Introduction To My Final Portfolio:
This past semester has been one of the most emotional and hectic few months of my life. When I signed up for this class I was not even sure I was going to be able to complete most of the work because in August when the class started my wife was 8 months pregnant. I was really thankful to professor Lori for allowing me flexibility on turning in assignments. As it turned out I kept up with the reading and writing for this class and this class has been the most enjoyable course I have taken since starting my grad program a year ago.
There was a part of me that has always been a writer the last serious writing I was doing was in my 20s as a blogger writing about issues around Asian men’s sexuality and confidence but since then I have really not written in any serious way. At first I was nervous about the amount of writing required in this course but over time I realized and understood the value of writing every week. There is really something valuable in quantity over quality, just ask Costco. Writing every week made me a better writer than had I just focused on two or three major term papers this past semester. In the end I feel like I have become a much stronger writer and also have a much stronger grasp of digital storytelling and narratives.
As I mentioned earlier I became a father this semester and the focus theme of this past semester was “the journey of becoming a father”. I wrote about my son Wolf on a number of occasions in this course and also wrote him two short stories. One was about the origins of dogs and the other is about a transgender Wolf. The piece I’m most proud of I just finished today and that is a audio version of a letter I wrote to him two days before he was born. I’ve uploaded right under this intro. It’s a piece that really sums up my theme for the course. As a father I want to teach my son many things but I must also respect that he is not a mini version of myself and allow him to grow into a unique individual. The letter to him tells him only of the most important aspects of becoming a man.
After completing this course I’m excited to continue writing. I’m currently working a digital book of short stories written for my son. I hope that even when I don’t have deadlines I will continue to have some amount of time to do focused writing. It’s been a real pleasure taking this course and because of it I feel like I have become a better person even if I’m lacking sleep. I’d like to thank everyone in the class for their constructive feedback on my work and also Lori for encouraging me throughout this semester to stay focused and keep writing.
Original Digital Narratives:
WEEK 15: DIGITAL LETTER TO UNBORN SON
After living this life as long as I have there is one thing that I know, and that is people are always changing. The person you think you are at this moment is not the person you will be nor is it the person you were. This is merely a snapshot in time in of man about to become a father to you.
This is my first letter to you by the time you read this letter I hope you are a healthy young literate boy. Right now you are still a fetus inside your mother. I think about you all the time, I even thought about you before you were conceived. You were abstraction, someone who I wanted to meet but not yet a real person. Right now in my life I’m 36, I’ve been living a pretty normal life for a while now, working, smoking weed, drinking beers, hanging out with your mom, watching baseball games, seeing friends, running and hiking.
This is what I want to say to you as my unborn child, first off for some reason I already love you. It’s hard to explain but do, I worry about you and think of you all the time. I think about what kind of man you will become and I think of all my mistakes and wish I could guide you through life to avoid that pain but that is not the way life is. When we bring you up in conversation I always say: we cannot make rules or even think about how we should raise you until we meet you because every person is so different and there no single right way to raise a man, that said I have a few shards of wisdom that I would like to pass on to you.
If you can only learn one thing from me it is this, I want you to be happy, and that is no small task. People talk about happiness all the time but very few people achieve it. It is a life long practice in compassion, confidence and self-understanding. This is something that no man can teach you, that no religion will give you, and that no woman will fulfill. To me if there is a single life thesis it is that happiness is not selfish, it is selfless. If you work your entire life at achieving happiness that is a life well spent. So there you go, there’s happiness and that’s something that you’ll have to find or deal with on your own. I hope that I too will be happy throughout your life so I can help show you that door. But for some stupid reason, I see so many parents and they are so uncool and miserable, I don’t know why that happens Wolf, but just know at this moment in time as I sit here at the UCLA library just days before I meet you, I was a happy and cool guy. By the time you read this I might just be another asshole Dad inflexible and angry, if I’m that, I’m sorry.
I also wanted to talk to you about confidence. You are growing up and different world than I had. When I grew up it was not easy being an Asian dude. For some reason Americans (American media) decided that we are ugly and effeminate. I have been fighting that stereotype my entire life, but I also fell into it. There were times I had no confidence, I did not believe I was worthy or cool enough to have friends, to deserve respect, to talk to girls, to have a well-paid job. Wolf, you have to listen to me when I say that what you think of yourself is 99% of the time what other people think of you. I was so happy when I found out you were going to be a boy, I always wanted to raise a boy but I was also scared for you. It’s not easy being an Asian dude if you were born an Asian girl all men would desire you, you could navigate the world as an object or desire, but instead you will as an Asian man, often the object of rejection and ridicule do not let that define you. Walk with your head high knowing that you are The Mutha F*ckin Wolf.
