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.