It’s that Time of Year…

It’s that time of year…when I claim to reboot my efforts on this site…or not. I was inspired to write¬†this non/anti-resolution post by two tweets that came across my feed this last week.

First, I saw that Melvina posted that she received a postcard from Kevin Hodgson via Karen Fasimpaur‘s #clmooc postcard project that has taken a data display turn this year.

If you look closely (click on the tweet to see the images), you’ll see that Kevin has mapped his resolutions…and their degree of accomplishment. (P.S. Kudos Kevin, beautifully displayed data!) It got me thinking about the commitments I’ve made over and over on this site.¬†I’ve even tried the¬†non-resolution approach!

Then, I saw another tweet, with a possible solution. Ironically, it was a response from Kevin to Mia Zamora about her resolution.

Iscreen-shot-2017-01-09-at-8-01-40-amn the post she shared, she committed to making “snap posts.” Snap posts are posts that are conceived, composed, produced, and distributed within 15 minutes. She is going to be posting these as part of her interaction with the¬†Networked Narrative open journey (on Twitter:¬†@netnarr¬†#netnarr).¬†I am not sure how closely she is going to watch the clock on all those parts, but I was inspired. In fact, I¬†have…5 minutes and 57 seconds to finish this post.¬†So, with no promise to write one of these ever again, here’s a snap post from me.

The main takeaway for me, however, is not actually the snap post idea. It is, rather,¬†a reminder¬†how much I gain from my personal¬†learning network, particularly, how much I learn in the serendipitous moments I glance at my Twitter feed or see a post in a Facebook group. Some of¬†the moments are leveraged by social media directly, like when I asked Ian O’Byrne if he’d be willing to do a recorded video call with me following the Literacy Research Association Study Group focused on developing a “domain of one’s own.” Others are only distally connected and come together unpredictably, and take off in new learning pathways. The kind¬†that¬†characterized much of what we recognized as learning in our Remix as Professional Learning piece that came out this last year as a reflection on the connected learning opportunity for educators,¬†CLMOOC.

I am currently designing the syllabus and learning challenges for an Introduction to Educational Technologies course, and my interest in having the grad students check in on the health and development of their own learning networks is reinvigorated!

Confession: This took just over 15 minutes to write, inclusive of the tweets and photo. It then took another 5 to add all the links.


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Join Me at #4TDW!

On October 9th at 4:30 EST I will be joining the Teachers Teaching Teachers about Technology (4T) Digital Writing Conference. #4TDW, for short.

4TDW is a free, virtual conference on digital writing. They just ask that you register to get a newsletter with links to each week’s sessions. There are six sessions focusing on a variety of aspects of digital writing each Sunday in October. Here’s mine:Screen Shot 2016-10-04 at 9.04.21 PM.png

Like the description says, I’ll be highlighting the Connected Learning MOOC (#clmooc)¬†as an example of a community filled with educators who are contemporary composers. To introduce #clmooc, I whipped up a video filled with participants’ faces, reflections, and makes.

And perhaps most importantly, I am promising that the session will be production-centered just like #clmooc is. So, come get your make on. Hope to see you Sunday.


As always, I apologize that WordPress has begun to force ads on each post. Please ignore any ad that follows. I have not vetted and do not support whatever is advertised below.

Where’s Anna: Literacy Research Association Edition

This week I have the opportunity to join with many of you at the Literacy Research Association‘s annual conference. I look forward to catching up on the great work that I am usually only able to follow at a distance. Here are three times you can catch up with me:

Methods for Researching Transliteracies in Practice:
An Embodied Theoretical Review

On Thursday December 3, 2015 8:45am – 10:15am in¬†Costa Del Sol Ballroom – Salon E, you can join us in an¬†Alternative Format Session.¬†This alternative session addresses a central challenge for literacy researchers–how to account for practices ‚Äėon the move‚Äô–by drawing together literacy scholars working at the methodological cutting edge. Through data demonstrations and an embodied theoretical review, this symposium initiates a concerted effort to gather a set of innovative methodological tools that address the complexity of transliteracies in practice. The audience will collaborate in constructing a visual map, considering with panelists how to ethically represent marginalized voices.

Anna Smith, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Amy Stornaiuolo, University of Pennsylvania
Nathan Phillips, University of Illinois at Chicago
Christian Ehret, McGill University
Matthew Hall, The College of New Jersey
Jon M Wargo, Michigan State University
Joanne Larson, University of Rochester


‚ÄúI‚Äôve Become a Student of This‚ÄĚ:
Temporal Practices in Transcontextual Writing Development

Continue reading Where’s Anna: Literacy Research Association Edition

Going on a Blog Hunt. #clmooc Marks the Spot.

It’s a blustery, rainy…and sticky-warm July day. And yet, I am still about to embark on a walk…a blog walk.

If you’re following me on Twitter, you’ve seen an abundance of the #clmooc hashtag in my stream. Hopefully,¬†you haven’t muted it before I had a chance to explain. We’re right in the middle of the…

Connected Learning Massive(ly) Open
On-(and Off-)line Collaboration

(See why it’s shortened?)

