Kaci Kopec INTE 4340/5340 Learning with Digital Stories

Week 4 Reflection — June 30, 2016

Week 4 Reflection

Being brave and posting my weekly reflection on my blog!

I feel like I completed this week’s assignments very well. I am starting to make connection to my work and others work which is exciting for me! I think I did a good job balancing all the parts of this class which in past reflections has not quite been the case. Challenging myself and continuing to grow has been a theme during my time in this course. I feel like this continued to happen this week!

The most challenging part of my week this week was learning all about my new photo editing software.  While it was a little frustrating this week I think in the long run I will be glad I switched to adobe. I finally feel like I am getting the hang of it and I think my creates next week will be much more refined! Coupled with that I think my big learning was how to work adobe. I think knowing how to use this software will be more beneficial to me in the long run. This week I most enjoyed looking at and exploring classmates work and comments.

If I could do something differently this week it would be to spend more time with the recommended text. Time constraints did not give me a lot of time to explore these things this week which is unfortunate. I would have loved to dedicate more time to reading them more thoroughly not just skim. My lingering question is can I put videos on soundcloud of just audio? I know I can find the answer easily :).

A larger issues surrounding my work is how to narrow down what articles to pick to blog about. I am finding a lot of interesting material and always getting new ideas about what to write about! Not a bad problem to have though!!

I believe I am meeting course expectations. I have tried to give due diligence to all portions of the course and make sure I am meeting all expectations as well as trying to challenge myself. I went through and looked at my website and was glad to see an improvement in my work! I think I am holding myself accountable for my learning and am really enjoying all the course material I am working with.

Its All About The Family —

Its All About The Family

Check out the digital story that caught my eye this week!

I chose to review a photo story this week titled Inseparable Ties: Family Bonds in Appalachia. The main type of “involvement” within this story was expressing an artistic identity/Expressing a photography-related identity. While there is a short excerpt explaining the creator’s purpose the pictures are really what tell the story. The creator’s artistic identity is apparent in the pictures he chose to include in his story. Each picture in its own way strongly supported his claim that, “relationships, love and maybe a little spirit of adventure can fill our lives and take us back to what matters most and what we can all connect with”. Along with that the creators photography-related identity is also made apparent by the story that viewers are easily able to put together just using the picture within the story. Even if there were no words to explain motivation or give context viewers can easily put together the story due to the strong photography related identity.

The first literacy dimension I noticed was in relation to the quality and professional appearance of photos. This quality of work would involve knowing how to import an image into an image editor. This would also require an understanding of how to use a range of tools within the image editing software to crop, blur, smudge, erase, color match, etc. The creator of this page had to have a fundamental understand of these things in order to make the pictures so crisp and put together. Each picture makes the viewer focus on the parts that are intended to get the point across and the detail is so vivid that you cannot help but get lost in the pictures. I also see literacy in their ability to upload final photo shopped photos to an online space. Coupled with that the creator also had to have an understanding of how to create a recognizably meaningful juxtaposition of images in order to convey their message and appeal to viewers. If you check out the homepage where I pulled this digital story from you will see tons of competing images. This image has to stand out amongst all these great stories to stand any chance of being viewed.

The first online space that brings this story to life is the Alexia foundation website. Their mission is to, “promotes the power of photojournalism to give voice to social injustice, to respect history lest we forget it and to understand cultural difference as our strength – not our weakness.” The overall message and support that the websites offers and their striving to support photographers to be agents of change is a strong message. Having this piece of work promoted and offered on this website in and of itself is a huge benefit in spreading the message.

The one thing I would change to increase audience engagement would be more of a closing at the end of the story. As a viewer I went thru read everything look at all the pictures and captions and had a feeling if what next? I think in order to fully interact with viewers some kind of culminating statement that ties into the message of the story would be a better ending. In the area of narrative a little more of a description for some of the pictures would be good. While each picture does have the names of the subjects of the picture and a brief description it would be nice to have slightly more background.

Over all I thought this was a strong digital story. I loved that the creator could state the purpose of the story in one sentence and center the idea for viewers. Having that clarity really allows for viewers to look at each picture through the lens of the creator.  While there was not a lot of description of the pictures maybe this was on purpose so that the audience could make their own conclusions.