Another thing I want to touch on is fear. Fear is part of being human. We were designed on the plains of Africa to be a skittish upright monkey. There will always be fear, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of dark places, fear of getting lost, fear of being killed, fear of failure. Almost all of the time those fears are unfounded; the world is not a scary place. Let me get that into your head, you have nothing to be afraid of. Fear is the base mind telling the body that there is danger, when we were hunted by lions that might have made sense but now it’s petrifies the modern man from achieving his true calling and that is to overcome the base mind and reach a higher level of thinking and self awareness. I named you Wolf because you have nothing to fear, it is you that people fear when they hear a bump in the night.
Life is not an easy journey, I hope that I can be there for you through most of it but there will come a day that I will not be around. Or you’ve just moved on past me. And that it totally fine, I don’t want some clingy fearful boy in my life forever. I want to someday be with your mother again just the two of us, in love like the days before you came into being. So Wolf if you take away just a few things from this writing exercise it’s that I love you and always will, seek happiness at all costs, be confident in yourself and fear nothing for there is nothing to be afraid of.
Love Your Father,
WEEK 14: THE YOUNG WOLF DIGITAL STORY
Oh, so you want one more story huh? Well I have one for you, it's called “The Young Wolf.”
Listen my boy; the world was once a very different place, a place unrecognizable by our eyes. There was a time that there were no cities, no buildings, no roads, no cars, no machines, there were just vast stretches of dark wilderness. My boy, the world was a cold place. Much of the land was covered in sheets of solid ice so tall they would stretch to the sky. Man was not king, we were nothing really nothing at all. We were just another beast in never ending dance of eating and being eaten. Now it is in this world my story takes place, a gray and wind swept world 15,000 years in the past.
My story begins in a wolf den where three wolves snuggled together to stay warm and dry, mama wolf, daddy wolf and baby wolf. It was on this morning the wolf family was awoken with a strange sound, voices like they have never heard.
“Stay in the den.” Daddy wolf warned his family.
“Be careful” mama wolf replied.
Baby wolf just sat there trembling.
Daddy wolf had only one eye but was still a formidable wolf. With his one eye he surveyed the woods and saw nothing for a long while, and then out of the mist emerged a lone figure like nothing daddy had ever seen. It had long gangly arms swinging from side to side, fleshy furless skin. It was the most hideous thing daddy wolf had ever witnessed. Daddy wolf crouched silently behind a gray log, as the monster approached closer and closer to the den. White mist cloaked the beast’s face with every breath. Daddy wolf could no longer control his fear and leapt from his hiding place at the colossal creature. The beast lifted his stick and thrust his spearhead with lighting speed. Daddy wolf felt hot sting and warm blood dripping down his rear leg. In shock and fright Daddy wolf ran and ran and until clasping next to a small creek waiting for the inevitable, the water turned red. As he faded away his only thoughts were with his family still hiding in the den.
Back in the den mommy wolf and baby wolf huddled together shaking in terror. When mommy wolf heard strange yelling and clamoring and daddy wolf’s yelp she could not longer hide. She too emerged out of the den into the cool misty morning, it was not long before the beasts spotted her from a distance, she could see the monsters approaching the den, she knew she had but one chance to save baby wolf so ran through a wooded grove attempting to lure the beasts away. Two hairless beasts raised bent sticks loading with what looked like another stick and with a twang an arrow hit her right in the in flank and she too would join he mate. Her eyes closed for the last time as the beasts whooped in excitement.
Baby wolf lay in the den cool and dark when suddenly and a fleshy hand reached for him and grabbed him by his neck. He yipped in pain and clawed and bit the air ferociously. The beast had him. But to baby wolf’s surprise the beast had a gentle touch and caressed his head softly and baby wolf calmed. After an argument with the others on what should be done with the baby wolf, it was this one particular beast that took baby wolf home to nurture him.