It’s¬†basically a connected learning¬†summer camp for educators. There are a series of Make Cycles that begin (and only begin, never end) each week through July, and educators can follow their own lines of inquiry while making, experimenting, writing, and¬†connecting. As you can imagine, it has turned out to be a choose-your-own-adventure space bubbling with ideas, rich with potential,¬†and a little overwhelming to try to take in in one gulp.

15418295432_12e188ead6_k
Photo by Alan Levine

This brings us to the #clmooc Blog Hub, and my blog walk (inspired by Kevin Hodgson’s idea of the blog walk¬†and the results Deanna Mascle found on the walk she took). Since it seems that our Make Cycle #3 is focused on game design, I am going to change the blog walk into a blog hunt—a hunt for ideas that spur my thinking…

First along my way, I’ve met Aaron Johannes who is a graphic facilitator. I had never heard of this, but it resonates with the work I had done with Matt Hall and Nick Sousanis—and more deeply, Nick’s work recently published as the book Unflattening—to¬†share the critical role of¬†creating visualizations of our thinking while/during/in the processes¬†of inquiry. This is what Aaron does for groups—on the fly graphic representations of a¬†conversation or strategic planning meeting. What a powerful layer of understanding that must bring! Continue reading Going on a Blog Hunt. #clmooc Marks the Spot.

No. Don’t Surrender. Leverage.: Creativity in Scholarly Work

I was just talking¬†with a colleague in the throes of dissertation writing. She’s right in the middle of the mess¬†that is trying to thinking new thoughts. And though she was trying her hardest not to show it, she was feeling downtrodden, and at a loss as to what to do about it.
(And then today I serendipitously came across a series of tweets that animated what I saw behind her calm exterior. Press play and enjoy.)

Then she said something that I’ve heard (and said myself) a hundred times:

I just need to trust the process, right?
I need to surrender to it.

It rang so false, so hollow, so hopeless. This was someone deeply invested in a complex effort trying to grab at something secure.¬†2015/01/img_59031.jpgAnd surrendering to some amorphous¬†process was her only solution? That’s¬†no solution.¬†I wondered: What is this “process” that’s supposed to solve everything? Letting time pass as we¬†continue to “plug away” at the same old tasks?¬†(You know what they say about that.)

Leveraging¬†“the Process”

Rather than surrendering to this amorphous process (which I am now thinking is just code for feeling lost and ready to give up), I think we could do better to leverage it.

Continue reading No. Don’t Surrender. Leverage.: Creativity in Scholarly Work

Write. Create. Make.: A solution. Not a resolution.

I’ll say it. My 2014 Year in Review from WordPress is sad, just sad. And though the graphics are fun (thanks, WP), my work on this site has not been¬†fireworks worthy. Let’s just take my¬†2014 Posting Patterns as an example…

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 2.28.51 PM
Click image to see the complete pitiful, sorry excuse for a report.

Posting patterns? Pretty pitiful. I didn’t have a “posting pattern.”¬†I was in an¬†avoidance holding pattern.¬†Sure there was a lot going on this year, but I don’t need excuses. To be blunt: The sustained intensity of the dissertation processes in concert with¬†the massive amount of¬†other critical and creative…and really exciting…scholarly work I¬†had been¬†engaged in for the last couple of years had left me a little tired, a little wrung out to dry, and thus, a little hesitant to engage in any¬†kind of writing, creating or making that was¬†not absolutely, utterly necessary. And yet, I’ve missed it, and I’ve missed the rush, the spark, the energy I get while writing, creating, and making in order¬†to keep writing, creating and making.

So, what am I going to do about it?

Write. Create. Make.: A solution. Not a resolution.

Continue reading Write. Create. Make.: A solution. Not a resolution.

IAmA LRA Show Guest: Young Adults & their Writing Practices

This post is updated to include a recording of the event...

Tuesday¬†(8/19)¬†at 8PM EST was the second live event in¬†the¬†month-long focus on young adults and their writing practices from¬†#literacies chat¬†and the¬†Literacy Research Association‘s Research to Practice¬†webinar series. I was honored to join¬†Jen Scott Curwood,¬†Ryan Rish, Jeremy Hyler,¬†and moderator Paula DiDomenico and discussant¬†Mellinee¬†Lesley¬†in the live¬†LRA Learning Research to Practice¬†show.

In addition to discussing the kind of research we do regarding writing and young adults, we discussed¬†the current context for teaching young adult writers, and how we typify¬†the young adults’ writing practices. We tackled the reoccurring question: What does it¬†mean¬†to¬†teach young adults how to write? And finally, we discussed what we hope to see in¬†research and practice in regards to young adults and their writing practices.

Continue reading IAmA LRA Show Guest: Young Adults & their Writing Practices

Anna Smith, PhD, educational researcher & teacher educator blogging about composition in the digital age, contexts for learning, theories of development, and global youth.

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