Monday, May 8, 2017

EDC 534 Final Project

OPTION 3. CURRICULUM PROJECT. If you choose to develop a curriculum project, you’ll submit a set of lesson plans, materials, sample student work product and other resources needed to create a complete unit or inquiry project. You post these resources to your blog.

Students will construct a multimodal presentation to weave the four stories together into a coherent whole.   I will create lesson plans and student direction list and sample items to have students make a will be a multimodal narrative that states where they are coming from, where they may desire to go in their lifetime in relationship to a faith journey.  It will allow them to articulate their own experience and hold it in creative tension with things they see as possibilities for a greater consciousness about the world around them.

Basic Outline

On Google Site:
MY STORY/THE CHURCH’S STORY (LOCAL) A local religious community and it’s sacred space that has been part of our life.  

An interview with a local clergy member or long term lay member of said community.  
THE CHURCH’S STORY (EXPANDED) place we have not yet been to where we long to visit in terms of both religious architecture and practice and visiting a particular people or community.  

This could be a Pinterest/Symbaloo or Photostory collage. It could also be a playlist of youtube items (chants, African spirituals, or other religious music)
THE STORY A Scripture passage or passage by a spiritual writer.  

This could be rendered in a new way with a word cloud or other digital authorship application.  

THE CULTURE’S STORY A recognition of cultural heritage both in terms of it’s affirmation and tension with the other parts of the story.  

Another multi-modal tool/component
MY STORY:  Personal narrative of religious identity, meaning found within their own life story connecting and distancing oneself from the other stories.  
Screencast or other form of movie embedded in the story.  
These individual wiki pages could in turn be tagged or curated in other ways so as to make them more integrated and interactive for viewers.  

Curriculum Plan

Day 1
Awakening activity to overlapping stories.  
  1. Looking at old yearbooks.
  2. Examining evolving stories.   (Yearbook photos of alumni faculty.)
  3. Video interview of alumni faculty on what it is like to return to school as a teacher.
    1. Discussion Questions.
      1. How much difference does it make to know the story of this person/group of persons across the passage of time and space? (Considering their time at school, away at college/other career and return to school community as faculty or staff.)  
      2. How will your own stories expand and deepen with growth and development?
      3. How important or problematic are Yearbook Superlative pages?  (Ordinary voices, average people)

    1. Identifying the Pattern
      1. My story-- the story of the individual and the articulation of the ordinary voice. (Stern)  This is for the sake of Adolescent Identity Development.   Specific block quote articulating this in the appendix of this document.  
      2. The Vocational story/The Church’s story The larger story of vocation/life task (college and sometimes other work). (Church means con-vocation)
      3. The Culture’s story--The common cultural background story (so that is specifically excluding study abroad experiences for now),
      4. THE STORY--The common faith experience that is mysterious, ubiquitous and yet transcendent.  

Day 2

Introduce specifics of project of four stories woven together and represented.

Students start to consider the personal My Story Component which is based on the past and the present.  
  1. My Story: taking stock of the here and now.  A personal statement video recorded of pairs interviewing each other about identity issues.  Maybe some family of origin and ethnicity questions along with religious preference.    (Students little or no religious involvement would be directed toward talking about other institutions and civic groups that may be part of their lives or family customs, e.g. Scouting)
  2. My Story built on the stories of others.   Further influence of grandparents and previous generations as they are known.
  3. My Story as shared with an older adult.  Compose a list of three possible older adults to interview while ultimately only interviewing one of them (Sometime on after Day 5 and before Day 7)  Interview with an older adult who has experience and roots in the community and also has knowledge of life beyond the local community. (My example is provided elsewhere in this project.)
  4. Teacher provides an example complete project as a template and guide for what is expected.   (Hyperlinking examples in the text here)
    1. In this case it would be my interview with Brother Joseph Pawlika, CFX.
    2. My interview questions would be hyperlinked on the My Story quadrant of the web page.  
    3. His questions and answers would form one parenthetical mark aroud the basis for my own personal reflection as a person who knows about the Xaverian Brother’s subculture in the church as it is expressed in one high school but needs my own response and explanation of why it compels me to want to understand more stories beyond the local one.  

