Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Law School Experiment

I have a real treat for ya'll today!

My buddy from undergrad Cesar has a blog too.
Cesar is the kind of guy who once he finishes his least favorite class in Law School for the semester he rewards himself by getting a big tasty burger. That's American for you! American University that is, check out www.thelawschoolexperiment.blogspot.com. Cesar is an excellent writer and his blog is full of great material even if you don't go to law school or care about the law (renegades). The blog started as an experimental diary kind of thing through the eyes of a first year law student at American University and now it's finals week of his first semester. He had a take home final this week in Torts, it took him 8 hours (but I think the professor designed it that way, Cesar's not a dumb guy). Cesar had a great idea, "Why not record the whole thing and play it back in super fast forward?" He did and gave me permission to reproduce it on my blog.

Bonus: he sets it to one of my favorite hip hop jams of all time!

Some things I like in this video:

1. the music
-I fucking love Coolio. I don't care who knows it.

2. it's made on a mac
-i can tell because of the iMovie titles

3. Gators
-look at his shirt

4.The forethought that went into this project
-it takes a special person to even think of doing this let alone follow through. Think of the implications on the hardware alone. Do you have any idea what kind of hard drive can hold 8 hours of video? A HUGE hard drive. that's the answer

5. I have been doing this for the past 3 days
-I have final papers due as well, as do many, almost all, of my friends. We all spent ludicrous amounts of time in front of these screens with no thought to what kind of physical shape we're in or what kind of idiosyncratic tendencies arise...leading to point 6

6.Look at the eyes and mouth of Cesar
-you should have noticed this without me saying anything

7. the pile of clothes.
-I hope it's a grad school thing and not a lazy bachelor from south florida thing that i too have a pile(s) of clothes laying around my apartment.

As an experimental vlog this video get 5 stars. I think it's super neat. And if you do too, tell Cesar, again his url is www.thelawschoolexperiment.blogspot.com

Monday, December 7, 2009

"Ot Azoy"

UPDATE: this post was reposted at www.teruah-jewishmusic.blogspot.com. The author Jack, a real nice guy from Michigan, added some interesting insight into the video and added a performance he found of a traditional klezmer group. So if you find the opportunity check out his blog.

This is my final Studio Project for P650. It's what I call a Docu-Vlog. A variation of the normal Vlog, a Docu-vlog follows a documentary format, unlike the more narrative vlog.

It follows the history of the old Yiddish song, "Ot Azoy" as it has traveled through time, genre, and countries. It ends with an original remix, lyrics and music by me. Enjoy!

technologies used: garageband, imovie, final cut express hd, quicktime x

Some discussion points:
What is it about thematic songs that cause them to be rooted in the human psyche and translate across cultures and time?
What themes become memes in the human psyche of music?
How can Docu-Vlogs, or other edu-tainment tools, help students come to new understandings of cultural themes?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tweeting Characters

This is the Design Paper for P544, taught by Dr. Danish, he's been brought up a few times. I am producing it here for anyone who wants to read it, comment on it, and use it (teachers). I am flattered and happy if anyone wants to implement this unit or variations of it, just please, ask for permission. I have no intention of saying no, I just need to know who is using it.
So here it is, an early draft of Tweeting Characters, a twitter activity for a high school english class.

Tweeting Characters, Design Paper

Jeffrey Kaplan 12/2/09

Design Paper (P544), Dr. Danish, Indiana University


Activity and Framework

This is a participatory and interactive form of character analysis and interactive role-playing common to most ELA (English Language Arts) classes studying literature, emphasizing so

cial media via utilizing the affordances of Twitter (www.twitter.com). The proposed activity will promote critical literacy and build writing-relevant knowledge in the students wherein the tweets are simultaneously several cognitive and socio-cultural tasks. By only allotting 140

characters per message students are constrained by the affordances of the media to write complete thoughts or dialogue in the allotted space. The unit is currently being designed to compliment The Crucible being taught in 2 different ELA classes in Indiana. The first class to implement Tweeting Characters (from here on out to referred to as TC) is Jane Doe's* class at Northeast High* in Bloomington, In. and the second class will be Joe Nutamaker's* class a Eastern Thomas High School*, both classes are Juniors.

TC has each student assuming the role of a character in the play and tweeting as that character. Tweets will consist of an inner monologue and communication to other characters. The goal of the activity, and it’s core importance, is for students to come to new understandings about the play, time period, and characters through creating a personally meaningful and interactive story, while building 21st century skills. The effectiveness of TC will first be evident through the coherent monologue and dialogue of the characters. Secondly, more formal evidence will be proven through either thematic and character analytic constructed response items. There will be great care taken into consideration concerning the assurance that the technology used will be effective and meaningful ways to maximize their potential[i].

