Webmaker: Making Stopmotion Movies

Webmaker Stopmotion

A project resource that I was working on with the National Writing Project and the Mozilla Foundation has been released, and it is a tutorial and hackable activity around creating stopmotion movies. This is part of a larger partnership to create resources for folks as part of the Summer of Making and Learning.I wanted to try to find ways to teach people how to use stopmotion tools for creative expression. There are a few pages to the resources, each of which can be “remixed” thanks to the Mozilla Thimble website tool. And two activities use Popcorn Maker as a way to experiment with video design.

Check it out and give it a try. Make a movie! This connects nicely with both the Teach the Web MOOC and the Making Learning Connected MOOC.

Visit the Stopmotion Movie Webmaker Resource Page

And the resources within the main project:

I made this quick sample with the free Jellycam tool:


Peace (in the frames),



Inspired by Teach the Web: The Collaborative Poem Expands Outward

Over at the iAnthology (a network of hundreds of teacher-writers via the National Writing Project), I posted a collaborative document and started a few lines from a poem … and then asked my friends in the iAnthology to hack the poem, remix it, add to it/delete lines, and make it into something alive via collaboration. We were using a tool from Mozilla called HTMLpad that I learned about via the Teach the Web MOOC, and the results were amazing to watch (in fact, the poem continues to grow). It only made sense to capture the unfolding of the poem (one of the features in HTMLpad is that you can watch everyone’s add via a timeline) with me reading the poem as a podcast, and so I used another Mozilla tool – Popcorn Maker — to layer in the podcast on top of the screencast.

The results? Pretty interesting (see the published poem, for now anyway .. every time I look, a few new words spring up), and a fascinating example of how writers can become collaborators on a single poem. I’m honored that others dove in to collaborate and hack my words.

Or see the Popcorn project here: http://popcorn.webmadecontent.org/14y1
Peace (in the poem),



The Educator Innovator Movement


This is very exciting. The National Writing Project, in partnership with a number of other organizations, has officially launched its Educator Innovator website and activities. I am involved in one piece of the larger puzzle — I am a facilitator with the upcoming Making Learning Connected MOOC — but there are a lot of neat things unfold through the Educator Innovator network, including grant opportunities, partnerships, and more.

As the site says:

“Educator Innovator provides an online “meet up”  for educators who are re-imagining learning. Educator Innovator is both a blog and a growing community of educators, partners, and supporters. If we want to educate a generation of young people to be innovators — to create, build, design, and use their talents to improve their world — we need to value the creative capacity in the mentors and teachers who support them.”

I’m in with that. You?

If so, you can sign up to receive a newsletter and explore some of the activities. Did I mention our MOOC? It might be a great place to get started as you align yourself with as an Educator Innovator (although I bet you already are — still, here’s a chance to connect with others.)

Peace (in the sharing),


Supporting Youths in Youth Voices this Summer

Youth Voices Summer Program (5/10/13) from Karen Fasimpaur on Vimeo.

Youth Voices is an amazing network and community for young writers that has been nurtured over the years by a number of educators, but none so much as Paul Allison. Paul’s work in his classroom, with Teachers Teaching Teachers webcasts, with the National Writing Project, Youth Voices and more have really put many of his ideas around learning in the digital age into action in meaningful ways.

This summer, Paul and others are tapping into the crowdsourcing funding movement to sponsor a summer program for youths in new York to engage in learning with Youth Voices. They are using a new site called InciteED, which is sort of like a Kickstarter for educational projects. Your contributions will make the summer program more accessible to high school students in New York City as they spend part of the summer writing, exploring and connecting.

Check out the Youth Voices Summer Program on IncitED.

I contributed and I would ask that you consider, too.

If it helps to hear how Paul thinks, check out this screencast about his views on Youth Voices.

Peace (in the support),


Climbing the Architecture of a Website

One of the wonderful things about being part of a community in the midst of exploration is that folks share out all sorts of cool ideas, and then those ideas spark other ideas. The other day, I wrote about how Michelle in the Teach the Web MOOC explained how to use a view setting in Firefox to see a 3D image image of websites. My friend, Chad, then used a screenshot and added some art to the image:

He also suggested we think of ways to make art with the 3D modeling, which led to me think about making an animated video with Pivot Stickfigure, in which the character “climbs” up the architecture of a website. Instead of my own blog, I used the National Writing Project’s Digital Is site.

I’d love to see what other people might do. Is that a challenge? Sort of.

