Archive for the 'Arts' Category

Dev Learn 2015 – Day 2 and Final Reflections

Social hub at DevLearn

Social hub at DevLearn

Apologies that this took me a few days to finish. In the spirit of creating an interactive infographic, I developed one that has links to the more helpful presentations and resources I found while attending DevLearn 2015. Click on the image  to open the PDF with active links to both .pdf and web resources.

DevLearn Summary InfographicHere’s my summary going clockwise starting at twelve-o-clock. Please note I’m not re-summarizing presentations & ideas I’ve already discussed in previous posts. As always, DevLearn is action packed and full of

Design is Key – successful eLearning design takes into account not only look and feel (intended impact on the audience) as well as good user engagement. Bianca Woods also presented an excellent how to demo on how to easily create your own graphic elements without being an “Art Wiz.”

Badges  – I learned first hand from participating in the badging system for DevLearn using the DL2015 app how competitive I am, and humorously enough, I eventually realized that I wasn’t trying to earn the points to get the swag. I did worry that many people might have been trying to load their points by filling out assessments for sessions they did NOT attend. Oh well. I suppose there’s a way to filter these responses out.

Badges can promote growth and learning by sparking learners’ curiousity, competiveness, or providing them with a tangible way to track their progress. Most importantly, they can offer “automated assessment tools” and “learning data.”

Still, for the execution of a badging strategy to work effectively, trust in the badging system must be built (by using trusted experts, both within and outside). Also, administrators and monitors of the system could effectively be training by having earn badges themselves.

Sticky Infographics – you can create engaging infographics using Storyline, Captivate, Lectora and even simple PowerPoint (publishing a linked and media embedded PowerPoint slide as a PPS or PowerPoint Slideshow).

Internet of Things – touched upon in David Pogue’s keynote, will change how we collect data on ourselves and others and how we learn from it. Some apps collect data that can drive competition (example: fitness & weight loss apps). Others will give us a picture of our own and sometimes our peers behavior over time.

Science and Art are Connected – Through his artfully presented talk, Adam Savage from the Mythbusters showed us how Science and Art have a lot in common and that curiousity sparks and drives achievement and discovery in both.  And Savage’s advice to all learners: Pay attention; speak your mind; stay curious; ask questions; and tell stories/listen to them too.

To view a very good summary of the Savage’s keynote, view Cammy Bean’s Live Blog Notes.

Lost in Utopia? Found in Dystopia? #edcmooc

I’m taking the Elearning and Digital Culture Course via Coursera.

We were asked to evaluate the following films and describe if they are depicting a technological dystopia. I’ve decided to respond by giving short descriptions and reactions to the films.

BENDITO MACHINE III:

Dystopia begins with the

Idolatry of Technology

We are charmed by what we perceive to be the magic that technology brings me

Technology has been used to manipulate us…

It tells us what we should buy,

how we should live,

makes use feel paranoid & inadequate,

But in the end what we worship mindlessly

becomes obsolete,

and a new technology takes it’s place.

It begins again.

INBOX:

I feel that this video has both utopian & dystopian messages. Perhaps in watching the story of a man and women who become attracted to each other by way of two paper bags with a magical connection and with the help of pens and post-it notes. The charming interchange between the young couple points out the magic of the Internet and connective technology that we use, yet at the same time it reminds us how simplistic connection can be. Before texting on cellphones we had notes carefully folded in origami to be passed beneath desks or left in strategic places for the recipient to find. In watching stories like “Inbox” we’re also reminded how the Net and cellphone texts can encourage shy and antisocial behavior. Perhaps this can be seen as dystopian if you feel that making physical connection and interacting in the ‘normal’ social manner is threatened by excessive use of texting.

THURSDAY:

The message of this film seemed to be tied into the importance of being connected to the natural and real world. In this film the characters’ lives seem overrun by technology from being constantly connected to instant messaging or depended upon technology that can be disrupted by the simple act of a bird mistaking wires for food or nesting material. I have to laugh because as I heard the sounds of bird tweeting in this film, I remembered that a few weeks ago, I heard a duck quacking somewhere and I reached for my cellphone thinking it was the duck quacking ringtone. Like the couple in the short, technology has replaced some of the natural things in my life. And like them, every now and then I need to attempt to get a bird’s eye view of things to realize how little things like a cellphone and it’s constant connection affect how I see and treat others in my life. I have tantrums if I have no connection. Am I wrong but did that couple get it on after having the earth view inspired epiphany?

FILM 4: NEW MEDIA:

I like Jellyfish but something about this film gave me a creepy feeling. I was reminded of that film District Nine. Obviously this is a dystopian view of technology that plays on the fears that technology will evolve into this alien lifeform that will take over our lives and society.