Cognitive Theoretical grounding

Twitter lends itself to several cognitive processing tasks such as efficiency of words (considered the affordances and constraints of the media), and interactions within memory schemas in the brain, including genre and topic knowledge. These acquired skills are the foundational cognitive processes of skilled writers (McCutchen, D., 2000). The activities in TC are designed in step with Deborah McCutchen’s (2000) work that building links between working-memory and writing processes will increase writing-relevant knowledge and make our students skilled writers. As students read through the play they will be required to tweet their characters thoughts and/or messages a predetermined number per scene. This activity will activate the short-term working memory (what the student just read) while appropriating that into the long-term working memory (the mindset of their character) and communicating that tweet in a “true to genre” text artifact. For example, in the prologue of The Crucible a tweet from Reverend Parrish may look like this, “@RevParris Thank you to all my friends and fellow congregants for praying for @BeckyParris”. Conversely his house servant Tituba may tweet,

“@Tituba Please don’t let @RevParris blame me on ‘dis too #missingbarbados”. The workings of the memory schema throughout the duration of the readings, coupled with the students keeping in character, while communicating through a constrained media format are cognitive processing tasks (McCutchen, D., 2000; Hickey, D. T. & Kaplan, J. B., In Press). The further the students enhance their cognitive development of topic knowledge and genre knowledge, the more appropriately the students can have discourse (McCutchen, D., 2000) through Twitter creating a bridge into socio-cultural theory at work in TC.

Socio-Cultural Theoretical Grounding

Twitter is a social media platform, meaning the community of practice (in the case of TC that community is 17th century Salem, Massachusetts) bases the success of the media on the participation. Furthermore, each community of practice has its norms, affordances, and constraints. The affordances and constraints were more fully emphasized in the cognitive theoretical grounding; the norms and participation fall into the socio-cultural scope. These norms are ReTweeting (RT), Hash-tagging (a system of cataloging and referencing keywords via the # symbol), and profile referencing (wherein tweets can hyperlink to profile pages via @).

TC would be remiss to not include these tools as requirements for the students participating because these tools are the greatest strengths of Twitter that maximize its potential usefulness. In the earlier example of Tituba profile referencing @RevParris there is a discourse unique to the community of practice. The artifact from that one encounter cues the viewer into a dialogue as well as a personal monologue in the Hash-tag #missingbarbados. The characters act in effect as a surrogate for the students continually appropriate the text from The Crucible in addition to each other’s tweets. In student examples of RTing it is expected that at climactic points in the play there will be an increase in RT activity where the community circulates the tweets. This is fundamental to language use, allows for group membership to grow, and defines the characters in new ways (Hull & Rose, 1989). Exploiting the students’ involvement in social media tools and participatory culture will scaffold the critical and analytic skills they currently possess, as well as providing them with the awareness and confidence they need to be successful Twitter users, and enable them to critique messages that permeate their lives in media and canonical text (Morrell, E. & Duncan-Andrade, J., 2002).


This unit is designed to increase motivation to learn and participate in the classroom while using new media tools and aligning with Indiana Standards. TC aligns to Indiana State Standards that emphasize the need for students to respond to historically and culturally relevant works of literature and to analyze characteristics of different literary genres[ii]. TC also utilizes 21st century skills emphasizing the social media Twitter.com. The students will require cognitive processing tasks as they grapple with the genre and topical knowledge as they appropriate their tweets through the media. That media is socio-cultural by nature as it is defined by a community of practice invested in membership and participation that fulfills the need for critical literacy of literary text creating skilled writers through both learning theories.

* Pseudonyms to protect teachers and students currently in program.

[i] This is sentiment is generally understood throughout the academic community, however the Author would like to highlight the fact this sentiment is particularly present at the blog www.joshuadanish.com and more specifically http://www.joshuadanish.com/2009/11/12/twitter-and-blogs-and-facebook-and/ .

[ii] Indiana Standards in English 11.3, 11.3.1, and 11.3.5 as of 09/09/09

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hetland et. al. VS Eric Cartman and John Dewey VS Wesley Snipes

Oh yea, I'm not playing games with this blog post. No sir/mam, I'm bringing the ruckus.

First up is Hetland et. al. on Studio Thinking.

Hetland VS Cartman

Allow me to summarize the argument:
Hetland discussion surrounding the art for art's sake argument. The author's point of view is that Art should be studied in school for Art's sake, as in independent subject. Because of NCLB we have to sell art as having a key role in development of skills that transfer into the "important" subject areas (math and english).

