Because I Give a Shipka

Part 1:

This is a GPS watch and heart rate monitor.

Running Multimodal
Running Multimodal

 

 

You can hear me tell you how it works.

 

 

 

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. "Always Improving"

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.

PFBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

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Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 5.49.21 PMPart 2:

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.

Part 3:

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!

Part 4:

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.

Reading Rhodes and Alexander

Part 1

multimodal of remixing - group effort
multimodal of remixing – group effort

 

 

 

 

 

Part 2

On Multimodality: New Media in Composition Studies

Alexander and Rhodes also call up Sirc’s ‘Happening’ in their text on multimodality (like Palmeri that we read previously, and part of Sirc’s book on ‘Happening’). However, I gleaned from this book that it wasn’t so much about calling up Sirc’s concept  of Happening exactly, it’s more about how his concept and ‘hippie’ scenarios allow from the non-traditional, doesn’t favor written text for writing and knowledge. Multimodality doesn’t really seem to me that they are going for the borderline spiritual in its complex experience. Multimodality seems more practical – or perhaps really what I mean is that it is in use almost everywhere – despite disparate levels of access. The immediacy of technology, the ubiquity of it, makes it so it seems ridiculous to not include multimedia/modality in our classrooms. The Happening aspect is that we don’t stifle other ways of knowing and that we recognize “ourselves as ‘irreducibly complex’ “ (202).

Complexity, obviously, is quite difficult. Alexander and Rhodes ask: “How do we expand our gaze to include multiple perspectives? How might we deploy an even celebrate our ‘permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints?’ “ (200). These identities and contradictory standpoints are apparent in a variety of case studies, one that they mention is “Cho” the Virginia Tech shooter and the aftermath of that experience. In addition to it being an example of how immediacy effects texts and information now, an interesting contradiction or pull away from emphasis on grammar arose in the comments on “Cho.” In the first peer review in my class this semester (and really every semester so far) the intensity with which grammar is used to judge writing as “good” is apparently. Yet when a blogger noted that Cho’s writing was juvenile or bad – the backlash of the blogger missing what was really important, the content. I guess what I’m getting at, is despite the horrific scenario, it’s fantastic to have people prioritizing content over mechanics and grammar. I want so badly to get my students on board with this – though without this kind of tragedy. But then of course it always comes back to the responsibility of preparing students for their other classes.

More and more I realize, it isn’t really that many people in English that are pushing the current tradition – when they do it is because they are responding to the expectations of outside departments: ‘fix the students writing to appease my standards.’ I think that we will never solve or be able to fully integrate multimodality so long as the sciences (with all their funding) prioritize certain ways of knowing and communicating. And breaking that down is difficult indeed as they seek to be easily translatable, “objective,” or concise. It’s hard to get people engaged  enough to realize the contradictory standpoint of scientific writing being objective (more like, it has an objective).

The way to get at these issues, audience awareness, using and not using multimodality in my English 101 class, is the idea of engagement that keeps coming up in this book. We need, “active, writerly participation” (105). And engagement as opposed to falling in line is something the scientists I’ve known and worked with recognize and extremely important. Engagement gets away from the “banking system” of education, “…it asks us to imagine ourselves as ‘irreducibly complex.’ It asks us to imagine ourselves as more” (202). Imagining ourselves as more is often really hard too, but usually something we would be hard pressed to disagree with doing.

I wanted to get at Storycenter  that Rebecca Goodrich talked about at Friday’s colloquium – tying on to trauma and expression as well as College Saga, but I’m already a bit over the reading response requirement.

Part 3

Exploring engagement – hope it doesn’t go awry. Update to be posted by 3pm 9/21/15

picardengage

 

 

 

 

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Engaging with my Freirian learning modes audio and physical.

 

Wandering Frisbee

There is a little eclectic shop in downtown Pullman where they sell clothes, oriental themed trinkets and beads.  A couple of years ago I talked to the owner he said that fair trade is a bunch crap and that the people over don’t want it because it’s hurting business.  He speaks on the authority of having an Asian wife, as well as spending some time, ‘over there’.

