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Time-Space-Place Project

My map of the Jersey Shore supports a counter-narrative about this area. While the Jersey Shore has a widely-known master narrative of fist pumping Guidos decked out with gold chains and greasy hair, most of the shore is actually quaint summer towns and clean sandy beaches which have been serving as a respite to vacationers from the tri-state area and much further since the 1800s. I have mapped out some area beaches, businesses, attractions, and pastimes and included information, photos, and links to other media which contest the master narrative and offer up a much more classic and family-friendly view of a shore steeped in history and fond memories.

Below is a gallery of some of my personal photos of the Jersey Shore, too.


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Where I’m From

I am from sandy toes and lemonade stands,
Speedboat rides, jet skis, and fishing off of our dock, using cut up hot dogs for bait.
From make-believe and swing sets, party dresses and dance lessons,
From Disney movies and bunk beds, glow in the dark stars and neighborhood swim teams,
I am from walking to kindergarten with my older sister, skipping cracks in the sidewalk and holding hands to cross the street.
I am from growing from the baby to the middle child,
Moving from the sunny shore to the frozen Midwest,
From learning how to stand on my own two feet, and learning who I can lean on (just in case).
I am from family reunions and dozens of cousins,
And learning it’s not the place that matters, but the people who fill it.
I am from stage lights and grease paint, auditions and resumes,
From learning lines and breaking in character shoes.
I am from reading and writing, but definitely not arithmetic,
From essays and test scores and college admissions.
I am from minivans and subdivisions, family vacations and Friday night football games,
And childhood friends that have lasted a lifetime.
I am from a family broken after 30 years, but only made stronger by our struggles.
I am from learning about loss and selfishness, about moral and mental decay.
I am from therapists and prescriptions, from tears and re-learning to trust.
I am from finding support in my family that will never crack.
I am from new beginnings and second chances, and third, and fourth.
I am from discovering that life will not always turn out as planned, and maybe that is a part of its beauty.

I think my Where I’m From poem more or less reinforces a master narrative of a normal suburban childhood. The mention of things like minivans, high school football, dance lessons, and Disney movies underscore a typical middle class suburban upbringing. There is also a focus on education, which lends itself to that narrative, as well. All of the stanzas except the last one reflect a happy childhood and a close-knit, large family. There is an involvement in community activities and institutions shown in the discussion of swim teams, schools, and subdivisions, but the community itself is vaguely defined and does not stand out as unique. I think that is accurate for the narrative of the suburbs; they are thought of a close and involved communities, but largely “cookie-cutter”  and indistinguishable.

In the final paragraph, I think there is some reinforcing of that same narrative but more-so the introduction of a new narrative of growing up in the suburbs. There is certainly a master narrative of unhappy divorced families with children in therapy and trust issues. The moments that my poem may refuse this narrative are in the unexpectedness of the ending as compared to the rest of the poem, as well as the very late-in-life divorce. The acceptance of life being imperfect and impossible to plan out is definitely not an idea associated with either suburban narrative.

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ds106 assignment C

For my ds106 choice assignment C, I picked Minimalist TV/Movie Poster (mine are the one’s titled “Brielle’s minimalist posters”). The instructions were very simple: Create a tv/movie poster that captures the essence of the story through the use of minimalist design/iconography.

I tried doing several, with varying levels of success. I used regular old Paint, since most of what I needed was just shapes, outlines, and text boxes. I drew a couple of the designs free-hand, as well. My favorite one is the Alice in Wonderland poster; it is supposed to look like a “down the rabbit hole” image. I also really like the pencil fill effect on the X-files poster. The drawings on the Girl, Interrupted poster are a bit rough, and if I were to do it over I would look for stamps to use. Overall, I thought this was a fun assignment, and I might do some more in addition to these.

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Affinity Space

Above is my affinity space video.

