Flocabulary Gets It Right: Civil Rights Hip-Hop Resource

(This is a post from the past that seems worth re-sharing today. — Kevin)
MLK Day Dream

Flocabulary has a great musical resource available for remember Martin Luther King Jr. and honoring the Civil Rights movement. Along with the hip hop song that brings in words and imagery into the flow, the group provides a set of lyrics you can print out. Whenever I use Flocabulary and their mad rhymes, my students pay attention. The site even has a classroom view, allowing the video to come into center focus. You can’t embed the video in other sites because Flocabulary sells subscriptions (and periodically, makes resources like this one free).

Check it out.

And remember and honor the man whose voice continues to ring out and resonate with much of the country.

Peace (on this day),
Kevin

The Power of Language: Trump on Twitter

Thanks to Ian for sharing this in his newsletter. The video by Nerdwriter is alarmingly fascinating in closely examining the way Trump uses Twitter (and brings up for me the entirely other important question of what happens when — and I believe it will be “when” not “if” — Trump’s account gets hacked).

Check out this analysis of language and rhetoric and impact:

More analysis is here. And here.

The fact is, it is both frustrating and fascinating to watch news unfold this way. Mostly frustrating, because Trump’s inability to be articulate is likely intentional (or not?) and yet, the social media platform allows him to rattle the world while drinking coffee in his pajamas. That’s alarming, all right. (see my earlier note about worrying about his account getting hacked.)

This data analysis over use of language, though, is interesting, if one can remove feelings about Trump from the equation. (OK, that’s hard to do.) Parsing through words and tone, and use of devices for writing, make for an interesting way to see how Trump interacts with the world, particularly through the “emotional charged” language (many of his tweets are negative, not surprisingly) and the sharp endings of Tweets and use of exclamation points that are “framing devices”  for his rhetorical message.

The video notes that we are used to seeing this kind of spontaneous outbursts from our friends and wacky relatives. It’s part of the social networking fabric.

“… what we’re not familiar with … is this kind of thing (using Twitter for thinking out loud) from the most powerful person in the world and how it will fall out when you hold a position where even your words, desperately tweeted into the void, have global impact …” — from Nerdwriter video

Ack. Or, as Trump would end his tweet: Ack!

Peace (please),
Kevin

Slice of Life: Filter (OLW 2017)

(This is a post for Slice of Life, a regular writing activity hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write about the small moments. You are invited. Come write with us.)

If you don’t know of the One Little Word project, it is a sort of New Year’s resolution to find a single word that might guide you forward into the coming year. Last year, mine was “remember” and I kept it on my desktop all year, as a reminder to keep a foot in the past even as I moved forward.

My one word for 2017 is going to be “filter.” I chose this word because I know I need to filter my news a bit more. I am NOT one of those who gets my primary news from social media, but still … it seems like I need to more active in where I get news and from places I trust. I need to better read beyond the news, too, and not trust reporters and writers to give me the whole story. I have an obligation as a reader.

I don’t intent for my “filter” to become a closed loop, however. Or another echo chamber. I will use my filter to seek out different opinions and hopefully, engage in discussions that are meaningful. I hope my filter helps filter out the nonsense, so some semblance of a truth comes through.

Also, I need to filter my anger and angst at the Trump presidency and the GOP Congress (it’s already difficult, given that GOP gutted the ethics commission that holds Congress accountable). But if I get angry at every little thing, then I won’t be able to discern real outrage when I need it.

(I made this via http://textanim.com/)

Peace (filtering for hope),
Kevin

App Review: StickNodes

A few weeks ago, for the #CLMOOC DigiWriMo Pop Up Make Cycle, the focus was on animation. There are all sorts of apps that allow you to animate now, and StickNodes is one of my favorites (I paid the $1.99 for the Pro version). It’s an update on an old freeware that I used to use with students called Pivot Animator. When we shifted to Macs, I had to move away from Pivot (it is a PC-only freeware) and tried Stykz for a bit.

StickNodes Pro is pretty easy to use, and has a lot of powerful features for animating stick figures. It’s also pretty darn fun to use. You can create and then export your animation as video or gif files, which can be hosted elsewhere.

Here is one of my early experiments: Stickman Walking. (I had uploaded it into Vine, which you can no longer do)

 

No surprise that there are tutorial videos on YouTube for using the app. Here is the first in a series done by this person.

