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 (, 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
do so and read his explanation for why he chose 1113. It's more than worth following the link.