INTE 5340: Week Six

Daily Create: Those Car Selfies Though

TDC 1647: C64 Yourself. So I’m pretty sure selfies weren’t a thing back when Commodore 64 was big, but then again, neither was I!

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TDC 1648: Do Your Most Serious, Critical Face Selfie. So I basically can’t do critical faces because I just end up looking like an angry little kid and it just doesn’t work out. This was about as close as I got!

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See the resemblance?

DS106 Visual: New Perspectives at New Belgium

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Welcome to my second DS106 visual assignment, That’s Not What I Expected.

“Take a close up picture of something as see if people can guess what it is.”

The Process 

Back in April, I went on a tour of New Belgium Brewing with a couple of friends up in Fort Collins. It’s fun and totally free! Plus they give you lots of free beer and it’s only a few blocks away from Old Town, where you can hang out after and get something to eat. The first time I toured New Belgium, I had forgotten my DSLR camera, so I made sure to bring it this time and capture the brewery’s simple beauties. I use a Canon EF 50mm prime lens for a lot of my photographs, and I love it because it looks so professional. With a maximum aperture setting of f/1.8, I can achieve an incredibly shallow depth of field that puts the subject in detailed focus while blurring everything else out.

The Story

So what’s with this rusty metal pole thing with an upside down New Belgium decal on it? I’ll give you a hint: it’s the front of a bike frame. Okay, that wasn’t a hint, I just totally gave it away. But there’s a story to this, and it’s not my story but rather the story of Jeff Lebesch, founder of New Belgium. The year was 1988, and Jeff was riding his mountain bike through the villages of Europe to get inspiration for home-brewed beer. Local citizens had never before seen a mountain bike, and they were always pointing out the guy riding around on the bike with the “fat tires.” Can you guess what Jeff named his first amber? That’s right. New Belgium brewing began with a brown dubbel named Abbey and a balanced amber named Fat Tire, and with the help of his wife, Kim Jordan, Jeff launched a 20-year career in the art of brewing. To this day, the bike has been an iconic symbol for New Belgium, and everywhere throughout the brewery, you’ll find bikes and bike parts hanging on the walls, suspended from the ceilings, and upside down on racks.

Reading Response: The World, Socialized

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When I was growing up, I was always told I was smart. In middle school, I knew all the countries in Europe and their capitols, memorized 300 digits of pi, and got straight A’s. As a child, I was a bookworm, a math whiz, a science geek. But now that I’m an adult, I go about my everyday life and I don’t think I’m as smart as they said I was. Today, I lack the ability to recognize faces, read people, and express sympathy. I have a lot of trouble assessing situations, making quick decisions, and understanding what people say to me in conversation. I’m not trying to be self-critical, but I’m aware that there’s a deep divide between what I know factually and how I connect with people. I am what they call “book smart” and not “street smart.”

In “Social Learning, ‘Push’ and ‘Pull,’ and Building Platforms for Collaborative Learning, Colin Lankshear and Michelle Knobel present the importance of social learning, or learning by interacting with people. Basically, the importance of being street smart. Learning is more than just regurgitating facts and memorizing formulas—it’s connecting with others and gaining knowledge through hands-on experience. Society tells us that if you don’t go to college, you’ll never make it. How is it, then, that so many successful people either never went to or never finished college? The first people we probably think of are Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, and they might just be exceptions to the rule, but think about our mechanics, technicians, and military personnel. Many of them never went to college, and yet they know how to apply their skills in a variety of situations with ease. Apparently, college isn’t everything. I know it’s ironic for me to say this because most of us are in this class to get our Master’s degrees, but just because I have a degree in something, doesn’t mean I’m good at it. It means I passed the courses with sufficient enough grades for the university to confer upon me a degree, and this is no longer enough to keep up with the growing demands of the workforce (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011). The world needs people with skills, and there are some skills you just can’t replicate in a classroom or lecture hall.

Take photography, for example. Although it’s important to know how to use a camera, having technical knowledge isn’t everything. What really makes a great photograph is a deep understanding of subject matter, lighting, and composition. These are things that can only come through practice. I have a book at home by Henry Carroll called Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs, and it’s incredibly fun to read because i’s full of inspirational pictures and practical tips without the fancy camera lingo. Carroll encourages developing photography skills by actually getting out there and trying it, rather than reading up on all the technical nooks and crannies of a camera. This book has by far helped me with my photography more than any user manual could have. Like Pokémon Go, it’s an excuse for me to get on my feet and go explore. So be free! Go do things, socialize with people, and see how much knowledge can truly come of it.

