The Media Diaries: Five Short Stories of Five Good Friends

No. 1: The Wise Old Mentor

By Dplanet via Flickr

I’m a reader. My parents read to me when I was little, and before I actually could, I would pretend to read stories from the Western Producer on my dad’s knee. I played “music” from the Reader’s Digest Christmas Songbook at my mom’s piano. When letters slowly morphed into words, and words into ideas and stories, my life changed. I would stay up late reading Nancy Drew under my covers, occasionally checking my orange leather wristwatch to see how late it was. I didn’t want to be too tired for school the next day. Yep. That’s me. I think I loved school because I was a good reader and most of what I learned there came from textbooks. Big. Heavy. Books. I survived on painfully slow dial-up, and downloadable version of the Encyclopedia Britannica until I left home for university. Text remained my wise old mentor in this institution as well. Bates argues that text “is an essential medium for academic learning,” and I definitely have found this true in my experiences. It’s kind of difficult for me to imagine that it is unlikely “that books will survive in a printed format, because digital publication allows for many more features to be added, reduces the environmental footprint, and makes text much more portable and transferable.” But I suppose all wise old mentors die eventually, making room for new teachers, though their wisdom lives on.

No. 2: That friend who keeps you company while you run errands and doesn’t stop talking so you kind of stop listening once in a while

pink-jvcMusic and podcasts are comfortable pals of mine. Music has been in my life since my grandpa bought me a bright pink JVC CD player when I was 13, and I was introduced to Podcast last year by a good friend. I have a difficult time relaxing, doing hands-on-work or exercise in silence, so these two keep me company and I enjoy listening to them, even if I drift off on occasion. I don’t find that I learn anything particularly useful or interesting when we hang out. But if Pen or Video join us, then the conversations get juicy. So, I didn’t find it at all surprising when Bates said, “that students will often learn better from preprepared audio recordings combined with accompanying textual material (such as a web site with slides) than they will from a live classroom lecture.”

No. 3: The Diva

Mr. P, my former science teacher, was a huge fan of The Diva. We used to watch The Diva’s presentations on reproduction, chemical reactions, and uranium mines. The Diva thought she was so much better than Mr. Overheadprojector. One day, she was trying to show off with some fancy singing and animation on the topic of Meiosis. And the poor thing flopped. Sighs were heaved. Tears were shed. Minutes of lives were lost. But in history later that year, The Diva shared Schindler’s List. And so, rightfully found a place back at the top as a powerful, evocative celebrity. So, Bates’s thoughts that quality, free and engaging videos may not be easy for teachers to find brought this memory of The Diva’s career “lowlight” to the surface.

No. 4: The Nerd

You know that guy who is so passionate, that he scares people away? The nerd? I recently got set up with him by my EC&I 834 profs, Alec and Katia. Since then, we’ve been on a few dates. He’s pretty deep when you get to know him; he knows so much! And he can really challenge me, which I like. Sometimes he gets a little boring when he’s quizzing me and I really just want to hang out with Music and Podcast, or even The Diva. Still, he has a LONG list of strengths. He’s pretty good looking in most styles, organized, methodical, environmentally friendly, accommodating, and patient. Unfortunately, I think many of those strengths are left unappreciated because the ladies don’t take or have the time to get to know him. And once in a while he shuts you out for no apparent reason. That can definitely be a turn off.

“many teachers and instructors often have no training in or awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of computing as a teaching medium”  – Bates

No. 5: Ms. Social Butterfly

captureMs. Social Butterfly is one of my new teachers. We’ve been collaborating and constructing together for a little while now. Within the last year she encouraged me to blog and join Twitter. To be honest, I got a tad overwhelmed by Ms. Social Butterfly and we didn’t talk for almost six months. We just needed a break. We sat down for a Zoom session just over a month ago, and discussed boundaries. Now, I’m self-directing my learning, just like Bates said was possible. She will be an integral part of my ongoing professional development, and I’m glad that she’s teaching me again.


Have you met any of these characters before? Do you have any characters to add to The Media Diaries? Would love to hear what they’ve been up to!


13 thoughts on “The Media Diaries: Five Short Stories of Five Good Friends

  1. Hey Sarah, really enjoyed your post. You had me hooked at the title – I mean, who doesn’t love a good story. Your post was fun and entertaining. Hope your nerdy guy works out – they are the best 🙂


  2. What an entertaining post! Also, I love the meiosis video. I had to share it with my husband (he just covered that with his grade nines)
    I’m very familiar with this cast of characters and how well they work together to create lots of ways of knowing. My favourite has been the wise old mentor, but I’m becoming partial to the nerd the more tech classes I take 🙂


    1. Like you mentioned in your post, I think of computation as another form of text most of the time, but Bates defined it differently. I am always using the internet for news and research.


  3. Favourite post of the week for me! Hands down – I laughed, I cried (I mean – a break from Ms. Social Butterfly? But, I pulled it back together when I found out your reconciled)!

    Engaging way to write your post, loved the voice that permeated throughout!

    As for me, I’m a *nerd-ist* at heart – mixed with a little social butterfly, and sprinkled with some Diva. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read too (I did my first read-aloud to a kindergarten class when I was starting grade 1), and while I learn from reading (and sometimes re-reading things), I really value learning from others perspectives on things, hence why computing and online social forums are really vital in how I learn.

    Thanks so much for your post this week Sarah, enjoyed learning from you.

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  4. What a great post Sarah! So creative and entertaining. I don’t think I have any characters to add to the list but I know that I have been each of these characters at some point. However I have to admit that I don’t think I have ever been a reader. You would have never found me reading late at night…I don’t know what I did to pass the time, but I know it wasn’t reading. How can a teacher not be a reader? I wonder the same thing about myself haha. Some days I am a bigger nerd than others and I have become quite the social butterfly having had the pleasure of building my PLN on Twitter. Thanks for sharing Sarah!

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  5. Very clever post, Sarah. I appreciated your creativity and careful consideration of each “character”. I feel like I dance with many of these characters depending on the day and my role within that day. Thanks for thinking outside of the box and making me do the same.

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