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May 7, 2016

The Launch and (Re)Emergence of #HearMyHome

May 7, 2016 | By | No Comments

Originally conceived of as an “everyday” cultural heritage informatics project interrogating how contemporary youth write community through and with sound. #hearmyhome inquires how hearing difference and listening to community may re-educate the senses and attune us towards cultural difference. Ultimately working to develop materials that hear, recognize, and sustain community literacies and cultural rhetorics, #hearmyhome asks educators, users, and participants alike to take heed of the frequencies and rhythms of culture as they architect, design, and teach towards more equitable landscapes for learning.Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 9.33.34 PM

Focusing on “everyday” cultural heritage, #hearmyhome demonstrates how youth can “hear” and “listen” to better understand difference and community literacies through expansive personal learning networks (PLN). Illustrated by the site’s larger open-networked soundscapes map, #hearmyhome is an affinity space wherein participants share both knowledge and life experiences (through audio, visual, and text) as a way to form interpersonal relationships and create a fuller understanding of community.

#hearmyhome has three primary goals:

  • As an area for research, #hearmyhome is about examining rhythmic rituals and the ambient soundscapes of culture that cut across the contexts of home, school, and community, looking at the connections, overlaps, and disjunctures.
  • As a pedagogical project for learning, #hearmyhome posits that some of the most meaningful forms of learning happen when a learners have interests or passions they are pursuing across contexts of (inter)cultural affinity, social support, and shared purpose.
  • As a model for connected learning design, #hearmyhome offers a way of connecting the spheres of home, school, and community-based learning, leveraging the affordances of digital and networked media.

In creating the #HearMyHome landing page, I used two primary tools: Bootstrap and GoogleMaps. Bootstrap was used early on during the Fellowship year to create the front-end framework and GoogleMaps was used to create a participatory archive of pins with links to modal referents and participation. Pins include reference to username, mode, and link. Explore!

Across the 8 week sonic series (Feb 8 – April 2, 2016), #hearmyhome introduced over 100+ users to the affordances of audio and sonic composition. From Billings, Montana to Coffs Harbour, Australia, we earwitnessed community and culture from a variety of peoples, places, and soundscapes. Although I was initially disappointed that the project did not have the massive 500+ member following I hoped for, the avenues of collaboration and networks of participation that transpired excite me. I look forward to collaborating with folks from #CLMOOC, #walkmyworld, and Sounding Out!

This summer, I hope to categorize, index, and host the soundscapes of participation for users to download, remix, and employ in their own interrogation of sound and audio possibility. Additionally, I hope to write grants that explore the sonic possibilities of classroom composition, connected learning, and practitioner-inquiry. Still interested in collaborating? Join by signing up for our email correspondences here or like our page on Facebook for more information on each sonic event, or simply ‘lurk and learn’ by following the #hearmyhome hashtag across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

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April 29, 2016

Cultural Heritage Informatics as Connected Learning? Modes, Meaning, and Metrics of Success

April 29, 2016 | By | No Comments

Last night, my collaborator and I were featured on the Google+ program Teachers Teaching Teachers to talk all things sound, community literacies, and connected learning. Across the larger broadcast we talked through the many phases of #hearmyhome, detailing how it was at once a grounded project in classroom and community spaces, while simultaneously operating as a networked collaborative that invited participants to earwitness culture and community through eight sonic events. We helped shape the soundscapes of the everyday. In the penultimate minutes of the program, the moderators asked us to consider metrics of achievement. “How would you qualify success for the project?” Eagerly, I started talking numbers. “We had over 100+ unique participants! We saw how modes connected, overlapped, and caused disjuncture in how we came to configure ‘home.’ We had participants across the globe, from East Lansing, MI to Australia.” Reflecting on my response, another language and literacy researcher, Ian, asked me to move beyond the numbers. “But what did you learn?” he asked.

