I’m not sure if this comic works as I wanted it to work, but I was trying to represent the ideas around access, equity and diversity in a positive light, as seeds for change. Or maybe I had Terry’s offer to mail off flower seeds to anyone on my mind.
Peace (in the frame),
This is a comic for the National Day on Writing, as we think about communities that we are part of as writers and teachers. I was thinking of my online communities and my offline communities, and how there is not an either/or when it comes to connections — it can be both.
Peace (in the midst),
The other day, I had a chat with one of my sixth graders about websites. He’s interested in technology, mostly in terms of app development and mobile devices, but he was wondering about how the Web works. I pulled up the source code on our classroom website, and showed him what is really behind the magic of what we see.
He was transfixed. It was the first time anyone had ever shown him how to lift the veil of the Web and see the actual invisible infrastructure of the language that makes the Web run as we see it, as something we take for granted is a visual experience. I liken it to some magical experience. What we see is not necessarily what the reality is. It was this shift, via Netscape, into the graphic nature of the Internet that changed everything, right?
And someone, or more likely a collective somebody, has worked to make this experience of using the Web what it is today and what it will be tomorrow. There’s obviously a long line of innovative people — from Tim Berners-Lee, to Marc Andreesson, to countless others — who have radically changed the way we interact with information via the Internet. Seeing the source code of a website is an eye-opening experience for people, like me, who don’t often think or consider why this blog works the way it works. A look below the hood makes you appreciate the complexity of the code, even if it feels like a foreign language to most of us.
Give it a try. Check out your own source code (mostly, you can do that by right-clicking on a webpage and using the “source code” option). What do you notice about your site? We’re examining with the Web in Connected Courses, so this is a good time. Go deeper. What do you see?
Peace (behind the visual),
I am excited about the next phase of the Connected Courses, as the topic is Web Literacies and Web Design and all things Webby (but not Spiderman, as far as I know). This comic idea was kicking around in my head. It’s a bit more negative, from the time-suck stance, than I feel about the work and learning we do when we are on the Web.
But, hopefully, it gives a chuckle.
Peace (in getting unstuck),
I’m not beating myself up on this, but an attempt at a comic inspired by a tweet the other day by one of my Simon friends had even me scratching my head when I was done. It was one of those times when I went into a comic with an idea and completely lost the thread by the end, and even now, I am not sure what I was thinking.
That said, the comic still works on one level — of what different people bring to the table. But I was aiming for something different, and I am not sure now that the comic meshes with the quote’s original meaning. Perhaps it doesn’t matter all that much.
And the Google/Duck Duck Go gag sort of fell apart on me. I was thinking of the accidental visitor, and had privacy on my mind. Maha wondered if I were referencing the duck mascot from the upcoming Digital Writing Month, but no … unless I was doing it without thinking about it (which is possible).
In the end, I like the Meta-Comic better than the original comic.
Peace (in frames),
I made a few comics over the weekend as part of the Connected Courses. It’s my way of “reading” the posts and material, searching for interesting tidbits. If you want to see real artistic interpretation in action, check out what Amy Burvall has been doing with all the Google Hangouts, etc. She has been sharing her artistic quotes in our Google Plus space and on Twitter (you might need to scroll down a bit).
Anyway …. first up is a comic to note that the Connected Courses folks are slowly but methodically expanding its facilitator ranks as the course goes on, inviting more folks into the mix to take on roles. I am one of those, although I guess I am sort of doing what I am doing (and now helping with the Daily Connect adventure that was the brainchild of others).
Second, my friend, Susan, had a hectic week and wrote about findings her way back into the Connected Courses mix. Her hook to her post was that ‘dinner was burning’ as she caught up.
Finally, Greg wrote about his participation in MOOCs and online courses, and often he drops out. One of the lines he wrote grabbed my attention because it made me laugh.
Peace (in the frame),
I was in a meeting with our writing project the other day, as various small leadership groups began planning out activities for the school year. One group, which is charged with outreach, intends to move deeper into some of our existing social network accounts to connect our educators together and get word out about activities. We’re working to leverage more social media.
