If we intend to teach with multimodal projects we need to also create multimodal projects – so here we are.
I am terrible at design. The worst.
I am also really uncoordinated and this is one of the things about me that made me a runner. It’s a sport that usually requires minimal coordination, minimal multitasking.
Meanwhile, I love music, podcasts, sound-based communication of knowledge and emotion.
This is what I came up with:
“Call for Pacers
I’m making a podcast about the non-traditional ways we learn and teach concepts and critical thinking. And running. Over the years as I’ve ran with friends, I realized that I’ve learned a lot about life. Running helps me sort through my life, de-stress, process college courses, and let the thought-reel run its course, while I run my course. And when I run with my GPS watch and heart-rate monitor I get all this data, I compose (sort of write), record and create something as I run.
So I want to interview you on my podcast about either:
Concepts you’ve learned through running or while running that applied other places
What do you think of your GPS watches as a composition? How does looking at the data tell a story as well as how long, far, and fast you went? When and why do you run without it? (or do you?)
I have a special microphone to wear and record the interview as we go for a run together, but a traditional sit-down interview is also possible. Contact me for more info.”
I want to explore running as a way of knowing and I like the versatility for the audience in podcasts and podcasts is one of the ways I learn new things, particularly things outside of my field. A lot of podcasts have websites with visuals of some kind available – sometimes it’s mostly a home for the mp3, sometimes it’s complimentary to go with, sometimes it’s merely a transcript of the words being heard. All this is to say, they are always multimodal.
I will interview other runners to see how and when and if they’ve had experiences of knowing and something a bit less academic-y: the GPS watch as a composition and in general, scrutinizing its role in runner’s life. I have already completed one run-terview.
Sample soundbite – this is a recording of a recording so the quality is not representative of what the end product will sound like.
I ask, “how many years have you been running?”
I’m going to have a section examining my process all along the way. I’ve already recorded some on process.
As I discovered on my process recording run on Wednesday, November 4th, it’s empowering to think about my running as a way of knowing – Freire’s concept of the Word, versus the World.
*I’m bad at math. I’ve been running for 18 years, not 12.
I think that exploring multimodality and my own way of knowing would help me to successfully implement multimodality for my students and to be a better teacher.
I’m also working on putting together the idea and/or story, of how running is the thing that is most present in my life that was also a part of my life when I was younger, and a devout Mormon. Writing, running, and music are the things that carried over to my post-mormon era. If this doesn’t come together in time for the final project it’s still working toward my dissertation in some fashion.
I plan to have complimentary visuals to go along with my podcast that is also spatially oriented. If you are familiar with Linda Russo’s work you will recognize parts of the structure: mapped, hyperlinked paragraph
Part 3 – the final installment of reading response 7
After reading chapters one through four of Multimodality: a social semiotic approach to contemporary communication, I have some additional insights to my most recent analytical reflection post on my running mode and community. The most significant is how much the social is stressed in Kress’ book on multimodality. Using previous works we’ve read, the social influence is usually acknowledged in some fashion, but not at the forefront as with Kress.
My running community formed from people who like to communicate and represent themselves with beer, running, and fun. My running community grew in a small college town, primarily of various scientists, academics, and parents. We have nearly pro-level runners sometimes and we have lots of neurotically and competitively driven personalities. The group started as an escape, a pick-me-up on hump day, a combination of two loves, running and beer. It is still these things but the competitive, analytical, lovers of information that actually represented, or produced the group (and distributed…aaaalll the things), informed the communication and representation of the group.
We started keeping stats. Running stats (pretty normal, really). And beer stats. We put the serious on the silly and in turn the silly made our seriousness seem less serious.
The thing is somewhat intuitive which means I don’t know how to use everything on it – my birthday present from 2012. My parents spent a bit more on my birthday than usual ($100) because they have always been very supportive, sometimes overly supportive of my running. Sometimes I think using a GPS watch (and sometimes heart-rate monitor too) is a bit like getting the old approval from the parents, or peers, or coaches, (the latter two my previous collaborators) that I might not get from just going for a run. Other times I purposefully go running without my watch – I need to be liberated from data and instant feedback.
In addition to it composing my running, the data can be used to reflect the running culture that I sometimes live in.
Like any popular sport, stats has taken over. Even in my collaborate, community of runners, The Palouse Falls Beer Chasers, we have a data driven, lightly competitive record.
And if my watch had the feature that some of the more expensive ones did, I could hook it to my computer and get data in alphabetic text, that might look something like my Beer Chasers stats:
Shipka would say that how I run as I reflect is a key part of my process toward my end-goal or final product. The process behind making part one in this posting, involves thinking critically or differently about my running culture: I got my watch in place of a human coach and teammates; my present teammates and I collect data, compose our Wednesday workouts and drinking habits in multiple modes – remediated – after said run. And our workouts combined create collaborate data. I suppose it is no accident that the way scientists communicate, data, has shown up in our group of runners that includes a decent amount of scientists, students and professionals. And that we would have a narrative, alphabetic text remediation also makes sense as the founders of the groups were both professionals with an English degree (or two) and creative writers.