As I reflect on the #hearmyhome project, and the Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellowship in particular, I want to highlight how at a macro level, the projects that emerged from our shared community of fellows are exemplars of connected learning. Refracted through our varied interested in cultural heritage, we designed opportunities for engagement in powerful, relevant, and engaging ways. The affordances of the digital only augmented these visions and aided in the creation and building that occurred. Our learning was participatory, networked, and experiential. At a more micro level, #hearmyhome exemplified that some of the most meaningful forms of learning happen when a learners have interests or passions they are pursuing across contexts of (inter)cultural affinity and social support. The group operated with a shared purpose.
As a model for connected learning design, #hearmyhome offered a way of connecting the spheres of home, school, and community-based learning to leverage the affordances of digital and networked media. We met friends through #CLMOOC, collaborators with the team at #walkmyworld, and even had cheerleaders amplify the project at Sounding Out! In total, the modes, meanings, and metrics of success were larger than the decisions of design and/or series of sonic interactions. Sustained teaching and learning and engaged user participation was the result of making our process open.

As we close out the year here in LEADR, I know many of us would agree that at the core of the work we accomplished this year, our vision was guided by more equitable, social, and participatory forms of learning across our fields and disciplines. Through production-centered and open forms of cultural heritage informatics, we each engaged in relevant, hands-on, and innovative forms of design to fuse our own intellectual interests with digital experiences. Success, then, isn’t the completion and release of our individual projects, or the statistics and benchmarks of how many users, lurkers, and learners visit your site, but the behind-the-scenes process and sustained engagement of open learning.

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March 13, 2016

Mapping Meaningful Sound: The Before or After Question

March 13, 2016 | By | No Comments

My CHI project (#hearmyhome), uses sound to amplify what Steph Ceraso has called “multimodal listening,” a process that attends to the bodily, material, and contextual aspects of sonic interactions and relations. #hearmyhome uses the rhythmic resonances of everyday to explore more expansive understandings of space, place, and self. Thus, for a project that is about writing with place, mapping its products and participation seemed a must. As a collaborative team, we decided to hang our research on a hashtag, #hearmyhome, to aggregate data. It allowed us to index user-produced soundscapes while attending to the wider goal of exploring the multiple “homes” of our global participants. At first, we were curious in creating a crawler, a tool that would crawl the hashtag and pin locations of participants’ products. If the research component of the project investigates the acoustic territories of everyday culture, then we would want to visually see its cartographic reach.

Now, in its fifth week, as the sonic event sequence turns the corner on the halfway mark, I’ve taken a step back. I’ve asked myself, “How do I map (and for what purpose) meaningful sound?” Limited by my own technological know-how with Leaflet and Mapbox, the pause in constructing the map and soundscapes knowledge base has been delayed. Well, stopped actually. I’ve taken a hiatus with that part of the project. Collecting the mundane music through each sonic event, I’ve decided to chart and map #hearmyhome’s participation at the conclusion of the 8-week sequence. Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 7.10.47 PMThe engagement between #hearmyhome participants across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook is far more interesting than any meaningful work that would happen by observing the expanse and scope of participation concurrently. Ultimately a pedagogical project, #hearmyhome has already sparked interesting instructional questions. For example, users have asked how remediating a ‘Where I’m From…’ poem may change if choosing not to write it using alphabetic print, but instead selecting sound as the mode of primacy and attaching it to place. Deciding to map these small moments and glimpses of ambient audio after the sonic even sequence, we hope to keep the buzz alive far into the future as we lurk, learn, and lead alongside of you all.

If you are still interested in participating in #hearmyhome join us by signing up for our weekly emails here. Like our page on Facebook for more information on each sonic event or simply ‘lurk and learn’ by following the #hearmyhome hashtag across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Interested in what participant sounds like? Click the Soundcloud link below and listen to how Steph responded to the prompt for our fifth #hearmyhome sonic event. We chose Steph’s example as it illustrates not only the beauty of noise, silence, and everyday hearings, but also for her ability and skill to remix the found sounds into a song all of their own. We encourage you to join the #hearmyhome collaborative at any time and we look forward to earwitnessing the everyday with you.

Note: Hours after publishing the original version of this post, I found the How to Make a Sound Map: Cartographic, Compositional, Performative article on the Acoustic Ecology blog. May be worthwhile for those of you interested in the intersection of sonic composition and narrative cartography.

