Aside

The Most Dramatic Blog Post Ever

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It’s Tuesday evening.  I’ve just finished watching the latest studio visit in preparation for tomorrow night’s class.  It was such a pleasure to watch.  Lots of note-taking going on and looking things up in another tab.  With my fanfiction juices flowing, I’m tempted to write all about it now and include in my post, but am thinking I will save my lengthy thoughts for next week’s post.  (Digression- The timing of these posts still feels a little “off” for me…this new topic is so fresh in my mind, yet, I haven’t given netprov it’s rightly-owed justice yet  And, I distinctly remember feeling the same way last week after watching the Mark Marino and Rob Wittig studio visit. To remedy this, I am going to make it a point to draft up my notes about fanfiction and have them ready to go earlier in the week-perhaps as a separate post, but after our classroom session- OK feeling better about that…sorry, sometimes I need to talk things out.)

The Week in Review…..

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Speaking of the studio visit with Mark and Rob (excuse the informality)….much of the earlier part of my week was spent grappling with two things: 1)understanding the various online activities that could be considered to be “netprov” and 2) trying coming up with an idea that we (as a group) could possibly create (love, love, love, coming up with new ideas/concepts/activities).  Here’s a glimpse at my steam of consciousness on the topics.  At this point, I have a pretty good understanding of the overall concept, however, the “#1wknotech” netprov example had me scratching my head a little.  I mean, I get it, I do, but something struck me as lacking an aspect of netprovishness(??).  First, let me say I love the irony and social commentary aspect at play (it’s hilarious actually), but after looking at some archived examples, it felt more like a fun DDA than an “organized netprov experience” (I dunno, maybe our DDA’s ARE netprov???).  I know that there is this large netprov umbrella, under which many different kinds of activities can fall so maybe I’m just overthinking the definition too much.  I did admire how a simple idea like that could easily attract “outsiders” to jump in on the fun. The reason behind all this thinking stems from the fact that I was trying to come up with a viable option for our class, as Dr. Zamora hinted at near the end of class last week.  To that end, I had to make sure any idea I might throw out there would be accepted by my peers and professors as actually being netprov (Gosh, I exhaust myself).  So did I come up with anything?  Well, let me start by saying that I’m a dreamer.  When I think, I usually think BIG.  I don’t know why but I have a wide-eyed optimistic view of everything all the time.  So, I’m not saying we’re going to change the world with our netprov…but we can try.  If you think back the the movie Pay It Forward, you will know where I’m coming from.  I am Trevor McKinney (and *spoiler alert* I will probably die at the end.  I also see dead people.).

Anyway, we obviously have a good, strong crew so…let’s change the world…..or at least make our netprov go viral.  I like the idea (for experimentation’s sake) of seeing how far our netprov can reach.  Surprisingly, in addition to being a dreamer, I also believe most people are quite gullible.  Let’s prey on that.  Maybe prey’s the wrong word.  I’m remembering back to Mark and Rob’s talk and don’t want to cross the invisible line of what’s OK and what’s going too far when it comes to deceit. No malice intent here….just play!  This is REALLY bare-boned, but I’m imagining some pre-work here and some sort of “real-world” component…maybe setting up a fake website or a social media account to eventually “lead” people to.  But how?….or maybe a better question is, why???  Perhaps the collective “we” can stir up some interest (via social media) in a fictional youtube star or some interesting “organization.”  Can we alter the number of fans he/she has or hits on a website (think odometer rigging)?   Can we get these fake entities gain actual followers?? With hype alone?  Can we make something out of nothing?  Alchemy at it’s finest!!!  Can we get our fake star to appear on Ellen….or, better yet, can we get others to do good for an actual cause?…wait the lines of netprov are becoming blurred again.

Just thoughts in my mind I had to get down so they don’t prod at me……

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The Story Arc in Networked Narratives…

That’s quite a big topic to ponder as well…….lots of thoughts about that, but I’ll spare you (and me) a long-winded discussion for now.  Let’s just say, yes, it’s much more complicated than the traditional understanding.  More and more prevalent, however.  And worth exploring.  Loved the Vonnegut video!  Must use with my students one day.  Wonder if they’d appreciate it??  Wonder if our minds aren’t getting rewired more and more each generation to “expect” or think more in terms of a non-linear story.  I’m not really talking about attention span here, but more about “how” a story is received/perceived and/or told.   

