To be honest, when I first started my master’s program I was selfish and frightened. Selfish in the fact that I wanted to do my own work on my own time and I did not feel like I had the time or energy to collaborate. Terrible, I know. Frightened because it had been a few years since I had written academically. I teach K-5 music and I had grown accustomed to writing in a way that the younger children could relate. Suddenly, I was thrown into discussion groups with well educated, experienced and eloquent writers. It literally took me a couple days of headaches and a case of lock-jaw to respond to my first discussion. As I began to work through the process it became easier to share my opinions and thoughts. Actually, the process forced me out of my comfort zone and into a rich world of collaboration and community learning. I was forced to explore a new mindset.
Our reading this week was from chapter one of Lankshear and Knobel (2007) titled, Sampling the “New” in New Literacies. In this chapter, the authors explain that there are two mindsets. Basically, mindset one is selfish and mindset two is about relationships. I started this program with mindset one. I can do this on my own, there are experts in certain areas and only they should produce the academic literature, and learning has borders. As I worked my way through the program, I began to adopt mindset two. I learned that collaboration is a rich experience and is worth the extra effort. I learned valuable information from my peers through discussions and group projects – through relationships! The class I am currently participating in, Digital Storytelling ,is further expanding my mindset to think outside of the classroom walls and begin exploring with the world. Two “new to me” tools that we are using are twitter and hypothesis.
Okay, I know that twitter is not new, but I’ve never had an appreciation for it…until now. I am trying to wrap my mind around hashtags and ampersands. The reading from Laura Gogia on Why a Course Hashtag helped to clear up some confusion. An @ is how you mention someone or direct a comment towards them. A hashtag is directing your tweet to a topic rather than people. When tweeting for a class it is important to add the hashtag so your fellow classmates can find the conversation as well as curate the conversation to view later using a program like Storify. I still wanted to understand more about twitter so I read through an article by Emerald Group Publishing on How to use Twitter for Academic Research. I learned from this article that twitter is like microblogging or that blogging plus instant messaging equals twitter. Ahh, now it is making more sense. You can follow people and they will most likely reciprocate by following you. You can write tweets in a conversational tone, with complete sentences including links to a specific article or a combination of conversation and complete sentences. I added the application Tweetdeck to my bookmark bar. More clarity! Now I am beginning to understand. Using Tweetdeck, I created a column just for ILT 5340 and viola, I can see my classmates tweets and responses. Even though I have been slow to get on the twitter bandwagon, I now have an understanding of what it is and I am ready to move forward. I even added a twitter feed to my blog page! You can follow my twitter digital story growth at @AmyLGonzales1. Hope to tweet with you soon.