Archive for September, 2009

Here are some free programs you can download to work on the third phase of the project:

Image manipulation

Photo slideshow: If you make a slideshow of photographs, you will need to upload it to YouTube in order to embed it on your blog. If you need help with this, let me know.

  • Windows Movie Maker
  • iMovie
  • DivX Author
  • Zamzar (tutorial on zamzar.com) (This application lets you convert YouTube videos to files you can use in other programs, like Windows Movie Maker)
  • YouTube


3D Image Creation

In addition to these options, sites like osalt.com list open source alternatives to more expensive programs.

Like I’ve said, I usually learn many of these things via trial and error, and I haven’t used a lot of these. All I’m saying is, you can find stuff for free.

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In an age of distractions, the New York Times comments on early childhood development; it made me think of Danielle’s Ad Council laundry PSA.

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It occurred to me that in all the time I spent articulating what to do for project three, I never really stated why I think it’s important. So, here goes.

First of all, in learning about reading and writing, the visual is often overlooked. Advertisements, billboards, web banners, and other visual texts all use rhetorical situations and design techniques to make meaning and messages that we are exposed to daily, often without conscious consideration. This project, then, hopes to get us engaged with reading (and responding to) visual texts (phase one). This step asks us to be critical consumers of visual texts (specifically Ad Council PSAs that have links to education awareness initiatives), and a lot of class time will be spent using tools that give us ammunition to be critical of the visual texts we read.

The second phase of the project, watching the film, is a way to meet with a group of emerging experts to see and discuss how Hollywood portrays or engages some of the issues that have been currents in our discussion of Gregory Michie’s See You When We Get There and the teacher narratives located in the book.

The third phase of the project switches your role from critical consumer of visual texts to producer of visual texts. In projects one and two, it was, perhaps, easy to imagine ourselves producing these teacher genres (or approximations of teacher genres) in the future. Designing visual texts, however, is something I think of as a hidden teacher genre. As a teacher, you will to use design and technology, from things like setting up or decorating the classroom space to designing activities for students displayed through an LCD projector. You will often not have instruction on or support for using technology in the classroom but will be expected to learn it anyway through a process of trial and error (at least, that was my experience). Even PowerPoint presentations (which have become a ubiquitous classroom technology) blend visual and textual elements, and I’m sure you have seen certain PowerPoint presentations and lectures that wow you with their design and others that are barely functional within that genre. To the best of my knowledge, pre-service teachers (and those of you entering other fields) do not get much experience in composing with technology because the status quo in universities is still print, alphabetic text.

These concepts are the rationale behind creating a visual textual project for a composition course:

  • engage with visual texts, visible rhetoric, and design elements as consumers and producers of these texts
  • learn to use low-tech or high-tech technological devices and design through trial and error that may affect your teaching practice later on
  • continue to engage with currents and issues in urban education
  • have fun and try new things

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NYT Article: Schools Look Abroad to Hire Teachers

UNESCO Education for All: 15 to 30 million more teacher needed worldwide

Is the United States overstepping its bounds by consuming too much of another precious global resource? I’m talking about teachers this time. According to the New York Times, 19,000 teachers are working in the US on temporary visas, and the number is on the rise.

On the other hand, UNESCO’s Education for All initiative hopes to train 15 to 30 million more teachers worldwide by 2015 (six years from now!) to achieve their goals.

Is the practice of hiring international teachers to work in inner city teaching jobs in the US really undermining the push for more teachers in third world, sub-Saharan nations?

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At the end of the day, cliches are as American as apple pie. My writing teachers used to tell me, “when stuck between a rock and a hard place, don’t beat around the bush, use cliches.” At the time I was wet behind the ears and waiting for the cows to come home when pigs fly, so I felt dumber than a box of rocks when I tried to get down to brass tacks. As they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

Once upon a time, I couldn’t tell my ass from a hole in the ground, so I was glad to learn every gray cloud has a silver lining. Writing is feast or famine, so it’s best to just go with the flow.

I felt like a fish out of water when I first put pen to paper, but from humble beginnings come great things. I said to myself “don’t put the cart before the horse, go at a snail’s pace.” Even if your nutty as a fruitcake, there’s nothing new under the sun to write, especially if you’re stone cold sober.

I learned if I just keep on  truckin’, I’d soon have more writing than you can shake a stick at. If you just take it one day at a time, eventually you’ll hit paydirt and write something that will make others green with envy.  If not, shit happens.

So don’t just sit there looking as useless as tits on a bull; there’s no time like the present to try your hand at writing. Then again, maybe cliches are not my cup of tea, and perhaps I’ve only opened a can of worms by giving cliches a place in the sun. Anyhoo, I’ve never been too good at seeing the forest for the trees. Perhaps it’s best to just wash my hands of the whole thing, but you can bet your bottom dollar that every bump in the night can turn an armchair quarterback into an old pro when it comes to writing.

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Judging by some confusion expressed by many students on the blogs, I wanted to mention that no research is required for project two. The first two projects are focused on examining your ideals as future teacher and present student.

When we begin project three next week, however, we will be doing some investigations into the realities of teaching in urban environments. Reading Gregory Michie’s book is the first part of that investigation. The books you checked out will hopefully help you to get ahead a bit on that research, rather than having to do it all within the confines of a project.

We went to the blog because the majority of you expressed interest in class to learn about the library and its research potential; we went on Tuesday because that is when Professor Sharkey had time to work with us.

One point that perhaps needs to be made explicit is that the print resources of the library (books), though vast and visible, are not the primary research tool for scholarly work anymore. The “Hidden Web” resources Professor Sharkey described are the most valuable resource the library has now. In that sense, the site of the library is more virtual, more of an idea (although Milner is obviously a real place).

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Now that we visited the library and heard Professor Jennifer Sharkey’s lecture on research, I’m interested in hearing your response in a 321 Response. Please compare and contrast what you did to reserach writing assessment with the information Professor Sharkey presented to us.

  • What did you learn that you did not know before?
  • How does what you do naturally to research a topic compare with the scholarly strategies your professors might expect?
  • How will you be able to apply what you learned immediately, both in 101 and your other classes?
  • Did you expect to learn anything that was not covered by Professor Sharkey’s presenation?
  • What book did you seek out? Did you find it? What other book did you find while in the stacks seemed interesting?
  • How might you imagine the books you got fitting into upcoming projects?

Thank you for participating, and I look forward to seeing your blog responses.

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