Find the Activity Here!
This last assignment was pretty self-explanatory, I think. All I had to do was create a piece of art in the span of six seconds! The feature that allows me to include my video normally is reserved for a paid account, so please bear with downloading this short file:
My experience creating this video was also fun! Because it's so short I got to pay extra attention to detail. Naturally, I could not be satisfied with just a six second clip, so I put the "Tools & Technology" category to work. I filmed the clip on my phone (after about five minutes worth of failed attempts), then cropped it using Whatsapp, also on my phone. Then, I uploaded it to my computer with AirDrop. I imported it to iMovie from there and first sped it up by 10% to make it actually six seconds (it was seven and some). Then, I played with the tint and saturation to make the colors a bit nicer to look at. Finally, I added text to indicate the seconds as they passed, found a short jingle to compliment the drawing, and exported it to my desktop. With this, I feel like I've built upon my practical skills with digital tools.
Find the Activity Here!
This assignment challenged me to get a photo and edit it to look like a drawing. So, I chose a picture of my dear deceased cat, Mickey, and immortalized him in a drawn style (as for a credit, I took the picture myself):
My experience completing this activity (besides being SAD) was fun! I definitely used both the "Create & Innovate" and "Tools & Technology" categories in this because of the set-up of this post and the editing of the picture, respectively. I used the slideshow element from this site (something I hadn't previously been aware was there) to neatly include a before and after of the image. As for the image itself, I don't have any formal editing software like that suggested in the actual assignment. after some exploring, however, I found some very simple picture editing tools on Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. Apparently, if you insert an image, there's the option to format it, and within that section there are effects you can add to your image like filters. A few of them made this picture look like a drawing, but I thought this one was best, so that's what I went with.
Find the Activity Here!
This assignment is one I won't post but that I can talk about. It asks to rewrite something differently than how it happened. Honestly, I picked it because I was way too curious as to what academic assignment I could find in the fanfiction section of the website.
In short, I read a lot of books, and some deaths have emotionally scarred me. So, I picked a scene from a book called Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo in which my favorite character was shot and died in the arms of his love. I rewrote it with one key difference - that they were able to get him help in time, and he was able to live the simple life he dreamed of.
My experience writing this I think helped improve my "Identity & Wellbeing" category again because it was a little hard to write without plagiarizing, especially at the beginning. It also, predictably, allowed me to maintain my confidence in the "Create & Innovate" section, if not very much because all my formatting was done elsewhere. Overall, I found the activity fun, challenging, and emotionally compromising.
Find the Activity Here
This assignment was another that had to do gifs because I felt like improving my abilities a bit more in relation to that. Also, I seem to be problematically attracted to any assignments that let me tell a story. For this one I have to write a quick story, and its ending has to be a five second gif of my own creation. So, without further ado:
"Captain, sir! Captain Ark!"
The captain shielded his eyes against the rain and looked for who was calling him. Gods above, this isn't the time, he thought. If they ran into one more disaster on this voyage, he wasn't sure what was going to give out first: the ship, his men's morale, or his patience.
The trip had been a disaster from start to finish. First, the dead birds - an undeniable bad omen. Then, the food had spontaneously spoiled with no explanation. And now - he blinked the seawater from his eyes - this blasted storm!
Luck this bad wasn't a matter of mere chance; someone on his ship had angered a god (or several) and now they would all pay the price. But that wasn't what he could afford to concern himself with now. Not when--
The ship pitched violently and the captain nearly lost his balance. He roared warnings at his crew when the boy who had called for him earlier finally caught up to him. He grabbed the lad's arm to keep him steady. He looked slight enough for a a gust to carry him off the deck.
"What news?" The captain shouted over the winds. "Speak, boy!"
"An isle! An isle to the West!"
Hope sparked in the captain's chest. If there was shelter to anchor in, they could wait out the rest of the storm, "Can we drop anchor? Is there a cave?"
But the boy shook his head, "No cave, sir! But the barrelman, he saw a temple!"
"Un--" the ship tilted dangerously again and they both stumbled before regaining their balance. "Unmarked, sir!"
Unmarked? Unmarked! Maybe some god had finally taken pity on them. They could pray for forgiveness to any deity at a temple undedicated, and hopefully escape this cursed storm.
The captain sent the boy back below and bellowed instructions to the men on deck. Under the onslaught of wind and rain, time seemed to slow to a crawl. But eventually, they managed to drop anchor near enough to the island. But they would have to hurry; his ship was still taking a beating simply by remaining near the shore.