I think.  Like I said it was a couple of years ago.  I remember at the time thinking he actually had some legit points, even if he conveniently left out some points like pay wages in factories and such.  Anyway, I don’t really have enough information to be trash talking him, and that is not my intention at all.  In my hunt for a second job this summer I wandered in there again. I was delighted to see they had used frisbee golf discs for sale.

Frisbees are awesome.  You can totally suck at frisbee but still feel like you are accomplishing something because it still gets some distance.  Ultimate Frisbee holds a love-hate relationship for me, fun yet impact-dangerous, a good workout yet my least favorite kind; it’s basically sprint drills.    So when I recently discovered Frisbee Golf over spring break, or ‘frolf’ as George Castanza calls it on Seinfield, I found the bliss of Frisbee.

It’s low key, it’s social, and still challenging as I proved by taking sometimes almost ten throws to get the frisbee in the chain basket that is maybe 200-400 meters away.  I’m going to invest in some frisbee-golf-specific discs because they have putter disc for when I am on my seventh or eighth throw and only ten feet away from the basket.

As is often the case, this is one of those times that links me back to, or with Liverpool.  It also reminds me of one of the good American friends I made while I was there last summer.  Her name of anonymity when I refer to her in my Liverpool writings is, in fact, Frisbee.

Frisbee was my hotel roommate in the Newark, New Jersey airport Hilton.  I didn’t get in until 1 am, I think I told that melodramtic detail before, and felt a little creepy coming into a complete stranger’s room.  But Frisbee, like me, is a sound sleeper and didn’t even hear me.  She got up before me, and told me later she knew I was awesome because of the items left in view digging out my bathroom accesories bag; a very dinged-up Sigg bottle and a blue sparkly Frisbee.

I hung out with Frisbee the most out of everybody in the group.  After wandering a few different times on my own, Frisbee and I talked about the beauty of wandering and not having a set plan, but also of our common love of thrift stores.  I believe it was after our Slavery History tour of downtown Liverpool that we set off to wandering.

We got food and went to several different small local shops.  Today I own a used book and two different awesome tops from our excursions.  I got one of my friends back in Pullman some really cool yoga/hippie looking pants and jewelry for a handful of my girlfriends/girl relatives.

While you do not grow as a person unless you try new things, there is something to be said for finding those people you can relate to.  In Liverpool I rediscovered or reremembered how to experience everyday life as exciting.  Most of the time when I ride the bus I think of Liverpool, for example.  Frisbee and I had a good time learning Liverpool via what we knew, as well as with what we didn’t know.  And I treasure the souls I meet that I can truly connect with, they have always seemed hard for me to find.

But that is another thing I learned with wandering Frisbee and the entire group, as well as from Scousers; people are not as different as you think and the differences are often times the best part!  When I gave a presentation for SSS staff at WSU on the University of Liverpool Leadership Training Program, what we did, now their students apply, etc., I told them that even before we got to Liverpool it was like we’d already traveled.  Many of us had lived and seen different places, we were from all over the US as well as from Mexico.

Hopefully I’ll get to see Frisbee while I’m in the same state visiting for InLove’s wedding this summer.  Because we only actually got around to using my frisbee once.  It was low-key tossing back and forth on Crosby Beach, our last day in the UK.

Paul and The Pub

Liverpool is just across the way, after all
Liverpool is just across the way, after all

So we wander after formal class with a little direction to begin with, still herded as a group. We saw our first British police officers, who looked way too young to be cops, and Chip was immediately drawn to them.  He bombarded them with questions in his classic style that we would all become very familiar with throughout and by the end of the trip, primarily charming in an awkward sort of way.  And of course we had to take pictures of and with the Bobbies before going on our way.  I took one of Chip trying to look like he was being cuffed and taken in, but they weren’t playing it up much for us and Chip looks like the happiest guy ever arrested in the photo!

