The Sunsets of Fly Fishing #diglitclass

I’ve said before that I think fly fishing is timeless to the sphere of a lifetime.  It never goes away, but it is not without its sunsets.  In this part of the country, and in this time of the year, fly fishing endures a sunset.  I am no ecologist but it seems the cold mid-western climate knocks out the bugs weeks before the bugs of the mountain streams are gone.  Its a lonely feeling no longer seeing the trout rise to the surface like clockwork to take down the hatches.  I proceed to stare at my dry-fly box knowing the prettiest of the flies are no longer needed.  Pressing on, I crack open the nymph and streamer box and try to hit that brook trout spawn.  Nymph fishing is growing on me but once you see your #18 dry get hammered by a sizeable fish, it’s hard to tie on any other fly besides a dry.  But I just have to remind myself that this is all part of the process, as I crawl on my knees to the river run twenty feet ahead where I can hear a brook trout splashing intermittently.

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The landscape surrounding me this time of year is experiencing a sunset too.  The wild sunflower stalks no longer glide past my shoulders in a comforting way as I zig-zag through them.  Instead they paw and scratch at me as walk straight through them.  I hear less birds, too, for the music has gotten in the way of their winter prepping.  The trees drop their leaves to prepare for the winter beating.  Everything is in remission.  Except for maybe the cottontail rabbits, but it could be that I just couldn’t see them due to the plant life that is now gone, in appearance.  I’m probably taking all of this come and go a little too personal, but I’m slowly learning that spending time fly fishing means you spend time with everything else too.  I can’t help but notice.  I’ll fly fish off and on this winter, on the nicer days.  I’m not enough of a fanatic yet to want to stand outside in ten degree weather with only the slight prospect of catching a fish.  I’ll mostly spend the winter thinking how I’ll fish better in the summer of 2017, but when I get there none of my ideas will transfer.  Fly fishing is like a baseball swing, the moment you quit practicing your swing is the moment you start to get worse.  It seems to be a rhythm thing.

In conclusion, my fly fishing adventures for 2016 are experiencing a sunset and everything will become a little more dormant than usual.

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Where to go From Digital Activism #diglitclass

It has always been a notion of mine that online activism leads somewhere, but most times nowhere.  Upon studying this week’s module in our digital literacy course, I have changed my thinking.  I have came to the conclusion that digital activism is a good place to start, and can actually be a good place to end too.  My specific interests have online activism locations, and I thought it great that I could start my activism there.  Also upon researching the top online teen activists in the country I saw that online activism can stay in the online sphere and be effective.  The teen activist that I researched was Eduardo Solis and his twitter handle is @EndBullyinNow.  Solis and other teens really honed in on bullying, teen suicide, and mental illnesses.  Solis was and is able to bring an entire community of these troubled youth together through online activism.  His main emphasis is to “stay strong” and that teens aren’t alone in how they feel.  Teens are able to express themselves through color coding the “stay strong” message and writing it on their arms.  This allowed me to see that one person can change many lives through the use of online media.  He didn’t have to meet with anyone or protest on the corner, he simply had to recognize that there was a large number of teens out there who felt alienated with their problems, and then created an online community that centered on helping kids to feel better.

I am very interested in the natural environment specifically in regards to national forests, national parks, national monuments, and national wilderness areas. I found a good article on digital activism with regards to the natural environment here.  It too reflected my thinking that online activism is a great place to start in the activism realm.  It is fairly easy and sparks an interest to take online activism into the real world.  Even though Eduardo Solis’s activism was online centered it still encouraged people to treat one another better in the real world.  The heart of good online activism, obviously, enacts change in our day to day lives.  It allows for a healthy human environment, and a world where the power of majority opinion is honored.  There are many steps to online activism and they can be difficult to follow, but I feel this reading helped to explain some of the steps.  I felt this article did a great job of explaining how money can be utilized in the online realm to promote change.

As I have said before the very term “social” is being redefined.  It is no longer only day-to-day interactions among people in the concrete world.  The term is being shifted towards our online community, and through the results that online activism can have it is no wonder why.  An online community is a powerful, social tool and we must continue to strive to use that format responsibly in order for its activism to be given the credit that it deserves.

 

Up to This Point #diglitclass

Up to this point, this class has taught me myriad lessons.  As a person who has been out of the online, social realm for years, I have been shown the learning power of an online format that I didn’t see in my earlier experience.  My expectations of the course were more hands-off than what has occurred.  Through obtaining a blog and a Twitter account I have seen multiple perspectives from multiple students.  Unlike other online courses that parade through the steps of online discussion boards, this class has moved those discussion to an innovative, creative format.  Not only can discussions be had with students in the course, I am able to quickly access information from social media pertaining to the weekly study.  I didn’t expect learning about digital literacy to take place while participating in digital literacy.  I thought it would be an outside scope of the subject, and instead it has been very inclusive with students communicating in the forums studied on.

