Tag Archives: social media

Critically Reading Selfies


The term ” Selfie” was officially added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013. People all around the world have been turning their phone camera around to capture themselves in a moment. Many people believe that our selfies reveal a lot about us. It is for this reason Professor Marino from University of Southern California has created an assignment for his students to critically read their selfies. His assignment is titled Know Thy Selfie 🙂 Marino believes that selfies help us analyze our identities because “each selfie bears information that can be used  to read our identity  characteristics: our race-ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and socio-economic status.”

The Assignment:

Write a thesis-driven essay in answering the prompt:

How do your selfies produce or obscure a sense of your identity?

1. Take or choose 5 selfies of yourself. You may be alone or with another person, but try to make sure you are a central and large part of the photo. All of the selfies should be different.

2. Examine your selfies for your performance of
Socio-economic staus

3. Consider these identity characteristics independently and as they intersect.

Some questions for reflection as you prepare your response.

What in your selfies is accurate?
What is obscured or ambiguous?
Does the image portray one identity trait more than others?
Where do the images place you in the spectrum of possibilities for each characteristic trait — for example, more or less feminine or masculine?
How might different audiences perceive the images differently?
How is the viewer addressed in the image?
How do your selfies play off other well-known images? How do they play off each other?
What is the apparent context of this image? How does that affect how it might be read?

Read more about ‘Know Thy Selfie’ assignment here:

View at Medium.com

Faking It

On her CBC radio show The Current, Anna Maria Tremonte discusses  the growing phenomena of faking our way to cultural literacy. A 2013 study based in the U.K. reported that “more than 60 per cent of people living in the U.K. pretend to have read classic books they’ve never actually read.” Faking cultural literacy has become easier  than ever because of the rise of social media. Picking up information on a book or movie has become very easy with apps like twitter or facebook.  Alexandra Samuel, vice-president of social media at a marketing firm, attributes faking cultural literacy to our need as humans need to fit in. He says, “We have, as a species, the need to create social bonds with people who we want to be like. People try and identify with a group they see as positive and then reinforce the qualities of their own that connect them with that group.” Belshaw, educational researcher, believes that faking it has become part of being culturally literate or “a way of understanding the world,” but he warns, “we need to make sure that we are not naive about the structured interests behind the technology we use.”


To listen to the entire show, click below:


Bloom’s Taxonomy Meets the Digital World

One of the students in my (Clare’s) graduate course shared a version of Bloom’s Taxonomy which is linked to Web 2.0 tools. Although I have long had concerns about Bloom’s Taxonomy (using it like a checklist) I found this model interesting.


Bloom's Taxonomy

If you go to this site you can click on each tool:


I found this interesting and it got me thinking about how Web 2.0 tools range from glorified paper and pencil tasks to far more intellectually challenging work. Take a minute to click on the link above and then click on the programs. The pyramid was created by Samantha Penney: samantha.penney@gmail.com.

What’s on a good research project site?

I (Clare) thought this post about a research blog would be relevant for our research blog. Terrific suggestions lots of which I will follow.

The Research Whisperer

Old Story (Photo by Place Light | www.flickr.com/photos/place_light) Old Story (Photo by Place Light | http://www.flickr.com/photos/place_light)

It seems to be the done thing these days to have a webpage about your research project.

In fact, I think it’s fair to say that it’s considered an increasingly essential part of research engagement and dissemination, and – really – it is so easy to set something up these days.


Well…yes and no. (Stay with me, I’m a humanities scholar and that’s how we answer everything)

I had a great chat recently with a researcher who was wanting to set up an online presence for his project. Part of the task of this presence was to recruit subjects for his PhD study.

It was a valuable conversation for him (or so he tells me…!) and also for me, because it clarified our perceptions of what was necessary, good, and ideal.

What I’m talking about in this post isn’t focused on what specific funding bodies…

View original post 889 more words

Using Pinterest in the Classroom

While wedding planning, I (Pooja) used Pinterest, the social media application, for the first time. People from all over the world create and share virtual pin boards. These pin boards are a collection of one’s interests essentially. It’s a great way to gather, organize, and share ideas. It has become very popular for cost-saving DIY (do-it-yourself) ideas for events like weddings, birthday, showers, etc.

However, I recently cam across an article which highlighted ways in which university instructors are using Pinterest in their higher ed courses. Below is an infographic explaining how it is being used (in the U.S. context):

Source: http://www.edudemic.com/guides/the-teachers-guide-to-pinterest/

10,000 Hits and Counting

Today marks a milestone for our blog. We had our 10,000th hit! Wow! I (Clare) started Pooja Dharamshithis blLydia and Cliveog in January as a way to share our research and it has grown beyond my wildest dreams. For a little education blog we now have 126 followers and visitors from around the world. My research team – Cathy, Yiola, Lydia, Pooja, and Clive – have faithfully written such interesting posts that I have learned much from them and about them. Thanks team. Thank you to our guest bloggers – Monica, Shelley, and Gisela – for enriching our site. And a huge thank you to Arif who has helped with the technical parts of the website and for his guidance in creating a dynamic Cathy Miyatablog.

