Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"ds106 is What Happens When You are Busy Making Other Plans"

Photo Courtesy of Jimmie Hepp

Late last week, I had asked someone for a picture of a messy office.  I wanted it to go with this quote to illustrate that my life had been taken over.  Rather than attempt that, I thought I would show you what I have been working on. (Thanks to all who found some REALLY messy spaces).  This is Makana, a local Monk seal who has been coming to Ho'okipa Windsurfing Beach for over 15 years. Makana means "A gift from Heaven."   As a volunteer for the Monk Seal Foundation, I have been working on a fundraising project for the foundation.  I recruited local photographer, Jimmie Hepp, to donate the photograph.  This is just one of many donations for the fundraiser to help this endangered species through education and public outreach.

The Daily Create for ds106 can take on many facets.  For me, Makana has been my daily create.  Through social media over the past week, we have reached over 8000 people to raise awareness to the fact that there are only 1200 of these animals left in the Hawaiian Islands.  During the fundraising effort, I found it interesting that there were so few artistic representations of the monk seal.  There were plenty of turtles, dolphins and whales, but very few of the seal.  It is important to me that people 'connect" with Makana through a photograph like the one above. We take care of our local seals!  The Daily Create in action!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Daily Create - Just Do It!

I really have missed ds106.  The Daily Create is such a beautiful concept, you really need to try it.  I am making up for my absence by doing as many as I can this week.

It started off with Kevin Hodgson's (@dogtrax)  PhotoBlitz "New England Leaf Collage."  That got me inspired to check out the Daily Create since it had been awhile.  Birds.  Well, let me tell you, I get to see some awesome birds in Hawaii, but the ones I like the best are the cattle egrets who prance about our lawn morning, noon, and night.  Every try to take a picture?  They can feel your vibration once you start looking for your camera.  So, I moved out to a old fence that was overgrown and, luck a hunter in the blind waited for his prey.  As I sat there, I noticed this incredible looking fruit like yellow thing that I had never noticed before.  I took a picture.  There was a green one.  I decided to hell with the egret, let me do a Autumn Photo Blitz Maui style.  Bananas on the vine, wild poinsettia coming into season, red ginger, and the fruits of the harvest, papaya and lillikoi.  And the fruit like yellow thing?  It is a prickly melon.  I threw in a shot from where I was standing trying to catch a picture the egret just to make you jealous.

Birds! Twitter, Hitchcock, Make it all About Birds

So, as you can see, I came up empty with the egret, but @RockyLou inspired me to be creative with the idea with her "FreeBird".  I realized I had the perfect bird right in front of my face.  This is a lacquer tray with a peacock feather.  I really had to work at getting the lighting because it kept wanting to reflect all the daylight.  I finally put it up against the kitchen counter and turned all the lights on.  This reduced the glare dramatically.  We live with my 97 year old mother-in-law and I use the tray to bring her meals.  When Mariana Funes asked about the tray, it reminded me taking pictures is not enough.  You have to write about them and the process.  My process is fairly simplistic, so I go for the story.  Thanks, Mariana!

Take a picture of a real dog or draw one and take a picture of the drawing.

For over 20 years my husband and I have raised dogs.  Our last dog died about a month before we left the mainland.  I was just going to put up an old picture, but then I realized that our cat, Gita, who made the trip and is adapting well to his new environment (we call him the cane rat mauler), is really our cat - dog.  And, please don't tell him differently.  Fellow ds106er, Mariana, once again, asked about him and shared this clip of a cat who thinks he is also a dog.  I was sorry to have to tell my husband that the video of Gita with his head hanging out of his red pick up had already been taken, so it wouldn't be going viral (in the event he could ever actually get it).  Check it out, it's pretty funny.

Trace a photo of yourself. Upload both the original and your drawing.

I have not yet discovered my inner drawing artist, so I decided to use a couple of apps that I have been playing around with Mobile Monet and Manga.  I had actually used these to create some profile pictures when I started to create my digital identify.  I like the texture you can get with Monet (bottom) and I like the lines you can get with Manga (top).  I suppose I could've experimented a bit more, but, instead, I decided to show the original picture with my Dad taken in 1964 and another with a similar profile taken 20 years later.  Uh oh.  I'm on the left in both pictures........

