AC230 Maker Faire!

Maker Faire Bay Area 2008

For our final class, we are going to have an opportunity to present and play with the tools and projects we’ve all been working on for the past three weeks. Each of you will be able to demonstrate and get others to use your tools in a ten-minute informal presentation. We’ll run three at a time so people can bounce between the various projects. I’m planning on broadcasting the event on a live webstream, so hopefully we’ll get some online participants watching and giving us feedback too.

Also I’m going to set-up some stations for ‘making’ the day of the fair. You’re welcome to set-up a station as well for others. It’s all in the maker spirit and for fun.

Stations I’ll setup are as follows:

  • colored eggs with messages about creating.
    October 2010 - 16
  • make a human animated GIFs gallery
  • sci-fi a toy (with silver paint) – get ambitious and you can make an R2-D2 bike helmet.

Leave you’re ideas in the comments and bring anything you’d like!

essay title

What’s Next After This Class?

In the above presentation at 2010 OpenEd Conference, Gardner Campbell asks you to “think the unthinkable” about the future of education and in particular takes to task the use of educational technologies designed to mimic the old model of classrooms. He also presents these ideas in his essay, “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure.” Both of Gardner’s texts are in part inspired by Jim Groom’s “A Domain of One’s Own.” Jim aks the question, why not give everyone their own domain, from which all of a student’s academic endeavours will be aggregated to a variety of places they inhabit during their time in college. It would become a space that a student would be,

…crafting of an identity with a purpose, the conscious consideration and creation of one’s professional/academic identity online: a domain of one’s own!

To Jim and Gardner, the need to stop fashioning for students special spaces for teaching and learning is a principal problem. They wish for educators to start looking to the internet itself as it’s classroom, where you carve out your own space to teach and learn (a bit like what we’ve done here with

For this summer session you’ve been given a space to contribute to as an author, but now it’s time to take your work and place it into your own domain. To do this you are going to need to export your posts through the Dashboard’s Tools > Export function which will give you an .XML file that includes all of your work.

After that you will need to create either a free blog, or step-up and buy your own webhosting plan and with WordPress installed. Either is fine, though commercial hosting plans give you a lot more flexibility and control. Here is a link to how to create your on blog with a commercial host, and the option is pretty self explanatory (the site guides you through the process).

So there are two assignments for your last efforts in this class:

1. Create your own blog:

  • Export your posts from this blog and import them into your own blog.
  • Create an “About” page on which you give a brief description of yourself and your professional goals. You are also welcome to create additional pages and include any kinds of materials you’ve created in other courses or on your own.
  • Pick a theme for your blog and customize it. Add any plugins you’d like. Remember, this is now your space, it’s up to you to cultivate it!

2. Make one final post to In this post please include:

  • a link to your blog;
  • and finally describe what you expected to get out of this class, and if that changed as the course proceeded. What was most important to you? What was least important?

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Giant Ants at Work – More Mobile Microscope

This time I didn’t do any damage to the mobile phone microscope as I did for the animated burning candle. I shot these on my walk from the car to campus, which I did basically with my head down looking for ants. So of course you start to notice things you don’t normally including these really beautiful yellow wild flowers.

I finally found my ants on campus near the steps to the entrance of the main building. They were working on their hill placing one grain of sand at a time, which in this GIF makes it look like they’re moving boulders.

Here’s the video as well with an extended look at the ant construction, but look for the critter on the white flower. I didn’t even notice it while shooting (it was bright and a hot 95° in Queens), the things you can discover with a portable microscope.

Habitual Discomfort in Teaching & Learning

Edupunk as revolt in 2008.

We started the semester by listening to Jim Groom’s TEDxNYED talk, The Educational Apopcalypse which inspired the URL for our summer course site. But there’s a little more about Jim Groom to talk about (ok that’s an understatement) when thinking about educational technology. Back in 2008 he coined the term “Edupunk” which as a movement burned brightly then subsequently faded due to it being co-opted, and now more likely transformed.

Then transformed into a community in 2012.

The two photos above are both of Jim Groom. In 2008 the edupunk image is one in which he shows his face with an attitude and positions his fists which if launched forward would hit you smack in the face. I think the photo speaks to the provocation he hurled onto higher education – compelling an enduring conversation about technology’s role in education and the value of education itself.

The second photo from 2012 with “DS106 4LIFE” doesn’t include his face, and the fists  don’t face you directly, more presented to you to show their change with time. This is a Jim Groom that wants you see the community not him. Don’t belie this new look as softer though (those are fists still) and the fiery passion for transforming education.

