Skip to main content

I am a Marine Corps veteran pursuing my career in education. I am currently a student at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). I am all about positive motivation and helping others achieve their max physical and mental/intellectual potential. I love to think "outside-the-box" and believe in looking at things from different perspectives. I enjoy the many arts of life: music, film, literature, aesthetics in the art of the anatomy and physique (i.e. bodybuilding), etc.

I am always open to learning from experience, whether it be my own or others... Good or bad... We will learn regardless...

Andres Reyes

Step Outside of Your Box and Participate!

5 min read

Reflection on Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture


            Reading Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture by Henry Jenkins revealed how teachers and educators have to adapt and confront the continuously changing scenery of the internet and technology.  Jenkins explains that because of this changing landscape of the internet, participatory culture and how we perceive literacy in society is adapting and changing.  He also tells of how we can also limit our use of technology if we don’t understand our own culture and how to use technology to further enhance it.

(Our forever changing tech world)

            One adaptation of literacy, Jenkins explains, is how learning through the internet and technology is informal.  We have always, in a sense, learned formally through institutions that are boring, bureaucratic and rigid.  This new way of informal learning allows for more ‘movement’, easy access and easy to change for the better of the community.  Our formal ways of the past have always been slow to adaptation and participation was almost always exclusive.  We need to let youths know that they are free to participate and not only are they free to do so, but that their participation would be appropriately valued. link to passage explaining formal and informal and my own interpretation...
Robin DeRosa's (author of Working in/at Public) response to my annotation...



Jenkins writes about David Buckingham and how Buckingham argues that young people’s lack of interest in news and politics reflects their perception of disempowerment.  Jenkins also mentions a lot in his writing about gaming ‘politics’.  He uses the examples of games like The Sims and others as how youths have garnered some sort of political education through gaming.  Through gaming and creating their own governments and simulated lives, youths have gained a grasp on politics and how they work.  Yet, their lack of interest in ‘real’ politics has left them feeling disempowered and disconnected.  I have to say that this is partly our own fault.  We can’t blame society for our lackluster interest in ‘real’ politics if we don’t take the time to become somewhat literate and verse in the subject.  “An illiterate country/people/society is easy to deceive…”



            Although youths might feel disempowered, in one passage Jenkins explains that participatory culture offers many opportunities for youths to engage in civic debates, participate in community life and even become political leaders.  With technology and the internet, we are seeing more youths becoming more involved in politics and activism.  Hashtags allow for easy access and easy flow of real-time information that we, society, can chose to follow or dismiss.  A grasp of our culture allows for a better deployment of the tools needed to accomplish our goals. annotation with an example of how this has been utilized in modern culture...

Another response from DeRosa!




            In a nutshell, Jenkins outlines three major concerns in his assertion that Participatory Culture should be nourished in schools:


The Participation Gap: the unequal access to the opportunities, experiences, skills, and knowledge that will prepare youth for full participation in the world of tomorrow and the world of today.  Allowing for access to all and any.




The Transparency Problem:  The challenges young people face in learning to see clearly the ways that media shape perceptions of the world and how media can shape their own view on society.  Teaching youths to look at society from their own perspectives and not from what is pushed on them.



The Ethics Challenge: The breakdown of formal professional training and socialization that prepare young people for their increasingly public roles as media makers and community participants which are better comprehended in an informal setting.  Adapting to how we teach ethics in conjuction with the amount of info accessible to youth on the web.  Because the web can be a sickening and scary place...





Youths are adapting to technological advancements and the changing atmosphere of participatory culture.  It is our job as educators to change the formal way we educate youths on participation and adapt to the new way information is coming at them and their screens at a rapid rate.  We must teach them to utilize technology and the internet to step outside their boxed world and into the realm of the global community!



Link to Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture

Andres Reyes

Blue Bird Chirping

3 min read

Twitter Chat Analysis

I experienced my very first Twitter chat the other day.  While perusing around in my newly created Twitter account and utilizing the Tweetdeck application I saw professor McVerry use in class, I was invited by professor McVerry to join the chat that was occurring at 8pm on 23 Sept 15. 

 The Twitter chat was about integrating the arts to help student learning.  The chat consisted of multiple teachers and educators with whom professor McVerry considers to be the thought leaders of the state.  


The chat was organized via the and a google document that depicted some questions the moderator would ask.   The moderator being Amy Traggianese who is co-facilitator of and an elemntary art essentialist amongst other attributes.  She would post one of the questions and the other particpates would answer them.  

It looked something like this:


Many of the participates were very much expert in the dynamic of Twitter chatting.  They knew how to answer each question at lighting fast speed with links to examples, videos, pretty much anything you can imagine.       


            I tried to participate with a "wow! How cool is that!" or an "Awesome!" every now and then. I think even      professor McVerry tried to showcase the Timeline I did for , but I felt like a definite total noob... 

 Storify link to chat

Andres Reyes

"You want to learn? Come on in! We're open and it's free!"

4 min read

Reflection on Working in/at Public by Robin DeRosa


            While reading the journal by DeRosa, I couldn’t help but agree with her sentiments on how what we post on the web through social media can cause avalanches of opinion and in some cases, backlash.  I also strongly agree with her opinion on how we as educators should not be only willing to work in the public, but work at it as well.  Her blotter/journal shows not only a cautionary tale of working in the public, but also a means to how and why we should be willing to work with the public as well.