With that in mind the authors say "If the arts are given a role in our schools because people believe that arts cause academic improvement, then the arts will quickly lose ground if academic improvement does not result, or if the arts prove less effective in improving literacy and numeracy than high-quality, direct instruction in these subjects"
Well OK that sounds alright to me.

Then later in the chapter, "If the arts are to retain a place within public education, arts educators must answer the questions of what the arts can teach and what students can learn from the arts." And this can be taken in 2 ways: that either the author means there is value in learning art for arts sake or that art educators must prove transfer.

Yet they say "the dispositions that emerged from our study bear some striking similarities to those that Elliot Eisner, in his book The Arts and the Creation of Mind, has argued the arts teach (e.g. learning to attend to relationships, flexibility, and the ability to shift direction, expression, and imagination).

In detailed explanations of their 8 studio habits...

"The disposition Envision is important in the sciences, in history, and in mathematics"
And the last line of the chapter is "Finally, the Studio Thinking Framework lays the foundation for more precisely targeted and plausible transfer studies"

What's the deal hetland et. al.?

I read this and only see it as a transfer argument. Am I missing something? Because I know, I know for sure, that the authors wrote this chapter to convince me, the reader, that art is worthwhile in it's own right! That art should be considered a worthy and respectable subject area of the k-12 curriculum!

Yet when I read this chapter I think not.

How does this relate to Eric Cartman you ask? I'll tell you how.

In the thirteenth episode of the thirteenth season of South Park Eric Cartman becomes a news pundit gaining tons of support from his peers....that is until his radical claims backfire on him once Wendy Testaburger flips the script on Cartman and shows him hows his own fallacies are his demise.
Here's the Wikipedia summary "he [Cartman] appears on his show and tells the students he went to live with the Smurfs, fell in love with Smurfette and became integrated into the culture. Cartman claims Wendy bulldozed their village and slaughtered the Smurfs to get their valuable Smurfberries, which he has chronicled in his DVD, "Dances with Smurfs".

It continues "Wendy claims she indeed killed the Smurfs to get the valuable Smurfberries, but alludes that Cartman was involved with the plot, and that the Smurfs would have left their village if Cartman did not integrate himself with them."
See, Cartman was trying to create a movement among his supporters but it miserably backfired once it came under any scrutiny. His DVD, Dances with Smurfs, was his demise.

Having said that, Hetland et. al's argument is their demise.

Then Wendy sells the rights to the story to James Cameron who makes the movie Avatar (this is just a fun little side note).

Dewey VS Wesley
In Art as Experience John Dewey speaks to the difference in seeing and perceiving in regards to Having an Experience like so,
"[Rembrandt's portraits] may be looked at, possibly recognized, and have their correct names attached. But for lack of continuous interaction between the total organism and the objects, they are not perceived, certainly not esthetically. A crowd of visitors steered through a picture-gallery by a guide, with attention called here and there to some high point, does not perceive; only by accident is there even interest in seeing a picture for the sake of subject matter vividly realized"
(Page 54)

DO YOU CHHOP?! (Chhop means grasp/comprehend/fully understand in Yiddish) I take this as anyone can see a work of art but only an expert can perceive it. According to John Dewey Wesley Snipes is right.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dr. Brown is such a mensch

Remember this post?

I said this in that post, "--somewhere there's a video of [Dr. Brown] and me dancing with Toni Basil via green screen to the words "Orion" instead of "Oh Mickey". If I can find that I'll upload that too---

I couldn't find it.

But Dr. Brown did!! so check out this 18 second clip of a much longer Orion video from last year...Once again Dr. Brown is on the right.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

If I was catholic...

If I was catholic I would so get down with this:
It is the new video game from Prayer Works Interactive where you do all these ritual acts with a Wiimote-esqu controller. This was all released in a Press Release yesterday, and in under 24 hours the whole blogosphere is talking about this.

They main question going around is:

Is this real?

It's here, here, here, here, and even here. This hasn't made major news networks like FOXnews or CNN but when it does I'm sure Bill O'Reilly will call it reverse racism and show how yet again the white american male is the punching bag of society.

Moving past the political BS let's schmooze about why you read this blog, what's up with the new media and learning aspect.

If there was a Wii Moses game where you had to split the Red Sea, or Climb Mt Sinai to receive the 10 commandments, or even walk in a desert for 40 years I would
probably buy the game, then record myself playing the game, then upload it to my blog, like this, just to see how the religious field can incorporate New Media.