I chose the Harry Potter fandom as my affinity space. Making this video was easier than my experience with making the digital multi-modal composition because I was more comfortable using the programs. I used the same YouTube video editor as I used in the previous project to make the video, so recording the sound and integrating the images was easy. This project I also used screencasts (one of a YouTube video and one of a website). First, I tried to use Screencast-o-matic, a free program, but I had trouble converting the videos to something I could upload into my project. In the end I used a free trial version of VideoGrabber. This was a very simple program with an adjustable screencaster and a “convert” button. Although acquiring the screencasts was easy with this program, I do not think I have a very adept hand at integrating them into my videos yet. I felt the final result served its purpose adequately enough, but was clunkier than I would have liked. I think that is just a matter of being comfortable with the software and knowing how and when to edit the clips. All of the images that I used were licensed under Creative Commons, but the website and YouTube clip I used were not. I gave each individual credit on the end of the video along with the website links.

Project Questions:

1. Affinity spaces can increase the knowledge of each fan as well as provide them with an opportunity to share their passion with others and feel part of a community. By bringing together people with a common passion, affinity spaces facilitate conversations and generators in the spaces can create content and inspire fans to participate more fully in their passions.

2. The Harry Potter affinity space uses technology in many different ways. There is numerous fan-run sites and fan-created organizations, official movie sites, and an interactive site run by J.K. Rowling and a staff called Pottermore. Fans can create accounts, be sorted into houses, and get little-known facts and “behind-the-scenes” tidbits provided by the author as they go on a digital walkthrough of the books. Fans participate by discussing the books on websites, in forums, and in blogs, and they create their own fanfiction to continue the stories in their own directions.

3. The model of fanfiction could be used in various classroom writing activities. The knowledge learned in an affinity space can also lead to classroom activities such as character studies. Since my chosen affinity space is centered around a book series, the content easily lends itself to the English classroom. Students can use different portals to reach out to others and acquire more knowledge about the story arch, characters, and inspirations behind the writing.

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Personal Learning Network


Above is my personal learning network map. In the center is me (the yellow star). Radiating out from the center are my different social connections which I can turn to in order to learn from, acquire knowledge, or consult. Each straight line represents a degree, and the most powerful degrees are in black. The less powerful degrees (those with a larger number of ties to reach) are represent as lighter, in gray. The groups I chose to include are my friends and family, my professors and teachers that I have had, and fellow education majors. They each had different groups which they could connect me to, if necessary, to increase my learning base. As Rheingold discusses, I could use a bridge to connect my learning network to the personal learning network of any other direct connection, meaning I could add a bridge to the network of another student in ENGL 3241.

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As Rheingold discusses in Chapter 4 about collaboration, the internet and technology has made human collaboration exponentially more accessible, useful, and relevant in our lives. Although humans have always been social creatures, the speed at which we can collaborate today has brought that social interaction to new heights. People can collaborate with others at the touch of a button, and they can choose to access others with whom they are different or similar, older or younger, more informed or less. We collaborate nearly every time we use the internet, which for most of us is daily, whether it is through sharing information or accessing information another has shared over the web. As Rheingold says in his section on Wikipedia, by sharing information and fact-checking collectively, can learn information and share it with others much faster and more effectively than any individual could on his or her own.

I found this chapter very relevant to our recent class activities, specifically the crap detection project and the affinity spaces. Through the crap detection project, aside from collaborating with our partners, we used the internet to triangulate several sources and verify the legitimacy of information. Not only was the original information acquired through collaborative sites, but so was the legitimizing of that information. In an affinity space, the entire idea is centered around collaboration. It is a common space for people to come together about one activity or idea and increase each others knowledge and enjoyment of their shared interest. While these have always existed in the form of clubs and other meeting places, the introduction of technology has increased the collaboration, making the space more available to interested parties all around the world. These spaces use collaboration by experts sharing knowledge about the subject with members who are less experienced with it, and they also can create and share new aspects of the subject, for example member-created levels on computer games which can be shared with and played by any users of the game.

Collaboration has always been a useful tool in the classroom, but now with the advances we have in technology, that collaboration can expand beyond just the students in the class. As a teacher, I can use collaborative activities through the internet and with other classes and people around the world, with a more complex system such as ds106 or even something as simple as using Google Docs to share information and projects with students in other classes or schools.

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This I Believe DMC & Comp. Log

Here is my final product! ^^

Composition Log:

-brainstorm ideas
I thought about things I believe about family, about hard work, about the importance of having close and supportive relationships in your life, about how seeing different places and cultures can give you different perspective on the world. I have not yet decided on a topic, still turning things over in my head.