Give it a try. Or try some other app, and let us know. We’re animating this week!

Peace (in the frame),
Kevin

On the Mystery of Memes

We had to deal with is likely a “sign of the times” as our youngest son moves from adolescence into teenager (we still have six months!), and he learns more about the reach of media. I won’t share the whole story but it has to do with him sending an email blast to a bunch of friend and teachers with an image he thought was cute and funny.

It wasn’t.

It was an image of Pepe the frog. Which, if you followed the election and the emergence of the so-called Alt-Right, you will know that the image of Pepe has been, let’s say, taken over by the extreme right wing for racist insults. A frog is not just a frog on the Interwebz anymore. Pepe is a cartoon from the days of MySpace comic, and artist Matt Furie is trying to reclaim his image. Good luck with that.

To be fair, my son only shared an image of Pepe and not any of the nasty, dangerous memes. He was clueless about the back story of Pepe until I saw what he had done and sat down, and we had a conversation about the hidden meanings of many memes. Many times, the harsh meaning of memes is disguised behind a cute image. I had printed out an article about how the Anti-Defamation League had declared Pepe a “hate symbol” after the election, and showed him a blurb in Time Magazine about it.

This, from the ADL:

Images of the frog, variously portrayed with a Hitler-like moustache, wearing a yarmulke or a Klan hood, have proliferated in recent weeks in hateful messages aimed at Jewish and other users on Twitter.

“Once again, racists and haters have taken a popular Internet meme and twisted it for their own purposes of spreading bigotry and harassing users,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “These anti-Semites have no shame. They are abusing the image of a cartoon character, one that might at first seem appealing, to harass and spread hatred on social media.”

My son was taken aback, as he should have been, and then proceeded to write out apology notes for two of his teachers that he shared it with over email (we also had a longer talk about careful and considerate use of email and sharing  media with people), explaining his ignorance of the hidden meaning and stating that he is not a racist or right-wing fanatic.

Of course, they know that, but it was the act of apology that made the action right to do (and it turns out, one of his teachers was completely ignorant of Pepe, too.)

One resource that is valuable for us, as adults, and perhaps for kids, too, is Know Your Meme — a vast database of information about the histories of memes and the current usage of them. We all might want to spend some more time and thought on what we are sending before we send them out into the world.

Peace (in reflection),
Kevin

Another One (about to) Bite(s) the Dust

Bye Bye TitanPad

I’ve written this kind of post before — the feeling of loss when a favorite technology site announces it is closing up shop. I guess I should be grateful the announcements even happen.

The latest is TitanPad — a powerful collaborative document tool that I have used with many other people over the years, mostly for collaborative poetry. TitanPad was built out of a wave of other collaborative document makers from the roots of Etherpad and Google’s acquisition of a key element of open collaborative document makers, but I liked it for the simplicity and for the way it archived every keystroke, turning the static document into something you could watch unfold like a movie.

Here is a collaborative poem from this past summer’s Connected Learning MOOC:

I know there are add-ons in Google Docs and a host of other sites that do much of what TitanPad has done and I appreciate that the programmers (who reasonably cite changes in web browsers, underlying code and issues of privacy as rationale for pulling the plug) are doing a “graceful shutdown” so that people can make decisions about their work. No more new pads after May and then by the end of 2017, the site will be gone.

I’ve always thought of the collaboration we have unfolding in TitanPad to be mostly temporary writing, sometimes captured beyond the pad in other ways (such as with video and audio), so I don’t even have many links to past work I have done with others to save, even if I wanted to.

The programmers helpfully point to a resource that has “sites similar to” TitanPad, which might be useful. I’ve bookmarked that resource, and hope that my bookmarking tool doesn’t fade away on me, too. (I’ve had that happen …)

Peace (shared),
Kevin

 

#DigiWriMo #CLMOOC: Making Simple Animation with Para Para

 

Here are steps to making and sharing a simple stopmotion animation with Para Para Animation (part of Mozilla’s Webmaker family … I think …) Warning: The site is kind of funky at times and not always completely stable. And I am not sure how well it works on mobile devices. Just warning you. But I have used it with students and they LOVE it for the simplicity and easy entry point. You will, too.

