Dec. 1- Play

meme meme1


Political parody’s and articles are all over Facebook. Recently there has been a surge in articles and images of the refugee crisis, Trudeau and other political identities speaking their mind or images to spark a debate. Often time’s people just read the headline and assume what the article or image is about without clicking on the article to expand and fully read/ understand. I believe by using a collage of images the reader or casual internet user would be able to grasp politics better. So many times I see people talking about issues because “the article title said so”. If they took the time to research or fully read about a hot topic they would be much more informed, but alas time is a huge issue because quite frankly people just don’t have much time any more. Images and collages would allow them to quickly glance and grasp some understanding of the topic without having to read a copious amount of work.

Personally my phone is full of meme’s, mostly just for fun, not so many political. None the less they are fun to use when texting a friend, posting on Facebook or trying to get a point across in an argument. Humorous meme’s allow a serious subject to be understood more humanly, not everyone will understand political mumbo-jumbo, and a few pictures with a comedic outlook on the topic will assure the reader/ audience that they too can participate and understand what is going on in the world. I do not follow American politics very much but I will always know what is going on in general from the meme’s or short videos people like Stephan Colbert create. They are an entertaining way to gather SOME information, although how relevant and correct it is could be up for debate.


Nov. 24 – Serious Play

Serious Play

I am going to preface this post with I AM NOT A VIDEO GAMER (in the traditional sense). I do enjoy playing TheSims (create a city/ family/ fictions world) and Sally’s Spa (time management). I like how videogames offer an interactive learning element. This is what is lacking in traditional schools where worksheets and textbooks are the norm. Videogames offer students a hands on approach, where they are the creator or player living in a simulated environment. I never realized how global videogames where. I knew that there was a lot of Japanese anime influence in a lot of games and fandoms surrounding them, and the American ideology of “good” versus “evil”. I can see in so many games the kids play how both of these world interact with each other in perfect harmony to create entertainment and engagement for those who play. It was also interesting to note that playing videogames is also an instigating factor for some people to learn a second or third language when translating anime. This translation could occur in the video game or as a result of the huge fandom that surrounds the games and characters. I know my cousin is learning Japanese online because she wants to be more involved in the anime and comicon culture.

One of my favourite games as an elementary students was Pokemon (the card version not the videogame). It was very interesting to read the origins of the game is a popular hobby in Japan of collecting beetles. There is definitely a strong parallel between collecting, classifying, naming, and studying all the different pokemon cards and beetles. I also started thinking how all Pokemon characters are in sets of usually three (char, charmander and charizard) perhaps it could correlate to the stages of beetle development (egg, larvae, etc)?

So how can videogames be education tools, or how can they assist the educator in teaching students valuable material? Information in videogames is given on demand when it is needed in story or the service of action. I really like this idea. Instead of over loading students with information prior to them even using anything, allow students to slowly dabble in the material and learn as they progress. For example no need to give them all the verbs in French in all the tenses just for memorization and the up coming test. Instead give them real life situations where they require different verbs and tenses and only teacher them when they come upon the opportunity to actually use the information, perhaps they would retain the knowledge better.

Another great point of video games is constant formative feedback. As teachers we are told to always give appropriate feedback to help students grow and develop (as, of and for learning). Video games are deemed too hard if there is no feedback offered to the player. Teachers should use this model to help encourage their students, always providing feedback when their students meet challenges in the course material. By offering constant formative feedback we are enabling students and giving them the tools to find new solutions and carrying on in their learning quest.

I really like how Zelda was designed so it was unsolvable by one person. Players would be forced to talk and socialize with friends on and offline to problem solve and group think. This promotes collaborative learning and that is a very large part of what we are teaching students in class. This is also a quality many future employers look for during interviews and work tasks.

Nov. 17- Mirrors

Happel-Parkins et al discuss how gender identity and preference is a major source of bullying for students in K-12. It has been proven that students who identify with the above enjoy school less, are more prone to bullying and are absent more from school than their heterosexual peers. The increased awareness of LGTQ in pop culture is a great way to bring often times uncomfortable topics to the forefront allowing everyone to voice their opinion and views using the safety of characters. I know that in Orange is The New Black, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Game of Thrones and the song Same Love all have plots that involve LGTQ people and lifestyles. While older students might be able to watch the shows and use them as a springboard to discuss certain topics I am not aware of child friendly shows that discuss LGTQ issues. With bullying so prevalent in elementary schools the teachers need to step up and protect all students.

