Pecha Kucha Reflection

Well this has been fun to say the very least, my last blog entry.  I learned a lot, how to blog, how to do a Prezi presentation, and how to not be scared of Twitter.  Anyway, this last blog post will be about my group’s Pecha Kucha project.  We focused on how beauty has become subjected to the tyranny of Photoshop, airbrushing, and just the most impossible standards that can be afforded to women.  They make us hold this standard that is not healthy or beneficial to young girls’ self esteem.  Our identities have become what morphed into not what we think we should be but what society thinks we should be.  Our individualistic tendencies are crushed in favor of more cookie cutter brands that aren’t realistic.

A Walk Through A Slide

CB - hands

During the slide I said, “With the far reach of technology there is something just as dangerous coming after these easily manipulated, gullible girls: sexual predators.”  These girls don’t realize just how much their need to be physically appealing makes them targets.  It could incite violent reactions just because “not bodies touched” like Dibbell mentioned in his article.  It doesn’t mean that girls aren’t affected by these online [malicious] acts.”

I found the picture of the hands reaching out the computer slightly disturbing, but also symbolic.  Social media has gotten out completely of control.  We also have to be connected, if we aren’t we lose our minds thinking that we might not have access to the great big world out there that we will miss something important and requires our immediate attention.   Where some people may use social media for professional means, there are a lot of people who use abuse it.  From teenagers using it to cyber bully “unpopular” peers, to sexual predators preying on the weaker people, to regular citizens using it to further spew hatred though the web.  No one is safe from vicious attacks and anyone can become a victim.

In Turkle’s article, she was talking about how the MUD games “are laboratories for the construction of identity.”  In a way that is what Facebook, Instagram, and other social media has done to society.  They have become ingrained so much into our lives that we feel we can’t live without however it makes us sad or depressed because if our lives aren’t as picture perfect as other people show their lives to be and then we feel as if there is something wrong with us because our lives don’t look theirs.  It is a vicious cycle that most people don’t seem to understand at the point where they are looking at those happy faces are how many shots it took to get it just right.  There is nothing in this life that is picture perfect but we are all capable of trying to put our best foot forward to make others believe that everything is good.  My other slide is of a girl with her head buried in her hands after looking at something online.  In hindsight, I think I would have put the hands before the girl but done the weight scale first.

What I Learned about my Blog Topic

My group’s blog was about beauty and how the web has helped cultivate society’s unsustainable standards in regards to beauty.  The one article that stands out to be is Sherry Turkle’s “Who Am We?” and when she speaks about MUDs.  People have taken to hiding behind virtual masks in order to be themselves because they don’t feel as if society will accept them for who they are inside.  People lose themselves in these virtual games just like they lose themselves while looking at social media and wanting to be or have something that isn’t theirs in the first place.  People’s identities have become linked with that of their social media outlet.

To be honest, the readings did not specifically do much for me in terms of beauty, regular social media did that.  It opened my eyes a little to people’s comments under a celebrity’s picture.  It could be a pretty decent picture, but people will tear her down because she’s isn’t glammed up to the nines as if the celebrity doesn’t have a right be natural.

Thinking about Deb Roy’s “Birth of Word” video gives me an idea about beauty and the web.  His son picked up words around his natural habitat.  Over the course of months he started going from gaga to water, I think that could be applied to society’s standards of web.  If we can get magazine’s and other publications to STOP photo shopping and airbrushing celebrities on their magazine after a while well we can start rebuilding people’s standards of beauty.  It will take time but I think we can do it, if only we put our best effort forward.

One thing this module has taught me is that you never know between Twitter, blogging, and even YouTube.  You have the power to reach a lot of people and you never know who can be listening or reading your words.  You must be considerate when putting information out there and make sure that it has the power to help and not hinder.

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Teaching Literacy Through Technology

While reading Selfe’s piece about technological literacy, I could only think of how much technology is shaping the modern day classroom. Yes, technology is now teaching young children how to read at earlier ages than we were able to as children. iPads are being used in schools across the country to help children learn how to read, write, learn math and even science. My cousin (who is 10 years old) says that every student in his school is given an iPad to use every year. I did a bit of research about popular apps used by children who are learning how to read and write. I concentrated on finding apps for younger students since those are the grade levels I am most interested in teaching.

One app I found is called abcPocketPhonics which costs $2.99 and allows beginning readers in pre-school and kindergarten to trace the letters using their fingers on the pad and plays a recording of the letter and has the child find the letter in a group of letters. Eventually as the child progresses, these letters become words and the app grows with the child’s progress.