Weekly DDA’s

Some of this week’s DDA’s were doozies!  I had a tough time executing a few of them, but I did have some fun with these…

 

I suddenly became filled with anxiety at the thought of having only seconds to write the prequel to the picture prompt DDA….I decided to skip that one 🙂

Weekly Media Prompts:

Just for fun….(my son helped me with pixlr after having a good laugh at my expense)

And, what you’ve all been waiting for……the big reveal….

Click here for the answer.  A must see!

One last note…..

Had a lot of fun with the story fold activity with thanks to Kevin & friends.  The audio version was fabulous and the multimedia version even better!!…But who’s the author?? 

 

Aside

Weekly Round-Up

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Weekly Round-Up

There was no shortage of work to do this week.  That’s the wonderful (and sometimes terrible thing) about this class….and my job, and the US postal system (from what they say), and the laundry:  THERE IS NO END!!!!  For some, this may not present a problem.  For me, it’s a blessing and a curse.  

“Are you finished with your work, Mom?”

“Uhhhh…nooo?  There is no such thing as ‘finished,’ hon.”

And

“Babe, wanna watch TV?”

“I can’t, I’m still working.”

“Still?”

“Yeah.  There’s no end.  You don’t understand.”

You see my point.  I wouldn’t have it any other way, though.  Thoughts, ideas, they consume me.  I love having little flickers of creativity simmering inside my mind throughout the week.

Speaking of Flickr…..

In case you didn’t catch it, I developed a little stage fright in my quest to complete the remix aspect of the challenge.  So, I remixed my own (semi cop-out) 5 card story.  Both left me with mixed emotions: “Ehh” about the product.  “Wooo” about the process.   

Also enjoyed sharing the flickr experience with my students.

And then there’s the bots…..

I pretty much covered my experience with bots this week on a separate blog.  Interesting stuff, those bots.  Still trying to wrap my head around them…….I think there’s much more to be revealed.  

And all that other stuff…

Still a big fan of the DDA’s!  

DDA 36 was a doozy!

More writing in a writing class? Yikes!!  My prompt conjured up memories of the endless bedtime stories I would tell my son when he was little (and even when he was not so little).  He devoured my stories….would beg for more every time.  And I fed him with these elaborate, silly fantastical stories.  Audience gold!!!  

After I posted the story started, I started reading through some of the flickr posts and noticed the title of Kelli’s amazing story.  

Oh, yeah, I read that earlier in the week.  The awesome title must have somehow seeped into my subconscious.  I wish I could say that I intentionally remixed the idea, but, alas, twas not that crafty (this time). Pops to Kelli for an amazing read (and reads thereafter).  And for the “inspiration.”

Also got my juices flowing with DDA35

Have lots of ideas for DDA’s, too.  Submitted one this week and have ideas for more, more, more.  So much fun, fun, fun.

Aside

I’m Folding My Cards

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The flickr challenge proved to be harder than imagined.  First, I found myself “cheating” by restarting the photo selection process a few times….only to regret my decisions a few times, before finally allowing the cards to “fall where they may” and giving it a go.  (This is ironic considering the fact that I enforced the “rule” of not starting over with my 6th graders…oh horrible teacher!)   Yes, Alan, that was my kids flooding the stream!!  I so admire my students’ willingness to put themselves out there, unafraid of judgment.  They couldn’t wait to see their stories posted!

In the end, I chose to write a series of personal narratives loosely woven together by the images. (This is likely due to the fact that I spend much of my time teaching this genre at the beginning of the school year…it’s always a difficult transition for me to switch between writing for young adults and writing for adults..actually no adult has ever asked to see my narrative writing so….)


Five Card Story: Snapshots of My Life

a Networked Narratives story by Laura Lopez created Feb 05 2017, 09:51:45 pm. Create a new one!

flickr photo credits: (1) cogdogblog (2) GMulligan (3) cogdogblog (4) Dogtrax (5) cogdogblog


about this story

I was born on an island, surrounded by beaches too unsafe to swim on. I was around 10 years old when my dog, Dutchess died. I begged my dad to take me with him when he went to bury her under the crumbling boardwalk that flanked the condemned beach. It was dawn. I watched from our old station wagon. He carried the body, wrapped in an old comforter, from the car the way one would hold a baby. He somehow managed to dangle a shovel from his fingers. I sat and waited and stared at the rusty sign that read “BEACH.”

