Friday, June 19, 2015

Jurassic World: No Piles of Shit Here

In the trailer for Jurassic World, when I first saw Chris Pratt riding through the jungle on a motorcycle miraculously avoiding any bumps or turns (as if he was riding a fake motorcycle on a rail) and not reacting to the four raptors running alongside him with even a glance (as if they were CGI), I was pretty convinced that Universal just took a bigger shit than the Triceratops in Jurassic Park. But then I actually watched Jurassic World, a film that recognizes audience expectations and uses them to its advantage, making this self-aware and self-deprecating film a monster movie success.

Monday, January 12, 2015

An Ecocompositionist’s Starter Library (7List)

Derek Owens writes that “the environment’ has taken a back seat to race, gender, and class, and this disparity illustrates a lack of awareness that must be addressed, for matters of social justice are largely matters of sustainability as well” (xiii). As language teachers, we are too often sidetracked with issues of social ideology and identity and the moral crises these seem to elicit when we discuss language teaching practices.

Sidney I. Dorbin’s description of ecocomposition illustrate how various iterations of ecological thought can help reposition writing as an ecologically emergent system of meaning making, not simply a social construct. “Ecocomposition asks that we examine relationships with other texts, discourses, other organisms, environments, and locations, that is, ecocomposition posits that writing is an activity that affects not only other writers and readers, but the total relations of discourse to its organic and inorganic environment” (20).

Monday, November 3, 2014

My Reaction to Second Life

General Reaction
One of the things that made Second Life revolutionary for its time was that it removed traditional game elements while maintaining the play elements inherent in everyday human development. What makes Second Life move past the everyday is its ability to compress space-time so that we can interact with people all over the world instantaneously. Plus, those interactions are enhanced by our imaginations ability to shape virtual environments, cultural trends, identity, and social norms to our will.

Teaching Application
Second Life can be used in a variety of educational contexts. For international communities, people could meet in the same physical space who otherwise wouldn't have the resources to do so or students in remote villages could have online classes with a teacher in another country. Also, instead of teaching novels limited by linear storytelling, we could encourage students to interact with a Second Life "holonovel" that allows their imaginations to not simply contemplate but co-create emergent narratives and dynamic cyberdramas.

Gender and Identity
Being able to take on a different persona that is not limited by our physical shell can bring the problem of identity to the forefront of a classroom discussion. Appearance does matter in the real world and can often distract from the ideas that an individual person represents. In Second Life, someone can create the ideal version of themselves in both their physical appearance and they way they interact with others.

Other Issues:
  • Simulated Environments
  • Games Space versus Learning Space
  • Technical Problems and Limitations
  • Research Possibilities