Peace (along the mountains of data),



Week Two at #Teachtheweb MOOC: Remixing Others

Our task this week at the Teach the Web MOOC is to check out other people’s work from the first week of introductions and do a remix of their work. Interesting. I selected a profile page by Lou Buran because of some connections we have via the National Writing Project (it turns out, we have met, a few years ago, but I had forgotten that when I was working on his remix). I took a screenshot of his profile page from his Thimble page and then used Popcorn Maker to add some layers of pop-ups with notes to Lou about our connections.
Lou Remix1

Check out my Remix of Lou’s Profile Page

After I had posted it in the Teach the Web Google Community, some folks suggested that others take my remix, and remix it again. Which is what Lou did. He took my piece, which was based on his piece, and added a third iteration to it. So now we have this remixing conversation going back and forth (which is when Lou reminded me that we briefly met one summer while working on the NWP Digital Is website). I am hoping someone else takes his remix and does it again. I wonder how the work will change as more hands get to work on it?
Lou Remix2

Check out Lou’s Remix Response

Pretty neat, and it all has me thinking of why we are doing this kind of activity and exploration within the MOOC. Certainly, my remixing of Lou brought me closer to him as a friend and colleague, and I was interested to see how he would take my remix and make it his own. I don’t suppose Lou minded what I had done but all this remixing and hacking work does bring up the issue of ownership, right? And I never asked Lou’s permission. I just did it.

Those of us in this MOOC probably are OK with others taking our digital stuff and doing what they want with it. But how about most people? Would folks outside of the MOOC be OK to know that a bunch of folks are taking something original, remixing it with new content and then publishing it to the world? I don’t know. What do we unwittingly give up when we post to a digital space?

I do know these are the conversations that we need to be having with students.

We hammer home copyright infringements, and how to use other people’s work with respect, and then we tell them: go hack this page and publish it? Let me say, I am OK with that. I think the goals here are to move more agency into hands of the viewer/reader and the Mozilla suite of tools does that in many interesting ways. Kids need to have skills to not just remix the web, but also to be critical of what they read and how they are targeted by the web, and having tools to remake that experience is powerful.

Still, I wonder about the conversations …

Peace (in the MOOC),


Slice of Life: Teachers Who Made a Difference (in my life)

This is for Slice of Life, although the idea began over at our National Writing Project iAnthology site, we’ve been writing about teachers who made a difference in our lives. I created the following comic to remember three teachers whose philosophies and styles linger with me.

Influential Teachers

Peace (in the past),

Six Word Memoir: The Thimble/NWP Experiment

6words thimble

If you have been following my writing this month, you will notice that I am diving deep into six word memoirs for the Slice of Life challenge. (And thank you for reading them, too. I appreciate it.) As it turns out, the National Writing Project and the Mozilla Foundation have created a site with the webmaker tool, Thimble, on the Six Word Memoir theme.  (You can read more about the project at Digital Is.)

So, I gave it shot this weekend, and found it interesting. Since it designed both to create a six word memoir AND teach a bit about coding, the composition takes a bit longer than it would normally do. But I liked the site, and here is what I created:
6words Music

You can try, too. The Six Word Memoir Thimble site is open and accessible to all.

Peace (in the six words),


Remembering Composing My First Multimedia Poem

It was a fair number of years ago (back in 2006) now that I hopped on a plane and flew across the country to Chico, California, to take part in an Advanced Technology Institute with the National Writing Project. It was one of those weeks that forged connections that remain powerful and strong even today. And the work we did in exploring writing and reading, and digital spaces, moved my own ideas forward. I started this blog during that week, learned about stopmotion animation, and brought along a new device on the market: a Flip camera. While these little handheld video cameras are ubiquitous now, they were just a curiosity back then.

And I wanted to figure out how I could use my little white Flip for something that would push my thinking about digital composition. I ended up with a poem I called Blink, Blink, Blink. But not just a poem. It was a poem with a video component that became quite complicated as I dove into it. I conceived it as project in which three videos would be running together, at the same time, recreating the idea of a human face but with multiple people being part of the larger composition. Even today, it is difficult to explain what I was after.

What I did was ask the folks in the Advanced Institute if they would allow me to film them, but in an odd way. First, I filmed their eyes – left and right. Then, I filmed their mouths, saying the refrain of “blink, blink, blink.” I got more than a few strange looks when I asked to film their eyeballs. Luckily, this was a group of creative people, looking to the leading edge of digital writing. Everyone agreed, even though they could not get their heads around what I was after.

On the plane ride home, in the airport, I began to edit the videos, and when I got home, I worked with HTML to craft a webpage that closely captured my vision. For a while, I hosted it at my old band’s server space and the videos were in the old Google Video space. A few months ago, I noticed that Google had moved the videos over to YouTube (that must be odd, to stumble across the two eyeball videos without any context). Meanwhile, the server space for the webpage went dark, and all of my options for hosting the page in a way that would allow three videos to run simultaneously (which is critical to experiencing the poem) ran into walls. Most would only allow one video to run at a time (Glogster, Google Spaces, this blog, a wiki page, etc.)

Then, the other day, I saw this post that Google Drive now can host HTML as if they are webpages. Aha! I went through the steps and sure enough, it worked! The poem does not quite live up to my vision of it, but it marks a place in time for me and is still interesting to watch. If you run all three videos, and keep the “nose” centered on the screen, it really does seem like a human face reading the poem, but with the collective experience of many people. The audio is tinny, but that was the early Flip camera.

Experience Blink, Blink, Blink

Take a look and see what you think. I’d love to get feedback.

Peace (in the composing),

PS — here is a reflection I recorded as I was composing the poem.