Considering Curation: Google Collections

Google Collections Remediated Poem

One of the more important questions of digital literacy, if you ask me, is how do we curate what we make into something manageable and something reflective. I have yet to come upon the perfect tool. I use Diigo’s Outliner at times. I keep a few magazines on Flipboard. Storify works for some things, and not for others. I could go on and on.

I noticed that Google recently unveiled a part of Google Plus called Collections. The Google folks suggest it is a way to gather up posts and images and more from Google Plus into something more manageable and shareable. (It’s also part of their push to give more preference to Google Photos and move away from Google Communities, I think.)

Last week, as I was working on a poem through various media in the Making Learning Connected MOOC, as part of the reMEDIAtion effort, I decided to give Collections a try, to see if it would help with curation of the work I was doing.

The result?

I don’t know. It’s OK. Just OK.

I was able share links, and add some reflections to put the piece into context. But I didn’t like I could not tinker with the order of posts, nor that I can’t seem to share the Collection outside of Google Plus (no doubt, part of Google’s plan to keep us inside the Google walls.) Try this link. Tell me if it brings you to my collection. Thanks.

But “Just OK” is not really all that good enough, right? Still searching for the perfect curation tool of the digital age. I am open to suggestions.

Peace (in the cure-ate),


A Little Stopmotiony Wagging of the Tail

Dog wag animation


(Click on image — or here — to get see animation — I decided to host in Flickr this time)

I was inspired by a very cool video put into the CLMOOC by Jill Dawson, and then even more inspired by her explanation of how she did what she did for the CLMOOC Make Bank, to give some animation a try again. Although Jill used different apps for hers, I decided to get back into Animation Desk, an app I have had for some time. It has been upgraded and has some different parts, so I am still figuring it all out again. There is a free and paid version, and I think I have the paid version from some free trial time period when it came out.

Jill’s Piece: Dog Days of Summer

Jill’s “How To Do This” Piece:

But it was fun … wanna try stopmotion? You can tinker even with any apps with a site called ParaPara Animation.

An example that I made in a few minutes:

Peace (in the frame),


Jumping through Hoops: Mulling over ReMEDIAtion

What an interesting week this has been with playing around with mediums for digital composition, shifting a single short poem here and there into the corners of digital tools all in an effort to see what might happen, as the Making Learning Connected MOOC dove into the concept of “remediation.”

Here are links to what I have been doing:

Like many of my friends in CLMOOC, I still remain fairly uncomfortable with the terminology of “remediation” in terms of explaining these rhetorical moves across platforms and mediums (as opposed to its traditional meaning of remediation, as a descriptor of someone who needs extra help because they lack skills or knowledge or understanding). I am trying to find some balance for the word even as I work with the concept.

Yesterday, in a comment to Sarah H., I tried to parse out what I understand the word to mean now, after a week of experimenting, particularly in light of thinking about remix. Here’s what I wrote to her:

Mulling over Remediation vs Remix

She didn’t quite buy it and she wrote a blog post about her negative feelings about the term itself. That’s OK. (And I made her a comic, so there’s that)

Remediate this

I think the pushback on terminology is good and healthy, and skepticism about what we are talking about when we talk about digital literacies is necessary. For me, the call to “remediate” was really an invitation to jump through mediums, an adventure I am always game for. I’m not sure I will be using that term in the future, though.

This is my final “reMEDIAtion” of the poem I have been using, bringing it into a flowchart format to see if it would still make sense. It is no longer much of a poem, but the message still seems to stand firm, even in this medium.


Finally, I went back again to see what I had been doing and I decided to create this very unscientific, completely unreliable personal graph to gauge my own view of whether various mediums “transformed”  the poem in any significant way.


You can see that some worked better than others, in my opinion. But each one was worth the time and effort. The only downside? I am pretty tired of the poem and ready to put it on its last medium: the archived shelf.


Peace (in the think),


Further ReMEDIAtion: From Poem to Picture Book

I’m nearing the end of this whole remediation experiment — of taking a single poem through various platforms to see what happens — and today, I want to share something that worked rather nicely, I don’t mind saying. I gathered up my poem and used it as the text of a picture book in Storybird.

Poem Remediation: StorybirdYou will have to either follow this link or click on the image to get to the story itself. Once the Storybird overlords approve it, I can embed it into my blog site, but not before then (unless I want to pay for the quickened look. I don’t want to do that.)

Here’s what I liked about this particular remediation effort: I made the poem a story of a journey, and I made the “voice” of the poem a young girl. That was done via the artwork that I chose for the story (if you haven’t given Storybird a chance, you should. It’s interesting, as you construct stories with art in mind first). But once I saw some of the art from the artist I chose, I had the story all set and synced in with the poem that I have been working with for days now.

This whole remediation is part of the Making Learning Connected MOOC and you can see some of my experiments here:

Peace (in the story),


Book Review: Seveneves

This book took me forever to read. It wasn’t that it was a chore. It was that life got in the way and it was that the book is huge (880 pages). But I kept with Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, and I am glad I did. For while some sections got a bit bogged down with technical, scientific details, the second half of the novel soared with imagination, and showcased some of Stephenson’s fine skills as a science fiction writer.