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February 18, 2016

Building the Plane While Flying It; Or, Understanding the Politics of the Sonic through Earwitnessing Participant and User Collaboration

February 18, 2016 | By | No Comments

Crank.Spin.Putter-Putter-Putter. Click. Swipe. Type. These are the sounds that circulate in my mind as I architect the #hearmyhome project. Most days, it feels like I am building the plane while flying it. Working to circulate and collaborate with participants, I network the project on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram while simultaneously actually designing the platform. Other days, I feel as if I am a mere observer, watching, lurking, and learning from users whose soundscapes are helping me begin to earwitness to the everyday. Despite these setbacks and feels of failure, I want to talk about sound as a way to “hear” participant and user collaboration.

In addition to the CHI Fellowship, my colleague Cassie Brownell and I received support from the NCTE Research Initiative Grant to explore sound, more broadly, as a mechanism for understanding community literacies and cultural rhetorics. As I detailed in earlier posts, the #hearmyhome project examines everyday sonic compositions as expressive means for articulating culture(s). We were curious how composing with sound may attune us towards difference; or, what Vasudevan would call a “multimodal cosmopolitanism.” What I find most insightful, however, are not the sound symphony products, but rather the array of questions we receive as users and participants try to collaborate. “Am I doing this right?” “Should mine look like yours?” “What are you doing for the hard of hearing? How do we ‘listen’ and participate in the project?” These questions have invited us to take a step back and examine not only the formal structure of the project (the layout, design, and blueprint of HTML/CSS) but also the purpose and politics of participation. To whom and for whom are we listening, connecting, and building with?

Examples of #SE1 and #SE2 Soundscapes

Two sonic events (#SE) into the #hearmyhome project, we will continue to build, expand, and forward these types of inquiry while also working to co-construct (with participation from users and participants) a networked map detailing particular locations of soundscapes and sonic ecologies. As a sonic archive that examines everyday cultural heritage through rhythmic rituals and mundane music, we value an expansive range of voices. As we gear up for #SE3 (sonic event 3), we invite you to record, to lurk, to share, to like, and to participate in the project. Jump into the cockpit and help us earwitness the everyday.

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December 18, 2015

Attuning to Cultural Differences through Community Soundscapescapes

December 18, 2015 | By | No Comments

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 9.17.05 AMAs new(er) communicative landscapes emerge, humanities educators and research in the teaching of cultural heritage have enthusiastically embraced digital and visual culture. From more (g)local understandings of cosmopolitanism to understanding how locative literacies and contemporary technologies are mediating youth identity making with place, the digital has made its mark. Despite this renewed emphasis on multimodality, however, the aural and sonic possibilities of composing with and through sound is ignored. In response to this tuning out, #hearmyhome is an “everyday” cultural heritage informatics project that interrogates how individuals write community through and with sound. Examining everyday people produced soundscapes, #hearmyhome inquires how hearing difference and listening to communities may re-educate the senses and attune us towards cultural difference. Ultimately developing materials that hear, recognize, and sustain community literacies and cultural rhetorics, #hearmyhome asks us to take heed of the frequencies and rhythms of culture as we architect, design, and teach towards more equitable landscapes for learning.

So, What Does This Look / Sound Like?

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 9.22.00 AM#hearmyhome will function as a mobile website with a participatory map-archive of soundscapes composed. Given #hearmyhome’s pedagogical intent, the project will be built and co-constructed through a series of “sonic events” happening across February, March, and April. As a participatory cultural heritage informatics project, we hope to circulate the project through a variety of writing partners/organizations (e.g., National Writing Project, #CLMOOC, #WalkMyWorld, Becoming 3lectric) in hopes to gain new followers and participants. Outside of the more participatory aspect of the project, #hearmyhome will also include archived cultural soundscapes taken from pre-existing audio-based community literacy sites/projects.

Interested in an Audio Overview? Listen here and follow us on SoundCloud!

Want to Participate?