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Relax Just Do It —

Relax Just Do It

Check out the reading that inspired this response.

This article discussed the relationship between stress and health issues in the US. The article states that relaxation techniques can be a good strategy in dealing with and coping with stress. The main goal of this article is to, “describes a research-based relaxation technique aimed to identify stress and enhance resources to cope with stress.” Through my own personal experience I always knew that stress was bad for your health but seeing it explicitly stated in this article was eye opening for me. The science behind this was extremely interesting. Stress influences behavioral and biological pathways. Behavior is modified because stress can change an individual’s health practices, social coping, and medical compliance. Biologically stress has been shown to increase, “physiological state that alters the function of the central nervous system, neuroendocrine system, and ultimately the immune system”. Another interesting point in this article was that stress is a subjective experience. This relates nicely with one of my previous readings about work life balance and how that as well is subjective in nature. The amount of stress different life events brings into your life is subjective to every individual. Every person perceives stressful events differently and become stimulated differently. As such this article focuses less on what stressors are but more on what an appropriate response can look like.

SO what can you do?

There are a multitude of coping techniques you can utilize to reduce stress. This article aims to focus on relaxation as a means to help rejuvenate one’s ability to utilize other over used techniques during times of chronic stress. Relaxation techniques involved in this study were, “progressive relaxation, meditation, visualization, deep breathing, Yoga, and noticing natural

elements in one’s environment”.  Findings suggest that implementation of these things can help restore other coping ability by restoring fatigued resources. It sounds kind of silly but when I think about some of the most stress from times of my life stopping and taking even five minutes to relax helped me gain perspective and move forward. I remember vividly one day in my first year of teaching I was at my stress capacity and ready to blow. One day after school I literally just laid on the floor behind my desk and took 5 minutes to relax and think about nothing. Even though it was a super short amount of time taking that opportunity and just letting myself relax made it possible for me to move on.

Relaxation has a very specific meaning in this article. It is not just talking a minute to slow down and taking breaths. Relaxation is, a learned skill that takes practice and involves observation and

conscious release of physical arousal and stress“. Purposeful and specific relaxation techniques can stimulate portions of the brain that balance concentrated stimulation and relieve exhausted portions of the brain. When reading this I imagine a tea kettle on the stove. It bubbles and builds pressure inside the pot. When there is enough pressure there is a need for release and the steam escapes through the top of the pot making a whistling noise. Relaxation is that release of pressure for your brain!  The article goes on the outline specific procedures that can be utilized with college ages students as they was the primary focus of the study. Although I am not an undergraduate student any more I can still see the usefulness for this in my life! I would love to increase awareness and ability to purposefully relax and release some brain pressure! I am think I have found my focus for next week’s reading response, if you’re interested check it out next week!

Can’t wait until next week? Check out other great learning #ds106 and #ILT5340

Academic Blogging — June 27, 2016

Academic Blogging

Check out our weekly reading!

I think a big takeaway for me was how multifaceted blogging really is. It is so multidimensional as opposed to simple text or journals. As stated in this chapter blogging is complex because, “of the capabilities offered by hypertext. New affordances include textual connections with others on and offline; the facility to comment on others’ blog posts and the possibility of replying to comments on one’s own; hyperlinks to information sources; site meters which monitor “visits” from others; RSS feeds, which alert subscribed readers to other newly updated sites; the facility to embed other texts within one’s own and the possibility of including a range of modalities, from audio podcasts to video streams.” This diverse blogging world creates opportunity for people to share and remix ideas and concepts in a new and highly effective manner. With the ability to share and collaborate in such a highly impactful way, I can only imagine the impact this will have on us culturally. That being said having and being highly fluent is these skills and practices will be imperative for future generations to be effective as adults.  

In traditional academic literature, publication of concepts and work can be a very rigorous process. As such many people ideas/works are not published due to the high demand of academic standards. Having blogging as an outlet is a great way for people to get their ideas and work out there in order to collaborate on them and improve. I love the open source feel and collaborative process blogging brings to the academic scene. Blogging give consumers and producers a chance to create and collaborate on something that might otherwise be impossible. Blogging can also be an outlet for academic sound off/production in which the writer can use different voice and personality not generally used in academic publications.

