This blog is designed as a resource for CURR 501, Media Literacy, Popular Culture and Education at Rhode Island College, summer 2015. The course is driven by the essential question: How is new media and digital culture produced and consumed in ways that help us understand ourselves and each other in the context of the current educational landscape?

Thursday, July 9, 2015


On Friday morning, you will spend about 30 minutes reflecting on your learning experience here.  You can CLICK HERE to access the Course Evaluation form.  Thank you for your honest feedback!

Presentation Schedule


Wednesday, July 8th
(1) 1:15-1:30  Brittany D
(2) 1:35-1:50  Dan
(3) 1:55-2:10  Brittany R
(4) 2:15-2:30  Tina
2:30-2:45  BREAK
(5) 3:00-3:15  Dalila
(6) 3:20-3:35  Alicia
(7) 3:40-3:55  Katie

Thursday, July 9th
(8) 12:15-12:30   Claudine
(9) 12:35-12:50  Laura
(10) 12:55-1:10  Taylor
(11) 1:15-1:30  Kara
1:30-1:45  BREAK
(12) 2:00-2:15  Brianna
(13) 2:20-2:35  Regina
(14) 2:40-2:55  Bryana

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What role do teachers play in learning?  Check out Sugata Mitra's vision of a School in the Cloud that he articulates in his 2013 Ted Prize Wish.

Compare his vision to that of Ken Robinson, below.

Ken Robinson, Education's Death Valley
"Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish — and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational "death valley" we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility."

3 Principles Guide Human Life in Flourishing
  • Diversity (as a strength to embrace) vs Conformity 
  • Curiosity (as the engine of achievement) vs Compliance 
  • Creativity (to allow flexibility and thinking outside the box) vs Standardization

He argues that the standardize testing landscape forgets about the relationship between "teaching" and "learning" as it deprofessionalizes teaching, and emphasizes control at the federal level. He makes a strong case for the importance of TEACHERS in awakening the the floor of the Educational Death Valley.

He believes that schools work when they:
  • Highly personalized
  • Strong teacher support
  • Tight links with community
  • Broad and diverse curriculum
  • Student involvement in and outside of school

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Gender Making....

Pictures forthcoming!

Super (She)ro Toolbox

Androgyny Game

This is a mirror I created for my friend Ellie for her third birthday.  The text reads:

"Once upon a time there was a princess named Elle.  She was STRONG, and SASSY, and BOLD.  She could

(Each envelop along the side names a different trait such as "Read every book ever written, run as fast as the wind, recognize beauty of all kinds, speak out loud and strong to change the world... etc)

With a BRAVE heart, and a  CURIOUS mind, and a KIND soul, (and sparkly shoes that are easy to run in,) the princess lived happily ever after. "

Notes on Kelly Reed


All of the resources Kelly talked about:

It's not really about the TECHNOLOGY:
"Used purposefully, technology/media has the potential to help students "reposition themselves, from cogs in the machine to social actors intent on jamming, resisting, and/or rewriting the status quo" "(Marshall and Sensoy, Rethinking Popular Culture and Media 11).  

Sometimes we confuse compliance with engagement

20% Time Projects

Meet TED's Ed!

These days TED talks are my adult version of a bedtime story. I set up my iPad, pick something cool, press play, and rest my head on my pillow. For this reason I was happy to see what else TED had to offer. I shook up my usual consumerism routine and spent some time exploring what TED Ed had to offer as a producer.

EXPLORE TED Ed here     

What is TED Ed?

It is a platform designed for teachers and students to create lessons or view lessons using the TED talk videos or YouTube videos.

How can I use it?

Ted Ed is FREE! Part of its mission is to expand and teach/reach as many people as possible. They are working furiously to continue to grow this tool.

What was my process creating a lesson?

  1. I created an account (very simple! took only 2 minutes!)

  • Username

  • Password

  • Teacher or student

  • Verify through email notification


  1. Follow the 4 category template/steps TedEd offers


  • Watch

    choose a video from TED's complete video library or YouTube that becomes the basis of your lesson (there is a text bar if you choose to title your lesson or provide context; it allows up to 500 characters).