ABOUT ALL THE FILMS & IDEA of DYSTOPIA & UTOPIA

I feel the same way about dystopic parables as I feel about armageddon stories. They both seem to be coping mechanisms for our fear of change as well as ways to play out the guilt of living in a civilization. Sometimes we ask ourselves in the backs of our minds, like some drunken kid in their twenties just waking to a lucid moment of clarity… we can’t go on living like this forever? How is our civilization held together? Could it simply fall apart or be threatened as in the “Thursday” film by a small animal ready to wreak havoc on a network that we depend upon for daily life. Or maybe our anxiety stems from intuition or hunches that something is inherently wrong in the systems of culture, economics, politics, and codes of behavior that seem to keep us all safe and in line? When has our legislature actually done something in our best interest a s a people anyway? Stories and films about dystopia and the crumbling of civilization allow us to play out the fantasies of ‘just what might happen’ if it all fell apart. Thus, art and literature present us with emetics that can help us both express and extrude our fears and unmanageable thoughts and perhaps make sense of it all (or not).

And utopia, I hate to be a realist, but it’s nice to shoot for and everyone needs pie in the sky goals. But there are examples of Utopia in application. I think of any city I’ve lived in including the one where I am now that had the foresight to develop park spaces for their people. Living in a country where for the most part we don’t have to pay off the DMV just to get our license or grease the hands of the beat cop.

Technology always brings the potential for utopian possibilities but like any tool at can be use for both negative and positive purposes. On one hand Internet technologies can provide us with seemingly limitless ways to learn, gather information, and connect with others. A good example of this is this online course. Who could imagine that over 40,000 people could engage in an online learning course with each other.  On the other hand, this widespread connection can render us too visible. Diving into the pool of social networking many of us forget that when we share our feelings online they’re no longer private. As people make embarrassing YouTube videos or become part of a petty bitching party online they might forget that this can put an indelible mark on one’s character. My original dystopian view of technology painted a world where people become increasingly desensitized to what it means to act like a true asshole or jerk. But gladly, I’ve been continually surprised by how many online communities are quite civil and supportive of each other. Flamers and bullies usually get snuffed out by others, or simply the people who don’t want to put up with this behavior just move somewhere else online.

In other words, utopia is what you make of it. Dystopia can be brought about by acting upon your worst fears.

Teens use of social media on the rise

PEW Report on Teen Use of Social Media: http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/230/report_display.asp

I was catching up on listening to my “Future Tense” podcasts when I ran across a report on one of the latest PEW research studies on Internet use. It looks like girls seem to dominate in use of social media while boys are more likely to post online videos. More, it appears that many girls have taken on the ability to super communicate through various technology.

Some noteworthy statistics from the report:

  • 27% of teens polled maintained a personal webpage
  • 39% of teens shared their own artistic creations online
  • 26% re-mix content online

It makes sense that boys will tend to create videos that feature themselves; adolescent girls tend to be a self-conscious of their own appearance. However, this idea that their children have a presence visible to strangers must be more than unnerving for many parents. This is a given. The media certainly does their part in freaking out people even more by only highlighting what can go wrong when people’s children have a web-presence. I’m not saying that the dangers are not there, I guess I’m just a little weary of people taking the fearful approach to things rather than looking at what’s positive about the situation and then tackling the problematic and unsafe nature of things.

starwars.jpgI’m just incredibly excited that these kids enjoy creating content and putting it online. They are for all intensive purposes, taking in what they see, re-interpreting it and then creating a product from their understanding. I’ve seen countless examples of Anime Music Videos (AMV) online that attest to this. Also, I ran across a wiki created by fans of the Avatar t.v. cartoon. The fans that create the content on this wiki are basically conducting some form of character and plot analysis when they post information. Fans that participate in the wiki content creation, young and old alike, demonstrate how engaged they are in the content. Why else would they be moved to do the work? It reminds me of my own childhood when I collected Star Wars bubblegum cards (geez, I must sound like a geezer). I had to go to the library and newstands to read more about the characters. There were countless comic books and pulp novels. I remember we used to lay the cards down on the floor and arrange them according to how the the characters were related to each other or when they appeared in the plot.  When we played with the cards we used to have discussions about what we thought would happen to Han Solo after being captured by Jabba or whether or not Han and Leia would get together and have kids. Of course, as I write this I realize that I’m probably embarrassing myself.

Still, even though it’s pop culture it still doesn’t mean that it’s beneath us. If we can recognize that we’re interpreting what we see in the pop stuff fluff or not and then scaffold into understanding other literature and art then that can’t be a bad thing can it. Maybe just we old stogies need to open up a little bit and look at how children and teens interpret the world through the media they see with clearer eyes.

