Learning Through Focused Engagement: 3D Printing Revisited

There is nothing like a rush of creativity; when the mind is inspired by an idea and takes flight into multiple possibilities for new exploration and expression.

This morning I was engaged in a demonstration of 3-D printing and in scanning people (myself included) to be re-created in a three-dimensional plastic form. Conversation flowed from the technical to the inspirational and to discussions about potential interdisciplinary learning opportunities.

I am not new to 3-D imagery and I have been exposed to 3d printing at conferences and when my colleagues Jeff Nugent and Britt Watwood recently began to explore our new 3D printer. But today, when I actually focused on my own learning & engagement in the process, the muse began to dance. What previously seemed like insignificant creation of "toys", became a source of wonder.

This is a quick post just to share excitement about my own learning and my reflection on engagement. Right now, I'm blogging for the sake of getting myself into the practice of regularly sharing my learning. I'm quite sure much more will follow soon.

Deeper Learning

Observing student(s)
Evidence of deeper learning
Applying knowledge

Open, Vertical, Dynamic Course Design for Instructors and Students Alike

un phare en coquille / Lighthouse like a shell
un phare en coquille / Lighthouse like a shell (Photo credit: TisseurDeToile -[*])

I’ve recently been engaged with faculty in a discussion about “open” in their courses. Interest and experience vary widely and for many, the concept is foreign and frightening. “Designing” for such a course might seem an oxymoron. However designing simply means considering the overall course goals & what you want students to be able to achieve, as well as making learning relevant, so students can incorporate their knowledge into real world experiences. Designing for such a course must also consider the available resources (there are many things available via the net) and the needs for communication, interaction, building community, showcasing student work and assessing understanding. How can we make this learning experience unique, distinct, dynamic and create a course that learners want to take?

What if a course were truly dynamic? What if you the instructor and your students experience content that was dynamically updated every time you access your site? What if the instructor provided a framework and selected data feeds that could provide dynamic information related to course specific topics? It seems that this could provide faculty and students with opportunities to engage in relevant discussion and create new works to both explore and demonstrate learning? Such a learning environment might also allow faculty to demonstrate their processes of thinking, research, collaboration, communication, and personal learning.

In the digital age, information is constantly and things such as breaking news, research, interesting questions, social media, all drive our quest for understanding. Recently on NPR I heard the term Verticals: data driven ventures. As I understand it (and I certainly need to learn more), news, marketing and other digital publications are increasingly using data driven verticals: data driven ventures information. Wouldn’t it be interesting for faculty design a course with both fixed content and selective feeds of dynamically driven information to engage in open learning ask interesting questions around and help explain information?

I know this work is already underway in some respects, but I'd like to see experiments with a whole new level of "verical design". I welcome examples and/or ideas for various disciplines.
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Augmented Reality and Digital Storytelling - Walking Blog 3

Walking Blog 3:

I've been working with Aurasma augmented reality App. I'm thinking
about how this might be applied educationally and in various ways. I
I'm thinking about having different people tell their version of a story
about a particular event or issue and video record that as an overlay
for Aurasma. Then, I could take photographs of individuals (or locations) and make those
be a trigger for the person telling their story.

Let the experiments begin.

Note: I've learned that video is limited to 100 MB. If you venture in this direction, please share your learning and example projects. Learn more with the Aurasma Handbook.



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Rethinking Serendipitous Connections & The Power of Informal Networking

Walking blog 2:

Perhaps I've been too serious about my approach to social media. Sometime ago I decided that there are plenty of posts to Twitter and I don't need to add unnecessary garbage (but I still do on occasion). However this morning I learned of a fundraising goal by some VCU students and a faculty member to raise over $10,000 in the fight against childhood cancer. This was largely done through connections in Twitter. Perhaps these connections were formed by the more informal sharing of information about basketball games or other personal interests and not just through more serious posts. Maybe I have been wrong. It just maybe those trivial posts that allow one to build a significant network and through that, allow someone to see my more serious thoughts and the sharing of information that matters. 

By the way, a few shaved heads raised over $12,000. Thanks to @proffigment (Lisa Phipps), her students and the power of social media.

Walking Blogposts: Leveraging Technology to "write" More Often

Blogging is about thinking in public spaces. In many ways you might say blogging is about thinking aloud. Some of my best thinking happens while I'm walking from one location to another. Therefore I decided to leverage the ability to do audio blogging through the use of my iPhone and notes app. 

This post is being composed as I walk to the parking lot. There will undoubtedly be occasional misunderstood words and perhaps phrases. I could choose to post this immediately take a chance that there will be some errors or I could look at this and make minor edits and post it directly from my phone. For more elaborate work or to continue writing/thinking, I can email these to myself and open them on my computer for continued editing. An example of that might be where I want to quote some particular reference and link to the URL. 

Stay tuned this is the first of my walking blog posts.

Smoke in the Hallway: Getting a Whiff of Good Ideas

Smoke (Photo credit: Centophobia)

It’s amazing what I can learn by just walking down the hallway. 

In a casual conversation about my most recent classroom presentation/discussion on the use of digital storytelling to convey narrative about statistical information, I referred to the canary in the coal mine (Stats Story-Canary in the Coal Mine) as an analogy for declining frog population as indicators of pollution and related consequences. Gardner Campbell remarked, “analogy is the core of congnition.” This brief moment led me to explore that statement and that led me to the Presidential Lecture by scientist Douglas Hofstadter.

I work in an amazing place. I’m priviledged to be engaged in meaningful conversations, explore media, blog, network, create, teach, learn, dream, inspire, be inspired, work with astounding colleagues who push and pull on my thinking and expand my learning. All too often, I loose sight of my own story. It’s good to reflect and acknowledge the blessings I have.

Yes, there’s smoke in the hallways. When you smell it, put your nose to the wind and your ear to the ground. Something is burning and it may just be the next great idea.
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