Here is the modes and processes and mediation: 1) meet at Birch and Barley on Wednesdays, (or don’t) then run, bike, walk, or do some kind of workout for at least 25 minutes. After working out, return (or arrive) to Birch and Barley. Order a beer. While drinking a clipboard goes around where we write down our data that one of our fearless leaders later puts into the website he built to house and display our data. It used to be a google doc/spreadsheet but as we’ve got a computer scientist in the mix, we remediated to a more impressive medium and end product (where you get the screenshots from of my runner data, for example).
Sometimes we also talk about the run we did, or a race we’re training for. Sometimes we talk about relationships. Sometimes work. Sometimes we cover all of the above and sometimes we do it while running before we even get to the drinking. So we’ve remediated, improved upon an arguably bad habit: drinking. We’ve gained an outlook of how others communicate and prioritize information. And this end product or result would most certainly not exist without different modes in the process.
Here are the parts toward a whole:
Toward a Composition Made Whole by Jody Shipka
Intro: Here Shipka states the overarching theme and caution in multimodal being equated solely with “new” technologies as well as the ongoing stigma attached to multimodal assignments, particularly with concern to the finish product.
Chapter 1: The title almost says it all with “The Problem with Freshman Comp.” We are constantly attempting an impossible task with English 101. We cannot teach the breadth and complexity of writing in one semester, for all fields of writing: impossible. Similarly, we cannot focus solely on the end-product quality or even usability if we are going to teach multimodal. Process and checking in and grading that process along the way.
Chapter 2: Shipka discusses the philosophy and theories that support multimodal learning. A “sociocultural approach” with analytic mediated action and reflection can revolutionize our classrooms and the way our students think about communicating and writing. Shipka reiterates the “always multimodal” concept of writing by keeping the idea that technology is not the only mode of writing as a major part and pushback in this chapter.
Chapter 3: Here Shipka gets multimodal, including images of multimodal writing process assignments. Ultimately, Shipka recognizes that both the planning writing or creations and the final product are equally important. Awareness of how we communicate and others communicate will obviously make us better communicators, including writing.
Chapter 4: In this chapter Shipka returns to more theory based information as she unpacks how she has scaffolded multimodality into her classroom over the years. What really struck me is the ability and power of being able to sit with, include, the unknown. It’s okay if we don’t know what our students’ ideas might look like or be assessed.
Chapter 5: Shipka gives practical ways to incorporate multimodality in the classroom. I especially like her idea of “flexible rhetoricians” (113) and grading accomplished in part by the students writing out and justifying why they made the choices they did. In this way, you could potentially not grade the final product at all but still give students grades for it via grading the process and choices – emphasis on the why, the rhetoric, intended, and achieved effect of the choices. Maybe a project turns out just awful but the student is able to write and identify why in such a way that they ultimately improve their critical thinking and communicating skills; even better to have a way to learn by hard knocks, but without having to have a failed grade to accomplish it.
Conclusion: Shipka sees the best writing as only accomplished after consciousness has been raised. And as teachers, we can only best cultivate this somewhat moral philosophy as well as multimodality projects if we practice what we preach. As a creative writing major in undergrad, I didn’t really know how to write a research paper. Now I know how, I don’t do it particularly well but well enough, and in the failures and consciousness and I better teach how-to write a research paper. If a teacher doesn’t know how to incorporate or grade a multimodal project, make something multimodal!
My questions for Professor Shipka:
Can you talk more about modes or mediums as an addition versus a replacement? How do you make this case to external parties in academia and English department? In a English 101 class, does this end up replacing an assignment to go alongside traditional text-writing? Or, do you feel adding multimodal works (best?) as a remediation of a text they already created or will create?
After sending out my questions, I actually read the book; so now I feel that my second question is pretty well addressed by chapter 2 and 5. So I would focus on my last two questions.
Page three of the very first journal, third entry. The pencil is smudging and some of the words I can barely make out. My significant other says how I really need to transcribe this stuff and I agree. Not sure the best way and when I’ll get that done, but for now I’ll make sure June 15, 1992 is preserved:
Today I facqumed the stairs for a doller and now I have six
dollers and I’m going to put it in the bank. And there is
something about me today that I’m wering today and that is
I’m whering all red and even my shoo’s are red too. If
you really want to know wat hapen this week really
not innything icsiting.
The next entry because it makes me so happy, and really is parallel to where I’m at now 18 years later–in August I will be super senior, king of the school:
July 9, 1992
Today I wish it was Agust |. becase I’m so icsidid
for school becase I’m going to be king of the school.
And allso it | u will be cool to be a secent greder.
I was king of the school as a second grader because of all the new schools being built. Smithfield, Utah was growing like crazy. Sunrise Elementary is where I went to Kindergarten, then I went to Summit Elementary for first grade. The building was once a high school a long, long, time ago. Perhaps really it just was THE school of Smithfield, I dunno.
But while I was going to Kindergarten they were adding onto the building. It was finished for my second grade year, so I went back–to a brand new school. Sunrise Elementary, last I knew is Kindergarten through second graders. Summit Elementary also was added onto and lost one of it’s buildings because it was no longer safe to survive any of the quakes from the fault lines in the area. My middle school middle suffered the same fate.
I went to back to Summit Elementary again, before the add-on but after demolishing its external building (SO cool). But I was only there until 5th grade when I headed to the ever evolving middle school situation. So I guess I’ve always been a mover, 15 moves since graduating high school and without moving homestead once, five different schools, six school changes before getting to that graduation of high school.