ePortfolio Reflection

I did not have the experience I expected I would have in this summer course. This is due to outside interference with loans and financial aid. However, in this small margin of time in which I have made drastic efforts to complete the necessary work that I could, I still feel as if my writing has improved somehow. I think my first few blog posts, especially this one, were not as organic as my later posts. I think it is pretty cool how a certain writing assignment actually caused me to stop and realize that the style I was using to present my opinion in earlier posts was not from the heart. I was trying too hard to dress up my vocabulary by using complex words. It would be to the point where I would keep using that same exact word multiple times, because I was trying my hardest to avoid using the simple version of the overused word. I would talk myself in circles and repeat the same idea many times in one paragraph. Further down the line, I understood that such vocabulary is not needed because it doesn’t reflect the writer’s personality. If one wishes to really get a point across, they have to use vocabulary that is typical for them to use everyday. It shows that they very much do understand the topic and can give a heartfelt answer. I understand that I use some form of humor to present information to someone. It helps me present that information as accurately as I can because it reflects my personality. Once I can frequently do so, then my writings will improve greatly! I sincerely credit this course in helping me realize this strategy.

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Donzel University

T.I. Smart

I can relate to much of the content featured in David Bartholomae’s Inventing the University article. I have had many experiences in which I have used much sophisticated vocabulary to get a point across, While it sounds great and can give a writing a prestigious stature, it can also come off as forced and artificial. Teachers usually understand that students don’t use this sort of vocabulary when they are casually speaking to a teacher. Relatively, when teachers hold conversations among one another, they do not speak to each other as if it is an informative essay. Us as students mainly utilize this kind of vocabulary in our writings because it makes us feel as if we are now competent enough to enter the professor’s realm. However, we are not professors. We are mere pupils, and us trying to jump up to the level of the professor by altering our writing does not result in creating an organic work. That is why this kind of English course is one that I hold in high regard. It gives us a chance to come as we are and create writings that mask who we are as people. Our blogs represent our personalities. We are not bending over backwards to portray someone that we are not just so we can satisfy the terms of a prompt. We get a chance to be somewhat on the same level of our professor and in many ways teach her a thing or two as we introduce a new way of thinking. Introducing something new comes with presenting it as we would in a regular setting, rather that putting on an overly-studious facade that diverts from our actual personality.

Are Pixels Better Than Pencils?

laptop-vs-pen

Dennis Baron’s essay, “From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technology” he explains how the various tools of technology have evolved overtime. These very tools have also shaped and literacy into what it is today. Baron also does so by drawing a parallel between a humanist and technology. He points out the fact that humanists have a certain stigma, one that cause many people to suggest that they spend little to no time utilizing technology, since it is not a focal point of their ideology. Baron also goes on to point out why the pencil is still an example of advanced technology. He also reveals that Henry David Thoreau’s attitude toward modernized instruments such as the telegraph was one of displeasure. His account of Thoreau’s determination to improve the pencil leads to that of how both the telephone and computer altered the face of literary technology. With all the advancements made with typography methods, David Baron concludes by saying that even the stubborn Henry David Thoreau would have no choice but to type his frustrations about the newly developed information superhighway on a computer, rather that writing them down with his favored pencils.

I understood why one would be against using a tool that just quickly and easily printed letters out. This method eliminates the possibility for a script to standout and be unique. When typewriters were introduced, they only came equipped with a uniform type. This universal style made many writings seem the same and it made it difficult for one to understand the writer’s mood. Handwritten notes give a writing piece much more personality. There are even websites dedicated to matching a person up with a possible personality based on their writing style. That being said, it makes sense as to why a person would be against the invention of a machine like the typewriter, as it calls for little to no diversity among writers’ styles. I was always puzzled about how one could write Chinese or Arabic script so easily. I find such scripts to be much more pleasing to the eye than the Greek Alphabet, and most of the reason is because they are foreign to me. But I feel that if I was one of those responsible for writing sacred scripts, taking nearly a lifetime to get every stroke right and then witness my descendants doing so by effortlessly pressing a key, I’d be HIGHLY upset! That could have possibly also been the case for Henry David Thoreau!

Baron’s claim that the telephone violated his family’s privacy is an interesting point. He states that, “Of course the telephone was not only a source of information. It also threatened our privacy.” The fact that one could converse with another person from miles away in a matter of seconds was a marvelous feat. However, when you factor in the ability for any random person with access to a phone to reach you at anytime of day or night even, it can also be a tool that welcomes very terrifying situations. There was no call waiting back then. The recipients of a phone call had no idea who the person was calling them until that person addressed themselves. There was a time not too long ago where I had received several calls from various unknown and unsaved numbers and was too afraid to paranoid to answer them. But living in a time period where it is easy to weed out the familiar callers from the strangers, I can only imagine the paranoia that may have lingered around households back then as people answered the phone with no indication of who it was calling them.

