Reflections on EVO (2009 and later)

My first professional blog

Archive for February, 2009

Multiliteracies: Wordle

Posted by Mariel Amez on February 13, 2009

 Creating a wordle was exciting. Finding out a way to make it a post, time consuming!! I used PDF creator to “print” it as a JPG image, inserted each image in PPP, then uploaded at Slideshare, got the embed code. By the end I realised one title was missing: The second slide corresponds to “Country Lovers”, by Nadine Gordimer, at

I think this would be great to arouse interest in a story: look at the wordle and predict before reading. I am definitely going to use this tool.



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Multiliteracies Week Five

Posted by Mariel Amez on February 11, 2009

I am definitely behind schedule now, but worrying less.

Yesterday during the Second Life Elluminate discussion, one of the speakers referred to an article Vance wrote quite some time ago. On pp. 29-30, he refers to the metaphors for communication in

Scollon, Suzanne & Ron Scollon. 1982. RUN TRILOGY: Can Tommy Read? Paper presented at the symposium Children’s response to a literate environment: literacy before schooling, University of Victoria, October 9, 1982.

        These are the conduit and the berry bush. In the former, information is packaged for delivery by an originating entity and passed in linear fashion, as if along a conduit, to a receptor at the other end who receives and processes the information.  (…)  More suitable for CAI is berry-picking, a metaphor the Scollons borrowed from Atabascan culture. In the berry-picking mode of communication, the learner treats information as if it were berries on a bush. The teacher/facilitator arrays the information on the bush, and learners pick and choose what strikes them, stopping when sated and returning to the bush when hungry. (my emphasis)

So that is the firehose metaphor Vance used in his comment. That is exactly what this course is about: a giant bush filled with berries. I will try to pick up as many as possible, but I also need time to taste and digest them. I will change my approach now – besides, my holidays are officially over, and I am going to be short of time. But I can certainly say I have discovered a brave new world with incredible people in it.

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Posted by Mariel Amez on February 9, 2009

 I have found a very interesting discussion of Nings in Gabinete de, accompanied by a video explanation. Both of them are in Spanish, but several of the members of Multiliteracies are Spanish speakers so that should not be a problem.

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I believe this will be a good option for my classes. I have to use a  “private, closed” platform with most of them (institutional requirements) but I think the Ning will give me more flexibility.

I’ll update this post as soon as I get started with it.

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Microblogging (Part II)

Posted by Mariel Amez on February 9, 2009

I was going through Cristina Costa’s slideshare presentation, and I noticed that the following was listed among her favourites:

I’m including it here to remind myself  of the potentialities. 

At Jennifer’s suggestion I have also included a link to my Twitter account in the homepage to this blog.

I feel I need to explore other tools before getting deeper into Microblogging.  But let’s see where the journey takes me.


Part III (Februry 15th)

I found this presentation through Vance’s blog or delicious account (I’m not sure), and I loved it!

I’m going to follow the example of Historical Tweets to adapt to Literature lessons. What would Nick tweet Jordan after talking to Gatsby in Daisy’s garden? Examples would be endless…

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My wiki project

Posted by Mariel Amez on February 7, 2009

I mentioned earlier that I had started designing a wiki for FCE students to be used this year, as detailed in a post to Collaborative Writing.

One of the pages, which I called “Around the World”, includes 3 videos from

They are videos for the cities of Lagos, Nagasaki and Merida. My idea is that sts should first comment on the videos. The actual task is

Watch these videos made by students about their hometowns.
  •  Which of these cities would you like to visit? Why?  
  • Does any of these cities share features with Rosario?
 Tell us in the comments (try to use as much specific vocabulary as possible).

Then, they would write a script for our hometown collaboratively on a new wiki page. Depending on skill, time and tools available, this could develop into a video, or just be limited to a writing exercise.




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Wikis and EFL

Posted by Mariel Amez on February 5, 2009

I have made a posting in the Collaborative Writing blog including my views on this topic.