Using the #hearmyhome tag, users will have the opportunity to input basic profile information (i.e. first name, age, where they live, text descriptors), and record the everyday soundscapes of their communities, rituals, cultures, etc.  Audio, comments, usernames, and locations will pull into a live map hosted on the mobile site. #hearmyhome will only pull in social media updates for users with geotagging services turned on (Instagram, Vine, Twitter) and #hearmyhome included in post. In addition to the “live” map hosted on the mobile site, sonic curricular resources for youth and teachers interested in composing everyday cultural heritage with and through sound (lesson/project plans, etc.) will be included and hosted on the site.hearmyhome3

Focusing on “everyday” cultural heritage, #hearmyhome demonstrates how youth and adults can hear and listen to better understand difference and community literacies through expansive personal learning networks (PLN). Illustrated by the mobile site’s larger open-networked soundscapes map, #hearmyhome is an affinity space wherein participants share both knowledge and life experiences (through sonic events and audio) as a way to form interpersonal relationships and create a fuller understanding of community and culture.

For more information and up-to-date announcements join our mailing list at http://eepurl.com/bF7Ed9

Photo “Trip Planning” by Flickr user Shawn Harquail. Used under Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license

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November 30, 2015

Failing While Folding; Or, Let’s Hope this Project Works!

November 30, 2015 | By | No Comments

In starting the “building” phase of my project, I am reminded of Pearce Durst’s recent blog essay on “Inventing the Digital Humanities through Freirian Praxis.” In it, Durst uses the metaphor of origami and the particulars of folding and unfolding to nuance the rhetorical practices of building and deconstructing in the humanities classroom. For Durst, this recursive practice is a bright spot in the advancement and ongoing invention of what is being called the digital humanities. I would add, however, that it also serves as an apt metaphor for failure. Despite following the 20+ steps to make the paper crane, I am often left asking, “Why doesn’t mine look like the picture?” Similarly, in our latest quick-build challenge, I asked myself a similar question, “Huh? How did we do that?” Using Durst’s metaphor of foldings this month, I will work to meditate on the particulars of theory, application, and reflection and consider failure as a pedagogical necessity for innovation.

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October 19, 2015

Cultural Heritage Informatics as Rhetorical Praxis

October 19, 2015 | By | No Comments

As a digital literacies and cultural rhetorics researcher, I came to the Cultural Heritage Informatics (CHI) Fellowship interested in developing the skills to hack (build) and not just yak (talk about). In other words, I was interested in how designing the experience and experiencing the design come to be pedagogical moments. How do these experiences illuminate facets of knowing and coming to know content, and heritage for that matter, differently? Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 5.43.34 PMLike many CHI fellows, I was unsure what cultural heritage informatics was. Who is it for? What does it do? In one of our earliest meetings, Ethan, drawing from Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing, highlighted that informatics was “the creative application of information, communication, and computing technologies to ________________.” Hence, cultural heritage informatics, if we take this working definition, is the creative application of information, communication and computing technologies to cultural heritage.

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September 28, 2015

CHI Fellow Introduction: Jon M. Wargo

September 28, 2015 | By | No Comments

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 4.22.21 PMHello! My name is Jon M. Wargo. Currently, I am a doctoral candidate in Teacher Education specializing in language and literacy education and receiving a graduate certificate in qualitative research methods. Prior to coming to Michigan State University I received my B.A. in English and Gender Studies at Indiana University and taught/field-instructed K-12 English language arts in Colorado. I am very excited to round out my graduate school career by being a CHI fellow!

Anchored in interdisciplinary study, my work engages with qualitative and humanities oriented research to explore the intersections of language and literacy education, technology, and cultural rhetorics. Given the increasing presence and seemingly ubiquitous status new media and digital technologies have in mediating contemporary lives, my dissertation project examines how LGBT and queer youth engage in these varying levels of mediation as they navigate and negotiate communities, construct visibility, and orchestrate convergent identities across online/offline contexts. Emerging from my interests in youth multimodal composing, my research continues to be informed by the haptic practices of writing in digital environments. Leveraging audio as the mode of primacy, I hope to utilize the CHI fellowship to interrogate how community literacies and cultural rhetorics are written through and with sound. Ultimately working to connect digital soundscapes around the globe, one of my larger goals this year is to develop pedagogical materials for humanities teachers interested in working with sonic composing. Through this participatory archive and knowledge base I hope to build materials that hear, recognize, and sustain community and help attune educators to the rhythms of culture.