Casting Call

Acting is hard work and it takes a natural talent. The same goes for casting a fly. My very first audition to fly fish was a bit of a rotten tomato. This summer, my boyfriend and I went to a tiny creek in the Big Horn mountains. The creek was a hike to get to from the road and in some places it was less than a foot wide. It was a perfect place to catch some native cutthroats that my boyfriend was collecting for his cutslam. I will talk a little more about that challenge in a  later post.

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I was assuming my usual fly fishing duties that day; taking pictures, holding the net, and keeping the snack rations in check. We were getting ready to pack up once we were running low on jerky and daylight, when my boyfriend asked me if I wanted to try casting. Now, I have watched my boyfriend and my uncle and Brad Pitt (A River Runs Through It) cast their lines countless times, but I had no idea that it was so taxing. I grabbed the rod and flung the line down the creek and into some thistle… Thankfully I didn’t lose the fly, but it took a bit of weaving to free the line from the bush. My next effort was also a fail. I whipped the line above my head like a lasso which resulted in my boyfriend taking his rod back.

Since the incident of my first audition I have been doing my research on how to properly cast a fly by watching youtube videos. Here is an awesome one by Charter and Guide’s channel:

Before casting an angler needs to make sure his rod and line are a compatible weight. Next the angler needs to tie on a fly, again, another post. There are a lot of things to keep in mind when casting. First you need to have a good amount of line in the water, some experts say up to thirty feet. Next make sure your rod tip is pointed down to the surface of the water. Grab the rod by the grip with your dominant hand and the line with the opposite hand. Bend your elbow up for a back cast, which will force the line behind you then move your arm forward, still keeping the elbow at 90 degrees for a foreword cast and then stop, lowering the tip of the rod down again. The most important part of this process is to keep the rod tip in a straight path. Whether you are casting vertically or horizontally, the process is the same. It is also crucial to stop abruptly when back casting and forward casting so that the line can unfold and doesn’t tangle, though it is really difficult to tangle fly line. Thank goodness. Another tip: It’s not all in the wrist.

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Active Learning

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The key to this weeks #diglitclass lesson on “hacking” in school, is simply active learning. It is important for students to be engaged with what they are being taught. This means hands on schooling like Logan LePlante’s suggested in his TED Talk “Hackschooling Makes me Happy.” He and his fellow students built a giant Newton’s cradle model out of bocce balls. Now, that’s pretty neat. When a student can create something from what they have just learned, or if they can look at an object, touch it, and examine its inner-workings that student will be much more engaged than a student who is only reading about Newton’s cradle from a textbook.

Hacking isn’t a naughty word. LePlante explains that it has been used out of context for many years because everyone focuses on the bad hackers who steal identities or passwords to websites, but the original meaning of the word simply means to modify, and that is usually for a positive result. Hacking in learning is just a way to make a teaching method or style easier to learn. A student finds their own hacks, or their own way to better understand what it is they are being taught. Hacking can be changing study habits Hacking can also be knowing what kind of learner you are, such as a visual learner.

Along this same theory of hacking in learning, Bud Hunt’s blog post, “Centering on Essential Lenses: Make/Hack/Play” takes it one step further. Making is important to learning as we have said before and hacking is a way to make learning easier, but we also forget the importance of play. As Hunt says, “Playing with information or structures or situations can lead to powerful learning.” Being active is important to the growth of students and this includes having an active mind. Students should always think for themselves and play with ideas, ask questions and ponder possibilities.

One argument I have about LePlante’s TED Talk is that that pulling a child out of the school system is the only answer. In fact, every student that I have ever known to be homeschooled or to take a different learning approach has not been successful. For example, the students who left my class either dropped out completely after a couple of years or the student came back and was at least one grade behind. It isn’t about public school policies, it is about the will of the student to learn. For LePlante, he was eager to learn and worked hard to become successful, but the student must be the one active in his/her learning.

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The Importance of Digital Literacy

From my own understanding and mild research on the topic, digital literacy is becoming more important to everyday tasks and skills for any occupation. Digital literacy goes beyond basic knowledge on computer programs and electronic devices, digital literacy adds the component of networking. Wikipedia says, “Digital literacy differs from computer literacy in a number of significant ways. While it embraces the practical skills that computer literacy incorporates, there is a much greater focus on sociological, political, cultural, economic and behavioral aspects of digital technologies.”

