Category Archives: Uncategorized

Where I’m from…

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I am from the American dream that convinced my family to come

To live such free lives…Actually, to fall for such blatant lies

I am from the hopes of opportunity and economic success

Leaving family and familiarity for the sake of a chance

To succeed, be happy, chase freedom and live the American dream

I am from parents working three jobs to support their kids

From refugee tents to government housing

I am also from incredibly long waits for the Marta bus

All in the hopes to live the American dream

I am from always being behind in school

From knowing to never ask mom for money

After all, Wal-Mart didn’t pay much.

All in hopes to live the American dream.

I am from never understanding why we ever left

Everyone seemed happier back home. Everyone was happier back home.

When I asked my sister about the master narrative that surrounds my poem she said “bitter, cynical and opportunistic.” I thought it was interesting that she defined the master narrative as such because as the writer I was completely unaware the the poem came off like that. In writing this poem I didn’t necessarily encompass where I individually came from; we are not refugees, my dad is American and I come from a middle class family. However the friends that I surrounded myself with did come from these lifestyles and this is the constant narration that I received from them. Even though I wasn’t from that lifestyle, I soon felt like I adopted this similar mentality and become one of ‘them.’ My personal idea of this poem was that the character represented felt misled, stranded and helpless. However apparently in the eyes of the outsider I come off as cynical and bitter. Maybe my friends that have experienced these feelings are truly bitter inside and I haven’t been able to see it or I could have simply misrepresented them in my poem. Based off of what my sister claims is the master narrative, I believe that I unintentionally confirm it. It is interesting to see the disconnection between individualized expression and outsider interpretation. I feel as if through this process I learned that words cannot simply represent a person in a way that fully justifies the individual. Outsiders looking in will inevitably base their interpretation off of past experiences and master narratives.

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Huffington Post

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As I was browsing through the Huffington Post I was trying to find an article that dealt with a significant issue and that people cared about. There were some articles that had thousands of comments but were about Kim Kardashian while others had ten comments but dealt with the long term effects of the BP oil spill. I wanted to find an article that dealt with a meaningful topic but also had large online participation.

The article I chose discussed another form of Latin discrimination found in Maricopa, Arizona and triggered a response of over 1,000 comments. In this instance, Maricopa, Arizona printed out a Spanish translation of information to inform the citizens of the details of election day. Every word in the article was translated accurately except the election day. In the Spanish version, the flyer stated that election day was on the 8th of November while the English version correctly informed the English speaking citizens that election day was on the 6th. The local government claims that this was an honest mistake and they were in no way attempting to discriminate the Latin community. However, considering their past and other actions they have taken to oppress Hispanics, I believe it was an intentional and unacceptable ‘mistake.’ I made this clear in my comment that I posted.

The majority of people that commented saw injustice and discrimination in this act. However some insensitive and ignorant people, like the comment posted below, felt as if the government was at no fault and that the Latinos should be discriminated against for several reasons.

I think the beauty in online participation is in the fact that people can say whatever the want, whether it is productive or not. In the news world some people seem to be active in the commenting process because they genuinely care about the issue and what their input to be heard. Others seem as if they want to instigate an argument and play devil’s advocate. However that is the beauty in all of it. People are present in this online space for several different reasons and can use it however they want. Along the way they interact with people that agree/disagree with them. This process broadens perspectives and allows for the growth and development of problem solving, opinion development, and simple arguing.

On Monday, December 3rd, I participated in #engchat. I am not very familiar with Twitter and never had an account until I joined this class but soon found out it wasn’t very hard to figure out. Through tweetchat all the people that wanted to be apart of this massive conversation could simply be united under one #. Going into this conversation, I had no idea what to expect except an intrinsic conversation amongst nerdy English teachers. As soon as 7:00 hit I soon learned that the topic for that night was going to be Global Collaborations. I soon picked up on the fact that a guy named William Kist played the role of ‘guest speaker’ and @meenoorami was the moderator. Throughout this chat I felt like I would appreciate the conversation a lot more if I knew half the things these experienced teachers were talking about. I would rarely tweet simply because I was confused by all the abbreviations and conversations going on at the same time. I did really appreciate the topic though. We often talk about a Eurocentric literature world within schools and I think it’s a great idea to combine interpretations of students all across the world.

My opinion in terms of using twitter as a mode of communication for teachers remains a little bit shaky. I love the fact that a mass of people are able to join in on a single topic and converse. However I felt like there was a lot more breadth instead of depth in the conversations. I felt as if an idea would be brought up and would never get fully addressed or would be diverted from when someone else tweets something of a different nature. This could be due to the fast pace conversations or the limited word count. Overall I think it was a great experience and great tool for all future teachers.

