Visuals & Text

This weeks readings were very interesting . One reason that I found them interesting was because they focused on visuals more than any other reading has thus far. After my discovery that both websites were working properly and that I had not reached the sites in error, I attempted for a third time to understand the visual projects.

The first website that I decided to revisit was http://kairos.technorhetoric.net/22.1/praxis/adams/index.html. This decision was easy to make because, I knew that out of the two websites that I had visited, this one was less confusing in comparison. After clicking the link tot he website, immediately I see a nice web page that promotes the importance of audio-visual composing. The reader is told that the purpose of this is to, “connect to cultural and geographic communities outside of campus and to interrogate their own personal perceptions of and connections to place.” After reading more, I learn that there were three students that participated in a visual assignment. In this assignment, each student learned different things or connected in different ways with their subject. Students were able to eliminate technological comfort zones and also relate to the people they interviewed. The raw interactions filmed via camera caused students to realize their strengths as interviewers and different concepts that they  could improve upon. Through their analysis of  what they learned from this project, it is easy to see the importance of this assignment. Though some of the students initially viewed the assignment as difficult, it seemed to make them feel as if they really accomplished a critical goal at the culmination of the project. This assignment allowed students to take more of an active role in audio and visual technology. Oftentimes, students are on the other side of the camera. However, with this assignment they were able to take on the challenge of interacting with strangers in a new, creative opportunity.

The final “reading” focused on visual components as well. Though I was not thoroughly excited to try to decipher the Florida turnpike challenge again, I did. When I returned to this website, I went through a similar process to try to find out what the true crux of this visual conundrum was. Finally, I think I have a slightly better understanding of this website. The author states that , “This project, the Deepwater Horizon MEmorial Roadkill Tollbooth, proposes an electrate alternative to memorializing the disaster of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010. It also offers an alternative method to studying the causes, impacts, and implications of this disaster.”

This project discusses public policy issues in relation to oil production and consumption while taking its viewer along the map of the previous oil spill. This method shows different ways that we could have made changes in our reaction and action in relation to this disaster. This project analyzes improvements that could have been made politically and socially. Though it was difficult for me to understand initially, I believe that this project is an awesome way for one to review past mistakes to help others become better equipped in the future.

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Digital Spaces pt. 2

Where Silicon Valley is going to get in touch with its soul was a very interesting read. This article discussed the reopening of Esalen Institute and its new mission. Esalen Institute can be viewed by many as a place to cleanse and refocus. This former hotel is viewed as a “hippie getaway” for those that have taken a huge dive into the technology space. It seems that many people who have done this are reconsidering the impacts that they have had on millions or even billions of people. They are reviewing the personal connections that they have eliminated, and the many ways that Facebook and other technological advancements have drastically changed our society. There are courses that one can enroll in which help them dig deeper and envision how they desire their lives to truly be. Also, another important notion embraced at this hotel is nudity. It is very expensive to stay there; however, one does not have to stay there to enjoy the experience. They allow outsiders to come and take part in the experience of cleansing, envisioning, and moving forward.

Hannah J. Rule is the author of Writing Rooms, the second article that I read this week. Rule has a very interesting view on writing rooms. Though it was hard to be absolutely positive that I understood exactly where Rule was going with this article, there were some key quotations that I felt expressed the heart of this piece. Rule states that she desires to examine writing rooms, “not to determine a cause and effect relationship between the writing’s quality or success and the site of its production but rather to understand the spaces in themselves as systemic contexts of our everyday work environments.” Rule believes that, “to pursue writing’s rooms is to continually uncover the inhabited theaters of composing processes.” She views the frequent sips of coffee or other drinks as part of the composition process as well as, the spontaneous interactions that may be stimulated by a dog walking into a room. All of these quirky and unplanned happenings have their place in cultivating this necessary place where exceptional writing is born.

The last reading for this week was written by Nedra Reynolds. Reynolds wrote Compositions’s Imagined Geographies: The Politics of Space in the Frontier, City, and Cyberspace. Reynolds addresses something that is oftentimes overlooked. While reading, I actually stopped to think about what Reynolds was expressing to the reader and whether I had ever viewed composition from her perspective. Reynold’s perspective simply stated is that composition has been formulated by imagined geographies and this has caused unrealistic views on the importance of how spaces, places, mask material conditions, and material realities contribute to the study of composition. Reynolds illustrated the effects of time and space restraints on workers in the composition field and also discussed the neglected places where writers work. Reynolds does not hesitate to mention the impact that the internet has had on the composition field and its creation of spatial barriers.

