Week 4 Embracing the Challenges

This week’s assignments were interesting and I enjoyed the work done. The daily creates are designed for a quick exercise in digital storytelling, an approach to unleash creativity and to practice variety of tools without investing too much time. However, sometimes, it is hard not to invest a good chunk of time. This is probably the most existing exercise! This week I have been checking all the dailies every single day. It just amazes me the creative way not only of the execution of the daily creates but also the tasks themselves. Each one is challenging and fun. Perhaps the best part is browsing other people’s interpretations. I also like tools. This week’s daily creates challenged me to always go a step further. For example, not only to create a YouTube printout but to choose the right dimensions, to cut each scene and stitch back together to reveal a part of the plot. The point is, a seemingly simple 5 minute exercise sometimes can turn into a great learning opportunity. They are also inspiring! I always find something extra in the daily creates. In the YouTube print out for example, it was not only about learning a technique but it made me think. It made me think about how separate pieces from a story when put together in a different way can tell a different story. And that it is about interpretation. We all have a unique way of interpreting the experiences around us and even though we are looking at the same small pieces of a story it means something different to each and one of us. And I know this is no profound thought in any way but I truly enjoyed just thinking about it, connecting it to the new literacies we are bound to experience and the remixes we create.

The reading this week was one thing that gave me a little trouble and was very enjoyable at the same time. It was great because I was able to connect with people in the group and I believe, for the first time we were able to conduct some very meaningful conversations on and sometimes a little off topic. But it also gave me trouble. I may be very critical when I read. In fact, what I am still learning and I find it challenging is how to read without being so critical, and skeptical at times. It was hard for me to find a good value in Blogging as New Literacy. It doesn’t jump out of the page right away. I have to read and think and read and think and ask ‘why’, ‘and so what’, what’s the meaning, ‘what’s the value’ and in this particular case, it was hard to find right away. May be I am just expecting to be dazzled and inspired all the time with everything I read. However, it was all worth it because of the connections I made with my group’s members.

One thing I always try to do differently is to change angles, to shift point of view. Every week I construct a challenge for myself; to connect more, to go deeper into the readings, to learn a tool or technology even though there is the pressure of time. I do have a pressing question this week. What is a digital story, what is digital storytelling? I have been reading and observing, examining digital stories but what makes them stories? Some of the people I was able to connect with have been evaluating and critiquing for example: articles published online, short video series of humorous dialogues. Are those digital stories? So I have been trying to define for my self what are the elements of a story that makes a story – a story. But at the same time, everything contains a story, even a simple dialogue has a story. So I am not quite sure yet.

Exploring the focal them I have is easy and hard. It is easy because I find ‘impact’ everywhere. I simple experience can be impactful, a memory, a day dream. The hard part is choosing an assignment from the bank. All of the assignments are extremely createful and challenging. And fun! But they are designed with different objectives in mind. They are also very specific in terms of instructions. So connecting the specificity of the assignment with the theme has been very challenging. But this also makes them the most valuable learning experience. This week’s assignment was intense. I always try to pick the one which I don’t necessarily know how to accomplish. When browsing through the bank there are always some that I right away can tell how to complete: ‘I’ll use this tool, that tool’ or ‘oh yeah, that’s too easy’. But I try not to pick those. And not just challenging in terms of how to make it perfect, which exact tools to choose, follow the instructions meticulously. Than the story is there. The story is always there, I can easily find it in anything. But translating the story into words, constructing this specific narrative in way that it is impactful, meaningful, emotional, brutally honest and simple. That’s my challenge!

I think the quality of work I am producing is good. Because it is my work – I would never evaluate it as ‘exceeding expectations’. It sounds too presumptuous. But If I have to objectively look at it and evaluate according to the rubric – I would say for the most part it at least meets the expectations. Especially in terms of visual works, tools manipulation, etc. I feel like I have mastered all tools there are for image, video or sound editing. And I know this course is not about the tools. But I feel a little pride in learning so much in such a short amount of time. If we have to stick to the rubric, here is how I self-evaluate it:

-the work itself – exemplary
-telling the story behind the story – accomplished
-narrating the process – exemplary

Telling the story is something I am working on harder, than anything else. Writing is a challenge. It was a challenge week one and still is. Not the story itself, but pulling it out from the mind and shaping it with words, grammar and punctuation, transferring the meaning from a picture in my imagination into something meaningful for somebody else. As a wrap up of this week I think I am meeting course expectations (which exceeded my personal ones). I did not participated as often but I participated in a very meaningful way. This week I connected with people. I tweeted more than any other week and I was excited about it. I am beginning to embrace the social component of learning. It sounds easy but it is not. I even got the TweetDeck. I didn’t learn from the readings a great deal but I have learned enormously from people I connected with. I was inspired by Jacqui, learned from Clare about autoethnography, and Kerri has made me think on what is the impact of sharing in terms of the new literacies. It has been overall a great week in terms of learning from peers and connecting, mastering tools and digging deeper in the personal narratives.


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