Close up! – Can you guess what it is?


Perhaps a little blurry, sorry about that …

This week I chose to do the Visual Assignment called “That’s Not What I Expected.

So can you guess what this image is showing? Here are some hints:

  • my theme for this semester is “Health and Nutrition” (so this image has something to do with that)
  • this image shows something that comes in pairs
  • I never go to the gym without them
  • they’re so pretty! look at those colors! but so comfortable, too
  • the last pair I had were purple

What is this a picture of?

My running shoes!  Yay exercise!  And to be honest, just like many of you I’m sure, I have used these shoes a lot more recently with the introduction of PokemonGo! (I caught a Pikachu today!!)



¡Viva España!

spain flag

This week I completed the video assignment (found here) titled “It’s vacation time!” As you can tell from the title of this blog post, and the not so cryptic picture above, I chose to share some pictures from the time I spent in Spain.

Although the assignment mentions a ‘favorite vacation,’ I admit that I did not exactly vacation in Spain; I spent about ten months living there teaching English at a local school.  The experience was amazing!  And even though I technically lived there and did not vacation, it felt like a ten month vacation from reality.

While in Spain, I lived for a month in Sevilla and nine months in Málaga.  Other places I visited (and other places you will see in the video) include: Barcelona, Madrid, Ronda, Cabra, Aranjuez, Granada, Córdoba, Salamanca, Zaragoza.


I added the Spanish national anthem as the background music.  I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed traveling around and taking them!


Week 2 – Reading Response


This week I read the following two articles:

  1. “New Literacies and Social Learning Practices of Digital Remixing” – Lankshear and Knobel (2011)
  2. “Soda Tax Passes in Philadelphia. Advocates Ask: Who’s Next?”  – Margot Sanger-Katz, The New York Times

“New Literacies and Social Learning Practices of Digital Remixing”

This article introduces the idea of “remixing” as it pertains to one’s culture.  At first I had trouble really grasping this idea, but as I continued to read it began to make more sense.  In a simple sense, remixing is the process of taking two or more aspects of culture, whether they are from the same culture or different cultures, and mixing them together to create a new “product.”  Every aspect of my culture, of your culture, and of cultures around the world have been influenced, created, and/or changed by this process of remixing.

In a step beyond this, the article discusses the act of “digital remixing,” which as you can imagine, uses technology and media to remix culture.  At this point in the article I had an important thought.  I wonder to what extent ideas, knowledge, and cultures are becoming “digitally remixed?”  Many people do not have access to the resources that would allow them to share in this way; other people have the technology but are to some degree illiterate and unable to create digital media to share with others.  So, are the “digitally remixed” cultures shared really reflective and inclusive of all cultures?  Definitely a topic worthy of further discussion.

Within this chapter, I really liked the part about “fan fiction” and “cosplay.”  I will be attending ComicCon this weekend and will sure experience a lot of both of these!  I appreciated that they went into detail about both of these ideas because I can guess that a good amount of people are unsure what is meant by these terms, as well as how they can contribute to the remixing of culture as well as the creation of new cultures.

Throughout this chapter, there are additional explanations of remix practices.  For example, one very common way that people participate in remixing is through Photoshop.  What I find to be the most interesting about Photoshop is that it seems to be simultaneously celebrated and critiqued.

Soda Tax Passes in Philadelphia. Advocates Ask: Who’s Next?

My theme for this semester is Health/Nutrition, so I chose an article about the much debated “soda tax” which will be implemented in Philadelphia shortly.

Basic information from this article:

  • this tax will affect sugary drinks and artificially sweetened drinks
  • a similar soda tax has been proposed about 40 times in various cities but has failed to pass
  • the tax would be 1.5 cents per ounce of soda/drink
    • that’s about 30 cents added to a 20 oz drink

    Philadelphia, one of the nation’s largest and poorest cities, worked to pass this tax under the guise of “increasing the city’s revenue”

  • it is calculated that $91 million would be earned by the city of Philadelphia
    • plans to use money for PreKindergarten programs, community schools, recreation centers among other city programs
  • eventually, Philadelphia will participate in studies about the effect of the tax on drink sales as well as the effects on obesity

As I read this article and write this post, I am sipping on my zero calorie flavored water.  I admit, I am known to drink diet drinks and man do I enjoy them!  Overall, I think the tax would deter many people from purchasing unhealthy drinks, which would lead to improvements in health throughout the city.  I also like that there are plans to use the money for community programs.

I am interested to see how this tax develops and the effects it has on the people of Philadelphia; not only health effects but social/economic effects as well.  Which city will be next to take this path?  The article mentions Boulder, Colorado (which doesn’t surprise me).  Will it reach Denver?



¡Una broma!

Hello to all!

This week I chose to complete AudioAssignment77 titled “Make ’em laugh!”  Basically, I tell a joke in another language and add in some effects.  I struggled with how to best do this and eventually ended up using iMovie so that I could show the illustration for the joke (below) while I was talking. I chose to do a joke in Spanish because I am a Spanish teacher and I love to use the language whenever I can.