New Picture (9)

Affinity Space – Passion City Church

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Originally, I was going to do my AS video on Pinterest but I felt really insecure in representing a space that I wasn’t fully familiar with. Therefore I decided to provide insight into the space of my church – Passion City Church (PCC). I have attended PCC for about a year and fully identify with the values and mission of the church. In creating this video I wanted people to get the idea that PCC is a modern, diverse, and global church. A major aspect of this space that I would like changed is the facilitation of interpersonal relationships. Since it is such a big space and encompasses a large body of people, it is hard to build relationships with other people at PCC. I would maybe suggest different programs that allow for more generating to be done by the general population and no solely the leaders in the church.

Movie Making Process

This was the first time that I had to film a screen capture. It actually wasn’t very hard using Screen Cast O Matic. I think being able to do this really enhanced the quality of my video because the church itself had some great clips that represented them well. I remixed these videos by splitting and trimming them so serve my purpose. The program I used was Movie Maker which was sufficient enough for all the editing I wanted to do. I simply combined these videos, pictures and my voice to make my video!

Connections

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Connections

Through this mapping process, I have visualized my individual network/personal community. However in order for my individual network to benefit me as an English teacher, there are a few characteristics Rheingold states that it should posses. Therefore, I am going to do a self analysis on my network based on Rheingold’s standards to see in what areas I need to improve.

The first trait Rheingold describes is being able to “act as an agent to cultivate personal learning networks.” As I look at my already established network, I can’t really say that any of those relationships were established because I went out and sought to improve my personal network. The majority of them are relationships that were handed to me through a circumstance and developed from that point. To further improve my personal community I should seek for more communities and be active in them to make me a more effective English teacher

The second trait Rheingold addresses is the size and diversity of networks. He states that the bigger a network is the more diverse it will probably be which will allow for a wide range of support to solve problems as a group. My personal network is not very big but is extremely diverse in all aspects. My ‘connections’ range in age, socioeconomic status, level of education, race, nationality, etc. I can work towards making my network even bigger and more diverse.

The third trait discusses the ability to work within different context and embracing the diversity as a positive aspect rather than an obstacle. The faster we understand the differences in other people the more effective our communication and ability to problem-solve will be. In my personal network, most members are flexible and can work within any context.

The fourth and fifth points address the ideas of trust and personal management. Essentially, for any group to function their needs to be trust. This may apply to the information they provide or suggestions they may have. However individuals also need to be able to manage what information they want to be public or private and which networks they want to share information with. My personal network does vary in terms of what type or relationships I have with the people; some are professional and some are casual. However I am very aware with what information gets to which people and effectively manage my relationships.

The sixth point addresses embracing technology. This is probably my weakest and most undeveloped trait. I do use technology to contact my established connections. However, it is not a tool that I use to find new networks and develop my own. In order to be a more effective English teacher I am going to have to make myself more familiar with technology and embrace the online communities.

Lastly, the ability to multi-task and manage personal time is important. Once I am able to manage my attention and use the internet as an actual resource and not simply browse, I will become a more effective networker and eventually benefit my students.

Collaboration

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 As a member of this era where I am empowered to participate in almost anything I want because of the internet and social media, I almost feel as if I have the tools I need to overcome the world. I have always been aware of all the options out there in terms of participation but I didn’t realize that there lay power in these methods. Rheingold sums it up by saying that “knowing how to blog, tweet, wiki…and/or organize online can lead to political, cultural and economic value.” The web is such a concentrated place that the forming of individuals with a similar interests can vastly and rapidly grow crossing any geographical or physical boundaries. By being able to connect whether it be through a RT on Twitter or a Like on Facebook these individuals are empowered by the support of others.

Other than collaboration and empowerment, a participatory culture also is described as liberating by Rheingold. It breaks down all the walls of “I can’t” into “I can.” This is done through showing people how to make their own music, movies, form of entertainment, etc and not limiting it to the professionals in those fields. It also allows for the sharing of these artistic creations and the development/critique by others. It is what made Justin Bieber who he is today. He simply shared his singing talent online and was turned into a superstar because of his popularity as an online celebrity.

However while reading this chapter I couldn’t help but think of the millions of people that don’t have access to internet and the differences they have with us. Are they truly crippled or less ‘able’ to participate because they aren’t involved in the online community? The participatory culture that Rheingold describes is, after all, limited to us privileged people that DO have access to the internet. Are we at an advantage because we are exposed to other people’s ideas, groups and input? I’m not quite sure about that but it is definitely something to think about.

