The Internet and I

Googling Myself

Links and Images

For this Week 5 blog post, the prompt was to Google yourself and then contemplate what you found.  To be honest, I did not find much that actually pertained to me specifically.  Since my name is not uncommon, I found many links to the profiles of other “Amanda Jeters” on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.  Apparently, there is also an “Amanda Jeter” who is a singer that performs and uploads videos of herself singing to YouTube regularly.  Adding to that, there are many famous individuals with either the first name of “Amanda” or the last name of “Jeter”, so they showed up in my Google search as well.  Some notable examples of this were Amanda Bynes, Derrick Jeter, and Michael Jeter.  However, I did show up when I clicked on the link to find “Amanda Jeter” on Facebook.

internet
Retrieved from Flickr.com: CC by Dennis Skley

Active Spaces

I would not say that I am necessarily the most active person online, but there are a few spaces that I am fairly well engaged with.  For starters, I am rather active on WordPress and Twitter as a result of this class and others.  I am fairly active on Facebook to keep up-to-date with the activities of the CSC Social Science Club and as a part of my duties as an executive officer of the club.  I am also fairly active on Pinterest and Tumblr as they allow me to feed my hobbies and interests.  When I have the freedom to do so, I also like to play YouTube videos as background noise for when I am completing menial tasks as a way of keeping myself motivated.  Most of the time I do not know what really happened in the video, but the fact that there is a person speaking in the background activates the part of my brain that necessitates that everything is as it should be whether it is homework or housework.  I also tend to visit music-streaming sites such as Pandora and Spotify when I can.  When I need a quick brain break, I will often visit jigsaw puzzle sites or quiz sites such as JigsawPlanet or SporcleSporcle respectively.  (As a side note, Sporcle has many quizzes that are school-subject oriented so they might be useful as brain break or review tools.)

Online Identity

To be honest, I am not really sure what my online identity says about me.  In some aspects it might say that I am fairly outspoken about certain subjects.  If you knew where and how to look, it might also show how I have grown and changed as a person over time.  In other regards, the difficulty in finding me might show that I am either very secretive or just not very active online for whatever reason.  For those that do know me, the lack of an Internet presence is less because I am secretive and more because Internet has always been considered a luxury within the realm of my life and my circumstances.  Therefore, it is only within recent years that I have begun to leave any sorts of footprints on the Web.  As a result, I really have no idea what my online identity, or lack thereof, would say to a potential employer.  Come to think of it though, my personal Twitter feed might show that I have a weird sense of humor that tends to involve a lot of literature.

no internet
Retrieved from Flickr.com: CC by Marcelo Graciolli

 

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Screaming About Steubenville

When I began the readings for this week, I was stuck in a McDonald’s in Lawrence, Kansas trying not to scream about the Steubenville case article.  I mean… there were literally pictures of the girl’s attackers carrying her that had comments literally broadcasting either their previous actions, further intentions, or both, and yet such evidence was completely disregarded.  Why?  Because sadly a culture has been created where we are too willing to believe the attackers rather than the victims.  The article in question then pointed out that only twenty-four percent of rape reports actually lead to an arrest and that the rate of false accusations is eight percent.  While I can accept the twenty-four percent as plausible, the eight percent is far less so.  After a bit of digging, I found that Stanford actually estimates the number of false accusations to be more around two percent.

police tape
Retrieved from Flickr.com: CC by Tony Webster

 

Adding to that, there are certain things that need to be taken into account even when dealing with this two percent.  To start with, if a victim is found to have misremembered then the claim is determined to be a false accusation.  Misremembering is when the memory of the incident is flawed or even completely incorrect in one fashion or another.  A person can misremember the date of the incident, the place it happened, and even the face of the person who committed the crime.  While there are sometimes blurred lines between what we consider to be a lie and what is a misremembered memory, misremembering often stems from trauma.  According to this abstract, misremembering may be an adaptive technique that the brain utilizes in order to protect itself from traumatic memories such as those about rape.  Therefore, if we understand that part of this “two percent” is made up by misremembered events, then the true number of false accusations is lower.

