Rosanna Miiller Salas

Reflections about online education…


June 2015

Week 2 Digital Stories Critique

The digital stories I watched this week were aligned with my personal interest of finding inspiring stories for immigrant students. I was looking for remarkable productions showing personal learning, successful accomplishment and the value of education for progress in today’s world.

I would like to mention I decided not to assign points to each trait I considered. I think is not fair “to grade” productions without enough information about the production experience and without a well developed rubric specifying all the criteria and indicators. Maybe we as a group can create a collective evaluation document in our ecological approach? My critique is appreciative and based on Jason Ohler’s list of possible story evaluation traits. The traits I found relevant to evaluate the digital stories I selected are:

Story: In my opinion, the quality of the story is the core element to evaluate a digital storytelling production.

Sense of audience: The stories I choose are personal narrations that are part of a project to promote the value of education. I think the incorporation of personal narratives provides credibility and interest to the production.

Media application: The appropriate use of visuals and audio adds interest to any digital production, engaging the audience, and supports the story.

First Digital Story: La Historia de Omar by Omar Ruvalcava

This is a story about how Omar, an immigrant student, achieve his educational goals despite initial obstacles during his first study year dealing with prejudice and language barrier. He found support from his mother and an encouraging teacher. Omar shows his gratitude to Mrs. De La Mata and mentioned the deeper impact teachers have onn students’ lives. Finally he proudly explained his educational success as a Psychology Graduate student.

Story: Excellent.
Omar provided an engaging and powerful story. Sharing feelings, accomplishments, and a sense of pride, making the story inspiring and showing the importance of family and teacher influence.

Sense of Audience: Excellent.
Omar’s digital story is meaningful for the audience it is intended for. The video is focused on sharing the importance of education. He dedicated his story to teachers whom fight for students’ rights. The message supports the project “Another School and Another Community are possible”.

Media Application: Excellent audio. Very good visuals.
I think the music is well selected. The audio is clear. The visuals are good quality and carefully selected, but I think the author’s video images lack in providing the feelings narrated in the story. Some more drama or visual contact would improve the engaging effect.

Additionally the production gives appropriate credits at the end and provides contact information to know more about the project.

Second Digital Story: Privilegio (Privilege)

Privilegio by Teresa Rodriguez is a personal narration of her transforming perception of what means a privileged life. As a child of a immigrant field workers in California she enjoyed the farm life. She admired her parents and enjoyed other workers’ company. Later she realized the unfair work conditions her family was facing. Teresa got over her mixed feelings coming from her initial immigrant experience and focused on the strong relationship she developed with the other families on the ranch.

Story: Excellent.
It was a engaging story showing the innocence of a childhood perspective Teresa has during her life in the ranch. Also it showed the evolving feelings she has about her experience and how she was able to focus on the positive side of these memories.

Sense of Audience: Excellent.

The final message about when the narrator realized what is the true meaning of privilege is very powerful and resumes appropriately the story “We shared the value of honesty, friendship, and the importance of a strong work ethic.”
The story is narrate in Spanish with English subtitles. I think that this provided credibility and a sense of identity with the intended audience (immigrant students)

Media Application: Excellent audio. Very good visuals.
The narration is clear and the music added is consistent with the personal testimonial of the author’s experience during her life as an immigrant child

Like the previous story, the production gives appropriate credits at the end and provides contact information to know more about the project.

I think both stories are very well created and are good resources for the purpose of encouraging students to accomplish their goals and work hard to contribute to positive social change. However I wish these initiatives were paired with companies dedicated to creating professional productions such as advertising companies so that they may act as promotional campaigns using the power of these strong and true stories.

Lankshear and Knobel Second Chapter. Reflections

collage new literacies
During our recent affiliation in a variety of social media platforms in order to participate in the course Learning with digital stories, we are collectively generating our particular meaning and became members of a specific educational discourse reflecting our individual and group thinking. Lankshear and Knobel (2011) defined literacies as”socially recognized ways in which people generate, communicate, and negotiate meanings, as members of Discourses, through the medium of encoded text” In terms of our diary social practice, what are the unique meanings we are generating? Which ones are becoming our most effective way to communicate? What is the community practice that appeals to me most for my personal interest in positive change?

