Onions have layers. (A Week 4 Reflection)

  • What have you learned or gained thus far? Details.

The last time I took an online college course, it was a 2011 course on Nutrition and Health. I kept an online food diary, read a lot of articles, wrote a lot of papers, and force-responded on peer discussion boards. I remember thinking online classes were not for me! Now, I'm in two online courses and I can't believe how much more is out there to make them feel just as personalized as campus courses. In both courses, I've video chatted and interacted with videos. I've been directed to online resources I did not even know existed.

INTE 5340 has taken it even further. I am feeling truly inspired by the way we are interacting with content in this course. Lately, in my classroom, I've been feeling stagnant around technology. I like providing technology to my students. I like helping them increase their mastery of standards with online apps and games that engage them. Never before has it been so easy to find articles around topics that interest my students and are personalized to them. Yet, I tend to find that just a few months into the year, the shininess has worn off. It's just another tool, not a mindset, and certainly not a pathway to creating. It feels boxed in, just like a textbook or an algorithm, in a fancier way. Not just for students, either - I'm tired too. I've been struggling with ways to use technology to authentically deepen our relationship with content. Students are absorbing information and using technology for personal growth, but it doesn't have an effect on the growth of our community. INTE5340 has been a really great lesson for me in regards to fixing this issue. Hypothe.sis is an example of this - a whole new world for me. How amazing that you can read a text independently while you read it with your class! Sharing feedback, voting on ideas - the collaborative learning in this course really inspires me.  

  • What would you like to learn more about? Why?/- What did you expect coming into this course, and what have you actually received, thus far?


I've found that I'm really interested in developmental theory as it relates to digital storytelling. Entering this course, I thought I would be most interested in the programs that are available to generate digital stories. I do want to learn more about these resources, and I am excited to try out a few during challenge weeks, but I'm realizing there are a lot more layers to the concept of digital storytelling than I thought.

Shrek approves.

In essence, I entered this course anticipating with a detail-oriented and individualized lens - how can I personally bring digital storytelling into my classroom? Instead, halfway through the course, I'm realizing that the bigger picture impacts my efficacy to bring that technology into my classroom in a major way.

  • What would you like to learn and do for the second four weeks of our time together?

I am so excited to learn more about Generation Z, the digital natives of modern times. I hope that we will explore the ways activism and social justice has evolved for this generation through digital storytelling. Has bigotry been empowered or exposed for Generation Z?

  • Have you left the status-quo behind? Do you feel challenged? Explain.

Ungrading has challenged me a great deal. This lifelong competitive perfectionist has a hard time "letting go" when it comes to grades and evaluations. It's been really freeing and challenging to leave traditional grading behind. That said, I've been really amazed at how easily my engagement skyrocketed when I didn't feel pegged down by the anxiety of the grade. Fear really stunts creativity. I consider myself a creative person, and I love showcasing innovation, but I think my creativity has been stifled more than I realized. The feedback I've received so far has already helped me grow far more than a quiz grade would have. I can see the places I am pushing the envelope the right way and set goals moving forward. It's been like finding a place in a community rather than a rung on the ladder, and I think it really speaks to the heart of Sir Ken Robinson's ideas.

We're worth more than a D or an A.

  • Reflect specifically on the ideas/ideals presented in the videos posted and the article we annotated this week. With whom do you agree or disagree most strongly - Sir Ken Robinson, John Seely Brown, or Henry Jenkins? Explain.

I do disagree (in part) with Henry Jenkins. In particular, I disagree strongly with his casual presentation of role-play as a technological skill. It seemed as though he primarily approached role play from a historical lens. While I think this can be a truly effective way to foster learning, I also think that the cultural sensitivity required to do it well is not casual in the least. I have always taught in schools with high populations of low socio-economic students and a majority of students of color. Black students in particular are regularly subjected to historical role-play that rarely considers the traumatic effect it can have on students. In a brief Google search, I found multiple examples of black students negatively impacted by role play in their classrooms:

Surely, since this article debuted (around 2006, the latest cited source in the article), there has been more comprehensive study surrounding the best practices of historical role play and it's implications. While it can help people consider other perspectives, is it worth doing so if it harms the population that was originally harmed? When people of color imply that these practices hurt, how can we adjust them to better serve all students?

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About Carlee Easton

Educator of 7 years. Passionate about culturally responsive education, mental health for helping professions, and making room for makerspaces. I love coffee, creating, and alliteration.
  • Denver, CO