I took a step...so enjoy the fall...Week One

This week was my first soiree into the world of digital alchemy and I must say...I'm intrigued. I had heard other students, and my professors, mention #netnarr before, but at that time it was nothing more than word I didn't know. It sounded fancy and intimidating...and it is! BUT, it is also exciting!

I am currently typing this as I work my way through the labryinth, bravely preparing to face any minotaurs that come way, and although I am no Theseus, I can't help but think that maybe this is my hero's journey. "How so?" you may ask. Let me take you down the rabbit hole....

I started graduate school because I have a love for writing and creating. I fashioned myself the little alchemist as a girl, not with mixing potions, but loving anything that had to do with magic! I'm intrigued by it! And like most girls my age, I thought that at eleven I would get my letter from Hogwarts, whisking me away for training. Or that at sixteen, my two eccentric aunts would come for me to tell me that I am actually a witch destined for great things!

None of that happened. And as I grew up, I vowed to never lose that childlike sense of wonder and imagination. So I write, just for me. But also like any girl my age who is growing up, I have had to ponder what to do with my life and I found my passion in teaching!

I was fresh out of college with all these ideas I thought were brilliant! But as a teacher, I learned quickly that the profession isn't trending much toward creativity. Those who think they know better have imposed laws and standards that strongly limit what we can achieve. I felt stifled. And a little uneasy about this being the next forty to fifty years of my life. Even though I love it, I was afraid of feeling stagnant.

So I decided to go to graduate school! It was something I was doing for me. I have always loved writing, and even if I never become published, I will always write. But my goal is to have a passion outside of my job, aside from cooking and drinking wine, that leaves me feeling fulfilled. This class in particular peaked my interest and I am very curious about spreading my wings in this new environment.

But a second reason I took this class, is to learn how to be creative online and how to live more in that space. In my district, technology is valued. So much so, that to the students, I think it's lost its luster. They take it for granted. And I think because of this, I fight it a little. Pen to paper is my weapon of choice. They hand-write their essays before they type them. Their phones must stay in their lockers. At twenty-eight years old, I find I have more of the old school mentality, that worked just fine for me!

But I'm also not naive, and I know the world is changing. What I've learned is that, while the way I learned worked fine for my generation, these kids just don't learn that way! Their brains have evolved differently by thirteen then mine was.

So my hope with this class is to learn how to be creative online, how to teach them to question what they read, and to question it intelligently! Because in a world were there is so much Fake News, and the world is at their finger tips, I hear them say, "just search it up" which is nails on a chalkboard to me. They take everything at face value, and even if they do question a source for a second, their attention spans are so limited that they move on before the follow through. We need to fix this.

So thank you for falling quickly down my rabbit hole! But before I continue through the labryinth and continue setting up my resources for our class, I wanted to share a game I played last night, and forced my husband to play again this morning. It's an app, probably created by a millennial, named "Akinator". There is a magic genie who tells you to pick a real-life person or a character, and then you essentially play 20 Questions. I first picked Rory from Gilmore Girls, fairly confident that I would outsmart this game. I didn't. My friend then picked Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries, to which we also lost to the genie. We had said both of these names out loud, and remembering all we talked about on Tuesday, how if I look up a shoe brand on Instagram, I am then bombarded on Facebook with ads for that designer along with similar looking shoes, I was alarmed! The phone heard me! So we decided to go more in depth, and I whispered the name "Salem" the robotic cat in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and the genie was successful. My friend typed into the notes section of her phone, Arthur, and the freaking genie got it correct. I typed into my phone "Thresh" from The Hunger Games, an insignificant character made significant for a hot second when he spares Katniss's life. And drum roll please......the genie was victorious once more. Now I don't know what any of this means. If their algorithms are just that good or what. But it got me thinking about privacy and big brother. And while I do not know how the game did it, I am very much in awe and very much alarmed.

See you next week!


  1. Your mission to creative work in online spaces dovetails nicely with the work that is done here at NetNarr and its cousin, DS106, and other spaces. All rabbit holes have the sense of tumbling, but you can always make your parachute on the way down -- through music, art, words, stories, poems, whatevers. Happy to connect with you.

  2. Hey Alice, the rabbit hole is an excellent place to be! You find amazing things along the journey (hopefully this time around the jar of orange marmalade will not be empty) and at the end there will be a key and a little bottle that says, "Drink me." Go ahead! DS106 and NetNarr are the perfect places to explore. Have fun connecting!


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