What We Do Online

This graph comes from a report in BusinessWeek and is kind of interesting to think about, particularly in terms of generational divides, but also in terms of the amount of time people are using to create their own content online.

(You will have to follow the link to see the actual graph — this one came out too small to read unless you wear microscopes for glasses)

Here is a link to the article itself.

Peace (in ever growing numbers),

Kevin

Back on the Grid

I’m crossing my fingers here but I believe I have finally regained access to my Edublogs. It’s a long story that has to do with technical stuff that I don’t even understand but it seems to have been resolved (although now I see that James is doing more maintenance this weekend so I will hold my tongue).

Anyway, last week, I received my latest issue of Wired Magazine and, there, on the cover, was … me.

Back in February, the magazine had said it would personalize the July covers for the first 5,000 readers who sent in a photo. So, I did it, and then forgot all about it until it came in the mail last week. My sons were quite impressed and thought I was famous, although they could not figured out what Wired meant and why anyone would use that word for the name of a magazine.

It’s great to be back blogging again.

Peace (with consistency),
Kevin

Teachers Teaching Teachers: Musicians and Artists

I had the pleasure (yet again) of joining in on the Teachers Teaching Teachers show this past week with Paul Allison, Glen Bledsoe and Lee Babar, and while our intent was to talk about how things went this year with digital stories, the discussion quickly veered to how the arts can inform our teaching practice. I think we were in agreement that the arts can engage students in a variety of levels and that music, art, drama, etc, should be integrated into the regular classroom, and not just some “special” class.

We all talked about our backgrounds in music (‘cept for Paul) and Lee even pulled out her banjo and knocked out a few tunes. Very cool. Glen shared some of his electronic music compositions published through Magnatunes and explained a very interesting composition program that uses artwork to create music (still trying to get a handle on that one).  Time for a TTT Online Concert!

 Listen to the podcast of the show

Peace (in music),
Kevin

Taylor Mali and Teaching

I’ve linked to Taylor Mali and his poems before, and even ordered one of his poem-scroll pens, and someone sent this video link along. It’s a nice way to end the school year and makes me wish he could talk to parents around the world. (Maybe the video is a start)

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/hw1MFobWD_o" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Peace (with passion),

Kevin

Women in Art

This is an amazing morphing video of women in art (although one person commenting at YouTube noted that as an American Indian woman, she felt left out — a valid point). This kind of animation is very cool but way beyond me.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/nUDIoN-_Hxs" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Peace (by moving together),
Kevin

Fear of the Web

There was an interesting short article in this weekend’s USA Today Magazine about the things that parents and teachers fear most about young people using the Internet. Many assume that it is porn or spam or computer virus infection or some other terrible thing but in fact, what most adults worry about is the bombardment of advertisements into the eyeballs of their kids.

And I agree.

Whenever I consider what sites I might have students going to during and after school, I always first take into consideration what kind of advertisements might be there, and it drives me crazy just how prevalent it is and how hard it is to avoid. I know commercialism has its place in our society but it seems to me that the promise of Web 2.0 is often compromised by marketing tactics. My first reaction whenever I see a cool, free site is: how are they getting money for what they are doing? I wish this weren’t so. I wish I could just find something neat, use it and thank the developers for making my world a better place (and open source folks are doing that, so thank you!).

I know my students and my own kids are not immune to the bombardment of products in the world but when sites offer free games, embedded with advertisements right in the game (never mind pop-ups), I just can’t stand it and silently join the forces of teachers who avoid technology for various reasons. Luckily, I can often bring myself back when I remind myself that my role as a teacher is to teach my students how to critically examine these trends, and how to make good choices about technology, and how to look at mass media through the lens of marketing, etc.

Peace (on a rant),
Kevin

The Collaborative ABC Movie Project

For the past few months, I have been overseeing (with my friend, Bonnie) a collaborative project designed to bring teachers from around the country together to experiment with digital storytelling through video. The project is nearing (every so slowly) the first phase, in which about a dozen teachers have been working on short movies based around letters of the alphabet. Later, when all 26 movies are finished, we will use an online site called Jumpcut to collaborate on the editing together into one big movie.

The small movies have been amazing to watch. There have been heartfelt tributes to nurses and horses; childhood stories, both humorous and emotional; and evocative videos that create a sense of place. Many of the folks have never done anything like this before, so some of the use of tech has been a struggle and we are learning as we are going. I am urging them all to share their scripts and their reflections with the bigger community. This is the blog that Bonnie and I set up — called Using Tech to Tell Stories — where much of the work is being shared.
This is my intro movie, which is based on the picture book Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom, and I used ToonDoo as a platform for making short comic frames:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=5504345373755011847" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]

If you want to view all the movies submitted so far, you can head to my Wiki site where I am slowly collecting them at one site. Go to the ABC Wiki.

Peace (with partners),
Kevin

Cute Bday Card

I had a birthday this week and my middle son (age 7) drew this for me. That is one gigantic saxophone! I love that he sees music in me.

Peace (with portraits),
Kevin

Creative Kids

Today’s post is more for family, but I share it with everyone anyway (hey, you are all my extended family — and stop complaining, Uncle Bob!).

The other day, my oldest son (9) came up and asked if he could make a newspaper. Ahhh, words to brighten the Writing Teacher’s day. We propped him up on the computer, and his younger son came over, and together, they created this gem of their athletic exploits. (Now they are trying to sell copies — if they enter into an agreement with Google, the world is coming to end).

Introducing:

Meanwhile, their baby brother (not so much a baby anymore — he is two) was snuggling upstairs with me, and we usually sing songs together. On this day, I was armed with my voice recorder and captured his very cute voice singing “Puff the Magic Dragon” and other classics.

Listen to the singing little dude

Peace (with creative kids),
Kevin

PS — there is no Uncle Bob.

The Pogues — Irish Punk Poetry

I have long been a fan of The Pogues (and one of best friends early on bought out the domain name pogues.com — although he now lends it to someone else) so when the opportunity arose to see the unretired band in Boston, how could I resist? This is the third time I have seen them and they are a ragged bunch, particularly their singer, Shane MacGowan. But there is poetry in the raggedness, beauty beneath the surface.

Erik Jacobs for The New York Times (view the full article)

Some lyrics — from a song called Love You ‘Till the End:

I just want to see you
When you’re all alone
I just want to catch you if I can
I just want to be there
When the morning light explodes
On your face it radiates
I can’t escape
I love you till the end

I just want to tell you nothing
You don’t want to hear
All I want is for you to say
Why don’t you just take me
Where I’ve never been before
I know you want to hear me
Catch my breath
I love you till the end

I just want to be there
When were caught in the rain
I just want to see you laugh not cry
I just want to feel you
When the night puts on its cloak
I’m lost for words don’t tell me
All I can say
I love you till the end

Peace (with pints of guinness),
Kevin