Literacy covers these eight elements that each have different effects on our education: 

  • Cultural – The cultural element of Digital Literacies requires technology use in different contexts and an awareness of the values and concepts specific to the varying contexts.
  • Cognitive – The cognitive component of Digital literacies aims to enable mastery of the use of technological tools, software and platforms. Gaining expertise in digital tools helps learners become more digitally literate.
  • Constructive – The constructive element requires re-using and remixing existing resources depending on the need; or adapting them into new resources. Through construction, a digitally literate user creates new data and shares their creations with others digitally.
  • Communicative – The communicative component requires awareness about different communication devices both digital and mobile. Being digitally literate means communicating in the digital world in several ways.
  • Confidence – The confidence element of Digital Literacy means gaining competence with digital technologies and the ability to create an environment for practising skills and self-learning.
  • Creative – Through the Creative element of Digital Literacy, digital learners create new data in digital environments based on personal interests. This element places emphasis on taking risks while developing searching skills and producing new things.
  • Critical – The critical component requires the digital learner to develop various perspectives. While actively taking part in digital environments, the user should take different circumstances into account.
  • Civic – The civic element is all about developing and acquiring the concepts of democracy and global citizenship through digital technologies. This component helps the participation of the individual in society. Part of digital literacy is the ability to form communities online

Nowadays, we use Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, and many other programs/apps/etc. to communicate with people beyond our scope. This digital world has its own form of literacy. For example, memes or hashtags are digitally specific forms of literacy that are not found in other forms of articulation.

It is important to remember that the digital world is very public, even if your settings are on private. Whatever you post is forever embedded into cyber space, which is a concept that I find very hard to grasp. Regardless, consideration of others and for your future self is extremely critical in digital literacy.

There are multiple ways to become familiar with the required Digital Literacy skills such as sites like,DigitalLiteracy.gov 

What’s your angle?

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Do you ever get the desire to pick up a new hobby? I’ve gone through phases of cooking, embroidery, scrapbooking, and much more. Like with any new hobby one needs to do research on the avocation in order to really enjoy it. My latest obsession is fly-fishing.

Being a successful angler is not making friendship bracelets. It takes a lot of time and money to really appreciate the sport. Fortunately for me I received two fly rods and reels for  Christmas from my parents and from my boyfriend, whom of which breathes fly-fishing. Hopefully he has the time and patience to assist me in my new found love.

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My plan is to blog about my research and my experience as a new angler. This not only fulfills a requirement for my Literacy in the Digital Age class, but it will help me document my progress in a new way.

Live and Learn

I have learned a lot over 23 years of living. We live and we learn, through education and simple lessons that teach us about life. We may not even realize it, but we learn something new every day; however, there are those key moments that we can look back on that are epiphanous, and that helped us grown into who we are today. I have five…

1. Not Talking

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When I finished kindergarden, I was held back another year because I was deemed socially unprepared to continue on to first grade with my fellow colleagues because I never talked. At all.

2. Talking too much

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When I was a sophomore in high school we were required to take speech and debate. I loved it. I could argue about anything with anyone. This however, did not make me too many friends.

3. Something changed in me

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For some reason my brain decided that I am actually not an argumentative and confident person. Senior year, I started to suffer from severe social anxiety which I still grapple with every day. Just last year I decided that it was time for me to seek professional help and I believe I am making progress.

4. I changed my mind

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After high school, I took a semester off even though I knew where I was going and what I was going to do. After finishing one semester at my school of choice with an established business major, I changed my mind. I decided to come to CSC and switch to a major in literature. Making the shift has been one of the best decisions and I couldn’t be happier. Now I just have to figure out what to do with my degree.

5. Learning to be independent

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I have always been very attached to my family, so moving seven and a half hours away was a huge shock for me. Now I have adapted, made friends, and am living completely on my own, but I still find it a daily struggle to be so far from my three younger siblings and my parents (see previous blog post).  It has also been a learning experience to make my own decisions regarding things such as my apartment and what I’m going to spend my paycheck on. Growing up is the ultimate life lesson.