One of those foggy winter days …


We woke up to temperatures in the 50s and a thick foggy stew covering everything yesterday. It seemed a perfect time to do a little Learning Walk around the yard. It was a bit mushy, walking about, but the snow melting, the fog sitting there, and the warmth of the air gave the day a ghostly look, as if the Ghosts of Christmas Past were there in our midst.
I also began tinkering around with a photo lens app called Fragment. I can’t say I know what I am doing but the results are still interesting.

and

The thing about Learning Walks is that they provide you a chance to see the common everyday work from another view, or another lens. I’m still learning …

Peace (in the yard),
Kevin

A Light Covering — A Winter Learning Walk

Since the summer’s Making Learning Connected MOOC, I have been trying to periodically take my camera/iPad and wander around my yard on a Learning Walk as a way to slow down, focus in and pay attention. I keep getting inspired by my friend Kim, who has been regularly blogging about her use of photography to connect with writing and reflection. A Learning Walk is more than a walk, I’ve found.

The other morning, this is what I found:
Winter Learning Walk
Yes, we have snow here in New England already. Not much, though, but the white covering on everything gives it a real December theme, doesn’t i? I realized later that I should have found my push mower, and snapped a shot of it. I’ve used it for various Learning Walk images. Darn.

Of all these, I find I like the pumpkin the best. It’s been on our front porch since early October, and the squirrels have had a feast with the seeds and insides, leaving it all hollowed out. The snow covering gives the orange a pretty mix. If you are wondering about the smiley face on the door, my son used wikistix to write welcoming words to friends who were visiting. The words have fallen and the eyes and mouth is all that is left at this point. I like the use of the reflection, too, as the centerpiece of the collage here.

Peace (on the walk),
Kevin

shhhh …. Get Invent to Learn Kindle eBook for Free

I saw this notice in one of my many emails. Today (Friday) and then again on December 2, a Kindle version of the fantastic Invent to Learn by Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager— which gives not only an overview of the Maker’s Movement in the classroom but also, practical advice on how to get students inventing and making — is FREE.  I did a positive review over at Middleweb. You really should get this book. And it’s FREE as a Kindle download. Just saying …

3d-invent-to-learn hodgson

Peace (in the make),
Kevin

Finishing up Loose Ends with Make/Hack/Play

MakeHackPlay badge
I just completed the last phase of the Make/Hack/Play mini-course facilitated by Karen Fasimpauer, and earned this nifty badge/certificate. The course had a few activities around making and remixing and reflecting, and I liked that the scale was small and doable. And fun. Karen will be running the course again in January, I believe. If you are curious about making and tinkering and remixing, this free mini-course is a great way to dip your toes into the water.

Peace (in the sharing),
Kevin

Mapping Out Identities in Boston for #nwpam13

As part of our session around the Making Learning Connected MOOC, co-presenter Joe Dillon and I had participants “represent” themselves with clay and wikistix, and then they pinned themselves on the giant map we brought. This was a way for us to talk about Connected Learning principles and some of the creative “makes” that took place during the MOOC. (It also was a live version of the virtual map we did in the MOOC, which now has almost 5,000 views)

Thanks to Chris and Tricia for tweeting out pictures of the map.
clmooc live map1

clmooc live map2

And here is a funny video I took of me wrestling with the map at home before heading to Boston.

Peace (on the grid),
Kevin

Remix Activity: How to Build a Boy Band

boy band thimble

This was more for fun than for anything else. But in Seattle a few months ago (sorry, this post was in my draft bin for a long time, I guess), a friend of mine (Janet Ilko) from the National Writing Project joined some family members who lived in Seattle. She was with some young cousins, who convinced the adults to hang around outside a concert venue where One Direction was playing, so that they could get a glimpse of the singers when they left the concert.

The next morning, as Janet was describing the scene, I suggested we should build a Thimble page on “how to build a pop band” from the template that stretches back the Monkees, and maybe even beyond. Who knows. Certainly Disney and Simon Cowell have perfected the idea.

I started the page in Seattle (remixing it from an existing Webmaker template) and finished it up yesterday. Check it out and feel free to remix it. I’d love to see the “how to build a girl band” version, if you want a challenge. (There is a remix button at the top of the page. Click on that, and get remixing. You will need an account with Webmaker to publish. But the code and hints to change the code, are in there.)

Peace (in the hack),
Kevin

Letting a Song Go: Getting Remixed


As part of the Make/Hack/Play mini-course I have been participating in, I wrote a song and then created this reflective video of my writing process.

