My Hometown Project: Dianne Siriban


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About hometown narratives of undergraduate students.

Dianne Siriban talks about how Smart phones using Microblogging could be a popular tool to engage higher education students in English Communication courses on Research Writing.

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  • My Hometown Project: an Android-based Mobile Application for Blogging/Microblogging Requirements in College Research Writing courses A Research on Digital Educational Tools by Dianne Siriban and John Peter Loh through Asian University Digital Resource Network
  • Intro: “ The personal is political,” say the feminists and cultural studies scholars. I agree with them. But it is not really in the context of feminism—and perhaps indirectly in the cultural studies--that I haphazardly adapt the phrase.
  • On the other hand, the personal is professional, too”. [That might sound a bit lame]. I say this because some of the most inspiring teachers I’ve had in school were those whose careers were fueled with their passion in other, more personal interests: art, film, travel, horticulture, cooking, dancing, pets, fashion, and so on. These are the same kinds of teachers, now my co-teachers, who continue to inspire me today. I can dimly remember when I have started writing to express myself, or when I have started to love writing. I have also been a voracious reader—which I heard helps a lot if you aspire to write well or at least profusely; but my collection of diaries, personal journals, drafts of very very amateur short stories (a few from my grade school days) evidences my deep relationship with composing with words to record fleeting ideas my short term memory cannot hold. One of my oldest related memories is third grade English composition class when my teacher would give us writing prompts such as “What I did over the summer break” or “The best birthday present I’ve ever received.” And I would write diligently in painstakingly neat, oval longhand on white formal composition paper, a reconstruction (usually with a few childish fabrications and exaggerations) of my experiences. And another related memorable moment was during my sophomore year at university. I attended a screening for writers for the Philippine Collegian and spent a grueling, most traumatic hour grappling with the question: “Why is the Philippine society post-modern?” I don’t think I was able to write a coherent paragraph within the mottled pages of that cheap UP blue book, supposedly made from recycled paper. I am not blaming the low-quality paper. ----------- Now that I am with De La Salle-Canlubang—the S&T campus of De La Salle-Philippines—teaching several writing subjects myself, particularly a very basic college research writing class, I have come to accept that not all students like the idea and the practice of writing. Nor reading. There are some, yes, but I soon had to get over the fact that some people can say “I don’t read” with a smile. I have now acquired such self-control that—in the spirit of collaborative learning—prevents me from ramming down my student’s throats my own views of the beauty of reading and writing as a medium of expression. I used to, but no longer. It was exhausting, self-defeating, and students probably hated me.
  • Thank God, I have learned to empathize more with the students and it helped very much that, I feel, I am connected to their generation by my own exposure to internet media and, consequently, some areas of popular culture. I have started using blogs to motivate student writing [see also my Prezi “What We Teach Each Other: Harnessing Useful Experience with Digital Tools” ] Basically, before you get any newcomer, student or potential researcher to write about the society, the larger community or local culture, they will have to acquire writing skills and tools, and before this there is almost always the inevitable problem of THE WRITERS’ BLOCK.
  • Very basic research: learning and differentiating between rhetorical strategies and modes of exposition, looking for research topics, formulation of thesis statements, construction of outlines, gathering related materials, documenting and citing references properly, peer reviewing and revising, etc.  
  • Using Digital Tools has proven critical in my growth and development as a teacher. I have also observed the benefits of using such tools and reshaping instructional materials in my courses to adapt. Primarily, here are some ways in which Digital tools have become useful to me: There is an observed improvement in writing motivation among most students – the internet is a medium they are familiar with. Interaction is a surefire motivation for them to post. Also, their ability to be more in control of their identities online tends give them more confidence in expression. It discourages or lessens instance of plagiarism. . Virtual classrooms allow me to virtually document and store syllabi, assignments, manage and files through the built-in calendars and repository. Digital tools provided the solution for me to keep my records updated and available for students to monitor their progress without having to consult me every time they needed to see their grades. As impied in #3, digital tools have helped me become more organized. It has cut down my need for paper and photocopying (reducing carbon footprint) in the workplace by at least 90%.
  • What these fledgling research websites have primarily achieved is clearly aligned with AUDRN’s aim to explore and preserve local knowledge and most importanly, to De La Salle-Canlubang ‘s mission to infuse Science & Technology into all levels of instruction.
  • Click on to a few of my English One/Research Writing students’ research websites.
