Digital Storytelling

This Flickr set contains the images used in our video.

This Flickr set contains the images used in our video.




For our digital storytelling project, Laura and I decided to retell the story of Rapunzel. Our video, created using Videolicious, is Retelling Rapunzel: A Digital Storytelling Video

Our Storyboard and Bibliography are also available. The curated content collection, which expands the bibliography, is linked in the above image.

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Learning Project- Peer Review Updates

Having discussed my learning project draft with Jarrion, I am considering changing the class session to having small-groups instead of the whole-class work. The original idea, to have the whole class working together, was to give the students a chance to learn from each other. I think the small-group environment would be better suited to learning the skills.The small-group work would probably make it easier for quieter students to participate in the process and would allow the students to “teach” each other, reinforcing what they’re learning. This could also incorporate a suggestion from SuAnn to give them pre-selected topics that I’m already familiar with so I could assess “on the fly,” instead of having to wait and assess after the session.

I suggested to Jarrion that he narrow his topic, choosing a section of his current plan and really fleshing it out.

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Learning Project- Draft 1 Reflection

As I was constructing draft 1 of my lesson plan, the thought that kept occurring was “there’s more to this lesson planning thing than I realized.” I was not an education major in my undergrad, so this is my first official “lesson plan” sort of assignment. I’ve taught things before, informally, but those were much less structured in their planning. I may have thought about similar components, but putting them all into words, and connecting the pieces, was kind of new. I have a much better appreciation of how instructors have to prepare for lessons having attempted a plan myself.

The hardest part for me was describing the assessment. I suppose, to a certain extent, when I teach someone a new skill, I rely a lot on non-verbal cues to see if they “get” it, which is why I included more slippery standards like “Are students asking questions?”– if, for instance, several students ask about a particular step, I should probably go over it again in another way.  I’m not really a fan of tests and quizzes, so I chose a worksheet as a more neutral sort of “solid” assessment. Since it’s not a “test,” it should be less stressful for students with test anxiety, while still giving me a measurable standard– either students can successfully complete it (and are ready to move on), or they can’t (and aren’t).

The independent worksheet in particular should also make clear the connections between WorldCat and real-world (well, real-academia) applications, since students will use as their beginning topic their research for their composition class (which is the basis of this lesson). Besides demonstrating WorldCat’s usefulness, it should also allow them to begin researching for the class in an environment where they can receive research help. Since this lesson is part of a series about library resources, it should reinforce the idea that the library is a place to come for help.

The final assessment survey is more an assessment of how well the lesson worked. If students are all confident in navigating WorldCat and intend to use it again, the lesson has probably done well. If more than one or two students are not confident in WorldCat and do not intend to use it again, the lesson was very likely to blame. If only one or two students will not use WorldCat again, the lesson may not have been constructed broadly enough (or they may just not like WorldCat–there could certainly be other factors).

Do these assessments (non-written, in-lesson; worksheets; survey) seem like they would give the instructors the needed information to know if students “got” it? Any suggestions as to improvements?

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Convergence & “Remix” Culture

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 10.41.05 AM

When I typed in “convergence culture,” the guy that kept coming up as the expert was Henry Jenkins, author of the “Confessions of an Aca-Fan” blog above. After reading up on what “convergence culture” is, I thought to myself, “why haven’t I encountered this term before?” I had encountered the idea of analyzing non-traditional texts (such as YouTube videos and other entertainment “texts”) before, but no one had ever named it for me. Now I know.

Jenkins description in his “About” of the “Aca-Fan” as “a hybrid creature which is part fan and part academic” struck a cord. In my senior thesis class as an English major, all four of us could have called ourselves “Aca-Fans.” I wrote on my favorite series, history-mystery “popular” fiction series Brother Cadfael Chronicles by Ellis Peters. Casey wrote on The Dark Knight and the character of the Joker. Although Liz and Hannah took slightly more traditional routes (Ron Rash’s “literary” novel Serena, and Alice in Wonderland), they still chose those works in part because they enjoyed them. Discovering a term for us is vindicating of our work.

