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),
What? Barely any Marconi?
I really enjoyed this nonfiction graphic novel — They Changed the World: Edison-Tesla-Bell — for the way it pulls together the stories of these three pioneering inventors as they worked to bring ideas to fruition that ultimately did change the world in so many ways. It’s amazing to think of how these men were working during a relatively common time period, and how their lives overlapped at times. (And how many women were also inventing but never written about in our history books? Just wondering)
The graphic novel by Campfire Press weaves in the biographies of Alexander Graham Bell, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison in ways that bring their hardships and success to … eh … light, as each pursued visions of electricity and more. Each man brimmed with ideas and each man took a different route to success, failure and then success again. Writer Lewis Helfand does a nice job of showing us “warts and all” of the men — their failings and their goodness (when Edison gives space in his laboratory to Tesla, a bitter rival and former employee who lost almost everything in a fire, it comes as a shock and shows Edison — famous for his business acumen — in a new way.)
The artwork by Naresh Kumar (who does many of the Campfire books) captures the spirit of the times, when innovation and invention were in the air, and when many people were suddenly working on similar inventions in different parts of the world.
As I mentioned, Marconi gets only scant mention, even though his work on transmitting voice and data over wires (and wireless) was also underway around the same time. I guess three inventors was enough to write about. He gets mentioned during some legal proceedings over who invented what, and when, and who would get credit for the inventions.
I want to mention a nice bonus at the back of the book, too. In the spirit of the “Make,” the graphic novel details how a kid can create their own version of a rudimentary telephone, with a glass, some water, a nail, batteries and string. I love the story ends with an invitation to make a telephone and maybe have kids begin their own path “to change the world.” Nicely done.
Peace (in the invention),
At my Working Draft blog over at MiddleWeb, I wrote about our work in the classroom with light-themed illuminated poetry and paper circuitry.
I invite you to read my observations of my students working with circuits and writing. It was pretty interesting.
Peace (in the notebook hack),
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),
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:
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.
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),
On Teachers Teaching Teachers last night, I had the fortunate opportunity to hang out with host Paul Allison and some teaching folks who contributed or edited the upcoming collection of short essays by educators connected to poetry. The book (Teaching with Heart) comes out in a few days, but it was a great experience to talk about how poetry informs us as teachers, and to share some of our writing.
You can view the chat room discussion, too.
And a blurb from the publisher:
In Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach a diverse group of ninety teachers describe the complex of emotions and experiences of the teaching life – joy, outrage, heartbreak, hope, commitment and dedication. Each heartfelt commentary is paired with a cherished poem selected by the teacher. The contributors represent a broad array of educators: K-12 teachers, principals, superintendents, college professors, as well as many non-traditional teachers. They range from first year teachers to mid-career veterans to those who have retired after decades in the classroom. They come from inner-city, suburban, charter and private schools.
Peace (in the sharing),
I am dipping into this year’s Teach the Web by Mozilla. I took part last year and learned a whole lot. This year, I might not have as much time, but I love how they have really broadened the inquiry along a few different lines. One of the introductory activities is to do a Make with one of the Webmaker tools, so I took Chad Sansing’s Planet Project and remixed it into a sort of belief idea around Connected Learning.
Come see what I did (and feel free to remix it yourself)
Peace (in the world),
I’ve been having a blast making teasers for this summer’s Making Learning Connected MOOC (Massive Open Online Collaboration). This is the second year of the CLMOOC, and last year was so much fun, we are doing it again –with various wrinkles to allow last year’s folks to keep playing with learning and enough entry points for new folks to come on board and have fun.
I am one of the facilitators of the CLMOOC, leading up the “support team” that will make sure folks feel welcomed and assisted as they move their way through the Make Cycles of possible activities and reflection. But as we move towards the “hard launch” of the CLMOOC, I’ve been tinkering around with various means of “teasing” folks to sign on up (it’s free! lurkers welcome!)
Alan Levine, over at DS106, recently shared out an online generator for creating your own Monopoly game cards, and I thought: Gotta use that! So, I’ve been creating Chance and Community Chest cards with a CLMOOC bent, and sharing them one at a time on Twitter (our hashtag is #clmooc). I decided to move all of the cards into a comic, too.
I invite you to join our Making Learning Connected MOOC this summer. It’s sponsored by the National Writing Project and it is part of the Educator Innovator Network’s Summer of Make, Play and Connect. The MOOC is designed to get you playing, learning and reflecting, and connecting with other educators in a stress-free environment (hey, it’s summer). The whole thing kicks off in mid-June and goes until August, although you should feel free to enter and exit as your schedule permits.
I’m already making things …. come join me.
Peace (in the slice of MOOC pie),
I am one of a number of contributors to a new collection coming out this month in which educators write short essays about poems that are near and dear to their heart. Teaching with Heart: Poetry That Speaks to the Courage to Teach follows the path of two other collections that also engaged teachers in reflective inquiry and pointing to powerful poetry.
As part of the pre-publication push, I created a short Tellegami video about the poem that I chose, which was Taylor Mali’s famous “What Teachers Make” poetic response to a question posed to him at a dinner party. The poem is powerful on the page, but not nearly as powerful as watching Mali (who wrote the introduction to Teaching with Heart) perform his piece as a poetry slam in person.
Meanwhile, Paul Allison at the Teachers Teaching Teachers webcast is hosting a bunch of us teacher/writers this coming Wednesday night to talk about the book, about poetry, about teaching and, knowing Paul, probably a whole lot more. The webcast takes place at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night at EdTechTalk, and you can join in the chat, too.
What poems inspire you?
Peace (in the poem),
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),