The captain reached the shore with a small party of his crew and a satchel of sacrificial offerings on his arm. He ordered everyone to stay behind. It was an unmarked temple, yes, but he still didn't know who it was who had offended the gods. Whoever it was, he did not want them with him.
The temple was a short distance from where they docked, and the captain made haste under the pressure of the rain. Once inside, he walked slowly within. There would be a chamber made for placing the items he had brought with him.
Once he finally found the room, he knelt and spoke a prayer. An ominous silence followed that set him on edge - he had to get back to his ship soon.
Hurriedly, he approached the tall chest in which he was supposed to deposit the items he brought with him. He opened it quickly, placing wrapped packages and various foods inside. When it came to the last, and strangest item he had brought with him, he took a breath, readying to bolt, and hoping no god would be offended by the offering.
Before reflecting, I have to first give credit to my friend who sent me the video from which I made the gif and gave me permission to use it.
Now, my experience with this activity I'm more satisfied with. Because I definitely used the "Create & Innovate" section skills by writing the story and designing the post, but I also worked in my "Tools & Technology" knowledge by replicating what I did last time with the gif, and also making sure its timing was right. Additionally, I managed to improve the "Identity & Wellbeing" category, I think, by familiarizing myself with how to go about properly using a clip that isn't mine in a way that doesn't upset anyone - so by asking permission and providing the desired attribution. This, in turn, also helped me improve my "Communicate & Collaborate" section, since I did have to contact and work with my friend in order to get the clip at all.
Find the Activity Here!
This assignment (from the animated gif section) challenged me to create a gif and make a story around it/perfectly describe it. I made a gif of my cat, Pepper, who learned how to open the fly screen of our kitchen window. For context, he is an outside cat. He should not be letting himself inside - and especially not into the kitchen where we sometimes leave food out. Here's the quick story I came up with:
My sister and I are making lunch when a loud "MEOW" breaks the silence of the kitchen. We look up, and at the same time she groans I beam.
"Pepper!" I say, walking over to the window. "How are you, Mr. Cat?"
Predictably, he answers with a meow. I nod as if this makes sense.
"Don't let him in," my sister says. She finds him too troublesome to tolerate as we try to do anything in the kitchen. I can't really argue, though, after I once caught him sitting on a chair and eating someone's unattended leftovers. But still...
"Don't," my sister says, probably guessing at what I want to do. "let him in."
Obviously - in the way of sisters - her firmness in her desire to keep him out just makes me want to let him in more. But, being the lovely sibling I am, I decide to heed her words.
"Okay," I say. Rightfully, she is suspicious of me and looks away from the food.
I start to tap on the edge of the window screen.
"Heidi!" she shouts.
"What?" I ask, still tapping. "I'm not letting him in!"
I find the lack of amusement on her face in this moment infinitely amusing. Again, in the way of sisters. After all, I won't be letting him in. But, Pepper is a smart cat. As I tap, he looks down intently. And after a few seconds--
"Ugh," my sister complains as Pepper starts to bat at the screen, because we both know what's coming.
Bat - Bat - Bat - Kshhhhhhh
One paw comes through the window, flailing wildly, then a fluffy snout. One more push, and he wiggles his way inside and onto the counter with a meow of pride.
I beam at the same time my sister groans.
This activity had a bit more to do with the categories I was lacking in. While it also included aspects of "Create & Innovate," it also had to do with "Tools & Technology." This is because I'm not that well-versed in more than basic technology, but I was able to figure out how to create a gif from a 39 second long video. I also found a way to include it in this post, which gave me a bit of trouble since I didn't see a "Gif" element that I could easily add. What I ended up doing was cropping and sending the video to myself as a five second gif on whatsapp, then emailing it to myself as a file I could upload. I found that just regularly saving it just made it a still image.
I don't often have the need to use gifs outside of Whatsapp, but this activity showed me a bit more related to the file format and how I might properly transfer it to other devices. So, I feel that helps me improve in terms of "Tools & Technology."
Find the Activity Here!
This activity was the first I came across because despite my intentions to improve my weaknesses, I was drawn to the writing section. This assignment challenged me to write a haiku about a myth, legend, or other folktale.