1982: Road trip to Wisconsin. One of only two “real” vacations with my family, the memories I hold from that time are fragmented and hazy. I have snippets of lying in the back of our wood-paneled Caprice Classic with my brothers and two dogs, covered in fur and dog slobber and sweat, wind blowing so loud I could barely hear the AM talk radio buzzing in the background. Random visions of rest stops and picnics. Mom was born in Wisconsin and we were going to see all of her cousins and her grandmother, “Grandma Black.” She made her own strawberry jam and her house smelled like gingerbread, with hair as white as clouds. Some relative of ours lived in a “round house.” That’s what it was….round. We went to the lake and sat by the campfire. And then there was the greenhouse. The Black family owned a greenhouse with flowers and plants as far as the eye could see. All these things I remember partly because I lived it and partly because I have photos that jog my memory every once in awhile. Sometimes I wonder how much of my life I actually remember and how much is recreated through pictures.

My first job was at McDonalds. I was thrilled to have some extra income and quickly became the “drive-thru” expert (This was a most-coveted position, as you got your own little booth and no one looking over your shoulder. The food would come from the kitchen on a conveyor belt!!) After a while, I became friendly with some “regulars.” I eventually got to know one customer, in particular, very well and we ended up going on a date. One date, to be exact. He drove a Mercedes and I took the bus. He was 30 and I was 16 (I lied to my parents about where I was going). We had nothing in common. He took me to a small beach on the “other side of the island.” It was beautiful. Breathtaking, actually. The date, however, was awful. We literally had nothing to talk about. I don’t remember his name or even what he looked like…but I do remember that beach. It was all worth it.

I met husband at work. He was the “IT guy” and I was in Marketing. I was living with my (then) ex-boyfriend at the time (darn NYC leases), and he was living with his (then) girlfriend. Neither of us was looking for a serious relationship. We ended up getting engaged on our second date (totally unplanned, no ring, no real “proposal,” just an agreement that we were meant to be together forever!). He drove a U-Haul into the Village that week and we packed up my things while my ex-boyfriend was at work. I left (him) a note and the security deposit. Two weeks later, my “fiance” invited my mother and friends to a bar to see him sing. I forgot you’re in a band!!! Jackpot!!!…and so I went to see my fiance’s band for the first time ever. He played his guitar to a full house in a small “Jersey” bar. Then, he called me up on stage. He had a ring this time and proposed on his knee in front of his soon-to-be mother-in-law-he’s-never-met before…and we have it all on video. I wore leather pants. Perfect!

And so, as I sit back looking at the tangerine-streaked horizon and reflect on my life thus far, I think: It’s good. No, it’s been great. Life is interesting and magical and beautiful and wonderful. A picture can preserve a memory or spark a memory or inspire a memory to be created. They capture what our minds let go and hold clues and hints and layers in them for all those who choose to look.


Next, I debated about which story to “rewrite.” I really wanted to participate in the remix aspect of this task but was frankly a little intimidated by all the fantastic writing out there.  I feared I would “taint” or do a disservice to the original story.  To that end, I ended up remixing my own 5 card story.  As a personal challenge, I committed to trying my “hand” at a little fiction (this was a first for me).  Instead of looking at the photos in a linear way, I tried to imagine each as one of the story elements (advice I recall myself giving to my students at the start of their flickr challenge).  So I tried to create characters, setting, conflict, etc. based on the whole set and then tried to let the story flow.   To be honest, I really NEVER write fiction.  Turns out, I hate it!!!  I didn’t know where my story was going to take me when I started, but apparently,  I write cheesy Hallmark Channel-like romance stories for YA.  Haha.  

The teacher in me was committed to conveying a sort of completed story-arced tale so I was concerned about how to do it without it being too lengthy.  Interestingly, however, just when I thought I was done, I decided to add more, hence, part 1 and part 2.  I’m a gimmicky kinda person, so I decided to tell the same story from the other character’s POV (kinda taken from that new show on HBO, I think it’s called The Affair-I’ve only seen one episode, but I believe that’s the concept and probably where I picked it up from…not that it’s never been done elsewhere before, but that’s my most recent encounter with the tactic…)  In the end, it was actually fun and therapeutic.  I always hear about authors and their “process”…I must say it was quite interesting to “feel” how my story unfolded from my mind.  I could probably write, at length, about that process in itself.  What it must feel like to write a novel!!!  Or any fiction piece beyond a few pages.  Like I said, I never did write any “real” fiction pieces, despite being a graduate student of writing studies.  The closest I got was my creative non-fiction manuscript, which consisted of a few short-ish memoir-types (in addition to the traditional research papers, of course).    So, yes time well spent.

