Facebook as a Communicator

Facebook is often used as a means to check out friends’ photos or comment on each other’s posts. Not only that, facebook is used to connect with friends that are in a different country and can connect via facebook to face chat, call or email one another through messenger. But certain events are not always put on facebook for everyone to see. For instance, a customer can decide which news are displayed for him to read. Rivals or other problems are most likely not going to be discussed because of views and much more. For instance, the protests in Ferguson, Missouri over Mike Brown’s death was not seen in facebook like other news would have been. Hence, this illustrates that people decide what to voice out to the public or to make the issue important. Unfortunately, this showed that although facebook is a great communicator, it wasn’t used for this situation due to racism and views toward the African American community.  This is where some people fail to show some concern or make it an awareness that problems among this community still occur due to mistreatment and racism. Note that I am not saying that the officer shot Brown because he was a racist, I am saying that the situation wasn’t illustrate it on facebook like other big events that occur. Here is a man who shares my perspective-link is available under. Indeed, this cite allows us to communicate and stay in touch with the people we love. But also chose what is being discussed and shown on facebook.




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Shirky Ch 3-4

I specifically enjoyed Shirky’s talk about Deci’s experiment. I found the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to be fascinating. As I read through the paragraphs I have to admit I to like to do things for me, things that make me feel good like helping other people, “as labors of love”, and having to do them for any other reason keeps me from having the passion I do when I do things for me and because “I” want to. Not to say I don’t give my all when I am say, writing a paper for class over some poem, but if I am writing on a specific subject I love, then I think I do a better job because I feel a connection to the subject. I think that everyone could agree with that.

Shirky goes on to discuss how the internet can help with scope. Those little groups that use to be hidden, “intrinsic”, are now able to come out of the shadows because of the scope the internet provides. The internet allows groups to form much easier. Shirky uses the story of Etsy and how it offered all its venders help in dealing with the CPSIA testing. The example gives us proof of how big the internet can be, and one good way it can help. The internet help group people together that share the same interests, no matter where they are located. The internet allows for us to “converse with, learn from, or show off for” all the fellow internet peeps we share an interest with that we would not have had access too before.

Sharing our interests with each other on the web allows for us to take our interests to new heights. Everyone pooling their resources together allows for us to grow as individuals through sharing on the web. Having a group collaboration “can spark a feedback loop in which autonomy and competence improve as well” states Shirky. Belonging to a group that improves as it grows keeps it growing, makes members want to join and spread the group’s findings.

The Ultimatum Game shows that we are all social beings and that we crave that social interaction. It also showed we will go out of our way to try and make things right, make sure wrongdoing is set right. Shirky makes it clear that pooling is “one of the great new opportunities of the age, one that changes the behaviors of the people who take advantage of it”.

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Equality Taken for Granted

Gee and Hayes bring forth fantastic points in chapter one such how the “consumer” never had the ability to “produce” work unless it was confirmed by a higher authority. Gee and Hayes chose how to classify readers and writers into two categories: The consumer, the person who receives a written work and the producer, the writer who produces the work for the consumer ( 2011, 2). This is an interesting notion to explain how we as readers and writers did not have the ability to write what we wanted unless it was approved. Universal reading by far was neglected until Sweden changed this. For instance, Gee and Hayes state that Sweden created universal reading by allowing people to read the bible in every home. Further, to ensure that each consumer had a copy, priests visited homes give a copy and make sure that the “consumer” was able to read (3). Hence, the production of books commenced after universal reading was allowed. The concept of this is astonishing because many of us take for granted the freedom we have to produce works and read them as often as we like. Equality was an issue amongst low and high incomers. Those with more privilege had better chances to publish anything, while low incomers with less power needed to go through the king to be approved. Now, equality is not an issue and one doesn’t have to go through the king to ask for permission for freedom of speech. But with all that equality and universal reading comes great responsibility. Today, many people take social media for granted. The reason why I say this is because many people on facebook write about their problems or post ridiculous images to convey a point. Sometimes these images can be hurtful and inappropriate. Moreover, authors who have published works have their ideas stolen and do not get the credit they deserve because the internet makes it so easy for one to steal someone’s hard work. Hence, equality can become an issue. Moreover, the authors point that because we do not have authority to watch over what we want to say, large groups of people with diverse ideas are not always heard (3). There is so much to say and the consumer can get overwhelmed and have a difficult time choosing who to hear. We cannot pay attention to everyone who has published works or voiced issues because of the digital media, but on the other hand it is a fantastic resource to voice out opinions. The issue here is that we have to somehow create a balance of the advantages we have in the digital media. Things that are not necessary or hold value should be avoided because it just wastes time for readers who want to find valuable sources to read. With digital media, one can use images, videos and more to convey a powerful point. In today’s world, we have the ability to read and write whatever we chose, but also need to carefully chose what we say online because it’s in the web forever. But like I said, people take this notion for granted and interfere with people who want to avoid things like that.

