kate z My answer to prompt 1 is: not much

February 29, 2008 at 11:48 pm (Reading responses)


As far as iPods and composition, I can tell you that I use my iPod to listen to lectures from iTunes U while exercising or driving. I also used to listen to various podcasts when I was making money as an assistant mural painter–there are many professional podcasts, cultural programs in French for example, as well as loads of silliness. So iPods in education, yes, I can see that. As far as the Flaming Lips, well, I could vaguely imagine what the authors were talking about, but frankly, I didn’t see the big whoop. So it was a musical “happening” of sorts. By the time I was old enough to go into the city (NYC, that is), the happenings weren’t happening anymore, but I heard about them…forty years ago! Rickert and Salvo seemed to be stretching it to make their subject worthy of a journal article. Sorry, I just don’t see how any of this is particularly paradigm shifting or even relevant. “Worlding???” Give me a break. Levy gave us the history of the iPod and explained that now everyone can have his or her own “radio” show, ok, I knew that. The article on iTunes music sharing wasn’t revelatory either, although it brought a sigh of nostalgia for “home,” as it was written by employees of PARC, the Palo Alto Research Center, where I used to go to Usability meetings (Tuesday, March 11, 2008: Monthly Program (BayCHI)). Now, iTunes is, really, a great application, so well designed, so easy to use, and there’s so much there!  As for Heidi McKee, I feel much the same about this article as about the Rickert and Salvo piece. Although this multimedia technology is more easily accessible, more widespread, easy to use and requiring little financial investment, the principles have been around for decades. Even the beat poets had bongo players in the background. (Ok, I saw that on Dobie Gillis but I bet it’s true). I tracked down some of the sound poems she was writing about poems that GO : archives , and looked at a whole bunch more, but honestly, I found them more pretentious than artistic. Maybe I’m jaded. Maybe because I’m from New York and Silicon Valley, this week’s readings didn’t do much to make me think this sort of technology would revolutionize freshman comp. One poem/game was kinda fun though, Arteroids:  poems that GO : poems



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Reading response prompts: week 9–Sound

February 26, 2008 at 8:51 am (Reading Response Prompts-MWZ)

Prompt 1

What do iPods and The Flaming Lips have to do with writing studies? In other words, I want you to dis/connect rhet/comp and sound. Please refer to at least two of the readings in your discussion.

Prompt 2

Design an assignment for your writing class or deliverable for your job that uses sound and blurs the boundaries between producers and consumers. Please refer to at least two of the readings in your discussion of why this assignment or deliverable might be a good addition to your pedagogy/portfolio.

Prompt 3


To use play as a critical concept, you need to think about its possibilities for meaning. Consider the notions of play described in our readings this semester (readings from this week and past weeks are fair game), and answer questions such as: How does play operate in this piece? How does it differ from other writers’ notions of play? Are any of the play definitions in/compatible? Is the author using play overtly in the piece? Critically? Reference at least two of the readings (from any week) in your discussion.




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Journal research project: a clarification

February 26, 2008 at 8:33 am (Research project)

I’ve asked you to look at the contents from at least 5 years of each journal, including the last two years. By the “last two years,” I mean 2006 and 2007. There are not enough 2008 issues out yet for an adequate sample. Of course you can talk with me about focusing on 2008 if you think it makes sense for your research.



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Summary assignments: week 9–Bryant, Crawford, Markham, & Martell

February 26, 2008 at 8:26 am (Summary assignments--MWZ)

Please remember to 1) include the citation for your summary; 2) categorize your post as a summary; and 3) sign your summary.



Technology lens: Sound

Bryant: Levy, Steven. (2006). Podcast. In The perfect thing (pp. 227-254). New York: Simon & Schuster.

Crawford: Rickert, Thomas, and Salvo, Michael. (2006). The distributed gesamptkunstwerk: Sound, worlding, and new media culture. Computers and Composition, 23(3), 296-316.

Markham: Voida, Amy, Grinter, Rebecca E., Ducheneaut, Nicolas, Edwards, W. Keith, and Newman, Mark W. (2005). Listening in: Practices surrounding iTunes music sharing. Proceedings from CHI, April 2–7, Portland, Oregon, USA.

Martell: McKee, Heidi (2006).  Sound matters: Notes toward the analysis and design of sound in multimodal webtexts. Computers and Composition, 23, 335–354.