Switching gears a bit…

The above video, although not a “remix” in and of itself, relates because of the beginning. Heather Dale, the artist, behind the song “Mordred’s Lullaby,” released an mp3 album called “Perpetual Gift” last year (2012), called so because Heather gave full permission for downloaders to give the music away freely. The mp3’s were live versions of both previously released and new songs. “Mordred’s Lullaby” receives my special attention here because in the “Perpetual Gift” recording, Heather discusses the song’s popularity as the background music for “fan videos” of all sorts, saying, “I’m really thrilled that my art is inspiring their art.” Rather than clinging to her rights to the music, Heather Dale actually encourages her fans to incorporate her work into theirs, and an album like “Perpetual Gift,” which is given freely to be used freely, is a clear manifestation of that encouragement.

The below video is actually a mashup of “Mordred’s Lullaby” with the BBC series Merlin. This combination is fairly common on YouTube, but this particular one is a little unusual. The television series does not tell the same story as the song (in the song, Morgana is Mordred’s mother; in Merlin she is not), but most mashups use the characters as themselves (Arthur as Arthur, Morgana as Morgana, etc.). This one employs other characters as older versions of the main characters (for instance, Merlin‘s “Uther” is the song’s older Arthur), prompting the video creator to explain the “casting” in the About section beneath the video. As someone familiar with both Merlin and “Mordred’s Lullaby,” I needed that explanation in order for the mashup to align well enough for me to “follow” the combined story. Viewer familiarity with the sources prior to watching the video could actually have been a hindrance to understanding the mashup, one of the potential disadvantages of mashups (at least compared to a wholly “original” work).

Personally, I enjoy mashups (as long as I “get” what’s going on), so I approve of artists “approving” the use of their work in them. Artist approval (which Creative Commons licenses facilitate) really can be very much an inspiration.

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LIS 635 & Flickr

a screenshot of my LIS 635 set on Flickr

a hyperlinked screenshot of my LIS 635 set on Flickr–click to view the set in question

I’ve been using a small digital camera for a while now. My first digital camera was a Nikon Coolpix L6, and it’s still going strong (I’ve been using it for close to seven years). I’ve also played around with friends’ digital cameras and some larger, more expensive “digitals” with such features as interchangeable lenses. Digital photography offers a lot of freedoms. I can take a lot of pictures (and delete those that I don’t like); zoom in and out; alter flash; and change various other settings. Once I’ve uploaded the pictures to my computer, iPhoto allows me to enhance color, crop, and otherwise fine-tune the picture.

Then, of course, digital cameras offer an expanded range of sharing methods. I don’t need anything but my own computer and the Internet to share when using a digital. This freedom poses a set of challenges that never really came up with the disposables. Not only can I share photos whenever I want with whomever I want, so can everybody else. My friends can post pictures of me, and if I don’t like the picture, all I can do is “untag” myself or ask them to take it down. Among friends that might not be a big deal, but when the sharer and the subject don’t know each other, the subject of the photo has very little recourse in protecting their privacy. To use myself as an example: I don’t like my photo being put online. Today, a student popped into the third floor lounge and took a photo “for a photo-scavenger hunt,” explaining only after taking the picture (and never actually asking if the subjects minded). In this particular instance, I was not in the photo, due to my location in the lounge, but if I had been, what would my options be? I could ask him to delete, but I have no way of enforcing that, nor of controlling the dissemination of the photo if he didn’t delete.

Digital photography and photo-sharing online, whether it’s through Flickr or any other social media certainly has its uses, but the freedom they offer comes with a greater possibility of “doing harm” than more restricted methods of photography and sharing. Since I dislike my photo being posted myself, I avoid taking shots in which the subjects are recognizable without asking permission, and I rarely post photos with people in them. In consequence, the above Flickr set contains only inanimates. Using digital photography to incorporate people into a blog or video can be both useful and and fun, but it comes with a responsibility to respect the rights of the people around us.

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Mid-Point Reflection

Revised Essential Question:

How can school media personnel employ technology in the media center to facilitate student development of lifelong learning skills?

After discussing my original EQ (from August 21, 2013) with classmates, I narrowed the question a bit to the above. So far, LIS 635 has answered this question in two ways. First practically, and second theoretically.


from TechSmith’s page on Jing.

