Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Un-Blinded by an Eclipse

If looking at the sun can lead to blindness, maybe looking away from the sun can lead to enlightenment...

Taking advantage of the recent solar eclipse, Mark Day published a short video that demonstrates how dappled sunlight results when interwoven leaves act as pinhole cameras.  It's rare and fascinating footage of sunlight, that can only witnessed by avoiding the instinct to look up.

Earlier this month, Punya Mishra was the first person to alert me to this effect, when he shared photos he'd taken in 1994.  Just as otherworldly is this 'shadow' photo of the eclipse posted to Twitter by Andrew Rice.

The Big Picture took advantage of the distant alignment of our sun and moon by publishing inspiring photos of the event.  The images are for the most part, of the celestial show overhead, and of people from around the world finding ways to see it.  Being that an annular eclipse is such a rare wonder, it makes perfect sense, but it has me thinking about the wonders we miss, because our attention is focused in the wrong direction.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Secret Powers of Gamification

Not only does Gabe Zichermann know his stuff (you'll notice his presentation just flows without reference to notes), but the content of his presentation is highly relevant for teachers and learners.  In this talk recorded at The Next Web 2012, Gabe explains what the most powerful aspects of gamification really are.  I guess his sprinkling of a foul word here or there is intended to humanize his presentation, but the stories he shares stand on their own.  If you find 30 minutes, you'll encounter powerful examples that demonstrate:

Challenge + Achievement = Pleasure

Feedback + Friends = Fun

Rewards = Status or Access or Power or Stuff

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's a CC World

Yesterday afternoon at the Learning Forward Spring Conference in Ontario, I had the opportunity to introduce a group of intrepid teachers to Creative Commons.  The culminating task was for the group to collaborate on a short video to demonstrate their learning in a 'creative' way.  The vision for this project was for each group to shoot footage simultaneously, in one take, using one of a half-dozen Kodak Playsport cameras.

Each group dreamt up a CC themed title, and created a short vignette on the same theme.   All of the footage was captured from 3:35 - 4:00 p.m. on May 2nd at the Hockley Valley Resort in Orangeville.  Clips were later blended using iMovie, and augmented with the aptly titled 'Freedom in Our Voices' shared by Ditto-Ditto via CCMixter.org

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Learning Forward with Punya Mishra