I have seen things like Frumster and J-Date, and the newest site SeeYouOnShabbas. This is a step in the right direction for religions that are seen as fanatical and extremist and stray from new media technologies, because of their association with stigma.
The author Liel Leibovitz wrote "the Internet is doing
nothing less than

He should really read my blog sometime.

I hope this game is real. There is a serious aversion amongst the very pious and religious communities to stay away from the "evils" of the internet, video games, and even still television. This, probably fake, game could be one of the steps in the right direction to these communities embracing technology and media.

**This still is from a super retro video game I just found called "The Shivah"
***Going to play it now will blog about it later

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Re: The Arts 2009

Dr. Danish is at it again!

Check out this weeks "Drawing Things 'Gether"

I have a very brief response to his Drawing Things Together (twitter hashtag #DTG) and it comes from my presentation I am giving in the morning on Research on Museums as Learning Institutions. And it falls super succinctly inline with one of the week's readings, I think it's the Eisner piece (2002) that discusses the Reggio Emilia's work with having children draw what they had experienced while on field trips to national landmarks.

I taped this on Sunday, and read the piece on Tuesday. I could have been more methodical if the other way around but I'll accept this as a pilot study.

In the video is my friend Shlomo (age 5). He, his sister, his dad, and I all went to the art museum on campus on Sunday to help me with my presentation. And although I am not drawing anything this time around in response, hopefully Dr. Danish will let this slide and accept it as a form of #DTG.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Prezi in the house ya'll

The first time I saw Prezi (www.prezi.com), the zooming presentation illustrator, I thought of a constellation. Because from far away a star looks like this------------>

When in all actuality up close stars look more like this
<-------------- As such Prezi allows you to zoom infinitely onto the grid of your presentation, and out infinitely as much. It would then seem that a skilled presentation editor could then make images and presentations into optical illusions of factual information and persausive argumentation. I just kept thinking about stars and constellations. And when I think of Astronomy I think of Dr. Gary Brown. (He's on the right) Dr. Brown constantly reminds me to call him Gary but I prefer Dr. Brown for it conjures up childhood memories of eating at kosher delis with my grandparent ordering that delicious cream soda, you know Dr. Brown's cream soda, root beer, cel ray, black cherry, etc....

And there was a Dr. Brown in a little movie called Back to the Future. All I'm saying is, is that there is plenty good reason go by by Dr. if your last name is Brown, but Gary is such a humble guy he likes going by Gary. At any rate, Dr. B is a teacher's teacher. We worked together last year as I was just starting out and he was finishing his PhD, we had many of the same students, and worked together on a several projects that were cross-curricular.

The big unit assessment in Astronomy was originally to create a powerpoint about a constellation. But Dr. Brown, being a clever guy had the idea to have all of his students make videos, and utilize our incredible technology at our school, and extremely flexible staff. (Flexible like Smith flexible (2006), err, my last post about dj hero...oh you didn't watch it? well it's right down there if you want to look)
So like my students I hopped on board the constellation video train. A few other teachers made constellation projects, too. That's just one of the really nice things about working in an environment like that, the camaraderie between faculty was always to enhance the learning of the students. Anyway, here's my video from last year.

My constellation was Delphinus. It's a little over 5 minutes, I don't expect anyone to watch it all the through but do watch some to get an idea of the kind of learning that comes from making educational videos. And no, none of the students made original songs like this one called, "Dolphins are Everywhere" I was just using a novel way to make a video about a minor constellation. I chose the constellation of the Dolphin, not because I am from Miami (which I am) and not because I know Dan Marino...I actually have met Dan Marino a few times, the first time I did I told him he was great in Ace Ventura.... but I chose it because of the game Dolphin Olympics.

So why does any of this matter? Because it takes a lot of time and effort and coordination and instruction to get 125 ~5 minute videos of constellations. I see Prezi as an alternative to this kind of project.

Anyone can be using prezi like a power-user in about 6 minutes if you watch the first two tutorials on their website. They have a ton more tutorials but the first two will get you well on your way. My prezi took about somewhere between 2 and 3 hours to make. In school talk that's like 3 to 4 days. So what? Prezi gets the information across to the audience in an effective and attractive way. Prezi is super easy to learn and super fun to tinker with! So I made a prezi, seen below about Orion, a tribute to Dr. Brown. --somewhere there's a video of him and me dancing with Toni Basil via green screen to the words "Orion" instead of "Oh Mickey". If I can find that I'll upload that too--- So my thoughts were on creating an Orion prezi for my pal, and an equally technophilic teacher, Dr. Gary Brown, while exploring new kinds of media.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Computation and processing with DJ hero

Yea, I put the DJ Hero to the limits in this discussion of fluency and flexibility. Check out the Vlog, for clips of DJ Hero and my linking it to this weeks readings.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hall of Historians

That Dr. Joshua Danish is one smart dude. I don't use that term lightly. I actually use it when citing the Judaic scholar Rashi, as in That Rashi is one smart dude. Now although Dr. D isn't writing a commentary on the Torah, yet, and he doesn't answer halachic questions, yet, but he does do some really cool and unique things in his 544 class (applied cognition and learning strategies) he is teaching this semester.

