#CLMOOC: Where Color and Music and Collaboration Mix

Color collaboration

In an email this week to Karon, Wendy and Ron, I noted that if this project I am describing here were all that came out of CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC) for me this summer, I would be quite content and satisfied. (Happily, there is much much more coming out of CLMOOC this summer). These three friends of mine all collaborated with me on a musical piece called Coloring the Muse that arose from the theme of art and coloring during the first Make Cycle, and then was transformed by our collaboration.

Let me explain .. but first, let me share the project itself ..

This project all began with our explorations of color in the first Make Cycle of CLMOOC. Much of that Make Cycle centered on the Collaborative Coloring Book project. At one point, though, Karon and others, in our Google Community, shared some links that connected the color spectrum to the music spectrum, linking how we hear sounds to how we perceive colors. I found that fascinating, and began to think about how one might “paint” with colors to make music.

I tinkered a little bit with a melody line, based on some color patterns, and shared it back. Karon, whose CLMOOC connection I appreciate each summer, took that melody and used a music compositional software program called Noteflight to begin the process of composing a song, with harmonies and variations. The software program does kick out an audio file, so we could hear the parts in progress.

But I wondered if we might take the song into Soundtrap for some live collaborative recording. So I did, and I invited Karon and Ron (whose many talents include art and music via keyboards and programming) and Wendy (also a talented artist and musician). Soundtrap allows for distant, and global, collaboration on musical tracks. Ron is from the Netherlands, Wendy is from Australia and Karon and I are in the US. Perfect.

Color Muse, in Soundtrap

As I began laying the first tracks, though, I kept the main melody line and some of the harmony ideas, but didn’t exactly follow Karon’s compositional ideas. Instead, we played with the song, using Karon’s ideas of variations as a springboard, weaving percussion and counter-melodies throughout. I added some alto sax after Karon wrote out the parts, riffing off the main line at times, and using some sound effects to create a layered variation. There’s even a bit of planned dissonance, creating tension. The ending of the song is a piano part that Karon composed, but the track is actually the compositional software’s version of the piano, with Wendy’s clarinet as melodic accompaniment.

I also knew that I wanted to use the song as the soundtrack to a video with color, and I spent some time trying to find a way to do that. I could have done something more original myself, with iMovie or something, but I had this vision for an idea that I could not create myself, with colors dancing in time to the music. I ended up at a site called RenderForest, which has some neat templates but it is rather expensive to use if you want a video without their intrusive watermarks. I did find a coupon to discount it, and plunged to pay, since I really felt driven to have this color visualization be the visual for the music inspired by color spectrums.

That’s not all … Wendy has now taken the song, pushed it through another remix program, and then created her own video version of the song and its colors. And Ron wrote about an earlier project of his, connecting music to color, and shapes.

This is what CLMOOC is all about — emergent ideas that become the source for collaboration and creativity, following our passions through connections.

Peace (sounds like),

Time-Lapsing My #CLMOOC Postcard Collection

More CLMOOC Postcards

We’re talking postcards this Make Cycle of the CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC), and in the past week, I received eight postcards in the mail from CLMOOC friends. You can find more information about what we are doing, and how, as well as lots of ideas for connecting, at the CLMOOC website.

I was holding my huge pile of postcards after our Make with Me Hangout the other night, and wondering how to share them all this week. There are more than 100 of them. An image, or two or three, would not really work. I decided to use my iStopmotion app on my iPad and just time-lapsed me putting each postcard down, making a pile as the lens went click click.

What’s neat is the artistic range of the postcard, from handmade to images to quirky postcard themes. I love seeing them this way, all scattered into a pile of connected creativity.

There are two Twitter chat today for CLMOOC. The first one — at 1 p.m. EST — is centered on Connected Learning and collaboration and the second one – at 7 p.m. — is centered on the postcard project. Come to one. Come to both. You are invited! Use the #CLMOOC hashtag on Twitter to follow the discussion and add some thoughts.


