Rhetorical Velocity and Delivery

In Jim Ridolfo and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss’s Composing for Recomposition, they highlight many important arguments about rhetorical velocity and delivery.  Writing of the genre of remix, Ridolfo and DeVoss state that, “This genre scaffolds well into classroom conversations, and challenges students and researchers to find, argue for, and discuss other instances and mediums where ideas change shape, gather speed, and are elsewhere delivered.” In our classroom, we’re currently working on a remix of a global topic; considering this quote, I can see that a remix is a challenging, yet succinct way to display global information.

The term “rhetorical velocity” was defined by combining three definitions of velocity.  The term relates to speed in relation to the third party usage of materials to create a remix.  The article states,

We are proposing the beginning of a field conversation about how composers strategically design texts for re-appropriation by third parties, said Jim Ridolfo, a PhD Candidate in Rhetoric & Writing at Michigan State University.”

I will use the notion of rhetorical velocity in my remix by making the information remixed enough so that it is not plagiarized.  I will also be sure to make the remix go by quickly enough so that it’s not boring, but slowly enough to make sure it’s understood.

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Teachers Pay Teachers

One digital community that I find to be particularly useful to me is called Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT).  TPT was founded by Paul Edelman, a teacher in the New York City public school system.  The site allows educators from all over the globe to connect by buying, selling and sharing each other’s resources.  Whether these resources are math lessons plans, templates for arts and crafts, science lab sheets or simply labels for around the classroom, TPT is the gateway from teacher to teacher.  Any public school teacher, private school teacher or home school teacher can be a part of this; and parents can gain resources too!

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When you buy or download something from TPT, you can view the reviews that this product got, the seller/creator of the project and the review that he or she got on his or her profile in general.  Most resources are free, but there are some that charge a small fee.  Downloading is really simple, and broken down into categories by grade and by subject matter.   There’s also a really awesome section for “Tools that meet the Common Core Standards!”

It’s super easy to upload your own lessons and resources onto TPT; however, that can also be a downfall of the site.  Nothing is approved or disapproved by the site as of now, so teachers should be careful of what tools they’re bringing into their classrooms!  Other than that, buying and selling is very easy.  I encourage you to check it out!

Universal Children’s Day 11-20-2015

A holiday that has always been very meaningful to me is Universal Children’s Day.  I was introduced to this holiday three years ago, at a meeting for the Early Childhood Education Club at my college.  I was astounded to find out that we celebrate this holiday in the United States because we are one of the only nations in the world where children do not have their own bill of rights!

Children are the most innocent and vulnerable people in the world, and the fact that they cannot have protection of their own rights is heart breaking and unjustified.  There are many videos and articles that the United Nations and non-credible supporters have put out, but I have found a video on Youtube titled, “Universal Children’s Day: A Celebration of Children’s Rights.” This video was created by Boulder Journey School, a preschool in Colorado, and it does a great job at depicting the issue at hand.

So, how does this video get the viewer’s attention?

The video begins with text on the screen saying, “A right is… as defined by four year old children.”  The children explain what a right is to them in their own voices, using childlike examples like, “Children have the right to eat apples when they’re hungry, and to play pretend everything.”  They also include some things that children should never worry about having such as, “Children have the right to clean water, and a safe place to sleep.”

This video uses sources such as the children and families at their schools, and a book about education and rights in early childhood.

This video creates and influences its audience

The video uses the voices of children to influence the emotions of the viewers.  Any person who is passionate about childcare, children’s rights, has a child, wants a child or can relate to children will feel sympathy for the children speaking in this video, and the children who the video is speaking about.  The logical argument of this video is the fact that children in America and many other third world countries do not have rights.  And the credibility is that this was released by a credible early childhood center, and they have used academic sources to back up their research.

