Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Commentary of master/counter narrative

So I suppose the master narrative here would be overall, country girl, perhaps redneck girl.  I certainly was invoking memories from time spent at my grandparents' respective homes.  They are both located in rural Alabama.  I have never lived in this area but have spent much time there over various childhood summer vacations along with numerous holidays over the years.  Though I don't experience this kind of lifestyle on a daily basis, I am still familiar with it. I also have enjoyed it very much. I grew up on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama and then was moved to Marietta, GA, in the suburbs of Atlanta when I was ten.  My experience is certainly more urban/suburban - so regarding the narrative style - I may sound like the master narrative of an idyllic country childhood, when in truth, I am more used to strip malls, traffic, and people with foreign accents or no accents.  I myself lost my drawl as soon as I figured how to after moving to become a "Georgia peach."  Being the new girl was hard enough, especially one who was well-endowed for her age, without sounding like Scarlett O'Hara around a bunch of dislocated Yankees/Westerners.

Where I'm From Poem

We are supposed to include a "Where I'm From" poem for our's mine:

Where I'm From

by LeahThomas

I'm from the country

Wide grassy pastures stretched out in the sun

Wild strawberries and pecans from the backyard

and old pickups on gravel roads

I'm from tire swings and trampolines

cows and horses watching over the fence

Late summer nights

of lightning bugs winking and windchimes singing

the deep tones of a grandfather clock saying goodnight


smelling of homemade biscuits

crawling out from under soft old quilts

Laughter rising

Itchy sweet hay tossed up

Porch swings swaying

Local gossip

with fresh caught catfish

and family time

I'm from hands that tend the earth

and animals

I'm from a love of the land

and of the written word

I'm from high school sweethearts

and from where they left

I'm from where they return

and where I always will.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Rheingold writes, "People collaborate because their coordination, sharing, and attention to common goals creates something that none of the collaborating parties could have benefited from without collaboration.  Collaborators develop and agree on common goals, share responsibility and work together to achieve these goals, and contribute resources to the effort."

Without being consciously aware of it, I have been involved in various online collaborations for some time.  Over the years, I have become more of a participant rather than just someone looking for answers and information or being a "lurker" on a website.  I have gotten valuable tips regarding travel, researched a needed medical procedure to arm myself with information to ward off nerves, and traded information with friends, both ones I see often and ones I never see.  As I've become more comfortable with having an online presence, I have sent songs to people, commented on their various posts, and so on.  I have also come to realize that although I don't get on Facebook very much - it can present a problem.  So many people assume that their friends and loved ones are on Facebook as much as they are, so they neglect to use more traditional methods of delivering important news.  I have gone for weeks without knowing that a beloved friend was devastated over the loss of not just one, but two of her pets.  I didn't have any idea because we hadn't chatted for a while on the phone and I hadn't been on Facebook.  Likewise, I found out that a cousin got married and I was completely in the dark until my brother told me to check Facebook for some surprising news.  The reason I started up the topic of Facebook is because I see the website as a venue for social collaboration.  People send invites to parties through Facebook.  Yes, I missed the parties and had no idea they were happening.  There are many aspects of collaboration - I realize that if I want to stay connected to my friends and family, I must be willing to collaborate through their chosen method.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Patch

For class, we are supposed to comment on a news article.  I picked one from the East Cobb Patch that has to do with coping with the holiday blues.  Here is a link to it:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Global Literacies

I definitely enjoyed the Global Literacies online webinar - but I must say, as a novice, I didn't understand a lot.  There were a lot of acronyms that I had no idea what they stood for.  Other than that, I found the couple who led the webinar to be very intellectual and impassioned people.  I am interested in ESOL and TESOL so I decided that between my schedule and the topic for the night - that this was the one I should attend.  I did have some serious audio problems at the onset - it was weird - it sounded like there were multiple people talking over one another at the same time.  I don't know it that is normal or not, but it was definitely confusing.  Once that issue was resolved, I settled in and was interested.  A former teacher of mine loves teaching TESOL so I definitely was more intrigued as a result.  I also realize that in this day and age, that being more culturally informed is a good thing, as well as enlightening.  I think of myself at a younger age - what if I had moved to a different country and was in their education system?  Good teachers are good teachers - I hope to be one and that language won't be an obstacle to the delivery of my message that learning is opening yourself up to the world.