Practically speaking, I am learning a variety of new sites and apps that I can use in the media center to teach students and to encourage their learning. My favorite so far is Jing. I can use it to teach students to use various Web sites and other computer-related activities, such as using an online catalog. If the library had a website or blog accessible from outside the school, students could access tutorials from home if they needed help on, say, using Microsoft Word. Since Jing isn’t especially complicated, older students could probably also learn to use Jing, allowing them to “teach” their fellow students (such as having older students create a tutorial on using the online catalog). Playing with WordPress to create visually interesting and informative blog posts also lays the groundwork for creating a library blog.

my iPod Classic and dumphone, as of Sept. 30, 2013

my iPod Classic and dumphone, as of Sept. 30, 2013

On a less practical, more theoretical side, LIS 635 is encouraging me to step outside the box with technology. I’m not very technology-driven. New technology doesn’t scare me; it just doesn’t usually pique my interest. “New versions” of things (for instance, the iPad Touch) don’t make much of an impression of the version I have (in this case, the iPod Classic) fills the need. In consequence, I tend to be rather behind in my technology (I still like my dumbphone, for instance). Learning about a variety of unusual, non-phone sites and apps has piqued my interest in learning more about using them and finding others that work in other ways, partly out of curiosity and partly because my ideas on technology’s uses in the library are expanding.

So I suppose one of the ways school media personnel can employ technology in the media center to facilitate student development of lifelong learning skills is to demonstrate said lifelong learning skills by continuing to learn new technology.

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Amy & Savannah’s Learni.st Board & Tutorial

Screen shot 2013-09-26 at 5.14.41 PMSavannah & I chose Learni.st as our curation tool. Although we were happy with our final product, we experienced quite a few glitches that made the process rather frustrating. Besides trouble logging in and the site going down for maintenance,  Learni.st refused to delete postson several occasions. This made editing the list a bit hit or miss. The final product does look nice. Since we wanted to create a list with a definite “beginning to end” order, we really appreciated being able to order the “Learnings” as we saw fit (as opposed to Pinterest, which leaves them in the order of pinning). Learning to use Learni.st was also easier than expected. The construction of the site makes what to click on to achieve different results fairly clear, especially since there are few “icons” to click (just “edit” and changing the list order). I’ve linked our Learni.st curation board on the right via the screenshot (since Learni.st doesn’t appear to have an embed feature, which makes sharing it on a blog more complicated).

Here’s our Learnist Tutorial, created via Jing and shared via Screencast. We’re quite proud of it. We’re also quite proud of the fact that after much trial and error we persuaded it to work as a hyperlink. Although we were hoping to embed. But that didn’t work, so we’re just going with the hyperlink for now. If anyone else has more success and manages to embed their video as a video (instead of as a link), we would love to know.

For the most part, Jing and Screencast were fairly easy to learn and use. After two attempts, we felt fairly comfortable with using Jing, and our subsequent “drafts” of the final recording focused on getting our wording and timing right. When we did have trouble (namely in sharing the tutorial), we found help easily enough on the Screencast website.

On the whole, I would use all of these tools again, especially Jing and Screencast. Learni.st needs some improvement, but the site and list is functional and offers a little more freedom than Pinterest. Jing and Screencast work well together (they should, seeing as they’re both by TechSmith and appear to be intended to work together). I look forward to learning more about using Jing and sharing the videos.

Presentation Correction (10/2/13):

I misspoke during our presentation– we used the Apple “Grab” command (command + shift +4) with a hyperlink to pseudo-embed our Learni.st curation, not our Learni.st tutorial. Our Leani.st tutorial is just hyperlinked. For an example of of the Apple “Grab” used on the Learni.st tutorial, see Gabriel’s blog (10/1/13).

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Effective Performance- Anjelah Johnson’s “Family Oriented”

Anjelah Johnson’s performance always amuses me. Her facial expressions and tone of voice are part of it. “Freeze” the video every once and a while, and you can really see just how funny her expressions are. Her facial expressions are exaggerated, but they fit the situation. In contrast, her tone is so matter-of-fact, and for some reason, straight-faced humor always seems to have its special brand of “funny.” She uses pauses and facial expressions to indicate when her audience should laugh as well. She uses her accent and tone effectively to accentuate the funny moments, as when she emphasizes her accent to emphasize the dialogue in a situation.

