Presentations at Conferences: The Year in Review at IDigItMedia

National Council of Teachers of English, Washington, D.C. Roundtable: The Intersection of Literacy, Sport, Culture, and Society. November, 2014. 

What does it mean to ground literacy instruction in a favorite topic?  Dr. Carolyn described what that intersection could look like in a talk called, “Not the Same Old Story: Student Discourse in a Sports and Popular Culture Course.” Reviewing a media literacy intervention as a method to enhance critical distance, she demonstrated how language skills can be imparted through critical discourse, visual, and digital media analysis. Students drew upon NAMLE core concepts of audience and authorship, messages and meanings, and representations and reality to become ready to delve into their own original multimodal compositions.

Northeast Popular Culture Association, Providence, RI. New England Studies Section. October, 2014.

Film draws upon many factors–genetic, social, and cultural influences as well as the built environment—to shape viewer perception and identification. Rhode Island has been the site for many film sets, and the ways that Rhode Island has been represented in film have ranged from portrayed spaces of great aesthetic and natural beauty to that of people with malicious motivations and predatory lifestyles.  Drawing upon social constructivist orientation to understand how the meanings people associate with physical landscapes carry differing ontological and epistemological perspectives, Dr. Carolyn presented a white paper titled, “Not for Nuthin’: Rhode Island Films and the Sense of Place,” to describe how a sense of place in film is congruent with or reinforces Rhode Island identity.

Rhode Island Writing Project, Providence, RI. March, 2014 

Dr. Carolyn led a workshop in which participants followed students’ multimodal writing progress and wrote themselves in a session called, “Modeling the Digital Writing Workshop.”  They tracked progress from frontloading learning events, to online persona advertising analysis, to a digital composition with hyperlinks, audio/ video, and visual analysis. Participants learned how digital writing is more than just a skill; it is a means of interfacing with ideas and with the world, a mode of thinking and expressing in all grades and disciplines.

National Council of Teachers of English, Boston, MA. November, 2013. 

What happens when high school students meet theory? Do they rebel, regurgitate the teacher’s ideas, or relish a new opportunity?  How can teachers create meaningful literacy structures through teaching about theory as a way to interpret texts? Dr. Carolyn helped an audience to conceptualize answers to those questions by modeling “Online Personas: Advertising Analysis.”  She argued that theoretical analysis through online personas offers students low stakes practice in critical writing.

National Council of Teachers of English, Boston, MA. November, 2013.

How can critical literacy praxis create meaningful composing opportunities for students?  In “(Re)Creating Ibsen’s A Doll’s House through Critical Literacy,” Dr. Carolyn traced how, through multimodal research presentations, online discussion boards, acting company performances, inside/outside circle collaborations, and poetry slams, students can grapple with social, historic, and cultural contexts and reconcile issues of gender, socioeconomic class, and identity.

Northeast Popular Culture Association, Burlington, VT. October, 2013. 

Sociocultural processes shape and anchor individuals within specific moments of social reality.  Dr. Carolyn offered a white paper titled, “’Electrifyingly Cool and Sexy:’” The Cultural Politics of Speed in Ron Howard’s Rush” and posed several questions about the film’s depiction of masculinity.  Did producer Howard target the fearless mindset of the title contenders, their single-minded determination to win, and their teams’ elite technical engineering? Or did he reproduce Hollywood’s ritualistic pulses of insatiable sex and violence against a backdrop of speed and spectacle? The presentation offered a practical application of sports and theory as embedded in contemporary film.

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