Daily Create

Daily Create is a daily exercise in creativity. Each day, a new challenge is shared and we have 24 hours to respond. I usually ask my digital media students to complete at least 3 of these per week. Lately I have been making a few each week myself. Daily Create is a part of the DS106 Open Course on digital literacies, and it can be viewed at http://daily.ds106.us/.

Here are some of the recent Daily Creates I have made:

 

For this first one, I simply used a photo I had on hand from a trip to my aunt’s farm and uploaded it to the Japanese old photo generator website recommended in the assignment.

For this one, I just looked through the various safety posters the assignment mentioned and picked one out. I used Photoshop to remove the old text with the healing brush. I then picked an appropriate typeface and put in my silly admonition about how going outside can be dangerous.

 

For this one, I took a photograph I had of myself and my dog Daisy, and I removed the background from it using Photoshop. I normally use the pen tool to create a working path, then use the path to make a selection. I use the pen tool because it gives such fine control over the selection. I used to try to use the lasso tool and other methods, but for me the pen tool is best. In another layer, I added the Forbidden Planet scene and put it in the background.

 

For this one, I downloaded and printed the music staff as advised in the Daily Create assignment. I used a marker to draw dog paws on the staff. I was trying to make it look like the dog was playing Jingle Bells. I also linked to that dog barking Jingle Bells song.

What The Amish Can Teach You About DS106

amish buggies

Amish DS106

The Daily Create for today was pretty interesting. Given a prompt from an idea generator website, we were supposed to write a blog post. A couple of people shared titles that had to do with the Amish and DS106. These two things, a religious group that eschews technology and a digital storytelling course that is centered on technology, seem to be as far removed from one another as possible.

Now I am far from an expert on the Amish, but I have encountered a few from time to time here in Kansas and have read a bit about their culture. So I’d like to take a stab at this one.

First of all, as I understand it, much of the Amish resistance to the adoption of new technologies has more to do with humility than it does with hatred for the new and high-tech. A few years ago, we visited the town of Yoder, KS, where a large community of Amish people live. We noticed that there were occasional telephone booths located along the roads in the countryside. A guide explained that multiple families share the telephone, and it is placed on a property line so no one can claim ownership. According to our guide, it is the ownership of these various things that can lead to the sin of pride .

This explanation cleared up another question I had long wondered about. Why could Amish people ride in automobiles, but would not own one? Well, now it made sense. According to the explanation we received, it has to do with pride and ownership, not a hatred of technology per se.

So what can the Amish teach us about DS106? Firstly, I would suggest that they have priorities established and they keep them. Participating in DS106 is highly demanding. To be successful, you have to have priorities in order, or you will quickly be overwhelmed. And it goes without saying that the Amish do not take the easy road. They are hard-working people. DS106ers should absolutely follow the Amish ethic of hard work.

Another thing about the Amish is they are frugal and resourceful. So are those in DS106. Both groups don’t throw things away. They remix, recycle, and reuse things. They look for whatever tools are available to get the job done. The Amish and DS106ers don’t need the latest, greatest tools to get the job done. They don’t upgrade for upgrading’s sake.

Finally, the Amish help one another. If a neighbor puts up a barn, the whole community is there. This attitude is central to DS106. We comment, we compliment, we support one another in our efforts to learn. I think the Amish have a lot to teach us about DS106.

Author’s Note: After writing this, I searched the Internet for “Amish Hacker” and found this must-read piece by Kevin Kelly on Amish Hackers. Check it out, it is spot on right.

 

 

 

Why Mom Was Right About Internet Stupidity

Today, out of curiosity I searched Google for ‘Kansas State University’ and the screencap shown below are the very first results I saw:

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Unfortunately, a K-State student was recently expelled over a very distasteful post she made on Snapchat. This student had attended K-State for three years (a pre-med student), and boom, just like that she was out, three years of college and no degree. Here are some things I don’t know. I don’t know what other school will admit her and let her complete her undergrad degree. I don’t know if she has accumulated debt while in college. I don’t know what she was thinking. There are a bunch of things I don’t know about this story.

One thing I do know. I know that it is possible to earn a degree at K-State without ever taking a class in digital literacies. It is possible in the 21st century to still earn a degree without experiencing any special emphasis on the do’s and do-not’s associated with publishing digital media online. Yet every single K-State student, if they so choose, can publish something that the entire world can see in an instant, by simply pushing a button or two on a pocket-sized machine that they carry with them everywhere they go.

Yes, I will grant, that many of our courses address this topic, along with many others. Perhaps even the core courses that every undergraduate student must take such as expository writing, takes a hard look at this topic. But I find it interesting that digital literacies are not at the center of what we teach in our general education.

A class like what my second-year digital media students are doing in digital storytelling would be an ideal learning experience for all K-Staters. Not only are we looking at the how of creating media, but we also are discussing the whats and whys of digital media. I think a class like what we are doing could fit very nicely right beside the traditional writing and math classes that everyone must take to graduate.

But every curriculum is jam-packed, and many would argue there is no room for another course. But what if such a course was put in place, and we are able to reach many more students early on about the good, the bad and the ugly about online activities? Learning from a bad experience, Kansas State University could ultimately serve as an example of what can be done in the area of digital/media literacy.