I have never watched “Ugly Betty” before but from the description in the article it deals with LGTQ issues in a school setting. There is a stereotypical masculine character (the football player) that enters a possible relationship with a stereotypical homosexual character (drama loving guy). Although they are stereotypes, at least it brings to the forefront the bullying these teens face on a daily basis. Hopefully preservice teachers, or anyone who watches the episode, can take the message that teachers need to intervene in bullying of any kind at school. Open communication with parents/ families is also a crucial component of helping to keep kids safe inside and outside of school.

*I know there are some books for children that address LGTQ families/situations but if anyone knows of any TV shows/ movies that are for the younger age group (grade 1-6) please pass along the information!

Nov. 10- Remix Culture

Remix Culture

The three part video about remix and culture was very eye opening. It was interesting to note that a lot of songs, hip hop to heavy metal, have the same lyrics/ baseline. I would like to know what legal remix means as it seems like a copy right infringement to me to take the lyrics of others songs and use them, without credit, in music. It was only in 2010 that a lawsuit was filed against Led Zeppelin. The outcome was not discussed in the videos, but it did mention that no other suits were filed (which I don’t get! We were drilled about copy right and plagiarism all through school). The remix and creation in movies was very eye opening! Even “original” movies are not original (not based on a book, cartoon, toy, real life, etc) at all but fall into categories then subcategories (loved the title “sorry about colonialism”. These subcategories then look like one another as they have the same type of bad guy, same plot or something similar. It was so cool to see Star Wars and Flash Gordon side by side was breath taking. It was so very similar, down to the way the credits scrolled on an angle!

Such great quotes were provided in the clips. My favourite was “creation requires influence”. Kids want to do something completely unique and watch or view others work on the computer or in person. Then subconsciously take the best of the ideas from all of the work and create their “unique” project. I think by offering them examples of famous musicians, artists, even technologies (apple computers) copying, transforming and combining ideas they might feel better about the whole creative process. They won’t be forced to think of something completely unique and out there but can make improvements, combine others ideas into a new product or remix their favourite pieces they can have something equally original in very awesome!


Interesting points from the articles:

  • Google, facebook and youtube are the tops three sites. All of which I use about 100 times a day
  • There are three forms of remix, two which extend and the third is creating something distinct yet familiar
  • How can a photographer create images from another artists images (make prints) and not have to pay copyright? Biennale then recreated work based off his prints of her work, man things can sure get confusing
  • Basically everything is based on something, real creativity and innovations are few and far between and when it does occur it uses something that was already created in a different purpose

Oct. 27 – Social Justice and Hip-Hop

Kayne West for President

I never watch the Grammys or award shows but I did hear about Kayne West’s epic declaration that he was going to run for president of the United States. His single last phrase shocked, thrilled, terrified, encouraged, (insert feeling here throughout the hearts and minds of Americans and world citizens alike. It is this sense of feeling when someone is talking that students need to learn in order to be effective public speakers. Many students do not know how to create “a moment” like Kayne West, heck I don’t even think I could create such shock and astonishment when I speak. Clips of his speech and the reactions from people across the globe could be used to inspire and motivate students to try and create their own moment. They would be more inclined to be inspired by this rapper and pathetic attempt at a world changing speech than Martin Luther King, Roosevelt or any other historical game changer. Perhaps by listening, watching, and reading about how his speech “changed the world” students would feel more in tuned with the public speaking unit and find an amazing topic to wow the audience, and if not they could always pull a shocker announce their candidacy for Prime Minister and walk off the stage. Just like George Constanta said “end on a high note and walk away”.


Starting with Style: Toward a Second Wave of Hip-Hop Education Research and Practice


I am very out of my depth with this reading, I found it difficult trying to understand how the process of creating Hip-Hop. I really liked the idea of “sampling”, taking something old or known and using it for creating something new or useful for them. I believe that students do this when they work on a project. They take the information we taught them, that they learned and are applying it to a new situation and analyzing it under a new light for the assignment. Perhaps this is a type of sampling on a smaller scale? These samples are then taken a layered upon each other to create new sounds and feelings. I pictured it like an art lesson; blue (primary) and red (primary) are samples that when combined (or layered) create a third completely different thing (green). I hope I am correct with my understanding of sampling and layers.

