Slice of Life: Authoethnography Infographic (or, What the Heck I Wrote About)

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(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

As noted on the very first day of the\is year’s Slice of Life (March 1), I was curious to go back through my many slices to see what the heck I was writing about over the past six years of writing with Slice of Life. Some themes emerged as I moved through the posts (luckily, I kept them tagged here at the blog in my Slice of Life category). I then took a physical count (not including this year’s slices), putting the posts into subcategories, and then went into an app I have in on my iPad to create this infographic:

Slice of Life Autoethnograpy Infographic

I find it interesting to see where my lens ends up over time, and it is no surprise that family and teaching and writing are the main focus. The “other” is a real collection of odds and ends of topics.

Peace (in the data),
Kevin

Slice of Life: Paper Circuitry, Illuminated Ideas

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(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

I had the good fortune to be able to sit in both a lunch gathering and a workshop on the topic of paper circuitry yesterday at the Digital Media and Learning Conference in Boston (I also co-presented about the Making Learning Connected MOOC but I will write about that tomorrow in a regular post). Paper circuitry is the idea of using sticker circuit boards inside a notebook, to illuminate ideas and to bring an “inventor’s/scientist’s notebook” of thinking to the writer’s notebook. Someone once said it is part of the movement to “reclaim” the notebook.

The project here is still in development, but presenters Paul Oh (of the National Writing Project), Jie Qi (a researcher through MIT), and David Cole and Jennifer Dick (of NexMap) not only gave us a presentation showing the possibilities of adding circuits to stories (and I still have Jennifer’s comment about the “storytelling comes first” in my head followed by Jie’s of developing “new tools to tell stories through circuits.”) but then they gave us circuit stickers and walked us through creating a simple illuminated page in a notebook.

We then got our Make on.

Of course, I didn’t have a notebook. Doh. So I stitched one together with some paper. The task of creating a page of sticker circuits reminded me a bit of creating with e-textiles, but this was a whole lot easier (no sewing!). I started to think of a story involving musical notes, where the embedded light would be part of the face. I used the pun (“See the light” for the C note. Get it?)

illuminated notebook

I’d have to think more of the application for my own classroom. I’d love to pilot this concept with some students, though, and if a paper circuit project could be another bridge from literacy to science and/or math class (which it could, as planning involves not just the story, but also the knowledge of circuit routes and representational information). I think the rough draft planning stage would be critical. In our workshop, we just sort of jumped in, given the time constraints. We’d really want kids to work out what they think would happen, then iterate during design, and troubleshoot along the way.

Interesting and intriguing? You bet.

Check out these two videos about paper circuits. The first is an overview and the second is an example of Jie’s idea in motion, literally. It’s beautiful.

21st Century Notebooking with Inside/Out from NEXMAP on Vimeo.

Interactive Light Painting: Pu Gong Ying Tu (Dandelion Painting) from Jie Qi on Vimeo.

 

Peace (in the light),
Kevin

 

As I watched far afar … DML Ignite Sessions

I snuck in moments to watch the short Ignite sessions that have been archived at the Digital Media and Learning Conference YouTube channel, and tweeted out my comments and reactions. Here, I collect them all together. There are a few Ignite sessions at the end of the very long video that I have not seen. Maybe later …

Peace (in the Ignit-ion switch to learning),
Kevin

Slice of Life: My Immersion Learning Map

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(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

This morning, after I blog, I am heading out for the drive into Boston, for the Digital Media and Learning Conference. I am co-presenting a session around open learning, with the focus on last summer’s Making Learning Connected MOOC (CLMOOC), and how the philosophies and ethos of the National Writing Project and Connected Learning Principles helped us create and facilitate learning opportunities. I was one of the facilitators, and enjoyed every minute of it as we engaged hundreds of teachers in making, creative fun and inquiry.

I’ll share more in the coming days, no doubt, but one of the activities in our session is a Mini-Make, in which we are going to be asking folks to make a learning map. What they choose to illustrate in their map is up to them, but the idea is to chart out and probe deep about aspects of learning, and represent it in a map format of some kind.

I decided to do my own, using Coggle, an online mind-mapping tool. It worked great (and I think I owe Ian a shout-out for using it this summer and sharing the tool with CLMOOC). This map shows “my immersion” into open learning and networks over the past year or so, and some of the offshoots that have occurred as a result. It’s not a perfect representation, but it does capture a lot of footholds of my learning life.
My Immersion Map

What would be on your learning map? How would you design it?

