Friday, August 31, 2007

adult literacy and communication literacies

Adult literacy isnt what it used to be: the advent of computer and communication technologies has had a significant impact on spelling. TXTng a message in SMS sets a max of 160 characters or less for each message sent/received.
This leads to significant changes in spelling and creative writing.
The combat against spam lead to obscure means for testing the humanity involved, u no the reading writing and recognze the human tests...
Today I learn "There are 600,426,974,379,824,381,952 ways to spell Viagra."
Brian Hayes
cites Rob Cockerham viagra/viagra.html
tho the link didnt work 4 me :(
Cockerham apparently gets this number from a combinatorial analysis. He starts by tabulating the various possible substitutions for each of the five letters V, I, A, G and R. For example, any the 12 characters I, i, 1, l, |, ï, ì, :, Ì, Î, Í or Ï might serve for an I. Considering just such one-for-one substitutions, Cockerham comes up with 3×12×17×2×3×17 variations, for a total of 62,424 spellings. Where do the rest of the 6×1020 possibilities come from? Cockerham observes that the spelling can also be altered by inserting extraneous characters into the word, as in V_i_a_g_r_a. Taking the basic pattern to be *V*I*A*G*R*A*, where each asterisk could be replaced by any of 192 printable characters, he multiplies 1927 by 62,424 to get the total cited above. (An addendum mentions a few more substitution possibilities, bringing the total to 1,300,925,111,156,286,160,896.)
Hayes suggests there are other compuations on this numbers game, but concedes the liklihood of over a million recognisable spellings dependent on context.

vi4gra v1agra vi@gra viagr@ v.i.a.g.r.a VIAGRA VI4GR4 etc etc etc
Such creativity, ingenious. The wonders of science, incredible.
We are shaped by nonhuman actors...

invoking a critical imagination

" Without imagination unidentified lives and situations will not become real to us and without becoming real, such lives are unlikely to engage our compassion. "
(Loewy, E. (1997). Moral strangers, moral acquaintance and moral friends Connectedness and its conditions. New York; state University of new york press.)
i have been considering what makes good teaching, and surely it is this:
1. the need to imagine what it is that students will need to know, in a future that I dont know.
2. the need to imagine what the life of a student is like, how to make the acquisition of knowledge and skill enticing, and memorable. Not as a need to know for an exam, but how to ground the learning in a practical way, a deep way.
3. to be compassionate, that the purpose is to make a difference not just for those i teach and learn with, but also for the community and the world we live in. To make such connections engaging and supported.

In contrast Biggs and Tang (2007) say:
OBTL in itself does not say how to align ILOs, TLAs and assessment tasks, only that they should be aligned. Constructive alignment provides the "how-to" by stating that the TLAs and the assessment tasks activate the same verb as in the ILOs.

Hello! say what?
i dont feel connected, i dont feel compassionate, considered or consulted.
I check my acronym conversion kit and discover:
OBTL is outcomes based teaching and learning,
ILO is the intended learning outcome,
TLA is the teaching and learning activity.
And discover we are on the same planet after all, 'sigh'

I was looking at this because i am also considering the funding application and in considering what things i have made a difference with previously- every time its this critical imagination.
email is what grown ups use, my daughter uses text, SMS, whats the better medium for providing access or entry to counselling for youth with crisis- i dont think its the Ministry of Health's approach. While they have an established web page on depression and advertising campaign, its not being used by young people. So add a page or add a new website.
i dont think its going to be whats needed.
Imagining seems a better starting point.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Reassembling the social

A structure for anting!
Some upfront advice to follow:
Notebooks x 4,
1. for keeping track on progress (this blog is notebook 1!)
2. data collect with attention to chronology
3. for writing, the clever ideas when they come!
4. for the response the actors have to being written

BTW: If any ants are reading this, I'd like to hear of your experience in doing ant research, I am not inclined to following steps such as these, is amassing the data while blogging the process not enough? I concede, a spot for clever ideas, quips, directions for the writing is probably not a bad idea, and there is potentially useful info to be had in monitoring the effects or responses to being written...
Have you followed this advice?
What suggestions would you make?

I am reassured that the type of question i am wanting to study sit well with Latour's ideas on ways to go about reassembling the social.
How to make sense of reality- what is the social made of?
and what is acting when we are acting?
And with regard to the sociological endeavour, or what matters in a sociology of the social: localize the global, redistribute the local, and connect the sites.

So, in the use of txting and e-counselling and message board postings for counselling:
What occurs that make this work possible?
And in as much as we think we shape the service/s, how does the form of such services, shape us- the actors involved.

And I am reassured that Latour is not anti a critical edge, that striving for political relevance to gain a critical edge is important. However the means of attaining this edge shouldn't be collapsed too soon, the connections need be paid in full, not presumed.

I want to make a difference!
The years of study 'should' do more than be time or space occupying.
I struggle with humility :(
I live in hope that my description should be rich enough that the story/s told and the reading/s made are more than modest witnessing. That 'something' that I have done/ will be doing "matters".

