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?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How to Post your Digital Tool Tutorial

On Thursday morning, between 8:30 and 10:00, you will be exploring and teaching the rest of us about one of the digital tools in the Digital Toolbox to the right on my blog.

I have added feature in my SETTINGS to allow me (or others) to email a post directly to my blog.  This will allow you to post your short "tutorial" about a digital tool directly to my blog, so that all of the information is gathered in one place for everyone to peruse...

Create an email (using your gmail account or another that allows you to change fontcolor, add links, pictures, etc will make this much easier for you). 
  • Address the email to: 
  • Subject line will be the title of your post.
  • To add a link, simply include the link in your email.
  • To add a picture, simply include the picture (choose insert image INLINE rather than as an attachment so that it appears in the body of the message.)

​(gratuitous pic of my son as sample)

In your email/post, please make sure to include:

1) Name of tool in the title (subject line) of the post.

2) Link to the website for this tool.

3) Elementary discussion about what you can do with it.  Include examples if possible.

4) Rating of the Ease of Use.

5) Discussion of the "affordance" this tool offers -- how can it add to the ease, complexity, depth, joy, etc in an educational sense (ie: what use value could it have for a teacher?)

6) Use links and pictures and color and font changes whenever you can to make the post easy to read.

We will assign the tools in class on Wednesday morning...

Dr. Josh Stenger

Dr. Josh Stenger, Wheaton College

Blended Learning: Human +Technology (adding technology to the mix)

Hybrid Pedagogy: graphic in powerpoint

Studying Literature vs. Studying Film

  • Both texts
  • Representation
  • Identity
  • Narrative

Student know more
Technology saves time
Technology = learning

"I wish I could do what my student just did..." (letting go as a teacher)

Digital Literacy -- requires elements of all of these things
Information Literacy:
Media Literacy: studying messages that teach us about what to buy and who we are
Computer Literacy: centering on a paper, predictive searching for BR*
Traditional Literacy: reading, writing, speaking, listening

John Hartley, The Uses of Digital Literacy
-->  Wesch/Boyd/Prensky and now Hartley...

The DIKW Pyramid
Data --> Information --> Knowledge --> Wisdom

Numbers don't lie... but they don't tell the truth either.
Numbers don't speak.
We give data a narrative in order to create meaning.

Visual Representation of Data

Pierre Levy -- "collective intelligence"

PINTREST: becoming a curator of information (collective intelligence)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Watching BRAVE on Tuesday!!

I forgot to remind you of this at the end of class today...

Your homework for Tuesday night includes watching the Pixar 2012 film BRAVE.  I will bring it to campus tomorrow and offer a screening of it from 3:30-5:00 for anyone who wants to stay and watch it in the classroom.  Some of you may find that easier than having to rent it on Amazon or elsewhere when you get home tomorrow night.

You will be taking notes on this as you watch to help guide your viewing and inform our discussion on Wednesday.

Ideology and the Real World

Washington Post —June 29, 2015
More than 26 million people have changed their Facebook picture to a rainbow flag. Here’s why that matters.

Given our work this afternoon on ideology and how we come to learn about the norms and assumptions of our dominant culture, I found this article from the Washington Post today a perfect punctuation mark.

"Marriage equality, like so many thorny issues, is not just about policy change. It’s also, crucially, about changing social attitudes toward an entire group of people. And it’s here that there could be a real role for social media campaigns.

See, our social attitudes are informed largely by what we believe is standard or acceptable in our social group as a whole. And every day, whether we realize it or not, we receive lots of different messages on these norms: some unspoken (I can’t come to work naked), some based in law (I can’t kill even my most-hated commenters), some very literal (“buckle up,” “just say no”).

Profile pictures, arguably, are a very particular and effective type of message. They don’t dictate how you should or must behave, as laws and PSAs typically do; instead, they simply tell you how your peers are behaving. In other words, they support marriage equality; why don’t you?

“When people try to change behavior, they often focus on … telling people what they should do,” the social psychologist Melanie Tannenbaum explained in 2013. “We often underestimate just how strongly we respond to what other people actually do.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Welcome to Media Literacy 2015!

Welcome to CURR 501: Media Literacy, Popular Culture and Education!  