Digital Story Critique: The Power of iPhoneography

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It’s mid-July, and summer vacation is in full swing. Punishing heat and high pollen counts are forcing us to leave Colorado in search of better places like Iceland (okay, maybe I’m being a little extreme). But who wants to tote around a giant DSLR camera on their daily excursions, when you have a perfectly good smartphone to take photos with? You might have heard a new buzzword going around these days—iPhoneography. Yep, it’s a real thing! Today, I’m going back to Shutterstock’s photography blog and looking at iPhone Photo Tips to Better Capture Your Summer Vacation. iPhones these days have amazing lenses, and you don’t need a fancy DSLR camera to capture some of life’s most epic moments.

What types of author “involvement” are apparent in this story? Author Shawn Forno write this article to express artistic or photographic identity. His article serves to educate users on how to capture amazing shots with an iPhone, and from the level of passion in this blog post, I can tell he’s probably dabbled in some iPhoneography himself.

How would you characterize the “literacy dimensions” present in this story? Forno encourages understanding the use of tools in photography software by introducing all the features on the iPhone camera that you can take advantage of. Another is being able to create a meaningful juxtaposition of images, and knowing how to balance photo flexibility with storage space. As a whole, Forno uses this article as a contributing guide, or sort of a “how to” for taking photos with an iPhone.

What are the online spaces and sites that bring this story to life? Why do these spaces and sites matter to the impact of the given story? I found this story on Shutterstock, which is not only a photography blog but also an archive of thousands of pictures, videos, and music that users can buy. Shutterstock is sort of an affinity space for those who are interested in photography and media, and it’s interesting that they now shift the focus from fancy DSLR technology to a small object that you can carry in your pocket. Or a giant pocket if you have an iPhone 6s Plus.

Based upon your assessment of involvement and literacy dimensions, what modifications might improve this digital story? One thing that really caught my eye were the examples of the photos that Forno uses in his article. The pictures are really good, so I clicked on them to find out more and found out that they came from Shutterstock’s archives. Were they actually taken with an iPhone, though? It’s really hard to tell! If they weren’t, then I don’t think the photos really do the article justice because the whole thing is about how to take quality photos with your iPhone. Want to see something really cool? Just Google search for iPhoneography for some stunning images!

Week Six Reflection: TSA Approved

Six weeks down, two to go. Learning With Digital Stories now comes in travel size! This is me, reporting from Paris, France. Somehow, getting seven days’ worth of work done in three days wasn’t so bad this time around! It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes when you go from two summer classes down to one. Yay for four week courses! Time to enjoy Paris like a pro.

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How well do you feel you completed the requirements of the week’s assignments? It’s funny because we’ve been at this for so long, and every week goes by so quickly, that I psych myself out and worry that I forgot something. But I really did get everything done! Whenever I have to front load my work for the week though, I always find that I’m in a rush to accomplish all my assignments, which can sometimes take away from the quality of my work or the depth of my interaction. Either that or it actually makes it better, because I’m not overthinking everything!

What gave you trouble? What did you enjoy most? What did you learn? So ever since the start of the course, I’d been trying to line up all of the week’s assignments (i.e. the Daily Creates, DS106 Assignment Banks, Digital Story Critiques, and Reading Responses) with the main themes from the reading for the week. But as the course went on, I realized that it was really hard to do that while still keeping it within the boundaries of photography! Trying to restrict my assignments to one topic that we focus on for the week kept me from truly exploring my passion.

What would you do differently? What questions do you have? With that said, I already have next week’s digital story picked out because it’s something I truly want to explore, and it’s the last chance I have to apply my passions to a digital story that I critique for this class. I can’t wait for the portfolio though!

What are some larger issues surrounding my work, particularly as they relate to your focal theme? These days, iPhones are getting better and better at taking pictures, and it’s only a matter of time before they surpass DSLR cameras in image quality. However, we’re in a period of transition right now where sometimes it’s better to use an iPhone, and sometimes it’s better to use a DSLR. These next couple of weeks, I’ll be traveling and taking lots of pictures, so my question is—where’s the balance? Should I use my camera for close-ups and my phone for landscapes? Should I just use both of them when taking all my pictures? Which lenses should I bring on my excursions? France and Iceland are beautiful, and I want to make sure I come back with the best possible collection of photos to look back on.

Provide a self assessment of your work quality and effort on a “exceeding expectations,” “meeting expectations,” and “below expectations” scale. Things worked out great this week, so I’m pretty sure I met the expectations. I just realized that we really only have one more real week of assignments like we’ve been doing, so I’ll have to make it count. Here we go!

© Emily Joan Wu

Teacher Candidate | Math
University of Colorado Denver
INTE 5340 | Summer 2016

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