Peace (in the mapping),
Kevin

Slice of Life: Blowing the Dust off the XO Netbook

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(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

I was going going through my classroom closet the other day. You might have a space like that, too, where years of curriculum and resources get shoved. I can’t seem to throw much of it away, or give it away, but I also don’t use it anymore because of shifts in my teaching and curriculum and standards. So, in the closet it goes in hopes that it might still have some use some day.

Yesterday, I was digging around for a Dr. Seuss book (following up on our World Read Aloud Day activity of using The Butter Battle Book for a lesson on allegory) when I saw a flash of green in the way back. I reached in and pulled out … my old XO computer. Do you remember these? This little green machines launched the netbook push, although it was an experiment to build affordable computers for use in education around the world by the One Laptop Per Child organization (which wanted to build $100 computers). I paid for two XOs at the time, and received one for myself. The other XO was part of a shipment to some corner of the world, hopefully finding its way into the hands of students.

The XO was always quirky, particularly this first-generation model. So I didn’t know if it would even boot up for me. It did, and I was again interested in the design of the software interface (it uses an open source platform called Sugar) and how child-friendly it is.
ReDiscovering the XO

That’s when I realized that I could use the XO for the day’s Daily Create assignment, which had to do with creating a video in ventriloquist theme, promoting DS106 (an open online digital storytelling movement). There is a program that allows you to type in words and it says them in a voice back to you (when I opened the app, it called out “Welcome Kevin” as if it and I were best of friends and I had only gone out for a cup of coffee, not unplugged it for about three years).

I made this:

You never know what you will find in the back of a classroom closet, do you?

Peace (in Xs and Os)
Kevin

Book Review: Robot Army Rampage

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This is the second book in a series about Nick and Tesla, two kids with a Maker ethos who get broiled up in adventures while staying with their eccentric inventor uncle. The series by “Science Bob” Pflugflelder and Steve Hockensmith comes complete with diagrams and plans for building the things that Nick and Tesla build in the story, so an intrepid reader could construct their own robo-hovercrafts or bot-blasting soaker gun or maybe a robo-bug? My son and I haven’t yet made any of these, but we’ve bookmarked a few for the future.

The story in this second book – Robot Army Rampage — moves at a quicker pace than the first book (High-Voltage Danger Lab), which I appreciated, and the characters in the story are bit more lively, too. Here, the story involves a series of robberies of stores in town, the sudden emergence of a bunch of odd little robots, a comic book/Maker store where kids like to hang out, and some off-kilter characters. My son guessed the culprit early on but still thoroughly enjoyed the tale.

I like how the writers really bake in the whole engineering/inventor/Make ideas into the books. It doesn’t seem terribly forced and instead, the kids use their wits and humor to solve problems. It helps their uncle has a fully-equipped science lab in the basement of their home (doesn’t everyone?) but the schematics that are provided here rely on mostly common everyday objects and materials.

So, you could build your own robo-bug. And why wouldn’t you?

Peace (in the make),
Kevin

Slice of Life: Of Gutters, Frames, Bubbles and Comics

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(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

Yesterday was the first of three days of parent-teacher conferences. I probably should write about that. But I’m not. Instead, during some down times during the day, I created a few webcomics about Slice of Life (as I am apt to do, if you know me at all), as part of a way to have fun with the idea of slicing your day into reflections and in part as a way to encourage others in my various writing communities to get writing!

These two characters are recurring dudes in my comics about various writing projects that I am engaged in (they began in a series called The Tweets and continue as a sort of ego/id stand-in for my brain)

And so …
Slice of Life Muse Comic

Slice of Life Quilt Comic

Slice of Life topic comic

Peace (in the comics),
Kevin

Slice of Life: The Line Thief

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(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

Yesterday morning, I did my daily “tour” of other folks engaged in the Slice of Life. Part of the month-long adventure is not just sharing, but also connecting through comments. But I decided to go at it a bit differently yesterday. Instead of leaving prose, I stole lines from people’s posts and built poetry out of those stolen lines, and then left the poems as comments for my fellow Slicers.

I didn’t think too much or too deep about it. Instead, I read the post, tried to find that “center of gravity” and then used those words as the basis for a free-form poem, moving around the perimeter of the theme. It was interesting, reading and writing, and then moving on. Later in the day, I noticed that a few folks mentioned on Twitter how fun it was to find my poems, like little wordy surprises sprinkled around our Slice of Life community.


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

I took the poems that I had left (I remembered to make notes of where I had been so I didn’t get lost) and created this collection in Prezi. Thank you to the bloggers who unknowingly inspired me to write my poems, and I hope the comments as poetry were a nice little surprise for you.

Peace (in the poems),
Kevin