One insight I had from this week’s reading was in relation to the emergence of a blogger identity. The chapter discloses that through blogging we represent the symbolic relationship of different aspects of ourselves. When you partake in blogging it is a two way street in which both bloggers are participating in their self-disclosure. This really got me thinking about two things. First what is my blogger identity? And second how is my identity shaped by my interactions within my class? I think it is hard for me to really determine what my blogger identity is as it is still forming. I would be interested to see what others answers would be though! As for my classes effect on my blogging identity, I do often reflect and think about my classmates seeing my work before publishing. I wonder how people balance their professional and personal blogging personalities.

Another thing I found to be interesting in this article was the idea that, “texts have to be understood in the context of their conditions of production and reading.” Any single text can be read many different ways based on biases and context. Couple that with the fact that readers of a blog have so many choices on how to read a blog. It is nearly impossible to ensure readers actually are reading within the context of production. When a reader goes to read a blog they may or may not click on links that offer background knowledge. Readers may not have read previous blogs related to that topic in which the writer sets up information or voice on a topic. Readers may not explore additional resources on the blog page that could help understand purpose and voice of the author. As such the capacity for diverse interpretations and remix on blogging is far more widespread than that of traditional texts.


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New ways to relax! —

New ways to relax!

Check out the daily create prompt that began it all!



I chose this picture because I thought it was a very odd machine that was interesting and like nothing I have seen before!

My focal theme is growing up. Part of growing up involved increase in stress and grown up activities. I decided to try and sell my machine my appealing to people need to decompress after a long day!

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You Know Why! —

You Know Why!

Check out the assignment that sparked this creation!

Inspirational messagejpg.


I chose this pictures because first I am a 100% dog lover! Second I think that my dogs have really given me a lot of perspective and life lessons on growing up. I learned a lot about responsibility and dedication after owning my two dogs. They have taught me a lot but I think one of my biggest life lessons from them has been about consequences when I am not a good puppy parent. While this is not my dog or my couch I have learned that lack of puppy parenting often leads to puppy acting out! While it is easy to get upset when you come home to a mess lovingly made by an upset or sick pet I always have to remember, “I know why.” Having the joys and responsibilities of having dogs has made me a more responsible and well rounded adult and I am glad every day for their companionship! Being responsible for an animal who depends completely on you really has sped up my rate of acquisition of life lessons!

I am always thankful for my girls who have helped me to grow and been part of my ever changing life! Here are my actual fur babies as they sleep next to me while I work on school!

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Too Many Vegetables! —

Too Many Vegetables!

Carrot Peoplejpg.

Check out our daily create assignment for this week!

I decided instead of taking a person and changing their appearance by adding carrots I could make a carrot look like a person! I recently changed my photo editing software to a new program. So bear with me while I work out the kinks! I think in the long run it will make my life easier but for now I am in still in a transition period! Maybe my next carrot character will look less like it was created by this…

and more like it was created by this…


All the same I hope you enjoy!

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School Reform — June 24, 2016

School Reform

Check out the story that inspired this writing!

I will be writing about the trait of Story. I chose this because I wanted to reflect more on the engagement of the audience through her presentation and how well her story working in reaching the audience. I chose to write about flow, organization, pacing. I chose this trait because the overall flow of her story was good through the presentation. Picking out strengths will help me become better at digital stories. Finally I picked, sense of audience. I chose this because I felt there was a slight disconnect and wanted to reflect on what that was.

The overall story of this video was very interesting. I thought her choice in the beginning to start by talking about biases and beliefs around government run systems was effective. The conclusion in which she refers back to these biases was a nice way to tie up the presentation. Her discussion about personal experience walking through schools and what that really looks like (supported by pictures) was a really strong way to establish a sense of need with her audience. I think the discussion of this need supported by facts about education in India really makes listeners reflect on the premise of her presentation and how education in India is vastly different than education systems in other parts of the world. The overall premise of her story was something relatable and her presentation on the material was well thought out. I felt like the only shortcoming was the lack of examples and firsthand accounts of their work and reality. While there was a few examples and pictures peppered through her presentation I think more anecdotal support would have been beneficial. The biggest points in the story that made her point with me as a viewer were when she spoke about the teacher collecting resources from the garden to teach, as well as the story about the parent who was overjoyed and not going to enroll her student in private school. I would modify the presentation to have a few more very direct and inspirational stories like this that make her point in a very visual and real way with audiences. While the process of how they got to that point is important audience buying will skyrocket with more anecdotal support.