The story revolves around Earth in the aftermath of a devastating event: the moon is blown up into seven pieces by a mysterious object and the result of this extraordinary event changes Earth forever, leading to a survival story of the human race. The first half of the book is how Earth will send a core group of representatives to space, as they anticipate a cataclysmic event known as the Hard Rain, as pieces of the broken moon break apart further and form a shower of fire and destruction. Humanity will be destroyed.

Only those in space will survive, with a mission to stay alive and return to Earth many generations down the road. The moral quandaries of this mission — who gets to go? who has to stay? — as well as the scientific ones — how will they survive over the term? — are at the heart of the first part of the novel.

The second half of the story is set way deep into the future, when humanity has regained some foothold in space (as descendants of the only survivors in space — seven women known as the Seven Eves who use genetics and science to begin a rebirth of humanity … thus, the title) and these people are helping Earth comes back to life through terraforming. Surprises await this race of humans as they slowly make their way back onto Earth.

I won’t give more of it away. Seveneves is a good read if you like science fiction, with a hefty dose of science thrown in. Stephenson never explains what caused the moon’s destruction and only hints that it was part of some larger event or religious experience, like some modern Noah’s Ark story.

Peace (in the world),

Word Drop and Broken Verse: Further ReMEDIAtion of a Poem

I’m continuing to push a single poem in multiple directions with this Make Cycle in Making Learning Connected MOOC on the issue of remediation — a term that is getting some pushback here and there in various spaces.

One of my good friends, Sarah, took my poem, and as she said, broke it.

That got me thinking …

This time, I went into Mozilla Webmaker’s Thimble tool. I used a kinetic text remix in an effort to do a sort of “reverse blackout poem,” in which words drop from the poem, leaving behind a second poem.

You can check out my Thimble project here, but it works best in Firefox (for me, it won’t work in Chrome).

Here are some screenshots, in case you are curious:

First, what the code page looks like:

Thimble-ized Poem

Next, the poem in its original form:

Thimble-ized Poem

Finally, after hitting the “transform this poem” button:

Thimble-ized Poem

What is cool about Thimble and other Webmaker tools is that you can remix. Just click the remix button on the poem in Thimble and make your own.

And one more further remediation of the poem for today. I don’t think this worked as well as some of the other experiments. I created a comic version of the poem. What I struggled with was the representation of ideas within the allotted four frames that used the possibilities of a comic to tell the story of the poem. It just … didn’t work.

Comic remediation

I’ll finish up tomorrow with two more versions of the poem as the Make Cycle moves into reflection stage.

Peace (in the poem),

Make an Inquiry via #CLMOOC

One of the offshoot projects (and there seem to be quite a few this year, which is so very cool, as they are coming as much from participants as from facilitators) of the Making Learning Connected MOOC is Michael Weller’s concept of Make an Inquiry, in which he is encouraging a group of us teachers to consider a classroom inquiry project. By coming together as a collective, the hope is to keep momentum going forward through the summer and into the school year.

I shared out this video that I created for some professional development work that our writing project site has done with some schools in our area. It is a simple overview of how classroom inquiry might proceed (you might have a different path).

And here is a quick video of some recent presentations by teachers at a middle school STEM school. I worked as a facilitator with this school for a year, ending with inquiry presentations to colleagues. For many, this was the first time they had ever done an inquiry project for their own classroom. It was a learning experience, for sure, but valuable in that the reflective stance — of noticing something you wonder about, asking a pertinent question, gathering some resources, trying something out, sharing out the experience — made for a wonderful way to draw our work to a close.

Our writing project is working on curating the Inquiry Project presentations and when that is done this summer, I will share out via the CLMOOC and Make an Inquiry group. We learn from each other, right?

So, here is my own inquiry question that I am beginning to ponder for my sixth grade classroom. The question is sparked by our school district’s move (finally) into Google Apps for Education. I am wondering:

How can my students engage deeply in the revision process when the “peer review” process moves beyond the walls of the classroom?

In other words, using Google Apps not just for writing to the teacher (me) and even the classroom, but beyond that. And if the audience shifts, how does the revising process shift to meet that audience of the world? This will tie into my professional goals next year of starting the process of “digital portfolios” for students. That could be its own inquiry question, right?

Peace (in the questions),

Poem ReMEDIAtion 2: Turning Words into Audio

Yesterday, I shared out the first steps in taking a poem through its paces, under the banner of “reMEDIAtion” of the Making Learning Connected MOOC. The idea is to see what happens to our work when we move into different platforms, and consider whether the heart of the idea changes or shifts or is transformed.

Is “remediation” just another term for “remix”? Maybe. Probably. Possibly. Maybe perusing those words will be my reflection point later on in the Make Cycle.

For now, I am using a single poem about liminality as my base point. Yesterday, I talked about moving from a handwritten draft to a typed version, and then using a text layout tool to impact the metaphorical presentation of the writing. That was not very dramatic, in terms of remediation of text. Some, but not much.

So, I have turned to audio to see what happens. I wanted to move beyond just podcasting — of just reading the words into a microphone — and dove into the Garageband App (one of the best 5 bucks you will ever spend on an app) to see if I could re-compose the poem.

Take a listen:

I decided to document my intentions in the composing with sound here with this comic reflection:

Remediating the poem as audio

The end result, I think, is an aural landscape effect. I hope my use of voice and of music draws the listener in, creating a wider effect of the poem’s meaning. I was intentional with everything.

More remediation tomorrow …

Peace (in the sounds),