This is interesting:
I am intrigued by using the short form to create engaging writing.
Peace (in the word),
Here is a potentially fun site. Twister (part of the Classtools.net suite of interesting activities) is a Twitter spoof site, in which you find someone from history and “create” a fake Twitter site and tweet. I did this one for Adolf Rickenbacker, one of the founders of the electric guitar. The Twister site gives you a few boxes for information (username, real name, tweet and date) and then creates a single page that looks like this one.
There is even a bank of exemplars, and I wonder if this might be a nice extensive activity for students doing research on a historical figure. I didn’t think it would so well with fictional characters but then I tried one with Percy Jackson, and it seemed to work just fine.
What’s interesting is coming up with a Twitter username (here, you might teach theme) and what kind of short text/tweet they might send out to the world. It shouldn’t be just random and yet it shouldn’t sound like a historic document either, so you are crafting a page that has personality. That’s an intriguing project for a student, don’t you think?
Peace (in the twist),
A friend in the Making Learning Connected MOOC has challenged those of us experimenting with Vine (6 second video app from Twitter) to a Monday Morning Challenge — capturing the start of the week. Here’s what I came up with: my feet.
Peace (along the vines),
Yesterday, a colleague in the National Writing Project’s Making Learning Connected MOOC made an observation about the Twine video app that brought something into focus for me. Elyse Eidman-Aadahl observed that while the six second limit on the video is short, one could almost imagine using twine as “haiku” and that reminded me of an interview that I read in Wired Magazine with the creators of Twine about how they envision folks having just enough time to film 2 second beginnings, 2 second middles, and 2 second endings to create a short narrative.
At first, I was thinking: yeah right.
Two seconds to set a story in motion and four seconds to complete it? It seems almost impossible to do so. But then Elyse’s comment about video haiku kept coming into my mind — what we did see the video in three parts. I wondered if it would be possible to tell a story in six seconds. How could you film something and leave much of it out? What would you expect the audience to infer?
A story began to form in my head … of writing to your future self. The story would begin with an envelope, addressed from the present self to the future self (in clear lettering, easy for viewer to read quickly); the next part would be crumpled up papers, showing frustration about what to write — and these would be mostly negative starts; and then ending would be a letter about love, being stuffed into the envelope to the future self. It would capture in six seconds the idea of what we want to pass on to ourselves in the years down the road. Hopefully, that would be love, and not worries, fears, and negative energy.
Thus, the short film:
What do you think? Although I shot the video in three short takes, I thought about the “story” for hours yesterday, visualizing how I would film it. Six seconds? Not a lot of time. But if you think of it like video haiku — three parts, looping over and over, hinting at something larger– Vine as a venue for storytelling starts to have possibilities.
See what you can make and share it out. Let’s inspire each other to push the technology in creative directions. Tell a story. You have just six seconds. Make each second count.
Peace (in the make),
I’ve had the Vine video app (6 seconds and that’s it) on my iPad for some time now, trying to figure out how to use it. I am a fan of the concept of “short” (see my Ignite presentation from NCTE) so this seems like it would be a natural fit for me to try out. But I remain a bit at a loss of how to shoot a meaningful six second video. I mean, six seconds … that’s not just short — that’s wicked short (as they say here in New England.)
But with other friends in the Making Learning Connected MOOC starting to share their own vines, and looking for others to become part of the experience, I dug out the app again this morning, and decided to capture how important coffee is to my morning reading and writing experience. I sequenced it out in my head with four short scenes, and … it’s not bad, I guess.
Still, I continue to wonder … how might we tell a story in six seconds. A plot. A character or two. Dialogue? Still thinking that one over …
Peace (in the shortie shorts),
We hosted our first Twitter Chat last night, and boy, talk about a mad rush of ideas. I’ve taken part in chats before, but to be (with my friend, Terry) one of the facilitators as tweets come fast and furious was interesting and little breathtaking in its pace and speed. The hour flew by and before I knew it, we had begun and ended. In between those time warp moments, though, a slew of folks chimed in about where they were from, what they were doing in the Making Learning Connected MOOC, how they were making connections, and more.
Topics moved from the digital versus non-digital “makes,” and the use of infographics in the classrooms, and how to make connections with others outside of the MOOC. There was more sharing of technology tools, and instructions on how to begin to establish stronger connections within the community.
It was fascinating to see the conversations unfolding, blasting down the screen. Terry and I had a list of questions ready, which we popped into the mix every now and then, but for the most part, our job was welcoming folks and validating ideas, and asking questions to spur the conversations further along. You know the phrase, herding cats? That was what it was like, but in a good way, as if all the cats were purring and ready for play.
And in fact, the beauty of the MOOC community that we are helping to establish is that it can be self-sufficient, and supportive from within, with only minimal structural help from the facilitators. That’s a wonderful thing.
Peace (in the reflection),
We invite you to come join us for the first Twitter Chat for the Making Learning Connected Massive Open Online Collaboration (MOOC) as we explore how the first week of the MOOC has been going, give some teasers of where the MOOC is headed, make visible some of the connections to the Connected Learning principles, and answer questions that YOU may have about the summer project (already with hundreds of teachers involved).