Researching for #SayHerName OR #KeishaJenkins

I have recently been doing some research on the topics of the hashtags #SayHerName and #KeishaJenkins.  My interests were sparked when I heard of the tragic death of Keisha Jenkins, a 22 year old transgender woman from the Philadelphia area.  Seeing this story in the news was devastating, and it made me wonder why these deaths are still occurring.  What is making people afraid of accepting people from the LGBTQ+ community into our society?

So, that’s why I began this research project.  I am tracking the activity of the hashtags provided above, and using the data I am collecting to fuel my research.  After thorough investigation of this topic, I have come up with a few questions to guide my research and they are: How has the LGBTQ+ community reached out to nonmembers by supporting and accepting members like Ms. Jenkins? What about Jenkins’ case promotes acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community to society as a whole? Has violence within the LGBTQ+ community raised awareness outside of community, or are there now more questioning members due to the violence associated with “coming out?”

I have investigated these topics by creating an annotated bibliography using the site “Storify.”  I invite you to take a look at the beginnings of my research, stating with my annotated bibliography here.  Thanks!

Big, Big Data!

Lev Manovich’s “Trending: The Promises and the Challenges of Big Social Data,” in Debates in the Digital Humanities, was written in 2012.  That was already three years ago and at the time, archiving website data wasn’t as advanced as it is now.  Manovich writes, “At YouTube, computer scientists work on algorithms that will automatically show a list of other videos deemed to be relevant to the one you are currently watching.”  This quote is something that I see happening every day in the digital world around me.   I go on YouTube and my screen is already filled with recommended Taylor Swift songs and hair tutorials.

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The reason that I raise this point is because I always wondered why my recent searches (like certain purses, clothes or shoes) are always on the sidebar of my screen when I’m looking at various pages.  One of these reasons is the generation of data through my online searching.  Manovich writes about in his article; however what he is adding to is far more in depth than the data that the Internet has gathered about me.

Data archiving has come a long way since the creation of this article, but it still has a ways to go.  There are now companies that sell data collection tools to buyers so that they may collect information on their users and consumers.  But, what would really propel the field further is the merging of qualitative and quantitative researchers.  I think that this idea of big data can have good and bad sides to it; for example, I don’t like the idea of companies using my personal and demographic information to further market their product.  I feel like that’s an invasion of my privacy.  However, this is what’s bound to happen in the coming years with growing data archives and archiving companies with softwares.

Big data has affected my life in the way that I stated as companies used my recent searches to create a profile of items that I may be interested in.  But it can be taken further where companies can use the information gained from their users to market to the right audience.

What did the hashtag do for us in 2014?

If you’re not familiar with the term “slacktivism,” you could probably infer that the word is a combination of activism and slacking; the term refers to web based support to a political or social matter.  In a class that I took over the summer called Intro to New Media, we defined the term slacktivism and spent a lot of time debating what constitutes this form of “activism.”   Using the word slacktivism became popular when the hashtag #STOPKony was started in 2012.  “Kony 2012” was a documentary produced and filmed by Invisible Children, an organization who’s purpose is to stop the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) from abducting any more African children from their families and works to bring them out of captivity.

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This hashtag #STOPKony is many times used to describe what slacktivism is.  However, now that it’s been three years since the first usage of that hashtag, there are other hashtags that have emerged from equally as harmful social and political events.  In her article, “12 Hashtags that Changed the World in 2014,” Lindsey Weedston discusses how these twelve hashtags have done everything for humanity but slacktivism in 2014.

These twelve hashtags range from poignant to hilarious and seem to sum up the year of 2014 in hashtags.  #BringBackOurGirls and #BlackLivesMatter were two hashtags that I was familiar with before reading this post, but they deserve recognition.  The first hashtag refers to the girls that were abducted from a Nigerian boarding school in April of 2014.  Unfortunately in this case, the hashtag wasn’t powerful enough to bring back each of these girls safely, but it raised awareness and advocacy in the United States for the matter.  Even Michelle Obama jumped in to do what she could.  The second hashtag refers to the general feelings of injustice of the treatment of unarmed African Americans by police officers (especially Eric Garner).  Weedston writes, “Since the tag’s latest iteration, Attorney General Eric Holder has declared that there will be a federal inquiry into the grand jury decision about Eric Garner.”  In this case, the hashtag had a lot of power.