What I find most compelling about the story of edupunk and Jim Groom is that he never allowed himself to become comfortable. You could say his star rose with the early debates about edupunk, but he never hung his hat on the movement (though he likely could have). To have done so wouldn’t have been very ‘punk’ and though someone else set-up shop around the term without even acknowledging his part, he doesn’t really care to grouse.

This attitude got me thinking about what I always remember hearing from other instructors about teaching, “the first year is always the hardest.” And after that, you sort out your curriculum, your style of teaching and then you can practically coast. You have your lesson plans, your notes, and all the history of the preceding years to lean on. Which actually in a lot of ways is true. YOU DO LEARN A LOT in your first few years of teaching.  And you could hang your hat on those years, stay comfortable and make a career out of those initial years. You could never change…

That’s what we’re practically taught as instructors, find what works and don’t deviate. But what happens when things change, as education is now being impacted by the internet and communication? Honestly not much! Classrooms didn’t suddenly radically change (revisit Michael Wesch’s video for a reminder), they’re basically the same. Because most educators have hung their hats on ‘something that works.’

So I invite you to imagine what it might be like to stay uncomfortable with your teaching, to recognize you need to continue to work on reinventing your educational-a-game. That the hard work will never stop and shouldn’t ever stop it just transforms – that’s edupunk.

In a blog post reflect on these ideas and the links above and see where they and your journey through articles, blog posts, videos, images, etc. takes you. Please quote, embed, and/or link to as many of the pieces you find that strike you. Also you can read Jim Groom and Brian Lamb’s article Nevermind the Edupunks; or, The Great Web 2.0 Swindle in which they reflect on edupunk two years after it’s inception.


My Pants, Flowers, and Bit of Burn Out

So the parts to build the 350x microscope haven’t shown up yet, but the extremely inexpensive ($3) magnifying loop showed up. I like many a maker following the best instructions, ran into trouble. But that’s what makes the ‘thingy’ yours, not perfect but wholly mine.

I did achieve my first microscopic animated GIF of a candle flame. But I almost melted the microscope in the process.

Igniting Conversation About the Future of Education

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by ViaMoi

We are going to be watching a number of Ignite Talks from the 2012 Digital Media and Learning Conference. Here’s their description:

The Digital Media and Learning Conference is an annual event supported by the MacArthur Foundation and organized by the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub at University of California, Irvine. The conference is meant to be an inclusive, international and annual gathering of scholars and practitioners in the field, focused on fostering interdisciplinary and participatory dialog and linking theory, empirical study, policy, and practice.

You were assigned one talk to watch for which you are going to respond to in a blog post in a few ways:

  1. Embed the video in your post. And do some research about the speaker. I a few sentences please give us some context as to who they are and what they do. Also hyperlink to any references you used.
  2. Find two or more quotes from the talk you find interesting and share them with your classmates in two ways: write out the quotes and hyperlink to the quotation points in the video using the Youtube timing link by adding “#t=00m00s” at the end of the link. Here’s an example:
  3. Next you are going to poll your fellow classmates about the two quotes using an embedded Google Form. You will need to create a Google account (or gmail email) if don’t already have one to create your form. Also you will need to edit the form embed code a little bit for it to show up in your post. These are the edits you will need to make:
    So the code will now look like this:

In your poll you can ask simple agree/disagree questions using a multiple choice, as well as you should ask students to back up their perspective in a follow-up question. All the answers you receive will be anonymous and sortable in Google spreadsheet. You are to report out your results of the survey in a second blog post on Wednesday morning.

Slap Your Thoughts on This Course

Bumper Stickers

Over the next three days I want you to contribute your thoughts and reflections about this course so far in the shared space I’ve created in a Google Drawing.

In that linked document you can write, draw, paste images, whatever you’d like. Also you can move and edit what is already there. Don’t worry about changing other student’s work as the drawing will allow us to record the transformation.

It’s a three day sprint which will allow you to slap as many bumper sticker ideas about the class so far. Have fun!

Afterwards describe what changes you made in a new post and why. Download and embed a jpg of the state of the drawing after you’ve made your contributions.

Update: Here is a video showing the drawing progress over the three days.

100+ Possibilities for Digital Storytelling in the K-12 Classroom

100 Possibilitiescc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by elycefeliz

How you might you create a DS106 styled assignment that fulfills a K-12 learning objective? Consider how storytelling can be used to support student learning.