Stories in/of the Web

While I read through Week 9:  Stories from the Web, I failed to produce any content.  As I was writing up this blog, I received a text from two friends in New Orleans with this picture. Sensing an opportunity at hand, I quickly looked up the local paper, but was unable to find any front page that I could use X-Ray Goggles, so instead, I found this jpeg and was able to tune my Gimp skills by inserting the picture.  The original text went to about 8 people, so I sent it to everyone.  Within minutes, I got the desired response.  It also allowed me to embed a message chat into my blog, which I had never done before.

“I discovered today…”

I discovered today that 60 seconds of a movie has an incredible amount of information.  Fellow ds106er, Mariana Funes magnified that minute by separating the audio and the video tracks of a movie clip for the Movie Reading assignment.  Having worked in a Film/Sound Recording Studio in the 80's, I sat through countless mixes for WGBH's Nature series.  Sometimes getting the layers of sound just right took hours.  Steve Izzi, the lead engineer was a perfectionist and he could make it sound like you were right there in the natural habitat, weaving sounds together into a montage that was clear, clean and crisp.  Movie reading is bringing back that skill set that has been latent for over 30 years.  I guess I discovered 2 things today....

Not realizing that I had missed the narrative Daily Create, I added this one.  It's always funny how you start out with one realization and then come to another.  I suppose that is part of our unconscious mind at work.  Making art gives expression to those deep voices inside ourselves, if we would only listen.

So, as I said, I have missed ds106 and the Daily Create.  But even more, I have missed the community of creative artists who have been on this journey with me, and especially our resident shrink, Mariana, who this week reawakened my creative self.  Thank you.  #4LIFE

Sunday, October 20, 2013

There is NO AWOL in #ds106

The past two weeks have been devoted to Audio in #ds106 and I feel like I have been unconnected.

Fortunately, there is nothing like AWOL in #ds106, because there are......

...notifications from the group on their Daily Creates, their radio commercials and teasers... or people like Ary Aranguiz who is participating in StoryHackVT and seek our support... or Kevin Hodgson who is always dabbling with some new tool and sharing his incredibly creative work.. or Alan Levine on the road spreading the #ds106 word and looking for stray MOOSE!

Not to mention Mariana Funes who posted a #Phonar that prompted me to record my own... and new member #106 Gail Desler who may be overwhelmed by the fanfare of her auspicious arrival as the 106th member of our G+ group (I had to drop what I was doing to add a celebratory GIF in her honor)....or running into Janet Webster in Stephen Downes online Moodle MOOC2, or wondering where Dave Barr went... All of this makes me feel connected to a community -- a community of learners, of artists, of creators. An open community with no rules or teachers, where you are free to come and go as you please, yet you KEEP SHOWING UP because there is value in these connections.

So, while I was consumed by other work, I was able to find a way to combine some of the key elements of audio into a few key ideas that resulted in the following work.

Because this is audio week, I went back to an idea that I had earlier, but never put together.  I was taking pictures for the Design Safari and took a picture of the wind chimes in the bathroom for "A Good Use of Space."

I realized that I had accidentally switched the setting to video and I recorded the sound as well.  This made me remember an old childhood song that I wrote with a friend (I can't remember the whole song or the friend), but I thought it would be a cool exercise to record as an audio exercise.  Not to mention, it would help me get more familiar with Audacity and Movie Maker.  Here is the result:

Motivated by Mariana Funes'  "What the Hell, I'm doing a #Phonar as a Daily Create", I decided to combine a few elements together, the personal story and the Daily Create #647.

Write a satirical article riffing off a typical news story inspired by the Onion.

The personal story talks about the creation of the news story of the Mendenhall Glacier.

Things would not be complete without a Daily Create "Notice the Ground Beneath Your Feet.Document with an Enhanced Photograph." This opportunity afforded me a chance to bring our community a little closer with the Mosaic above. I took the liberty of using a cool beach sarong to use as my "ground." I then took all of the images posted for the Daily Create and made a mosaic illustrating the importance of our connection, our intersection, and our relationships that make #ds106 the magical place where 'Puff' lives.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Haiku in Haiku

It’s October! Write a haiku about any special October day

When was the last time you wrote a Haiku?  5-7-5?  I am fortunate to live in Haiku, Hawaii and took the opportunity to make a Visual Haiku.  Quite frankly, I need to improve my GIMP skills, so it was a great way to explore layers, typeface and manipulation. Did you know that typography evokes a sense of place?

The papayas were picked on the property.  The background is a placemat that was the perfect backdrop.

