for educational purposes too. Lanshear and Knobel suggest that the web allows students to not only learn socially, but to also harness passions that connect with other like minded individuals and groups. We witness this passion as Remi speaks out against a 'gag' order of sorts on his presentation for a conference. Without the passion and these affinity spaces, one might feel alone in their fight against hedronormativity, racism, sexism, and institutionalized systemic education. Reading the multiple posts and comments, reminded me that community occurs at many different levels and this is what we need to be teaching. It was a community that came to Remi's defense, just as a community of people the same that may have never met before, might not even live in the same country came together to proactively come to a common goal and outcome to stop this young white privileged female from defacing the outdoors. 

'in this city there are in this city there are many serious problems that need results! Do not spend time $ erasing graffiti!'

It is not the internet, the web, Facebook,Instagram,Snapchat, Reddit, etc, etc that plague the young minds of the students that we are trying to teach, it is that we don't understand and that we are afraid of change. The change in the social paradigm that has the teacher leading the class and being in control, that allows students to become the leader and choose their own path. They (students) have so much to teach us about being social, perhaps we should listen.  Change the focus of what we perceive as the problem! 
One question that I found completely interesting in the reading: 

Many writers and researchers have drawn a distinction between ‘acquisition’ and ‘learning

My response:  

OHH - good question, are the two synonymous? I feel like learning something means that you have not yet experienced the authentic task, whereas acquisition seems to reference that you are able to draw conclusions and use what has been acquired to develop new questions and ideas.

What do you think? Are acquisition and learning the same or or is there a distinct difference?