Yiola CleovoulouI would never have thought that blogging could be such a rewarding form of writing. I have learned much about this genre of writing and enjoyed searching for topics that I hoped would be of interest to others Thank you to all of our regular blog readers and followers whose regular visits motivated us to keep on going. We regularly get feedback from readers on our site. Thanks readers for your compliments and feedback. We read every comment and appreciate the time you take to write to us.

So a shout out to social media for making this blog an international adventure focused on literacy and literacy teacher education.IMG_7907[3]

Can you find your cat?

An article from the Toronto Star caught my attention it features the website I Know Where Your Cat Lives. Owen Mundy, an associate professor in digital media art at Florida State University, developed the website in an effort to highlight potential privacy concerns related to the use of public websites. Mundy collected one million cat photos with geographic data embedded from public photo sharing sites (e.g. Instagram, Flickr) and placed the photos on a world map. The motivation behind the project came about when Mundy realized that photos of his young daughter had been posted online with embedded geographic co-ordinates pinpointing the location of his backyard. He then thought “What’s the closest thing people have to them that they photograph that’s like a child, but not as scary as mapping someone’s child? That’s a cat.” Mundy’s web project is meant to illustrate the substantial amount of personal data individuals share, often unwittingly, when they post photos on social media sites.

Link to Toronto Star Article:


Trivago Guy: Hot or Not?

It is interesting observing what captures the public’s interest. I (Clare) was inundated with Trivago Guycommercials for Trivago during the World Cup and the Winter Olympics. The commercial features a middle-aged man advertising the amazing features of Trivago (a travel website). I commented to Clive that I thought he was cool and much to my surprise he replied he thought he looked a little seedy. In the Globe and Mail today Sarah Hampson has a whole article on Tim Williams the Trivago Guy.Social media is buzzing about him with some saying he looks like he sleeps in his car (not good for a travel website) while others wonder about his small waist and beltless jeans. She notes that: “good or bad, Trivago Guy has people talking which is a measure of successful advertising campaigns.” Social media has catapulted Trivago Guy into fame.

Los Del RioIn the Toronto Star today there was an article about another unlikely media “darling” the Spanish duo Los Del Rio who sang the embarrassingly corny song, Hey Macarena. “They hit the jackpot in colossal fashion with one of the most infamous songs of all time” that became a staple for “every single wedding, sporting event, bar mitzvah, and other large social gathering on the planet.” Why did this happen? (and without social media).

What is the appeal of Trivago Guy or two “decidedly unfashionable middle-aged gents” crooning?  I am not sure but it sure is fun watching for the next hot “thing.” I think teachers could have a great time discussing with students who and what captures the public  interest. It would be interesting to hear teenagers’ views on Trivago Guy!


How do you Know What To Blog About?

I (Clare) recently did a presentation to a group of teachers on a self-study I conducted with Connecting PeopleLydia Menna and Shawn Bullock on our efforts to integrate digital technology into my literacy methods courses. (Here is the powerpoint from that presentation. BERA + ECER-DT 2013in Dropbox) I talked about my initiatives which led to me showing how my efforts in my literacy teaching led to a greater use of digital technology in other parts of my life (e.g., using NVivo for data analysis). The success of my initiatives with my teaching gave me the confidence to take the plunge to do a website. My technical skills had improved and my identity shifted so that I now see myself as “digitally competent.” During the presentation I showed our website and one of the participants raised an interesting question: How do you get ideas for your blog? He recounted how he wanted to do a blog but did not know what to write about. I told him to just start! I believe that writing a blog is a different genre – it requires different writing skills than other forms of writing. Since we started this blog, I feel that my blog-writing skills have improved. I now focus on one topic in a blog; I am more comfortable sharing my insights; I will raise questions; I make links to other resources; and I no longer feel the blog needs to be perfect  (so what if there is a typo. We will survive.)  Blogging seems to have captured my interest and is a good match for me ( I have lots to say about education) and it is fun.  I keep a Word document with blog ideas which is always plentiful and when I come across something “interesting” one of my first thoughts is – Would that make an interesting blog? This thought is followed by – Would others be interested in this topic/issue? Doing our blog as a “team” has truly been the way to go. I have learned so much from the posts by my team (Cathy, Lydia, Pooja, Clive and our guest bloggers) about them personally and professionally. And their blogs give me ideas about what to write about.

I really see our blog as connecting with the broader education community which is social media at its best. Blogging is good for me because it gets me thinking critically and hopefully, our posts are of use to our readers.