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Here’s the result:

Five Card Story: Broken

a Networked Narratives story by Laura Lopez created Feb 07 2017, 06:48:12 pm. Create a new one!

flickr photo credits: (1) cogdogblog (2) GMulligan (3) cogdogblog (4) Dogtrax (5) cogdogblog


about this story

Part 1: Terry
He was a beach bum. No, I don’t mean the kind that rides the waves and plays hacky sack all day. No, Teddy was a just your regular, ordinary, average, run-of-the-mill bum that happened to live on a beach. South Beach, Miami, to be exact. The surprisingly striking, yet weathered, young man could most often be found strumming his guitar in front of the Clevelander busking for pennies and wondering how he got to this place. Wondering where he went wrong. Wondering if he’d ever get over her.

The setting sun had sky had turned into a swirl of orange and white clouds and most of the dinner crowd had died down. Terry collected the loose change and bottle caps from the bottom of his guitar case. He lit a cigarette and was starting to head to the beach when something stopped him dead in his tracks. It was a voice. A voice that he hadn’t heard in ages but played on repeat in his mind.

“Terrence?” her lilting voice cried. “Is it really you? I can’t beli—” The voice faded. The eyes softened. “Terrence—uh–wha—-are you–I mean–how–” She glanced away.

The pair stood in silence with miles and years between them.

“Terrence. Hi,” she breathed with an honest smile that told of secrets and a past they shared.

“Madison.” he mustered. “It’s so good to see you.” His mind raced with a million things to say.

At that moment, a tall, thin man with jet black hair and a leather jacket too big for his own good came up from behind and grabbed Madison by the arm.

“Who’s this?” he said with a condescending nod of the head. “Let’s go,” he demanded, uninterested in the reply.

She sheepishly submitted to the request and clumsily tugged at the man’s grip half-urging him to let go. She glanced back one last time, locking eyes with Terry, who’d kept his gaze on her since the moment she spoke. He hadn’t blinked once since she appeared, for fear of missing a split second’s worth of her beauty. But they didn’t need to speak. Their eyes did all the talking and said what couldn’t be said with all the breaths from a thousand conversations. They knew.

He stared in her direction long after she was gone.

Part 2: Madison

“Mads, you’ll have a good time. Don’t worry. Just enjoy yourself while you can and don’t worry about the whole ‘commitment’ thing for now. ”

“I know, you’re right Lisa, but I don’t know. It doesn’t feel right to go on vacation with someone I don’t-you know, love.”

The two sisters discussed Madison’s upcoming vacation to Miami as they worked pruning and watering and planting in the family-owned greenhouse in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. Madison, now 36 and half years old, was beginning to feel the pressure from friends and relatives to get married and start a family.

“So, you’ll just go, have fun and if he happens to pop the question…well…what’s the big–”

“Lisa!” Madison interrupted. “”Stop. Not you too! You know how I feel about that.”

“I know, I know…there’s only one man that you’ll ever truly love…blah, blah… You really gotta get over that, hon.”

The next day, Madison and Robert landed in Miami around noon. After spending a few hours by the pool, and some late afternoon shopping, the two headed to dinner on Ocean Avenue, at the Clevelander Hotel. About a block before the entrance, Robert stopped in a bodega to grab a pack of smokes. It was then that she saw him. She recognized the profile from a half block away. She didn’t hesitate and made her way over to where he stood. She could barely catch her breath.

“Terrence? Is it really you? I can’t beli-” She paused, taking a moment to make sense of the scene revealed to her.

“Terrence—uh–wha—-are you–I mean–how–” She fumbled hopelessly looking for the words to make it OK. To not make him uncomfortable. But then, she remembered: It’s Terrence.

Whatever had happened since they last spoke, whatever had led him to this place, whatever he’d done or seen or been through didn’t matter right now. It was Terrence and she was Madison. And they were standing in front of each other at last.

She wanted to jump up and hug him tight. She wanted to squeeze him and tell him that she’ll never leave him again. She wanted to run away with him right then and there and never look back.