My favorite learning module to this point was module number six.  I felt that this module was the most beneficial to me as a future educator.  As someone who has been out of high school for almost ten years, I was able to see innovative trends inside the learning process.  Project based, personalized, inquiry based, and experiential based learning studies opened by eyes to see that learning can be fun.  I had forgotten this concept and I am anxious to implement these various forms learning approaches when I become an educator.  It was tremendous to see how much more students can take from a subject when the material is presented in an expansive, creative form by the student.

The most difficult module is the one I haven’t got to yet.  This is the 30-day challenge module.  This challenge falls under module number seven, and included our study of ds106.  This module requires a disciplined approach to individual creation.  From the outside it appears somewhat daunting, but hopefully once I start everything will line up accordingly.  This module will be the most difficult because it is outside the sphere of normalcy, for me.  Anything that pushes your own comfort zone is good, but I still see that module as being difficult to complete.  But I already know I will learn the most from it, because it is project form, and as I stated project based learning and the brain stick together.

In the second half of the semester I hope to learn more about technology.  The first half has included many modules of technical learning and I hope to continue to get better in this area in the second half.  As a future educator, I won’t be able to get around technology, and I am attempting to embrace it for its positive qualities.  More than anything this is class has brought me and learning technology closer together, and that is a happy occurrence.

Googling Myself #diglitclass

Upon googling myself I ran into some information and images that I would deem private.  Even though none of the images or information held me in a negative light, they were still personal and I found it uncomfortable that the world has access to them.  I don’t have a Facebook account and I only recently opened up a Twitter account, so I couldn’t find any dirt on myself in the social media realm.  However, I did find a few articles and images that I hold personal.

The first piece of information that I found to be private was my political affiliation.  The information was from five years ago and I’ve since changed political affiliation, but the third link down claimed that I am a Republican; which I am not.  In the same link it also pin points where I used to live, and I am not necessarily comfortable with having my address available to the world.  I understand that it is very common for people to have access to my address, but I consider it slightly disturbing.  Most of the links that included me were positive, and this I found to be beneficial of a connected world.  Everyone can see my accomplishments.  I didn’t know that many of my old newspaper articles on local sports were on the internet, but I don’t mind that they are.  Also included were various forms of community service projects that I had partook in.

The images of me were what I was most concerned about.  Most of the images were photos that I was tagged in by my family.  These events included were mostly weddings, funerals, and sporting events that I had participated in.  The pictures of me in wedding and funeral shots seem to be a little too personal for the whole world to have access to.  But in the end they are pretty harmless.

I was happy to view that most of the links that came up were positive things about me rather than negative.  So I can say up until this point my digital impact is not negative, and I am yet to know whether it is viewed as positive.  I may simply be viewed as just another person in the giant realm of social media and online information.

Multiple Forms of Citizenship #diglitclass

It is easy to write off the online world as useless and separate.  Many forms of social media have tainted the message of digital citizenship, and what it means to be a citizen.  Upon that note, I ask people to embrace social media for its positive qualities and how it can be a tool for generous connection.  What might seem to be a useless post or a pointless blog, may only appear to be so through the eyes of someone who didn’t write it.  I have heard many real-life conversations that carry the weight of a pointless Facebook post, but the Facebook post is the only one that gets cast out as an inadequate form of expression.  It is time to accept that social media and other forms of online expression can be a foundation for empathy and understanding.  In the education world, especially, a digital format can be utilized to connect people on another level.  Real-world interaction is still king but the online world is becoming so real that it can’t be left out with the footprint it creates in connectivity and understanding.

This video above by George Couros is a great example of a positive digital footprint.  The online world connected with him on a level only comparable to a hug.  It is the underlying message that occurs in the case of Couros that must be given mention.  Rather than meaningless, selfish posts Couros presented a scenario (unknowingly) that resulted in an entire community of dog lovers coming together to express grief and empathy.

It is important that messages, such as the one presented by Couros, are emphasized rather than negative ones created by social media.  This brings us to another aspect of digital citizenship.  This point being is that it is important to post respectable messages, because our digital footprint is everlasting.  As an online community it is important to unite in a positive message, because that message is lasting.  It is especially lasting to those people who already have a negative view of the online world.

