You Know What I Meme?

Who knew that an idea, symbol, or phenomena which has become really popular or viral was called a meme!?? Memes are ideas that replicate and evolve and are spread from one mind to another through images, writing, gestures, rituals and other things which can be imitated(wikipedia). Take Fashion for example, someone has an idea about an outfit and they decide to wear ripped jeans and high heels, other people see this idea of an outfit and start to imitate the concept(s) they saw through images or by demonstration. This idea has been replicated because now people all over are wearing these fashion pieces. Take a look at the pictures below to see what I mean?

There are all kinds of memes from catch phrases to dances, according to Memes.org Technology and technological artifacts are examples of memes too. I checked out several blogs about memes and a blog called  Viral One explains memes in the context of the blogosphere and IT. The blog Viral One tells what a meme is in the internet world and exactly why it is a meme. One example the blog gave was emails, which I found very interesting. Viral One says, “…just examine your e-mail inbox. It is littered with e-mails from friends sharing jokes, videos, stories and links that they want to share with you. Those are the memotypes of a meme, the content of the meme if you will.”

Another blog I found talks about ways in which a teacher can incorporate memes in their classroom. This blog, Digital Literacies, looks at memes as it relates to media and texts. The owner of this blog looked at several memes on youtube in order to get her students to understand the social implications of texts. Questions she posed after the students watched the memes are as follows:

  • Why is this text so popular/unpopular?
  • Why do people want to mimic this text?
  • How do the original meanings and beneficiaries (etc) change as a result of this text becoming a meme?
  • What is the main message or content of this text?
  • What is the purpose/function of the text?
  • What media are used to convey the text?
  • Are these the most appropriate modes and media for the conveyance of the text message?
  • Who benefits from this text? (e.g does anyone make money?)
  • What messages are prioritised and which information is undermined or
  • omitted? (Why?)
  • Does anyone suffer as the result of this text?

Basically, Memes are all kinds of ideas that can be used for a lot of different things. Teachers incorporate memes in their instruction almost everyday without even knowing it! Check out the video and meme sites/blogs below…I hope you enjoy!

Meme-ingful Education

MemeStreams

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Multimedia Publishing for the Masses

Teachers and students are broadcasting live to large and global audiences using live streaming tools,  podcasts, video and screencasts. I have heard of all these tools, but have never used them. Video publishing is one that I am very familiar with because I watch many educational YouTube videos on a daily basis. Youtube is very helpful because there isn’t anything you can’t learn how to do if you watch YouTube videos. They are informative, funny, and relatively short. Here’s a video below I think every teacher should see when in doubt of using Technology in the classroom or not:

Live Streaming is something I think is just amazing. Teachers and students can use live streaming to create their own TV shows online in minutes. I have found that many teachers use them to stream student presentations so parents can watch from home….how neat! There are tons of things live streaming can be used for. There is a site called SnapStream that teachers use for educational TV; this site also gives benefits of using Live Stream in the classroom.

Podcasts… Anyone can do it!

Podcasting, is my personal favorite because I know many people who actually use the web radio. Podcasting is just another way for people to share ideas and information that may be helpful to other people. All you need is a digital audio recorder, a server to host the file, and a blog to make a podcast. The Education Podcast Network is a great site that provides a wide array of podcasts related to education in any way. Teachers can find and suggest podcasts on this site; the main idea of this site is to bring together any podcasts that can help teachers in any way.

Screencasting is one step up from podcasting. As far as being used  in the classroom, it captures what a teacher and their students do on the computer with an audio narration to go with it. Teachers use screencasts as support materials when teaching complex skills on the computer. The video below shows you how to screencast….