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Gee and Hayes ch 7-9

Gee and Hays discuss how content is identified at schools. When we think of the word content, we think of it as an idea that covers an entire message. For example, students read stories and are asked what is the content of the story? Well it is basically what it is about and what it covers. Not only does content mean the story line, it can also mean the message of a particular phrase. For instance, the content can have a completely different meaning in a sentence. “She loves school days” this content is actually an expression of exaggeration, meaning where the content actually changes meaning. In this phrase, it is actually meant that the person doesn’t like school. Knowing this content also has another meaning within the school system: “content literacy” (66). Content in this case means all the different classes schools have. Gee and Hayes discuss how the content of the courses do not meet the academic disciplines where there are methods, tools, practices, and controversies to asses the gained knowledge (66). What they argue about is that the digital media can already give the facts and information about a particular subject, say chemistry on the web. What they display here is that schools focus on memorization rather than problem solving. The question is..is technology causing students to lack useful thinking as well as problem solving. With that said, the literacy tests are meant to test a student’s content in every class area but not actual problem solving. Hence, technology could pose a problem when students focus on memorizing but not applying their knowledge to further their personal success in school. Today a person can go online and search any topic, but he or she might not know how to apply it to circumstances to solve problems. On the other hand, the Internet can answer copious amounts of questions but are meaningless unless we apply them to situations in the future.  Schools only teach the ideal aspects of education, but not the critical thinking aspects. Not every school lacks this, but many do and Gee and Hayes believe that schools have to be reformed for the better.

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Multitasking in the Digital Age

Having just finished The Shallows, when I began reading Language and Learning in the Digital Age, the section that Gee and Hayes spend focused on multitasking in the opening chapter caught my attention. The suggestion Carr makes, specifically in “The Juggler’s Brain” chapter, being that our increased online usage and constant shifting attention might “make our brains more nimble when it comes to multitasking,” but ultimately our ability for deep, creative thinking is being “hampered.” According to Carr, the more we multitask due to online activities, the less deliberate we are becoming and in turn, the less reasonable we are at thinking through problems.

While Gee and Hayes acknowledge that multitasking is a well-discussed topic, the phenomena of the “digital-generation” and its abilities to multitask are portrayed in a light different than the one Carr shed. As Carr makes appoint, it is our online activities that are altering our multitasking skills and diminishing our creative thinking skills. Gee and Hayes contest this notion when they make the claim that “oral language has always demanded multitasking.” They explain that the natural act of speaking demands our attention on a plethora of different levels. Gee and Hayes also assert that “today multitasking is required more than ever and the ability to know how, when, and where to multitask is becoming paramount.”

So, using Gee and Hayes to respond to Carr’s assertion; if oral language and speaking do indeed require a significant level of multitasking, then that would mean that deep and creative thinking is born out of multitasking—not stifled by it. All of the first great works of writing, at one point or another, were told and passed down as oral stories or traditions. If deep and creative thinking can be consumed through a deep reading of a great piece of literature, and we follow the lineage of that literature using Gee and Hayes roadmap, then it traces back to multitasking while telling the oral tradition.

Following this idea, as Gee and Hayes assert the ability to know where, when, and how to multitask is becoming increasingly a necessary skill, that in itself is a form of critical thinking. Discerning between when or where or how to multitask or allocate attention or compartmentalize time is a skill developed only through trial and error and analysis. Analysis, being deep critical thinking on the issue and creative thinking to repair the issue, proves that we, the “digital generation” are still engaging deep, creative thinking not only in spite of multitasking but because of it. According to Gee and Hayes, we have actually been multitasking since we were first introduced to language, not the Internet.

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Literacy is like Velcro

So I found this short video on YouTube about how literacy is like Velcro. Gee and Hayes speaks of how “People have claimed that literacy leads to more humane and more modern societies and smarter people.” And of course as we all know and have discussed in class, literacy can have good and bad outcomes based on “specific contexts in which different literacy practices occur.” In the video, it shows how literacy can help.

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Gee and Hayes 1-3

In the first three chapters of Gee and Hayes, they discuss language. We are given a language history lesson and begin to realize how important language is to our society. We learn language as a child, picking up terms and “vernacular” from our environment. As children we learn our first language easily from our family and friends. No matter what culture we are in, Gee and Hayes states we easily learn our first language. Even being deaf, children still learn a first language of ASL.