Over the next year baby wolf and the beasts lived together in a small hut made of the bones and tusks of great animals they had hunted. They would move every few moons as the game would migrate. He would join his new master on daily hunts in the woods. Baby wolf grew to a great size and he felt safe with his new master, they would eat dried meats together and sleep in the same bed made of thick furs. Master and baby wolf quickly became best friends and they would adventure together along the mountain ridges and game trails. By the following winter baby wolf was full grown and stood half a man tall. His new pack treated him well and all members fed him.
The following autumn the young wolf now 2 years old joined his master on an deer hunt just adjacent to the encampment in the darkest part of the forest that trailed a small creek. They had crested a minor ridge when suddenly out of the darkness emerged a great wolf bearing its teeth. The young wolf leaped him front of his master instinctively, snarled back and bristled. The monster leaped at his master and the young wolf intercepted the creature in mid-flight knocking it to the earth with a dull thud, hissing and snarling they tangled in a storm of tooth and claw. The young wolf growled and snapped as fur and blood flew. With a decisive bite he crushed the throat of the beast as the blood ran into his mouth. The great wolf let out his gasp of life as the young wolf held his crushing bite.
The young wolf released the massive creature only when his master approached and commanded he free his quarry. The young wolf examined the lifeless beast and noticed that it was missing an eye.
“I’m sorry my son.” it groaned.
The master lifted a large rock above his head and crushed the beast to ensure it was indeed dead. The young wolf felt nothing and did not recognize this animal.
Master slumped on a stone next to the young wolf patted his head gently and wearily said, “Good Dog.”
Now my boy, remember the young wolf every time you see a dog, every time you pet Penny and Cody for it was this young wolf who is the father to all dogs. He was the first wolf to choose man over blood and he gave to us the greatest gift a man can receive, friendship.
WEEK 7: VIDEO ASSIGNMENT BRAG VIDEO
I’ve seen a lot of youtube videos in my day and strangely a lot of content is just some one in front of there computer talking about things sometimes there are rants sometimes they are teaching you something but often time where is a sense of self obsession and importance to all their videos of a talking head.
I cannot say that I’m a totally humble guy since I find my life to be pretty damn good. But I try my best as most Asians to be humble about it and keep my mouth shut when things go well or you will get what Japanese call “Bachi Gataru” which roughly translates to divine retribution or punishment for being a fool or braggart. Pretty much what karma in the way we western people think of karma. So even making this video was hard for me and it’s very existence is asking the gods to punish me for my arrogance.
By anyways here it is. In the assignment bank I was drawn to it because it was something very different and it gets my head into a space that is uncomfortable for me. But after shooting the videos I can totally see why people talk themselves up, it felt great, I really did feel better after shoot the video.
WEEK 5: AUDIO PODCAST ON SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
This week I created a podcast from the DS106 assignment bank. This podcast tells the story of how I fell in love with the wild spaces in Southern California. Los Angeles has been my home for over 10 years now and when I arrived I did not think it was a beautiful place, it took a long time for me to discover its austere beauty. I have since fell in love with hiking in the deserts and scrubland outside of the city.
I cannot wait till my son is old enough to join me on the trails, i just hope that he's not like me when I was a kid preferring to stay inside and play video games. I hope that you enjoy this podcast as much I did producing it.
WEEK 12: THE 7 STEPS TO DIGITAL STORYTELLING
Joe Lambert one of the most influential thinkers in the digital story telling movement once again outlines clearly how to tell better digital stories. The guidance is different that traditional story telling in that the advice is more specific to a more dynamic and feedback oriented story telling format but I believe these guidelines could also make sense in any writing.
1. Owning your insights: this is one that I completely agree with. Writing needs to be uniquely your own. When I was young I often plagiarized content to be turned in to my teachers, I would mash up other writers content with my own (very post modern) but I would come off and stifled and unauthentic, it was just bad writing. I’m sure all high school teachers can identify a plagiarized piece of writing. Good storytelling must come from true personal insight and that I why owning your insights is such a powerful lesson.
2. Owning your emotions: This advice is so hard because oftentimes we are not self-aware enough to even know what we are feeling. On top of that our internal dialog might say things like I feel great, I’m so happy. But that comes off as terrible when put down on paper, how can I say I’m happy without say “I’m happy” that writer must dig deep within themselves to convey to the reader that happiness is being self without jus saying it like some fool.
3. Finding the moment: A writer is always looking for find the moment in time, we do not care about all the moments the protagonist is going though, that’s why in movies we never see people sneezing and looking for tissue or using the bathroom. We know those things happen but what we are looking for is THE moment, we are looking for the moment of action, of change or realization.