The Twitter Chat — facilitated this week by Terry Elliott (@tellio) and myself (@dogtrax) — will be taking place tonight (Thursday June 20) from 8-9 p.m. Eastern/ 5-6 p.m. Pacific / 6-7 p.m. Mountain/ 7-8 p.m. Central with the #clmooc hashtag. If you have never taken part in a Twitter Chat, it’s OK. We have designed a resource guide to help you get started: http://blog.nwp.org/clmooc/guide/getting-started-with-twitter-and-twitter-chats/
A Twitter Chat is a freewheeling conversation that is anchored on Twitter with a hashtag (in this case, we are using #clmooc) that then later gets archived and shared back out to the community.
It’s OK to lurk and see what it’s all about. We do invite you to participate, too, if you are interested, and we encourage you to make connections with others in the Making Learning Connected community. This could be done any number of ways, but finding common hashtags in Twitter and Google Plus is one possibility. (We built a resource about Google Plus, too.)
I hope to “see” you there, as we extend our MOOC conversations in every little corner of the Internet.
Peace (in the chat),
Last week, I had the pleasure of taking part in an ongoing collaborative Twitter adventure with my National Writing Project friends at the Digital Is site. A handful of us have signed up to take on the “digital is” handle (@NWPDigital_is) on Twitter for a week at a time, sharing resources and encouraging discussions through the shared identity of Digital Is.
It was fun, but odd, too. I enjoyed diving into a few more resources at the Digital Is site (if you have not visited it, you really should — there is some amazing work being featured there on how digital media and technology are impacting the ways our students write and the way we are teaching writing) and sharing the work of NWP colleagues to a wider audience. I also kept my eye on news and articles that seemed to fit the parameter of what I imagined @NWPDigital_Is — if it were a person — would tweet and retweet about. (There’s part of my odd factor: imagining a website as a person, tweeting.)
Meanwhile, I was also tweeting with my @dogtrax identity throughout the week, and even added in a few items from my rock band’s identity (@dukerushmore), and what I realized was how strange it was to be shifting from one identity to the other, sometimes within minutes of each other, and periodically, the tweeting would overlap. Not always on purpose. In some other cases, postings of a single item by multiple accounts would happen by mistake — I’d want to tweet something specific for @NWPdigital_is and find that my @dogtrax was still in the “on” mode because it is my default, and both would get published. (I wondered, does anyone notice that I am both dogtrax and digital_is this week? No one said a thing. Then I thought, maybe they just think I am always behind both accounts. There’s this Wizard-of-Oz-feeling when you tweet out of your normal routine as a guest, I’ve come to realize.)
It reminds me of how identity is often in flux when we use digital tools, and while it is easy enough to create multiple accounts, it is not as easy to maintain individuality and voice when you have more than one “you” on the stage. Who I am in this moment of time, and who I want to be represented as to a larger audience, is a critical question. You need to experience it from time to time in order to better understand the implications for identity with your students, and then think about how to teach that skill. There’s value to being part of multiple voices (such as this @NWPDigital_Is venture. You can also see from my screenshot that I have access to our feed from Western Massachusetts Writing Project and my classroom) but in the midst of it, you can feel the pull and tug of those multiple voices, too, splintering your message in ways you don’t quite grasp until you find the time to reflect, and write.
In the vein of sharing Digital Is resources, this one by Peter Kittle — Inquiring into Distributed Identities — hits the points I am trying to make here in this post. Another — Teachers Tweeting Teachers: Building a Community of Practice through Tweeting — talks about the benefits of a shared tweeting experiment.
Peace (in the tweets),
This is a revisiting of a post I did two years ago, when I wrote a number of 25 Word Stories on Twitter to honor and fictionalize the stories of veterans. (I am a veteran, too, but, thankfully, never in a war) I think the stories still have a certain narrative power to them. The one with the “maps on skin” still resonate with me as the writer.
If you are a Veteran, thank you.
Peace (in the world),
My blog title is a little misleading. We haven’t yet tweeted these out via our classroom Twitter account, but we will be doing that next week. (Here is our Twitter account: https://twitter.com/norristigers)
On Friday, as we started nearing the ending phase of a student research project around an inquiry theme of their choosing that has been underway for the past two weeks, I had them do some reflection on how things have been going. One of their tasks was to write a summary of their project — in less than 15 words. This gave me an opportunity to talk again about summary writing, about focusing on the center of a piece of writing without the extraneous material and thinking that comes along with it, about synthesizing an idea to its core. It’s also the perfect Tweet-sized blast of an idea, right?
Some students really struggled with this (I set it up with 15 boxes and the instructions were to use only those boxes — one per word — and no more. It could be less than 15 words, however). Others found the confines of word liberating, in a way. It’s funny how different activities bring out various strengths and weaknesses in them as writers.
Here are some of the research sentences summaries that students wrote:
“Fast food should be healthy food in the United States.” — Shea
“Solar-powered cars will help the world if we invest in them.” — Ryan
“Marine animals have been driven out of their homes due to high mercury levels.” — Isaac
“More recess means more activities and less obese people because they get more exercise.” — David
“Ethanol is efficient but it would decimate our food supply and farmers could go bankrupt.” — Andrew
“Overfishing is a driving pressure that has devastating impacts on marine ecosystems.” — Nick
“Health care costs too much for people to afford.” — Colin
“Gas prices in America and China are too high and we need to lower them.” — Greg
I think they did a pretty good job and their papers and research inquiries are coming along nicely (if slowly).
Peace (in the tweet),