Metaphorically Speaking

Have you ever heard of the saying, “School teachers are just cogs in a machine?” Well, many teachers are seen this way rather than, as professionals who are the schools primary asset. A Teacher’s job is endless and can be very mind boggling due to certain issues such as: problem children, bad administration, and lack of resources at the school.  Teachers are also put under a lot of pressure around the time of standardized testing. Teachers have to answer to the administrators, parents, and ultimately to the students. It’s hard for a teacher to win against the principal or a parent; even if the teacher is right, often times they still lose. Consequently, most teachers don’t go against the grain or push back against the the big machine because they know they will be ripped to pieces, not literally!

The pay scale for teaching is low although its the one profession that teaches all the other professions. The president of the United States, doctors, lawyers, and every other person in our society at one point in their lives had a teacher who cared and helped to get them to where they are today.  When a teacher’s job is seen as minor then they start to feel and act minor; they start not to care or value the pivotal role they play in students’ lives.

This metaphor is believed by many and of course shows the lack of importance for teachers in our society. A Metaphor is a figure of speech; it is the concept of understanding one thing in terms of another. Though many people may hold this quote to be the the exact definition of what a teacher is, quotes such as “A teacher affects eternity; he/she can never tell where his/her influence stops” , “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others” are quotes that show teaching as a very important role. According to soyouwanttoteach.com there are 5o reasons to love your job as a teacher; can’t say I disagree! Teaching is rewarding in itself; however, it is hard work, the job would be easier if society would just show a little more gratitude for the inspiration and positive impact teachers have on their student’s life.

Take a look at this Blog and the authors take on the quote, “School teachers are just cogs in a machine” and Postman’s view about Metaphors.

Below is a video I came across on a high school teacher talking about some pros and cons of the profession….Enjoy!


The Social Web

The social web has become a catalyst for collaborative  and social learning. The social web has turned learning into continous conversations among many participants. Take Twitter, a microblogging and social networking service site; it is one of the best ways to share  and discover information. Teachers have used this site to follow each other in order to: ask questions, give answers, link to great blog posts or resources, or share ideas for projects as they go through the day. I checked out this cool wiki recommended by Will Richardson , in his book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tool for Classrooms; the wiki consists of Twitter Collaboration Stories written by educators; its professional, yet cool.

Social bookmarking is another online service that allows educators or students to share. You can save links, annotate them with unique keywords or tags to organize them, and then share them with everyone or a specific group of people. The most popular social bookmarking sites used are Delicious.com and Diigo.com. Let’s say a teacher finds a site on incorporating technology in the classroom, once she bookmarks the site on Diigo or Delicious, the teacher will then be linked to everyone else who has bookmarked the site. Now, the teacher has access to everyone else’s tags which she can click on and be connected to other helpful resources. It is really cool that educators can use social networks to share and retain information that will help them and their students learn collaboratively!

There’s a site called Classroom 2.0 that I found for teachers who are interested in bringing social media into their classroom. You can join groups for your particular school or grade level and find out about the latest activities!

 

 

A Very Interactive Classroom!

I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about the new phenomena in the classroom…. Interactive Whiteboards!  Although I’ve had the pleasure of being in a classroom, where a professor used something similar to the interactive whiteboard, I really did not pay attention to the importance or positive effects of these new classroom pets.  Of course, I know, now why interactive whiteboards have taken k-12 classrooms by storm. Teachers love them, children want to play with them, and schools that don’t have them, want them. These boards are the new innovative white/chalk board. They allow teachers to present content in various connecting and engaging ways. Teachers can record their instruction and post the material for review by students at a later date. Click the link below to view a list of ways to use Interactive Whiteboards in the Classroom:

Whiteboards are Phenomenal Tools!

Whiteboards can also be a very good tool for students who have learning disabilities, students that are absent, and students who like repetition. If you do not know what an interactive whiteboard is, you may recognize some of  the brand names: SMART Board, ActivBoard, eBeam, Mimio, and Webster are some of the most widely used at this time. Interactive whiteboards can be used for all grade levels and I patiently await the day I can use one. There are even sites that have lesson plans specifically for Interactive Whiteboards; I have listed five below!