For those of you that don’t know Spanish, the translation for the image is as follows:

Doctor: “The pain in your right knee is caused by your advanced age.”

Patient: “No, because the other knee is the same age and it doesn’t hurt.”

See my finished Audio product here.  Hope you enjoy!


“Run Your World” – Week 1 Digital Story Critique


This week I watched the digital story titled “Run Your World” by Madelein de Bruin.  I found it on the website Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling.  This website has lots of great digital storytelling examples that fit into many categories.

I chose this specific story because I want to focus on health/nutrition as my theme throughout this semester.  This video tells the story of a woman who was unhappy and not in good health and so she tried to start running.  Slowly and for short distances at first, but quickly and for marathon distances eventually.

For this critique I will focus on the following three traits:

Story – How well did the story work? This trait can address structure, engagement, character transformation or any of the other qualities of story.

  • This story was well planned out and had a clear purpose.  Madelein is trying to inspire others to find a hobby in exercise like she did.  By sharing her experience transitioning from a woman with poor health and poor exercise habits to a woman with great habits and much better health, she hows how powerful exercise can be in people’s lives.  Madelein illustrates for the audience what her goals were when she started, how they changed, and how she was able to accomplish them.

Flow, organization, pacing – Was the story well organized? Did it flow well, moving from part to part without bumps or disorientation?

  • This story was organized in a way that made it easy to understand by the audience.  There were clear sections to the story:  Beginning – Madelein explaining what she felt like/lived like before she fell in love with running.  Middle – Madelein explaining how and why she decided to try running and how she felt almost immediately; after being able to run for four minutes without stopping, she didn’t want to stop running ever again.  End – Madelein explains where she is now, in terms of exercise, outlook on life, goals, etc.

Sense of audience – How well did the story respect the needs of the audience?

  • This story is geared towards people that are not regular exercisers and who have trouble finding the motivation or reason to exercise.  Throughout the video Madelein makes suggestions for how people who are wanting to start exercising can fit it into their lives and how they can keep motivated and eager to continue.  Although she has worked her way up to running marathons, Madelein is very humble about the place that she started which I think allows the audience to connect and relate to her more.  Many of the technological resources that she lists will be helpful to those hoping to start their exercise journey.

I enjoyed this video.  It is always nice to see people develop positive and life changing goals and habits.

Week 1 – Reading Response

This week I read the following two articles:

  1. “Sampling ‘the New’ in New Literacies” – Lankshear & Knobel (2007)
  2. 7 Things You Should Know About Digital Storytelling” from the Journal titled “Educause Learning Initiative”


Sampling the “New” in New Literacies

This chapter from Lankshear and Knobel’s book was a great introductory read for this class and this semester.  It brings to light the many ways in which learners are able to interact with text and information allowing them to learn individually as well as share their thoughts and knowledge with others.  Such “collaborative learning” is exactly what this course is doing for me and the others enrolled, and will no doubt benefit me next year in my first year of teaching.

I was glad to read about the Sociocultural approach to understanding literacy.  During my undergrad at Boulder, during which I got a degree in Communication, I studied the Sociocultural approach to human communication and found it to be very interesting.  More recently, while working on my Master’s in education, I have studied the Sociocultural approach to education.  Being able to apply this approach to a new area is great.

I will be honest, I did find some of this article to be slightly difficult to understand.  For example the two different mindsets.  The table on page 11 was helpful in illustrating the differences between the two sides, but I am not confident that I have a clear understanding.  I also wonder how many people/learners/collaborators fall into either one of the mindsets.  It seems that most people would fall somewhere in between.  Although it is entirely possible that I am misunderstanding…

The examples of new literacies and new ways of building knowledge between people that this chapter lists are great!  However, the idea that these new literacies are working towards a “commitment to inclusion, collaboration, and participation” really makes me think.  Are these new strategies really reaching and benefitting all people and all learners? Specifically, I am referring to the internet and technology based literacies.  Are older generations without computers or without the skill set necessary able to share their stories or their ideas; are they able to inquire about the knowledge and opinions of others?  What about other groups of people without easy access to computers and technology: those in lower economic classes, from different cultures and backgrounds.  Perhaps these are the groups that need to share and be understood the most but are not able to.


7 Things You Should Know Digital Storytelling

This article breaks down the essentials of Digital Storytelling.  Like many others, maybe even some in this class, I had only a basic understanding of digital stories prior to taking this class and subsequently reading this article.  I have only ever created one digital story, for my very first Graduate class and at the time I thought it was super cool.  Now, after reading about a student named David and the story he told digitally, I realize I really need to step up my game.

Similar to the critique I had about the previous article, I believe the “Who’s doing it” section of this article is not complete.  They list colleges and universities that are known to have programs around the topic of digital storytelling.  What is not mentioned, however, is “Who’s not doing it.”  I believe my background in socially equitable education is becoming quite clear through this week’s response, but I cannot stop my brain from thinking about the audiences that are not being met, helped, learned from, etc. through digital storytelling.

As a soon to be teacher, I am excited after reading this article.  As mentioned above, I am definitely a novice digital storyteller, but I greatly hope to develop my abilities and share information and narratives with my students.