4. Seeing your Story: This is one of the most important ones for me because I’m a visual person, I can see my hero in my mind going through motions. But the truly great writers can not only see their hero but they can see their entire world they are living in and the can tell the reader what is happening in such detail that it was as if the story was unfolding right in front of them.
5. Hearing your story: I feel very strongly about this one because I consume almost all my books in the audio format. A lot of people look down on me for not reading but to me story are an oral tradition, it’s getting closer to seed of the true story teller. How does it sound when read aloud, I feel that the true test of a good story. It must sound right rolling off the tongue.
6. Assembling the story: This one is where the works happens the edits and endless reorganization of narrative. This is a time consuming step in the process and possibly the most important one because so many people have stories yet so few people have the patience to assemble their stories.
7. Sharing the story: I think about this on a lot. Emily Dickenson wrote thousands of poems but in her lifetime she published less than a dozen. If her poems were never read does the mean her writing had any less meaning. She was dead when she truly became famous. The sharing of work is so important but at the same time to me the process of writing is just as important as the reading of the work. I think less than 10% of what I wrote for this class has been read but I still feel that I am getting so much out of this class.
WEEK 8: SCHOLARSHIP REVIEW “DIGITAL STORYTELLING FOR STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES”
Dr. Haddad PHD argues in this article that for some students with learning disabilities digital story telling can facilitate better learning outcomes than traditional story writing. As someone who has struggled though out my life with the learning disability dyslexia this article hit very close to home. Haddad explains that students with and reading and writing LD often struggle with traditional writing formats there for digital storytelling which can include visual, audio and interactive elements can help these students formulate better stories because they are not bogged down in the traditional model of “planning out their writing piece, revising their work, and completing the piece of writing to meet requirements.”
Using a smart phone or computer a student with LD can just start talking and telling the story orally then way that most stories were formulated throughout most of human history. It always helped me when I was young to speak aloud my ideas before putting them down on paper. Today by using technology LD students are more engaged with the content and according to Dr. Haddad “students with LD are better able to concentrate on the delivery of content, formulate sequence, and provide other elements to storytelling without being hindered by an overemphasis on writing.”
As a person who has a learning disability and some one who promotes the rights of students with disabilities this shift to digital story telling really excites me. Far too often students with LD are left behind by faculty and other students for them think they are unmotivated on top of slow, but the reality is that we must alter our curriculum to better suite different learning styles rather than for one single model on to all students regardless of learning differences or styles.
Meeting the needs for students with different learning styles, LD and autism is going to be an important challenge for educators in this century as more youth are diagnosed with those disabilities. Our perceptions of narrative and storytelling must evolve along with the modalities that we consume the stories and the technology. This change will likely help students with learning differences and the more fluid model to story telling allows for more variety of intelligence to shine.
WEEK 7: SCHOLARSHIP REVIEW OF SOCIAL LEARNING, ‘PUSH’ AND ‘PULL’, AND BUILDING PLATFORMS FOR COLLABORATIVE LEARNING
This week’s reading, “Social Learning, ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’, and Building Platforms for Collaborative Learning” by Colin Lankshear delves into the profound changes that are happening or rather should happen in education in the 21st century. The biggest take away from this reading is that the push method of education needs to be changed to the pull method in order to meet the educational needs of students in the digital age.
The push method of education works under the 20th century assumption that educators can anticipate the needs of the students order to become productive thinkers and intellectual contributors to society. Since the advent of the internet and the ever changing landscapes of society John Seely Brown sees this ethos of education as grossly insufficient for today’s young students. Brown believes that the pull method of education where instructors equip students with the ability to think creatively and meet the immediate needs of the community and ever changing society, “[Pull models] help people to come together and innovate in response to unanticipated events, drawing upon a growing array of highly specialized and distributed resources. Rather than seeking to constrain the resources available to people, pull models strive to continually expand the choices available while at the same time helping people to find the resources that are most relevant to them.”
This “Pull” method of education will be a major shift in the way Americans are educated. I cannot speak for other countries but in America I feel that there is such a profound attachment to standardized exams and learning outcomes that we cannot see the bigger picture for our students. The bigger picture is that we cannot forsee the issues and challenges that will face us in 20, 30 or even 40 years when these young students will be running the world. In the ever changing geopolitical and technology driven world the idea that we can push information down their throats is completely misguided, we must groom them to become thinkers that are adaptable and intellectually curious. They must be the Wikipedia of thinkers, constantly improving and ever collaborating and not the static and dated encyclopedia Britannica.