memory.jpg
Retreived from Flickr.com: CC by Kevin Dooley

Continuing along a similar vein, it is not uncommon for victims to recant their statements.  In the face of harassment, death threats, verbal/physical/mental/emotional abuse, pressuring from authorities, and other factors, victims often feel as though it would be better, safer even, for them to recant, refuse to testify, drop the charges, etc..  When this happens, the case is then added to that number of “false accusations” making up that aforementioned two percent.  In rape cases on high school and college campuses, this is a far too common event which then leads to fewer rapes actually being reported due to the fear of those things happening to the new victim too.  A notable example of what could cause a victim to recant is occurring on the campus of BYU.  Victims of rape on the campus have not only been victimized by their attackers but are then victimized further by the people who were supposed to help them.  If we accept this as plausible then the number of what could be considered “legitimate” false accusations is significantly lower than two percent.

However, those two conditions are not even taking into account cases where the sexual encounter was coerced rather than physically forced or cases where a disgusting loophole allowed the courts to rule that the act was not rape.

horrible.jpg
Retrieved from Flickr.com: CC by poulsbo

While this post admittedly deviated somewhat from the overarching theme of the module: digital citizenship, this was what I was spurred to write through the readings.  If I were to bring the point back to digital citizenship, I would have to say that internet awareness and activism can lead to changes in society.  Even today, we are seeing people become more versed in what is and is not unhealthy in interpersonal relationships, we are seeing people reach out to help victims, we are seeing people get the aid and advice they need because of digital citizens.  Such things are happening not only in the realm of rape cases, but also environmental activism, gun control, discrimination, and others.  As such, I believe that while many people are using the internet to do and say atrocious things, there are many more who are using it to make the world a better place.

revolution.jpg
Retrieved from Flickr.com: CC by Toban B.

Update on the Blanket

This week, to be completely honest, I have not managed to make the progress on the blanket that I had hoped to make.  I did manage to create a clearer idea of what I want the completed project to look like in my head, which will be a bunch of large red diamonds outlined by black rectangles, but I did not actually knit as much as I wanted to.  Most of my inability stems from how busy I have been since the moment I stepped out of the car back in Kansas for a long visit with my family.

Picture_3.jpg
Original Picture of More Finished Pieces

I found out that not only has my grandfather’s cancer come back with a vengeance, but my grandmother has also required multiple major surgeries for multiple major issues within the last couple of months.  What these surgeries sum up into is that my grandmother’s heart is failing.  Yes, this is devastating news.  Yes, this has made me incredibly emotional.  Yes, I am doing okay, all things considered.  To be fair, it is not something unexpected and, instead, has been quite expected for some time, but it does not lessen the blow much if any, but enough about that.

I have managed to complete what I think will be the center of my blanket and it does not seem to have turned out too bad.  In fact, I think it looks rather nice considering my overall inexperience with a project of this caliber.  My idea is to complete most, if not all, of the pieces of the blanket before stitching them together into the final product.  I do not remember if that was mentioned in the last update, but at this point it definitely seems like the way to go.

Picture_2.jpg
Original Picture of the Center Portion

While I was working on it, my little brother started staring silently, not saying a word, until I cracked and asked him what he wanted.  He then launched into a barrage of questions such as:

“What are you doing?”

“How are you doing that?”

“Why are you doing that?”

“How long has it taken you to do that?”

and other similar queries.  I diligently answered each question and then dug a spare skein of yarn and my extra needles out of bag.  We then sat down and I gave him a crash course in knitting all the while expecting him to get bored or find it to be “too girly” and quit.  However, much to my surprise, he has taken quite a liking to it and even wants to brag about his newfound skill to all of his friends.  Therefore, because he seems genuinely willing to pick knitting up as a hobby, I invested in a starter kit where I bought him some needles, needle protectors, yarn, and a beginner’s guide to the craft.  Maybe when he becomes proficient I can have him help me complete the blanket as a joint present for our mother.

 

Pondering on Podcasts

I have been hearing about podcasts for a long while now and they have always interested me.  In fact, I have chosen to begin listening to Welcome to Night Vale as my first personal foray into the world of podcasts.  In high school, a few of my friends were obsessed with the podcast which led to me filing the title away in my mental files for safekeeping.  Later, after I had begun to use Twitter, I started following the Welcome to Night Vale official account and discovered that I quite enjoyed that particular brand of humor.  As such, I think, and hope, that listening to it will be a pleasant way to dip my toe into the proverbial water.