One of my favorite myths actually happens to be the story of Eros and Psyche, and my love for it was rekindled by a book I recently read (East by Edith Pattou) that was heavily inspired by it in terms of plot. The haiku I came up with was from Psyche's point of view after she sees Eros' face. Since he has been hurt by the wax from the candle she used to look at him as he slept, Aphrodite, his mother, becomes enraged and forces her to undergo impossible trials in order to be worthy of him again:
I dropped wax on him
His mom went berserk but still
I will earn him back
My experience writing this was pretty brief but very fun. I'm not a very accomplished poet, so the more rules there are to its structure, the easier I find it. It was quick to write, and in terms of my attempt to improve my digital literacy skills, I think I ended up playing to one of my strengths. Writing the haiku and creating this post for it falls under the "Create and Innovate" category. However, I would also argue that customizing the text as well as adding, editing, and captioning the image falls under "Tools and Technology" section, which could use some improvement.
Skills vs Literacy Article Reflection
With regard to the article, I think it brings up a lot of good and undiscussed points. There's a distinct difference between skill and literacy, but most of the time we're only taught the former. It's really strange considering how vital the latter is when it comes to communicating with the rest of the world. The how is important, yes, but the why is as well. It's something we need to know although it's often overlooked.
Keeping this in mind, I think my digital profile may leave a bit to be desired. While I'm capable of navigating all the sections, I could be more efficient. As I understand, I am somewhat lacking in the how of some categories, specifically the Tools & Technology, Identity & Wellbeing, and Communicate & Collaborate sections. That said, I think that going forward, I should try and tackle the remained of the how I am yet to learn simultaneously with the why that should accompany it. As such, I decided to choose the Tinkering path in this project to try and build up where I'm lacking.
For this path, I chose 6 activities from this website. Here are my thoughts on each experience! It was like a choose-your-own-adventure type of thing that I really enjoyed. I'll have a post for each activity after this one.
Participating in this Soliya exchange program has been a completely unique experience. It is one I appreciate all the more for it having been held during a pandemic which keeps us relatively confined to our homes and has taken a vital part of our university experience. I learned a lot from our four sessions this semester.
Question 1: How does the dialogue in Connect Express differ from other types of online communication you are familiar with? Why is it different?
As I mentioned, this was a unique experience for me. This is due to multiple aspects of the program, the most notable of which being the diversity of the group. It was so interesting to be able to talk to people from different countries and backgrounds in my age group about various issues. Even if they were trivial, we learned a lot about each other. Finding out that we had a lot of things in common despite our geographical and perhaps cultural differences was surprising, and quite frankly, exciting! The program was different from what I am used to because of how far it reaches. Although I attend a university with people coming from all over the world, it is rare to have the chance to get to know each other and talk like we were able to here.
Another way the program differed is through the format. While my university does use Zoom as its main platform for classes, conferences, and other college activities, it is usually not in such an interactive way. In most cases, it is primarily used for a lecture whereas the program allowed it to be a much freer dialogue between all of us. It likely helped that our group was so small. This enabled us to discuss things in depth and have productive conversations rather than a superficial back-and-forth on the topics.
Question 2: What did you learn about the type of communicator you are in the digital world? (As a media consumer, content producer, or sharer of content)
I learned that in the digital world, I am very reserved in my communication depending on my audience. If it is a small audience of friends and acquaintances I am familiar with, then I can produce and share content as I like, but I am supremely uncomfortable with the idea of posting something that just anyone can see. In comparison to my peers in the program, this is a more conservative take on the digital experience. However, the sentiment that it is easier to open up in the digital world the better you know people was shared.
Question 3: What can you do to foster constructive communication both online and in face-to-face interactions?
The program especially helped me see how I can approach dialogues and discussions in different ways be they online or in real life. If I learned anything from experience, it is that the best way to foster communication is to be open to listening - and not just listening in order to respond, but rather listening to understand. We live in a world full of billions of people with billions of opinions, so to have any sort of productive conversation with any of them, you have to be open to the idea of different perspectives and ways of thinking. As it follows, this entails listening to others’ opinions without judgement.
Another way to foster constructive communication besides being open to listening to new ideas is to genuinely consider arguments against what you believe and to conduct the following discussion in a manner that does not antagonize anyone. You do not necessarily have to keep your feelings out of it, but you need to treat others with due respect when it comes their turn to share their views.
For the final draft of our game, Newsroom Sensation, we made a few changes. First, since we had more time, we made it a bit nicer to look at - we added a background image (credit below), as well as changed some of the colors to better contrast with the theme color.