One of the really cool things* he is experimenting with this semester is creating cartoon strips that pair with our readings for the week. We ended on Wednesday discussing next weeks topic, Social Studies, with the prompt what do historians do?

Here, reproduced with pending permission from Dr. Danish, is a cartoon he released this evening. I think its great, but check it out:

Some things I really like about the cartoon is, 1 the animation style. I don't know what program he's using, but it works. 2, Elbow patches on the archetypical professor. 3, everything else about the professor, his eyebrows, he's bald, etc...
For content of the cartoon, Its great. He's holding a card that says, "something" and trying to see where it fits within 1066 (battle of hastings) and 1113 (I don't know what's in 1113 but 1110 was the first crusade so I assume something along those lines). The implicit message I pull out of this is that view of historians is that all they do is place things in chronological order and discuss their significance and impact.

Full disclosure: I am a certified history teacher in 40 states (I think my Florida certification carries over that many) and I was a history major in Undergrad. I have a good idea of what historians do, I have a ton of historical text here, and have studied under some world renown scholars so with my experience and education I can assuredly say, "Danish got it right".

I wanted to embrace the ideas of cartooning our readings so I drew a reply for Dr. D of the current state of affairs in History.

I was in a rush to get this online so the picture is taken from my camera phone. -I'll scan it asap and re-upload so you can get the full effect. Either way I'll talk you through this.

So this is the Hall of Historians est. 411BC (peloponnisian war, first history, thucydides, whatever if you're not into history just move on).
As expected it's a great hall with a huge fireplace and mantle.


In the Foreground we have an older man reading a book where another book titled 'Middle Ages' is sitting and he is thinking "Hmmmm...". Above him is a much older man, almost bald, completely hunched over, holding a pipe that looks like a mug of coffee, reading something about antiquity, thinking "geeee...". Next up the chain is a scraggily looking gent won a Mac thinking, "Meh". Closest to the fire is a youngster or possibly a scrappy young academic who's reading and he says, "Well, this is all mildly interesting.................................................................But so what?"

My amiga Jenna McWilliams said, "Oh cool, the young guy and the Mac user are closer to the fire, like they are warm, and the old guys are cold". I hadn't planned that. But I'll take it. I hadn't planned too much on this, I just had a vision of wat the Hall of History would look like then from there drew the characters and dialogue.

Regardless of the methodology the message is there. I see the role of history and historians to inform and educate the "So what"s of the events and individuals that shaped our world today. Historians are like the Academic's Academic though. They all go over the same events, read the same documents, then argue like mad men over implications and motivation of events from the past. I have the utmost respect for History as a content area, and tradition, and the work of historians. And I cannot wait to see what new media and participatory culture can do to this field....

...shit, that's what I'm supposed to do right?

*Other cool things Danish does, Twitters about class, Twitters with students, bought me coffee once, likes to play dress-up as a ninja**.

**just kidding it was halloween he never plays dress-up in class

***Update if you haven't gone to Dr. Danish's website http://www.joshuadanish.com/category/dtg/
do so and read his explanation for why he chose 1113. It's more than worth following the link.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vlog on hypertext navigators

Blog-oneers Oh blog-oneers,

Do you like literacy?

Do you enjoy white guys rapping...poorly?

Do you like Palinscar and Ladewski's 3 types of hypertext navigators?
as in the knowledge seeker, apathetic hypertexter, and feature explorer

Well each one is characterized in a gangsta rap fashion that Elizabeth Moje would be proud of!

Check it out!

Big-ups to David Phelps for having the idea to do this duet vlog!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Experimental interactive video

Sup blogoholics,

Sorry I haven't blogged in a bit but I have been working on some new and cool stuff.

First up is an interactive Vlog that I made for a mini-proposal in my P650 class. In this proposal I explore how we can use interactive vlogs in English/Language Arts classes. It stands as a way to make personally meaningful and interactive projects. To walk the talk I made a Vlog to use as an example. Maybe it will double as a studio project in class too? Who knows?
Here's what you need to know.

A 10 minute video about my morning mixtape. I don't recommend 10 minutes for the kinderlech in the proposal, I was just making the video, next thing ya'know I'm pushing 10 minutes.