Using Interactive Whiteboards  are another great way in which teachers can integrate Technology in their classroom. If you get a interactive whiteboard it is very important that you use it effectively and in it’s full use  because otherwise you will be wasting either the school’s or your money and time. You should not use these boards as mere projectors, but to really engage the students. I have posted a couple of video’s that I’ve found on how and why the Interactive Whiteboards are being used….Enjoy!

 

Social Networks in Classrooms….Really?

A classroom is probably the last place you think you would see a Facebook page, up on a computer screen, being that most schools have blocked the social site. Although I am a member of the digital generation there is no way I would let my students use Facebook in the classroom…or at least I thought I wouldn’t until I read chapter 9 in Will Richardsons, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Imagine my surprise when I read that Facebook, among other social networking sites, can actually be used for educational purposes in a very appropriate way. I am acquainted with a number of teachers and most of them have expressed to me that they, “do not like the idea of social networking sites in their classroom.” This is probably because Facebook has become somewhat of a threat to a teachers’ job –if they don’t monitor their page closely. In an online ajc article, I read that an administrator in Massachusetts just resigned because she was asked to by the superintendent after being caught using facebook inappropriately. Apparently, the administrator took to her Facebook page and made an unprofessional post about the parents of her community. We are all guilty of using Facebook to rant about people, places, and things we aren’t too fond of. When I become a teacher I’m probably going to delete my account altogether because whats the point of having a Facebook page if you can’t use it the way you want too? However, If you are a teacher who feels that social networking sites will really get students interested then this may be the right technology for you to use. I say, go for it! There are several ways in which you can do it appropriately, but you should run your plans to use these sites by your principal first. I think it is an okay idea as long as everything is private and exclusive to the students of whatever course it is only. Classes can exchange information, write on each others walls, answer questions, and create a shared space of materials for the course. This is a great and innovative way for students to interact and learn. According to an article on edutopia, it is important to intergrate technology into classroom instruction because it deepens and enhances the learning process. The article also suggests that effective tech integration must support four key componets of learning:

  • active engagement
  • participation in groups
  • frequent interaction and feedback
  • connection to real world experts

This is a really good article click the link to take a look at it, Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?

Another popular site teachers are using is Ning, which I’ve never heard of until I read this book. Ning is a great way to deliver your curriculum to your students and teach some social networking skills without going through the hassle of getting Facebook approved by your administration. Ning has connected students and teachers all over the world; they share experiences, reflect on their work, and support one another in the process. The book featured some very interesting examples of what Ning could do. A teacher set up a Ning for his marine biologist students and once they started building conversations they were able to invite experts, who were actually near oceans, in on the discussion, whom gave them plenty of feedback…Cool!  When I become a teacher I would probably use this site instead of Facebook because I feel that Facebook would get the students extra excited and it would probably be a lot of controversy over it among parents and supervisors. Why bother? when you could just create a class blog and do practically the same thing with fewer restrictions. However, I am partial to the way Creekview Highschool uses their Facebook page kind of like a newspaper/reminder to students of important things. Click here to view it!

Hungry for Hunger Games

I absolutely love The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It was most definitely a page turner that kept me at the edge of my seat. Hunger Games is a dystopian young adult novel with an excellent plot and story line. The book is centered on a sixteen year girl, named Katniss, that steps forward to take her sister’s place in the annual Hunger Games, a televised survival war in which only one can win out of twenty four. Katniss must overcome various obstacles if she wants to win or see her family again. Katniss is a well developed character that doesn’t seem to know who she is or what she wants—typical to the average teenage girl.

Brutality, politics, romance, and death are a few words that summarize this book in a nutshell. Although this novel is mainly about  kids murdering each other to stay alive, Collins manages to keep you so enthralled that you look past how vicious and insane the whole idea is.  I was so engrossed in this book that I totally forgot that it is a YA (young adult) novel. The age group recommendation for Hunger Games is 12 and up, which I feel is appropriate since the main characters are teenagers.  This book is well written, but an easy read in which the words just seem to speak volumes to you. One just has to think how Collins came up with it all, because the plot was perfectly paced and dynamical.