Although the video above is scripted and the veracity of the actors is questionable, it does have a good message on a negative digital footprint.  Undesirable things that we wish to keep private are rarely private.  There is a fine line in social media on what creative is expression, and what is simple information overload.  Many posts through social media and online gaming sites reflect who we are perceived as a person, regardless of whether that was the message we intended or not.

 

Five Creative Mediums #diglitclass

It took me awhile to soak in ds106.  The site appearance made me slightly apprehensive, but as I looked closer I realized ds106 has a lot to offer for creators, and people who desire to be creators.  The site creates questions for its users, and the users must answer those questions in five creative forms: audio, video, photograph, writing, drawing.  These five outlets allow people with different strengths to succeed, it is not limited to only a few creative mediums.  ds106 is tricky because the structure is very loose, if existent at all.  It allows everyone to answer the question of what they would do outside of apprehension and judgement.  By presenting their art through an online format it does allow a student or person to be a little more bold with their artistic approach.  They may publish things they normally would not, because there is a safety barrier there.

The biggest thing that I like about ds106 is its ability to break up the collegiate, academic format.  Believe me I like a good lecture about something that I am interested in, and I don’t even mind collaborating in groups from time to time.  But every once and awhile I am looking for a release that is not there.  I think ds106 has the power to offer this creative release.  I’m not the world’s most creative person but ds106 looks like it takes all comers, whether they are naturally creative or not.  I’ve never been the daring type when it comes to publishing my own convictions for the digital world.  I am more apt to only give my creativity (furniture, letters, true convictions) to people I know.  Probably because I am consciously aware that they won’t judge me, and they will recognize the confidentiality of friendship.  Because of this I am looking forward to the thirty day challenge of ds106.  The only anxiety I feel is setting up more social media online accounts.  I didn’t have a social media account for three years, and had grown quite used to it.  I think there is a certain creative inspiration that is stifled by making your creative side too available.  But a good balance is always needed, and I need to know how to use these sites if I’m going to be an educator.

ds106 can be another medium for an educator to get to know their students.  By having students participate in ds106, a teacher can recognize where a student excels.  The teacher can then encourage them in their innate creative channels while helping them to improve in their lesser creative aspects.  In one of my literature classes we are working on emblem poetry, and one of the first things I came across on the ds106 was emblem poetry. ds106 is a leap of faith, and I like that.  It allows students to get feedback on their creative discoveries.  It is website of positive human interaction, reflection, and creative learning.  These may be the most important parts of education, and if we can’t embrace these in our own education, how will we be able to teach their importance to students? I am ready for our very own thirty day creative challenge.

Fly Fishing: Greetings from Wyoming #diglitclass

For my independent learning project this week I am in Wyoming with my Grandpa and my two first-cousins on a fishing trip.  The fly rod has been packed, and I am excited to hit the river tomorrow.  There will definitely be a learning curve in place for me.  I have fly fished off and on for a year, but have never been on a true trout stream.  The stream in question tomorrow is the North Platte River, which is one of the most-prized trout streams in the area.  T0 be clear I’m just here to have fun and maybe learn a thing or two.  I am not vain enough to think I’m going to be a world-killer my first time on a legit river.  Yet, I do harbor the hope that I will catch something, but if I don’t I will the blame on myself due to decision making and inexperience.

I can see my novice-self tomorrow morning in the fly shop: “Uggghh, what kind of flies are they biting on up on the North Platte.”  To be clear in the fly fishing world there is absolutely no way to hide that feeling of being a tourist when talking to professional fly fisherman.  Maybe I’m self conscious but it seems that half of the pros treat you like gold and the other half act as if they achieved everything under the sun by themselves.  I compare it to golfing; there are the club professionals that hit the course with a six-pack, ready to invite anyone on their card.  The kind of guy that makes you play better because of his demeanor.  Then there is the golf professional that is good, but is privileged, a jerk, and has to play alone due to this belief that he will figure out all the worlds problems in one round of golf.  I will term this type of professional “that guy.”  The trouble with “that guy” and fly fishing shops, is that I don’t know the shops around here.  So I have a fifty-fifty chance of running into “that guy.”  But this guy has no way to affect my day tomorrow, I’m convincing myself of that.

Fly fishing, to me, has no end outside of mortality.  That is a rare thing.  Life is constantly full of moments and times that end: school ends, friendship ends, home ends, children leave, jobs are left, books end, movies end, the day ends.  Fly fishing has the feeling that it is endless, and this is a very powerful feeling.  This weekend will eventually close, but complete closure in the scope of fly-fishing, not a chance.