Changing our education system to the pull method of education will require to retrain faculty and K-12 teachers to embrace and new model of instruction where they are not longer the sole source of information but rather they become the facilitators of creative and constructivist learning, giving the students to tools but not the information and allowing them solve the problems that we cannot even see.
My son Wolf was born last week Friday and I think about what kind of world he will grow up in and possibly raise his own family. In 30 years the ice caps will likely be melted, water shortages in California will become the norm; the politics in the Middle East are likely to become even fiercer and there are so many problems that we cannot even foresee; who will we turn to solve these deeply troubling issues? We must turn to the youth, unless they are fully equip with the ability to think in this ever changing world we are possibly screwed. The education system must be improved and we must foster the pull method of education if we are to have a future.
Digital Story Critiques:
WEEK 6: DIGITAL STORY CRITIQUE
Digital Story Critique: Story Corps "What was it like to be pregnant with me in jail?"
This week I’m critiquing the podcast Story Corps ”What was it like to be pregnant with me in jail?" about a young mother who was pregnant while in jail for taking drugs. The piece starts with Savannah Phelan, 8 asking and a sad child’s voice “Why did you go the jail?” that just pulls in the listener immediately. The voice the questions, perfect entry to the story. I will have been a fan of Story Corps for over ten years, I remember driving home on the 10 freeway crying so hard after listening to a piece on two 80 years old recounting how they met and fell in love. There is something so raw and real about the format. It’s just two people talking and there is power and beauty to that simplicity, no sound effects or fancy editing not even music just two people talking with a mic.
This particular story is one of tragedy and then redemption. The mother you can just tell in her gravely voice and working class accent that she did not have an easy life juxtaposed to the innocence of the her daughters voice made for such an interesting and powerful interaction. The daughter must have just found out that she was in jail while in the womb and was surprised and saddened why the revelation. The mother was honest and compassionate with her answers. And in the end said the most beautiful thing, “You are my angel you saved my life, I will forever be grateful to you. Not many people can say they saved their mothers life.”
Becoming a new father myself this story hit very close to home. It made me feel thankful that I have a normal life and can afford to house my child, and that is not the case for so many people who are struggling with drug addiction or just poverty. Life is not fair and I acknowledge that I did not earn all this in my life but it was gifted to me by the lottery of life. This story really helped me appreciate what I have right in front of me.
WEEK 4: DIGITAL STORY CRITIQUE: THE SCHOOL OF LIFE (THE PERFECTIONIST TRAP)
This week I’m writing about a youtube channel called the School of life and in particular a 4 minute animated video entitle The Perfectionist Trap. The Scool of life is a “he School of Life is a global organization devoted to emotional education.” I have been watching their videos for about 2 years now, they have over 1.4 million subscribers and generally follow a simple format.
Their stories focus on mental health and the philosophies around the human condition. They have a wonderful artist who paints animated scenes for each of the videos. In this particular video they discuss the problems with perfectionism.
The thesis on this story is that setting an unrealistic standard of quality based on other peoples work leads to disappointment and discourages us from engaging in the process of incremental improvement. The trap is that we are inspired by the masters but we ourselves are only capable of mediocrity. This is because the media edits out the millions of versions that were just average and we only see the final version of the most accomplished masters.
This story was a reminder to me the we should focus on the process and not the outcomes of our work. Similar to this class, I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of writing that was needed for the course but over time I understood that not every piece needs to be perfect; rather I must practice my writing on a daily basis to get better. We should acknowledge the effort all people take in achieving something great the amount of time and the revisions piece of work must undergo to it to be perfect or near perfect.
The “School of Life” is and wonderful place to hear the stories of many people who have found wisdom in the everyday aspects of our lives. It’s a reminder that happiness is more important than money or accolades. The digital story telling on this YouTube channel speaks to a generation of people stuck behind desks who contemplate the meaning of life in the age of post modernism.
