End of Semester Reflection
I’m proud of the leaps and bounds I’ve made this semester with my online literacy. I have accomplished goals that I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid. I’ve always wanted to have a book blog, and this one is much further progressed from the one I had when I was much younger. Having a space online that is entirely my own is a new experience for me and I’ve enjoyed learning how to navigate it and how to build it from the ground up.
Aside from creating a book blog, one of my goals for self improvement this semester was to participate in NaNoWriMo. I have a post that goes into a little bit of detail on this linked at the bottom of this page, but I wanted to touch a little bit more on the subject.
NaNoWriMo is something that has been important to me for years. I have participated many times and have won a few of those times, but I have never put as much effort into it as I did this year. Although I didn’t win this year and have in the past, I feel like the quality of my writing is significantly better this year. I credit this partly to my skills improving through the many English classes I’ve taken these past two years and partly to understanding how to use the community to my advantage. Before this year I’ve never gone deeper than surface level when it comes to talking to other writers during NaNo. However, this year I was much more brave and immersed myself in the community. Whenever I was writing I was also in a Twitter chat, communicating my word count and supporting others in turn for them cheering me on.
This pushed me to go much further with my writing that I’m used to doing as I felt included in an affinity space. For the first time ever I had a part of the internet where I could go whenever I wasn’t feeling optimistic about my writing or needed a boost. This opportunity has been available to me forever, I just haven’t known to look for it. Although now that I have thanks to this class for making me seek it out, I don’t ever plan on stopping it.
Now that EDU 106 is coming to a close, I wanted to share the links to posts that I think are some of my best work. I will have the link to each post embedded in the title, so feel free to click and take a look at my work before reading why I think that that particular post was valuable to my learning experience.
Before you take a look at those, however, I want to take a few paragraphs to reflect on my overall growth this semester. In the beginning of the semester, my work was nowhere near where it is now. I feel that my online identity has done a total flip. I wish I could have done better from the start, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come since then. I’ve learned more about my technological fluency than I ever thought possible. I used to be content with just existing on the web, governed by other websites. Now that I have my own space, I’m thrilled every time I log on to try to play around with features I haven’t yet and to create something new. Technology is no longer gets to decide who I am, I define myself by using technology. It doesn’t rule my online persona anymore because I have created a space that is entirely my own.
Technology is always evolving. It will never stop, and people have to learn to adapt to it. I’ve taken steps to doing this this semester, but there is still so much more I have to learn. I look forward to the challenge of keeping up with a constantly developing online world and learning how to harness it to my advantage.
My digital essay is a short story that I enhanced with different features that are available to me on WordPress. It’s a excerpt of the story I wrote for the better myself part of the final, and I adapted it into a short story to better fit the size constraints of WP. I chose pictures that I thought went along well with the words on the page and tried to create a different kind of reading experience by adding links to music that sets the tone of the story. While making this post, I played around with the HTML text and inserted links that way rather than doing it the easy way with the quick menu. I also used HTML to change text color and to make the waterfall effect with the word cascade. I enjoyed challenging myself with this particular text and the complexities of HTML; it made me want to explore it further in the future.
As a conclusion to the digital essay, I’m going to post two few remixed pictures that I made that demonstrate my feelings on my better myself project as a whole and on the excerpt I turned into my digital essay.
The Twitter chat analysis had me thinking about social media in a way I never had before. I never really thought of it as an educational tool until now. Seeing the support that the NaNoWriMo community offers opened my eyes as a future teacher to the power that it allows for making connections all over the world. There are endless learning opportunities on Twitter, from the daily chats centered around educational topics such as #engchat and #educhat to the more simple interactions where people can voice their opinions on any topic. When I am a teacher, I will encourage students to join these online communities to take charge of their own learning in their free time.
Following the Twitter chat analysis was the affinity space essay. I loved how perfectly the two assignments flowed into each other and created a sense of in depth study of a community. It’s funny, I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for years and have never felt as connected to the people who do it as I do now. After looking at the complexities between interactions online in the space I feel like I understand why the community works so well whereas in the past I took it for granted.
Doing the ignite talk was for sure the scariest part of this class for me. But at the same time, it was the thing I learned the most from. The first day of class where Dr. McVerry did one astounded me. I didn’t think I’d be able to do the same. I surprised myself by getting up there and not being afraid. I normally stutter much more when I’m public speaking, so to only have a few moments of hesitation showed a lot of progress. I want to be a teacher, so this skill was something that I’ll have to get used to doing. I will probably continue to do ignite talks as I teach as they are a good way to keep things fresh in the classroom as it is all about spontaneity when the pictures are randomly generated. The second component of the ignite talk, the iMovie video that goes with it, is also something I’m proud of. I’ve used iMovie many times in the past, but I never knew about the split screen function. I taught myself how to use it by doing some extensive googling and by staying up obscenely late, but it felt good to teach myself something and makes me proud of the work that came out of it.
I loved doing the photo challenge. I am not one for loud and busy photos, so I enjoyed subtly editing the photos from their raw form to something more eye pleasing. I used a few apps on my phone and Pixlr.com to do so, and loved learning all the different ways that photos are customizable. I also enjoyed learning how to string the photos together in one post to make them look cohesive. For example, I used the slideshow function as a way to display the three photos from France as they all orbit around the same theme. I knew I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to make that happen with HTML, so when I finished making the slideshow, I went back into the text to see how it’s done. I want to someday be able to get to a point on my site where I can do that without going through the channel offered easily to me by WordPress menus.
I’m particularly proud of this blog post because I feel that it is the one where I most clearly communicated my thoughts on the reading. I resonated with how the author claimed that reading and writing online is a tool to be take advantage of, as they’re things that have helped me develop as a writer through outlets such as Wattpad and Archive of Our Own.
I love this post because I feel like it strays from my usual style. I took one of the short stories that I’ve written in the past and fully annotated it using the tools WordPress provided me to explain my writing process. I think that this post could be useful to writers who are just beginning as it outlines a clear place to start and how to build on your ideas until you have a cohesive storyline.
The final post that I’m including here is my post “The End.” It’s not anything special, it was something written on my phone on the way home from class. But that’s part of what I love most about it. It came to me suddenly after reflecting on my accomplishments during NaNoWriMo, and I hastily wrote it down for my blog. The fact that I now have a place where I can do that, where I can publish my thoughts whenever I want in a place open for people to read and to not be afraid of doing so, is liberating. I’ve always wanted a space online to call my own. I’m so tired of all the endless perfection I see on social media. My space, Life Chapter by Chapter is real. It’s me, personified by a website. And though this post is not digitally enhanced in any way, I love it because it’s representative of the bottom line of what I’ve learned in EDU 106. I’m my own person on this site, I’m not defined by Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I can post what I want, when I want, how I want. It’s a beautiful thing.