A Collaborative eBook of Virtual Postcards

CLMOOC Virtual Postcards

We’re all about postcards this Make Cycle of the CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC) and if you are interested, we have set up an ebook format with Google Presentation that is open for you to add a virtual postcard to our collaborative collection.

Of course, don’t forget that we also do paper postcards in CLMOOC, and we are in the midst of a year of Data-themed Postcards (inspired by the wonderful Dear Data book). July’s theme was Food, and August will be Connections. More information about how to sign up and send/receive postcards all year is in the CLMOOC newsletter and we will be talking about the project tonight during a live Make with Me Hangout at 7 p.m. EST.

For the collaborative ebook, you just use two of the formatted pages, adding an image (as the cover) and some text (as the back). It’s easy to do and we hope the book gets filled to overflowing with virtual postcards this week.

Where you at? Come share with us. Follow this link to add your own.

CLMOOC by Mail comic

Peace (in the post),

#CLMOOC Postcards Are Human Connector Points


The second Make Cycle for CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC)  now underway is centered on a postcard exchange between CLMOOC participants and how such offline connections are right in sync with online connections, and perhaps deepen those lines further than any online experience might.

We’ll be exploring Connected Learning principles in relation to the postcard project (which essentially is a regular call for folks to send different kinds of postcards to each other, and since January, we have been doing monthly themed Data Postcards.) As this week starts, there are about 60 people on the mailing list and room for more. (You can learn more all this week and by reading the CLMOOC newsletter for this Make Cycle).

I wanted to share two projects, related to this venture.

First, this video montage was something I put together last year, to celebrate the many postcards I had received. I’ve since received many more (including four the other day), but this video story gives you a taste of what it is about.

Second, this song — I am the Stamp — was a collaborative songwriting venture with Wendy and Ron, a recording experience to celebrate the postcards, as they were flying around the world with our global friends. It began as a poem by Wendy and went from there. You can view the Zeega Media version here.

We’re hosting a Google Hangout Make with Me tomorrow (Tuesday) night (7 p.m. EST) and then two Twitter Chats on Thursday (1 p.m. EST and 7 p.m. EST) to explore the notions of snail mail connections and Connected Learning. We hope you can join us.

Peace (in the post),

Make Cycles Never Really End

Officially (as if there was some stern administrator, with a clipboard in hand, checking off tasks), the first Make Cycle of CLMOOC is winding down. The reality is: CLMOOC Make Cycles never really ever end. That’s one of the many beautiful things about the crowd-sourced CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC): folks come in long after the summer and add to the creative adventures and conversations.

The door is always open, and the mantra continues to be: Whenever you arrive, you’re right on time.

Still, there are some flexible starting points and also, well, let’s call them, reflective points. I’ve written a lot already this week about the coloring and art that we have been doing, with a main project being the Collaborative Coloring Book, which now has nearly two dozen pieces submitted by CLMOOCers.

Check out the uncolored book, still underway, and with a soft deadline of September 1:

Check out the companion book where folks have colored other people’s pages:

Who knew coloring could be so inventive and so CLMOOC-like? Well, our friend Algot did, and Ron also has always used art for expressions and connections. Thanks to both Ron and Algot for a fantastic kick-start to the summer’s playful explorations. Even though Make Cycle One continues, Make Cycle Two is coming around the bend.

Peace (in sharing),

The Path of Inspiration: From Page to Poem

Art in progress (via Veronica)

(art by Veronica)

In CLMOOC this past week, we have been exploring coloring and art. It’s always nice when folks move outside of their comfort zone, so when Veronica — who took part in our Twitter chat the other day — shared some art for the Collaborative Coloring Book now underway, I saw a chance to remix and honor her art.

First, I took a copy of her coloring image and moved it into the Paper App on my iPad. I’ve become quite fond of that app for doodling and wanted to try to use only the Watercolor feature with a rubber-tipped stylus I have. The problem is, I could not keep within the lines. While I appreciated the metaphor (outside the lines), the sloppiness made me wince a bit.

Art in progress (via Veronica)

I was determined not to give up, though. So, I pulled my colored image through another app — Painteresque — and tinkered with settings in all sorts of ways, trying to transform the work into something different, with echoes of the original. Finally, I flipped the color patterns in a sort of reverse move, and found what I was looking for.