Peace (by post),


Hanging Out, Making Conversations

Last night, we had a fantastic discussion in a CLMOOC Make with Me Hangout that centered on the principles of Connected Learning; making and sending postcards through the year as connector points; collaboration among peers (and how CLMOOC might filter into our classrooms); and more.

Check it out:

Peace (connect with it),

A Collaborative eBook of Virtual Postcards

CLMOOC Virtual Postcards

We’re all about postcards this Make Cycle of the CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC) and if you are interested, we have set up an ebook format with Google Presentation that is open for you to add a virtual postcard to our collaborative collection.

Of course, don’t forget that we also do paper postcards in CLMOOC, and we are in the midst of a year of Data-themed Postcards (inspired by the wonderful Dear Data book). July’s theme was Food, and August will be Connections. More information about how to sign up and send/receive postcards all year is in the CLMOOC newsletter and we will be talking about the project tonight during a live Make with Me Hangout at 7 p.m. EST.

For the collaborative ebook, you just use two of the formatted pages, adding an image (as the cover) and some text (as the back). It’s easy to do and we hope the book gets filled to overflowing with virtual postcards this week.

Where you at? Come share with us. Follow this link to add your own.

CLMOOC by Mail comic

Peace (in the post),

#CLMOOC Postcards Are Human Connector Points


The second Make Cycle for CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC)  now underway is centered on a postcard exchange between CLMOOC participants and how such offline connections are right in sync with online connections, and perhaps deepen those lines further than any online experience might.

We’ll be exploring Connected Learning principles in relation to the postcard project (which essentially is a regular call for folks to send different kinds of postcards to each other, and since January, we have been doing monthly themed Data Postcards.) As this week starts, there are about 60 people on the mailing list and room for more. (You can learn more all this week and by reading the CLMOOC newsletter for this Make Cycle).

I wanted to share two projects, related to this venture.

First, this video montage was something I put together last year, to celebrate the many postcards I had received. I’ve since received many more (including four the other day), but this video story gives you a taste of what it is about.

Second, this song — I am the Stamp — was a collaborative songwriting venture with Wendy and Ron, a recording experience to celebrate the postcards, as they were flying around the world with our global friends. It began as a poem by Wendy and went from there. You can view the Zeega Media version here.

We’re hosting a Google Hangout Make with Me tomorrow (Tuesday) night (7 p.m. EST) and then two Twitter Chats on Thursday (1 p.m. EST and 7 p.m. EST) to explore the notions of snail mail connections and Connected Learning. We hope you can join us.

Peace (in the post),

Make Cycles Never Really End

Officially (as if there was some stern administrator, with a clipboard in hand, checking off tasks), the first Make Cycle of CLMOOC is winding down. The reality is: CLMOOC Make Cycles never really ever end. That’s one of the many beautiful things about the crowd-sourced CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC): folks come in long after the summer and add to the creative adventures and conversations.

The door is always open, and the mantra continues to be: Whenever you arrive, you’re right on time.

Still, there are some flexible starting points and also, well, let’s call them, reflective points. I’ve written a lot already this week about the coloring and art that we have been doing, with a main project being the Collaborative Coloring Book, which now has nearly two dozen pieces submitted by CLMOOCers.

Check out the uncolored book, still underway, and with a soft deadline of September 1:

Check out the companion book where folks have colored other people’s pages:

Who knew coloring could be so inventive and so CLMOOC-like? Well, our friend Algot did, and Ron also has always used art for expressions and connections. Thanks to both Ron and Algot for a fantastic kick-start to the summer’s playful explorations. Even though Make Cycle One continues, Make Cycle Two is coming around the bend.

Peace (in sharing),

The Path of Inspiration: From Page to Poem

Art in progress (via Veronica)

(art by Veronica)

In CLMOOC this past week, we have been exploring coloring and art. It’s always nice when folks move outside of their comfort zone, so when Veronica — who took part in our Twitter chat the other day — shared some art for the Collaborative Coloring Book now underway, I saw a chance to remix and honor her art.

