Thanks to Fellow Facilitators, or All I Got Was a Comic

If you have been following me this summer, you probably figured out that I was a facilitator with the Making Learning Connected Massive Open Online Collaboration. It was a blast, and I was part of an amazing team of people who worked tirelessly to engaged participants and Make Cycle teams from late May right through, well, today (the official end of the CLMOOC).

As part of my work around making comics for CLMOOC, I made a few as thank you notes to my fellow facilitators:

For Karen, whose work at organizing Twitter chats and whose push for the CLMOOC Make Bank has been inspiring …

The Make Bank

For Joe, whose role as a coach for teams of folks leading the Make Cycles this year made all the difference in the world, so much so that you probably didn’t even realize how many moving parts there were …

Clmooc comics

For Anna, whose research lens has us all reflecting and hopefully, documenting our learning for ourselves and for others …

Clmooc comics

For Christina and Mallory, who really were the threads behind the scenes on the CLMOOC, making sure everything was organized and on time and in some thematic order ….

My Imaginary Friends

For Jordan, who worked all of last year and at the start of this year to make the launch of the CLMOOC smooth and seamless …

Friend Wanted

For Paul and Chad, who were busy with other things this summer but whose work last year and earlier this year informed the way we made the CLMOOC what it was this year …

Invisible Forces at Work

For Terry, my pirate-in-arms across many media divides this summer …

Pirates Make Adventure

And most of all, for Terry, Michael, Sheri and Rosie — who were all part the Support Team that I had the pleasure of facilitating this summer as we worked to support each and every person on their journeys.

Support Crew

Did I forget anyone? I hope not.

Thank you to all of you (and to everyone who dipped their toes into the CLMOOC waters and who might still do so in the days to come). I had a blast and I learned so much.

Peace (in the framing of the learning),
Kevin

Capturing the CLMOOC in Comics

Since before the start of the Making Learning Connected MOOC, I have been creating and publishing comics each Make Cycle, partly as reflection points and partly to make fun of myself. The main character become a sort of alter-ego. The comics were created in an app called Rosie Comics, although Rosie herself barely appears.

Before the CLMOOC actually started, I was already making comics:
Clmooc comic 1
Clmooc comic 2
Magic Box of Stuff
Then, the first Make Cycle was launched, with folks sharing their expertise during a How To project…
Make Cool Stuff
In the next Make Cycle, there were memes everywhere ..
So you wanna make a meme
You are so meme
… which led into games for the next Make Cycle …
Make a game with me
… and Hacking your Writing as a Make …
Hacking writing
Hack the Notebook
… which led to considering “light” as a theme for stories …
In the light
Light Rock
… and then, it was all about images as narrative …
Five Frame Story
… which has brought us to reflection ..
The Reluctant Reflecter
… and nearly the end of the CLMOOC (for now) …
Bye Bye
Tomorrow, I will share out my “thank you” comics for all my fellow facilitators in the CLMOOC.
Peace (in the frame),
Kevin

 

A Nearly Perfect View from Above

Skinner Mt View of the valley
I took two of my sons, and a friend, for a hike up a local mountain. A beautiful public building sits on top, open again after two years of renovations, and on the railing, you can see … forever … or at least as forever seems in our valley area of Western Massachusetts. I used a panoramic lens app on my iPad to stitch together this view on this perfect day, with puffy clouds overhead.

Peace (in the picture),
Kevin

Connecting Projects into Connected Learning Framework

Updated Connected Learning Infographic

One of the goals of the final reflective week of the Making Learning Connected MOOC is that participants might look anew at all of their projects and use the Connected Learning framework as a guide to do so. While the CLMOOC itself is designed with the Connected Learning principles in mind, we have purposely avoided being too explicit. Instead, we hopes the making and connecting would flow from a shared experience, instead of an academically-removed stance.