She also pokes fun at recognizable situations for her audience. Most Americans are probably familiar with the “broken window” scene, or have wanted to spank someone else’s misbehaving kid. Since her audience is familiar with these situations, they can identify with the humor in the situation. Despite the accents, the family interactions she portrays are relatable.

This particular segment of a performance especially relies on her ability to deal comically with cultural stereotypes. Since she’s part of the culture she’s poking fun at, she’s “allowed” to poke fun- it’s the “I can tease my brother, but you can’t” idea. By including them in her comic performance, Anjelah Johnson “permits” her audience to laugh at the stereotypes, while simultaneously breaking down the stereotypes through exaggeration and identification. She exaggerates the stereotypes, making them both amusing and a bit ridiculous (and therefore less believable as everyday ideas). Using familiar situations also identifies the culture being stereotyped with her audience’s culture. As mentioned above, her audience can relate to the family interactions. Johnson can deal comically with the stereotypes because of her personal situation- since she’s Mexican herself, she can avoid the immediate backlash reaction of “she just raised a stereotype!” by reminding her audience that she has personal experience with both the stereotyped culture and the stereotypes. She blends all of these elements- “performance” aspects, choice of topics, and personal traits- to create an amusing, but potentially thought-provoking performance.

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Screen shot 2013-09-15 at 4.14.54 PM
My Padlet mini-curation is rather small, mainly because I chose a narrow category in which to insert the tech terms we came up with. I spent the previous two semesters on a senior thesis, so these tools are still fresh on my mind. I chose Learni.st initially because I thought I might include a variety of formats besides just screenshots. YouTube videos in particular seemed a likely possibility. I like Learni.st as a teaching tool because it has that variety. It was also fairly easy to navigate and use. One disadvantage for a larger collection might be the apparent inability to create sub-categories in a board. Of course, it’s possible that I just haven’t found that feature, but overall, the features of the board seem limited, even though I could post a variety. Learni.st’s main advantage was the ease of navigating my own board and adding to it.

Screen shot 2013-09-15 at 4.15.19 PM

I created my second mini-curation on Pinterest. This Tolkien-Inspired board had a much broader category, so I found it easier to add interesting pins. Pinterest has many of the same advantages and disadvantages as Learni.st, although I find Pinterest easier to navigate since I’ve been using it for a month longer than Learni.st. One of the main differences between the two seems to be the connotation. I think of Pinterest as a personal or social curation tool, while Learni.st strikes me as more “professional.” If I hadn’t played with the two myself trying to get similar results, I would probably take Learni.st more seriously because it looks and sounds less outright “social.” Having compared them though, I might actually be more inclined to use Pinterest as a learning tool because it’s more social. I had never heard of Learni.st before this class. Pinterest, however, is quite popular, so it might reach a broader audience, so if “professional” isn’t a primary need, Pinterest would probably be a better option.

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Infographic for the Average School Library in 2012

An original creation, based on the 2012 ALA School Libraries Count!: National Longitudinal Survey of School Library Programs

In the above creation, I have condensed a portion of a graph from the ALA School Libraries Count!: National Longitudinal Survey of School Library Programs into an infographic. I chose easel.ly as my infographic construction site primarily because easel.ly offered more options for creativity than infogr.am. I found the above current data rather interesting, particularly the average copyright date for school library collection. Consequently, I made the copyright data stand out. The original graph in the ALA report was longitudinal, covering 2008-2012. For this infographic, I was only interested in one year, which eliminated the need for a graph. However, I still wanted to emphasize the differences in number between types of material, which I could accomplish by accompanying the data with shapes.

To make the infographic more interesting, I added images of the types in question. Not wanting to deal with copyright issues, I chose to create my own (minimal) graphics using the shapes available from easel.ly. Since I prefer simple infographics anyway, the minimal approach works for me. Moreover, as my professor pointed out, if I ever need to create an infographic for my own school library, creating my own graphic (instead of using a copyrighted one) makes the process easier on me. I confess, I chose the colors primarily because I liked them, although with the textual information I did choose a darker shade on the grey-scale to add emphasis. The color in the book graphic also makes the books stand out from the overall color-scheme. Unfortunately, the periodical and audio data-shapes were too small for an accompanying graphic to do anything but overwhelm the data (or be too small to serve any purpose).

So here’s my first attempt at an infographic. Feedback would be much appreciated.

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