As Reckwitz pointed out, literacy practices involve various kind of non-observable elements. The different ways we are using to create and critique encoded text are transforming our communication routines but at the same time are reflecting our beliefs, interests, backgrounds, skills, and social practices. When I was reading, sharing, observing or commenting on other participants’ posts in our course I can identify a personal approach indicating the relationship between their literacy practices and their cognition. These mental patterns are extensive to our progressively increasing affinity community. We are creating a permanent imprint during personal and group participation such as blog idea tendencies or the auto generated hashtag for our group in twitter. As Gee explained these various elements and activities get all us together and ‘in sync’. What are the common interest we have as a group? What are the recognized ways of communication and negotiated meanings recurrent in our daily activities? Which are the core elements in our group involvement?

Our readings’ summaries have many recurrent topics and common core ideas and at the same time provide a enrichment and different perspective depending on each participant’s background. As Reckwitz mentioned mental patterns involved in practices are not private possessions but are part of social practice. I wonder if this idea is aligned with Jung’s concept of collective unconscious? Are we creating a collective unconscious knowledge or we are truly aware of it?

According to the authors, encoded text has the power to give permanence and transcendence to thought and language in the sense that they can travel without requiring particular people to transport them. This has an incredible pertinence to pedagogy focused on active learning. Catherine Boase (2013) wrote an interesting article about how to use digital storytelling for reflection and engagement when she pointed out how “…digital storytelling is a powerful tool of emancipation, revelation and discovery to maker and viewer alike. The effectiveness of a digital story depends primarily on the ‘story’ it tells, enhanced by the images…” produces literacies to draw attention to important social issues and is a wonderful approach to encourage critical thinking. How do we produce meaningful positive content minimizing misinterpretation of meaning? As Lankshear and Knobel suggested, new literacies practices requires shared interest and pleasures. What are effective ways to promote and expand interest in specific topic?


Boase, C. (2013) [Online]

Click to access boase_assessment.pdf

Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2011). New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning. New York: Open University Press

TDC June 17 Vamos a nadar! / Let’s go swimming

Vamos a nadar! / Let’s go swimming! #flickr
Vamos a nadar! / Let's go swimming!

TDC Favorite Moment: Visual Contact

I named my favorite moment Visual Contact. It is a reference to when I saw my baby the first time. We connected deeply and everything seemed to disappear. It was a magic sensation when I realized that my life changed forever. I am convinced we had a private communication. I remember looking into her eyes and experiencing a mixed of feelings in an indescribable level. Did it really happened? Did it happened twice (with each baby born) like I believe? I don’t know but I am sure it happened between us, perhaps in a parallel world.
My Favorite Moment

Week 1. Lessons Learned

This was a challenging week for me. I started this course with many expectations and personal resolutions that like in every previous learning experience are transformed beginning the first day. I expected to spend more time focused on improving my designer skills; rather I found myself in a new social learning interaction path that is very demanding but at the same time extremely useful for my professional goals.
I understood the advice about the frustration we will experience during this class. I read several times every component of the course, the syllabus, the peer discussions necessary to participate properly this initial week. Even if I had accounts before this class with WordPress, twitter, Flicker, Soundcloud, Facebook, trello, and several others I do no use them regularly. I am acquiring a sense of belonging and active participation in social networking due to the growing community we are developing though ds106 CU Denver’s Learning with Digital Stories. I felt confused, and overwhelmed and still I need to find my comfortable personal flow with the class.
I made mistakes like using my old WorldPress blog address or using images for the text assignments, fortunately I was able to fix them when I asked for help. The requirement that ironically took the most time for me was to connect my gravatar, it still is not showing in our ds106 group even if appears in my blog and I cannot figure out what I am doing wrong.
I enjoyed watching different partners’ submissions, their ideas and posts are a great inspiration for me. At the same time I used this week to define my interest. I would like to learn more about the real potential and applications of digital storytelling for positive change in bilingual education. I already created a storage space for relevant video productions and sites dedicated to this theme.
In terms of auto evaluation I assigned myself 9/10. I submitted all the assignments required on time and focused on providing pertinent comments to my peers. I think I still need to challenge myself more and participate more actively beyond course requirements. I need to become more fluent and confident with my professional social networking in English as well in Spanish. My goal is to become a daily producer, I review submissions and materials daily but my participation speed needs to improve.

