This is the final iteration on a theme — the final riff on a single poem over almost 10 days time. I’ll do some reflecting later (and I have been curating my poem’s development) … but for this last sharing out of my poem about a walk through the woods to get to the ocean in Maine, I used a few word cloud-ish techniques.
The first two, via apps on my iPad, become merely word clusters. Interesting to look at and certainly pretty to see, I guess, but not much agency in the creative element. I tried to add an invisible ocean wave to the second one (see it?) but it didn’t work the way I had hoped.
This one uses an app called CloudArt, sort of like Wordle for the mobile device.
The second project, which uses an online program called Visual Poetry (not to be confused with the app of the same name) is a bit different, as it allows you to drag words into shapes across the screen, and so I decided that a winding path leading towards the ocean made sense. It’s very visual. The colors looked more vibrant at the site and sort of got flattened when I created the image file. Interesting.
My iteration or riffing on a single poem continues as I took my poem and created a digital story with it via Adobe’s Voice app, which continues to impress me with its simplicity of use. The images all came from Voice’s internal/external search function. I toyed with the idea of not including text of the poem, but then decided to keep it in as a visual cue. I’m still not sure if that was the best decision for a digital story, driven by voice (pun not intended but appreciated).
If you have been reading what I have been up to the last few days, I have been working out a poem, from draft to beyond, and this morning, I want to share a “soundscape” version of my poem. I used Freesound Music to gather up sounds of a walk to a beach, and then used Audacity to stitch them all together.
Take a listen:
Now, if you go directly to Soundcloud, you can see a little better how I layered the words of the poem into the audio file, so that as you listen, the poem comes forth as a comment overlay to the soundscape. Here is a push into digital poetry, where words and audio move into each other, making the poetic experience for both the reader/listener and the writer/composer something a bit different.
For the past several weeks, I have been intermittently involved with the Walk My World project, which is a series of learning events designed around reflective practice on the themes of identity, composing with digital media and connected learning. It’s been a blast, and I appreciate the work and support that Ian and Greg (in particular) do to invite people in and keep them active in the Walk My World spaces. I’ve mostly tinkered around in the #walkmyworld hashtag.
And now, as we near the end, we are asked to consider pulling together our various “makes” and reflections into a single digital portfolio. Some folks are using Storify, which I used last year, but I wanted to keep trying out the Diigo Outliner tool and dig into something new. It’s merely an online collection of links and notes, organized in an outline format, which can be shared out.
On one hand, I like the organization of this Diigo tool. On the other hand, it seems rather bland as an experience. I’m feeling mixed about it, particularly when you consider how best to share a range of digital media projects. In many ways, if I were doing this right, I would create a website, linking and embedding media right into the experience of the reader (that would be you). With this tool, you need to follow my links out, moving into different spaces to experience what I made.
(Each day in March, a whole bunch of educators are writing Slices of Life — capturing the small moments. It is facilitated by Two Writing Teachers. You write, too.)
I have been curious about the live-streaming video app called Meerkat. It’s pretty simple to use. Download the app. Hit the play and you are live on Twitter and the Web. I guess Twitter itself is nearing a launch of its own app — Periscope, I think it is called — but I wanted to try out Meerkat myself.
So, I figured, maybe I will play and live-stream a song. I have this idea for “corner concerts” — short, one-song streams of playing live for a few minutes, maybe on a regular schedule, and see if anyone cares to listen.
I set up my iPad yesterday, grabbed my guitar and hit the play button and … well … played a song of mine, called Ease Your Mind. It was interesting because for the first part of the song, no one was watching. Little icons pop up in the corner when folks have opened your live-stream video. Then, I started to see a few visitors (in the video, you can can see me look at the screen and smile a bit), so I extended the song an extra verse and chorus before signing off.
Meerkat saves the video to your device, so I uploaded it into YouTube easily enough. I’ll keep tinkering and playing around, and thinking about the possibilities of your mobile device being a live-stream possibility (good for conferences, maybe?).
Thanks for reading. And if you were one of the icons in my stream, much thanks.
This may not do justice to the writing activity, but a few tweets by my friend, Brian Fay, had me thinking about the #25wordstory concept and why I like it so much. I am not sure if it is helpful or just another comic.
