A Choose Your Own Path for Leadership Day 2013

Scott McLeod has been hosting a blogging Leadership Day at his Dangerously Irrelevant site for the past few years, encouraging bloggers to give advice to administrators. I’ve participated a number of times, with comics and blog posts and other various messages. (See some of the past posts of mine). Today is Leadership Day 2013, and Scott encourages you to write and share for administrators in the world of education. Go to his post and see how to go about doing that (basically, write and post and tag, and then put the link into his Google Doc survey to share)

This year, I am using Twine to create a “choose your path” story for an interim administrator. Although Scott has many possible prompts around technology and learning, I did not focus on that this year. Instead, I focused on leadership in general. We have an interim principal this coming year, and that must be a difficult job to come into, particularly when you are following in the heels of a longtime administrator who made his mark on our school. I wish our new interim principal well, and hope she is an active listener.  She has already reached out to me about technology and learning, so I will take that as a positive sign.

Here is my story: To An Interim Principal

This is what my story looks like “behind the curtain,” so to speak.
advice
Peace (in the day),
Kevin

 

 

Digital Literacies Workshop: Clickable Student Portfolios Page


One of the goals of our just-finished Digital Literacies Workshop for high school students was to create a final online portfolio of some of the work and learning they did during our five weeks together. For various reasons (which I will write about later), we ended up in Wikispaces as our home for portfolios. Seeking a better way to share out their portfolios, I created this ThingLink image with their avatars from Bitstrips. Just click on a student and it will take you to their portfolio, where they have done some writing, published a video game, a comic and more.

Peace (in the collection),
Kevin

 

Playing with MixBit as Video Remixer

The founders of YouTube have put out a new video tool called MixBit, which is sort of like Vine and the Instagram video tool but with the twist of remixing. I’m still figuring it out, but here is a video of my dog on the floor.

What the site does is divide up your video into segments, and allows you to remix the video in other ways (or use segments from other people’s videos, which is interesting and worth investigating).
Here, I remixed some of my dog with some other dogs and cats on the site.

You know when something is new and you are still figuring out the possibilities? That’s where I’m at with MixBit right now.
Peace (in the mixing of bits),
Kevin
PS — Firefox does not yet play nice but Chrome works fine.

 

Book Review: Jennifer Government

I really like Max Barry’s Lexicon, so I wandered back to this earlier novel, Jennifer Government. I wanted to like it. I did. But I didn’t. It felt as if I were reading a screenplay, not a novel, and when I looked at the publication date, it reminded me of how we need to time for writers to find their voice and vision. So, yes to Lexicon but no to Jennifer Government. The premise is interesting — the story is set in some not-too-distant future where two business conglomerates are basically running the world, with the government (the United States has taken over a few countries) running a distant third in terms of power.

Employees at companies take on the last name of that company, so John Nike is the villain here, and Jennifer Government is a federal agent chasing him. Other characters include Claire Sears, Hack Nike, etc. You get the picture, right? The pace of the novel is frantic, and I had trouble keeping up with the characters — who are very one dimensional, unfortunately — and the plot points, which are all over the place. It’s almost as if Barry is throwing everything he had into this book (and the author’s note has him thanking a friend for suggesting he remove another main character out all together … yikes.)

Here’s the thing– I wanted to like this book, and I wanted to like the character of Jennifer Government. But it felt as if Barry never gave me the chance to like either. Just as I would be settling in, the plot would shift and move. Like I said, this felt more like a screenplay than a novel. I’m just grateful he has found his voice as a writer now. Lexicon is worth your time.  It will make you think and engages you on a few levels. Jennifer Government — not so much. It will make you want to take a break from the book. That’s never a good thing.

Peace (in the review),
Kevin

 

 

Views from an ELL Digital Literacies Workshop


The five week Digital Literacies workshop that I was co-facilitating for high school ELL students came to an end last week, with families invited into the sessions and a big celebration even (complete with one group performing Julius Caesar on stage). I created this video to share with families and the students who were in our workshop session all summer.

Peace (in the sharing),
Kevin

Nature vs. Mower

Mower out of use
I am hosting a weekly writing prompt at the National Writing Project iAnthology this week and I decided to make it visual. Folks are being asked to take a photo and share it. Here, I found my abandoned hand mower covered in vines.

Peace (in the roving eye),
Kevin

Vine View: Graphic Novels Delivery


I am lucky. Every now and then, I get a box of graphic novels delivered as part of my work with The Graphic Classroom website (which may or may not still be around. I still get the books, though, and review them here.) I had to snap a Vine of the box, just minutes before my youngest son dove in (he gets first look, of course).

Peace (in the books),
Kevin

 

Planet Portal Video Game Stats and Maps

game stats for planet portal
I want to thank everyone who gave my video game a try the other day. I had asked friends to play my game, Planet Portal, so that I could share with my high school students some of the useful data stats generated by Gamestar Mechanic as part of a lesson around game design. The image above is what got generated by the play of my game, level by level. You can see how many people started the game and how many ended, and where they abandoned the game along the way. This is a critical piece of information around design because it helps the designer find a balance between easy and difficult.

And here are the level maps from my game, in case you are interested.
Planet Portal Screenshots collection

Plus, if you want to try Planet Portal, you can do that, too.

Peace (in the game),
Kevin