“If we use our MySpace site …” began one of the leaders, and we all just gaped at him. It took him a minute to realize what he was saying, and then we all had a laugh. What he meant to say was our Facebook space. But it might as well have been Friendster, right?
Give yourself enough time, and the technology will change. Maybe even by the time you wake up tomorrow. But the goal of connecting with people across those networks is what is most important, and if the digital platform changes or expires or becomes untenable (or if you are a teenager, if it loses its cool factor), then search for another. Keep the focus on the “people” aspect of why we connect, not the technology, and you’ll notice a change in the way you interact with that technology.
Peace (in some musings),
I made this comic a few weeks after reading a piece about the physical writing process — of handwriting with pen on paper and of tapping out words on a keyboard. I am so much of a keyboard person these days, as my handwriting can’t keep up with what I want to say. But I recognize there are conflicting thoughts on this, and it had me thinking of both sides. (And in a recent Reading Teacher PLC that I am part, the advantages of learning cursive writing for dyslexic students was new to me.)
This comic, taken from conversations in the past with students and with my own ideas on the nature of writing as a physical act. Despite what the comic says, this was not a research study or anything. It’s just a comic.
How do you like to write?
Peace (in the frame),
I had a good friend in an one of my very first bands (The Roadbowlers!), and when I would bring in original songs for the three of us to play, she would always be so appreciative and receptive, even if the song sucked and fell apart (more often, than not, it turns out). Susanna was just learning to play guitar but her philosophy around music making was informed by an artist she listened to a lot and admired as an artist making her way mostly independent of the record industry, Michelle Shocked (although a controversy over some of Shocked comments that were deemed homophobic would no doubt upset my friend terribly).
My friend, Susanna, would quote this line from the song, Strawberry Jam:
Yeah, if you want the best jam
You gotta make your own
– Michelle Shocked
The line resonated for her, and later for me, because it reminds the musician that you don’t need a recording contract to make music. You don’t need a manager. It’s not about the money or the fame. What you need is something that you can play on, something to sing about, maybe a porch to sit on, and then, you make your sounds wherever you are. You make your own jam because that’s the best jam there is.
I had written in my comment to him that things were going relatively smooth, even from my angle of a K-12 teacher in the midst of University folks, but expressed the wish that more of the facilitators would be more involved in social media interactions. This was not a criticism, knowing how busy folks are. It was more of an observation, and worry that the online component was seeming to replicate the classroom experience of the knowledgeable one imparting lessons (via video) as the students (us) listened.
One thing we agreed on early in our own Making Learning Connected MOOC is the concept of “no one gets left behind” — ie, no blog post or project ever sits there with no comment, and no interaction. Facilitators were active in sharing, commenting, etc. It made a huge difference to people, to know that other folks are in the mix, reading and interacting. This is not to say this is not happening. Howard, and a few others on the Connected Courses team, are doing what they can, given the feed of information flowing. I was just hoping for more. (ie, selfish me)
Howard’s response was logical: he is encouraging facilitators, who may or may not be used to social media on this scale, to dive in, and he noted, rightly, that this is the start of the fall semester for many of them, and we all know how swamped we get when things get rolling.
Then he made the comment, which has stuck with me for days. He said:
What it is, is up to us.”
— Howard Rheingold
In true Connected Learning fashion, we make the connections that matter to us and we build our networks and communities that are meaningful to who we are and where we are going. We sustain us. His small sentence reminded me again that waiting around for validation by the “teacher in the room” goes against the very grain of Connected Learning.
Thank you, Howard, for reminding me of where the learning starts. If you want the best jam, you need to make your own.
Peace (in the think),
You know now the New Yorker has its caption contest each week? How about one for the Connected Courses? I’ve taken a screenshot of a Blackboard LMS I am going to be forced to use as a student for a state certification program, and added a few, eh, bugs.
Your task? What’s the ladybug saying? You can either leave it as a comment to this post, or add it on Twitter with the #ccourses hashtag, or share it elsewhere. If you are adventurous, you can even layer in your caption/dialogue into the original but that’s not required. Just have fun with it. That’s what’s required.
Peace (in the funny),
PS — already got a few to share …