Monday, February 4, 2013

toe in water six word poem

Right now I'm reading Frank Delaney's 2005 novel Ireland, featuring one of the last of the wandering Irish storytellers. This man shows up at a young boy's home and changes his life.

That evening, in that white house among the fields, a boy's most passionate dream came true. His father had long talked of the traveling storytellers. He said they possessed brilliant powers; they brought the long-gone past to life vividly, without what he called 'the interference of scholars. Those professors,' he said. 'They dry out history in order to put it down on paper.' In his father's view, a tale with the feeling taken out of it had 'no blood and was worth very little.' But the old stories, told by travelling storytellers round the fireside on winter evenings - they came hurtling straight down the long, shiny pipeline of the centuries and the characters, all love and hate and fire, 'tumbled out on our own stone floor'(p.4).

Being a professor, but hoping to avoid dry and bloodless tales, I'm looking forward to learning new ways to tell stories using digital tools, especially the video options. Here's where I am tonight:

I was thinking about that word "gist", and with a little serendipitous searching, found this fragment:

(from Roger Schank's book Tell Me A Story: Narrative and Intelligence published in 1990 by Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL).

While I'm sharing fragments, I remember that when I departed for graduate school to study sociology, one of my dear friends warned me: "Don't stop writing in picture words, whatever you do." I thought I would be able to follow her advice. Within three months, after reading highly abstract social theory, I was writing about "the colonization of the lifeworld by the system," picking up new terms that would be impossible to capture in an image ("Problematize" and "operationalize" are two of my favorite examples of this). The community of discourse I had entered was not sitting at the fireside with a storyteller "hurling (tales) down the shiny pipleline of the centuries." I'm hoping to do some hurling over the next few weeks.


Fenella Olynick said...

Thank you for the quiet reflection you bring to your blogs. You seem to have a real gift for letting your personality shine through. I get a real sense of who you are, as a professor and an individual. I have also used your insightful comments from ETMOOC sessions to help me piece together a picture of what I missed when I was unable to attend a session, so I thank you for making your learning visible, thereby allowing me to learn. In fact, my last blog contained a quote from your reflections on rhizomatic learning: "Importantly, the conversation we had this week with Dave Cormmier about rhizomatic learning confirms for me that the real transformation in education isn’t about the technology, but the shared construction of knowledge and action that new technologies can facilitate.” Thank you, Rosemary, for sharing your words and, yes, I think "picture words" might be an appropriate descriptor, especially for your six word poem!

Rosemary Powers said...

Thank you Fenella for your response. I'm glad you found my comments useful. It really IS important to keep in mind what the purpose of the technology is. I listened today to an archived CBC interview (late 80s) with Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the Web),who said his original idea was to make it easier for people to work together. I was glad to hear that,and it reinforces the connectivist goal of this Etmooc.