Back to this weeks processes:
1. ethics needs tidying and tightening up,
2. an appointment at Youthline on Friday, to progress a funding opportunity
3. a funding application to 'make a world of difference'.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Amazing Grace

Proving that I have a social life, i saw this film over a bottle of pinot noir. But even in my social life the PhD doesn't go away.
Reading Latour's 'Reassembling the social', has altered my vision so that everything is reconfigured in terms of actors and mediators.
Unfolding throughout the film was an exercise in change; What does it take to change the world but assemblages of actors. Please be warned: if you don't know the plot or the history of British politics of the time 1833, there is a plot spoiler coming. Although the film centre staged a major player in Witherford, there was also the rise of the PM Pitt the younger. The influence of the friends, Quakers (Clarkson) as well as those of other religious persuasion (Newton, previously a captain of a slave ship and later writer of the hymn Amazing Grace) as well as non religious or secular friends both political and otherwise, and people both black and white, and gendered. The multiplicity of factors that effect change was magically portrayed. The movement of Bills, not passed, the falling out of friendships for what seemed political mistiming. The apparent lack of influence of petitions and of sugar boycotts. And then the cleverness of the boring approach, the conniving to remove opposition and the attack surreptitiously made on the maintaining forces, the structures that stabilize current practice, that allowed slave ships to trade. Something here about preventing the use of flags carefully unattaching some of the scaffolding that sustained the slave trade by the removal of an actor- in this case the actor to use Latours description, is a flag. This move reduced the amount of slave trading that could occur, and this had a flow on effect that reduced the economic reliance on slave trading. A timing of parliamentary sittings reminiscent of Yes Minister, involved deliberately engineering non attendance by the opposition in an actual and psychological sense. Tickets elsewhere were freely provided and the proposal of a boring bill proposed by the most disarming and boring MP, told most boringly, and seemingly innoccuous. Is it just in history being dramatized, that the act can be seen as so powerful, and a clever ploy, presumed with deliberateness? And with the declining business of slave trading it then became possible to oppose slave trading when it was no longer the economic necessity it was previously seen as. The influence of other players; the writer of Amazing Grace, the song becomes an actor, the trace of an ex ship's captain reformed from slave trading who entered the church....
How much may or may not be constructed for the media. Certainly web sites for the support of Clarkson suggests his part was underplayed while Wilberforce was grandstaged. Nonetheless an entertaining exercise in the Latour's Reassembling the social: Fourth source of uncertainty. Groups are made, it is not political will or societal pressures that brought change, it is actors whose actions can be traced. And in the Fifth source of uncertainty the writings and tracings themselves have influence (eg amazing grace as song, and also where the film has continued influence on modern day slave trading).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

God made or man made

i struggle with such a title but mother nature, could also be placed here.
Are these memes?
I couldnt resist the contrast in imagery with my previous posting.
Feeding off the uncertainties, Latour proposes the imagery of spermatazoids that used to be considered obstinate little machos swimming forcefully toward the powerless ovule: are now attracted, enrolled, and seduced by an egg the agency of which is becoming so subtle now that it can select the good sperm from the bad.
(from fairy stories to science rendering women as passive)
Latour (in reassembling the social) is arguing that matters of fact are arguable, that there is an assembly of work required in maintaining or in moving factual beliefs. Matters of fact he more aptly renders as matters of concern, with their stabilizing mechanisms needing to be rendered (more) visible.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Meme, pronounced mem, "selfish meme"

I’ve been tagged!
I exist, yay.
Actually I let myself get caught. i asked for it, such a sad one.
An “8 Random Things About Me” meme.
(talks to self, aside: whats a meme, infectious viral thingy; sounds like STD' do I do the symbol thingy- save that for another day; tells self: I am not selfish, will play well with friends, if i had any....)

The rules are:
1) Post these rules before you give your facts
2) List 8 random facts about yourself
3) At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
4) Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged

So here are my 8 random things:

1. I dont know what a meme is, I think I'm meant to, seems i think i get a handle on it and then it mutates
2. Sometimes i get scared of what educators do to people
3. I am owned by two Siamese cats, Frodo is developmentally challenged, Rose is in charge.
4. I have two goldfish, one is incredibly demanding, bites at the side of the bowl to ask to be fed. I am not putting my hand in the water, he is incredibly aggressive (How do you sex a goldfish anyway????)
5. My first car Alice, was a triumph herald, shiny chrome, navy enamel, too high maintenance
6. I am currently reading Harry Potter instead of my PhD readings
7. I want vodafone to sponsor my PhD
8. I <3 web 2.0; involvement to a depth i choose, chasing delicious clouds, entering into learning what, when, and where I want to, and with whom i want to (assuming there on the net, and alive or at least tracings of their writings are).
9. My laptop wont keep a charge for more than 29 minutes :( This limits the learning where i want to...
10. I am culturally colonized; i like starbucks, my computer no longer holds a charge long enough to make it worth taking her there

Now time to play tag...
I dont have enough online blogging friends , but please if you want to play let me know