First, I took a copy of her coloring image and moved it into the Paper App on my iPad. I’ve become quite fond of that app for doodling and wanted to try to use only the Watercolor feature with a rubber-tipped stylus I have. The problem is, I could not keep within the lines. While I appreciated the metaphor (outside the lines), the sloppiness made me wince a bit.

Art in progress (via Veronica)

I was determined not to give up, though. So, I pulled my colored image through another app — Painteresque — and tinkered with settings in all sorts of ways, trying to transform the work into something different, with echoes of the original. Finally, I flipped the color patterns in a sort of reverse move, and found what I was looking for.

Imagination Planet (inspired by Veronica)

After sharing the image on Twitter with Veronica, I realized the new image looked like something from outer space, a planet. Or a satellite of sorts, perhaps entering orbit or breaking up.

A poem emerged, which is always a nice way to leave things.

Peace (in the process),


Pondering Ideas from the #CLMOOC Chats

We hosted two Twitter Chats for CLMOOC yesterday — two hours of pretty far-ranging conversations and connections around the theme of art and artists in a connected world. (Note: these two curations are only part of the free-flowing conversations that took place. Many tweets were left out for the sake of continuity.)

Here are a few take-aways in my mind, after participating in both chats and doing the curation:

  • Too few of us identify ourselves as “artists” and this might be a result of education or society or our own notions of what an artist is and/or does;
  • Technology might open the door to making new kinds of art but whether technology (apps, software, websites, etc.) helps or hinders artistic expression is often a personal experience, and mostly, the hindernace has to do with fear — of breaking the technology or not knowing enough of how use the technology skillfully — or agency (i.e, this tech doesn’t do what I need it to do for me);
  • We have many students who would lean into drawing and art more readily, if we let them, and some — like ELL students — would benefit more if we gave them more opportunities to express first in ways other than words;
  • Early memories of art seem grounded in freedom of expression, and a wide wonder of joy with paints and crayons and paper. As adults, we sometimes lose this “child-like” passion. We hope the CLMOOC Collaborative Coloring Book project counters this. and provides a creative space to play.
  • Writing and visual arts can come together to create meaning, but they don’t always do that. One medium often seems to lead the other, perhaps based on our own strengths as writers and readers. However, aspects of multimedia composing (such as digital storytelling) might be breaking down these divisions in interesting ways.
  • Art, as with writing, has its limitations. A question about what one wishes they could capture in art brought forth an interesting range of topics, mostly of emotions or the strange gray areas of our day’s experiences.

To all those who took time to participate, thank you. It was a wonderful experience as we near the end of Make Cycle One.

Peace (in colors and more),

#CLMOOC Twitter Chat: An Invitation into Art and Connections


Today, we will be featuring two Twitter Chats for CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC). Two? you ask. Yep. Two. Since we are making a concerted push to find ways to include more of a global audience, we are having Chat Part One earlier in the day (1 p.m. EST) and Chat Part Two later in the day (7 p.m. EST). Jumping time zones is one way to ensure a wider participation. Or so we hope.

Today’s Twitter Chats will explore the intersections of art, and coloring, and writing, and Connected Learning principles, as the theme of this week’s Make Cycle has been a collaborative coloring book project now well underway.

It’s easy to get involved. Just check out the #CLMOOC hashtag on Twitter. A few questions from moderators will get you started but mostly, it’s about the conversations and connections (key elements of Connected Learning ideas). The comic above is one I made a few years ago to help folks navigate a Twitter Chat. It might still be useful, particularly if you have not participated in a chat before.

CLMOOC Twitter Chat

  • When: Today (Thursday)
  • Time:1pm ET/10am PT/5pm and 7p ET/4p PT/11pm UTC
  • Location: Twitter
  • What to bring: ideas, questions, insights and maybe an image or media to share
  • Suggestion: use the Tweetchat site as a way to manage the flow of discussion.

We’ll be Storifying the CLMOOC chats, too, so if you miss the chat, you can still get a taste of the discussions later on.

Peace (meet you there),