Ahhh, the end of the semester...

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Just the one paper for this class to go and a little tiny concept map and I am all set. I wonder how we all get through these things from day to day. When I was getting my masters I was always working so hard (and playing hard) that there are stretches of time that I really, literally have no memory of. I am afraid that sort of thing is beginning to happen to me again. If I lose time again, then what am I doing? Okay, note to self: SLOW DOWN. Remember what is going on around right now is just as important as the goals I am aiming for. It is a hard lesson to learn and one that I seem to have to learn over and over and over again.


Oh well. Off to do some discourse analysis of the use of digital rheotric as it can be applied to traditional compositional padagogical theories.

See, it is just that kind of thing which makes me lose time....

I know why I do this...

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Part tutor, part teacher, part therapist, part cheerleader. I know why I do this. I know why I am getting this degree. I like helping students. I like making first year students see and then really REALLY believe that they have a voice and that the have the right, the responsibility, to get that voice out there into the conversation.

Last night I sat and I talked with a student for over an hour. At first we worked on the paper and went through it line by line but then when that was done, he sat there. This was a student who was bitter and pissed off when he sat down. Unhappy with his grade, he had been told one of the ways to improve the final score was to come see me (I, by the way, am worth ten points). In writing centers we are sometimes hesitant to meet with students who are there for the points. The appointments can become what anything is when it is obligatoy, like a kiss to a great-aunt, brief and uncomfortable for both people.

In any case, I battled this kid all through the appointment. Showing him what his professor was talking about and maybe making him see she hadn't been so unreasonable with her grade afterall. He was pissed when he sat down and an hour later I couldn't get him to walk away.

What it all came to was that he was overwhelmed and scared that he doesn't belong here. This kid with tattoos running up the inside of both of his forearms, from the inner city of Philadelphia was scared that he couldn't hack it at IUP (or college in general). So, for the last 30 minutes of his appointment we sat there and I tried to talk him up and convince him that he is in the right place. So often underclassmen don't think anyone wants to hear what they have to say. We have to change that. These kids need to know that they have an obligation to enter the conversation. In the case of this student, I had to convince him that college is sometimes about doing things you don't want to do. He had to know that we can't be interested in every paper we write. He needs to see the value in the excercise because when he finally gets into that class where his passion is ignigted, he will have the grace and the skill to express his thoughts and opinions and then people won't just let him speak, they will wait to hear what he has to say.

How would I incorporate digital life in my teaching?

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One important way I think I can incorporate digital lives into my teaching is to encourage students to validate their existing knowledge of digital mediums and bringing those into the classroom. For example, in the research project I am doing, the use of IMing to do a peer review of papers can easily be incorporated into students' current competencies. When the already present genre knowledge is validated students are more likely to take ownership of the classroom and to feel that their voices are being heard and that adults are taking them seriously. Too often in our society young people are not allowed agency or even to exist as fully fledged indivdiuals. This validation then could be one way to turn that tide in their favor without it hurting them a bit.

thoughts on new written forms

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Let me first just say that it is snowing. Snowing. Where I live. In October. This whole weather business is gonna get interesting.


As for my response to the reading assignment from this week, I wonder at times if I am just old enough to be resistant to certain kinds of changes. When I was reading I kept thinking about different conversations we have had in 800. In particular, I keep coming back to the idea of a "way in." I mean, this text actually feels like it wants to resist our acess to it in multiple ways. There are jokes and references which are sometimes hard to catch because of the specified knowledge required. Other times the jokes are hard to catch because of the medium. What I mean to say is that I was often so busy trying to make sense of what I was reading that I missed something that I normally would not have.

Then again, I have the feeling that on a second read I might not have felt quite so disorientated by the experience. One of the notes I wrote down while I was reading this last night was something about active reading. Like active listening, this text requires that the reader get involved with what is going on in order to make sense of it. There is something kind of nice about that since the text then has the sense of speaking more directly to me than a normal more standardized academic text.

I guess what I am saying is that since the text does so many things at once, there are things to both love and hate about it. I liked that the alternative format allowed for things like jokes and interplay within the text. I was frustrated by the movement of tex around the page which often kept me from knowing which thing to read next.

All told, I feel like a grumpy academic but I have to say that I am glad everything we read is not in a format similar to this article.

The experience of collaboration...

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What is the collaborative research experience like? What is both gained and lost by working collaborative on research?

I think the seed of collaborative writing can be found in the dreaded experience of group work. For many an undergraduate student, group work can be seen as the escape valve for teachers and a way to manufacture an environment of joint authorship when in reality the students are not working and are often hiding behind the manifolds of 1 or 2 motivated students within their group. However, as group work evolves throughout one's educational career, the desire of the group's members to initiate their own group work becomes the missing resource behind making group work click. When each of the group members recognizes the value of having others there to back them up and to join their efforts, then the experience can be rewarding and useful. There is much to be said for the experience of a group of colleagues getting together to investigate a topic in which they have a mutual interest.