The organization of the presentation was very well thought out. The beginning grabs attention of listeners, the next portion establishes need/problems in the system, then the process of change was covered and how they problem solved. Once these components were put in place with the audience about what the problem was and how they planned to address it she went on to talk about how to implement these systems over the whole state as well as the changes that arise.  I think one thing that was not captured was real data to support the notion that big changes were happening. She offers anecdotal proof and personal statements but factual data and statistics would really help solidify her presentation. Another piece that might have been beneficial to the organization would be to include either ways that can be transferable to other school systems, or ways in which support can be offered to their cause. Listeners who really are invested might like some next steps or further actions they can take.

I think a strength in this presenter’s sense of audience was her connections to different school systems in the world to give perspective. As many of the listeners may not have firsthand experience in what schools in India really look like she did a great job setting up that framework and giving examples in order to put it into perspective. She also did a good job quickly outlining what it is really like and what challenges really are so that people could understand and take in her presentation to the fullest extent. I think one thing that would have helped with audience was the use of less acronyms. Through the presentation she often used numerous acronyms what the audience does not necessarily know. For clarity purpose it would be best to either not use these acronyms or to clearly define them in the beginning of the presentation so listeners can follow conversation more easily.


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Bridging the Gap — June 22, 2016

Bridging the Gap

Check out the reading that inspired this response.

This article states that there is a gap between the way in which students learn and the way they live, it goes on to state unless we bridge this gap school will become irrelevant. Social context and technology has shapes our lives so much that educational systems must adapt and change in order to prepare students to be part of a world in which the expectation is they can function in a multifaceted, multi functioning, technology based world. This article states, “Students need lifelong learning skills i.e., communication and information skills, problem-solving and thinking skills, and interpersonal and self-directional skills.” The push is for teachers to prepare students to be part of the world by bringing it into the classroom. Collaborative learning coupled with technology based exposure to material and problems in essence creates a critical thinking classroom. This article introduces a learning theory known as connectivism. In this model of learning does not happen for one individual at a time, instead learning is a group activity done with peers. Furthermore in order to bridge the gap of what students know and what they need to know to be successful in our world students will need to be proficient at communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and creativity and innovation.

In earlier posts I talked about how teaching is so much more than teaching reading, math, science etc… This article fully supports that. While state standards are important and have their place in the classroom it is also important to realize that we are paying our students a disservice by not preparing them to be members of such a dynamic world as the one they live in. The purpose of the article is, “explore integration of 21st century skills and Web 2.0 technology as well as the transforming pedagogies being fostered to accomplish this task as educators embrace the digital age.” That being said it states a teacher’s role in this should be to create an environment in which students can manage their own learning and assess their own progress. Teachers should be there to model work, exhibit knowledge in a digital and global society, model digital responsibility, and promote ethical use of digital information.

As I read this article the connections to our reading in class are innumerable! I think an ongoing theme I have talked about with numerous peers is the need for change in education. I think this article gives a lot of food for thought in that area! I kept thinking as I was reading this how can I embody this in my teaching practice to make sure that I preparing my students to be part of this fast paced, high demand world. I think this is a great jumping off point for teachers like me who are looking for way to bridge the gap between education and the actual demands of today world. I don’t know if it is the fact that I am just old enough to feel like I missed the boat on the technology era, but I always feel like I am pushing myself to stay current. I want technology to feel comfortable and inherent for my students and I do not ever want them to feel like they are having to play catch up! I really enjoyed reading this article and I think it definitely gave me a lot to think about!


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Contemporary Themes in This Week’s Reading —

Contemporary Themes in This Week’s Reading

Check out our reading for this week!