This I Believe…was dreadful

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August 27, 2012

Today I explored different ‘how to’ videos on YouTube on how to make a movie. Considering the fact that I have never attempted making a movie on any program I literally am starting from scratch. Since I own a PC I have decided to use Windows Movie Maker and I found this helpful guy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sdte6mxMZzg). Through his YouTube channel I learned the basics of Movie Maker but I learned that I still had a lot of exploring to do. However his video did teach me how to ‘cut’ a video, add audio, and record my own voice. Now that I have SOME familiarity with a movie making program, I feel more comfortable with picking a topic.

Now how am I supposed to pick a topic? There are a lot of things that I believe in, but I am really trying to avoid making this video cheesy. To explore what I am interested in I started browsing through my facebook pictures. I figured pictures reflecting what I have done throughout my life would give me a hint of what I believe in. After my first few pictures I instantly knew what I wanted to do my video on – I believe in EXPLORING!

August 28, 2012

Initially when thinking of the idea of exploring I was thinking more along the lines of travelling. However, as I started saving all my facebook pictures that I wanted to use I realized that there is a lot more than travelling that I believe in. For example you can explore new types of food, new methods of transport or even new types of music. So I’ve decided that in my movie I’m going to discuss exploring in a broader sense.

August 29, 2012

Today I started making my video. I think I want the beginning of my movie to start off with an airplane taking off. The video that I liked the most from YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYITVxa7yPU) was taken from the view of a passenger. Then I started scrolling through my iTunes to see what songs I have about ‘exploring’ and I chose See the World by the Kooks. However when I lined the song up with the video I decided that most people won’t know that song and be able to relate to it so I decided to use I’ve Been Everywhere by Johnny Cash.

After I got my introduction all figured out I couldn’t quite decide on what order I should place my pictures. So today I started actually writing my essay. The biggest dilemma I faced was what sort of tone I wanted to create. I don’t think I want to be serious or sappy but it is always really hard to be funny. It is sort of a hit or miss situation. The tone I have adopted right now is comedic but I don’t know if I want to keep it.

August 31, 2012

As I was working on my movie today I started NOT liking my topic. I felt like it was too vague and hard to encompass. I might still stick with it in the end since I have already done quite a bit of work on it but I am also exploring other topics. Another idea that crossed my mind was ‘I believe in empowering sex workers in India.’ This might sound a little random but I did a high school research paper on sex workers in India and it really interested me. If I were to pick this topic I want to make sure that I’m clear in what I am supporting. I don’t necessarily support prostitution but I believe that everyone should be granted their basic human rights and empowered to have options. I will continue exploring this topic and see how it works out.

September 2, 2012

Today I officially decided that I am switching my topic to ‘I believe in empowering sex workers in India.’ I really liked my previous idea but I was having a really hard time writing an essay  about it. Now moving on to my new topic – I have already done all the research and written a paper on the topic so now I am just going to have to cut down my four THOUSAND word essay into a 500 word essay.

September 3, 2012

One thing I really wanted to do, when assigned this project, was use my own pictures. I didn’t like the idea of using pictures from Google that had no direct connection to me. However, I do not have any personal pictures concerning my topic so Google it is. I finished writing my essay and so now I am just finding pictures that match my words. The purpose of this video is to get people to think, empathize, and act on the issue.

Essay

The sex industry is one of the largest businesses in the world today. To many who are impoverished, the selling of their body provides a source of income in order to feed their families and themselves. Since this business requires no resources, other than human bodies, it is one that is prevalent in every region of the world. India has the second largest number of sex workers in the world. The sex industry is massive in India for several reasons: poverty, overpopulation, globalization, and the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Once these women and children are engaged in the sex industry, whether it is by choice or force, in a society where they aren’t respected or protected by the law, they are made vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, violence, and stigma.

Empowerment begins with education and education provides options. Although prostitution is not illegal in India, the sex workers are not protected by the law. Instead, they are abused and tortured by legal forced. Such criminalization and localized police raids in red-light districts have been linked to a decrease in condom use as the resulting scarcity of customers forces impoverished sex workers to agree to abusive or unsafe sex in order to support themselves.

Another big problem sex workers in India face is social stigma and discrimination. In several cases sex workers are chastised by their neighbors and are being forced to move out of their villages. Even worse, their kids aren’t allowed into the local schools simply because of their mother’s occupation. Discrimination prevents them from entering other livelihood options which results in them being limited to two livelihood options– working as a sex worker and begging. Thus, even if the women wanted to leave the sex industry, they couldn’t because they would not be accepted, not only by society but also by their families.