I love how in the beginning of chapter 3 Gee and Hayes points out that language  “can be delivered orally, through thinking, by signing, or in writing”. I never really thought a lot about my mind thinking as language. Just always thought of them as thoughts. But it is truly language that evokes a response, even if from my mind in the way of thinking. I truly hold many conversations in my mind on a daily basis as I am going about my day.

I have always struggled with putting my words down on paper in the best way, to represent how articulate I am. Gee and Hayes speak of how hard it can be to express language on paper when they speak of the word “record” and how hard it can be to stress it in writing versus oral language, making it hard to capture features of speech. But then Gee and Hayes stress that just because it is harder, doesn’t mean written language isn’t as an important tool as oral language. Literacy can be a great tool in our “language nature” we all share.

Language is a way we can all communicate and express ourselves in any and all cultures. We have all learned to use language from our family and friends, and we continue to pass it down to our younger family and friends. Literacy is a tool for us to spread and share our language in our minds.

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School and Public Libraries Synchronizing

Recently, Blount County Public Library and Blount County Schools have decided to link together and make resources from both available to the community through one comprehensive organization. This initially began because the school’s funding for computer labs was cut back. The library, having the necessary resources, felt the need to help out.

Another technology provided to the school for students without access public library cards is the e-Card; these e-Cards give up to 4 students per teacher access to the public library’s electronic resources and online databases. Access to these online resources is also projected to help teachers develop their students digital literacy skills, not only through ease of access but the ability to judge the value of the information they have access to.

The main point of this article comes in a quote from one of the public librarians, “A librarian’s role is to help people generate new knowledge.” This assertion helps us, as students and digital natives living in a time of seeming transitions, understand the roles we see as disappearing. When thinking about e-Books and online databases, we often forget about public libraries and the librarians that run them. But what does happen, say, when the economy plummets and funding is removed, therefore cutting back on luxuries–it always seems that technology is the luxury that faces the penalty. Computer labs, printing labs, school-issued devices all receive less  administration funding than other aspects of learning. This says that, although we value our technology, we (the administrations) do not yet view it as a complete necessity in the spectrum of education. We can do without the computer lab–or can we?

The truth is, now, we can’t. Almost every class requires students to use technology, the internet, some form of online access is necessary. So what to do, then, when the school that requires these things does not provide the means to make it happen? Public facilities are the place to turn if you are not fortunate enough to own the technology in your own home. But, being digital natives, often students nowadays could not even stack away or find books using the Dewy Decimal System. So, are libraries really on the way out? This article provides evidence that libraries are equipped to evolve to the digital needs of a school or community. Aside from providing paper copies of resources, they can provide a network of other resources online and digitally to help improve overall digital literacy in a community.


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This supplemental post reflects what we spoke about in class. The video addresses many of the things we spoke about in our discussion. There are positive and negative qualities of technology. Rewiring in our brains is a real thing. Watching the video and listening to our discussion makes me think of apps like Fit Brain. I think there are many things that can help with our brain, but many things that can be bad. I agree with Dr. Stewart when she said someone could make some money by doing some studies. I feel its important to address what is happening to our brains so we may help future generations. I know after my autoethnography and our discussions in class, I will be more conscious of how much I am actually on mu phone and what I am doing with the technology around me, trying to make better use of it.

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Language: Written vs. Spoken

In Chapter 4 of his book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr tells of the beginning of written language.  In the beginning was the word, the word was without form and void of easily decipherable meaning.  In its infancy, written language was a mere reflection of the spoken language; they both played by the same rules.  They were even executed in the same manner: written language was always read aloud, or spoken, and spoken language was, in fact, spoken as well.  As Carr says, in the early uses of written language, “The rules hadn’t been invented yet” (Carr 61).

The issue with having no rules is, of course, anarchy.  That’s exactly what early written language was.  Since writing was simply a transcription of speaking, there were no spaces between words.  Reading was an incredible chore as the reader worked to decipher the chain of sounds into an intelligible message.  The spaces correlated to the spaces in conversation.  Written English and spoken English were the same language.

Carr explains that after the collapse of Roman Empire, written language changed to make it easier for the reader.  With the creation of grammar rules (each with its own set of exceptions), written language became a whole different language than spoken language.  Think about how differently you write and speak.  People often write in ways they would never speak.  In this way, written English could almost be considered a different language, or different dialect than spoken English.  Just think how different this post would have been if I had spoken it.




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