Related Stuff:

Avatar Wiki About Page

Reggio Emilia – The environment is the ‘third’ teacher

Reggio Emilia educational approach and philosophy insists that children learn readily from their environment, and there for the environment is the ‘third’ teacher. I’m assuming that the teachers/parents and the child themselves are the first and second teachers.

So much has been written about this educational approach that I posted links to information below. You might wonder what an instructional designer is doing by focusing on pedagogy rather than adult learning theory. Perhaps it’s a result of my own efforts to deconstruct myself as a learner to better understand the subject of how to teach not just children but everyone regardless of their age. Next, I need to understand learning from the perspectives of others.

Also, I have this hunch that really building people who are ‘creative-workers’ takes more than just giving them internet access and the opportunities to collaborate. We need to think about how to raise these workers from the ground up. True businesses do fund a lot of educational events, but does it ever occur to them that helping people grow in understanding alternative ways of thinking starts from lessons you learn at a very young age?

I don’t believe that Reggio Emilia is the one and only approach to education. It’s an example of a model that is ideal. However, I believe that one of the cornerstones of a good education must be to provide learners with examples of learning that promote them to ask questions of their learning? To ask questions about what they observe and to learn from their environment. Yes, yes, yes… they still have to memorize times tables and Latin and Greek roots. Because naturally these are tools for learning. The focus should be on making connections with the rote learning and tools and application in the real world. Not just with storybook math problems about people taking trains and making connections. Children should be provided with opportunities to create their own story problems from their own experiences. True, the teacher still has to be an active guide helping these children achieve their questions and their answers (when possible). Teachers should take the role of post-modern mini-Socrates.

Not that this is the only example of this, but building a website offers children the opportunity to learn and apply knowledge and skills. Can you see where the language-arts, math, art, teambuilding skills are applied through these questions? The list below is just a start.

  • Who is going to do the work?
  • How will we divide the work?
  • How will we work together and follow needed schedules to accomplish our work?
  • What is our subject matter? Why is it important to us?
  • How will we produce the written content?
  • What standards will we hold for the written content?
  • What sizes (in inches/pixels) do we want for our webpages?
  • How do we reduce images that we find so they fit here proportionally?
  • What colors should we use?

What is Reggio Emilia?

Read More…

Side note and commentary – One of the things that frustrates me about education in general in our country is we (unintentionally) beat the desire to learn and explore out of students with the fundamental structuralist nature of or education approaches/systems. There’s so much emphasis on promoting creativity and the free flow of learning with younger children, but then how do we keep this going as children get older. Or do we hope that children have life-shaping experiences that cement the love of learning for them?

Links and Resources (some to start):

Reggio Emilia overview and links to books on the subject

Unpacking Observation and Documentation: Experiences from Italy, Sweden, and Australia *(Collected Works) – a collection of articles which includes observations by Gunila Danberg on an attempt to adopt Reggio Emilia practices in Swedish Schools. Some of the observations on being adaptive and making sure that a school/culture approaches R.E. to fit and involve “the whole organization” is important. Also, this paper treats some key questions in applying Reggio Emilia (and any other approach) in shaping a child’s learning and success at learning, do we refer to the ‘ideal’ pedagogical model of the child? How does this restrict us in educating the child?

Aesthetic Codes in Early Childhood Classrooms: What Art Educators Can Learn from Reggio Emilia* (Article)

Discovering Regio Emilia, Building Connections Between Learning and Art *(Paper)

*Available thru ERIC

Peanut Gallery Ranting: Art in Academics

Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. I’ve been taking a hiatus.

I like connections. I like connecting ideas or finding connections. Someone mentioned to me yesterday the idea of teaching about art in other academic disciplines, and now I have a bee in my bonnet about the whole concept.  I started mindmapping some thoughts. The mind-map isn’t comprehensive, it’s just a start at an attempt to show how the relationship and connections the arts have to other academic disciplines and explore the topics that could be covered in a course about the subject.

Click the image to view the larger map

Something bothers me (no, aggravates me) about how art, literature and music are received in our ‘practical’ western world.  Perhaps it’s the notion that such disciplines associated with the arts are easily removed or omitted from the curriculum because they have no ‘practical’ purpose or application (in business or the real world).   I should stop here with this line of thought before I become emotional about it.

Art and music are embedded in the sciences and mathematics in patterns and simple to complex structures.  We design we interpret and often imitate natural aesthetics and imagery in the design of objects. Do you remember that little film they used to show us in school called Donald Duck in Mathemagic Land (I actually own  a VCR copy of the this)? Literature opens windows and doors into how we think and act as a species.   How can we interpret how to use the other discipines effectively and be the truly flexible or creative beings that we are without developing a keen understanding, appreciation, and mastery of at least one or two areas of the arts! But some bureaucrats, business men and politicians can be proper dunces about the subject – 1 dimensional.

 

Nuggets:


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