Acknowlegements: The idea from this post came from today’s Daily Create activity; an assignment from our digital storytelling class using Portent’s Title Generator.

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Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration

Here is how I celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek.

Getting the Most Out of Twitter Tweets

I have never had anything I put on the web quite reach ‘viral’ proportions, but I’ve had a few online successes. One thing is certain, it is hard to beat having celebrity exposure. Yesterday, a British actor called David Schneider posted a call for “Enterprise Under Attack” videos, and my digital media students obliged with our classroom attack video.

As of this morning, our tweet of the video had 27 retweets and 78 likes on Twitter.

Star Trek Movie Tweet

Some lessons learned include:

  1. Share something fun, timely, and relevant with someone having a large following. David Schneider has 262K followers.
  2. Make it a good idea if not good quality.
    • We only had a few minutes of class time for this activity. We got a new USB Elmo camera in the classroom. It has a flexible stand which made rotating the room a cinch. Also, our new, wheeled chairs have been a student favorite on our tile floors since we got them.  I also added a Star Trek sound-effect to the YouTube video, but it was our soundless animated GIF that is getting the attention.
  3. It is worthwhile to share your work. Sometimes people will pay attention and appreciate it.

I will need to think about my strategy regarding interacting with celebrities. Honestly, I don’t follow many, and haven’t made a regular practice of corresponding with them, but the few times that I have have generally been positive.

 

 

An Audience of One


Photo Credit-Jim Richardson

I just visited a website of an unnamed person doing the DS106 digital storytelling course and I experienced a classic error that my own students tend to do when I ask them to publish school work in a blog format. That person wrote for an audience of one – the teacher. There was a generic reference to the chapter, but no indication of what the text might have been. So a random visitor from the Internet – me, has no context for what I am reading and no way to learn more about it myself.

Have you ever stumbled into a conversation that really wasn’t meant for you? Awkward, isn’t it? That is what these sort of posts do to the reader. How much better would it be to envision a broader possible audience and write to that audience? After all, whenever you publish anything to the web, indeed you do have a very broad potential audience, don’t you?

I think students everywhere would do well to adopt this practice in all of their classes, and their writing would immediately improve. Stop writing for an audience of one – the teacher, and start writing for a broader audience. What might your grandmother want to know about this topic? A long-lost friend? A random stranger on the street? How would having a larger audience upon whom you would like to make a good impression affect the tone and style of what you write?

If you will simply write for this larger audience in mind, and stop writing what you think your teacher might wish to hear, everyone involved will appreciate it, including your teacher, because you will be doing better writing.

 

 

Happy 50th Star Trek!

Fifty years ago, one of the best television shows ever made was first aired – Star Trek! We love Star Trek at my house. A few years ago I made this video of myself and I thought it appropriate for today.

But then I saw this tweet:

So we made this video in our Digital Media class. Sulu, get those shields up!

Thanks to Paul Bond for sharing the idea with us and the commentary. http://blog.raptnrent.me/2016/09/08/awesome-moments-of-spontaneous-creativity/

PS I made a vector of Spock in celebration of Star Trek 50 too!

Spock Vector Drawing

What A Crappy Font Will Do

John Deere Logo

This is a DS106 visual assignment that challenges us to remix an existing corporate logo with a bad font (or an improved font). At 4 stars, I think the difficulty rating is somewhat inflated. Granted, I’ve been doing this kind of work for a while, but this assignment only took me 5 minutes to complete. It is taking me longer to create and publish a post about it.

My process used was simple. I did a Google image search for the “John Deere Logo.” Then I downloaded the image and placed it into Adobe Illustrator. I used a clipping mask to remove the old John Deere Text. Then I used the text tool to reset the type in the over-used Papyrus font. I then saved the image as a PNG graphic and uploaded to this website. Boom- done! My rating for the assignment difficulty was a 1 star. For a beginner with no graphic-making experience, it might take a little longer, but certainly no more than 2 or 2.5 stars.

So to take it up a notch, I followed Paul Bond’s lead and put the Papyrus font onto a John Deer product.

This took more time than the original assignment. I had to find a tractor using Google once again. Then I used the clone tool of Photoshop to remove the original John Deer lettering. I tried using Photoshop to add the lettering back in, but I wasn’t pleased with how it turned out, so I saved the edited photo as a JPG and brought it back into Illustrator, where I used the text tool to set the type. I then saved the photo as a web ready JPG image. Here is the result:

John Deere Tractor

Experts Talk Storytelling

Storytelling is hard. I’ve been studying it for some time, and I’m always learning. One book that I’ve enjoyed reading is Notes to Screenwriters by Peterson & Nicolosi.

Below are some of the best videos I’ve seen on the art of storytelling. All of these resources, the book and the videos have one idea in common – be respectful of the intelligence of the audience.  Give the reader/viewer something for the mind to work on without explicitly stating it. In other words show, don’t tell. This is easier said than done.

Anyway, here are the videos:

George Saunders on Storytelling (Coarse language alert)

Ken Burns on Storytelling

Ken Burns: On Story from Redglass Pictures on Vimeo.

Ira Glass on Storytelling

Kurt Vonnegut on Storytelling