Digital Spaces pt.1

I enjoyed this week’s readings. These readings always help me to appreciate the growth of technology and the past forms of advancements that are becoming more and more overlooked by the day.

Bronwyn Williams wrote, “What South Park Character Are You?”: Popular Culture, Literacy, And Online Performances Of Identity.” Williams’ article was a unique take on social media and identity. Williams studied students’ social media pages to gather a better understanding of their online literacy practices and how they “meshed” with popular culture. Williams shows the dominant role that popular culture has taken in the creation of social media identities and posts. The author also discusses how “the larger impact of online technologies in terms of extending and expanding participatory popular culture practices has been in three areas.” The first area is an increased number of people engaging in popular culture activities. Second, the ease and speed of popular culture has drastically improved. Third, relationships towards audience members has morphed. Williams gives an example of people discussing a new television show at work around the water cooler. These interactions were face-to-face. They were personal. One could easily tell if they said something that was offensive to the other by the way he or she reacted to hearing that statement. However, with social media that is not clear. I feel that Williams was pointing out the lack of authenticity that is involved in social media pages. There may be truth to a page but it is lacking in the element of real time honesty without being sugar-coated by popular phrases or notions.

Katherine Deluca wrote, “Women, Rhetoric, and Politics on Pinterest.” This was also a very interesting read. I am familiar with Pinterest, but I only go to this website when I need decorating tips, Do-It-Yourself ideas, and new hairstyle ideas. This is not a website that I would go to for insight on political campaigns or any other serious matter.  However, these topics do exist on Pinterest. Deluca highlighted a page called, The Life of Julia. On this page, the reader is shown a character and her practices as she ages throughout life. The reader is also shown how this character’s life would change based on policies that would be enforced by different elected officials. This description was mind blowing to  me and it really opened my eyes to the multifaceted website that Pinterest could truly be.

Paul Dourish wrote, “Why Flash Drives Are Still Everywhere.” In this piece, Dourish tells us that though technology is advancing, there is still a place for some of our older forms of technology. Dourish plays on the idea that we still use flash drives to transfer things from one computer to another after all of these years. The author pokes fun at the idea that no one has created something that would make this transition easier by now. As a result, we still carry around flash drives or own five or more of these devices. We rely on flash drives even though they seem antiquated.

Berry, Baron, & Alexis Readings

I enjoyed reading all three pieces. They all have unique vantage points on technology and its effect on our past and future.

Berry discussed the billboard and its effect on its viewers. I believe that the author was depicting the fact that one is almost forced to view a billboard. This is because of its size and it’s location. The author makes the following statement, “This is the gist of the billboard: It is kind of hard not to do what they want.” Because of its prime location and neon print, these billboards can send a subliminal message that causes its viewers to ultimately buy in.

Berry does tell the reader that there are places that have banned the usage of billboards. Even though they are not visible on the road, they are still seen on our social media platforms, various apps, and games. Think about how many places use referral marketing these days. They usually say something like this: Save $20 when you refer a friend to us! Berry says that this constant online advertising causes her to forget that she is even in a place that does not have billboards on every corner.

Baron talks about the unpredictable future and the emphasis that we sometimes place on choosing a side based on our opinion of the technological advances at hand.

We may have the following inquiries about technological advancements: Will they hinder us? Will we forget the fundamentals?

Baron shows his reader that though many assumed that technological advances would cripple us, many of these forms of advancement haven’t had the effect that most assumed they would have. Baron counts many advancements in an item’s development as technological advancements. For example, he views the addition of the eraser to the previously used pencil as a technological advancement.

In my opinion, Baron is ultimately stating that technological advancements do make a difference, but it’s too early to make people choose a side in relation to these advancements. Technological advancements have not shown us whether they will have more negative or positive effects on us. Only time will tell us which side they belong to.

Alexis introduces the reader to the Moleskine notebook and all of its awesomeness. Alexis shows the reader how this notebook is a steeple in a writer’s world by depicting its impact on three different writers. Though this notebook has a different effect on all three of the writers, this doesn’t negate the fact that at the core of their love for writing- the Moleskine notebook resides.

For example, for one writer the notebook resembles regret and wasted potential over time. For another writer, the notebook was used as an outlet to help her regroup mentally and thus live a better life. Though these are differing notions, they were all developed through this notebook.

The Revenge of Analog Chapters 5-9

The main idea provided by Sax centered on the thought that analog has a type of significance that cannot be replaced by digital forms.

