Friday, April 10, 2009

New Literacies Reflection

Growing up, I thought literacy only meant that you were able to read and write. I had no idea that technology, and visual, cultural, emotional (ect) literacy were also incorporated into what it meant to be 'literate'. Coming from a small town, I thought it would be most beneficial if I choose to explore cultural literacy. But, what 'culture' could I focus on that would be beneficial to all students? In being a Special Education major, I knew what area I too needed more background knowledge on - and that was understanding Autism. 

I occasionally babysit a 7-year old boy who is Autistic. I have been working with him and his family for over a year now, and I have been fortunate enough to see amazing growth in his academic and social life. I don't remember exactly 'what' my preconceived notions were of Autism, but I did not quite understand how it affected each individual and their family. I learned that Autism is more of an 'emotional disorder' that affects the individuals way of communication. The most touching video I viewed while researching Autism, is called My Language  . It allowed me to better understand that even though we may not always be able to communicate and understand how someone is thinking/feeling - it doesn't mean they aren't as 'smart' or as 'capable' as the average John or Jane Doe. 

Originally, I wanted to create a movie that incorporated all the video clips, interviews and statistics I found while researching my topic on Cultural Literacy. However, I quickly found that to import a clip to iMovie, you needed to not only have permission to you the clip, but you also needed to download and save the file... This is one reason why my movie is not only brief, but not as in depth as I would have liked to have gone with this topic. There is so much controversy around 'The Causes of Autism,' and 'Treatments.' Although I wasn't too concerned about the exact cause, or why it was becoming more prevalent - I focused on advocacy and how to better understand and support those with Autism. 

Another 'bump' I ran into while using iMovie (and this whole time I thought I was 'tech-savvy') was that it wasn't user-friendly when trying to import text for informational clips. I could have filled over 5-6 minutes of only textual information - but I didn't think that would be the most appealing to the general audience. Rather, I settled on my final product that I feel best grabs the attention of the audience, draws them into understanding and sympathizing with this culture and how they can help (advocate) for change. 

Even though I came from a small town of mainly white middle-class, I was still exposed to culture in other ways. We went on field trips, did biographical studies and plays on famous people, and volunteered through Girl Scouts.... However, not every child will have those same advantages as I did - so I thought that this movie was a great introduction into better understanding a culture that is so misunderstood. Not only is it beneficial to have an understanding and appreciation for another culture, but in showing students that their way of thinking (and their way of life) isn't how everyone else in the world operates. This allows the student to be less focused and centered around their own ideas (wants and needs), and understand and be accommodating to their peers as well. 

1 comment:

  1. I really like your video and think it would be good to use on nights such as open house in your elementary setting. Good work!