David Baron also spends time talking about the ability for people to edit images using computer software. If you are heavy on social media like I am, then I am positive you have seen some kind of photoshopped meme each time you are on it. Digital imaging is something that I take part in as well. Usually for some kind of humor, but I am also motivated to create something that wows me, something that I initially felt I had no ability to create. Me being born during a time when the Internet was already invented, I have not many arguments against this advanced technology. I was raised with it. I did not live in a time where there was no such thing as the Internet. In conclusion, I plan to use my laptop in honor of Henry David Thoreau from now on (I joke, I joke).

What Is MY Take on the Introduction?

Let me start by saying this. I had to actually read the book’s introduction a good 5 or 6 times to get any sort of grasp on what it’s central point is, let alone how it changed my ideas on literacy. In my blog post before this one, I limited my idea of literacy strictly on typing methods and how the Internet has created a plethora of subcultures around the world. However, this chapter contains much more content than that. I thought the Literacy Development topic in this chapter was a very beneficial one for  me in understanding the American method of developing language. The fact that Jean Piaget’s theory on cognitive development was one that matched my upbringing towards reading and writing. My parents always tell me that I was first reading as early as 16 months. My father especially aided me with reading. I remember hearing how he sounded out words and he would say it enough for me to match it up with the word he was pointing to. I don’t even think I knew the full alphabet at this point. I definitely remember even being able to pronounce the complex name “Chevrolet”. Sometimes sounding out a word by looking at the letters in it does not help to correctly pronounce the word. It took my father’s repetitive pronunciation of “Chevrolet” for me to effectively learn how to say it. I had no idea what the word meant or what it represented, I just knew how to say it. When I think more and more about it, my reading developed much like that of a child named Mira. Even though this is a very reliable method of developing speech, it is just a skeleton. Sounding out a word based on its spelling is definitely a tool utilized in the “building-block” learning method used decades ago. Young children here utilize a more in-depth method of literacy as they begin to learn more about print and what sounds certain letters make. Either way it goes, American literacy is one that is very fun for a child to learn if the the person teaching is very engaged in the readings.

Literacy is…

If you look up the definition of literacy, it is simply the ability to read and write. The word “literacy” is one that has an origin from as far back as the late 19th Century. Of course, the meanings for this word have severely varied since then. There have been many events and movements that have occurred since that time period that have changed the face of literacy. Many different outlets for writing have been created. Simply just using a pencil and paper is not the only method for one to utilize literacy today. In fact, it may not even be the primary method method for such a utilization anymore. Even in schools, some teachers call for online-based curriculum. I am in an English course right now that calls for little to no writing with a pencil. People send text messages, e-mails, post statuses via many social network platforms. With that being said, literacy is a much broader topic than ever now. It is not just about a group of people being from the same region or being a part of the same race. Social network alone is responsible for a surplus of various social groups. It has become much easier for people to understand other cultures around the world due to the rapid speed of the Internet. Social media has brought groups of people together due on their shared admiration for a particular musician, sports team, actor, or even fictional character!  These groups have also developed their own terms or codes used among them that others outside cannot comprehend. Yes, literacy still requires the ability of reading and writing. But in the 21st Century, literacy is much more than just an ability. It is an essential tool for living life.

Our Interactive Web (2013)

This is a web we worked on during Weeks 10 and 11, I believe. It consists of a central enthymeme and several points surrounding it. It also includes our responses to those points as well. We put some illustrations on the web in order to give it a more appealing and vibrant look.  This web displays the various points surrounding American farmers’ unsatisfying views toward the purpose of the 2013 Farm Bill. I truly do apologize for the blur on the photo.131108-131539

Annotated Bibliography (2013)

These sources provide information regarding the Farm Bill and its changes. The farm bill was designed to cater solely to the well being of agriculture. But as of late, 80 percent of the bill as gone towards aid towards families who receive food stamps. There are officials that wish to have the farm bill’s priorities changed from is current purpose to serving only the people of farming environments. These three sources elaborate on what steps are taken to achieve such a goal.

Boles, Corey. “Cantor Weighs Splitting Food Stamps from Farm Bill; House Majority Leader Gives ‘Serious Consideration’ to Separation to Revive Failed Measure.” Wall Street Journal (Online) 27 Jun. 2013. ProQuest. Web. 16 October 2013 .

This source basically gave an overview of the the disagreements over the farm bill. It looks as if the article was aimed at people with a more agricultural background. It provided many statistics and percentages, but it was a pretty straightforward report overall.

Francisco, Brian. “Farm bill stance costs Stutzman leadership post.” The Journal Gazette. 17 Sep 2013. Web. 20 October 2013.

This source talked about the sacrifices made by Representative Marlin Stutzman as a result of opposing a bill. It was a more local source and it was targeting the residents of Indiana. There were many quotes included in the article and they proved to bring more credibility to the topic of the source.

Jones, Susan. “Cantor: GOP Food Stamps Bill Says Able-Bodied People Should Work.” CNS News. 20 Sep. 2013. Web. 16 October 2013.

This was a great source overall. It reported House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s intent on creating the Food Stamp bill. This news article proved to be a credible source for my project as it not only provided quotes made by Cantor, but it also gave a video of him actually stating his views on the American employment situation as well. Statistics were also provided in the source. This article had to be targeted at those with Republican views.