                                                Robin DeRosa

                                                                     (Robin DeRosa)





DeRosa told a story of a professor whose tweet caused a backlash against her and her profession.  She uses this example and others as a way of showing the risks educators take while talking on happening issues publicly through social media or just publicly at all.  An educator doesn’t even have to be an activist for free speech or tenure protections when it comes to having your opinions and remarks on social media analyzed and critiqued.  The irony with the Goldrick-Rab’s specific case is that she was an activist for public schools and her “public” engagement through a tweet kind of ruined her work for the public good.  Her research and work pushed aside because of a tweet.


                                                               (Got that post-tweet regret)





While some participates in the Digital Pedagogy Lab were frightened by the Goldrick-Rab example in DeRosa became empowered.  She explains that the challenge of being a scholar is not just in being accountable for your words to a diverse audience; it is being responsible for demanding that the diversity be preserved in the face of pressure that stems from profit driven, comfortable elitist.  Her work on OER (Open Educational Resources) initiatives are trying to pave the way for more free and openly licensed content that would allow students and educators to ‘remix’ or ‘hack’ (ala Professor McVerry’s term) knowledge.  One student even brought the environmental aspect of the OER movement; explaining how digital textbooks increase the access for students and decrease the impact we have on the environment in order to make paperbacks.  (This even elicited a response from DeRosa herself!)



                                          (Trailblazing literacy comprehension!)





DeRosa explains how we must “stand-up” to oppressive structures.  These exclusive digital structures are all to exclusive and oppressive and by carving out public digital space in which all have access, the public can all benefit from the open learning occurring in the carved out digital space.  The OER movement is a great weapon against these structures.  We need to keep the “public” a product-less environment and the digital world a place of nondominant expression.



                                               (Standing up to the big dog!)                      






Working in/at public can be like walking on eggshells, but we must keep the public an accessible and open space for creativity and knowledge sharing!


                                          (Demand a free and open web for all!!!)


Link to Working in/at Public

Andres Reyes

History of Bodybuilding Timeline

1 min read

 One thing I took with me from my time in the Marine Corps is the importance of physical health.  While struggling during my intial transition back to civilian life, I took to the sport of bodybuilding as a form of meditation and focus training. I have come to appreciate the hard work and effort it takes to preform in this sport/work of art.  

Even though I am a novice pupil in the art myself, I hope this timeline gives you a sense of some background and history into bodybuilding.  This timeline also shows how competitors have learned, revised and adapteded to the sport... or as many like to consider... a work of art... 

Here is the google spreadsheet link since my timeline is disappearing for some reason





Andres Reyes

A New Way of Learning...

3 min read

“The Future is Now!”


Technological advancements have caused us to learn in so many different ways.  It seems like pretty soon books will become absolute.  The dull way we learned by having our faces in books will be eventually replaced.  PDF annotations, Twitter/Facebook assignments, YouTube instructional videos, etc. will replace the old fashion way of note taking via paper and pen, research via paperback encyclopedias at local libraries and the good old VCR/DVD player the teachers would roll into class. 


            I for one embrace this technological changing occurring to the way we are expanding our literacy.  Through knowledge comes power, but through shared knowledge comes even greater power!  Technology has always been a way we have “shrunk” the globe in the sense of how we learn and exchange ideas and interests.  The printing press pushed the Bible into many more hands than one could’ve imagined at that time.  People needed to become literate in order to read the actual book and this spawned our interest to continue to read and learn.  Newer technological advancements, like social media, have linked us globally to others with similar interest, hobbies, causes, backgrounds, etc. allowing us to learn more from each other….


But there is a catch…   


            What if, and it’s a big what if, technology fails us?   What if the technology of the world turns on us ala Terminator or Snake Plissken pushes in the code ala Escape from L.A.  (did I mention that I'm all about 80's/90's action films) and we are left with no technology?  What will we do?  Will we revert back to books?  Can we successfully do that as a society? 


      (Skynet takes over in The Terminator)          (Snake Plissken after punching in the code in Escape from L.A.)


            For now, embrace this new way of enhancing our literacy.  Follow hashtags, Google a foreign country, “Like” a Facebook page about a sport you want to learn, make a connection with someone who lives out of your Hometown.... Your State... Your country, even…    Learn a new way of doing something you are already doing…


"Play Mortal Kombat with a friend in Vietnam!!!!"




Andres Reyes

Generational Change...

2 min read

Reflection on It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd


            My age truly showed while reading Danah Boyd's It's complicated.  In the reading, Boyd analyzes the tech-social lives of teens.  She tells real-world situations that show the "typical" teenage patterns in social and personal life with the mix of technology.

As, Boyd recalls her own teen years spent online, I couldn't help to evoke my own past memories of teenage tech-life.  I could remember a time a "techsavvy" friend of mine was getting one of those "new lighting fast cable modems" from Optimum Online and changing over from the slow 56k dial up we all had in our own homes.  My teenage social tech-life consisted of America Online (AOL) with one of the original Instant Messaging apps (AIM), playing the original versions of Counter-Strike, and showcasing my high school life on MySpace.

This all was a major part of my teenage social life as well.  You needed to have the latest video game system, needed to be on AIM or AOL, and needed to show yourself on MySpace to your peers.  Online gaming, social networks and social media programs, are in a sense, the new manifested “meeting spots” for the “cool, hip and savvy” teenager.  Boyd shares a similar story about a teenager named Skylar.  

In a sense, Boyd shows how that our enviroments have changed through technological advantages.  But even though the enviroment has changed from actual places; teenagers are still teenagers in the sense of their social interactions.  These social interactions a neccesity for teenagers in order to keep up with pop culture, media and whatever else their peers are finding attractive at the time.  Social media through tech provides a new way teens remain part of the group...

              <iframe src="//" width="480" height="370" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="">


Link to It's Complicated