I suspect I am no different from others. I struggle with this part of the experience. I am good at diving in, making, sharing, collaborating, and less apt to wonder where everything connects. But I know it is important, and in the interest of helping others think about a frame, I went into Padlet and categorized some of the projects I did this summer under the Connected Learning framework.

It’s not perfect. Far from it. I see a lot of places where overlaps could be shown, and Padlet is limited for this kind of activity. In fact, I struggled mightily with the best way to present this reflection: flowchart? Prezi? Hyperlinked document? Nothing felt right, and that may be another way of understanding that the interconnected nature of how we learn is complicated and not easily put down on a single piece of paper, or represented in a single screen.

With that said, here we go — My CLMOOC:
myclmooc padlet

Peace (in the connection),
Kevin

 

The Power of the Song as Digital Story

Yesterday, I shared out a song that I written and recorded rather quickly on Sunday night. The song is called Your Words Still Hang Around. I like it well enough but don’t see it as something that fits well with my rock band, Duke Rushmore.

After I shared the demo of the song, I asked my friend, Terry Elliott, if he might consider using the audio file in Soundcloud to create a Zeega digital story version of the song. Zeega allows you to layer in images, animated GIF files, and text, and the viewer decides on the pace of the digital viewing. On Twitter, Scott Glass (a fellow musician and traveler in the CLMOOC) said he might give the song a try in Zeega, too.

Both did, and I nearly cried watching both of their projects that used my demo song at the center. They hit the tone of the song just right, I thought, and it brought to mind the power of juxtaposition of image with sound. I find it so powerful when done right. And it’s not the individual media. Not the song itself. Not the images. Not the words on the screen. It’s the way those various parts come together to make the whole.

If I had been the one constructing a digital story from my song, I think my role as the writer would have gotten in the way of the composition. I had the narrator (not me, by the way) in my head. I had the story I wanted tell, even as the song unfolded. I could see it as I sang it. Scott and Terry came at the song from another angle – tilted by our shared experiences in the Making Learning Connected MOOC which is now nearing its final reflective stage for the summer — and you get the sense that the song of loss and hope became more of a symbol of where we have been this summer with the CLMOOC and beyond, and the light of possibilities that still remain with all of our connections.

Or maybe I am “reading” too much into what they have done. I don’t think so, though. It brings back the idea of why “context” can matter in the partnership between reader/viewer and composer, although sometimes it is interesting to play with context. You, for example, might not have known about the CLMOOC connections here without me raising it to the surface. (Maybe I just ruined it for you. Sorry)

Anyway, I am so grateful for both of them to take on this project and get it done and shared out in a single day. I’m listening again this morning, and I’m watching, and I’m learning more about the song than when I wrote and recorded it. I’m considering this song in a new light.

Here is Terry’s version of Your Words Still Hang Around.
terryzeega

Here is Scott’s version of Your Words Still Hang Around.
scottzeega

Peace (in the song),
Kevin

Song Demo: Your Words Still Hang Around

I sat around, tinkering on my guitar last night when this song emerged. It’s a rough demo and it might never go anywhere other than here. I also wanted to try out recording directly into the Garageband App, and the quality is pretty darn good, I have to say. (You can hear my boys out in the backyard playing whiffle ball if you listen closely).

This song is definitely not biographical, and I can’t quite figure out if the narrator has had his lover leave him, or if she has passed away. What’s left are memories and words, and poems, and this song that has a hint of hopefulness amidst the loss.

YourWordsStillHangAround

Peace (in the muse),
Kevin

 

Image and Imagination

kimquote
This week, at the Making Learning Connected MOOC, we explored image. If you think about it, mobile devices have changed the way we think and talk about images (which Instagram recognized and exploited early on as a business model). It’s never been easier to document our lives with our devices, and while that can be a good thing (more images to choose from and more possibilities for capturing special moments), it also leads to a glut of visual imagery in our lives.

susanquote

How do we make sense of it all? This thread of conversation, sparked by Terry, stayed in my mind all week, as he first shared out this powerful piece on Tapestry. Terry wondered how to get us all to slow down and go deeper than the quick retweet or “plus one” designation, to find a way to catch our breath and understand a piece of media before complimenting it or rejecting it. Be within the world. Don’t just skim it.