Just so you know the annotation feature that was integral to this proposal only works in Youtube.com so you can watch the video here, but I recommend watching it over here to get the full effect of what this type of vlogging is all about.

A note on the audio: It was really loud in my apartment, but because my laptop was sitting on top of my speakers it didn't pick up nearly as loud as my voice is heard. Strange right? Anyway I post all the song names with annotations, all great music.

I just wanted to share this video. New post in a day or so on a new set of readings.

...hint it will all be in some kind of jargony slang-talk depending on what connections I'll make on the concept map after I work it out tomorrow. More on this to come.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I meant to add this last week

Here's my new and fun scratch project! I found it easy to make the project once I knew exactly what my end result was going to look like, and that allowed me to think in a parallel structure to get out of my intrinsic linear structure.

Now here's how it works, when prompted try the names of the people in my class. There is:
Jeff, Jenna, Steve, Nancy, Tony, Michael, Charlene, and David. There are a few others in the class who haven't made it in this iteration of the project, but I will be uploading a new version soon and will update the name list. So play around with it and enjoy!

Scratch Project

Monday, October 12, 2009


My really cool friend Nini made a really cool resume she calls a "Rezoomay".

Nini and I worked together at Pita Pit then she moved on to working at the
Apple Store in South Beach and I went back to middle school.

What she does here really hits at what Kress would call multimodal literacy. She has this mixed design of images and words but gets the point across extremely well. Obviously there are nice dashes of humor in her spelling and font usage but this rocks.

Would I hire her? I don't know for sure. But when we talk about Design and how "we are both inheritors of patterns and conventions of meaning and active designers of meaning" (New London Group) this really nails it.

I hope she gets the job of whatever it is she's applying for.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

quick update

So my last post was all text, the next one will be only a video. More on that will be explained in the video which may or may not be titled "Vlog War: on the pedagogy of blogging"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Warning: not much content Part 2 or how I wanted to put this into a reply to my last post but it's just too long kind of like this title

If you haven't read my last post and the comments this won't make sense. So go read those and come back, please.

If you have and you are a loyal reader, welcome back. I missed you too. Here's what you missed. Going on day 9 after my re-interview and I haven't heard back yet from IC.

Jenna McWilliams (also known as the graduate sudent formerly who had a blog but now has a vlog), as the winner of "guess what old Mac that is in the photoshop picture?" you get the prestige of submitting a name for consideration for Steve Bishop's baby. Congratulations.

Dr. Peppler, I'd like to address the mini-bio point you bring up. I didn't intend on making a post like that but it did kind of turn out that way huh? Really I was trying to showboat my skills. I was hoping the video showed my skill as a film-maker, storyteller, entertainer, and almost mediocre actor as opposed to anything else. --many times I have seen someone watch that video and every single time, 100%, without a doubt they ask, "Is what I think is going to happen about to happen?" (Truthfully I'm paraphrasing) And I always say, "No, what kind of person do you think I am?" (Verbatim that time) About a minute goes by, they get the joke, see what all the build was for, can now un-awkwarly enjoy the movie, and I can continue to be friends with that person. So lets just clear the air on that one. Buuuuuut we'll be back to this idea of "it's sort of a mini-biography although I'm still deciding what it the video actually tells us about you..."

As far as if any educational purpose was served, I say yes. Absolutely. Definitely remixing and appropriation. If I were still teaching Multi-Media I would make a unit on photoshop that mimicked what I did in the 2 examples. The "pshat"(yiddish for bottom line) of the lesson plan would be to remix a well known image with something of your own.

If you look back there is a big piece of Me in every working example on that page. With Allan Collins, I put him on Tim Tebow, not even in uniform, his practice garb. Because I am a Florida Gator and Tim Tebow is a demi-god to fanatic zealots like us. Nobody would know that is Timmy T unless I told them. Either that or they are more zealous then me; so bravo to you, strange person who has memorized the rippling muscles of St. Timothy.

With the Apple post obviously I'm in that one. But the joke here lies a little deeper (It's the Misa in yiddish this time, you have to dig deeper to get understanding). You have to know that I am a self-proclaimed Apple Genius, and that every time I walk into an Apple store I can't leave until I teach something new to someone at the Genius Bar or show something new on an Apple product that an employee didn't know was possible.

Truth be told on two occasions I have corrected other peoples problems while waiting to be helped at the Genius Bar to move the line along faster.

Maybe it's because I am a teacher at heart and take every opportunity there is for a sacred "teachable moment" or maybe because I can be a dick sometimes.

Garageband piece: OK I'm a narcissist and made a podcast on what I like in songs I make for MY enjoyment.