One of the biggest insights from this reading came from the following quote, “This is a matter of knowing some-thing about their goals and aims and purposes; their tools and how they use them; the knowledge they draw on and seek to obtain in crafting their pro-duction to a personally satisfying level of expertise; the values and standards they recognize as relevant to good practice.” from an educator stand point I often try to understand my students motivations and goals. Most of the time this context is in relation to behavior, writing, art math and so on. This quote really opened my eyes to the application to technology and digital storytelling.  Understanding purpose, prior knowledge and crafting of students digital creations is imperative in the way understanding is in every other aspect of their education. Things that may seem silly of minute to me are important to my students for various reasons and I need to understand that as well as how I can integrate this into our learning. I think reading further and seeing this just affirmed everything I was already thinking, “Rather, they (readers of this text) want to be able to make meaningful and respectful connections to these practices; connections that will contribute to learning in ways that will enhance young people’s prospects of living well in the present and the future.” I think this is the overall goal of many educators!

After completing this reading I was curious about what embodiment/hands on engagement looks like for some educators compared to students today. I definitely agree with the text when it states that understanding of goals and aims of youth today in digital storied involves direct experience and work with those mediums. You need to go beyond and really experience it in order to have a sense of, “insider perspective” in order to relate and understand student motivations. I not only wonder what engagement looks like from teacher to student but also wonder how we can bridge that gap in order to find a common effective learning space. I can see how this may be easier in different scenarios but I am picturing an elementary setting. Student do not always have the knowhow or vocalization skills to help their teacher if they are struggling. If the teacher is someone who is not very technologically savvy I can see how that might be intimidating for them. How do we as educators bridge that gap for older generations? Reflecting on times I have pulled digital story materials into my classroom I know it has been a big undertaking. Students really looked to me for guidance and until they felt comfortable it was overwhelming how much help was needed from an adult. While the outcome was definitely worth the work and I loved every minute of it, I can see how someone who knows less about technology might really struggle implementing these things in as elementary setting. How do we bridge this gap?

A piece of unique terminology I was not familiar with was Affinity spaces. The text definition of an affinity space was, ““specially designed spaces (physical and vir-tual) constructed to resource people tied together . . . by a shared interest or endeavor” (Gee, 2004, p. 73). These spaces can extend across online archives or artifact hosting websites (with provision made for leaving review comments, etc.), discussion boards, face-to-face events, paper-based and guides, and the like—all of which support people in accessing and sharing knowledge.” What a great definition and mindset for people with shared interest to brainstorm and remix together! There are so many resources and outlets for information on the web. Having an affinity space in which people with similar interests can come together to investigate, share, and organize all of the information and resources is amazing to me! I would love to find a way to incorporate this effectively in a second grade classroom! I can only imagine the amazing things my kids could come up with and ways in which they could create to support each other.
Another term that stood out in my head was, “produser.” As defined by this chapter a produser is an active and productive user of content created and used by a community. Produsers use as opposed to simple consume the information and resources in which the interac. Instead of simply consuming information given they actively remix and make change using the resources they have. Their sharing of ideas and knowledge shape social interaction.

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Finding Nemo Spoiler! —

Finding Nemo Spoiler!

Check out my first video compilation!

My learning has pushed me into the rel or video editing! For more information on the prompt that started it all check out our class work!

I chose Finding Nemo because I think it is a great representation in Kid friendly terms of what growing up can look like. I love the relationship between Nemo and Marlin and how they grow and change over the course of their journey. I think it is a great representation of how parent child relationships grow and evolve in real life. For many parents children growing up can be accompanied by resentment of parents during the struggle for independence. As depicted in this movie big events bring families closer together when everyone is open to growth and change!

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One Is The Lonliest Number — June 21, 2016

One Is The Lonliest Number


Check out what inspired my daily create!

It has been brought to my attention that former students sometimes abandon their DS106 domains leaving them vulnerable to vultures! I created this blog in order to hopefully deter current and future students from giving up on their domain. I thought that a little musical inspiration might be in order to help the cause! Taking point from the song One Is The Loneliest Number by Three Dog Night, I created a visual reminder of why letting your domain fall in the hands of vultures might make you a lonely student!

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