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Summary Castells, Manuel, Fernandez-Ardevol, Mireia, Qiu, Jack Linchuan, and Sey, Arba (2007)

February 26, 2008 at 12:00 am (Summaries)

This article discusses the issue of time and space with regards to mobile technology.  “Because mobile communication relentlessly changes the location reference, the space of the interaction is defined entirely within the flows of communication.”  People are constantly moving and their mobile devices allow them to stay in contact with anyone they choose.  People especially use mobile devices to setup “geographic coordination of small groups of friends” or anyone who wants to meet up.  Wireless technologies have started to replace the face-to-face interaction between people.  One contacts another to meet somewhere, and a message is sent saying whether it will will or won’t happen.  Mobile devices are also evolving into a more fixed device.  Some people only use their mobile device when calling from home or work.  A majority of calls will typically come from on e of these two places.  While mobile devices were meant to expand communication possibilities, it has also limited them.  People now have the option of screening calls.  They don’t answer unless they feel like it.  “According to various surveys, American respondents are less willing to receive calls from employers outside working hours than Chinese respondents.”  Although there is the constant change of space, there are still limitations in communication.  The author also goes into text messaging.  This is the biggest use for cell phones with 73% of all texts going to friends.  Although they an be distracting, texts can allow a meeting to be set up in minutes, faster than email would be.  The author uses a good quote; “the more our new technologies allow us to accomplish in an instant, the more we seem to run out of time.”  Our mobile technologies correlate to both time and space but yet seem to limit both.  The last sentence sums ups the article by stating “the more information systems and databases can be accessed and interacted with from mobile devices, the more access to the space of flows becomes the decisive feature of social organization.”  -Chris-

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Prompt 1 Wireless

February 25, 2008 at 11:34 pm (Reading responses)

People have mixed feelings when it comes to technology in the classroom.  I personally feel that wireless technologies can bring both positive and negative results; so I’m no better than the people who can’t make up their minds.  Wireless technology will definitely impact writing pedagogy.  It will impact it both negatively and positively.  To start with the negative, wireless technologies are evolving English to a basic form of simple numbers and letters.  SMS is to be blamed for this.  Text messaging is the most popular form of communication with cell phones with 73% of people “[using] text messaging to communicate with friends” (Castells, 176).  This may not sound bad but text messaging has a “limit of 160 characters per message… [which causes] young users… to summarize their messages” (Castells, 179).  People summarize by leaving out vowels, using numbers instead of words, and symbols.  Even though some people would see this as an evolution of the English language, this is downgrading the quality of writing.  Teachers whom have limited knowledge of messaging or are use to seeing correct usage of the English language, will be impacted by the kids who see SMS as correct English.  The “messaging language [has already seeped] into formal writing tasks, especially in school” (Castells, 181).  The kids see this as a valid written language and will try to use it in the classroom, making it difficult for both the teachers and the children.  However, there is a positive note for wireless technology in writing pedagogy.  Like the example in the Rheingold piece, wireless technologies can bring many together to reach a goal.  “More than 1 million Manila residents, mobilized and coordinated by waves of text messages, assembled” to overthrow their government (Rheingold, 157).  Now if this kind of coordination could be used within the writing pedagogy, the results could be amazing.  Wireless technologies could allow student to work in a classroom, exchange papers wirelessly with another student in a different state, and have the results back within minutes.  A student could get opinions from not only another student, but one that might have been taught differently.  A teacher might be able to communicate to the other professor through this wireless technology and learn some tricks the other professor uses.  Though this would be a great expense for the school, wireless technology could open the door to many possibilities for how to teach students and how to run a class.  One day a teacher could decide to have the class from home if they couldn’t make it to campus without having to cancel the class and fall behind.  A teacher could also answer grammar questions through using examples obtained through the wireless technology.  Wireless technology brings both the good and the bad which each has an impact on writing pedagogy.  It would be up to the institutions to determine which outweighs the other.

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Office meeting

February 25, 2008 at 10:51 pm (General Questions)

I was going to stop by for office hours today but got called into work. I just got off and wanted to let you know why I wasn’t in class or at your office today. I also found out my posts did not post, so I’ll be doing that in the next few minutes. I will stop by your office on Wed. _Chris_

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Wikipedia’s competition

February 25, 2008 at 3:46 pm (Interesting Side Discussions)

Main Page – CitizendiumI hadn’t heard of this; it’s clearly trying to address the credibility issues of Wikipedia. kz

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The End(s) of Education

February 24, 2008 at 11:02 pm (Reading responses)

(How) does wireless technology have the potential to impact writing pedagogy?

