Experimenting with change... the story of my (our) lives. Not much need to state the obvious, but on it goes. Today, one change is the editor and interface to the  Blogger editor. I'm probably behind the times (as my blogging activity has been minimal), but here I go.

Alfabetos enrolladosI value reflection and the opportunity to connect the dots of my thinking over time. How I do that varies in regularity and methodology. As I reflect on those notions, I consider my thoughts on my simultaneous love and distain for technology. It's a dance... using technology to enhance my life and selectively ignoring the latest tools in order to experience and honor things of great value, which move at a slower pace. 

Reflecting on the importance of friendships and shared experiences requires a note of thanks; an easy thing to do with a phone call, e-mail, an immediate text message or a Tweet. But, reverting back to the use a pen on paper slows the process just enough to make a difference. It allows me to employ the use of my hands in a craftsman-like way and engage in the beauty of calligraphy. It allows me to experience the feel of fine paper, explore the angle of pen and marvel at the formation of line. In some ways, this is a self-indulgent act of pleasure. But, it is also an act of love and a recognition that occasionally the gift of time and craftsmanship to both ourselves and our friends are just possibly the most important things we can do.

Take a break. Cook a nice meal. Smell the coffee. Enjoy the sunrise. Tell someone you love them. 

Enjoy the best of both worlds. Savor the quiet moment(s) and...marvel at the simultaneous gifts that your Smart-Phone can afford.

Image courtesy of letreries at http://www.flickr.com/photos/letrerias/5716682734/

Inching Forward Into Video for Digital Storytelling

Addressing the faculty desire to actually work with video footage.

For some time, I've been reluctant to introduce video in the creation of faculty and/or student digital stories. This audience generally needs simple tools which are freely available and which have a low learning threshold. In addition, I feel that the one needs to first understand the power of still images and the impact of multimedia in conjunction with them as a means to create powerful stories in video format; somewhat in the style of Ken Burn's documentaries. However, technology has increasingly made it easier to incorporate video footage into storytelling, and simple editors such as iMovie or Microsoft Movie Maker are examples of tools which can produce surprising results by those who are not a professional videographer. Making the transition to video production still requires intense focus on images and in addition, requires careful editing and attention the value of movement which might breathe new life into productions.

Today, I found a great example of video production which incorporate powerful still images and appropriate small video clips to create a compelling narrative. The example I will offer is provide by ESPN.com and it is the story of Falsely accused prisoner Dewey Bozella, who earned the 2011 Arthur Ashe Award for his courage to never give up fighting. As you view this story, consider the powerful images first and ask, what does video add to this story? Choose your technology carefully. Can less be more? Do I need 5 minutes of video or 5 seconds? How can still images inform the choices of video shots?

Multiculturalism Revisited

Rethinking multiculturalism.

My colleague asked some participants in a workshop, "Are you a Mac or PC?" As I heard that frequently asked question, realized that we think of multiculturalism from a traditional point of view. We look at race, ethnicity & regional areas as the consideration of culture; which we should. However I realize the question: "are you a Mac or PC?", implies an investigation of the technological culture in which one works and lives. I believe this cultural question goes beyond the hardware to the way we live, so the question(s) might be: Are you computerized or are you not? Are you stationary or are you mobile? Do you go out and seek information or do you subscribe to information to be delivered to you? These and other questions make me pause to rethink what it means to consider multiculturalism and my teaching and learning practice.

PS: I consider myself part of a mobile culture & this writing was actually dictated into Dragon, on the iPhone.

Creativity in the Field: Exploring the iPad2 for Creation, Learning & Teaching

Today is a new day. This is the second day that I've had the iPad2. I've had the iPad for sometime and I've enjoyed its display and many of its functions. However, the iPad2 takes it to a whole new level. Within a few hours, I was able to get my e-mail set up, get oriented to the basic features of the iPad2, to download and install apps for iMovie and Garage Band and to be able to actually do video production in the field; literally in the field. Using GarageBand in this tactile pad environment has truly changed my perception of what computing can be. Being able to bend pitch by using a mouse on the laptop or desktop computer is not the same as being able to click a virtual string and then bend the note as you would on a real guitar. I'm only beginning to envision what other capabilities this tactile environment they afford. Just think of being able to move shapes and may afford, such as interacting with the computing surface by applying pressure. The capabilities of the iPad is only limited to the apps which have or will be developed to allow it to perform in many many ways. My interest is in educational use. I am truly blown away by the fact that I can be anywhere and have such capability to actually produce work (noting that internet connectivity is a crucial part of truly being mobile). I still am bothered by Apple's lack of ability to play flash content. Flash has been a long staple in the arena of multimedia production and delivery of educational content & I think it's ridiculous to ignore that large body of existing contact. However, given what it is, my challenge is to experiment and see what I can actually do to provide quality examples of the creation and use of educational content via the iPad2. I'm going to challenge myself to work only with the iPad in the iPhone as much as possible. I realize that I will need to actually use a laptop to engage in some of the software activities and so forth that I normally use, but the time has come to take this journey and truly explore what it means to be mobile and how mobility can impact teaching and learning.