This piece really brings to the surface the need to be in charge of our world, and not be led by the media-infused culture that we find ourselves in (and, to be frank, which I often enjoy being part of) drive us. We need to drive it. We have to have a handle on the media because that’s what keeps us sane and human and in charge of our own agency. Or so we hope. It’s not easy, and if it is a struggle for us, as adults with a lifetime of experience, imagine our children and our students struggling with this idea of media flow.

linneaquote

I thought an intriguing arc of discussion this week in the CLMOOC involved the processes that some of us use to create stories with images. Does the picture come first, evoking the story? Or does the story come first, and the image supports the idea? There’s no wrong answer here. We all approach storytelling from different angles, for sure, and the given moment can change everything. This is the beauty of being open for stories: they can come unexpectedly from any angle. We just need to be ready and alert.

marcquote

That said, I struggled a bit with how to use only images to tell a story, particularly if there was no text. One other thread of discussion was “context” and how the reader/viewer must work, hard sometimes, to seek the context for five images that may or may not obviously have a narrative thread. This is not a bad thing. It harkens to the idea of going deep. But it can lead to loss of story, too, if the context is never found. This, too, is composing at its most elemental level.

michellequote

As the composer of a few image stories, I found myself thinking about those threads on another level altogether from when I am a writer of words. Limited to soundless images, there’s so much inference one must consider and work into the story, so many gaps inside the story itself that can’t be too wide or too short, that we need to be careful in how we convey meaning. It is an art in and of itself.

Simonquote

Helping our young people make these steps towards observations, visual literacy, storytelling, deeper reading and finding balance in the flow of information has to be our own narrative thread throughout our year, even as content-area curriculum drives our instruction.

I transitioned mid-week from five image story to six image memoir, in hopes that I might find a way to make the visual storytelling more personal. I first used Adobe Voice, making a story with infographic representing personality characteristics, but found that too obvious. I then moved into PowToon to create a visual representation of a Six Word Memoir that I use often: Music is always on my mind.

Peace (in the bits and bytes),
Kevin

PS — the quotes were all drawn from our Google Plus conversations this week, and I used a free site called Quotes Cover to give the words some imagery and artistic feel. Thanks to all of the writers who shared their words with me.

 

Make Your Way To the Make Bank

The Make Bank
Even if you are just watching the Making Learning Connected MOOC from afar (and maybe scratching your head about it), the one place you really should spend some time is in the CLMOOC Make Bank. This idea, started last year with the guidance of Karen and inspired by the work by Alan over at DS106, is built on the concept of collecting shared knowledge, and creating a legacy project that extends far beyond the six-week CLMOOC experience.

The Make Bank is a place where we have been sharing our expertise around projects, giving insights into how to create and recreate projects, in hopes that people in the CLMOOC will have something to return to when they are back in their own classrooms and educational spaces, and for those outside of the CLMOOC who are looking for inspirational projects that will get their students making and learning within the framework of the Connected Learning principles that underly the CLMOOC.

makebank 2014

As I wandered through the Make Bank this morning, this is a just a glimpse of what I discovered by using the “choose one randomly” in each of the main categories:

Look at that list and tell me that isn’t a wild range of projects? And really, this is just the tip of the Make Bank iceberg. I find myself cruising around, following links to projects and tutorials, and am always amazed at the wonderful sharing that happens. And you can add yours, too. You don’t need to be active in the CLMOOC to add to the Make Bank.

Share your knowledge with the world. Leave a legacy. Add an idea to the Make Bank, and we all get a bit richer with the experience.

Want to know how to submit to the Make Bank? I created this short tutorial:
How to Add to the Make Bank1

How to Add to the Make Bank2

How to Add to the Make Bank3

 

Peace (in the sharing),
Kevin