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!