Well, a friend from the summer’s Making Learning Connected MOOC — Bart Miller, who is also a musician — took my song and remixed it with some composition software. I was so grateful to have been hacked by Bart, and the remix took the song (even with computer sounds) in a different direction.
Hacking a Song by Bart Miller

I could not resist yet another remix. So, I downloaded the MP3 of Bart’s version of Put My Anchor in You, and used Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker to create another remix. This time, I found a nature video (Bart’s version had me thinking quiet nature, for some reason) and layered in the remix as the soundtrack.

Meanwhile, another friend of mine (the guitarist in my band, Duke Rushmore) took the same demo and added lead guitar, bass and some other production values to it, given the remix yet a third iteration.

It’s interesting the trail of mixing and remixing that can take place, rather seamlessly, with technology. The song comes out at the other end very different when in the hands of others than when I sat down on the floor with my acoustic guitar and wrote it as a demo.

Peace (in the song),
Kevin

 

Remixing the Sunday Comics

Sunday comix remix

Over at the Make/Hack/Play, we are encouraged to Make in physical space. I returned to an idea from the summer and worked to remix the Sunday Comics. This is trickier than at first blush because creating a connected narrative from very different comics, writers, characters and story lines is hard.

Here, you have to read each comic with two frames of mind: the comic itself and the story within that small framed narrative AND the larger lens of how might part of this storyline or picture take part in a larger story to be remixed. And you don’t often know what that story will be until you have read all the comics in the section (unless you get lucky and find something neat right away in the first few comics you read). Once you have the larger narrative, you have to figure out which pieces will fit to tell the story, which — to be honest — will always be a bit jagged, due to the mix of art and narratives.

But that’s remixing for ya.

For this Sunday Comic Remix, I centered on a frame from Dilbert about an accusation of using Google Glass in a meeting without permission, which led to an almost dream-like sequence of embarrassment moments, and then there is an apology, followed by a meta-comic from from Doonsbury with a final combustible ending.

I wish the quality of the photo were better (sorry!) but I took it on the iPad. The frame and writing was added in Flickr with the Aviary suite of tools.

Peace (in the comic hack),
Kevin

 

Make/Hack/Play: Behind the Scenes of Making a Song


Yesterday, I shared out a video that I created for the Make/Hack/Play mini-course I am involved in at P2PU with facilitator Karen Fasimpaur. Today, I wanted to explain just how I did it — so consider this is a sort of process piece connected to the Make itself in which I sought to Make a Song, and Make the songwriting visible. Here, I try to make the process visible. I also created this diagram flowchart of my process.

Making of Making A Song

For the first week, Karen suggested we make something in physical space, but I had my head wrapped around music this past weekend, and I decided that I would write a new song, but with the idea of the Maker Space in mind. What I did was sat next to the computer with my guitar and instead of my usual method of scribbling out notes and crossing out words on paper, I used the collaborative freeware tool TitanPad to write. TitanPad works sort of like Google Docs as a collaborative space, but the element that I really love is that it creates a revision timeline video format (of sorts), so you can watch a piece of writing unfold over time.

After finishing the song, which is called Set My Anchor on You, I played back my words, watching from the distance as my words were written, removed, revised and restructured. It’s pretty fascinating, particularly for someone like me who types very fast but also makes a lot of mistakes. You can see a lot of backspacing going on.

Since my idea of this Make was to capture the songwriting in process, I took a video screenshot (using my Snagit program) of the words flowing on the screen, and then moved that raw video into iMovie, so I could layer in my narration. I also recorded a version of the song in Audacity, created an MP3 file and used that as the background track – so you watch my words, hear my thinking and listen to the song.

I then edited the video in iMovie and shared out at YouTube, and linked into our Make/Hack/Play space and beyond, thus going from brainstorm to writing to recording to publishing in a short amount of time.

Peace (in the song),
Kevin

Make/Hack/Play: Making a Song

I’m working in a short, open course called Make/Hack/Play that is being facilitated by my friend, Karen Fasimpaur. It is run through the P2PU site, and Karen is using elements from this summer’s Making Learning Connected MOOC to engage participants in a series of “makes.” (You can join us, too. Come on.)

For the first week, I decided to “make a song.” (Karen’s suggestion was to make something in physical space and I am not sure I followed the rules, although sound waves are physical, right?) Tomorrow, I will explain the logistics of the video, in case you are curious and want to make your own. But today, I just wanted to share the Make itself.

Peace (in the song),
Kevin