Sax discusses the beauty of brick and mortar stores. With these stores, one can purchase something and immediately receive the object that he has purchased. However, with online shopping, this notion is impossible. Also, when one is shopping in a store, the store associates are usually helpful which creates a shopping experience that online shopping cannot emulate. Though each brick and mortar store may not have the inventory that an online store may have, having too many options can be slightly stressful to some shoppers.

Sax also discusses how analog has negatively effected many people by causing them to lose their jobs.

Digital has also had a negative effect on education. Though many think that incorporating technology into the schools is the solution to many educational issues, it is not. Statistics show that students with technology usage in the classroom are not exceeding their counterparts as previously speculated.

The section discussing shopping with unlimited options was a part of the piece that I could easily identify with. I must admit that I am an Amazon Prime member. I enjoy ordering things and receiving them two days later. This is because I am a wife and mother of two babies under the age of two. Because I am working full time and in graduate school, it is much easier for me if I can avoid a trip to the store. It helps me tremendously when I can take out my phone, search for an item, and order it within 5 minutes. It eliminates the stress of shopping with babies. With that being said, I have still had many times when the limitless options of online shopping have caused me to simply put my phone down and walk away. This behavior was a result of seeing all these different items that I am unfamiliar with. This would also happen if I did not know which item was best or which item would be the best one for my project. A plethora of reviews can make this overwhelming as well. That’s why having a sales associate is still helpful.

In relation to my classroom, I could work less with digital. There are ways that one can make the content interesting to students without incorporating a computer. I play various games with my students where one side of the classroom may compete with the other side by answering jeopardy-style questions. We also play bingo with the parts of speech. My students love these activities and they help to reaffirm the concept that was previously taught. The usage of electronics typically distracts the students but the usage of games further supports their understanding of a concept that has been taught.

The Revenge of Analog Chapters 1-4

After reading the first four chapters of The Revenge of Analog by David Sax I have come to one conclusion: we need to revisit the importance of analog. Sax finds anecdotes and personal experiences that are easily relatable and uses them to captivate his reader. Simultaneously, he causes his reader to analyze their use (or lack of use) of analog and their decision behind such reasoning.

Sax begins by discussing vinyl. He depicts the vinyl era’s rise and fall and rise again because there was a renewed demand for this product.

Sax also discusses paper. It makes sense that if there were to be an attack on tangible things by the digital world that paper would find its way into such a fight. However, it seems as if paper is simply a thing that people love to use. Sax reflects on his many interviews, notes, and sketches made on Moleskine notebooks and how he cherishes those notebooks. He also helps the reader to imagine Milan’s Design Week where a Moleskine notebook must accompany your outfit. Though Sax thought that The Moleskine company might try to chase the “siren of digital innovation” they did not.

Sax also talks about film and board games. Both of these types of analog further depict the notion that analog has aspects that the digital world simply cannot fully replace. Film took a plunge in finances due to digital innovation like vinyl. However, board games have managed to stay afloat because the digital world cannot challenge pure, tangible relationships with cold, lonely social media posts. Social media doesn’t have the ability to compete with joyous moments created through vulnerability, time, and a confined space.

I enjoy reading and everyone that knows me, knows that. When I was pursuing my first degree, I remember receiving a Kindle for Christmas. I was extremely excited! The thought of having all my books with me at all times caused me to repeatedly jump for joy and annoy everyone in the room for the rest of the day. I immediately created an account, downloaded my books and began reading. Approximately two months later, if you were to see me in passing, you would have seen me with a book in my hands. As much as I tried to enjoy the benefits of the Kindle, I could not. I longed for the smell and touch of a book. After reading a book, I could place it on my bookshelf or place it in a friend’s hand and let him borrow it. Those simple aspects along with many others cannot be attained in a virtual reality. While reading, I was able to see the correlation between my thoughts and Sax’s notion on our need for analog.

I believe that this new perspective will cause me to build upon my Readbox idea in my classroom. The Readbox is a large red container that has a vast collection of high school level books. It resembles the Redbox container but it is not as sturdy because I made it by combining a bookshelf and cardboard. The Readbox allows students to borrow a book from my bookshelf and return it after they have read the book. Students must sign the book in and out. They are only given 14 days to keep the book before they are charged a fee. Students are never charged a monetary fee. Instead, they can lose bonus points, they may not go to the pep rally during class time, or they may not be eligible for test exemptions. It is very similar to the Redbox notion—it just involves books and a more scholastic consequence.