Trigger Warnings: An Animated Poem

trigger warnings poem
You could not escape the phrase “trigger warnings” last week, as colleges and universities grappled with the idea of warning students about text before reading, and the battle over censorship and the protective society. I say, let young adults read without warnings, and if disturbed, so much the better for the discussions and experiences that follow.

Anyway, those news reports inspired me to write a poem that warns the reader about the poem, and recommends they take a chance anyway. I used Webmaker’s Thimble for this one.

Check out Trigger Warnings

Peace (in the text),
Kevin

Internet: Data Flow

You may have already seen this but it is yet another way to get your mind around how much flow is happening in online spaces. Or, you might not be able to get your mind around it. Still, our students and what they are doing is part of this mix.

Click the image to open the interactive version (via PennyStocks.la).

Peace (in the flow),
Kevin

 

App Review: Adobe Voice for Digital Stories

I have to admit: the new digital storytelling app from Adobe, called Voice, is such a breeze to use that I wonder why other apps are not set up. With a clean design, clear steps and access to Creative Commons images and infographic symbols and my own pictures, Adobe Voice really raises the bar for how you can tell a story on a mobile device. I’ve been toying around with it for a few days.

Here, for example, is a book trailer that I did yesterday as my son and I finished reading Scat:

Here is one from the other day, as a promo for Making Learning Connected MOOC:

Both stories took me about 10 minutes each to make and to publish. I did not hit a single hurdle in either story. Clear commands on what to do — record your voice, add an image, choose a theme, pick a song — are easily accessible. You have to have an Adobe account to publish your story to the Web. And the story, as far as I can tell, can’t be saved natively to your mobile device, nor shared directly into YouTube or other video sharing sites. That’s too bad, but I suspect Adobe made this app free (yep, free) so that people would have to come under the Adobe umbrella.

If you are interested in Digital Storytelling, I suggest you check out Adobe Voice. For ease and design, I have not yet come across anything similar, and I can live with the drawbacks that I listed above if the trade-off is in design.

Peace (in the voice),
Kevin

Using Adobe Voice: Another #CLMOOC Digital Invitation

I’ve been playing around the new app from Adobe called Voice. It’s very nifty and simple to use, with a clean design. This is how it works: you talk, you choose a visual, you publish. Bam! You’ve created a digital story. You can tinker with theme and music, if you want. Or not. Basically, it seems to have all the things I like about digital storytelling tools. Plus, it has a huge library of icons and images to draw from.
Check out the digital story invitation I made in about 10 minutes (it may have been less):

Here’s another invite to you to join the Making Learning Connected Massive Open Online Collaboration (eh, the CLMOOC) this summer. Sign ups are open now, and the Making and Playing begins in June (but one should always make playful things all the time, right?)

Peace (in the story),
Kevin

A Return to Blink Blink Blink

blink blink blink
There’s no easy way to describe this old project (which can now be found housed on a Webmaker Thimble Page). It is  my first real venture into multimodal composition. I had just bought a Flip Camera, which no one had ever seen before, and had this idea for a poem that used three different videos, merging into one experience, so I asked some NWP friends at a Tech Matters retreat in Chico to blink into my camera and repeat the words “blink blink blink” for me. They no doubt thought I was crazy and could not figure out what I was doing, and I could not explain it, either. I taught myself some basic html coding and worked to bring it together.

I’ve hosted the poem itself in a few places over the years, often stifled and frustrated by the limitation of web hosting spaces that would not allow three videos to run simultaneously, as is required with this poem. The idea is that you click “play” on all three videos, and then center your own eyes on the nose. This allows you to experience ‘the face’ of the poem. (I know, it still sounds crazy). I included the text of the poem and also recorded a reflection on the process of writing and making the poem (which was interesting to listen to this morning … eight years later).

If you click on the screenshot above, it will bring you to the poem itself. (The sound quality sucks because it was a first generation Flip and the microphone must have been little more than a tin cup with a string.)

Confused? That’s OK. It was an experiment. I still find it intriguing and came back on it this morning for a blog post I am writing for the National Writing Project. It then occurred to me that Thimble might be the right place to host the poem, and it worked!  I did a little cheer.