Another casualty of the technology world (for me and a few friends anyway) as Zeega, a multimedia creation tool, is being closed down by its founders, who are moving on to other ventures. I get it. But I don’t like it. Zeega was different from some other media apps in that the reader had the agency — they could move forward and back through media at their own pace. As a writer using Zeega, I had to consider that shift in my composing, and it forced me to think different.
But, look, I get it. Technology comes, technology gets used, and technology goes, particularly if the money runs out or the enthusiasm runs out. Or whatever. I’ll miss Zeega for what it did. Sure, the Zeegas will continue to live on the site but this may be my very last Zeega creation …
I started searching for songs about the process of writing (thanks to a post over Two Writing Teachers) and I’ve been meaning to use Weavly for video remix. This seemed liked a good time to give Weavly a try. What songs about writing am I missing?
Weavly makes it easy to clip together videos from Youtube and other sites. I did some initial searching for other people’s posts about songs about writing, inspired first by this post over Two Writing Teachers. Then I tried to remember any songs that I knew about writing (I had that Natasha Bedingfield song in my head and could not remember her name for the longest time … and there it was, at the original post that inspired me to do this … doh), pulling together the videos into the Weavly editor. The trickiest part was finding the verses/choruses that I wanted, and cutting the clips. I wish there was a better way to fade in and fade out (I have the same problem with Popcorn … the transition from one video to the next is often a jolt).
I like the animated Beatles video at the end … it has a natural stop …
I’d also say that my collection is very white, right? I did some searching for hip-hop song that dealt with writing but came up empty.
This is learning … and I can feel it in the pull in the back of my brain. I dove into something called the Federated Wiki, as part of a Happening that is taking place in March around Teaching Machines, with Audrey Watters. I won’t do justice to explaining a Federated Wiki (this is part of what is making my brain work overtime), but it is, as I understand it, a series of connected wikis hosted on different servers that intersect with each other. You can “fork” other people’s pages and make them your own, and you can view the “history” of the fork of your own page to see if anyone adds anything that you can use to make your entry better. My friend, Maha, noted that this allows for “multiple versions of knowledge” as opposed to one single Truth created collectively, as is the case is most wikis. (i.e., we all edit the same page.)
Listen: I don’t know what I am doing.
I barely know the questions to ask about what I am doing in the Federated Wiki that has been set up for me by the Happening folks (thanks!). But I am in there, absorbing the tutorials that Mike Caulfield has embedded, digging in here and there, and I can feel my mind grasping to understand the larger picture. I’d appreciate a visual map of what a Happening is, and what the nodes of a Federated Wiki looks like, and yet, I am perfectly happy that there is no map. I’m making my own mental map as I go.
(Ward Cunningham, who originated wikis, is behind the idea of Federated Wiki)
Because, this is learning. This is how you encounter something new and try to make sense of it. There’s confusion. There’s grappling. There’s the little moments of “aha” followed by more moments of “what the @##$%%” as something you think you had a handle on suddenly falls apart. Hopefully, that is followed by another “aha” moment. Or maybe you turn to others in the community and ask the question: how did you do that? And, how do I do that? Help. Help me to understand.
This is what it means to be a learner again, and to be frank, teachers like myself (if I am honest about it) sometimes forget that very intense and uncomfortable feeling of being lost. A good learning experience, however, helps you find your way, and guides you to the other end not just smarter for the struggle, but more expansive in your knowledge of the world. We forget our students might experience this on a regular basis.
My learning process has been laid bare this weekend. I am learning about how I learn. Yes, I am interested in reading about and contributing to the topic of Teaching Machines, with Audrey Watters and others. I am also interested in learning something completely new, something outside my regular comfort zone. I am wading into unknown terrain with this Federated Wiki Happening and it is both driving me a bit nutty (not in a bad way) and pushing me to make sense of the unknown.
Yesterday, I shared out how I remixed Identityby Julio Noboa Polanco and made a new poem from Polanco’s words. Today, I take a step forward into remix, by using my poem and a video version of Identity, weaving them together via Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker. The result is a mix of words and images and sound.