But instead, she just smiled a whole-hearted toothy smile and said, “Terrence. Hi.” She waited for him to utter back all the thoughts that spiraled in her head. She hoped so desperately that he felt the same. That he would say what she couldn’t bring herself to utter.

“Madison. It’s good to see you.” And that was all that came from his lips.

“Who’s this?” came a stern voice from behind. “Let’s go.”

Feeling stupid and defeated and heartbroken, Madison reluctantly walked away from Terrence. She gave one last hopeful glance back and caught his eyes returning the stare. It was as if his heart had jumped out and locked with hers.

She knew then that they would never have to speak. She knew that all the words in the world would never be enough to say what needed to be said.

She knew.

Aside

Twitta Wha? Twitta Who? Twitta Wha?  Twitta Who?….Uhhh…Twitta Bots????  

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The wonderfully fascinating world of Twitter Bots had my wheels spinning all week.  For the first few days, honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what they were, exactly.   I followed Professor Flores’s advice and started with the following “conversation.” (I wasn’t sure if I had to “follow” this bot first in order for “it” to reply or if it would respond to a non-follower…still not sure, I guess, since I chose to follow before I reached out for advice.)

Here’s what I got back:

Still, I wonder, how do you search for bots without using a bot???  When I searched the twitter engine it gave some pretty foggy results. …Maybe google??  I found it amusing that when you did search up a bot you had to look under the “people” tab to refine your results…

So, within minutes I was following two random bots, waiting for “something” to happen.  Eventually, I got some posts on my feed that looked like this

And this….

I got tired of looking at these posts so I actually unfollowed both bots within a few days.  Yep, I broke up with my first two bots…they weren’t my type.

I also explored the link suggested on last week’s announcement page to figure out what bots I might be interested in…..this was a great tool to get lowdown on a bunch of bots. Here are some selections:

thelongestpoem

This one makes me chuckle….

WhyCantWeDate

Interesting….only 130 followers????? Hmmmmmm

A few more…

IsItArtBot

MuseumBot

Next, I decided to give @KairosHotbots another shot by asking the following:

This is where they led:

and….

Still not quite my speed…..

 

Soon, I found a bot that tweets out a new metaphor every two minutes (not 1 as the name suggests).  I couldn’t believe it!  My feed was full and my phone was dinging off the hook with notifications…..deleted within hours.  I couldn’t understand any of it.

But, I thought this was a good concept and started thinking how all this can apply to my students.  For sure a bot that delivers a grade-appropriate vocab or grammar tip of the day would be feasible and beneficial.  (I’ll add that to my list of to do’s)

The closest I got was this…

Good for adults…maybe not so much for kids???

In the end, Twitter bots left me lukewarm.  

The concept:  intriguing.  

The final products:  less than enthralling.  

All good food for thought, however.

If you haven’t had the chance to check out our fellow #netnarr blogger, Kevin’s post and the Twitter bot HE MADE, it’s a must-see (and follow).


A few final ponderings….

Bots: “mainly” for entertainment?  Education?  Inspiration? Any of these?  All of these?  One more than the other, overall?  If so, why?  I guess there are many reasons for them…some for profit, in some ways, I guess……

I’ve been inspired to do a little experimenting of my own…..I made another twitter account and intend to only follow twitter bots.  Just curious to see what it would feel like to have no “human” interaction….and what it feels like to send a tweet out into the world with no followers…..

So, I again, returned to my trusty KairosHotBots and even thanked it for its help (can we make a bot that teaches manners??)  I intend to follow as many bots as I humanly can…and I wonder, do all bots respond to humans?  or just some?  testing…testing…

Aside

Lucid Dreams, a fairytale

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DDA36 response

Prompt from @MagicRealism:  A lily causes anyone who smells it to believe they are a firefly.

Title and 1st paragraph: (I was in a fairytale kinda mood)


Image result for magic fireflies and lilies

Lucid Dreams, a fairytale

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a young girl named Lucia who lived with her Auntie Mo in a small cottage in the woods, far beyond the outskirts of town.  Lucia didn’t know it, but she was born with mystical powers.  She had the unusual ability to “see” someone’s soul with a single touch of her hand.  All good and evil living inside the hearts of others would be instantly shown unto her.  He Auntie Mo was the only one who knew of young Lucia’s special talents and wanted desperately to keep her safe from all evil in the world.  Auntie Mo had witnessed, first-hand, the terrible troubles such a gift had bestowed upon Lucia’s mother, and had vowed to her sister, upon her death bed, to take care of her precious little girl at all costs.