To touch on a more light-hearted topic, Weedston’s article introduced me to #DudesGreetingDudes.  This is a satirical hashtag that makes fun of catcalling by saying, “If men think that catcalling is a harmless compiment, let’s see what it’s like if they start complimenting each other in public.”  The results were hilarious!

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Some brainstorming…

For my first assignment in this Writing, Research and Technology class, I am in the process of exploring a few topics focused around my own digital literacy history.

The first thing that came to mind was thinking about the shift or evolution of my online communication.  From AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), to texting, to Facebook messaging to formal communication through email, my literacy practices have changed while the literacy event has not.  I think that it’s interesting to explore the different discourse communities associate within each of these domains and to see which words or abbreviations have stuck with my online communication over the years.

The second thing that came to mind was exploring how I learned to type and how this literacy practice is carried into many literacy events in my life.  I could write about the motivation to learn to type because it was like a secret language that only adults or teachers knew.

The last thing that came to mind was discussing my first experiences with my first cell phone and how this literacy practice has stayed with me until this point in my life.  I could explore how the purpose of me having a cell phone has changed yet stayed the same and I could go into the literacy events that having a cell phone has let me be a part of.

What shall I choose?!?

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The Spice Girls: A first glance at digital literacy practices

At the end of chapter 1.3 in their study, Transnational Literate Lives in Digital Times, Berry, Hawisher and Selfe close their thought with this quote, “These linked cultural formations—technological innovations, the expansion of global computer networks, lower costs and greater efficiencies, the expanded reach of global capitalism—continued to exert pressure during the first decade of the new century: both locally, in the lives of this study’s coauthors, and worldwide” (Ch. 1.3).

This quote really resonated with me because I was born in 1994…  1994

So, much of my childhood was spent in the first decade of the new century.  Although I was only six years old at the start of the new century, I can remember when some of these technological innovations began to make their way into my life.  There was truly an expansion of global computer networks; and although most computers looked like this, more people were gaining access to more affordable technologies.

My first experience with a computer was watching a music video.  I was in preschool (1998) and I went to my friend, Saige’s house after school one day.  Saige’s grandfather worked for IBM (International Business Machines), and they had a computer for as long as I can remember.  So, that day after school, her Grandfather asked us if we wanted to see our favorite band’s music video on the computer.  Of course, we said, “Yes!!”  And we crowded around the tiny screen in his home office and watched Wannabe by The Spice Girls and it remains a fantastic memory of mine as my first time using a computer.

Each time I think back to this day, I feel nostalgic.  Even hearing the song as a twenty-one year old brings me right back to Saige’s grandfather’s office.  From that moment forward, we always begged him to show us more Spice Girls videos on his computer.  And, when I finally got a computer the Spice Girls had phased out and I was on to Brittney Spears videos!

I consider this Spice Girls video as my first digital literacy practice than I can remember.  At age four, I probably did not know what a music video was; I’m sure this literacy practice required some scaffolding.  Had I not known Saige, I would not have been exposed to this literacy practice that occurred within the private domain of her grandparent’s home.

In the year 1998, according to the Census Bureau, 42.1% of homes had a computer and only 26.2% of homes had access to the Internet.  So, the domain that I was exposed to was fortunate enough to have this luxury.  Although my family didn’t own a computer at this time, I was still able to gain access to this digital literacy practice.

On Rhinegold: My Take on Digital Literacies and Participatory Culture

Early on in his article Why You Need Digital Know-How-Why We All Need It, Rhinegold states that his purpose is not to say that “Google is Making us Stupid” or that Twitter is making us impatient.  He aims to convey to us that technology cannot control us.

