Topics in Media and Culture: The History and Future of the Book--Portfolio I

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Welcome to my first blogging portfolio for Topics in Media and Culture: The History and the Future of the Book!  All of the entries below deal primarily with connections to and discussions about the dynamic development of oral communication, which is much more interesting than it initially sounds.  Throughout this unit, I have been able to recognize the importance of orality, learn much about its development, and make connections to my own usage of oral communication in my life as a student, a future educator, and a person in general.  In my blogs, I have commented on what professional authors and presenters, who are in fact much more knowledgeable about the subject that I am, have to say about various forms of communication, sometimes agreeing and at other time disagreeing, but always learning from this critical evaluation.  Not only have I talked about these wholly academic and linguistic subjects, but I have also related them to more diverse topics, like free choice, the Super Bowl, the Qur’an, the alphabet, and handwriting analysts.  This diversity shows that I am learning to connect and synthesize information in order to learn myself, as well as to help others to learn.

To allow for organization, the blogs below are arranged into seven categories:  Coverage, Depth, Interaction, Discussion, Timeliness, Xenoblogging, and Wildcards.  While the blogs under all of the categories are worth exploring, I especially worked to create in depth blogs that would allow for learning, discussion, and interaction, so be sure to take a look at these categories.   I hope you enjoy all of my entries.  Please feel free to leave comments!  It is always nice to hear that others are reading and thinking about what one has written. 


Coverage:  This section is supposed to show that I have blogged on each of our course readings.  I have done so each week, so I will not put links to all of these blogs here.  However, I have included blogs in this that I feel especially show that I was attempting to fully cover the material by relating to other works we have read or to personal experiences.  

"Anyone Can Provide Some Truth" -- This blog deals with Plato's Socrates' criticism of the written word, especially concerning its veracity.  This is especially important in our culture today with such references as Wikipedia, so you should take a look at this.

"How Do We Think?" --This entry, focusing on an chapter about thinking and oral communication suggests that our brains our the same as they were years ago, we just think about different things and remember in different ways.  Read this to find out more about this connection. 

"Have Our Stages of Communication Really Changed that Much?" --In this blog, I related a video about PowerPoint we watched to a discussion of the oral phase.  Is PowerPoint mainly oral-based or mainly text-based communication, or is it something else?  Read this to see what I think.

"Are Our Own Ways of Teaching Appropriate?" -- I placed this blog in this section because I related Rheingold's essay about the strict process that the Amish go through before choosing a technology to incorporate into their society to Havelock's ideas about teaching in oral societies.  I also talked about teaching and learning in our own society.


Depth:  In this section, I have included blogs that show how I have gone beyond the necessities in terms of mostly informal online research, but also by drawing on my own knowledge and reinforcing this with online examples. 

"Ancient Romans, Illiteracy, and the Internet" --In this blog, I link to sites such as the CIA Worldfactbook and to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy in order to show that illiteracy in the United States is still a major problem. 

"Today I'm Liking the Physical World the Best" --This blog talks about the interaction necessary between the physical, oral, and written worlds, even today.  I was listening to the Super Bowl as I wrote this, so it might be interesting to sports fans.  I chose to put it in the depth category because I linked it, not to online research, but to another blog I wrote, citing my ommision of the important oral qualities of literacy.

"PowerPoint-Not So Bad Afterall?" -- I decided to include this blog in the Depth section because, although I only connected it to another assigned video for this class, I was able to discuss this often quickly settled topic in a more academic manner.  Using the video and the text, I was able to see both the benefits and downsides to PowerPoint, a stance that was positively commented on by a professional PowerPoint creator.  Don't like PowerPoint? Take a look at this and then see what you think.

"The Alphabet: Simplified, but Is It Really Simple?" -- I really enjoyed reading about the development of the Greek alphabet and how it has influenced our current alphabet, probably because of my future career as a teacher.  In this blog, I connected the development of the alphabet to the ways that the alphabet is currently being molded through new programs in order to better explain English sounds and the abstract letters that represent them.  I have posted some links to Youtube videos, so you should check it out.

