Animated Gif Text: Stuck on the Page

I am tinkering with an software program called, eh, LICEcap that allows you to create animated gifs for screenshots. I hosted the animated gif in Flickr, but to share the animated version from there, you have to navigate to “all sizes” and copy/share the original. A typical embed in Flickr doesn’t do the trick.

And on behalf of the National Day on Writing, I created this:

Thanks to Doug Belshaw for sharing this one out in his newsletter.

Peace (in the writing),

Hacking Education Week: Connected Educator Month Satire

Ed Week Hack Connected Ed Month
Over at DS106, the Daily Create the other day was to create a fake news story in the vein of The Onion., with satire dripping off the page. How could I resist that? I decided to poke fun at Connected Educator Month, particularly with the idea of technology and what seems to be an overabundance of commercial/advertising tweets now in my Twitter stream for #ce13 (the hashtag for Connected Educator Month) each day.

I used Mozilla’s xRay Goggles to hack the front page of Educational Week, using the text from the Daily Create prompt for one story and then concocting a few more (including recess for teachers!).

As you can tell, I have mixed feelings about Connected Educator Month. On one hand, it is a fantastic way to create awareness about the power of networks, sharing and connecting beyond the walls of your school. There’s real power and authenticity in those experiences, in my opinion. On the other hand, it seems like commercial ventures see the Connected Educator Month as a way to target teachers for their wares. I just went through my Twitter followers and removed about 15 to 20 accounts that were pure business ventures trying to sell lesson plans, interactive boards, technology solutions, etc. That rubs me the wrong way.

Thus, the hack.

Peace (in finding balance),


A MishMash of Story (featuring animated crayons)

Tapestry, which is a neat online and app tool that allows you to create “tap-able” stories, just released a new tool called HieroGlyphy yesterday that me intrigued. You can now embed animated .gifs into the story itself. I adapted a #25wordstory of mine that I posted on Twitter earlier this week and used the new tool to create this story (so, it combines Twitter, animated .gifs and Tapestry — thus, the mishmash). I’m still tinkering with the tool (and note to teachers: the .gifs in the Tapestry library may not be appropriate for kids). I don’t know if you can upload your own .gifs (I don’t think so).

And this morning, after Washington reached their 11th hour agreement, I wrote this one:

Peace (in the mishmash),


Of Big Nose Bears, Colorful Nodes and Authentically Inauthentic Radio

da Bear for the Daily Create
This week, at DS106 Headless Course, I’ve been a little less active publicly and more active behind the scenes. Let me explain. I feel like I let more Daily Creates float by this week, given a hectic week at school and life. Now that the Daily Create idea is part of my daily cycle, not doing them feels odd, as if something interesting is missing from my day.

Yet, life goes on …

As you can see from above, I did have some fun with the prompt the other day around creating an existential moose or bear. I used an online drawing site called PicassoHead. I think the nose is really a head. But I loved the enlarged nose. Don’t you? I made the nose large but then everything else really small, thinking of size as a design tool. The result is still a bear but one who needs a tissue or something.

Below is yesterday’s Daily Create, in which we were asked to visualize the Internet. I rushed this one, but perhaps it is because Connected Educator Month is underway that I thought of the various nodes of people and networks that connect. Unfortunately, th threads between the nodes are invisible (use your imagination!) because I ran out of time. Still, the last minute texts say a lot about how I conceive the dispersion of our ideas across various communities and networks. I just don’t know if the Internet is as colorful as mine, nor as circular.

Internet Nodes and Us

There was a neat writing prompt, too, the other day, in which we were told to write a story with narrative gaps in it. It was a twist on the old “dark and stormy night” idea. That act of leaving space in the story was pretty interesting. You had to design flagpoles of ideas, and even I don’t know what happened in the middle of this story, but I am curious.

It began as a bright and sunny day

… to which she replied, “I’m going. Are you coming with me?” Her words made me think about the last time she had asked that question ….

Later, I wondered where everyone had gone.

.. and yet, the night came on strong, dark and stormy and full of the kinds of twists and turns you expect out of a dime store pulp novel.

Finally, the behind-the-scenes work has been around our collaborative radio show project underway. I am part of The Merry Hacksters team, creating a program about hacking, remixing and digital literacies. We’re online partners, which both makes it easy and difficult to collaborate. I finished up a piece with two friends from the Mozilla Foundation this week and then worked to create a fake commercial for the program about a device that … well, I don’t want to say yet. I had more fun with the fake commercial than I should admit.

