Style Over Substance

Remember the first time you used PowerPoint? Being able to take some written content and magically have it include images (likely clipart), have it spin around and transition to the next slide with glitter or swivel? Admit it. The very first time you thought it was pretty cool. You may have even had your class do a report with the tool and had kids stand up in the front of the class as their presentation was displayed on a projector screen. I will timidly raise my hand and admit I did it. There was a moment when I thought these presentations by my students represented quality work. However, soon after the shininess of the tool wore off, it was clear that their actual work wasn’t any different. Adding an animated flag of Canada to a slide telling me its population was 37 million didn’t represent anything more than a student’s ability to copy and paste and insert. What surprised me was how long this facade of quality work lasted. Many teachers, years later still had students creating presentations that underscored a lack of depth and creativity but were disguised, and by this time, not so cleverly with copyrighted images and … Read the rest

It Takes All Kinds: Students

This post was last updated on September 3rd, 2018 at 11:31 am

This is the final in this 4 part series

“Preparing students for jobs that haven’t been invented” I first saw this statement almost seven years ago as I viewed Karl Fisch’s original “Did You Know” It’s one of those important statements that has generated many great conversations.

In our attempt to place some more context on that declaration I’ve been noticing a trend of late. Many people in my circles, those that advocate change and change that revolves around technology, have developed a kind of exemplary model student that demonstrates the potential that exists as a result of the web. The web has enabled and empowered otherwise less privileged students to develop their pathways and own businesses and passions. And this is often associated with the start-up culture. The design-minded, coding entrepreneur working in Silicon Valley making millions. Exhibit A:

Let me say first; I like much of this video. I like the fact that it suggests schools should be teaching coding and programming, although I think an hour might be enough. I tweeted it out as a conversation starter about what schools should … Read the rest

2012: My Year in Numbers

This post was last updated on November 19th, 2013 at 07:37 am

It's not like I have nothing else to do but when people ask "Where do you find the time?" it's usually not because they think what I've done is so amazing but rather so dumb or insignificant. 

Thanks for the compliment. 

I take solace in Clay Shirky's statement that "even the stupidest creative act, is still a creative act". If I've not created something in a while I feel a little stale. These web and media tools are my paintbrushes and my canvases. I love that folks like Alan Levine and others are constantly making and fiddling with stuff. They inspire me and remind me to just do it. 

So after thinking about Dan Meyer's 2009 Annual Report and sharing it often as a example of using data to tell storie, I decided to give it a shot. While Dan used a wack sack of tools and does a much more professional job that took him weeks to produce, I wanted to see if I could use Keynote to tell the story of my year in numbers. So after an evening of planning, data mining, Read the rest

Pimp My Slide

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:14 pm

I like design and I like making slides. We know that images can increase recall and understanding. You don't have to agree and this post isn't so much about convincing you of that as it is about the wonderful ways in which collaboration and push back can happen online and actually make things better. 

I've been thinking about the phrase which I have come to dislike, "it's not about the technology" I wanted to capture that idea in an image and began thinking about the way musicians use their instruments. Trying to find a name of someone who would be most recognizable I chose Yo Yo Ma. You don't have to acknowledge if you've never heard of him before because the image I found tells you all you need to know about his love of music and the cello.


​So I began with this:


After I posted it to flickr, Darren chimed in with this suggestion:


Try using a brown similar to the cello instead of yellow. You can use the colour picker in Keynote to do that.

Love the pic,

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Let’s Try This Again

Last month I posted my first effort of picture of the day set to music. I had some wonderful suggestions on how to improve it and so I implemented the most common suggestion of fading in and out each track.

I switched to Final Cut Express since I have more control and can use multiple tracks. I have to admit I still feel like a novice in that program even though I’ve used it for a number of projects. Keyframing in particular is something I don’t have quite right yet and need to learn a few more shortcuts to improve my work flow.

I also found it much better to use Audacity to edit each music clip and bring them into FCE after that. I would say overall this is a much better product but maybe you disagree. I’ll be happy to take further suggestions on improvement. It took more time I think so I’m weighing that as well. This isn’t even a full month as it includes the last day of January and photos up to February 20th.

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