I was thrilled that my #designmeld partner +Ary Aranguiz followed my lead with her own visual Haiku.  It's all about inspiring each other to be more creative.

Autumn Haiku

What's your Haiku?

Monday, October 7, 2013

We Are All [Artists]

We started off Design Week with inspiration from Tim Owens @timmmmyboy.  I loved it and used it as inspiration to create a Haiku Deck using all original photographs.  (First time ever!)

We have been asked to reflect on all aspects of design -- "What is design? It is everywhere you look- anything we create or manufacture has key design elements.   This exercise makes you acutely aware of your environment.  You begin to see things in new ways. Even fonts and typography are elements of design.  Are you a Comic Sans Criminal:  Spoiler Alert - I was formerly a CSC)?  Did you know that typography can evoke a sense of place?   

I have become so attuned to design that I spent the week watching TV with no sound.  It really is an eye-opening experience!

We have been given a plethora of Design Resources for review in order to become more familiar with elements of design.  My favorite resources is from Duke University's Lab in Digital Knowledge:   "What Do 21st Century Literacies Look Like?  This is ds106 in action!

"When we expand the digital meaning-making conventions that make up 21st century literacies, we expand our ability to interact and connect with each other. Designing in this new digital medium contributes to the development of an even wider collective effort of understanding and communication."

In order to demonstrate our understanding, we were to undertake a Design Safari.  As I write this summary, I realize I don't follow directions very well, and selected one image from my week's catalog of photographs to illustrate my understanding of the concepts. Since it was a safari, I couldn't resist importing the images into MovieMaker and adding a safari soundtrack (thank you YouTube Downloader/Converter).  What I like best about the piece is that it is a safari in Hawaii.  My granddaughter loves to make dioramas when she visits, so the title slide is her contribution.  (We were supposed to upload to Flickr tagging photos #designblitz and blog about whether the images were effective or task).

Another assignment was to design a poster...These projects all involve some aspect of re-editing existing content to change the meaning or making something new that visually represents an idea.  

I decided to use this opportunity to combine ideas for 2 different classes and the 6 Word Memoir was the perfect opportunity.  I ended up with a poster as well as a slide presentation in order to share the idea of "Promoting Creativity in K-12 Education in multiple ways.  I have already received feedback that the font and placement is too busy on the poster and am working on the revision.

 6 Word Memoir

I have also watched with fascination the development of a ds106 collaborative story writing project started by Ary Aranguiz using gifs to tell a story.  Not having the opportunity to participate as yet, this project is the embodiment of "experimentation with collective design processes combined with the development of the images" that is described in "What Do 21st Century Literacies Look Like

As Tim Owens pointed out, a creative environment can foster creativity, and ds106 is giving us that environment."

How Do You Know You Are Learning?

List twenty ways you can document your learning. How many have you done this week?

As you might imagine, because this was a written assignment (no frills, no pictures, no html code) I started to generate a list...and then half way through the exercise, I realized I needed to be more creative [duh, it's a Daily Create, stupid]. So I decided to use words that ended with     -ate. It was kind of fun. Did you know that in chemistry, -ate is used to form the names of salts from acids [acetic acid ..acetate].  Sounds like a transformation to me, doesn't it?

Kevin Hodgson @dogtraxx upped the ante when he created a humorous Haiku Deck to illustrate his ideas. Since I had done a Haiku Deck earlier in the week [I really like Haiku Deck, btw], I decided to illustrate my ideas visually as well. Thanks for the inspiration, Kevin.
  1. Write a Story
  2. Make a Diagram 
  3. Record a Poem
  4. Shoot a Video
  5. Write a Song
  6. Post a Blog
  7. Take a Picture
  8. Create a Slide Show
  9. Make a Movie
  10. Host a Google Hangout
  11. Create
  12. Innovate
  13. Curate
  14. Narrate
  15. Illustrate
  16. Annotate
  17. Meditate
  18. Accommodate
  19. Debate
  20. Bloviate (I love this word.  It summed up the current discussion of the U.S. government shutdown this week).
(NB:  I intentionally only illustrated 10 of the ways that I document my learning using the words that end in -ate).