To my mind, there are many benefits to using podcasts in the classroom.  Of course there is the obvious benefit: that it aligns with modern technology that students are familiar with and generally interested in.  Other benefits include relatable topics, modern storytelling techniques that will keep them engaged, and higher-level thinking and learning.  Such tools would, ideally, spark healthy and conscientious debate about contemporary subjects so that not only are students learning in a way that aligns with required standards, but they are also building a solid foundation of knowledgeable citizenship.

Some disadvantages I see are difficulties finding a balance between listening for enjoyment and listening for learning.  It is a pitfall for many, myself included, that I sometimes hear something without truly listening.  Therefore, it is important that I make sure my students are maintaining their engagement with the material.  Another disadvantage is that I would need to make sure to find podcasts that are not only enjoyable but also educational, specifically educational in a way that satisfies my curricular needs.

In regards to students using this technology, I would definitely like to try it.  An idea of mine for meeting this goal is to have the students teach lessons about a book or a topic and have them present them as podcasts for their classmates to listen to.  Of course, this idea is still in its infancy, but I think it is worth filing away in the mental files for future development.

What surprised me from the reading was that students were engaging so well with Serial.  Too often we hear, “Oh, they’re not mature enough for that kind of material,” or, “They aren’t capable of keeping up with the material.”  However, the reading kind of took these assumptions and stuffed them in the trash where they belong.

My biggest takeaway is that students, when provided with the right tools and materials, are able to engage at higher levels and connect more deeply with the subject than we as teachers could ever hope to match without those assets.

Dealing with The Daily Create

This week I was introduced to a very interesting site that was created to share an awesome concept with the world: daily creation.  From what I can tell, the original premise was for The Daily Create to be almost like a class for people to follow along with and participate in, but it also allows for people to freely start and stop as they need and like.  It was meant to be free and open to public participation, so many people seem to use it as more of a challenge or goal to achieve.

The biggest function that draws people in is how it necessitates a variation in the use of technology in order to achieve each daily create goal.  Therefore, many of the people I know of who have participated use it to either increase their familiarity with the different modalities of technology or improve their preexisting skills.  Some people have even instituted themes in their daily create challenges such as a “Getting to Know Me” theme or a “Documenting My Child’s First Year” theme.  Such themes, and others like them, are amazing because not only are skills being learned and refined but memories are being made and cherished throughout the process.  On the other hand, there is no real need to have one grand unifying theme other than “Here is What I Wanted to Create”.

In my life, I think it will inspire me to find different ways to meet each creative goal even with the limitations of a lack of regular internet connection and an intense schedule in my personal life.  At the moment, I have been incredibly busy trying to help my mother during my stay in Kansas while she takes care of her parents (my grandparents) who are very, very ill.  Therefore, it has been very taxing trying to stay on top of classwork while also making sure that all of the housework, cooking, and childcare is handled.

In my classroom, I think it would be a very good tool to inspire creativity among the students.  Each day, while they would have to complete a task, would also be given starting directions for the class so they would not be terribly lost.  As such, they would be introduced to new sites and new manners of presenting information in a way that did not leave them stranded and clueless.  With that being said, they may be inspired to be creative to meet a goal, to share a story, or some other reason that will inevitably be of some import to them.

#tdc1637

For this Daily Create, the assignment was to plug your town into a specially made generator, called What 3 Words, that finds the three words that are most associated with your town and the map of it.  You are then supposed to plug the three generated words into a Google image search to find at least two images that align with the three words.

Daily Create_1_Your Town's What 3 Words Map Story tdc1637

I began by plugging my town of Lecompton, Kansas into the generator and it pulled up the words “detractors”, “complex”, and “shuddering”.  I would not recommend asking my why the generator may have created this combination of words because I honestly have no idea.  To be fair, we do not generate much news about us in Lecompton, but when we do it is usually about something weird, serious, or some combination of the two.  I grabbed a screenshot of the map for everyone to see that, yes, this is a thing that happened.  I then went on to find the two aforementioned images and grabbed these:

Lecompton_1
Free for Non-Commercial Use Image Retrieved from Google Images with the original source being a Wikipedia article titled Prison-industrial Complex

I picked this first one because there is not much to do in Lecompton, so many of the teens and young adults turn to petty crime and drugs.  It is not uncommon to hear tales about shoplifting, possession of an illegal substance, underage drinking, providing alcohol to a minor, driving under the influence, and other such actions.  Adding to the degeneration, oftentimes one in the group will have a relative on the force who would brush everything under the rug for them.  At one point, there was even a small, upstart gang in Lecompton where all they did was walk around “menacingly”.