WEEK 11: DIGITAL STORY CRITIQUE FIRST PRIZE – MY ILIGAN
This week I viewed a digital story by Michael Lagcao who won first prize in a digital story telling contest in the Philippines open to high school and college students. Lagcao tells the story of moving from the big city of Manila to a provincial town. The story is one familiar in a way clichéd; it’s the story that so many city dwellers romanticize, the story that you will find peace and meaning in a more simple life. He does not glamorize his life in the small village but rather gives and honest and stark portrayal of life in country side, describing and filming profound poverty and drug addiction.
This piece is important to me because for some reason I have been thinking about the plight of the Philippines a lot recently. I have many Pilipino friends and they post all sorts of crazy things on Facebook that is happening right now. People being arrested protests, drug users being murdered by police, and a strange fascination and love for their new despotic leader Rodrigo Duterte. This story is a reminder that there is life and beauty in the Philippines and people just trying to live their life like any other country in the world. But it is also a reminder that we here in the United States are so blessed to live in this bubble and most of us do not experience the suffering of deep poverty and economic copse. The end of his story is the story that so many poor people tell themselves that wealth should not be measured in material possessions but rather how one lives their lives. That is a nice thought but does little to further education, health care or freedom.
I really enjoyed his Lugcao’s story but I would not say that it should have won first place. It’s a little cheesy a the video editing was a little crude. The audio levels were a little high but more important than the technical issues is his message. I agree with what he said and it was so earnest that I felt real compassion for the author.
WEEK 8: DIGITAL STORY CRITIQUE “LE GRAND CONTENT”
I first watched Le Grand Content in 2008 and it was one of my first exposures to digital story telling in the form of stream of consciousness. The video was written and created by Karo Szmit and narration is by Andre Tschinder. It tackles major themes of life and loss in the power point format. There is a sad comedic value in the story as the narrator expounds on all the reasons why people feel unfulfilled in their life in ridiculous pie charts and graphs. The entire movie makes you feel that you are watching something that can be quantified into numbers but you realize that the author is talking about the human condition.
Thematically Szmit makes an augment that life is full of regret and unfilled promise but at the same time he’s not making any point at all. It’s possible that the entire piece is a stream of consciousness taking place in the shower. As viewer at first you think that this is such a deep movie but over time you realize that it’s more likely a piece of comedy made to poke fun at the power point culture and the arm chair phycology that prevails in our culture.
I wanted to review this piece because it spoke to me for many years, I still think about this digital story 8 years after first watching it and thematically it still love it. I love and piece of story telling that delves into what it means to be human to be mediocre in a world so full of expectations.
Social Media and Peer Review:
Hi Class and welcome to my Gallery Walk though. I will start this presentation with a little about myself, and what I have learned in this class thus far. When I signed up for this class I was not really sure what to expect but I have always had a fascination with stories since I was a young boy. I remember I had a toy dinosaur that was mouth moved and I called him the Story Teller. My friends would sleep over and we would dim the lights and I would bring out the Story Teller and I would craft a scary story about demons and ghosts. I continued to write and tell stories though high school but somewhere along the way I lost interest in telling stories and like most people began to just consume my stories in books and audio format.
This class has taught me to love writing again. The sheer volume of writing for this class has engaged a dormant part of my brain that was dedicated to stories. I have learned that not all stories are written and that the future of story telling is different than the past. But at the same time the principals of good story telling not matter the format must be engaging and unpredictable and keep the audience guessing what is going to happen next.
I have learned that technology and digital story telling is changing the way we both tell and consume stories. The future stories are much more participatory. Often times when I read a news story I read just a few paragraphs before I scroll down to the comments. This shows today the thoughts of the audience are often times just as important as those of the author.
I have also learned that digital story telling can working better than traditional story telling for students and children with learning disabilities. Often times students with LD have a very hard time with planning, revising and completing a traditional written story. Digital story telling including audio and video format give those student with learning differences more options that might be better suited to their learning style allowing them to excel and tell their stories.
My goals for this class are becoming a better writer and learning to tell better digital stories. I hope to learn to create a story telling format that works in higher education. Something like an interactive or branching video. I also hope to learn more about how technology has influenced story telling formats and how we might leverage technology in order to tell better stories at the same time not over doing it like Hollywood.
The first work I would like to discuss is Louiza KonDilis’ scholarship review of “Let’s redefine disability and difference”. Louiza bought to my attention the very immediate and important need for people with disabilities to be able to tell their stories. In the article she reviewed the author discusses a project where people with disabilities are given a platform to tell the about their experiences living with disabilities. In America roughly 1 in 6 people is living with some sort of disabilities it is a travesty that we marginalize this community both politically and culturally. In our image obsessed society people with disabilities need to be given a platform to tell their stories to inform the rest of us how they feel. They discuss bullying, depression, eating disorders and a general lack of empathy people toward other people with disabilities.
