Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Remix Project #4 - Video - Tying a Tie

DS106, Tying a Tie 101 - Remix Project

The Process:

For some reason, this project gave me the most difficulty!  Like...for real...very frustrating!  I started it last weekend with a couple of ideas, but nothing that I really liked.  By Sunday, still nothing.  On Monday night I had a perfect idea with the "Redub Project" with the movie Se7en and began working.  After a couple hours of struggling to piece together my project, I realized my shortcomings as a "remixer".  I soon abandoned that project all together, mad and angry at the time that I had wasted.  Or maybe it wasn't a waste??  I'm a wishful thinker.

For this project, I looked up a couple of things that I could very "easily" teach to someone.  Something very basic with a few steps.  When I saw, "Tying a tie", I immediately got the idea for this project--that "aha" moment that I was finally so excited to get.  I pulled out three ties from my closet and elicited the help of some of my homeroom students to make this video.

The process went along very smoothly.  I got to school very early, along with two students who are there at around 7:15 as well.  Alyssa filmed my step-by-step process before anyone showed up.  When the homeroom bell rang, I went to work on filming what I needed for the rest of the video.  I used Jabril and Asher in the video because they are some of the most animated guys in my homeroom.  Surprisingly, the filming didn't take long at all.

The next day, I went to work on editing the video using Moviemaker.  I have used Moviemaker in the past, so it wasn't too unfamiliar to me.  However, the format did change a little bit (last time I used it was approx. 2 years ago).  It did take some refreshing.  The whole editing process took maybe 90 minutes, tops--nothing too crazy.  I think I spent more time deciding what project to work on than the time I took with the editing.

For the music selection, I wanted to have something "old-timey", but also something that had a very "monumental" feel to it.  I think that I achieved that with the selection I made.  In order to change the color of the video to make it look old-fashioned, I very simply changed the color to "sepia"--a simple alteration, but still a really cool effect.

All in all, my homeroom students and I really got a kick out of doing this video.  We watched it in our homeroom class today and the kids really liked it.  Interestingly enough, Jabril, one of the students tying a tie in the video, taught me a different, more simpler way, of tying a tie.  It is funny what you learn from doing projects like these.

A side note: Ever since I was a little kid, I always dreamed of directing movies.  Growing up in Arizona, I spent almost every summer creating a new movie and using the neighborhood kids to star in the short films.  It was some of the most fun.  And to get all sentimental for a second...this project brought back a lot of those great memories.  Haha...I feel old now.   




Sunday, November 4, 2012

Remix #3 - Thinking Fast and Slow - Learning by Design

1st Drawing
2nd Drawing

Pencil Sketching of Final

Final Product Remix #3

After looking through different options for Remix #3, I came across the "Learning by Design" assignment.  I have seen similar flowcharts on the Internet, sometimes the sketching is done in real-time with a voice-over narrating the concept while the artist illustrates.  They have always impressed me, mainly because I am very much a visual learner.  Watching different ones on TED talks or YouTube, I have often thought about doing one myself.  I am no artist, but I liked the idea, and it couldn't be too hard, I thought.

This past summer, Carol Jago tweeted about a book entitled Thinking, Fast and Slow.  She highly recommended it, so I thought I would check out to read some reviews.  Well, it had amazing reviews, so I purchased it, then read it the entire summer (it is a little bit more lengthy of a book than I am accustomed to reading for the summer).  And Jago wasn't wrong at all: the book proved to be memorable-- and not just that, but completely paradigm-shifting.

In his book, Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, compiles years worth of invaluable research about all of the following topics: decision-making, cognitive traps, and economics.  The book's fulcrum is the concept of System 1 and System 2 modes of thinking that are found in the brain.  These two modes, completely fictitious in the brain, are what Kahneman argues that we use every day when making different choices--from deciding who we will befriend, to our over-optimistic ideals we have when making future plans.  Kahneman contends that we all fall victim to the many cognitive traps in life: we are set to make quick, hasty decision about the world and people (System 1, automatic responses).  It is by the end of the book that his research shows that people who take their time, (use their System 2, effortful deliberation and analysis) will reap greater rewards in life.  

This concept has stuck with me since my reading. I talk about it in my classes when my students have complex texts that they refuse to read because they initially do not understand the content.  As a result, I wanted to replicate this concept in a flowchart infographic.  What proceeded is illustrated in the pictures above.

First, I had to refresh my memory about the concept, rereading certain notes that I had taken in Thinking, Fast and Slow.  After finding good examples, I started the flowchart with a simple question, one that Kahneman poses at the beginning of the book in order to provide a simple demonstration of the differences between System 1 and System 2 thinking (the mathematics questions found in the first two boxes).  My main objective in this process was to show what the concept was and what it meant for students in the classroom.  Though it is a rather simple concept, I believe that it has merit as evidenced by my students who will call me out, "Hey, Mr. Standing, maybe you could figure it out if you were using your System 2!"

My struggles were mainly during the creation process of this assignment.  I am so accustomed to using the internet, finding pictures, copying and pasting, typing, etc, that I forgot how arduous, time-consuming, and physically demanding the process of drawing really is.  During the process, as my hand burned with soreness, I thought of my friend Dusty, who has his own tattoo studio and the detailed work that he does with just his hands and tattoo gun every day.  It definitely made me have a new found appreciation and respect for his art.  By the final sketching of this project, my hand was literally shaking, my mind felt very weak too.  Haha.  Needless to say, I haven't done anything artistic, especially with my hands, in quite awhile. 