Word Magic is even more affordable at only $.99 which shows the child of a picture and the corresponding word (with letters missing) and the child must try to solve the puzzle as to which letters are missing. As the child progresses, the game gets harder and letters can become missing from the beginning, middle, or end of the word.

iWriteWords is an app priced at $2.99 that focuses on handwriting and writing words. The app offers over 70 levels of tracing letters (upper and lower case), 20 levels of number tracing, and 26 levels of individual letter tracing. Children can and most often use their finger with this app but the pen for the iPad can be used to give children a better grasp at using writing utensils.

Finally, Learn to Read! is an app that shows children a word and pronounces it for them which in turn helps with memorization and takes away the need of making hundreds of flash cards by hand containing sight words. The app includes adjectives, prepositions, verbs, adverbs, etc. and can be used by pre-schoolers to second graders based on level.

Of course, once children master the art of reading and writing they can always use a Kindle or Nook to read full chapter books or access textbooks for class. Selfe’s essay shows that technology will only be continued to be used at a faster pace in the classroom in years to come. As future teachers, we must continue to learn about these new technologies because we we be using them in our classrooms.

Is the future better?

Do we go from this...

Do we go from this…

to this???

to this???

Reading and writing can be a personal thing.  With so many new technologies emerging in today’s market, it is a person’s prerogative on how they want to be able to do their reading or writing, whether it be for business or pleasure.

Throughout both articles, all Danielle could think about was how reading and writing have really changed. We have gone through “remediation in the sense that a newer medium takes the place of an older one”(Bolter 5).  These stages of “remediation” are evident throughout history, starting from use of stories and news being passed along orally to being able to advancement of visual media.  Denia’s own evolutionary writing process was from pencil, to pen, to computer.  Bolter stated that “digital technology is turning out to be one of the more traumatic remediations in the history of Western writing.  One reason is that digital technology changes the “look and feel of writing and reading” (24).  This is one of the reasons why Denia will always prefer a physical book as opposed to reading it on a Kindle tablet.  Jasmine points out that she would prefer to read a physical book rather than reading it digitally because she would end up getting distracted, go off task and check her emails or shop online instead of doing the reading that needs to be done.  On the same note, if Denia had no choice and the text was only available online there is a 50/50 chance she will print out the material and read it from there rather than on a screen.  It’s not to say that reading it digitally isn’t wonderful, but she has bad eyesight and reading continuously on a screen makes it worse well then she’s not going to help it along.

Going from hardcover books, to paperback books to an E-Reader, visually you are looking at two different forms of writing.  The experience of reading a book has changed, now there are books where the picture will interact with you from a touch or will even talk back to you. Bolter quotes E. Anna Proulx from the New York Times saying, “no one is going to read a novel on a twitchy little screen. Ever” (1994, pg A23, Bolter 3) Proulx held these strong opinions yet now millions of people have some sort of an E-Reader and even more people have read some sort of article or anything online. Danielle is more on the fence, she has an E-Reader and uses it almost everyday, but she loves to be able to crack open a book and read it that way too.  Denia has a Kindle, but she didn’t purchased it herself.  She only has a dictionary on it and half the time rather forgets she even has it.  She’s a loyalist when it comes to books.

However Lauren brings up an interesting point from Bolter’s reading where he states, “Books no longer exercise the power they once did; in the face of the new means of information and communication to which we will have access in the future, books will no longer master our reason and our feelings “ (4).  Lauren agrees with the statement as books are no longer viewed as the main source to get information from.  Who needs to pick up an actual book when there are ebooks that you could read on your iPad, internet, or tablet?  Even things like dictionaries and encyclopedias have made their way into digital form.  Still, some people like our parents, prefer to pick up an actual book and read it rather than reading it in technological form. Bolter asks the question, “Will digital media replace print?” (Bolter 6). I believe that eventually digital media will replace print, but not right now.

One of the book series that Denia is currently reading takes place in 2060 and from what she’s been able to gather, books are a rare commodity and almost all communication is digital and books are holographic, so multiply people believing that books will soon no longer exist?

Bolter mentions that people once thought books would never be replaced by portable technology or computers because books were easier and lighter to carry and expensive. That may have been the case several years ago but now a days it seems like some printed books are larger than digital technologies.  Jasmine points out that books, magazines and other publications are now being digitized so that a person can download them on their computer, iPad, or any other device instead of carrying a heavy book. Schools are also now beginning to teach children how to read digital books, because they know that sooner or later books will slowly disappear from the market. So is this “remediation” really inevitable?

So we leave our readers with the questions to ask themselves, how will life be without having actual books to hold and read?  Will it really impact our lives?  Is it possible to sustain both since there are people who stand firmly on both sides?