The line from the reading that’s stuck most in my head wasn’t even written by one of our authors.  Castells et. al., in chapter 6, quote Leopoldina Fortunati as saying that adolescents who have learned creative ways to text are, at least in part, captivated with “the discovery of the charm of writing” (180).

There’s something to that, right?  If we’re charmed by something (which is as good a word as any for describing something that we’re drawn to with a genuine interest–like a romantic partner or a good album or an amazing Youtube video), we want to pursue it, think about it, and invest ourselves in it.  Which is how we so often wish our students would view their writing in our classes, right?  With more than the sober, ok-I’ll-get-the-job-done-and-I-guess-I’ll-try-but-whatever-man attitude we see so often.

It makes me wonder what ways we could harness that power for good.  (Too much He-Man lately.  Sorry.)  Writing assignments that ask students to text different kinds of messages to different people as a way to consider audience?  Some of sort of planned instant-messaging game that takes 45 minutes of class time but provides discussion points about when and how efficiency (so important to students!) is important to writing?  Or perhaps some activities with writing in different wireless spaces that could lead to discussions about the odd way that electronic writing is both more permanent than other forms of writing (it stays in electronic storage somewhere forever) and more transitory, since it tends to meld together with all the other blobs of writing that happen at the same time and in the same way, and is thus hard to recover in its specific original state.  (I’m thinking specifically of the WearComp people Rheingold describes, who create pounds and pounds of “journalistic” video coverage.)  Wouldn’t it be helpful for students’ future work lives to consider the (im)permanence of 21st-century text?

Of course, there’s always the danger that texting (or whatever) will cease to be cool–and charming–the second it’s assigned (especially if it’s assigned to 9,500 first-year students at the same time).  And there’s the haunting comment of one of my students last semester: “We write informally all the time anyway, so we don’t need more practice as part of your class.”

I hate to come back to this again (it’s my theme this course for some reason), but it comes down to my trouble deciding exactly what my stance is on these innovative techniques before I can articulate how they do or don’t fit into the goals of my writing class–which needs to have some degree of practical output, I think, if it’s a required composition course.  Thus my ominous post title: I’m scared of moving into a world of wireless teaching before I know really well what ends I have in mind, because I know someone is going to tell me that my technique symbolizes the end of everything they hold dear, etc.  I’m not saying that there aren’t extremely valid learning goals met by innovative techniques (I tend to argue that there are), but it’s still scary, right?  I have nightmares about wizened professors getting up in my face and demanding that I stop wasting time in class playing around with cell phones and start teaching skills, damn it.  (Ok, I don’t–but I could.)


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Summary: Castells et. al., ch. 6

February 24, 2008 at 10:15 pm (Summaries)

Castells, Manuel, Fernandez-Ardevol, Mireia, Qiu, Jack Linchuan, and Sey, Arba (2007). The language of wireless communication. In Mobile communication and society: a global perspective (pp. 179-184). Cambridge: MIT Press.

This brief chapter explores some of the effects wireless communication technologies have on language practice. The authors call these new language practices “the language of the mobile hypertext” (179), a term that emphasizes its space-shifting, relentlessly linked qualities.

In the realm of texting, the authors explain that the space and ease-of-use limitations of texting have pushed people to create new forms of communication that value brevity, creativity, symbols, abbreviations, and phonetics. (Well, duh. But moving on . . .) Intriguingly, this creativity allows adolescents to enjoy writing in ways they might not otherwise. We also see creative meldings of language in different countries, where English is often mixed with the native language(s) for texting purposes. Other interesting points include the observation that with texting, “direct contact is not necessary,” which results in “a more ‘relaxed’ way of communicating (or explaining) feelings or sensitive subjects” (181), and the reminder that this creative use of shorthand is at least as old as shorthand writing in class.

The authors then briefly discuss multimedia message systems (MMS) (think a text message with video or image content).  Their most insightful point here is the theory that this use of technology will be used by a broader spectrum of society than the typical texting teen, because “taking a photo, or making a short video, requires different skills from writing an SMS” (182).

Lastly, a page is devoted to mobile orality, and the way language use changes with cell phone use (as opposed to face-to-face or landline-to-landline voice communication).  In one sense, speakers can get down to the business of their call more quickly, as cell phone users can assume that the person they call is the person who will pick up.  But in another sense, fewer things are known at the outset of the call: where the speakers are located, for instance, what they’re doing, and what their availability is.


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