You’ve dabbled with a couple ds106 assignments, now it’s time to create your own but with a twist. I want you to create assignments that fulfill a K12 lesson objective.

So in a blog post describe and complete two assignments:

  1. One assignment that would fit in either the visual or design category.
  2. A assignment that would fit in either the audio or video category.
For each one, you must describe the assignment, describe the K12 learning objective, and illustrate the assignment with an example.
Be sure to describe your process for completing the assignment you’ve made and reflect on how you think your K12 students would respond to it. Also reflect on how you might modify the assignment for different lessons. And describe how you might have students create/modify assignments as well.

Fat Cats Make Better Art History Assignments

Today we are going to play with digital storytelling as a tool for teaching and learning.   In one of Alan Levine’s talks about digital storytelling, he included a slide quoting Ruben Puentedura on the value of learning through stories :

One of the best ways to understand something is to create a story around it.

If you think about it, a traditional lecture is a storytelling technique that faculty are very, very comfortable with in the classroom. Sometimes they get crazy and even include presentation slides! and videos! But most faculty don’t ask students to create stories other than traditional papers, and the occasional presentation. And even less frequently do they expect you to focus on being a compelling storyteller. If that were the case, then faculty and students would need to spend much more time thinking about creative storytelling techniques in the context of presenting concepts and content. What would that mean? Less content coverage for the sake of developing richer engagement with an audience?

We’re going to look at the digital storytelling community ds106 for innovative storytelling ideas by looking through their collaboratively built assignment bank and the abundant examples of work made by community members.

The above image was made for one of the many ds106 assignments in the visual assignments category – Fat Cats Make Better Art. Here’s the description of what to do:

Using this site: as a platform for ideas, and using Photoshop (or something like it) as your tool, place a fat cat into a photo of a classic art piece. The goal is to make it convincing: make the art become on with the cat.

Most of all, enjoy! :0) And remember, fat cats make art better.

I chose to modify the painting Madonna in Glory with Seraphim by Botticelli with a picture of my cat Peter. So you might call this Madonna in Glory with Peter the Cat. I used Photoshop to do my layering and editing of the two images.

But what’s the point of the assignment, other than hopefully to get a laugh out of an art history lolcat. There’s definitely a lot of digital image manipulation skills learned in the process of creating the image, that’s fairly obvious. And if it’s your first time playing with photo editing/manipulation tools then that’s a big deal.

Less obvious though is the study of the details of the painting that happens while trying to place your cat compellingly and convincingly. In photo editing applications it’s really easy to zoom in and focus on the details of the image while editing. Here’s an example:

I started to notice the expressions of the cerubs which were definitely not smiling despite that they are in the presence of a mother holding her heathy baby, normally a celebratory event. So why the sadness and expressions of concern? Because it’s the baby Jesus, and being little angels, they know he’s going to have to be killed. And now that my cat is in that position, have I predestined his furry future?

So the ds106 assignments are lots of fun and obviously encourage the use of digital tools, but there’s a method to meme madness – fostering understanding through storytelling.

For today I want you to do two ds106 assignments and post them to our blog. 

Choose the first one from either the visual assignments or the design assignments, and the second one from either the audio assignments or the video assignments.

For each assignment you complete, describe what you learned in the process. Did you learn new digital tools? Did you discover something about the content you’re working on? Be sure to explain what you did, how, and why.

For the visual and design assignments, you are going to have to choose an image editing application to do your work in. Here are some great resources from Alan Levine’s ds106 tips and tricks site:



If you do not have Photoshop or commercial software, some alteratives

For the audio assignments, read my post for ideas for capturing and finding audio, editing, and sharing. You will need to create a SoundCloud account to embed your audio into your post.
And finally if you choose a video assignment Alan also shares a lot of good resources for archival videos and tutorials for editing in either iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. And there’s a good chance that you might wish to download videos from Youtube, which you can find easily with a simple search, but my favorite way these days is using PwnYouTube. If you add their bookmarklet to your browser it’s easy-peasy.
For each assignment post not only what you created, but please describe how you did your best to make it. Remember this isn’t an advanced digital imaging or video editing course, so effort to figure it out and make something is what’s most important. Failure is learning, just be willing to describe your flame out. Also please relate to us how you might imagine using an assignment like this in your future k-12 classroom.
Finally remember to link back to the original assignment so everyone can understand which assignment your completing.