Day 3
Students begin to create questions for interview for My Story built on stories of others. (homework)
Students are directed to brainstorm where to go after the My Story/Here and now/with background.
  1. Students are directed to make a short list of other religious communities or sites that have some connection to their own context that they might consider visiting in the future and exploring.
  2. Possibilities
    1. Students may choose a set of common patronymic sites for future or current virtual visit.  That is if they attend a parish named St. Timothy’s they may consider finding three or four St. Timothy’s Churches around the country or around the globe.
    2. Students may choose a religious house/monastery, shrine, college or charitable foundation run by a religious order/congregation they already familiar with in some way. A student who has a parent with Xaverian Brothers education may decide on a mission country served by the brothers.  A student who attends a parish by a religious order of priests, like the Dominicans may consider another Dominican parish far afield.
    3. Students may choose a community of relative similarity within the country or outside of it.  (Population, socio-economic, religious demographics etc.)
    4. Students who are not Catholic may choose a historical site or community with some relationship with their own community.  (e.g. The First Baptist Church in America in Providence, RI, Truro Synagogue in Newport, RI or King’s Chapel (Unitarian) in Boston.
  3. Basic Representational Checklist for The Church’s wider story.  
    1. Can I locate an account of the beginning or a back story to the parish, community, institution I decided upon?
    2. Does this group/institution only accessible through a limited number of web pages or other online media, how in depth is the coverage of what is presented about that communities mission and ministry?
    3. Can I supplement my online web research with database research or other publications available from or about this community or group?  Do I see similarities or differences in the portrayals? (Transmedia navigation)
    4. Have I assembled enough information to demonstrate that there is clear affinity between myself/my research pair and this newly discovered community but also do I account for things that are noticeably different and challenging for me?
    5. Have I found enough information to contextualize the first hand sources I have encountered?

Teacher example: Webpage off of main project page of Xaverian Brothers in Kenya and the Congo.   

So the Church’s story or the Church’s Wider Story AKA the place I would want to deepen my faith and understand my fellow human beings/fellow Christians is discovered and then is contrasted in the next day with the Culture’s story.  
Day 4
The Culture’s story.   
Teacher provides example of the Xaverian Brothers in Kenya.   
Teacher does a Think Aloud reading of the web page.     
Teacher provides example of those in need  in the United States with NPR article.
Teacher does a Think Aloud of the NPR hunger infomation.  (This begins the comparison with the first article and forms the basis of the Venn diagram presented below.)  

Teacher shares a venn diagram diagram constructed to go on web page in the culture’s story quadrant.   The links for the sources are also provided under the document.

Venn Diagram creation of the cultures story. Post this with brief commentary to web page cell.
Students begin research in class on finding a cultural story that is symmetrical to their Wider Church’s Story.  
Day 5
Students  prepare and present a very quick Think Aloud to fellow students about the articles and documents on the Church’s Wider Story or on My Culture’s Story.  
  1. Students peer critique one another to help each other make stronger connections between the two articles they briefly present in small groups.  
  2. Students construct Venn diagrams for the Culture’s story quadrant of their web page.  

Day 5
The Story: (The argument can be made that this should be the starting point of the project.   I will defer to the “life to faith to life” model advocated by Dr. Thomas Groome).

Consulting with teacher to find relevant scripture passages that speak to and deepen all of these experiences.  
Looking at Scripture story of choice with a sense that one must approach as Jenkins would with Transmedia navigation.  
Consulting:, The Cyberhymnal, and the Web Gallery of Art to do brief exegesis and understand story on a multimodal level.  

Web gallery of Art

Day 6-9
Students will compose as demonstrated on
Day 10
Students will peer edit and critique each other before audience display date.
Audience Display date with feedback google form.  

Course Concepts
Representational Ethics(Buckingham)
Vernacular Creativity and Hearing Ordinary Voices (Burgess)
Transmedia Navigation (Jenkins)
Think Alouds (Duke and Pearson)
Adolescent Development and Identity (Stern)
Laying it all Out: Online Expression for Self-Reflection, Catharsis and Self-Documentation (Stern)

Academic Sources

Buckingham, David. (2003) Media Education: Literacy, Learning and Contemporary Culture. (pp.57-59) Cambridge: Polity. Print

Burgess, Jean (2006). Hearing ordinary voices. Continuum: Journal of Media & Culture 20(2), 201-214

Duke, N.K. & Pearson, P. D. (2002). Effective practices for developing reading comprehension. In What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction, 3rd edition. International Reading Association.

Thomas Groome. “Life to Faith to Life .” Online video clip. Youtube . Sept 24, 2014. Web. May 8, 2017.

Jenkins, H. (2013). Is it appropriate to appropriate? (pp. 105 – 122). Reading in a participatory culture: Remixing Moby Dick in the English classroom. New York: Teachers College Press

Stern, S. (2008). Producing sites, exploring identities: youth online authorship. (p.96-102)In D. Buckingham (Ed.), Youth, Identity and Digital Media. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Initiative

"Who We Are." Who We Are | Xaverian Brothers. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2017.

Resources to Create Template/Example

Foundational Quotes from Susannah Stern

Out of all of the resources, I felt as though these three quotes were the underlying basis for why a project like this is worthwhile and meaningful in students lives.  