Here is the Para Para Animation Site

Using ParaPara Animation1
Using ParaPara Animation2
Using ParaPara Animation3
Using ParaPara Animation4
Using ParaPara Animation5
Using ParaPara Animation6
Using ParaPara Animation7

Well .. good luck. Share your art out at #clmooc or #digiwrimo or wherever you find yourself.

Peace (framing it one at a time),
Kevin

 

Our Text: A Kinetic Poem Found in Comments of an Open Document

CLMOOC DigiWriMo Slow Chat

I was reading and commenting and enjoying the discussion that has been unfolding in both the body and the comments of this Open Document/Slow Chat format centered on the nature of images as digital writing as part of the CLMOOC Pop-Up Make Cycle last week. You should read it. And contribute.

I was wondering how to make sense of the various threads, and decided to try my hand at a Found Poem. I narrowed my reading to just the comments off to the side. As I dug around, some common themes and phrases began to emerge, and I assembled and then re-assembled them in another document, tinkering with the flow — adding a few words here, changing some endings there — until a poem emerged. Of sorts.

Now what?

I decided, in the interest of Digital Writing, that I wanted to do something different with the poem, so I opened up Keynote and began constructing the poem as Kinetic Text, using the animation feature within the slideshow to have parts of the poem appear and disappear. I could have gone fancier, I suppose, but I wanted to keep things simple so the words would not get lost for the flash. (I’ve done this kind of piece before. See my resource at Digital Is.)

See what you think:

One of the themes of this second week of the CLMOOC Pop-Up Make Cycle is animation, and animated text certainly is a challenge. It’s an intriguing way to compose with technology and words and presentation.

Peace (here, and then not),
Kevin

#DigiWrimo: Unfolding Conversations in the Margins

Writing in the Margins: Annotate Troy

The CLMOOC Crowd has opened up a conversation about Digital Writing in the margins of this interview of Troy Hicks, and you are cordially invited to come on in and add your thoughts, questions, observations about digital literacies. Troy has graciously joined in the conversation, too. We’re using a tool called Hypothesis (see below on how to use it) to crowd-annotate and crowd-discuss the theme of Digital Writing and the teaching of digital literacies.

Won’t you join us?

The annotation activity is all part of the CLMOOC Pop-Up Make Cycle for what used to be Digital Writing Month. Along with the Crowd Annotation, there is a call for the Alt-CV/Alt-Resume by Sarah and a collaborative photo project by Kim in which you are invited to take an image of “down on the ground” and share it out. And more activities are to come.

Here are a few tutorials about using Hypothesis that might get you started so that you can add into the conversations of the margins with Troy Hicks.

and here.

Peace (here and there),
Kevin

#DigiWriMo #CLMOOC: Vertices, Edges and Digital Nomads

Network Analysis Study

I don’t claim to understand all of the data analysis that goes on when people research and examine all of the elements of our social interactions in places like Twitter and beyond. Here, for example, is what the Innovator’s Mindset MOOC looked like from a data analysis viewpoint.

IMMOOC Network Analysis

I grapple with making sense of it all, but it fascinates me just the same, particularly when a visual is teamed up with writing that dives into the data points. So this recently published piece by some friends in my social networking circles — Aras, Autumm, Maha B., Sarah and Dave, and Apostolos  — caught my attention.

I’m still reading it (the title alone is a mouthful: Community Tracking in a cMOOC and Nomadic Learner Behavior on a Connectivist Rhizomatic Learning Network) …. and learning the vocabulary of research.

definitions

Some of the elements explored here about hashtags and the wandering spirit of those in networked spaces in this research article certainly caught my eye. I am one of those people. And I wander around quite a bit, hoping to connect with people and picking their brains about writing, teaching and more. The insight of how hashtags are connector points makes a lot of sense to me.

Network Analysis Study

I am intrigued by the term of “nomadic learners” — those of us who skirt and toggle between open educational spaces. In fact, that term is more fluid than the “lurker” terminology that is often used, and debated in online spaces. A nomad is forever on the move, but not just transient — they stop, talk, chat, share, gather and then bring what they have learned to other spaces.

Or so, I hope.

Network Analysis Study

 

As CLMOOC hosts a taste of DigiWriMo this week and into next (with an open invitation to make and create and collaborate and explore), I hope we all become rather nomadic in our wanderings and in our creations, and in our connections. I’ll see you on the edge of the vertices.

Peace (on the compass of imagination),
Kevin