  • There is also a list of Social Media services/sites, social media apps and Digital Tools which I use to complement classroom based instruction and activities. These apps have directly inspired the Tambolehr project. Why start from scratch when you can innovate. Some o these are Evernote and Click The City, Twitter and clients, Googlereader and other RSS readers, etc. Read more here:
  • The research aims to develop an Android mobile application that makes blogging/microblogging, as well as the use of existing platforms (i.e.,, popular URL shorteners, multimedia uploaders, feed aggregators, etc.) more accessible and systematic for academic use. These digital tools are currently being used by the researcher in her basic college research writing courses.
  • The usability of such applications can be maximized through the use of mobile phones/smartphones, and APIs that would allow students and teachers to easily collaborate on academic projects. Tambolehr will primarily make use of opensource microblogging software, , which also allows users to do parallel-posting with Twitter (in principle, the use of microblogging changes the dynamics of academic discourse as participants discipline themselves by limiting messages to 140 characters), via the open source social networking site StatusNet .
  • Tagging and hashtagging content serve to permanently documenting output with the aid of tag/feed aggregators similar to  or Flipboard . By using APIs to connect Tambolehr with feed/tweet aggregators, student output collected and arranged in such newspaper or ezine formats make them more readable and easier to archive (i.e., library’s digital archiving tools should follow immediately).
  • Specific technology output: Tambolehr 3G blogging app for Android phones - motivated by the belief that given the right tools, skills and framework, college students can be good sources (and documentors) of local knowledge on their hometowns.
  • Project mockup: Home page on Android smartphone
  • Project mockup: Compose page on Android smartphone
  • Project mockup: Contacts page on Android smartphone
  • (To be updated)
  • The heart of all the subjects I teach (literature, writing, media production, communication theory) have always been Media Literacy. Reference: Coleman, Brenna. (Mar 1, 2010). Core Principles of Media Literacy Education: Developing a Thinking Society in a New Media World. April 2, 2011. Five principles of media literacy. Quoted from Media Literacy Resource Guide . Ontario Ministry of Education, 1989. pp. 8-9.
  • A colleague, Mr. Joel Yuvienco ,  shared several terms that capture the framework of the Internet generation. These are discover, disclose, connect and co-create and they don’t necessarily come in that order; the sequence may vary through experience, but these are the major patterns that we go through when we engage in collaborative work, such as online networks and communities on the Internet. These terms are very applicable to collaborative activities offline, too, especially those that aim to emancipate others. Discovery pertains to new perspectives, information, tools, frameworks, beliefs that we find when we decide to Connect or directly engage in communicating through the given media. Once we open our web browsers, type key words or tags on search engines and enter sites, we discover what people have to say or have Disclosed readily. Of course, connecting could also mean signing up or joining already existing groups and networks, also creating user accounts for social software. Disclosing involves your sharing yourself or a part of yourself to the world wide web audience. Disclosing may be intentional by putting in aesthetic elements of your choice, linking other people’s sites (especially those you want to be associated with), or unintentional, like sharing music, videos and artworks that you like, or by writing blog-entries in the stream-of-consciousness mode, etc. Co-creating pertains to the probability of contributing new knowledge by consistently engaging in the exercise of Discovery, Connecting and Disclosing. The more we learn from others, the more we would like to share and reach out to others. Sometimes, to be able to do this you have to make new communities and invite people to communicate with you. Encouraging people to take part for the first time, to make them connect and disclose, this in itself is Co-creation.
  • The project and other (future) projects that aim to digitize, diversify, and enrich the classroom experience would need multisectoral support. First, from the school and school administrators to fund efforts toward the study of new media and support research for teachers. Second, teachers themselves should welcome these changes, open themselves more to opportunities for learning, as well as some time to develop or (modify existing materials into forms) suitable for the Internet medium. Next, library resources should also be upgraded to be able to document and archive electronic information. Another important aspect is the local government’s and communication industries’ support for improved bandwidth for academic institutions. Lastly, the further development of education apps depends largely on the community of willing developers and researchers.
  • -end-
  • My Hometown Project: Dianne Siriban

    1. 1. My Hometown Project an Android-based Mobile Application for Blogging/Microblogging Requirements in College Research Writing courses Dianne Siriban De La Salle-Canlubang [email_address]
    2. 2. The personal is political
    3. 3. The personal is political … academic? … educational? … professional?