My name is Saba Rewald and I believe in Empowering Sex Workers in India

BOLD – Not in the Video

September 9, 2012

The project is ‘due’ in TWO days but no biggie, I just have to put a WHOLE video together. Luckily I have already somewhat learned how to use Movie Maker. The first thing I want to incorporate in my video is the testimony of a sex worker from this YouTube clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc6be7NvJWg starting from 9:03. I feel as if personal experiences move people more than any words that I could say. Next, I started organizing all the pictures I have gathered to match up with the words of my essay (this wasn’t too hard). After my pictures were dragged into Movie Maker (MM) I recorded myself on MM itself. In order to get the transitions to pace with my words I had to adjust the length of some images and add a few more. Overall, things seem to be coming together.

September 10, 2012

After watching my video again I decided that I didn’t like just hearing my voice. I picked the song Thistle and Weeds by Mumford and Sons to create an eerie atmosphere and enhance the seriousness of the issue. The only problem is sometimes the music takes away from my voice and I do not know how to edit that. Anyway, all I have left is the credits and learning how to save my WHOLE project as a video file itself.

September 19, 2012

I decided to do the credits on a Word document and ‘publish’ my video as it is so…here you go! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ-9S_1kssw&feature=youtu.be

Works Cited – I would like my students to use the latest MLA format

All of my images were either personal or found on Creative Commons except for…

Works Cited

2011. Photograph. Beirut Night Life, Beirut.

Beyond the Barbed Wire: Sex Workers in India Help Fight Sex Trafficking. Dir. Divinity33372. YouTube. YouTube, 27 June 2011. Web. 26 Sept. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc6be7NvJWg&gt;.

Since I have already published my video I am not sure how to reopen it and add a ‘Credits’ slide.

Parallel Composition

Having two elements to this ‘essay’ really changed the tone of the writing. When simply writing a paper, students are generally encouraged to use very formal language, not to use personal pronouns and so on. However, when you know this essay has to be turned into a video you want to make it entertaining which alters the tone and formality of the paper. Also I think in an attempt to make it entertaining, students may divert from the actual assignment and miss the content aspect of things. Furthermore, by making it a parallel composition students are allowed to work off of a range of stimuli. This broadens ideas, creativity and areas of interest. By being able to integrate several different aspects to portray something (other than just simply words), students may be led to further develop/express concepts that maybe wouldn’t make sense if it is just solely written out. Overall the idea of making a movie that parallels with an essay allows room for creativity but may take away from the discipline of writing a paper (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

Paying Attention to My Own Attention

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In doing the ‘experiment’ of paying attention to my own attention span while reading Net Smart, I learned that I am not very good at paying attention. Thirty dense pages of analytical evaluations on studies of our attention span shouldn’t be too hard to read, right? Nope. It only took me a total of 48 hours broken up by eating, sleeping, texting, facebook-ing, and other extremely important elements in my life. At moments, I would try to force myself to completely focus on the reading but my attention only lasted for ten minutes. According to my data sheet, I remained the most focused at the beginning of my reading sessions. As time progressed I got more and more distracted by my anxiety to finish so I started skimming and skipping. In line with what Rheingold states about our ability to stay focused, I feel as if I am a part of the internet generation that has become lazy and almost lost the ability to ‘search’ instead of ‘surf.’

However, Rheingold did clarify that distractions in and of themselves aren’t always negative. He states that if it weren’t for distractions “we wouldn’t hear the taxicab when stepping off the curb (pg 43).” The issue comes to play when we don’t know how to train ourselves to ignore unnecessary distraction when trying to accomplish a specific goal (in this case, finishing the chapter).

My biggest ‘distraction’ when reading Rheingold’s chapter on attention was definitely the urge to respond to a text/email/facebook post or anything related to social media. Even though I was aware that I needed to try to control my ability to get distracted I still felt this STRONG urge to check my phone whenever it vibrated.  Rheingold refers to this as an ADDICTION and refers to a study that biologically explains my obsession over checking my phone. Apparently a hormone called dopamine is released whenever there is a stimuli to respond to which explains my bodies urge to check my phone whenever it vibrated. This hormone is released for ALL stimuli but since social media is SO present in our lives these days it is clearly prevalent when our phones vibrate.

Although the human race seems to be slowly losing the ability to PAY ATTENTION there is still hope for all of us. Just as if we would go to soccer practice to get better at soccer, we can also do “simple exercises [to] increase our attention agility (pg 62).” On top of these exercises, the key to maintaining our ability to pay attention is mindfulness which involves being aware of paying attention on purpose (64). Maybe since there were fewer distractions ‘back in the day’ paying attention wasn’t so hard. However now that we are surrounded by distractions we need to ‘work harder’ or be more mindful of paying attention. Alongside more distractions comes more effort into paying attention!