 

Aside

The Scientist

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All this talk of alchemy had me thinking of this song…enjoy!

A description of this week’s media task gave me a false sense of confidence.  Upon reading, I thought: No prob.  Got this.   

The challenge simmered all week and my camera roll is testament to my (futile) efforts to capture intriguing, unique images of the 4 elements.

For example, this beauty went right “down the tubes”:

img_4547-1

Sticking my hand in this to unclog the drain is, perhaps, the grossing thing in the world!!!

And so, the journey continued….looking, listening, pondering….always falling just a little short of what I had imagined at the beginning of this quest….isn’t there earth all around me?  Metaphorical water???

Flash-forward 6 days and I’m still not (fully) satisfied with my efforts.  I had grand ideas that fell flat upon execution. I think I may have over-complicated this week’s task.  (I did, however, learn how to make a gif!–actually, I made four.)

I recently had a new fireplace installed and I really wanted to use it.  I’m so amazed at how, with the click of a button, I can have fire in my living room. Hence, the gif idea was born….something a still photo can’t capture.  With gif mission complete, I decided to continue with the theme.  Looking around my house with new eyes, I had a new appreciation for the things we very often take for granted like……

With gif mission complete, I decided to continue with the theme.  Looking around my house with new eyes, I had a new appreciation for the things we very often take for granted like……

—running water.  Not really “metaphorical” water, yet not exactly water in it’s most natural state (kinda like the fireplace….so not “natural,” yet real fire..it WILL burn)

And the air…I contemplated a balloon to show captured air (but I  didn’t have one handy) and then I passed my fan. (we use this sucker every night..it’s really loud)

And then there’s earth…..Ugggh…I couldn’t bear to break the gif theme I was going for….I have a plant in my house that I wish I could have shown growing in time-elapsed fashion, but, uh, you know….I didn’t have a few weeks to work with so….I have no earth gif representation.  FAIL.

So tonight was my niece Riley’s birthday party.  I couldn’t resist the urge to show air and fire in the same gif.  So here she is.

The Elements Embodied….just for fun

I played around with some other ideas…I was leaving the house earlier today and say a picture of my husband’s firefighting crew hanging by the door…FIREfighters??…..that could work…..my daughter’s a swimmer..ok, good…my son….is full of hot air most of the time???…no, that’s not nice….uhh..what else…I’m a mother so mother earth??…ok that’s a stretch…..here are the resulting pictures of pictures of people and pictures of people…

collage-2017-01-31

Last reflections…

Experimenting with photography has been a blast…I took a class in college (the first time around many, many years ago) and remember playing with f-stops on a (very) manual camera and developing film in a dark room…it’ss really bringing me back and fun to think about the world a little differently….we foget that sometimes (when we grow up, maybe?)

And the best part of all?  My kids’ reactions to me standing on a chair taking pics of the chandelier, or videos of running water….Mom, what arre you doing??? Stop acting crazy!!!  My son, the youtuber and I were making videos at the same time..priceless.  Are you doing digital alchemy stuff again??? he asked.  Just perfect!!!!!

Aside

Getting My Sea Legs

Ahhhh…Where to begin?

A Little Background…

I feel compelled to start at the beginning.  I chose to sign up for this course for a number of reasons.  In addition to being genuinely interested in the subject matter and being enamored with Dr. Zamora’s teaching style, I was also recently given the opportunity to take part in my district’s “model classroom” initiative.  I was provided with a set of chromebooks for my 6th grade students and directed to infuse technology-based lessons/activities into my classroom.   This is all in an effort to document lessons learned and (hopefully) make a viable case as to why a one-to-one environment would work in our district (Rahway Schools).  To that end, I have been taking bits and pieces of this course back to my own classroom whenever feasible.  For example, I recently introduced hypothesis.is as a tool for annotating things we read online.  Also, I had my students check out our course site and extended the invite to take part in any/all activities.  I am soaking it all up like a sponge…..so exciting!!!

Props!

