How Digital Technology Changes Meaning Making

In this piece on Edutopia, Betty Ray introduces us to Douglas Rushkoff’s book Present Shock through an interview with him on the state of technology and education. As Ray writes, Rushkoff “turns his lens to the human experience in a world that’s always on, always connected, always in the now, now, now.”

Ray asks Rushkoff, “How did digital technology “break” this narrative?” Rushkoff answers, “Well, initially, it was the remote control… We can pause, go back and forward. The storyteller no longer calls all the shots.” This is an interesting perspective, one that challenges traditional notions of narrative by acknowledging the agency of the audience in the construction and reception of the message.

Neither Ray nor Rushkoff understand this breaking of narrative as a bad thing, more as a new understanding for considering how students construct meaning. Rushkoff says, “They are no longer required to submit to the official story in order to get the information they want.” In other words, digital technology’s capacity to break the narrative creates new paths to knowledge for students.

For more from Rushkoff, check out his appearance on The Colbert Report.

Five Web-based Tools for Creating Videos

I’m passing along a list compiled by Richard Byrne of 5 video editing websitesPixorial, WeVideo, PowToon, Wideo, and Weavly. That’s right, editing video in your web browser, which was nearly unheard of just a few years ago. The video tools Byrne highlights are easy to learn, some even using drag and drop features, and most of them are free. As video becomes more and more popular in writing classrooms, this list of video tools is incredibly valuable to teachers and students alike.

Source: Free Technology for Teachers

NPR’s Summer 2013 Reading List

The typical goal of many people over the summer is creating a summer reading list and slowly (in my case) making their way through it. While this is not the same for everyone, I’ve found an article posted by NPR of their summer 2013 reading recommendations. Categories include memoirs, books for teens, books to get kids exploring, and even books of poetry. My top five recommendations (granted, these are from what sound interesting based on the synopsis) are:

1)     Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

2)     The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

3)     The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman

4)     Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked by James Lasdun

5)     The Book of My Lives by Aleksander Hemon

Now get reading!

The Ultimate List of Things to Do When Wasting Time on the Internet

Looking for more ways to kill some time but have used up every social media/forum/online game database you have? Search no more! For I have found you the mother load of Internet time wasters! (As if that wasn’t your fifth time checking your Facebook timeline to see if anything interesting has happened. Guess what? It hasn’t).

A few noteworthy ones:

  • Magical Trevor – a fun, catchy song that I promise you will never leave your head. If you have not received your fill of one song, check out Magical Trevor 2 and 3. Sure to provide minutes of non-stop entertainment.
  • Interactive Buddy – I don’t really understand the point, but it’s good for stress relief! It looks like a grey marshmallow man with a slight case of the twitches.
  • Sugar, Sugar – Goal: to get the sugar into the mug by drawing a line. Sounds simple. Sounds kind of pointless. Just you wait! This game is seriously the best. TRY not to get addicted. I dare you.
  • Pirates – Be warned: flashing lights and annoying jingle might cause repercussions.
  • Beardest – Rate the beardiest of the beards. Seriously.
  • The Game – Everyone’s playing it, just don’t think about it.  Otherwise you lose.

So, whatever it is, get back into that Procrastination Loop you hard worker, you! And explore the magical land of the World Wide Web!

Jon Hamm has one tiny hand.