Rhinegold believes that it is up to the person behind the technology to decide who is in controlled and who is being controlled.  He states, “Digital literacies can leverage the Web’s architecture of participation, just as the spread of reading skills amplified collective intelligence five centuries ago.”  In other words, it’s not what we’re given that will move us forward as a society, but how we use it.  If people were not literate five centuries ago, they would not have been able to overthrow monarchies; similarly, if we’re not digitally literate today, we don’t have the ability to make vast changes in our lives.  Rhinegold takes the perspective that many people are digitally literate today.  But what he would like to share with us is how to use the Web to our benefit rather than have the Web consume us.

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The Web consuming us is one of the worst potential things that could happen to us as a society.  But, I agree with Rhinegold’s stance when he writes, “They (young bloggers) seek, adopt, appropriate, and invent ways to participate in cultural production.”  This holds true in relation to my life as a young Web user.  There are so many ways to let The Web consume you as a user, but there are so many more ways to use it to your benefit.

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Being a part of participatory culture allows members of this culture to be a part of extraordinary things that could never exist without the presence of digital literacy.  As I was reading Rhinegold’s piece, LinkedIn, Twitter and a plethora of other sites came to mind.  Without being digitally literate and participating in my participatory culture, I would be missing out on so many social, emotional and professional opportunities that exist in this realm of technology.  Many of my past jobs and professional connections that sprouted through using the Web.  I have had great professional success with using Care.com for childcare, LinkedIn for professional connections and sites like Aesop for substitute teaching positions.

I really enjoy Rhinegold’s stance on emergent technologies.  I think he speaks to a naive audience of young media users like myself and wants to inform us that the Web is… good!  In fact, the Web is great.  But, we need to pay attention to paying attention to the world that surrounds us.  As Rhinegold calls it, “The literacy of attention.”  I see so many benefits to living in this participatory culture and I hope to continue to learn more ways to use it to my benefit.

Literacy as a set of social practices

Hmm… now, doesn’t that sound odd?  Literacy, by definition, is basically being able to read and write.  I always thought of reading and writing as individual practices, but in David Burton and Mary Hamilton’s Situated Literacies, they delve into the idea that literacy is a set of social practices.

Chapter one of their book titled Literacy Practices explains that literacy is not just the actions of reading and writing, but it’s what people do with their abilities to read and write.  Furthermore, Burton and Hamilton explain how literacy is a shared experience; there are different domains that require different types of literacy, some literacy is embedded in these social domains and some have more strict boundaries than others.  But, the common ground between these components of literacy is that, “They straddle the distinction between individual and social worlds,” (Burton and Hamilton).  This means that the broad realm of literacy can connect literate individuals (readers) to one another.

When individuals come together due to a shared literacy event, they can form a discourse community.  A discourse community is a group of people with shared interests, goals and most likely vocabulary that can collaborate ideas.  However, this literacy event that brings these individuals together is not always made up of words, sentences and paragraphs.  Shared literacy in this discourse community can be written, spoken, seen or heard.  And, the converging of these individual literate beings can create a positive uprising for the people in this community.

Discourse communities can even shape literary practices because the members of these communities can develop their own vocabulary to describe their goals and practices.  And creating or using repeated vocabulary can cause information to only be relevant to the individuals who can comprehend the words spoken, heard or read.

A very broad group that I am a part of is Pinterest.  However, within the grand scheme of Pinterest, there are specific “boards” (subcategories) that I “follow” (keep up with) for things that I’m interested in.  Specifically, I follow boards for teaching children in the early childhood years.  Through Pinterest I can find links to teaching strategies, classroom management tools or even forms of assessment.  However, all of these links are displayed in a visual format. Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 7.06.00 PM

So, there is “range of semiotic systems,” as Burton and Hamilton say, that contribute to the nature of the community.  I wouldn’t call Pinterest a discourse community because there is not a set vocabulary or direct goal of the site.  But, communities within Pinterest have more distinct boundaries that a discourse community can follow.