The Breath of Meaning & Small Bites of Knowledge

The Breath of Meaning

Thanks, Christina for a thorough conversation about the Movement of Air, the Breath of Meaning: Aurality and Multimodal Composing by Cynthia L. Selfe.   As we discussed, Selfe advocates for the utilization of multiple forms of composition and communication (multimodalities) in order for students to portray their own ideas.  She makes it clear that global communications thrive from multimodality, and the use of dynamic composing environments for writing (video, audio, photography, software and hardware applications) allows for emerging writers to transcend language barriers and borders.  It was compelling for us to consider the history and politics behind a traditional academic disdain for aural “texts”.  For sometime multimodal composition has not been perceived as “valid writing” and has often been categorized as an invalid or premature form of composition (often associated with a low-brow mass mediascape).   But as Selfe suggests, “We need to respect the rhetorical sovereignty of young people from different backgrounds, communities, colors, and cultures, to observe and understand the rhetorical choices they are making, and to offer them new ways of making meaning, new choices, new ways of accomplishing their goals” (642).   I love how Christina closed her thoughtful presentation with an especially important assertion from Selfe’s research findings: “Young people need to know that their role as rhetorical agents is open, not artificially foreclosed by the limits of their teachers’ imaginations” (645).  This reflection brings us to the heart of the power hierarchy that is so much a part of any educational enterprise.

Equity Unbound

Next week the network will enter into the last phase of conversation based on the concept of Digital Wellbeing.  In many ways, I am glad we are closing the semester-long journey with a focus on this issue, and I suspect the topic might be related to some of your final project reflections as well.   Is technology hijacking our minds and society? Technology tears apart our common reality and truth, it shreds our attention and can cause us to feel isolated.  But it can also bring us together, perhaps growing our capacity to address the world’s pressing problems together.  What began as a race to monetize our attention is now eroding the pillars of our society: -our mental health, -our democracy, -our social relationships, and our children.  So in the face of this understanding, how do we take care of ourselves?  Some materials to get you thinking further about this include Net Smart: How to thrive online (selections) by Howard Rheingold (2012); the concept of ‘digital dualism’ as described by Nathan Jurgenson in The IRL fetish; or a brief video by Max Stossel & Sander van Dijk called The Panda Is Dancing produced by the Center for Human Technology.  I invite you to check out this #NetNarr Studio Visit from a year and a half ago in which we spoke with Howard Rheingold (and his daughter Mamie Rheingold) about being “Net Smart”, mindful, and creative in the digital age:

For the next class?

  • Please read Using Rubrics to Develop and Apply Grading Criteria by John Bean.  Serkan will present this article.
  • Please read Responding to Student Writing” by Nancy Sommers and Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next.  Darline will present on these texts.
  • Re:  Small Bites of Knowledge – Please exchange “vignette” drafts in order to peer review of one vignette for the final project.  (You can email your reviewer your vignette, and be sure to cc me as well so I can see the material as well.)  Please follow this brief Peer Review Protocol which provides a few questions for the reviewer to consider.  The best way to go about your review is to make a copy of the peer review document and then on the re-named copy add the name of vignette author and reviewer and answer the questions.  (When you open the peer review document, you will see your review partners.)
  • Write your eleventh blog post reflecting on:

One of the readings above

Your final project progress (the peer review or the collaborative elements).

We will spend the second part of our class time in collaboration/workshop mode again.

Hang in there during this busy season!!

Dr. Zamora


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