"Classic Orality Is... Translatable?" -- Although I did not do any outside research for this blog, I feel like it belongs in this section because it challenges one of Havelock's points about the untranslatability of Greek text into English.  While I agree with some of his details, I also think that he leaves out some considerations in his argument.  Take a look to see who you agree with.


Interaction:  These blogs show my ability to engage in productive discussions with my peers, mainly on their own blogs.  Take a look at these, because they all have a lot of interesting ideas!

"Translation and Homer's Iliad" --I could not decide if I should put this into the discussion or the interaction category, so I just put it in both.  This blog discusses various translations of Iliad, as well as the problems of translation in general.  I included it within this section because Megan and I disagreed as to which translation flowed better for us.  Take a look at what both of us have to say.

On Maddie's blog entitled "Mother Goose and Scary Stories for Kids," I was not only able to offer experienced and research-based advice about reinforcing literacy skill development in young children, but I also commented first, which started a discussion that Chelsea also commented on.


Discussion:  Similar to the Interaction section, these blogs revolve around productive discussion; however, these are the discussions that occurred on my own blogs.

"Translation and Homer's Iliad" --As I said above, this blog shows interaction and discussion.  I also included it here because it caused two other classmates to present their opinions about the translations in comments posted on my blog.

"Ancient Romans, Illiteracy, and the Internet" --Someone outside of our class left an interesting assessment of the illiteracy problem in Bangladesh and what was being done to better the education system there.  I thought that a lot of what was said reinforced my ideas and added to disscussion.

"PowerPoint-Not So Bad Afterall?" -- As I mentioned above, Mr. Simon Morton, who professionally designs presentations for clients, commented on my "balanced view" of PowerPoint.  I think this shows not only an in depth analysis, but also the ability to create an argument that creates positive discussion with professionals.


Timeliness:  This is an area of blogging that I, as well as most of the class, needs to improve.  Because we are not posting our blogs early enough, online discussion is limited, even though in-class discussions are going well.  Even though I did not have many of these, I have included those that were posted early below.

"Simple Paths, but Empowering Consequences" --This focuses on the reader's free choice that has been allowed because of the creation of the book, which has caused me to refocus my ideas about reading and writing.

"Not Loving Technology, but Learning to Appreciate It" --Here, I talked about some of the negative effects of technology, while referring to an essay about how the Amish selectively choose which technologies their culture should adopt.  I must say that the one comment on this blog shows the opinions of many in my class, so take a look.

"Have Our Stages of Communication Really Changed That Much?" --This blog focuses on a very fun and interesting video about failures when using PowerPoint.  You should watch it.

"The Alphabet: Simplified, but Is It Really Simple?" --I spent a lot of time on this blog because it is something I am very interested in as a future teacher.  I have included some videos about Direct Instruction, as well as references to other essays we have read, so you should take a look.


Xenoblogging: In this section, I have included my own entries on others’ blogs that have forwarded discussion or given credit to my classmates.

On Shellie's blog entitled "Walter Ong," I recognized the fact that I had read her blog and gained insight from her for my own.  We both chose the same quote to discuss, although in different ways, so take a look at both blogs.

On Maddie's blog entitled "Mother Goose and Scary Stories for Kids," I was not only first to post, but I was able to given some informative comments about young children and reading based on my own experience and on research I have read.



Wildcard:  This section is supposed to highlight blogs that show is special ways how we have been blogging that may or may not directly relate to this course. 

"Translation and Homer's Iliad" --In this blog, I referred to another course I was taking, Islam: Religion and Culture, and how in this course we also talked about the problems and benefits associated with translations.  Also, although I could not link this blog to it, I did comment on a private forum about the ways Topics in Media and Culture affected my view of the translation of the Qur'an, and even linked those Islam classmates to this blog.

Stay tuned for more in this section in my next portfolio.  My Senior Seminar class is blogging about our project that we are calling Seniors Helping Seniors, and I will be participating in leaving comments about our progress.   


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