I really like the idea of rupture and how it was described in terms of graffiti, music and most importantly in the lives of students who attend HSRA. If we as teachers expect all lessons and students to follow a certain flow and all of the sudden is has been interrupted or ruptured, we could lose our train of thought, lesson outline and patience. The practice of deliberate patience is amazing (I will be using this for my own kids, it really opened my eyes to expect a problem and deal with it and if everything goes swimmingly perfect if not you are prepared). I always like to think the best case scenario but this is real life and students are unpredictable. If they did not eat, did not sleep, had a fight with a friend on the playground, are grumpy, missing mom or dad, or any other issue in their life they might not be capable of going with the flow. Expecting (not hoping for it but having a plan in place just in case) is the best way to deal with all students in the class, expecting a type of rupture to your plan. With this in mind deliberate patience makes us take a step back and breathe before we try and help our students again. We expected something MIGHT happen, it did, now let’s regroup and move forward together.


Oct. 20- The Social Life of Culture

The Social Life of Culture

This article was a very “difficult” read for me, I do not really understand the draw to Star Trek or LARPing or learning an invented language that’s based off a tv series. I find it rather odd that people rush to learn Klingon and embrace the lifestyle where there are so many amazing languages and cultures to experience. People seem to want to act violent, military focused and perform unacceptable behaviours in public; no culture that I know would allow these bad manners in public. Perhaps they just enjoy acting like a misbehaved toddler in public? A real life experience, for me, is much more interesting, valid and liberating than pretending to be something I am not. I would love to through myself and all my efforts full tilt into learning Ukrainian; the language, culture, customs, etc. I would like to get a deeper understanding of living a fake life, or experiencing other realities and why this appeals to people. I know LARPing is a big part of people’s life as it connects generations together and brings people together who might not have met otherwise.

Perhaps I am reading this article through the eyes of a primary teacher bit I do not find star trek and Klingon appropriate for education. I understand that connections can be made for historical relationships between countries and race/culture/ethnicity can be explored without being out right racists but I would be at a loss on how to use this material in a productive way. I just felt the chapter focused on the violent outlet living as a Klingon could provide. The quotes from teachers were interesting. In my opinion, just because they are acting like Klingons does not give them permission to be rude, violent, disrespectful and plain old mean! People use Klingons as an excuse to act like “the other”. Compulsions some people have but would not act upon because we live in a society and have to be civil. The chapter states that Klingon erases race and ethnicity (p.137) yet the whole article before this statement talked about how Klingon represented the other and blackness. It is a juxtaposed statement and I am still trying to process how Klingon can do both, bring together and ostracize.

Represent “the other”

·         Viewed as barbaric, the other and crude

·         Viewed as smelly and lacking manners compared to the civilized captain kirk and Enterprise residents

·         “the dark side can get out”- Lewis pg.133

Erases differences

·         Anyone/ everyone can dress as a Klingon

·         People step outside their culture and are allowed to act “Klingon-ish”, which would be the same for everyone

·         Same playing field in using the language Klingon


As a French teacher I thought it was interesting when the author wrote about the use of foreign languages in school. At the University of Oregon one can learn “French, German, Spanish and Klingon”, it has become a new foreign language (p.138). It was very perplexing how Klingon is a non-debated language (when no humans or cultures are born using solely this language) and other languages are referred to as dialects, creoles and pidgins (p.139). If experts are using the rule of a minimum of 200 words, than I am quite certain many dialects would fall into the language category as well. It was also interesting to note that “people study Klingon who’ll never dream of learning a foreign language” (p.143), the same could be said for learning all languages. I would never dream of learning Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, yet I would LOVE to learn Ukrainian. As a result I do not believe that sentence was a very effective argument for the importance of choosing Klingon as a foreign language.

Oct. 13- Fan Culture

Fan Culture

I really struggled with trying to understand participatory politics and how it differed from “real” politics. I am still trying to wrap my head around the idea but I believe I have come to some form of understanding from this chapter. It is very clear that students and youth who participate in this type of politics are more likely to vote, which is a great thing (especially with an election coming up on Thursday!). Programs and groups who use a participatory medium are helping youth “find a path towards political engagement” (66). I do worry, however, that youth will be entering the political arena only to gain points, increase their fandom or other reasons instead of truly understand their right and duty to vote and be heard. From what I understand fans use their knowledge around certain topics to bolster house points (such as HPA), use the content of the fandom to encourage their followers to do things together for the greater good of society (raise money for Haiti, collect books, open communication concerning gay-straight alliance).

Even though I struggle to “get it” I really enjoyed the metaphor of the “Muggle mind set” (I actually understood this one!). People who are resistant to change, dislike social activism, want things to remain the same as close minded and muggle like. They need help opening their eyes to the injustice in the world and start getting their voices heard or actively working against world/social issues.

Please get out and vote!