In sum, this project could be used in pretty much any classroom across the content areas: Math, Science, Psychology, and Language Arts.  Any time a teacher wanted to measure a student's understanding of a particular concept, he or she could assign this project.  Personally, this project made me consider assigning something similar where the students have to create a flow chart delineating the progression of American Literature from Puritanism to Postmodernism. In the future, I will definitely try something similar to this project.  However, I don't know if the students will have as much fun as I did if I give them their topics.  Part of what was so motivating for me was the chance to create something about a concept that actually meant something to me. 



Thursday, October 11, 2012

The US Postal Service Remix Audio

Rationale: I imagined a new reality TV show that captured mail "people" doing their daily work.  My job was to make the mundane sound really exciting.  Don't know if I succeeded...I think most people hate the sound of their own voice! I certainly do.  Oh, and I messed up a little in the beginning, but it's still a decent recording.  

The US Postal Service<------------Click the Link for Audio

In a world where the flow of
information is inevitable as it is infinite,
we cautiously tip-toe into the lives of the United States
Postal Service men and women, individuals who
risk their lives providing our crucial information:
bills, jury duty, taxes, and unexpected fees that
you already paid.

Starting this Halloween, dive into a world of mass chaos, the shuffling of countless trivial
pieces of ads, furniture sales, coupons, and pre-approved credit card applications;
because it is our postal service men and women that are on
the frontlines of our American landscapes, linking our dull lives to
those special moments of wonder and anticipation.

So join follow them... in their short shorts,
safari hats, and perfectly pressed blue collared shirts, to
the majestic suburbs, teeming with wide-eyed neighbors who march on towards their edict-riddled white envelopes, “OPEN IMMEDIATELY”

You won’t want to miss this season, starting on Halloween and ending with
the season finale on Christmas day.

Enter a world unforgettable, the people indelible.
The U.S. Postal Service: keeping your life in kilter with each afternoon delivery.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Remix #1 (Visual) Prufrock's Love Song

So, when I read Prufrock, I think of a highly intelligent, over-dramatic (and melodramatic), egocentric kinda guy.  I feel like he is well-liked, but tired of always feeling examined or inspected.  His obsession with his outer appearance raises his anxiety levels to an absurd level, as far as calling himself a specimen "pinned to a wall".  Sometimes I just want to tell him, "Hey, one really cares that much about you. Stop worrying so much." 

Steps to complete this picture:
1. Use 
 1. Find a nice black background off Google Images to use.
2. Honestly, all I did was randomly search for pictures of "Old Bars" "Misunderstood", "All seeing Eye", "Staircase", "Legs going down stairs", "Pinned bug".
3. Once having an ample collection of good photos to use, I started placing them where they looked good. (The revising portion of this assignment takes the most time!)
4. When you use the "Overlay" option on, you must use an eraser to cut the excesses of the images.  (I used the erase button to trim my images on almost every picture.  You should use this option as needed; it is a great tool to help your creation)
5. Insert text with the simple text option. (I found some lines from the poem that moved me.  I would use the text sparingly as the picture(s) should speak louder than the text(s)). I used the font called "STAMPETE".
6. It is important to add some type of movement to your art.  (Ex. The drink spilling over.  Or, Prufrock coming down the stairs) You must direct your spectator's eyes to follow a smooth-flowing cadence.
7. Have fun, revise often, and be patient! (I messed up so many times.  And nothing bothers me more than time you will never get back!)


Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Day in the Eye of the Teach

This photo represents my normal teaching day in the blink of an eye.

 The only pictures that I have of my students are the two that you see, the one in the center and the one of the boy sleeping at his computer.  From these two pictures, I wove a simple narrative about my daily "belief system".

When all feels lost or arbitrary--or when I am feeling like I am not seeing any gains in my students, I look towards the middle of the picture to see why I teach.  It is for the students.  Despite the other stuff that goes on during a normal day, I like to think that I can focus on the positive aspects of the job. 

I am an optimist by choice.  I know that the students, including myself, are beleaguered with adverse circumstances that hinder our ability to succeed...if we let them.  But with a healthy dose of optimism--the right outlook--we can achieve.      

Top Left: I see a lot of my students as scarcely scraping by in school, hanging by a thread. (Or, a rock in this case).
Top Center: My constant despise for sleepers, apathy, and boredom.  
Top Right: When the days are long, I feel cooked. (And I just like this picture)
Bottom Left: I often feel like students have a very difficult time making figurative connections in class.  The absurdity of this picture represents this difficulty.  
Bottom Center: I notice a pervasive cast of anti-intellectualism in school, where students make fun of other students for saying something brilliant or beyond the norm.  
Bottom Right: Just represents the normal interruptions that occurs when you're trying to teach.

Center: Despite everything, I focus on the positive. 

Last year, my department chair said during the first month on the job, "Best thing to do is to ignore all the bullshit that surrounds us, shut your door, and love your students more than anything. Do that, and you will be a fine teacher."