Burgress p.5

In thinking about how a politics of ‘ordinary’ cultural participation might articulate
with the ‘democratization’ of technologies, Atton’s (2001) article on the
representation of the mundane in personal homepages is significant. This is because it
disarticulates the spectacular and the radical from the concept of alternative media,
redrawing the field to include everyday cultural production and therefore ‘ordinary’
cultural producers in the field of alternative media studies:
What happens when ‘ordinary’ people produce their own media? I want to
explore some aspects of ‘popular’ media production and its intersection with
everyday life. To do so will be to [...] take to the notion of ‘everyday
production’ and its place in identity-formation to a different place: to that of
the originating producer within everyday life. Popular media production might
then be considered a primary form of everyday cultural production. (n.p.)
The central placement of the politics of ordinary participation through everyday
cultural production shapes our concerns toward access, self-representation, and
literacy, rather than resistance or aesthetic innovation. This approach also preserves
the distinction between the everyday (as signifier of a particular form of
mundaneness, viewed from above by the privileged cultural critic or artist) and the
specific dignity of everyday lives, expressed using vernacular communicative means.

"Who We Are." Who We Are | Xaverian Brothers. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2017.
Within each distinctive life choice, we are further invited to attentiveness, simplicity, flexibility and openness to the common, unspectacular flow of everyday life.

Synthesis and Commentary:

Part of the reason for choosing the quote from Burgess as an underlying philosophy of the project was because it already had a philosophical convergence with the often quoted line taken from the Xaverian Brothers website that is part of the Fundamental Principles of the Xaverian Brothers.
Stern p.97

By contrast, this chapter is primarily informed by more developmental approaches, which interrogate transformations that occur within individuals as they age, although social circumstances are also thought to play a significant role. From a developmental perspective, identity generally refers to how one subjectively views oneself over time and across situations, and is typically believed to evolve throughout the life cycle as one’s inner self changes. Identity is thus commonly viewed as a “process of qualitative stage reorganization rather than a mere unfolding of static personality characteristics.”4 The self can be considered as “a personal iconography of values, symbols, and identifications that answer the question, ‘Who am I?’”5 During adolescence, in particular, individuals typically begin to question and deconstruct how they think of their selves. This self-inquiry is not conducted in isolation, but rather in the context of, and through feedback from, meaningful others. As Erikson put it, “The process of identity formation depends on the interplay of what young persons at the end of childhood have come to mean to themselves and what they now appear to mean to those who become significant to them.”6
Stern p. 102   Remarks like these signal that despite what ends up on the site, the very process of self-inquiry provides meaning and value. As Blood puts it, “The blogger, by virtue of simply writing down whatever is on his mind, will be confronted with his own thoughts and opinions.”20 This process may be particularly valuable for young authors, since adolescence is thought to mark the arrival of formal operational skills. These skills allow individuals to “construct more abstract self-portraits, to distinguish between their real and ideal selves, and to begin the process of resolving discrepancies between multiple aspects of themselves.”21 Later in adolescence, teens become preoccupied with their futures, their religious and political beliefs, and their standards for behavior. Expressing oneself online becomes a way for them to explore their beliefs, values, and self-perceptions, and thereby to help them grapple with their sense of identity. Indeed, youth authors indicate that personal sites provide both a space and a stimulus to participate in this internal dialogue.22

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reflective Essay #2 EDC534

Beyond the One Dimension (No, Really!)

1st They Say:  From Vasudaven, Schultz and Bateman (2010, p. 443)

Paragraph….”In particular, we focus….”

Students who are given new modes of expression to use come to a new understanding of themselves.   Vasudasen et. al. refer to these understandings “new literate identities.. Authorial stances.”  Such a set of opportunities are seen as great ways for students to take personal ownership of the curriculum and to see life and all of its dimensions, “home, school and community” as places of learning that make their own lives more meaningful.  

1st I say:

I feel as though this is the sets of tracks of what this Digital Literacy program is doing for me over the year while all the while helping me view the parallel set of tracks I want to help my students along past, present and future.   This year is my second year as speech and debate coach in my school and the sixth year I have held a position since beginning my career.   In my current position I am the more politically informed moderator of a pair so I usually coach the students in the group discussion  event while my colleague, the English teacher, takes care of the speech (dramatic reading and presentation events).  As we have so many students in the group discussion event on our team, it has been a priority for my colleague and I to try to have students try out new activities because one important by-product of their collective congregating in the one event is that ultimately some of them have the chance of eliminating each other in rounds by out performing them as there are seven group discussion members in each round from all of the participating schools.   While it is less likely that they will knock each other out of preliminary rounds the chance increases as they move to other rounds.   But the main point has been that both of us coaches have to reinforce that one’s authorial stance does need to be expanded.   As we are an all male team weighted heavily toward a very male dominated event,having an authorial stance has two connotations.  The first being their ability to see themselves as competent in the event of speech that it one’s personal preference but to all the moreso find at some point their ability to have a sense that they are not limited to that event as an author (or speaker).  The second connotation is the question of mastery in relation to others or social power.  Our students sometimes cannot see that this is possible beyond the event of group discussion where they can be the alpha male.   We try on a regular basis to let them know that they will indeed have the euphoria of being the alpha male, or that guy when presenting their very best and confident self in any medium, probably all the while augmenting their skills set for later group discussion rounds.   All of this discussion is clear to me that it is deeply laden with irony.  Despite our best attempts to encourage these very intelligent and capable young men to expand upon their abilities, which is most certainly within reach, they have seen this particular category as the category of their high school speech careers.  

2nd They Say:  From Vasudaven, Schultz and Bateman (2010, p. 444)

Paragraph… “In recent years, with the advent of new technologies…”

The authors are greatly concerned that there is no symmetry between the lives of students in that todays youth are “engaged in a wide range of literacy practices outside of school…” but school is now designed as a precursor to taking a standardized test that yields results that are not in the students best interest and make their scores and therefore their learning a “tightly regulated and controlled” experience.  So the outcome is really a bifurcation of the theoretical (all the ideas learned in school) and the practical, all of the experience one can have as a multi-dimensional human being.

2nd I Say:

This quote brings this particular academic year full circle for me as a student.   In the Fall were assigned the 2015 NEAP Abridged Reading Frameworks to read for EDC 532.   It was in those pages that I first encountered the concept of cognitive targets framed as such.   I knew that there were such things as I have read plenty about Bloom’s Taxonomy of Skills (both the old and the new).   But as a would be constructivist who is constrained in my practice by the accountability and drudgery of preparing final exams I find that I have to become more precise in my criticism of final exams even if they will never go away.   For one main reason akin to the concerns of Vasudevan, et al:  They do not meet the cognitive targets that we may or may not specifically articulate to ourselves as a department (and maybe moreso outside of it).   In my career the only department  I have been in is an English department and I cannot say that those final exams were any different as they were a repetitive regurgitation of year long material.    

As for a being a theology teacher under similar restraints as those described by Vasudevan,  I am grateful for having an understanding department that wants to grow out from this position into something increasingly more holistic and authentic in its direction and mission.   One personal part of the journey for me in trying to maintain a sense of intellectual independence from the prevalent testing mentality began last year when I realized it was time for me to put my hand at writing course proposals for electives.   I had never done this before but it appears to have been the highlight and most practical creative potential I’ve tried to actualize in between my 2009 Writing from the Soul course at Andover Newton and this course in Digital Authorship at URI.  For one thing, writing electives for our school would mean that they would be offered to our seniors only, who do take AP exams but not regular final exams.  So therein lies a great degree of diversity when it comes to assessment.   With that in mind, I cranked out four different course proposals.  Two of them were particularly multimodal in their scope, one being a course on church architecture, art and music.   As for application to daily life, I do have the sense that our students will prefer their whole lives to live in buildings as opposed to camping and in said buildings would like to have walls furnished and as human beings music will likely be an enjoyable soulful activity throughout their lifespans.   

So in addition to wanting expand our curriculum in a multimodal way, I have been inspired by what I have been challenged to do by having to join    At that site I have had to go public.   I have had to be willing to have a public persona with an audience.   I am in the process of evolving my longtime project on Church music, architecture and art that has been a part of my course for a number of years.   At its inception it was  an in house set of presentations with Google slides.  There was no connection to life beyond the school.   In the next iteration it became a project of interaction with the use of Pinterest.   Because of the way I see the world now in  a more multidimensional way because of my experience in the course and on I know now that project needs to evolve more and expand to students current experience of faith communities and not being about analysis of buildings but interactions they have in communities   and the possibilities of expanding their horizons through pilgrimages to new places that are communities of living faith.   That new iteration will follow the graphics below in my final project.  

Evolution of a project on Church Architecture, Art and Music

Stage One:  When it was about creating some Google slides...

Stage Two: When it moved to Pinterest and became interactive.

"Reading Framework for the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress." Reading Framework for the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress / NAGB. N.p., 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Taj, Mohammed. "What to Do in Group Discussion(GD)Round." YouTube. YouTube, 15 Mar. 2014. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Vasudevan, L., Schultz, K., & Bateman, J. (2010). Rethinking composing in a digital age: Authoring literate identities through multimodal storytelling.  Written Communication, 27(4), 442–468.