The next work I will discuss is much more light hearted and was created by Ashley Padilla. She created a video of a fieldtrip she took with her students to a farm. I liked this video for it’s simplicity and general theme. Living in Los Angeles I rarely see farms and the students of LA never see them either but we all eat food. I believe that agricultural education should be mandatory for all elementary school students. My mother grew up on a bean farm and I recently inherited that farm, and I hope to pass down that farm to my son one day. The farming lifestyle and the importance of responsible growing is more important than ever as water shortages and lack of crop diversity is potentially going to cause a massive self induced disaster. I believe a video like this can be used as a possible virtual fieldtrip for students who do not have access to farms.
This particular piece by Robert Piper captivated me because of the haunting sound scape he was able to produce just walking around a city in Korea. The sounds are like any other city but have a distinctly Asian-feel. I lived in Japan for 3 months and was always taken by the background chatter of the Japanese language. There is just something both mesmerizing and frustrating about living in a country that you cannot understand with people are saying. This piece by Robert Piper brought back those memories for me. There is rawness to the audio and at the same time a familiarly of city life that I have grown so accustomed to over the years. I really enjoyed just listening to the city he lives in and it made me think about his life and my own.
This video by Haley Cristea entitled “3 Things that Made Me Happy Today” made me think about how dispersed we all are but at the same time are a all struggling with making ends meet. She opens her video with telling us about how she is working two jobs and is a full time grad student who is getting very little sleep. We are so caught up in our own lives that we often forget that we are all suffering though this thing called life. We see such a manicured facade though the lens of social media that we forget that we ourselves are not the only ones who are struggling. Her opening lines were refreshing and honest. From there he video discusses an up coming vacation to Europe, a place I’ve never been. Haley is looking forward to her vacation and seeing a Romanian Fountain, Cat café and soccer match. It was really uplifting to hear about this vacation. I really hope that she enjoyed it. Her video reminded me that we are all in the same boat and it also made me feel happy that she had such an amazing vacation planned.
Lisa Fish’s critique of the podcast “Serenity for Working Moms” reminded us that we need to slow down and prioritize. Lisa opens her blog by telling the audience that she was having a hard week and that she was feeling overwhelmed this is not uncommon for people in this program since most of us are working full time and we are students. She discussed the podcast “Serenity for Working Moms”. In the podcast she found like most working mom’s there is more activities in a day than there are hours. She discussed the need to prioritize family and at the same time having high expectations for work and career. This really hit home to me because my wife and I just had a baby two weeks ago and I know that after our paternity and maternity leave we are entering a world of pain that all working parents know. My main take away from this blog is that it’s ok to mess up and not be everywhere at once. And that it’s ok to realize the limitations of both time and money when raising a child.
The last piece I would like to review is one by Heather Schlet and her review of “A Portrait of Lotte”. In this piece a parent videos their daughter regularly for 16 years for show the audience vividly the experience of aging from a new born to a teenager. This really spoke to me because of my new son just born a few weeks ago. The piece tells a story a profound and human story about aging, time passes so slowly in day-to-day life we are often blind to change, but when 16 years in condensed to 4 minutes it’s a very vivid reminder of our own mortality. I have seen a lot of picture a day videos on youtube but this one was so much more real because of how quickly Lotte changed from frame to frame. It made me think about her relationship with the parent and how that must have changed over the years yet they kept it up. But to what end? Is this a video for the daughter, I’m not sure I would want this video online. It made me think about Lotte and her rights to her image and how much young people are exposed by their parents in social media, don’t they have rights to control their own image?
I’ve really been enjoying this class. It has made me a more prolific writer and I has brough be out of my comfort zone of just watching videos and stories I enjoy. The class has challenged me to rethink what stories can be. I have really enjoyed reading and looking at other people’s work in the class, I have felt a sense of community even though we have never met. I look forward to the second half of this class and learning more and seeing more of you work. Thanks for all your feedback and help this semester thus far.
Facebook Sharing of Digital Story
I've been sharing my digital stories outside of the class and have received a lot of great feedback from my friends. I don't have a lot of friend on FB so 40 "likes" is pretty significant for me.