How do you know you are learning?  How can you document it?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Digital Creativity: Harnessing the Collective Energy

"It is innate for human beings to create stories and to create art."  ~Jason Eskanazi

In Week 5 of DS106, we were challenged to create stories through our photographs. Using suggestions borrowed from David duChemin in his book Ten:  Ten Ways to Improve Your Craft,  we were asked to be more deliberate in taking photographs.  In an age where everyone takes pictures of everything ALL THE TIME, they are doing just that.  They are taking a picture to record an event, not a photograph -- a creation, a play on words,  light, or perspective.  Not since I took a photography course in college have I been so deliberate about taking photographs.  At the time I had a 35mm SLR that my father bought on a trip to Vietnam in 1965.  We developed our own film.  We captured ideas and translated them to images.

The first exercise was a PhotoBlitz.   The exercise challenges you to think quickly and creatively.  You take 11 pictures given certain key words in 15 minutes that evoke the given idea.  I chose Ho'okipa Beach on Maui's North Shore for the exercise.  Other students expressed feeling awkward taking photographs in public (who is this weirdo)?  Beach goers are more relaxed and I was free to roam.  I chose to create a Haiku Deck on Visual Literacy using my pictures.  Schools focus on Literacy, Digital Literacy, Numerical Literacy and Cultural Literacy.  Rarely do we see focus on the importance of Visual Literacy and how it can be used to draw connections across the curriculum.

We were then asked to select what we considered our five best pictures.  These were my favorites....


"And we find that people doing this week’s work come away noticing the world around them in more detail." ~Headless #ds106

My next photography exercise was not assigned.  We took a Road Trip to Hana and I decided to try out the suggestions that I learned during the week.  Follow the rule of thirds, change your perspective, get pickier, pay attention to the moment.  No longer was I just clicking, I was actually designing the picture.  Not too bad for an amateur with an iPhone.  I also employed the Fast Tricks for the iPhone to further enhance my skill set.

Sea ArchLava CliffsFollow the Path...The Jeep Goes Everywhere!Windmill Farm PerspectiveHamoa Beach
Hamoa Beach #2Haleakala National Park SignA Zen Moment on the Beach

Road Trips, a set on Flickr.

The final exercise I was able to complete was to "pimp up" my Flickr account.  That included creating a set of my best photos.  I decided that I would select the Blue Ribbon photo for each week of #ds106.  This way I can see the progression of my work (hopefully)!  As you can see above, I was able to embed a Flickr set into my blog and used FlickrSLiDR to embed the Blue Ribbon Photo of the Week in a Flickr Slideshow below.

Blue Ribbon of the Week

Created with flickrSLiDR

I spent a considerable amount of time looking at the work of fellow DS106ers, commenting on blogs, seeing incredibly creative images, methodology, and hard work that has been expended this week by the community.  I am energized by the collective energy that is evolving.  Each idea generated creates a flurry of activity, support and partnership.  Consider Rochelle Lockridge & Christine Hendrick's Audio Week in Review, or Ary Aranguiz's CollaboGiffing Project, Mariana Fuenes's determination to isolate the "eyes" in Ary's animated GIF and John Johnston's Photoblitz name a few.   

DS106 channels the collective energy into the creation of stories, sounds, and art that allow us to make make meaning of our experience.  In Is There Such a Thing as Digital Creativity by Julian Sefton, she suggests that the process of selection, manipulation and decision-making in meaning-making through comparison of editing across media...points to the way that digital creativity – or at least meaning-making in the digital era – brings together in the new ways processes that used to be separate and bound by academic convention.

DS106 showcases the power of digital creativity by harnessing the collective energy of the group.  In eLearning and Digital Cultures: A multitudinous open online course, Jeremy Knox (a co-facilitator of the course),  observes that where work was collected and displayed together, the observer begins to get a sense, not of the individual merit of a single piece, but of the collective energy and intensity of the multitude...a shift away from thinking about individuals to thinking about connections, flows, and relations that exceed us as human beings.

DS106 transforms digital creativity into an engaging (often intoxicating) social experience.  We move from passive participants to active content creators. In the sharing of our individual stories, we contribute to the collective energy of the group.   In his blog, Kevin Hodgson reminds us that  the activity of making shifts consumers away from mass-produced materials and therefore, provides an individualistic sense of creation; and that the social element of digital literacies has the potential to increase engagement and heighten the creative element of making something that will impact the world.

What DS106 exemplifies is the synergistic creativity of the group, the importance of collaborative storytelling,and the opportunity to hone the skills necessary for creating, communicating, collaborating and networking in a digital world.