Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Response to Nicole S.

Hi everyone - been trying to comment for a day and half. Can't comment (another big to figure out), but I guess I can post directly onto the blog. Sorry for the delay...

Hi Nicole – great post. So many things to consider!

I can’t help but start my response with thinking about Bolter’s use of the term “interpenetration.” He states, “On the screen, as on medieval parchment, verbal text and image interpenetrate to such a degree that the writer and reader can no longer always know where the pictorial space ends and the verbal space begins” (66). Your comments about the illustration used in “Is Google Making Us Stupid” made me start thinking about how this word and its occurrence is happening as we all start to experiment with new technological tools inside and outside of our classrooms. Imagine what “interpenetration” might look like…I immediately picture a Venn diagram. That middle area where two (or three) sides or ideas get intertwined and may get mixed up…that’s what’s happening here as we start to consider how illustrations like the one you commented on affect us as readers. On one side we have the actual text, the words, and on the other we have the illustrations that are supposedly present in order to heighten our understanding or awareness of what’s being said in the text. But perhaps now the illustration, as it’s listed at the top of the article, is there in order to better introduce the text, as a preface, per se. I have to admit, I might not have even considered the image had you not commented on it. For me, I was more concerned with absorbing the text and making connections with the other readings – though now that I’m thinking about the message of the image, I do feel as though the information and overall story of the article as a whole, as I’ve considered both sides more completely, displays interpenetration. They are reciprocating, in a way, in their messages related to the topic, or better yet, it’s like the two sides are not even as separated as I might have once thought…or at least, that’s why the image is present present most likely, to be a part of the text. To stick with the Venn diagram image, the intention, as I picture it coming together, is to have the words as one image and the illustration as the other. Within the middle section of the Venn diagram, the words and the picture become muddied, in way, creating an entirely new vision, or meaning. I wasn’t as curious about the image as perhaps I should have been given the nature of our discussions.

This leads me to think more about your comments on “good reading.” I love your claim in how such simple reading as following a recipe can provoke higher order thinking. Perhaps good reading is about meaning making, as is most of our classroom lessons. We want students to somehow connect with whatever point we’re trying to illustrate, whether it be critical reading, peer editing, or citing resources (okay, this is a stretch, but still, it IS about following directions, in a sense, the same way you would a recipe). We want to students to somehow make the lesson their own so they can take it, run with it, and in some way incorporate the heart of the lesson into their academic and/or personal lives. If teachers can foster the curiosity or the real-to-life application of ideas, perhaps that may lead to more “good reading” where not only are ideas and concepts consumed, but they are retained and used in application in the future. (This is a goal I strive for in my classroom, although now that I’m thinking about my methods and use of the texts, I’m not my approach is effective. Oh dear…!) And perhaps if the students know the methods are deliberate and purposeful, perhaps that creates more buy-in on their part (even though the methods might be a departure from what they’re used to). Sadly, I do have to keep in the back of my head somewhere that my students are consumers; as much as I loathe the idea, it’s true. I must foster buy-in so they stay at my university. Also - As we consider Kajer’s encouragement to “open our curricula to include new options” (10), maybe this means fostering the curiosity somehow to match the students’ deliberate reading that is mentioned, the reading they do for “authentic purposes” (11). In order to do this, I’m with you Nicole, I think new technologies can help our daily lives, and as teachers we can use these technologies to bring the students’ fun and “good reading” into our classrooms and use it to even further expand their knowledge sets, and generate further curiosities.

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