Sunday, September 11, 2011

"How should teachers use technology?" A recent post from 10 august by Linda Aragoni on her website, "You Can Teach Writing."  Very nuts and bolts skills list, and this website is new to me with this post, so I look forward to looking around more of it.

I'd like to add to this list from a philosophical perspective.
How should teachers *think* about technology?

In the spring semester, I hope to be training tutors in Second Life from all over the world in things like about how English is a global language and the purposes of writing are various and sundry and rarely ever completely known (I may in fact be writing this blog post right now to deal with an unexplored issue between my deceased father and me, but I just might not realize it yet...  Hah!  But now I do!  :).

Because of that thinking about how subjective--and generous--we must be when we read the writing of others, I am confronted with the need to understand, with our students' help, just how subjective is our use of all of these technologies that we now use for our writing.

These technologies as we engage them are used to form communities, and we develop our own vocabularies and acceptable use policies by successfully engaging them to increasingly more literate degrees.  If I tell you, for instance, that as a longtime FB user, I don't ever add third-party applications unless I *really* know who made them, I don't accept F/Rs from ppl IDK, and I always read ToS policies when I sign up for a new account, you may or may not have any idea what I just said.  My sentence assumes a fairly literate understanding of Facebook, not only in the ways that my Instant Message acronymic vocabulary shows it, but also to the degree that one realizes that applications they allow to run on their page in Facebook, like FarmVille and Cow Clicker, are developed by independent programmers.  They are not at all endorsed or even very well researched by Facebook as a business.  These applications are one way that Facebook makes money; its advertisers are allowed to gather information about a person and co's friends every time co adds one of these applications, but co might only know that if co had carefully read the Terms of Service (ToS) agreement.

The need to demonstrate such an advanced level of literacy merely to protect one's own privacy and that of one's friends is worrying.  It's a particular problem when the application under discussion is one that is used primarily to engage one's personal communities but is then also expected to make "friends" of one's professional contacts.

But I also do not believe that a business could or should be trusted to keep my personal secrets.
More later.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wherefore art thou, writing outreach group iSL?


Bryan Carter of Virtual Harlem / Montmartre wonder worlds is allowing me to play... er... work... er... in Second Life this semester with his students as they hold classes in those gorgeous sims and elsewhere across SL.

Lots of great new texturing work and builds and landscaping in the new areas.  And a free HUD that you can wear allows the background rezzing of the scene in these photos.


Visit the Second Side Writing Center!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Educators spike in sales? no?

So from Tateru's blog, a pretty interesting chart showing user-to-user transactions from the last year.

Hmmm.  A serious quick spike in mid- to late August. ...  What COULD that be???  Oh yeah, maybe educators and all of those new students they were bringing in back when they could afford to rent land out of their own pockets for innovative education. 

Linden Labs has made some pretty dumb choices where educators are concerned.  Phillip's original hippie philosophy of "no advantage based on money-making affiliation" has been co-opted by the more Republican money-making ethos of the Phillip-less LL and screwed around so much that everyone gets the same crappy deal except for those who know enough to ask for a better one.  

If you had a single customer who was getting an average of 50 new people to try your product every three months -- that means an average of 150 new folks who have tried your product, on whom you may now invest ROI dollars to get them to stay -- how much would that be worth to a business?   Apparently it's worth nothing to Linden Labs, despite this additional evidence of hugely increased August sales. 

(I did just figure out several reasons why the spike might exist otherwise: the market might have been malfunctioning previously -- I can't explain the flat dip the month previous -- and the sales that did not go through on their original dates might have all been posted at once.  But until informed otherwise, I will believe that educators were making a difference, even in user-to-user sales. which is not a category I would have expected from spend-thrifty teachers.) 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rose Borchovski's "Why Is It Hard To Love!"

I want to do a quick post about the Rose Borchovski aka Saskia Boddeke show that ends today, darn it!, at PAD, "Why is it hard to love?" but I just don't have time! But I'll do what I can, because this show deserves more than the words I can give it.

After going, I couldn't stop myself from doing a search like Miso told me to on Susa and Rose Borchovski to find out more of the story on the Susas. Rose apparently started the stories for her daughter. "Susa Bubble, who went to bed single and woke up double." They keep multiplying until there are 33 of them; of course, when it stops and there is no 34, all of them become quite paranoid. There are several installations she has done to tell more parts of the story. A couple of her shows were banned from SL public general areas because she used to make the dolls naked -- can you imagine banning that?!? SL says no nudity in public art shows! Bring out the drapes for David!!!

I have not been able to find a list of the machinima videos in order or even a home page for her in real life. If I find those, I will update this post.

My introduction to the Susas had been through Miso's flickr account images -- she and Wiz had stumbled on an outworld work and the "Build" option had been left on so they did some messing around and took some pics in homage. I knew there was a story behind Susa dolls from what she said about the images, but I had no idea what it was.

Rose uses a lot of religious imagery; I think it is the 4th or so part of the story where the Susas decide they need religion. They elect the original Susa to be their leader/ savior, but Susa Two is never completely satisfied with that. In a story called, "Fears," Susa Two (now calling herself "Judith" betrays Susa One. Looking at the installation after this one, someone was apparently killed.

Here's MalBurns' presentation of that installation called, "Fears."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Writing Technologies Are JUNK : Planned Rant

Why is it when we have so many wonderful visual tools for drawing, painting, making videos, mashing up images, etc. --
there are so few tools for integrating those made things into written text???

Okay, like, MacBook Air.  Comes standard with all those graphics apps -- but you're supposed to write with TextEdit???  For pete's sake.  It was so ridiculous to stop bundling AppleWorks with Macs.

In SecondLife:: don't EVEN get me started about how basic text functions are nigh impossible in-world.  Yes yes yes if you want to see your world through Viewer 2, you can have web-textured prims and use sucky web text apps interactively with all that lag from in-world....

Okay, so this is where I'm going with this when I finally have time to write it!