How does the English language shape the nature of the Internet and therefore most technology-focused research?

I suppose that because the internet originated in the United States, that English was the first language on the internet. However, I think it has more to do with the political positioning of the United States and other imperialistic English speaking countries in the world. To be an imperialistic country in the traditional 19th century version of the word is no longer good PR for countries and so, instead, we find that we must locate our imperialistic tendancies within more subtle but no less destructive methodologies.

How about corporate/commercial influences? How much are they shaping the Internet and thereby technology-focused research?


There is so much stuff out there on the web. How can we as researchers approach that huge mountain of data in any meaningful way?

I think that if you want to look at the amount of data out there as a bad thing that is like saying there are too many flavors to taste or too many countries to visit. I mean, really, so there is a lot out there and it is impossible to read it all, then that just means that you need to keep reading, keep learning and keep moving. How is this a problem?

Where ought we to be directing our research focus as composition and TESOL scholars? What seems most pressing?

My Group's Credo

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• A new pedagogy of writing should "use technology...to make teaching more effective" (Barker & Kemp, p. 5).
• Help students to see technology as useful and valuable and encourage technological literacy and fluency in order to facilitate more egalitarian classroom practices.
• To fight EVIL where ever it is encountered with integrity, determination and panache.
• We intend to make students "a part of curriculum creation is an approach we now readily endorse" (Mauriello & Pagnucci, p. 80).
• To educate students to relate their learning within and outside of class to life experiences.
• Acknowledging the need to remain adaptable and flexible educators within a shifting academic environment which includes a changing student population and evolving levels of technology.
• A willingness to remain a perpetual student even as we teach and influence others.
• Our actions in the classroom will be consistent with the values within this credo and will reflect them.

The growth of technology in my life

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In my personal life: I live 500 miles closer to my boyfriend now than I did for the first 6 months of our relationship. Currently we are only a mere 1000 miles away from one another. I say this with just a touch of annoyance at the situation. However, what is obvious to us both, is that without text messaging and multi-media messaging we would not have been as successful at maintaining our relationship to the level we have thus far. Sometimes it is scary to admit just how much we rely on the technology to keep us close. Daily we send 20, 30 or 40-plus messages back and forth. I send pictures of my dog, the view from a walk I'm on, a new purchase I have made and I receive pictures of my nephew (they live in the same town), a strange news headline or something he know will make me laugh.

Without these messages there would be many times when the 2 of us could not communicate for days at a time. These messages have helped to give us the closest thing possible to a normal relationship. Of course there are those endless hours on the phone too...

At school: when I came back to graduate school after just a few years away from the world of academia, it was whole different world of research and communication. Where before the use of email to communicate with professors would have been considered taboo and much too informal for student-professor dialogues, it was now encouraged and promoted as the main way to get in touch with professors. The telephone was scorned as a way to connect to your professors and office hours gained less importance than before because of the ease with which professors could respond to student questions in the email formatting.

In addition, research no longer required that I travel the 45 minutes to school, instead, I could log onto the university website, locate an article and download it to my own computer, whether or not to print a hard copy was up to me. Eventhough I come from a generation that has always done much of its research through computers, I was amazed at how that technology had been refined and perfected in the few years I was away from academia.

In my work: when I think about how technology has affected my work, I have to believe that the technological advance that has most affected me in every job I have had since after high school would have to be the use of email. The fact that I can communicate with my boss, at whichever job, from home and at the times which work the best for me has made email both a great gift and a horrible curse, especially when email came to my cell phone. I am never truly away from email and this allows me to be notified of problems and situations almost immediatley and often I am able to put out fires before or shortly after they begin. Without email my response time would be greatly diminished. With email I have annoyed more than a couple friends and family members by my inability to ignore the chiming of the blackberry coming from my purse or pocket. I sometimes wish I could stop myself before I pull out the phone, look down and realize that I have jumped inside an email while the person right in front of me has continued to talk. I have said far too many times: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to ignore you but I just got an email." As if that is an acceptable excuse for ignoring the person who is right there in your presence.

As a child: I would say the technology that most affected me as a child would be the telephone. I see it now as a foreshadowing of my current attachment to my blackberry. I remember my first telephone was shaped like Garfield the cat and I spent hours of my life talking on the phone to friends who usually lived within a couple of miles. It was something which I loved to do and because the telephone is decided for talking, something which I have always had an addiction to, it seems only natural now that I would be in a situation where in order to feel connected to my boyfriend, I often fall asleep with that little technological lifeline clutched in my hand: the blackberry.


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My plan to rule the world

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  • Dan Ruefman: As far as group work goes, I hear ya. small read more
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