Imagination Planet (inspired by Veronica)

After sharing the image on Twitter with Veronica, I realized the new image looked like something from outer space, a planet. Or a satellite of sorts, perhaps entering orbit or breaking up.

A poem emerged, which is always a nice way to leave things.

Peace (in the process),


Pondering Ideas from the #CLMOOC Chats

We hosted two Twitter Chats for CLMOOC yesterday — two hours of pretty far-ranging conversations and connections around the theme of art and artists in a connected world. (Note: these two curations are only part of the free-flowing conversations that took place. Many tweets were left out for the sake of continuity.)

Here are a few take-aways in my mind, after participating in both chats and doing the curation:

  • Too few of us identify ourselves as “artists” and this might be a result of education or society or our own notions of what an artist is and/or does;
  • Technology might open the door to making new kinds of art but whether technology (apps, software, websites, etc.) helps or hinders artistic expression is often a personal experience, and mostly, the hindernace has to do with fear — of breaking the technology or not knowing enough of how use the technology skillfully — or agency (i.e, this tech doesn’t do what I need it to do for me);
  • We have many students who would lean into drawing and art more readily, if we let them, and some — like ELL students — would benefit more if we gave them more opportunities to express first in ways other than words;
  • Early memories of art seem grounded in freedom of expression, and a wide wonder of joy with paints and crayons and paper. As adults, we sometimes lose this “child-like” passion. We hope the CLMOOC Collaborative Coloring Book project counters this. and provides a creative space to play.
  • Writing and visual arts can come together to create meaning, but they don’t always do that. One medium often seems to lead the other, perhaps based on our own strengths as writers and readers. However, aspects of multimedia composing (such as digital storytelling) might be breaking down these divisions in interesting ways.
  • Art, as with writing, has its limitations. A question about what one wishes they could capture in art brought forth an interesting range of topics, mostly of emotions or the strange gray areas of our day’s experiences.

To all those who took time to participate, thank you. It was a wonderful experience as we near the end of Make Cycle One.

Peace (in colors and more),

#CLMOOC Twitter Chat: An Invitation into Art and Connections


Today, we will be featuring two Twitter Chats for CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC). Two? you ask. Yep. Two. Since we are making a concerted push to find ways to include more of a global audience, we are having Chat Part One earlier in the day (1 p.m. EST) and Chat Part Two later in the day (7 p.m. EST). Jumping time zones is one way to ensure a wider participation. Or so we hope.

Today’s Twitter Chats will explore the intersections of art, and coloring, and writing, and Connected Learning principles, as the theme of this week’s Make Cycle has been a collaborative coloring book project now well underway.

It’s easy to get involved. Just check out the #CLMOOC hashtag on Twitter. A few questions from moderators will get you started but mostly, it’s about the conversations and connections (key elements of Connected Learning ideas). The comic above is one I made a few years ago to help folks navigate a Twitter Chat. It might still be useful, particularly if you have not participated in a chat before.

CLMOOC Twitter Chat

  • When: Today (Thursday)
  • Time:1pm ET/10am PT/5pm and 7p ET/4p PT/11pm UTC
  • Location: Twitter
  • What to bring: ideas, questions, insights and maybe an image or media to share
  • Suggestion: use the Tweetchat site as a way to manage the flow of discussion.

We’ll be Storifying the CLMOOC chats, too, so if you miss the chat, you can still get a taste of the discussions later on.

Peace (meet you there),

Visual Slices of Life: Taking to the Crayons

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

This summer’s CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC) is underway, with a coloring art theme. So, today’s Slice of Life is a look at a few of the coloring projects I worked on yesterday.

First, I received a CLMOOC postcard from my friend, Susan, that was just begging to be colored. So, I set up my iPad and used a time-lapse function on the iStopmotion app to capture the coloring. (You can also see how I used the colored page as a frame for a story, with ThingLink)

Second, my CLMOOC friend, Terry, took a page I had colored (a mandala pattern by Robin) and reworked it. So I returned the favor, layering his remix with my original in an app called Fused, and then realized that the slider effect on one of the filters was pretty nifty. I could not figure out a good screencasting app, so I just pointed my phone at my iPad, and shot away.

Finally, after CLMOOC friend Jennifer mused about what a CLMOOC Musical might look like as part of the introductions, I started up a YouTube Playlist, opening it up to others to contribute songs or bands with a color theme to them, attuned to the theme of this CLMOOC week.