Lecompton_2
Free for Non-Commercial Use Image Retrieved from Google Images with the Original Source being a Scene Capture from this YouTube Video

I picked the second image because half of the town is really into the history and the community while the other half just wants to be left alone.  Many in the first crowd are so dedicated because they were around when the town was still relatively thriving and a nice place to live.  People in the second crowd are usually so despondent because they feel trapped or stuck in Lecompton as their dreams remain unfulfilled.  I am sure everyone can tell which person aligns with each group.

While it may seem like I am bagging on my town, which to some extent I am, but all things considered it was not actually a bad place to grow up.  Of course, many people are very stuck in their ways and not very accepting of change, which may explain why the town has stagnated, but that is their prerogative.  However, I made friends, had my family, and it adequately prepared me for going off on my own to college and adulthood, and for that I am grateful.

Addendum

It turns out that I may have had to write a sentence using those words, so here is an attempt:

Detractors engage in complex shuddering when their own character is undermined.

 

 

Networking for Noobs

For the purposes of this post, I find it easiest to break down the article How to Cultivate a Personal Learning Network by each point in the list and then discussing my thoughts therein.

1. Explore

This is definitely an important point when it comes to the formation of a personal learning network.  The author’s focus is that “[i]t’s not just about knowing how to find experts, co-learners, but about exploration as invitation to serendipitous encounter.”  What this means to me, and to the author of the article as well from what I understand, is that the creation of PLNs will inevitably lead to encounters with information and viewpoints that are unfamiliar and maybe even to change in your own belief systems.  I have taken this thought even further to mean that I need to be prepared to encounter information that I find disagreeable.  These discoveries can be just as valuable as encounters with agreeable information as they teach me what not to believe and what not to do.

2. Search

For this point, the author’s focus was that people can “[u]se Diigo, delicious, listorious, to find pools of expertise in the fields that interest you.”  While these sites are definitely valuable resources, PLN builders should not discredit sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and others as they bring different styles of information sharing and often involve suggesting other people who post similar content to that which you find yourself being drawn to.  Therefore, it becomes possible to find even more poeple to add to your PLN that can have a positive influence on your learning.

3. Vet Your Candidates

This point is a combination of the authors third and fourth points of determining the merit of each PLN candidate and whether or not they will continue to interest you.  These are very good points as you would not want to add someone who made one rare good point among a slew of hundreds of very bad points or compromised their thinking in a way that does not fit your needs, and you would not want to follow someone you are not going to learn from.  I remember having difficulty retaining information from teachers I found boring, so the same concept applies to PLN candidates.

4. Engage with the PLN Members

This is crucial as learning needs to be dynamic.  Learning happens best when dialogue is present to flesh out and fine tune the lesson being taught.  On top of that, learning should be a two-way street rather than a one-way as while you are learning from them, they could also be learning from you.  Innovation and ingenuity is healthy and leads to amazing learning opportunities.

5. Engage with Your PLN Followers

As you learn and increase your expertise in a given subject, it is inevitable that people will add you to their PLNs.  Therefore, you too need to be engaging and the best teacher you can be.  Remember, you may be the person to make or break a person’s continued dedication to their goal.

Final Thoughts

Conclusively, I can feed my PLN in a multitude of ways such as social media and the PLNs of those I add to my own PLN.  I have to remember that a PLN is first an foremost a cooperative learning community.  I must always be willing to put in the time and effor to make sure that I am contributing my fair share to that cooperative learning community.  Therefore, I need to be open to new sources of information as well as become proficient with the currently existent ones.  The biggest challenge that I foresee is dedicating that requisite time around the obligations that I currently have on my plate.  As such, I will need to make a conscious effort to balance everything so that I may continue to pursue this avenue of learning rather than being forced to abandon it for any period of time.