Tuesday, November 12, 2013

EDU 718 Reflection - Week 11

1. Do you agree that schools ought to prepare learners to succeed in the world as it is even if that may not be the world as it should be?    Should all students be prepared to use the standard dialect, wear the standard clothes, and adopt the standard behavior patterns when interviewing for jobs-- (even baby or house-sitting,) crafting the admissions essay, or interacting socially with the community?   How important is fluency in the normative, even if that means learning a foreign language and a wearing a mask?    What are the implications of your stance on this issue?    Notice and name some positive and negative aspects.

I believe that schools should prepare learners to succeed in a way which is true to the person’s identity.  By that I mean acknowledging that we all hold special gifts and talents.  We all have strengths and weaknesses.  As a teacher in a school I try to nurture students to come into their best self.  That may look different for each one of us.  I am aware that there can be enormous pressure for kids to be “normal” or exhibit standard behavior.  If students demonstrate respect for themselves and others than I believe it is okay to be different.  If a student is presenting her/himself for a job interview or college application I have an expectation that that person will represent themselves in a neat, clean, respectful manner.

The questions around following the norms or the standard discourses and Discourses are  tricky to answer.  To be “fluent in the normative” can definitely open doors for students.  If being like everyone else is uncomfortable for a student than I don’t suggest that it is good for one’s self esteem to try it.  If following the norms works for someone or it does not feel uncomfortable for them than they may want to be “normal”.  I have noticed in my own experience that I personally am often attracted to those who “dare to be different”.  For me it reflects a sense of self worth and pride when a person wears a different style clothing , or hair style, or jewelry.  I am not sure but I guess that I am the minority in this regard. As Gee noted in his analysis of the language in the job interviews that there is an expectation that standard English is spoken fluently.  There are often expectations in job interviews that people will look and dress “conservatively” or mainstream.  The negative aspects of daring to be different could be that one may be passed over for an opportunity because they could be viewed as “odd”.  In a positive light an individual could also be chosen for an opportunity because they feel confident enough to be true to themselves.  

I thought the CT Forum on Blackness was a very interesting discussion.  It reminded me of the many rights and affordances which are given to me simply based on my appearance as a white person.  Anita Hill also reminded of the affordances denied to me based on my gender.  Each of the panelist shared some thought provoking  ideas and the discussion provided me with much food for thought.  Also if keen interest to me was the both, Toni Morrison and President Obama made use of stereotypes in their comments.  I personally think that is a dangerous practice. I try to stay away from using racial comments in an attempt to be humorous.

2. As you have explored and worked with content creation tools (or other technology)  what assumptions and biases have you noticed?  What is built into the templates?    Are the online tutorials beginner user friendly or do they assume that all audience members know what is meant by click and drag, menu bar, open, privacy settings, post, etc. etc.    Can you make a list of words that have specialized meanings in the world of now, that they would not have had 30 years ago?   How does command of this vocabulary privilege some and cause others not to belong?    

As I have worked with technology in new and different ways in the UNH ITDM & L program I have noticed some assumptions. I have noticed that there are many powerful affordances that come along with knowledge of all types and this is true for “technological knowledge” as well.  There is a whole world of online savvy people and it is very interesting to “tap into” that world.

I have noticed that more women are visible in the world of technology.  For most of my professional career I was often one of just a few  women at a meeting or event centered around technology.  There is definitely a language, culture, Discourse and discourse around technology and I feel privileged to be in the midst of knowing about some of them.  I am still learning about all the many pros and cons, how to and how not to utilize technology, ethical ramifications, power issues etc. around technology in my personal and professional life.   The language and vocabulary acquisition alone can be overwhelming due to the rapidly changing nature of technology.  

Of keen interest to me is how the “digital natives” such as my 14 and 16 year old children can acquire and gain command of the rapidly changing tech based way of learning.  I can see that they have been raised to embrace and dive into what is often times confusing to me.  That says that they are learning and being taught to learn differently than I was.  Is this good or is this not good…?  The jury is still out.  It is, however, very interesting and I always look forward to exploring new ways to learn in my life long journey to who knows where!

My choice of medium
I choose to write my reflection in a google doc because I am becoming more and more comfortable with the editing features in the google doc.  After I have edited and revised my piece I copied it to my blog where I can retain it for future reference and reflection.

Gee, James Paul. Social Linguistics and Literacies. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2008. Print.
Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together.  New York: Basic Books, 2011. Print.

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