“If Zombies ever attack I will be hiding in Costco. They have bulk food, water and even the best Zombie cant get in without a membership” — best zombie quote I have every heard

I do remember the attack that occurred in Flordia and how popular Zombies became after those attacks. I do not believe they are Zombies, what happened to cannibals? This documentary reminds me of the Discovery tv show “Ancient Aliens”, just a bunch of hocus pocus. If we cannot explain an occurrence with logic people always shoot for extremes. I do love the paranormal; my favourite show is still X-files. I am more like Dana Scully, a skeptical believer. There has to be a reasonable explanation to paranormal events. The people featured on the documentary are extreme believers and their whole lives revolve around this. This is more than fandom, this is obsession.

Zombie:  Zombies are fictional undead creatures created through the reanimation of human corpses. Zombies are most commonly found in horror and fantasy genre works. The term comes from Haitian folklore where a zombie is a dead body animated by magic. Modern depictions of zombies do not necessarily involve magic but invoke other methods such as viruses- Wikipedia

There must be a drug that can disengage the human mind, preventing the frontal lobe and the cerebellum from properly functioning. I do not know how a drug or virus could almost instantly kill a human and transform them into a walking dead individual. I just honestly do not think it will become an apocalypse. It is also extremely disturbing talking about having to shoot a child in the head to save themselves, absolutely disgusting.

Oct 6- Geopolitical Imaginaries

Geopolitical Imaginaries

I never realized (probably very naïve of me) that science fiction reflects imperial and colonial histories of our world. It is a critic/commentary on human relationships past and present and represents a likeness of how we treat “foreign” cultures. I am not familiar with Star Trek, Star Wars (I know Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, that’s about it) or the other pieces of work the author mentions but I find it fascinating how we as educators can bring this into the classroom for “legitimate” purposes. Science fiction is an allegory of our world can is often times easier for students, and some adults, to understand world relations through characters and fantasy places.

How I would implement science fiction in a history class: I love the idea of presenting a final project before a unit begins. An option would include writing a science fiction piece that includes all the information learned in that particular unit. Example: writing about WWII in detail using alternate names, aliases, countries, places, etc. and explain how the science fiction characters/ places and events relate to actual historical figures. This final project could then be used as a creative writing assignment grade as well. It would be an interesting activity to see how students create a fantasy world of their own using real life facts about events. Reading (or watching, depends how they choose to present their final project) their work would be a way of seeing if they understood the lessons, alliances, treaties, race relations, etc that was learned without having to do a traditional test or essay. It would present a fun option for the students and they would still be using all the material learned in class. If it was presented before the unit started I think that they would be more inclined to pay attention and ask for specific details about countries and their involvement in the war. I know if it was me I would cram the night before it forget everything about an essay I wrote the week before it was due, whereas a creative writing or video project I would want to take notes from the beginning to help formulate a plot.

Sept 29- Media Spaces

Media Spaces

Although I can see a lose connection between the video and popculture in the classroom (students being self-centered and all consumed in what is hip and cool), I am struggling with the majority of the video. I do not understand how the market crash or the wars directly relate aside from trying to control the masses. This was a very long video to try and describe a relatively simple concept and in my opinion made it so much more confusing. It was interesting to note that Bernays played a large role in product placement and mind manipulation to want objects through unconscious thoughts.

The article by Funes was extremely interesting. I really like how the author highlights that using advertising in education can be seen as a manipulative play on students wants and pleasures. I never thought of advertising that way. Students are growing up in a culture of consumption and knowledge is something that can be consumed by the learners. From wanting to know a historical fact or a second (third or fourth) language, to the desire to act in school plays and be the announcer for morning announcements, students help drive the wants/ desires teachers are trying to depict. I do not believe that teachers are trying to create a “false need” in the student, as each student wants to learn/ experience something different. I believe that we need to facilitate their own experiences and encourage self-learning within the topic they find most intriguing while still meeting the curriculum expectations.

I thought it was very interesting how the teacher/ student relationship is described as a sender/ receiver. Teachers can send messages to students, make learning math appealing by finding something they will use or a “cool” fact and students will all receive it differently, just like television audiences. Some people love commercials with cute animals selling phones while others like seeing the newest products. Students can respond very much the same way, an animal loving student might be more inclined to read a book about animals and pets than someone who enjoys robotics, futuristic tools and fantasy. I will enthusiastically take on the challenge of trying to send different tailored made messages and programs to students to receive! I want to try and move from the factory line process of schooling to a plurality of information (McLuhan), the same way they find information in a home or more digitally advanced environment. We are only constrained by our imagination (and perhaps a budget)

P.S I am totally using the activity from Figure 2 in the reading! I will change some aspects to make it suit a health lesson on perception, self-esteem and growing up in the 21st century