The video: well watch the credits I'm in them a few times.

The question I am trying to answer is how is this a mini-biography? I didn't mean for it to be, rather a blogged portfolio. I used this blog post as a tool to organize my thoughts and answer Dr. P's questions. Rarely do I know where a blog post will lead when I begin and this one made me realize 2 things.

1. I choose to work on Personally Meaningful projects over Epistemological projects every time. I can prove it, I haven't touched Scratch in 2 weeks but I have used photoshop, garageband and imovie. I was in a Vlog war 2 days ago!...i lost.

2. I am a Constructionist. I know because I figured that out while writing this post. I learned as I did. I answered all the questions from the comments in my last post, learned new things, and made new realizations about what I have learned.

This blog just turned into my coming out party for the constructionist community. and I did a whole blog with no pictures or videos! I think I'm a big boy now, but I'm sure someone out there will surely argue that pics and vids compliment blogs, that's the beauty of using a cool online space like this.

p.s. for a good time go back and look at the time that dr. peppler posted that comment.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Warning: not much content

Long story short I have to do a technology check for IC Monday. Meaning they want me to demonstrate Tech qualifications for my GRA appointment.

Cool. I get to show off my skills that pay the bills....literally.

They said I can bring in a portfolio of my work. As I was going through my old stuff I re-did some things, I assessed my previous work and re-mediated it some would say. I wanted to post them here because, I don't know, they're funny.

So this is Learning Science scholar Allan Collins, he's actually coming to speak for pro-sem October 9th. This is a joke flyer, obviously. I took a picture of Tim Tebow in practice gear, replaced the football with the picture of Al's book, and Tim's face with Al's face. This didn't take too long but I got to use a boatload of tools in Photoshop which is always a blast. And I used even more NML(New Media Literacy) buzz words, or skills. For example, I played, mostly appropriated, multitasked, definitely interacted with tools to expand mental capacities (Distributed Cognition), put it into step 12 Visualization, and you, my awesome audience, use Judgment. I'm sure an argument could be made for other NML skills I employed here, but I think these were the intentional ones I specifically went for.

Then I made 2 Photoshops of my amiga Jenna McWilliams, (I think she has a blog or something @ jennamcwilliams.blogspot.com but it's no big deal, not like this blog any way) so here is the one that doesn't have a poop joke in it.

There's a special prize for the first person to comment and guess right what computer that is!

The joke here is that she actually did this once, and when you blog as much as she does and you don't have your computer...shit goes down.

So yeah, Photoshop skills (Graphic Design) is just one skill I have to demonstrate. Another is Digital Media Production which is somehow different from Digital Video Production. Media production has to do with podcasting/garageband, video is iMovie/something from Sony/moviemaker. But somehow Final Cut didn't make their final cut as a necessary skill. Anyway I consider them the same kind of skill. It sounds like Media only being Audio is only half the story. Anyway I played along and made a podcast of how to make a song in Garageband. I whipped it together in about 5 minutes. (it is 64 seconds long)

(FYI) If you want to be hip with the kids and learn some lingo, bad garageband songs are called garbage-band songs. It isn't viral yet but it is a meme. And it simultaneously makes you sound cool and like a dick if used right in context.

Person one: "Listen to this mash-up I made of John Denver over a Kanye beat!"

Person two: "What did you make that in Garbage-band or something?"

See it's like if The Fonz liked to make people cry instead of hitting jukeboxes.

Here's video I made in 2005. Some might find it offensive others say its inappropriate. If you are a kid don't watch this. It's R-rated. It has foul language, very foul language, and adult content. There's no nudity, so don't worry about that. So it's on the fence of SFW/NSFW. My girlfriend doesn't really like this video but it did come in second place at a film festival. One of the judges said, "It had some of the best lines he ever heard in a movie."

Heads up here: it starts out very, very, very, slowly because I wanted it to feel very distant from the second half of the movie where it picks up a lot. It was all shot in downtown Gainesville. I had my 2 buddies, Jason and Derek, who were both high school seniors at the time, drive up from Ft. Lauderdale to help me make this film. It could not have been completed without their help. Here it is, The Adventures of Jeff 1:59 am.

For other skills I need for my appointment, one of them is Web 2.0 activities, the example is blogging. I'm still having trouble with this one.

Another is Online Communication Tools. Seeing as I have a long-distance girlfriend and a crappy internet connection at my apartment (thanks a lot Pavillion Properties!) believe me, I know every video conferencing tool ever created across every platform.