  • Think

    there is a blank text box where you can write up to 15 questions

  • Dig Deeper

    this is another text box with space for links to other resources, more questions, pictures, attachments, font options, etc…

  • And Finally...

    another text box to leave your students with some "final thoughts" about the lesson; it also allows for links, attachments, font options


  1. Play with the 3 options

  • Edit – I did this several times while writing questions. It worked well and saves automatically!

  • Publish – I did not do this b/c I am not ready for it!

  • Preview – I tried this several times, but nothing happens…L


Feel free to check out my lesson   here…

What else does TED Ed offer?

  • Access to 127, 874 other teacher created lessons.

  • A discussion section where people can "discuss" your lesson in the form of posted comments.

  • Hope for more from Ted Ed.

How would / could I use this tool?  

  • mini – lessons to provide overview or context to a concept or idea

  • to ask students to "talk" and respond to each other about a an idea presented in the video

  • share it as a resource for students to access if they are not at school but would like clarification on a topic/concept – there may be answers/lessons on the site

How was it creating the lesson?

Simple!  It was very easy and user friendly!  It is hard to say exactly how it would play out in a classroom until I try it, but there is a place for handouts (attached to the text boxes), and big ideas could be presented for students to indulge in.

What are the shortcomings of using this?

It might be difficult to include or plan for smaller activities within the current template framework – although it could be done if space is used judiciously in the text boxes.

For those teachers expected to follow the Gradual Release model or a scripted curriculum, it might not be worth the time to fit that model into the space provided in TED Ed.

This forum is great for students with access to technology so they can explore the links and what the site has to offer.



While the title of the site is Sparkol the actual application name is VideoScribe.   which links to

I was attracted to this application because I've seen Robert Reich use something like this in his many videos on the economy and social justice.  (Since "his hand" is not animated I can't be sure of this.)  

VideoScribe allows users to have animations of images being draw, text and voice to all become synthesized onscreen in a narrative form.  

I registered for the seven day trial version and it was a quick to download to my laptop.   

A tutorial flashes on the screen at first run of the application.   It can be shown at every launch of the program.   It moves very quickly but not to worry, there are basically only three main icons to click on at the start page.   The icons on this page and the actual construction page are all very simple and readily identifiable.   The program froze on my screen a few times, quite possibly because the library of images needed to become accessible to me.

In the course of a minute or two after some initial freezing of the screen I easily added three elements to my first presentation.    I could see the draft in progress with a handy playback feature that loaded very quickly. 

It was fun to use and the playback feature as it made it clear exactly how the presentation would be and therefore it clued me into how I would want to adjust layout or voice timing.  

I wanted to make a presentation on the nature of the fruit in the Garden of Eden, usually misnamed an apple.  Or is it misnamed?   The fruit referenced in Genesis was likely an etrog, a type of citrus.  The etrog's name in certain countries is the Persian Apple.  I thought I could use more terms than just an apple but could not find many complex terms after finding the apple.  I looked for Middle East, Mesopotamia, Tigris River, and got no results.   "Iraq" gave me a map of all of Asia or pretty much all of the Eastern Hemisphere to choose from.  When I searched for Adam I got a two Michaelangelo stick figure images but they were premium images I would need to upgrade to use.   

Removing items, such as voice-over was as easy inserting it into the project.   

In light of what I've shared I give it at least an 8/10 for ease of use. 

As for affordance, I think it could fit in well with David Lazear's lesson plan format that always begins with an awakening activity that creates a sense of wonder or interest in a student's mind.  I also speculate that it could also be used by students to identify their own learning preferences and styles by the way they might construct a short presentation on their own.  I think the tool has the has the capacity to adapt to the concrete-sequential, abstract sequential, concrete random and abstract random learning students exhibit.   After viewing a number of their colleagues work they could be guided to see these styles at work and help them to play to their own strengths and to develop learning styles that are underutilized or undeveloped.      I'd have to revisit the prices on the version page to discern if I'd like to invest in this tool.