Today in class, you will set up your own blog to use this week and next  for all of your written assignments, and to keep track of your thoughts about any of the issues we cover. You can also maintain this blog after this class is over for personal or professional purposes.

A blog is your very own, personal online journal. It is public, in that I and your classmates can read it and comment on it, but it is your space and you can control most everything about it. (If you want to make it private so that *only* members of this class can read it, click here for instructions, then talk to me about how to set it up for our class).  

In the context of this course, your blog has two purposes:  

1) Your blog will provide a space for you to keep all of your writing assignments over the course of our seven days together. You will not hand in any written assignments; rather you will post them on your blog. In this sense, your blog is merely your assignment notebook that you will use as you read and prepare for class each week. You will also be posting any additional thoughts you have: responses to class discussion, after thoughts, things you forgot to say in class, relevant experiences you have, etc. But importantly, your blog is a public space, and as you post (and comment on others'), you will gain a much richer understanding of everything we read and discuss in class. I want you to think of it as interactive and intertextual in that way. In this sense, your blog is much more than just a Microsoft Word document that happens to be online. It is a hypertextual space that allows you to link to images, webpages, video and other online tools and toys.

 2) Creating your own blog will also introduce you to the blogisphere if you don't know this place already. Why blog? I am trying to encourage you to practice the digital literacies we are learning about. Further, I think you will enjoy it, and I hope that you will discover creative educational uses for this online medium. You will see how easy it is to use, and perhaps it will inspire you to be a blogger in other areas of your life.  

To start your own blog, you will go to:
If you do not already have a Google account, you will need to create one.  If you do have a Google account, sign in in the box at the right.  This will allow you to create your own blog on a site called   

Click the button that says NEW BLOG (you will see this even if you have blogged before) and follow the instructions to get started.   

Don't forget your Username and Password!!  You will need them to login everytime. Please write them down on the top of your syllabus so you don't forget!  

As you fill in the info, you will be asked to give your blog a TITLE. This title will appear at the top of your blog. (Mine is called "Media Literacy 2015")  

Then, you need to choose an address: This will be the web address associated with your site. You can call it anything you like. Be clever or simple (or both) -- it is up to you. Write it down so you don't forget it! (You can also find it later on in your Dashboard where all of your future blogs will be listed.)  

You will also need to choose a design template for your blog. Look through the options listed and see what appeals to you. You can change this later so don't worry too much about it initially... Once you have the account set up, you can start posting

A “posting” is an entry on your blog. (For clarification, you have one blog, but many postings). Give the post a title and then compose as you would any journal entry. When you are finished, hit the button at the bottom that says Publish. It will not appear on your blog until you publish it. You can always go back and edit old posts and create new ones.

 Your First Po
 Your first post should be a short introduction to you: who are you, how your summer is going so far, what do you do when you are not in class, etc. (Just a short paragraph — no big deal). You will post the rest of the entries as they are due (see syllabus for dates), or whenever you have something to say! 

When you are done creating your site and posting your first entry, please come back to this blog and post a comment at the end of my first posting (scroll down) that includes your name and blog address so that I can post it in the link list to the right. For the rest of your time this morning, I want you to return to your blog, put up a second post and play with your blog a bit...
Your Second Post
Do you think of yourself as a digital native? If not, what kind of “immigrant” are you? Include 5 links and a youtube video in your post. If you can't figure out how to do this, click on the links above, google it for other advice, or ask me and I can help.  

Some Tips and Helpful Hints:
  • Once you are in your blog, look at the top right corner of the screen. If you click on the word DESIGN, you will be able to make design changes, create new posts, edit old posts, etc. (You can only do this if you are logged in to your blog.)
  • Once you are in the DESIGN screen, you can do all kinds of things to make your blog a bit more interesting. Change your fonts and colors, edit a post, change your settings. See the tabs at the top of the screen for all kinds of options.
  • Poke around online and make a list of websites related to education, media literacy, social justice or anything else relevant and post them on your blog. You can add all kinds of things by ADDING A GADGET from your LAYOUT screen.
  • Just do the best you can with this. If you get stuck, don't fret... I am happy to help you anytime as you work on getting this started. And remember: you can't break it. It is just a blog. Everything can be changed if need be!
Good luck!!  

LB :)