We’ll be hosting the first CLMOOC Make with Me Hangout today with folks from all over, and we will be talking about the intersections between art and writing and making, and how we might make visible the Connected Learning principles of the CLMOOC play/work now underway. If interested and available, you can join watch the Make With Me live broadcast and join in the chat today (Tuesday, July 11) at 1pm ET/10am PT/5pm UTC and it will be live streamed with a synchronous chat at CLMOOC.

Peace (all hues),


#CLMOOC: Coloring Inside, and Outside, the Lines

Mandala Colored

The first Make Cycle of CLMOOC 2017 launched this weekend, with a theme of coloring and art. Our friends Ron and Algot will be leading the week, with a project called The Collaborative Coloring Book. Folks will be using a variety of tools and technology (or not, as the case might be) to create blank coloring pages, putting them into an ebook format, and then downloading other peoples’ page, coloring them and uploading those colored pages into another ebook (ie, done with Google Presentation).

The idea is to merge the way we make art with the ways we collaborate, tapping into Connected Learning principles around “shared practice,” following your own passions, collaborating as an open network, as well as making something for a peer-supported “authentic audience.” Oh, and fun. We’re having some fun here.

CLMOOC, by the way, stands for Connected Learning MOOC (we’ve all long downplayed the Massive and removed the Course in that MOOC acronym, and highlight the alternative frame name of Collaboration.) This is the fifth year of CLMOOC, which was launched and supported for three years by the National Writing Project. Now it is run by the Crowd — folks who have been part of CLMOOC and now run it on their own time and with their own passions.

An uncolored image of the one at the top of this post was created by Robin, shared on Twitter and then put into the Collaborative Coloring Book. I grabbed a copy from the book, took out my box of colored pencils, and spent some time coloring in last night.

I quickly realized there were a lot of little boxes in Robin’s piece. But I found myself becoming very focused and meditative as I was coloring her Mandala, letting the world fade out of focus for a bit. I wanted to share what I did with her, to show her how another person might interpret her coloring piece. So I did.

Cover of the Coloring Book

You can join us, too, of course. Read more about this week’s Make Cycle (including a live Make with Me session planned for tomorrow, with Algot and Ron and others), tinker with some new ideas and add your coloring page to the collaborative book. There are no set rules.  Just an open invitation.

Color outside the lines as much as you need.

Peace (with crayons and markers),

Graphic Novel Review: Crafty Cat and the Crafty Camp Crisis

This second graphic novel in a developing trilogy by Charise Mericle Harper for younger readers is so cute and adorable, you want to hug it at times. I read an advanced copy of Crafty Cat and the Crafty Camp Crisis just as I was facilitating a summer camp last week and just as CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC) is about to launch for the summer. Talk about a nicely timed read.

Crafty Cat and the Crafty Camp Crisis is a lovely and gentle book, with an underlying message of artistic freedom, working with your hands, and tolerating the different personalities that school and camp force on you. The story is about Birdie, a young girl who loveslovesloves to do arts and crafts, and the tale is centered around the summer camp where she and her friend, Evan, attend. The crisis is .. well, you’ll have to read the story, right?

Let’s just say, not everyone gets along.

Birdie has a spirited imagination (the crafty cat is part of her dreaming mind, as a sort of super hero who helps her navigate the world) and a positive, can-do attitude. She would be great in CLMOOC!

The narrator’s voice — told through text boxes — is intriguing, as it interjects itself as part of the story (sometimes cheering on Birdie, sometimes questioning her actions) even as it tells the story. That narrative element gives the story a different kind of feel from many books where the narrator is removed from the action — and the technique is perfect for the audience (roughly second and third grade readers, and probably more girls than boys. Or am I stereotyping?)

I am not much of a naturally crafty person, although I do love to make and design stuff. I lean towards digital. But when I was a stay-at-home dad with my boys, we did crafts quite a bit, and I learned all about getting messy with glue sticks, stickers, pipe cleaners, glitter and more.

One thing I love here in Crafty Cat is how Harper provides pages of “how to” craft ideas at the end of the book. This allows readers to make the crafts — like Monster Headbands, for example — that Birdie makes in the book. We could all use more “making time” in our lives, right?

Peace (craft it with love),