OK that's enough if I keep going on about Other Learning Technologies (like how they mention surveymonkey but I've already made a more user friendly survey for Aurora High School using ESurveyPro because of several faults in surveymonkey's free software) or Learning Management Systems (like moodle and Oncourse) I won't have anything to talk about at the demonstration tomorrow!

I'll drop a line tomorrow and let ya'll know how it goes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Scratch: A Love/Don't Love Relationship

I had an OK experience with Scratch...we just aren't speaking the same language. Scratch, the animation/flash-like/sweet-ass media program out of MIT (www.scratch.mit.edu) is a great media platform for kids. It does a fantastic job at creating, " a safe space within which [children] can master the skills they need as citizens and consumers...as they begin to experiment with new forms of creative expression and community participation" (NML, White Paper, p. 16).

And taking the constructionist technique to learning how to use Scratch seemed like a great idea. Build as you learn and it'll all make sense, and leave you with a deep understanding of what you have accomplished. I'm a tinker-er by nature and thought if I continually plug and replug in variables into commands eventually I'll get a cool animation.

I didn't.

Scratch Project

I kinda sucked. That depressed the shit out of me. I have never had issues with immersing myself into multi-media programs and coming out like looking like I wrote the instruction manual. I'm not bragging but I kick serious technobutt in Final Cut, Garage Band, and iMovie to name a few. I even taught Apple Reps and Apple store employees how to do a bunch of edits and special effects previously thought un-creatable in iMovie. Because I am a darn good tinker-er.

But I have to admit, Scratch got the best of me. You should have noticed the title of the post being, "A Love/Don't Love..." I wanted to branch from the common cliche love/hate relationship because I don't hate scratch. I just don't love it. I have recommended it to my previous co-workers in Florida as a great alternative to expensive animation programs that require tablets and styli. Scratch is FREE! Who doesn't love that?

I think I had issues working with the prompts:

Maybe it was too mathy for me. It's like the old LOGO system where you punch in numbers to make the turtle do commands and draw a happy face or a sailboat.

It's the difference in html minds and composite minds.
Like folks who use Dreamweaver in html mode and folks
who use it in preview mode, and folks who use it in hybrid mode.

-----If you have no idea what I'm talking
about see the image where html code is in top window and preview composite images and text are in the bottom:

Dreamweaver rocks because you can make webpages using both methods.

Scratch lacks here. Even as I write in this blogspot text box I have the option to write and import images and video in html and in preview mode.

Those against me will argue that Scratch gives immediate feedback. Meaning as soon as you type a command your sprite (character) follows the command. That's nice, no render time, no coding time, but I am still writing in code that I can't wrap my mind around. I'm just a different kind of thinker. I am used to parallel timelines with commands dragged and dropped into boxes of line. This vertical coding makes me crave for some horizontal timelines! Heck, I'll take one! Just one timeline of events that transcends all characters and backgrounds to put this all into perspective for me.

But I don't speak for everyone, just myself. I recommend you check out the Scratch website and see the projects of folks (and Kids!) who have achieved what I am still struggling with because it is a remarkable program.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First Post

I have always wanted to blog but never had anything to blog about. Well thanks to Dr. Peppler's Learning in New Media class at IUB, now I do.

As part of our course requirements I will be using this blog as a sort-of sketch journal where I will reflect on the course, assignments, and hopefully it will develope into a place where I will continue to blog. Subject matter may change or stay the same. Stay tuned to find out.

All students in the class will be doing this so we will all be dedicating our first posts to introductions.

Here's a video clip from last year when I taught a media course in a middle school. It was part of a biography series....

My name is Jeffrey Kaplan. I thought this was pretty self explanatory until I started my doctoral work at IUB. Apparently it is a very misleading and confusing name because it is always followed by a question.

Me: Hi, I'm Jeffrey Kaplan.
Other: Do you go by Jeff or Jeffrey?

Is this a mid-west thing? To be fair I'm sure sometimes I introduce myself as Jeff. But it doesn't register in my head, because it's my name and I was never picky about it before. This question is polite and I really appreciate it. But I have some reservations.

This question automatically takes out any nickname friends or colleagues give each other. That's the point of a nickname right? That is isn't deemed by the named but by the named's peers. Take my friend over at www.jennamcwilliams.blogspot.com (check her blog out, it's mad fresh). To me she's Jenna "Social Justice" McWilliams. --for short I call her So-Ju. Or take myself; growing up in South Florida I had many a nickname. Jefferson, Jefe, and Jeffdude to name a few.

I'm still working on how to break the ice on that one to one of my advisors,

-"Do you go by Jeff or Jeffrey?"

-"Please Dr. Peppler, call me Jeffdude."

...maybe i'll stick with jeffrey.