    4. 4. Writing Prompts <ul><li>Self </li></ul><ul><li>Family / immediate community </li></ul><ul><li>Larger community / Society </li></ul>Writer’s Block
    5. 5. <ul><li>Brainstorming & Pre-writing exercises </li></ul><ul><li>Exercises on Rhetorical Strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Peer-Reviewing and revising </li></ul>
    6. 6. Digital Tools <ul><li>Writing motivation (student profile: internet and computer technology are familiar media) </li></ul><ul><li>Discourages or lessens instances of plagiarism </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual classrooms : syllabi, assignments, deadline reminders, file repository </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency & Record Keeping : logging submissions, archiving of student output </li></ul><ul><li>Organization: creation of lists, groups & subgroups </li></ul><ul><li>LESS PAPER! Specific software/ programs/ sites </li></ul>
    7. 7. Inspiration for Project <ul><li>Well-written, insightful blog entries that can be used as material for upcoming classes. </li></ul><ul><li>Original content </li></ul><ul><li>Higher motivation among students (sense of ownership & self, rediscovery of local culture, medium) </li></ul><ul><li>Student output are easier to share and archive </li></ul>Sample student research websites
    8. 8. Inspiration for Project <ul><li>Given the right tools, skills and framework, college students can be good sources (and documentors) of local knowledge on their hometowns. </li></ul><ul><li>Right Tools = writing skills + exposure to local culture + media (digital/internet) </li></ul>Sample student research websites
    9. 9. Inspiration for Project <ul><li>Existing applications & social networking sites that have proven useful </li></ul><ul><li>Evernote and Click the City </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>RSS Readers </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual Classrooms </li></ul>Useful digital tools
    10. 10. Objectives <ul><li>Develop an Android -based mobile phone application that makes blogging/microblogging easier and more systematic to use for classes that involve research writing. </li></ul>#1
    11. 11. Objectives <ul><li>Incorporate API s in the mobile app that smoothen interaction between existing softaware/programs (i.e.,, popular URL shorteners, multimedia uploaders, feed aggregators, etc.) </li></ul>#2
    12. 12. Objectives <ul><li>Include a feature in the mobile application that transforms content into a readable (magazine or newspaper-like) format for easy digital archiving. </li></ul>#3
    13. 13. Project Concept “ Tambolehr “ Android OS Mobile phone app
    14. 14. Project Concept “ Tambolehr “ Home page
    15. 15. Project Concept “ Tambolehr “ Compose / Post page
    16. 16. Project Concept “ Tambolehr “ Contacts
    17. 17. Development Timetable
    18. 18. Research Philosophy / Framework <ul><li>Core Principles of Media Literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Discover, Disclose, Connect, Co-create </li></ul>
    19. 19. <ul><li>Core Principles of Media Literacy </li></ul><ul><li>All media are constructions. </li></ul><ul><li>The media construct reality. </li></ul><ul><li>[Audiences/Participants] negotiate meaning in media. </li></ul><ul><li>Media have commercial implications. </li></ul><ul><li>Media contain ideological and value messages. </li></ul><ul><li>The media conveys social and political messages. </li></ul><ul><li>Form and content are closely related in the media. </li></ul><ul><li>Each medium has a unique aesthetic form.  </li></ul>Research Philosophy / Framework
    20. 20. Research Philosophy / Framework <ul><li>2. Discover, Disclose, Connect, Co-create </li></ul><ul><li>Pattern or system unto which instructional methods can be developed. </li></ul><ul><li>Materials and methods that considers, or maximizes, the modern environment made volatile by changes in technology, social relations and conditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Empowerment via democratic use of media. </li></ul>
    21. 21. Recommendations / Future projects <ul><li>Further development of Tambolehr to suit the needs of other subjects; to increase its versatility as an academic tool. </li></ul><ul><li>Development of library resources (digital archiving, e-books, info retrieval system via tags) </li></ul><ul><li>Further development of the app itself, to streamline processes, regular updates, encourage co-developers, improve usability (keep a pulse on solutions, new software or APIs to integrate). </li></ul>
    22. 22. References Coleman, Brenna. (Mar 1, 2010). Core Principles of Media Literacy Education: Developing a Thinking Society in a New Media World. April 2, 2011. Five principles of media literacy. Quoted from Media Literacy Resource Guide. Ontario Ministry of Education, 1989. pp. 8-9. Siriban, D. (March 27, 2007). Media Theory. John Pungente, S.J. From Barry Duncan et al. Media Literacy Resource Guide, Ontario Ministry of Education, Toronto, ON. Canada, 1989. The Android Authority. Evernote launches its Android application Click the City Lifestyle App Official Website. Download page for Android
    23. 23. Maraming salamat, po!
    24. 24. Maraming salamat, po! Dianne Siriban De La Salle-Canlubang [email_address]