**Didn’t do any work over the long weekend on my TIB project 😦 **

-in class
I decided on the theme of the importance of human connection. I began writing my This I Believe essay, somewhere between outline form and essay form. I think I will change a lot of the order and phrasing of my essay once I start organizing it into a video; I am just jotting down important concepts around my theme, trying to grasp exactly “what I believe” about it. I’m having some back-and-forth issues about how personal vs. generally about the human condition I want to make my essay.

– I brainstormed and browsed ideas for images that I can use in my project, found some personal photos and tried a couple (both successful and un-) search terms for more general images. I also decided to make some images of my own to use and include some of the words or quotes from my TIB essay.

– As I’m working with my essay, I think I am changing my topic to “play”. I think this video will be more fun and the images will be easier to find and coordinate. I also think the essay can be broader and more uplifting, starting my new essay tonight.
– I wrote most of my essay, still trying to work on the conclusion and editing. I also started trying out the different online programs for putting together the video.

– This weekend I finalized my essay. I put together most of the video, still have to add the sound and the about another minute, plus the final credits. All the images I used either belonged to me, my friends, or Creative Commons, so the credits will be simple. I used WeVideo editor on YouTube to put it together, which was pretty easy, as long as you remember to save after every change made. The only flaw I’ve found in the program s far is that if I have any other programs running on my computer, the program is prone to freezing.

– Before class I recorded my essay and matched up most of the timing on the slides, still working on the last 30 seconds. Aligning the right moments of the audio and images is HARD. Then when I went back later to edit the video, the voice track was inserted before the images instead of concurrently, for some reason, even though that’s not how I saved it. I’m going to google solutions and work on fixing it after my 5pm class. Hopefully it will be a simple fix and I can finish up my video to upload before our class meets tomorrow.
– After class, I figured out how to fix the video sound. Google wasn’t helpful and neither was the FAQ, since apparently the voice recording has a bunch of recently added features. The sound is pretty satisfactory except for a few blips or transitions. The images ended up being right where I want them, I added 2 more slides, a closing title, and an ending credits slide and closing music. After I finish this entry, I am posting the log, essay, and video in my wordpress blog.

Final Essay:

           I believe in play. I believe that everyone, no matter how old, needs to have moments of release, moments where they do not take themselves too seriously. From a young age, playing can encourage imagination. Kids embrace imagination. I believe that we need to keep that imagination with us as we age. Everyone needs to take time to set down their work, get outside, and try something new. Don’t be afraid to get dirty. Feel the sunshine on your face and the grass under your feet.

           I believe in the importance of relaxation. Free yourself from the rush of everyday life and discover a new hobby. Meet others who are similar to yourself; meet people who are different from you. Learn something you didn’t know about yourself, or, better yet, add something new to you. Explore. Find places you have never seen, even if they’re only in your own neighborhood. See life from a different point of view.

           Play with your own expectations. A life without play does not allow exploration and any opportunity for self-growth. As we grow, our lives become more stressful. Our time seems more limited, and often we feel that we are spreading ourselves too thin. The harder you work, the more important it is to find time for play in your life. Balance is everything. Find the child within yourself when you play. Lose yourself in the activity, and let any worry of the time you are devoting to your own well-being slip away. Time playing is not time wasted.
Play music. You don’t have to be professional, or even be good, just experiment. Play with your mind. Write, draw, create. Never fall out of touch with your imagination. I believe that too many people get locked into a routine and lose track of their time trying to keep up with their lives and responsibilities. I believe we must find time to be free, relax, and get to know each other and ourselves. I believe in play.

The parallel composing process was something that I have had little experience with before. I began by writing the essay in its entirety, and the audio track I recorded was almost the same as the essay, although I added some words in here and there to make it sound more natural as I was speaking. The way which the video composing process most influenced my essay writing was in the subject. Since I had to both share and illustrate with pictures, I chose to do a lighter and less deeply personal topic than I perhaps otherwise would have. I also tried to choose a topic which could be displayed easily in images. I think the parallel composition can be useful to students in being creative with their writing and approaching their ideas from a different starting point by focusing on images or audio over the more traditional essay composition.

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