As an aspiring teacher, this will definitely be a book I suggest my students to read. There are so many fun things you could do with this book and although it isn’t a canonical text it could easily be paired up with books like The Lord of the Flies or Animal Farm. Pairing classics, that must be taught, with YA novels can really get students interested into reading and a great way for teacher to get students to analyze similar books.

There are so many underlying themes in this book  such as power, control, money, and loyalty, just to name a few. Collins definitely delves into the future, but politics and self -consuming individuals–which is big in today’s society–  definitely has a major role in this book. Collins  delivers tons of messages in this book. I am itching to go out and buy Catching Fire and Mocking Jay right now and can’t hardly stand that I am so late on this book. I am officially hungry for Hunger Games!

Where is my Little Brother?

Little Brother is a young adult novel about a seventeen year old techno-geek  named Marcus Yallow, that goes by the name of “w1n5t0n”, which I think is creatively spelled and written. “W1nst0n” is really smart and is known to outwit and cause trouble with his technical savvy. Like most teens their age Marcus and his friends end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, consequently, they are picked up by the Dept. of Homeland Security when San Francisco’s Bay Bridge is bombed  in a terrorist attack. They are taken to an illegal prison where they are interrogated for days and once released,  Marcus has a major issue with the new regime the city is under. The DHS  are now dedicated to finding any national threats even if it means compromising the privacy and freedom of everyday citizens. Marcus feels that this is a violation to a persons constitutional rights and decides to take down the DHS with his technological skills.

This novel is a complete dystopia because of how futuristic and extreme the security measures are. I can definitely see something like this happening in the future. While there were many themes in this novel, the main one is: security trumps freedom—if its for a greater good, of course. Cory Doctorow really developed the main character, Marcus and made him come to life. While reading, I was thinking the whole time just how smart Marcus and his friends were. They were very articulate and too technological competent, but this may be the “norm” in years to come!

I loved all the techno slang Doctorow used; it was very much appreciated because I engage in this type of talk daily. This was an overall good read because it shows just how evolving  Technology truly is.

Materialism/Voice Thread Assign.

For this assignment, My colleague Brittany Puett and I decided to use the following image:


Brittany and I created a voice thread so that you can hear our thoughts on how we perceived this image. I wrote down what this image signified to me when I first saw it and while I can go on and on about this image and its multiple meanings we made our voice thread brief and to the point. Americans are excessively materialistic and its a shame that the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. Some people may feel that this isn’t true, but I beg to differ. Please feel free to leave your comments!

We hope that you enjoy our analysis, which can be found at:

http://voicethread.com/share/1295164/

Analyzing Images

The way you perceive something through pictures is very different from reading it. If you can actually see what a person is talking about it makes you more interested. I often look at pictures and wonder why it looks the way it looks. Why do ads make their pictures look a certain way? Well the obvious answer would be: because they are trying to illustrate a product in a subjective way; basically shining a light only on what they want you to see. In class today, we learned about Visual Rhetoric, which deals with analyzing a particular image’s content, framing, and composition. Some essential questions you should ask yourself when analyzing an image would be: What are the main objects or elements in the image?, How is the image framed? , Are elements overlapping, close together or far apart, above or below each other, or to the left or to the right of each other? What is the background? These are just a few questions to give you an idea of what you should be looking for when analyzing an image.

We also viewed an advertisement for La-Mar fat reducing soap today, but instead of reading the article we analyzed the picture from the ad. The picture depicts three women: a hefty one, a semi-chunky one, and a very petite one. In my opinion it will really make a women with low self esteem feel as if this soap not only makes you feel better, but also makes you a happier person. The picture is really trying to portray that being fat is unhappy and being smaller is better and more appealing in my eyes. However, my colleagues may look at this ad and see something totally different. Take a look at the picture below and tell me what you think?

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