Shortly after that we were set loose, the herd dispersed and I finally get off on my own.  Ped seemed surprised and alarmed at this, but I have no time for compromise at this era in my life; a past, my person, were shattered by too much compromise.  And living alone for the six months preceding the trip made it hard to give up to what I wanted, when and how I wanted it, perhaps especially given the amazing opportunity to live and travel like I found myself in.  “Anyone who wants to come with me is more than welcome,” I explained, “But this is what I’m going to do today.”  Which was, a quest for bookstores and the guitar shop we past on our walking tour the first day in Liverpool, the latter I didn’t find.  In the process I went down to the waterfront and took pictures for my mom that would hopefully turn out well for her enjoyment, as well as be something my mom wanted to paint.  And then, I got lost.

The first time I got lost consisted of riding the bus too long on that first Sunday before the African Goya, which was a pretty fixable mistake.  I took the quick way on account of being exhausted and took a taxi with an awesome cabbi with a killer Scouser accent

He’d say: waryagoon?

I’d say: What?

He’d say: wAR ya goin?

I’d say: Ooohhh,

He’d say: sosya earloong?

I’d say: What?

He’d say: owloong yastye ear?

I’d say: oh yeah?  Mmmhhhh.  Cool  (still no idea what he said)

The fun part with Scousers is that sometimes when you do, in fact, correctly understand and know what words they used, you still don’t know what they said.  They take the magic of idiom in the English language to a whole new level.  He was a beacon of patience and continued to chat the whole time despite my obvious deficiency in communicated at that juncture.  We arrived at the living hall,

“Next time yoo take a taxi jus tell em Carnatic,” he said.

“What?” I said

“Carnatic, they’ll know that over Salisbury.”

“Oh.”  I paid.  I figured out the next day on the way to the bus what the hell he was talking about.  There is a huge sign at the vehicle entrance: Carnatic Halls.  It then lists the specific buildings, ours being Salisbury Hall.  It was then I realized that I did not speak the language, but seemed too, an illusion that generally made me look like an idiot.  Despite the frequent embarrassment, it made for a lot of fun.

This time I found myself and got back to the bus station, on the corner of Mulberry and Myrtle, where walking down the street was two of my instructors.  They asked me if nobody liked me. I said no, I just wasn’t afraid of being alone. And then they asked me for a drink in the Caledonia, a little local hole in the wall pub, (old guy bar they said) which I would later come to intimately love.  We talked about education differences, a little about Toxteth that I would be seeing tomorrow with one of them, that I was meeting for the first time that very moment, as guide and teacher.  I noted they vacillated back and forth between Scous and something else, English I assume because I could mostly understand it.  Given my love of all parts of language I couldn’t help but bring it up, but they were all over it.  They most definitely did talk differently to outsiders and/or friends that didn’t grow up in Liverpool.  How conscious a process was that I wondered?  So then we talked about the phenomenon we humans have of auto-edit, e.g. I’ll (for the most part) edit out my swearing around my parents and kids. As one these fine gentlemen paid for me second Guinness, I worried.

Me: You really don’t have to pay for it.

Him: Psht!  Don’t be ridiculous

Me: Well, it’s not that I’m thinking this is what your after, but back where I’m friend a guy buying you a drink generally means… ulterior motive.

Him: huh, well it doesn’t here.

It seems maybe the elder takes care of the younger, but I couldn’t be sure and never researched it, formal or informally.

Tipsy off me Guinness’s, I expressed concern for riding the bus drunk.  After which one of the instructors said, nonsense!  You’ve got to do that once in a while, one of those life experiences.   Giggling I thought, Could I have cooler, more down to earth professors?  Probably not.

The eldest of the two, who had bought the other’s drinks as well, headed off.  I was still nursing my Guinness—not like me really, but half way through it I was feeling the buzz and it occurred to me that responsible, adult-like behavior might be in order.  I envied their lack of such occurrences.

The night was cool and magically engulfing as I was escorted back across the street to the bus station.  I was seeing the world shiny.  I engaged my salutations as I saw the bus rattle up the street on the wrong side of the road—crazy Brits.  Much to my astonishment my handshake turned into a kiss on the cheek.

Me: Oh! Uh-

Him: It’s the European way!

Me: Right

Awkwardly I repeated the process for the other cheek.

See you tomorrows, then only after I paid my pound and forty pence bus ride did I remember reading literature on how the UK didn’t participate in that ritual.  What did it mean, if anything?  I would later on in my stay figure it out.

