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Slice of Selfie

3 min read

A response to a KQED Teach Lesson:

  • Using your phone or digital camera, take 5-7 different selfies.
  • Remember to utilize a variety of angles and lighting in for each of your selfies-- they can be equally important as your facial expressions in telling your story!
  • When you have finished taking your selfies, put them all together using the Pixlr editor.
  • Finally, share your selfie story with us on the KQED Teach community.

  • What was it like constructing media about yourself?
  • How does the various images relate to who you really are?
  • How does the concept of all media being constructed influence your thinking about your learning environment?
  • What are you still wondering?

This assignment, first of all, breaks most of the assignment rules. First, I found six selfies instead of taking them, I used Photoshop instead of Pixlr, and, to be honest, I think one isn't even a selfie. But let's play along like it's the work that matters, not the ability to stick to a rubric for just a second. :-)

But nevertheless here's six "selfies" merged together to give the illusion of one nice selfie. I purposely tried to find six "selfies" with varying aesthetics: hats, beard lengths, sunglasses, hairstyles (even more with a fancy headset!) Here's what I'm thinking about:

  • When it's six "selfies" instead of one, it's a lot easier to confront your own appearance. You focus less on specific features and care less about how the picture could be better. It's vein, but it is what it is.
  • Really digging the low light picture that I was able to find. I remember taking this on a plane because 1. I was bored and had no internet connection and 2. I appreciated how the window light only caught a portion of my face. I purposely placed the picture in Slot 4 to contrast the image with the portion of the image that was specifically light (also the picture with the most beard!)
  • Angle seems like an important attribute to bring up here. According to selfie listicles, angles are a big deal. They even occasionally cite Farhod Karimov as a researcher who says angles matter (but Google Scholar says he only researches trustworthiness in e-commerce but whatdoiknowyaknow)
  • It's helpful to remember that media is inevitably a constructive narrative. It's not neutral no matter how much journalists want to believe they can be neutral in the same way tech companies want to believe technology can be neutral. All is, to some extent, constructed either physically or mentally and that requires a human to decide the affordances of that construction.
  • I'm stilll wondering how to use Pixlr to import multiple images into one workspace. It's amazing how quickly I ran away from the tool I didn't know simply becaues I knew exactly how to do it somewhere else. Really. I didn't even bother to research how to do it because I felt more comfortable just bending the rules (see the top). I like the idea of a free online editor though so I plan to circle back and look into Pixlr a little further.

Cross posted on the KQED Teach site.

I'm Rivers Cuomo.

3 min read

This was originally written as an introduction post for the KQED Teach platform. The assignment was:

  • Create your first post on the KQED Teach community with your type(s) to introduce yourself!
  • Choose an image, animated gif, video, or other form of media found online that represents your motivation.
  • Briefly explain how the things that motivate you impact your teaching.

Hello! I teach Strategic Communications in higher ed and while it appears the Teacher Motivation quiz has been taken offline (I'm sure others have figured this out and solved it themselves, but I found a Slideshare). My courses focus on designing for publics and market segments with a focus on research, copy, and layout. My classes are fairly traditional digital literacy courses in the fact that they aim to give students a broad understanding of what a creative department within an agency specifically does and how they do it. A part of my job is to give students a basic understanding of industry tools (such as Adobe Creative Suite) though I like to also show some more online based tools (such as Canva). We also spend a fair amount of time blogging and coming to understand who we are both as creators and creatives. So I'd say this matches a lot of what is categorized as Demystifier (40%) + Alt (40%) + Spirit Guide (10%) + Professional (10%).

Demystifier:  As a teacher, you “pull back the curtain” to help students see how various forms of information and knowledge are constructed. You emphasize the practice of critical thinking, helping students ask good “how” and “why” questions.

Spirit Guide: You are a listener of your students, and want to make sure that everything you do in the classroom connects to their immediate needs to understand themselves and their lives. Students likely find you trustworthy, and may even confide in you in ways that they do not for other teachers. You know media is just one facet of student life, and you want to engage with it to help them through the highs and lows of life in all of its challenges and opportunities.

ALT: You are an inventive, perhaps “DIY,” teacher. You’re always ready to challenge students with alternative ways of finding, using, thinking about, and making media in the classroom. Whether you use open source programs on school computers, encourage students to start alternative clubs or magazines, or introduce students to media that’s “off the beaten path” of mainstream and mass media, you are likely a key proponent of broadening students’ understanding of the many different ways that people can communicate in the world.

Professional: You have high standards for your students’ work, and you may be seen as the go-to media professional in your school. You know how to push your students to understand and emulate the professional conventions that is important to being taken seriously in the world of media creation. To help students enter the real world of media creation, you bring other authors, professionals, and media-makers into your classroom to enrich the learning experience.

I also introduce my class via Kermit the Frog. All of this is to say, I'm probably Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. Part indie, dressed a little stiffer than I'd like, and I give you what you get: a dose of hits and a couple of really bad experiments.

Caption: Video created via from the Keep Fishin' video.