Miss Google

“Miss Google” This is my TDC “Beauty by Google”

Miss Google

Lankshear and Knobel’s first chapter. Preliminary Considerations

collage new literacies

Understanding what it means being literate or illiterate in todays world implies analyzing a complexity of concepts, terms, inte

ractions, and being willing to rethink personal conceptions. “New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning” by Colin Lanksh
ear and Michele Knobel provides in the first chapter an overview exploring concepts, proposing themes of reflection, and explaining social practices.
As every important pedagogical approach social changes have a deep influence on the concept of literacy. The author describes the evolution of literacies from considering literacy as strictly reading and writing skills to “new” literacies. I found very interesting how at the beginning teaching literacy was associated with marginal initiatives for socially disadvantaged populations, but has become gradually the front of educational policy, practice, and research. Literacy is recognized as a confinable indicator of efficiency and better national outcomes. It is widely accepted the correlation with a country’s economic and social growth. As I was reading this ideas and reflection about the proposed discussion, the question that resonated with me was if I agree that the literacy levels directly related to a country’s economic growth. At first I agreed with the direct positive relationship between literacy levels and economic growth. Later I thought what kind of literacy is being discussed? The literacy related with social reality? The functional and survival literacy skills needed to succeed in work environments? The literacy that brings cultural identity? Or the transforming collaborative new literacy?

I found interesting the validity of Freire’s praxis idea of how pedagogy practice based on literacy could be critical in social educational practice
. Encouraging learners to work collaboratively to critically reflect and to take actions to change their social reality. Literacy crisis seems to be when the minimum functional literacy requirements in terms of survival reading and writing skills disconnect from emerging social problems or critical thinking.

It is particularly pertinent the position adopted in 2008 by the US National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) proposing a dynamic range of abilities and competencies for contemporary life success. The Council’s policy position for today’s learners summarizes the concept of functional literacy skills and community integration. According to it readers and writers must:
– Develop proficiency with the tools of technology;
– Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally;- Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;
– Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information;
– Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts;
– Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.

This is allied with the notion of affinity spaces explained by Gee as part of a social identity developing meaningful interconnections for the participants and also illustrates the loftier status of “new” literacy definition as an expansive concept evolving with communication developments. As the authors emphasized “we think that new literacies in the way we understand and describe them here can really only be researched effectively from a sociocultural perspective, of which the New Literacy Studies is an example.” ( Lankshear and Knobel, 2011). I am eager to explore deeper ideas and perspectives of how this transforming literacy conceptualization will evolve with emerging communication developments.


Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2011). New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning. New York: Open University Press.

Traveling / Viajes Memorables

Viajes memorables

First Week Digital Stories Critique

This week I watched a couple of productions developed as part of a initiative to create videos reinforcing identity. The traits I selected for my first critique are:

Story: I believe the core aspect of a digital storytelling project is to show a quality story that engage viewers during the whole production.
Originality, voice, and creativity: In my opinion an engaging story must focus in providing a fresh perspective to make a permanent mark in our memory.
Media application: The visuals and audio components are a key factor to support and add interest to a digital story.

First Production: Sofas

Sofas by Wayne Richard is one of the stories published by the Center for Digital Storytelling. The video is part of a project to create digital stories to empower disadvantage community social identity. I was intrigued by the production title and decided to watch it.
The story excelled at addressing the traits I chose to evaluate. I am very impressed with the video. Sofas is a very strong and powerful production presenting the perspective of life though a memories of a homeless man. The story has a well developed structure showing the life transformation with the life reflection linked to the meaning of belonging and stability the author was looking for during his whole life. The sofas symbolized all those personal needs from his particular perspective. The narrator voice added realism and interest to the piece. Finally the proper use of visuals and music provided the drama required to maintain the audience’s engagement with this touching video.

I found this a very complete and excellent project. I do not have knowledge about the specific production requirements such as academic goals or assessment criteria. The citations and permissions didn’t appear directly in the video but since it is part of a homeless collaboration, I presume all that is covered. I think the story is very well created, maybe it would be improved with a better title slide at the beginning and also including a picture or author story at the end of the presentation.

Second Production: Lost and Found

Lost and Found by Susan Becker is also part of the identity project. It is a very personal history of jewish immigrants narrated by a third generation member of the family. The story is engaging and has a progressing well developed flow of facts, each moment mentioned is connected with the author’s feelings and represented using a variety of visuals and audio.
The emotive music, beautiful narrator voice, and combination of quality images make this video engaging and remarkable. The addition of personal insights and adequate use of sentiment provides a sense of inclusion with the audience. I particularly enjoyed the final picture where the author dedicated the video to her parents.

I found this to be a quality project. Like in the previous video I do not have knowledge about the specific production requirements such as academic goals or assessment criteria. The citations and permissions don’t appear directly in the video but since it was part of a workshop facilitated by the Center for Digital Storytelling, I assume all that is covered. I do not think the story requires any modifications to improve.

I recommended watching both videos and learning more about this and other projects developed by the Center for Digital Storytelling.

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