network map

Paying it forward

While reading Rheingold's chapter on social networking, I particularly liked his point in regards to paying it forward.  While the idea of paying it forward can encompass just about any interaction with good intentions towards another (which especially is on our minds during the holiday season) - he references the act when online.  How many times have you searched for answers online and found help from someone you never met before?  Probably countless times.  I know that my family members, friends, coworkers, etc. have learned how to do something they needed to know through Youtube or the like.  An excerpt from Rheingold's "NetSmart," reads:

"Another way to look at how online social capital works is the empirically validated value of paying it forward:  doing favors for strangers in a network with no anticipation of direct reciprocation.  I spend a lot of time answering email from students of virtual community studies all over the world - expecting no direct compensation.  When I know the answer to a question I see on Twitter or a blog, I often pause to post what I know.  I do it because I consider it my duty to improve the quality of discourse about social media, and I benefit from the efforts of others who feel the same sense of duty.  I want to signal to people who take the time to correct misinformation or answer a stranger's question that I appreciate their efforts and pay them forward."

My online presence is not very significant at this point, but I do benefit from people I personally know now or have know in the past.  I feel confidant that although I have fallen out of touch with some people, if I needed advice (especially regarding teaching) that they would be there for me.  A teacher I had in high school I see often, and he is as supportive a friend as he was a teacher.  He always encourages me, gives me advice when I ask, and remains a constant inspiration as to how I, as a teacher, might actually be fun, amusing, and give my students good memories.  I have many times told someone, "You see that guy over there?  He was one of my two favorite teachers.  Did I ever tell you about the time..." - you get the idea.  If I am going to teach, I want to be like him.  So here is my learning network which isn't online at present.  I have learned from my Digital Media class that new teachers can find lots of support online, which I'm sure I'll explore in the future.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

ds 106 assignment c

For this ds 106 assignment c, the idea was to take a picture that captured something mid-action and alter it to make it look different than it originally did.  I altered the hue, brightness, and saturation of the photo to create the effect.  I took the photo at my grandparents' farm.

The link to ds106 to view other pictures for this assignment is:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

link to ds 106 assignment b

Here is the link as promised -

ds 106 assignment b

I created a badge for the visual assignment project b.  Hope you like it!  I'll also post a link to the ds106 assignment so you can see other badges.  By the way, that's me from last Halloween.

Composing log with TIB essay

This is my process/composing log with my "This I Believe" essay and link to my digital mulitmodal project that was for my Digital Media class.  I chose to focus on dreams as the subject.

Leah’s composing log
Thurs. 8/30
I’ve been trying to come up with a topic. One idea I’ve been considering came into first place last night but I’m still kicking around how to express myself.
Mon. 9/03
Not entirely sure how this is going to work out...I had to work all weekend so I haven’t been able to do anything regarding the project. Plus, it is becoming quite clear that I am going to have to find time to purchase a new laptop. Mine doesn’t work and I have been using my boyfriend’s - the only problem is that he is in school entirely online and is on the computer constantly. I really need to commit to an idea so I can run with it. Being indecisive is really holding me up right now.
Tues 9/04
Decided on an idea last night - finally - and wrote the essay. Went through a ton of images to find what I want for my project. Tried Creative Commons with little success regarding images that will work. Found the perfect song but unfortunately it is a clip from Youtube so I can’t download it and therefore don’t know how to use it. Of course.
Wed 9/05
I have my images but didn’t remember to write the info for each so I am going to have to go back at the end and figure out what information I need from each source and how to cite them. Citations have always been a weak area for me. I recorded my speech (ugh) and although I have heard myself recorded before, it is never pleasant. I have some quotes I want to use but they break up my speech too much so I decided to put them on Powerpoint slides and include them with my images instead.
Thurs 9/06
Had school and work today so haven’t had much time to work on anything. Am trying to find a way to use the song I want. Asked some guys at work if they had any recommendations as how to use it but am coming up empty.
Fri 9/07
Am starting to really freak out. I have found that youtube is a valuable source of how-to info if not usable content for my project. Guess I need to find another song...I am going to avoid youtube for this one. Need more pics. Right now slide show is pretty unimpressive so need to add transitions and more.
Sat 9/08
Work, work, work and unfortunately not on the project. Gotta pay the bills somehow though. Did ask around for people’s opinions regarding what kind of laptop to get so after this project and once I have access to my student loans I can avoid having to use someone else’s. I need something I can work on whenever I need to.
Sun 9/09
Today is going to be an all day affair. Going through all the possibilities of transitions, effects, and animations is very time-consuming but I want to find what works best for the pictures and theme for the movie. I did find another song that I don’t like near as much as the first one, but oh well. I checked to make sure my word count is within the right parameters. Still need to re-record my speech and do citations. The schedule at work went up and of course I have to close tomorrow night. And then my boyfriend has to be on the computer after I get off work. Will do what I can before work and after that, I don’t know how I am going to be able to finish the project in time. If it weren’t for the citations and finding what and where they are and figuring out how to cite them - I might have a chance. As it stands now...
I have been working on my project but have been keeping my log in a notebook so I’m going to go back and fill this log in from that. At this point I have my music, my images, my transitions, effects, and animations in place. My essay is the way I want it but I need to re-record it and add it to my movie. Citations are going to be a major pain because Creative Commons didn’t offer me much in the way of what I needed for my project. As with any project, problems keep popping up. I tried to add a title page to my movie with the result that it completely stopped working. I took it out and voila, we’re back in business. I played around with the duration of the images as I want some to be shown longer than others. Played my movie through (still only music and images) and the music ends rather abruptly - not using the whole song. Need to tinker with that if I can find the time. Due at work in about an hour and am behind on what I need to have done by this point. It’s either going to be a very late night or a very early morning or both. I really don’t want to turn this in late.
As with before, I am filling in what happened earlier this week. I didn’t always have access to a computer so I kept notes in a regular old notebook. I stayed up all night Monday working on my project - when I had access to the computer. I never could figure out how to stop my speech from looping so eventually I just accepted it and had my voice fade out at the end. The other night (Wednesday) I went back to find the pics I had used for my project and imagine my surprise when I couldn’t find them all. They were from Flickr but they apparently had gotten buried. I learned a valuable lesson - always record the website and contributor from anything you pick up, just in case. For the ones I did find, I made a Powerpoint slide of credits and tucked it in at the end. I think it was Friday when I finally uploaded my project to YouTube. When I tried to find it, I had problems so then I just put it on my Facebook page - even though I really didn’t want to. Last night I submitted my written essay to NPR and emailed the prof the screenshot and the forwarded submission email. Finishing this composing log should get me all caught up. Okay, just tried to find it on Youtube and was successful this time. You can either just search “Leah’s dream project” or click on this link:
Hope you like it.
Essay is same as DMC.
Written essay:

I believe that my dreams have purpose. My dreams take me to places that my imagination has created. I can do things that are impossible in reality. I can be someone who is myself, and yet not. Rarely are my dreams hazy and out of focus. Usually they are amazingly vivid. There are times when I am unaware that what is taking place in my mind is a dream. Other times I know that I am dreaming. Those are the most liberating by far. I have flown in my dreams more times than I can count. I have soared above rivers, perched in trees, and seen the ocean from a bird’s-eye view. There are always trees in my dreams - maybe because I feel like there is a chance that I could float away too far and never get back to solid earth. I have taken great bounding leaps on the sunlit and sandy shores of beaches only to find out that gravity has little effect on me.

Because my dreams are usually of the intense variety, it means that when I have bad dreams they can leave me shaken, sometimes for days. Although these dreams are dark, I would rather suffer through them than never dream at all.

My worlds are many – they consist of sunny days in a forest, moonlit city nights, grey wintry mornings, and more. It has always pleased me to be able to visit other places, people, and sometimes dimensions through reading. By dreaming, I experience things in a way that reading cannot equal. It is like living the story in the mind rather than reading it with the eyes. Although the worlds in which I travel can be stranger and occasionally scarier, they are often more magical, mysterious, and inviting. They are also my own creation, even if unwittingly. My subconscious seems to be quite insistent.

I know what it’s like to wake up from a dream and be relieved. I also know what it’s like to wake up from a dream with a sense of loss that the dream wasn’t real. I am not fearless in my dreams but I do have courage. It gives me hope that I may be able to develop from the person I am in life to the person I am in my dreams. I don’t expect to be able to fly, but I certainly wouldn’t mind it.

I dream of events, people, places, animals, and situations so complex and intricately woven that I can only guess that they are the tapestry of my imagination. It’s as if there are millions of patterns in the world and there are as many scenarios and characters waiting to be discovered while I sleep. My mind is trying to tell me something…It’s saying, “I am giving you the material – now create. And wake. And remember.”