More substantial changes we made had to do with content. We edited the Mr. S scenarios to include headlines that players can choose whether or not to publish. We also modified the beginning instructions by splitting them into two slides to make them a bit clearer. The point system remained the same, but we played around with the gains and losses throughout the scenarios to make them more consistent (for the most part, a point change will only occur once an article is published).
If we had more time, we probably could have made this game a bit more visually pleasing or paid more attention to graphics. It's definitely not ugly as it stands right now, but with more time we may have been able to reorganize things in such away that would allow us to include more images.
We also would have used a different program to allow us to make the point system automatic. But as it stands, doing so would take a truly disgusting amount of time-consuming work, as well as a huge transfer of data from slides to a new tool, so we decided to forego it.
We learned a lot while making this game. Individually, we had an idea of what sensationalism is, but the research we put into creating this game gave that understanding more depth. We learned strategies for better identifying it in headlines, as well as the different kinds of sensationalism and the methods of using it. We also learned about the motivations behind it, which were surprisingly not all monetary - as you can tell from a scenario in the game, sometimes there are nobler or at least slightly less deceptive motivations behind it. Finally, we looked a lot into how opting for or against sensationalism can impact an organization, and we learned of all the ways such things could be tackled.
A lot of work went into this game in terms of research and execution, so we hope you'll have fun playing it! Click here to try it out!
Links to Previous Posts: The Process of Creation
Digital Narrative Games: Reflection
Digital Narrative Game Phase 2: Research
Digital Narrative Game Phase 3: Prototype Scenarios
Digital Narrative Game Phase 4: First Draft
Credits and Links to Sources
Background image for the game:
"Newspapers B&W (5)" by NS Newsflash is licensed under CC BY 2.0, https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/22824b31-dcb2-42e7-9301-0b15ec9e8039
Links to articles:
Garrett, L. (2020). COVID-19: the medium is the message. The lancet, 395(10228), 942-943.
Lowe, L. (2016). Crying wolf: An analysis of the use of sensational content within the media and the desensitizing effects it has on audiences.
Scacco, Joshua and Muddiman, Ashley. (2015, December). The Current State of News Headlines. Center for Media Engagement. https://mediaengagement.org/research/the-current-state-of-news-headlines/
Last Thursday, we attended a session by Mays Imad on Trauma-Informed Pedagogy and Hope. In it, she talked a lot about students and how this unique environment of online learning during the pandemic can be so much a cause of stress that it can create trauma. She went over both scientific and more general aspects of it, citing studies, consulting diagrams of brain activity, and even sharing personal stories about her experiences on the topic. The aim of the session was to examine mental and emotional stress over prolonged periods of time.
I found the whole session rather surprising; I didn't realize that so much study and consideration went into the effects of online stress, specifically, on students. I was surprised to hear about experiences that were similar to those I've lived or seen over the past year. It helped me better appreciate the professors I have who go out of their way to ensure that we don't have such a hard time. What I especially found interesting was how many small things can be done to lessen the impact of constant stress on everyone as a whole.
That said, the thing that stuck with me most from the session was the discussion of one's "What" versus their "Why." Even besides the context of the presentation, I found that the concept really resonated with me - because once you think about it, it's true that people often worry about what is being done rather than why. It's a matter of the motivation, the intention, behind an action, that has the ability to redefine the thing being done entirely. It's something I think everyone vaguely recognizes when they go about making decisions, but not something they acknowledge consciously. At least, not unless explicitly asked.
In the context of the discussion, I found it a very meaningful way to consider how to run a class. For example, I think if we were to consult the "Why vs What" debate, we would effectively eliminate busywork. I think it would also be beneficial to students because it would allow us to direct our focus on assignments that have more value to them - if there is a distinct meaning behind every piece of work given to us beyond the need to have a handful of grades to reach an average, then I feel like the benefit would be universal.
This concept extends beyond even the context of school, and I feel is something interesting to consider as a person deciding what to do with their life. In my case, my goal is to graduate and go into some kind of teaching profession. This would constitute my "What," and it could very well be shared by many a person around me. My "Why," however, is more personal to me: I want to teach because I enjoy being able to help people succeed in doing what they want to do. It displays my intentions in a way that differs from if my "Why" was to have a job with a stable income or to have one with certain benefits.
My point is that I really like that concept that we talked about, specifically, because of how it can be applied in the context of school and in life beyond. All in all, I found the whole session pretty interesting. It's encouraging to see how much work and study goes into this issue of trauma and stress.