I’m still tinkering a bit with the html code but not too much. I like the idea of preserving it as much its original form as possible.

Check out Blink Blink Blink

Peace (in the poem),
Kevin

The Power and Importance of Reflective Curation

I’m as guilty as the next person — I collect a lot of media when I am online, gathering ideas, considering possibilities and sharing resources with my many friends all over the place. What I don’t do enough of is curate this digital debris, putting things into a context for others to consider (or for myself to consider when I finally make my way back to it).

I was thinking about this yesterday as I read through Tanya’s Storify collection of a series of collaborative poetry projects that we were part of in the Rhizomatic Learning experience earlier this year. Of course, I remember doing all of what she documents, but her ability to collate and contextualize the “moves” that we did as some projects unfolded is such a great and powerful example of curation. She makes visible the thinking, the learning, the collaboration, and in doing so, Tanya situates how we all used technology to create some wonderful works together.

I’m so grateful for her work, and it reminds me that I need to do more of that kind of curation, to give anchor points to the pathways that I am taking here, there, everywhere. Her Storify collection indeed tells the story of collaboration by knitting together tweets, and other media, so that what emerges is a narrative of discovery. That’s the power of curation.

Peace (in the story),
Kevin

Teach the Web: My Weekend Mood Ring

One of the activities shaping up at Teach the Web is to create a multimedia Mood Ring. I like that idea, so here’s what I culled together this morning — thinking of the Friday afternoon weariness into the Saturday/Sunday family time, and then shifting back to Monday morning. (It’s June. Teaching is more difficult with unfocused sixth graders.)

My Weekend Mood Ring

I used Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker, with the new search tools for Gliphy built right into the site, which is very handy! Plus, anytime you can add NRBQ to a project, you should!

Peace (in the Make),
Kevin

Considering the Composition of a Selfie

Comic Selfie Collage

I had an interesting moment recently with two of my classes. We were watching the movie version of Tuck Everlasting (after reading the novel) and there is a scene where the Stranger (played by Ben Kingsley) stops alone in the woods and pulls out a handheld mirror, holding it up and examining his own facial features for signs of age.

I wish I could share a screenshot of the scene. He’s holding the mirror up high in the sky with his left hand, staring up at it with a stern expression while touching his face with his right hand. I never thought twice about it because it seemed obvious what he was doing.

Students in both classes, however, said the same exact thing as soon as they saw what he was doing, and their reaction was immediate and spontaneous, shouting out:

“Selfie!”

This is the first year that this has happened with the movie, and it reminded me again of how fast pop culture and technology is flowing through our world. A year ago, only a scattered few might even have heard of a selfie. Now, it’s become a youth touchstone, an automatic response to anyone who holds any kind of screen in front of them.

“Selfie!”

We had some time after state math testing yesterday, so I did a mini-lesson around selfies. We looked at the famous one from Ellen at the Oscars and talked about some elements of composition of the selfie:

  • face(s) in foreground
  • some sort of background visible
  • smiling, happy selfies are more likely to be viewed than sad, depressing ones
  • faces are off center, and shown on upward angle (because phone is held up, facing down)
  • some faces are closer; others farther away — giving the viewer multiple points to examine (more interesting than a single selfie, they agreed)
  • famous people are more likely to become viral
  • Instagram is the reason why selfies are so popular

Then, I brought the students into Bitstrips and told them: “Create a webcomic selfie and feel free to make it crazy.” Most were very excited about the assignment — they love making and using avatars in our comic site.

But one kid dropped his head.

“Do I have to? I am so sick of selfies.”

Maybe the tide is already turning.

Peace (in the mirror),
Kevin

At the Corner of Stopmotion and Vine


I came across a post some time back (this post has been in my “draft bin” for a bit) from Animation Chefs about using Vine for making stopmotion, and thought: well, maybe. I gave it a try with some Legos. Yeah, it worked, but the six seconds and my own lack of an iPad holder made the movie a little jumpy. Still, kids could easily make something like this. I just did a lot of little swipes in the app, moving the pieces forward, swiping again, etc.

Peace (in the frames),
Kevin