On my mind:  I’ve been meaning to express the complete and utter awe I have for the course site itself….I mean, WOW!!!!  Really?  Netnarr rocks!!!  I’m such a nerd….I keep telling my friends and relatives to check it out and participate.  I can’t contain myself.  Thinking of bringing my son to class if he can over his social anxiety maybe he’ll pop in….

Taking It All In….

So, I just wanted to take one more sec to reflect on my experience over not only the past week, but the previous week as well.  The first week after class was a whirlwind.  Getting acclimated to the many components and course layout, setting up tools, decoding cryptic messages, etc… my head was spinning (in a good way).  My first post “Rabbit Hole” was actually referring to how deeply entrenched I had become with the course (and the site itself).  Anyone that knows me knows that I am a “dive right in” kind of person.  I would definitely say the first week was more of a “taking in all in” kind of week.  Checking things off the list, posting, thinking, feeling it out….not as much “connecting as I would like….

Getting My Sea Legs

This past week has been more transformative, in a way, for me.  I have become more accustomed to “checking in” regularly with the various connective tools and really feel like I’m becoming a part of a community (already, right?  yes!).  Generally on the more shy side, I’m becoming more comfortable with posting comments on blogs, replying to tweets and just overall engaging with others.  (Thank you!)  I must say, one of my favorite components of this course is making the dda’s.  I’m obsessed.   Looking forward to seeing what comes next….

 

Check out some a few on my twitter page.   

I was inspired by and enjoyed reading a blog post by alchemylovesalchemyou.   Awesome!  Another stand out for me this week was by Masooch. Great read!  Both among many others this week!!!

Cool tweet of the week:

“4 elements” post underway…

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Broad Strokes

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Broad Strokes

I have come to understand “digital alchemy” to be the transformative process that occurs when words, ideas, images, sounds, etc. are transmitted (and received) across a digital network.  I say received, however, with some reservation.  I wonder, does the message have to be received in order to be transformed, or is the creator’s act of creation enough to warrant it as being digitally-alchemic? (Is art “art” if no one ever sees it?)  I am tempted to argue that, because the idea of a network is woven into my working definition, a message must be not only received but transformed yet again by the receiver in some way.  Then again, I’m not so sure.  When, exactly, does the transformation take place.  I may be getting ahead of myself…..let me go back.

When thinking about digital alchemy (I hate to do this but…), I must insert the buzz word “spectrum” into my discussion.  I do believe that there is a broad range and/or varying levels of what one might deem to be digital alchemy.  I think most of we do on the web can be considered digital alchemy.  Here’s why.  

On the most basic level, the act of getting any message across to another person is a form of mystical mutation in itself.  As humans, we are limited by the constraints of language (among many other roadblocks) in our ability to convey even the simplest of messages to another.  There are thoughts and feelings inside us which have no verbal counterpart.  We strive to be understood by others and, yet, we may never know for sure whether or not they fully comprehend.  The intended message may then be re-transmitted to others and, like in the classic game of telephone, it may (again) undergo a series of (alchemical?) changes. Similarly, there are things that our mind cannot begin to comprehend.  Sometimes you can just “feel” something being transmitted from another person.  The unfathomable….that’s magical!  

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Digital Alchemy: The simple fact that digital networks even exist is mind-blowing!  So, an Instagram photo posted by a user is, indeed, digital alchemy.  Think about what happens.  Say, for example, a person is sitting home alone.  They snap a selfie and post to Instagram.  They are, essentially, telling a story to the world.  Whatever it may be, there is some intention behind the act.  Then, others react and/or comment on this “story.”  Suddenly, the person sitting at home alone is connected.  In turn, others who see these connections may choose to join or ignore, each choice adding to the transformation.

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We’re all telling stories on the web with everything we do, or choose not to do.  Choosing not to “like” or comment on someone’s “story” is making a statement to that person and to others.  

So, yes, the digitally networked spaces we inhabit have made it possible for nearly everything online practice to communicate our stories to (and with) the world.

My thoughts about how “true,” purposeful digital storytelling relates to digital alchemy are too lengthy to post here and now.

One last thought- I find it interesting to think about how I cannot seem to send a text without an emoji or an acronym.  This particular digital platform has truly changed the way we communicate.  It’s weird to say but I don’t know how I would text without them, yet there’s no way to use them in a face-to-face verbal conversation (Unless I give someone a “thumbs up”).  My hubby’s still getting the hang of it….I texted him I was sick the other day and he sent me this!!!!   

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LOL!!  Really???