I have created a private wiki for my FCE class starting in March. I would appreciate your feedback, so if you can spare a minute, request access with reference to EVO09. Thanks in advance.

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Multiliteracies: Microblogging

Posted by Mariel Amez on February 1, 2009

I started reading on this topic from the Multiliteracies Ning forum, which enabled me to take a look at Jennifer’s blogpost and the wiki that Claudia recommended.

Somehow, I got to this other interesting blog post, with links, experiences and suggestions, and that led me to a teacher’s account of an experience with Twitter in the classroom, including quotes from students, before reading Vance’s.

The article Microblogging and Relevancy mentions

it could be argued that if information is not provided to students in a meaningful way, the students may or may not really grasp or understand the intention of the instructor.

This should be a paramount consideration. I dare say all my sts use text messaging, but I wonder how many are acquainted with Twitter. It is a fact many of them barely use their email account, and do not blog for personal reasons. So I believe we should tread softly, so as not to overwhelm them with technology. As Alan Lew puts it,

I think I had a higher number of student drop my university class last semester when they saw all the social software things I was going to introduce in the class. It worked for those who stayed with me (…)

After all this “reading about”, I felt it was time to have the hands-on experience, so I signed up for Twitter and started following some of the people here.

I’m stopping now. If you keep track of my contributions today, you’ll find I have been at it for 7 hours non-stop. I really need to get down to some housework…

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Multiliteracies: Week Two Seminal Viewing

Posted by Mariel Amez on February 1, 2009

This video consists of a  debate between David Weinberger and Andrew Keen on the implications of social classification. Both make interesting points mainly on the question of hegemony, democratisation and culture. I would like to comment on an issue mentioned almost in passing by Andrew, which is mostly how democratic is a medium that has so very few members, and whether we are going towards a new medieval age of oligarchy. The fact remains that millions in the world are illiterate by any standard, and even more millions are “multi-illiterate”, if I may be excused the coinage. Having said this, let me make it clear that I am not suggesting we should just sit and watch and mourn this fact. As educators we have a duty to develp multiliteracies in students. But I also believe we should not delude ourselves that “the world” has been empowered by social networking, folksonomies and the like, when it is clear that today, perhaps more than ever before, some are more equal than others.


Vance mentioned an article called Is Google Making us Stupid . At first I couldn’t find the link , so I googled it and found it, only to eventually find the link….

Our puzzlement as to “where should we publish” the tasks set for this seminar illustrates some of the points made in this article and also raised by David in the video: the way our neural connections have to be re-shaped and how we are used to clasifying “physical” rather than digital material. 

I must confess I worry about the place of poetry and literature in general in an information-laden society with no room for “quiet spaces”, as illustrated in the quote from Foreman’s essay:

‘the replacement of complex inner density with a new kind of self-evolving under the pressure of information overload and the technology of the “instantly available”.

Another issue worth considering is :

“The faster we surf across the Web—the more links we click and pages we view—the more opportunities Google and other companies gain to collect information about us and to feed us advertisements. “

And going on with the business-side, you many want to check  “The Economics of Giving It Away” , referred to by Andrew in his blog:

“Just as King Gillette’s free razors only made business sense paired with expensive blades, so will today’s Web entrepreneurs have to not just invent products that people love, but also those that they will pay for.”

Finally, Joel’s Multiple Literacies wikipage provides a remarkable discussion of the video, and extrapolates the issues to academic publication. I agree that the potential for wikibooks to be reviewed is definitely an advantage, but I also see his point about the scarcity of reviewers willing to do the job “for the joy of it”  in an atmosphere of  credentialism.  I have also seen a pervading “relaxation” of quality standards when a paper is meant for digital publication as opposed to a printed version, which I suppose is what Joel means when he says

“I’ve read a number of articles recently that really aren’t ready for being reviewed”.

We can only hope this practice will be modified as digital publication of academic articles becomes the norm rather than the exception.

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