Here is the disclosure at the end of the commercial, in which I speeded up my voice to make it sound “authentically inauthentic”:

Peace (in the sharing),



What It Looks Like When We Hack Chess

hack chess collage 2013
My sixth graders have been working in collaborative groups to hack the game of chess, with new pieces and new rules on how to play. I’ll share more later as part of a larger collaborative DS106 radio project but this collage nicely captures some of the work they are doing to invent new board games out of traditional ideas.

Peace (in the hack),


Visual and Audio Autumn Haiku

One of this week’s Daily Create assignments for DS106 was to write a haiku about Autumn. Well, Autumn has kicked into full gear here in New England, and the day I wrote this one was the blustery kind of day that even Pooh and Piglet would recognize.

Winds begin to kick –
I crouch and dart between rain
drops from the dark sky

I decided to take the haiku and add a visual element to it, as part of the exploration around design. I have an app on my iPad called Visual Poetry, which I like for short poems. It gets too busy for longer ones and may even be a bit busy for this one. You decide. But I like how the words and phrases wrap around the poem itself.
Autumn haiku for Daily Create

And of course, poetry should be heard, too.

Peace (in the poem),


Life is Beautiful: A Tapestry Story

Tapestry is a lovely site for making digital stories. When we talk about the power of minimal design, what I like about Tapestry is the simplicity of the storytelling, for both the writer and for the reader. The ability to set up “taps” creates a certain rhythm of the story. The simple fonts and background options at first seem limiting but then you realize how powerful that can be not to worry about bells and whistles, and instead, focus on the story itself. I am taking part in a storytelling contest Tapestry is launching, with stories on the theme of “Life is Beautiful.”
Here is what I created:

What makes life beautiful for you?
Peace (in reflection),

By the way, I could not find a space on Tapestry for citing where the images came from, so I will do that here. All images are part of Flickr’s Creative Commons library:

Thanks to all of them for creating such great images.

Spoof Documentary Intro: The Connected Country

Connected Country Spoof
(Created with Mozilla’s XRay Goggles)
Yesterday’s Daily Create for DS106 asked us to “Write an intro for a documentary on culture and traditions of a fictional country.” Since we are kneedeep into Connected Educator Month, I thought I would amuse myself (at least) with a spoof intro for a fake documentary about The Connected Country, and the search for the Most Connected Person in the World.

Here is what I wrote:

In this geographically distant yet technologically connected land, people find themselves drawn to each other by shared interests and expertise. Perhaps it is the hyperlink tattoos that adorn their foreheads or the hashtags each inhabitant wears on their left and right cheeks, but this land is a wondrous place of connections. Here, friends lend a hand or share an idea with strangers. Neighbors offer refuge to the confused who wander in from the outlands of the greater world. Everyone is looked after. There is trust here in this Connected Country. There is a sense that all of the residents here are in this life together, learning as they go along and sharing their learning without trepidation. Notice how each inhabitant wears a sharp-looking vest with multiple pockets. Each pocket contains a different mobile device, tuned to a different interest channel. At night, when the specially-designed lights of the Connected Country are turned on, one can literally visualize the threads that connect each person to the others. The colored webs are another indication of the tapestry of their lives. It is here that we begin our journey to find the Most Connected Person in the World. Come join us as we venture into the Connected Country.

And here is the podcast I created for it:


Peace (in the land),


Top 10 Ways to Document Learning (presented with humor)

The other day, the Daily Create asked us to list 20 ways that we document our learning. Sure, I could have gone the serious route. But … I didn’t. So, here using Haiku Deck as a way to connect to themes of “design practice” this week at DS106, is my Top Ten Ways to Document Learning.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad
Peace (with your dog, cat, smoke signals and talking drum … preferably all at once),

Film Summary in Four Icons

Cloudy with Meatballs 2

One of this week’s assignments at DS106 this week is to summarize a movie, using only four visual icons. Since I went to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 with my son, the movie was on my mind. Finding four symbols to summarize a movie is difficult. You leave a lot out, and context is everything. I suspect if I did not tell you which movie I was summarizing, you would have difficulty figuring it out (although if you saw it, the burger might give it away).

Since I “borrowed” these images online, here are the links to where I got them: the burger, the island, the inventor, the friends.

Peace (in symbolic thought),