Dancing Queens

Queen and I were roaming together come day two in Liverpool. I did not know yet that she was a dancing queen, but she is. The entire study abroad group had done a little more touring of the city that morning and bought calling cards and similar day to day maintenance things needed while living here. I had to be reprimanded because though I told someone I was going to the toilet, they neglected to tell the others and momentarily thought they’d lost me. Due to my wandering spirit it would not be the last time, but it would be doing more adventurous and fun things then visiting the toilet. (If you ask for the restroom they look at you like you’re crazy.) Now the afternoon was ours.

The dormitory we are staying at is close to a colossal and Eden-like park called Sefton Park. It is the host of the fourth annual African Goya festival. The day was bright and simultaneously overcast, a skill that this British Isle has perfected. This particular afternoon it only taunted rain, having drizzled a bit in the morning, and didn’t actually come down on us. Queen and I drifted in and out of the circle of tents and booths. All kinds of food, Jamaican/Caribbean, Arabic, Somalian and more, were available. Breathtaking colours of linens composed the clothing being sold alongside a vast array of jewellery and crafts and different medians of art. I couldn’t resist and added to my collection of hats and bought a top of royal blue shaded to a wine red and intricately embroidered.

The art of West African dance was being tutored at one of the booths. With a very little coaxing I got Queen to agree to take the next class with me. In the meantime we gravitated to the stage where Daby Toure, a phenomenal guitarist and singer was performing with his band. After about twenty minutes we were sold, and wandered to the music booth where they were selling CD’s. We weren’t the only fans, because they were sold out. I wrote down their information to track them down later and we made to doubly enjoy the rest of their performance. We ran into Chip, and Chip being Chip, he took it upon himself as a personal quest to get their CD for us. When they finished performing he went backstage and got to speak with all of them, got an autograph and pictures but—they didn’t have any extra CD’s unfortunately.

Whilst he worked at that task, Queen and I headed over to the dance booth for our class. Now, not to be disparaging to my roots, but quite frankly, we do NOT emphasize or learn dance. Queen and I come from a similar background, albeit from different sides of the lower forty-eight. The dance is spectacular and its core is being able to do body isolations; rolling the shoulders, now shifting the feet, now both at the same time then circling the ribs, the walking/knee lifting, then both followed by some hip circles. Suffice to say, Queen and I were in WAY over our heads. Lots of giggling ensued. Our instructor made it look easy and was so connected to her own body. That combined with a fantastic smile made her mesmerizing. It was fantastic to witness, how couldn’t it be? She obviously is passionate and loves what she does. I don’t know how they do it really; I can’t concentrate on that many things at once. I got the hip circling down pat, but then I had to roll my shoulders and do a 360 all at the same time. I’d forget to roll my shoulders, or somehow only roll one and end up sort of jerking one hip to get turned around. Luckily I only ran into a couple of the others learning with us. I couldn’t say how Queen did because I couldn’t spare any attention for anything else, but in comparing notes afterwards, it sounds like we have the same awkward groove. We celebrated exerting ourselves for the entire hour and our mad skills in… something other than dance. The hair jutting out of my new hat clung and dripped on my neck and my body tingled in its layer of glisten. I was a bit sore the next day too. And the best horrifying part about it is somewhere in the middle I looked over to see Chip with his camera out recording. I haven’t been able to convince him to destroy the evidence yet.

The lesson having mercifully finished, the three of us got some water and Arabic food. Chip and I engaged in our first (of many, MANY, more to come) debate on gender roles. He ordered for me, which I thought was weird, which he thought was weird. “Why don’t you just pay for me while you’re at it?” I asked. “I was going to!” he replied. “Why?” I asked, “Wow, you are so old fashioned.” I didn’t yet realize how serious he was, as I don’t believe he realized how serious I was, but we had a good time teasing and bantering for and with the man that waited on us, he thought we were hilarious. I’m sure we were.

The day couldn’t have been complete without me getting us lost on the way home. Luckily, Chip isn’t ashamed to ask for directions. And now I know the area quite well for going on runs and such.