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Is Literacy about Literature?

Chase James said we are less creative when we come out of school than when we start. He also mentioned that this is the first time in history that people are less creative than the folks before them. I'm not sure how he comes up with that, but in my biased opinion, I tend to agree that most young people don't seem that creative. They don't have time to be creative. They are too busy learning other stuff. We all are.

Module 7 was all about how we learn and how we teach and whether this should change with the times. The conclusion was that it should.

Our class material suggested changes such as using collaborative and participatory learning, being creative, including technology as well as social media and gaming in the classrooms. If we incorporate informal social learning into the standard methods, students will engage and learn better.

Some of the challenges of this new mindset: instructors are not familiar enough with new technologies, accessing knowledge might replace learning knowledge, students might give up reading altogether and opt for multimedia as their only source of research.

Two points of this module which touched me more than others were the following:

(a) Collaborative problem solving. Students need to learn how to troubleshoot. It is not for the lazy. The process of troubleshooting involves a lot of brainpower and creative thinking. When you hit a wall, you need others to help you get over that wall, walk around it, or punch through it. This kind of skill must be experienced to be learned. Providing safe spaces for students to learn to feel comfortable with this activity is a learning tool takeaway for me. I thought that the piece by the MIT folks that we read in the first week had some wonderful examples to try at the very end of the article. I imagined elementary school kids trying to survive as lions and the remix of medieval culture using current music.

(b) Cultural literacy. Michael Wesch became our hero for showing others how to get a class involved with people very different from themselves. Taking on the perspective of another culture is a great way to wake up one's mind. It allows students to become more open to new possibilities and also to become more empathetic of others. This level of empathy is what makes us fully enlightened human beings, in my opinion.

This module seemed to hit a nerve with the teachers in the class. They seemed resentful that they could not embrace many of these ideas because they were forced to teach to established testing criteria. There was a lot of discussion in our house about knowledge. I was one of the stronger proponents of not letting go of accumulating knowledge in the pursuit of learning to seek and find knowledge as needed. I feel that gathered knowledge is essential for solid decision making. I fear the pendulum might swing too far and we may lose this valuable commodity. As we older people die off, the youth may lose their resources of sane, balanced decision making. I guess that is the third thing that touched me deeply. I don't think I was alone in this.

Once again I have to give a shout out to my entire House. Everyone contributed heavily in the Hypothesis and many were obviously trying to hold back emotional responses. They got their points across without being offensive or angry. We took turns playing devil's advocate at times and we may not have agreed on everything, but it was respectful and open minded discussion. I so appreciate the rapport we have established. Beyond that, my relationships with my classmates have grown. There seems to be more real friendships developing. Its good to see that some are getting in touch outside of class. Arielle has given me a book tip, Mandy is having fun on Sketchnote project, Paul reached out about a local restaurant. Rich is inspiring in his challenging and creative use of technology with his coat of arms. Robin did a fun story where classmates could vote on what happened next. She made that work. Impressive!

I feel like I'm among friends in this class now. I will be sorry to give it up when its over.

I have started my massive final challenge. So far I've begun to piece together a timeline. I tried mapping tools but they proved to steep a learning curve for me. I finally found this timeline editor that I am comfortable using. I've started by putting events that I want to capture on the timeline as well as photos I've gathered.

I've spoken to my brother briefly as well. He has visited the area where my mother grew up and has met some of our relatives that knew her when. I've decided that trying to translate all the Spanish to English would be too time consuming so rather than interview some of my Mexican relatives I will interview him. We are planning to speak early this week and I will record our conversation. I can use some of the details in my text descriptions in the timeline.

I'm not sure how I can use video in this project. I may see if I can find some pre-existing video of the areas where mom lived and remix it into something relevant for this project...I'd like to incorporate some of her favorite music as well.

Speaking of remixes. I forgot to mention my BBC Hack the News Challenge that I did in the last module. (I think!) That was a lot of fun. I replaced headlines and a few pictures to make a new news page full of click bait.

aily Creates

Chula, my dog hates the rendition of her that I created. But I thought it was a pretty good likeness.

I love Edgar Allen Poe but I certainly can't write like him. I just used a couple of lines from his Annabel Lee poem and wrote them backwards. Then I remixed them into my own poem.

The original poem is sad and concerns young death and beauty like so much of his work. He is the Gustav Mahler of literature!

It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee;

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea,

But we loved with a love that was more than love—

I and my Annabel Lee—

With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven

Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,

In this kingdom by the sea,

A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

My beautiful Annabel Lee;

So that her highborn kinsmen came

And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulchre

In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,

Went envying her and me—

Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,

In this kingdom by the sea)

That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we—

Of many far wiser than we—

And neither the angels in Heaven above

Nor the demons down under the sea

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,

In her sepulchre there by the sea—

In her tomb by the sounding sea.

I love the pentagram in the Wiccan religion that symbolizes the natural elements of earth, air, fire and water as well as the spirit that links them together. I didn't want to tweet it so lightly so I left out the circle surrounding it and just made a pretty star out of it. I used practice papers to see how it would come out but they looked good enough for the final photo, I think. My black background enhanced it nicely, if I do say so myself.

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