I was a bit confused - I thought I was waiting on feedback to do the reflective part of the composing log - hence the reason for the gap in time and entries. Thinking back on how the composing log helped me made me consider how it would help other students. It helped me to feel less out of control regarding the assignment. Laying my progress out and being able to go back and read over it let me see which parts of the assignment took the most time. I’m hoping that what I learned will help me in my Affinity space project. For instance, finding images and figuring out which transitions worked was pretty time consuming. II know now that I will need to allow a substantial amount of time for that. I think that some students are visual learners which could translate into them finding pictures before they write their words. Images can stimulate thoughts which in turn become written words. For me, writing the essay helped me start everything up because then I knew what kinds of images I wanted to use and could eliminate some right off the bat. I would encourage students to use a composing log so that they can monitor their progress. They can also look back to previous composing logs - if they continue the practice - so they can remember which things about the project tripped them up. For me it was keeping a record of where I got my images and making my words/speech end at the same time as my slides. I feel that the composing log requires not a lot of work for the help it can give students as they work through composing a project.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

ds 106 link

If you'd like to see this same picture via the ds 106 website, along with other people's spubbles, I'm including the link which I hope will work...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

DS 106 Spubble

DS 106

For my Digital Media class we are supposed to do some "assignments" for this website DS 106.  They actually look pretty entertaining and interesting, hence the quotation marks around the word "assignments."  I will admit to being pretty over-extended recently so I chose a simple one for my first entry.  My technical skills seem limited to me considering what I've seen on the website and from other classmates but I will attempt something more difficult (for me) for future assignments.  This one appealed to me - "Your very own Spubble"- because it is within my capabilities and I wanted to cheer someone up.  The assignment was to find a picture of yourself looking expressive (in my case I look irritated) and add to it with a caption.  By the way, it did cheer someone up - at my expense - but I have no problem with that in this case.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pay Attention! Or Not.

The subject of attention can be broken down into many levels.  Focus, lack of attention, division of attention, and on and on.  Years ago, people kept remarking on my ability to sit in a dimly lit bar and read a book regardless of the noise and commotion around me.  This is an example of focus.  I wanted to be able to unwind with a book, an adult beverage, and a smoke.  (Yes, I know it is a blight on society, but I'm an evil nicotine addict at the moment.)  My friends routinely surf the web and/or text as we are carrying on a conversation and I have learned not only to be used to it but also not to take offense.  They are most usually listening to what I am saying - they are also dividing their attention between me and whatever else seems important at the time.  Regarding lack of attention, tonight I noticed a car approaching me as I walked towards a store focused on texting ...luckily, they saw me before I saw them.  In my defense, I was directly in front of the store in a supposedly pedestrian-friendly area - but still, not my best moment.  As a non-parent, I really have no platform on which to stand but it drives me nuts how often I see families out to dinner and all of them are on their phones.  Literally, they are sitting across the table from one another and they are all on their phones - parents and kids.  I understand that kids, especially teenagers, feel like they have an appendage cut off when they are separated from their friends but what about the adults?  I understand that work doesn't necessarily stay at work and in these difficult financial times, you do what you have to in order to stay employed.  That considered, it seems to me that while technology helps to keep us connected in some ways, it is also keeping us from teaching our kids how to connect to others one-on-one and in-person.  Attention-span can be taught.  I understand that some people do have issues with focusing and in today's world, it makes sense.  However, a lack of being able to pay attention to things will, in my opinion, usually result in a person who is unable to give the best aspects of life the attention they deserve.  There are moments when you need to be looking at the world head-on instead of through the camera lens and there are people who could benefit from a private conversation with eye contact instead of a text.  Life is about experience, not a technical disconnect from what is actually occurring.

I failed to reference Howard Rheingold's "Net Smart" in my previous post regarding attention.  One thing I found particularly interesting that he discussed was the time elapse that occurs when a person switches from one activity to another.  In today's world, we constantly are checking a text message while listening to someone's story while reading a news headline on the television and so on and so on.  Rheingold writes, "This rerouting of attention is what your brain does when you think you are multitasking.  Your brain expends time and energy whenever it suspends one attentional process to fire up another one.  When you shift your attention, there is always a short interval during which you must reorient, refocus, and filter out competing information in order to move from one stable theme to another..." (p. 39)  It makes one wonder whether it might be more time efficient to set aside particular times of the day to check email or to take personal calls, so as to negate these lost areas of time.  However, I believe that if I were to try myself to do this or to offer up the idea to others, the response would be overwhelmingly incredulous.  "What if something important happened and I didn't immediately know and/or respond?"  We are time junkies.  We no longer know how to wait or how to anticipate.  When what you want to know or need to know is instantaneous, found through your phone/internet - it's hard to be otherwise.  People experiencing this need to ponder a tech-free vacation - me included.  I recommend the Smokies where reception is near to impossible for phones and internet.  Been there and done that.  Watch out for rattlesnakes and bears, though.