Alan Levine does 50 Ways to Tell a Story

If you don’t know about Alan Levine’s 50 Ways to Tell a Story, I can update you on a few other things: Obama is President, and they’ve landed people on the moon.

But I’d never seen Alan present and give his perspectives and insights into this impressive piece of work. I invited him to speak to some of our teachers who I’ve been working with on digital storytelling. So from the comforts of his house sitting gig from Iceland, he came in and did his schtick. For 90 minutes, he kept us engaged and fascinated with the potential of web based storytelling tools. What a treat. Too good not to share.

Should I share less or should you filter more?

I like to share. That’s not a secret. I’ve been thinking about it a fair bit lately.  Several people keep it in their radar and it seems to be a consistent theme for me.

I like to play. That may be not be much of a secret either. If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know most of my tweets are pure drivel.  At the same time, I actually do a lot of reflecting as I explore various new ways of sharing. I recently began using Qik to stream video from my phone. So far my videos have consisted of me wandering around my house and even sitting with my neighbour in his hot tub (It sounds worse than it was).

The thing I’m wondering about is, even though we live in a publish, then filter world, do I have a responsibility in what I share? I’m mean do I restrict what I share or do I rely on the user to determine what they do and want they don’t want from my stuff? Currently you can subscribe to this blog, my family blog, my work blog, flickr photos, shared reader, youtube videos, Facebook, wikis,and probably a gazillion other spaces where I’ve got content splattered. That’s a lot of Shareski, way more than anyone wants or needs.

When I’m working with teachers who initially want to set up blogs for their students, one question always comes up. “How do we tell the published, edited work from the everyday writing? Outside of using some tagging or categorizing or even separate spaces, it’s tough. Parents or outsiders looking in, might see a myraid of work from seemingly gibberish, text messaging type language to more polished, formal writing. Is that the parents/viewers job to discern? Can they tell what’s supposed to be exemplary and what is simply reflection or practice? Should we be posting play or practice?

So back to me (it’s always about me ;-0). I’ve recently begun to use a few different video hosts to put my personal stuff on. I have 216 subscribers on youtube. I’m guessing most are interested in my education videos, not ones of me hitting golf balls across a frozen lake. So I’ve tried filtering that out for people.  I realize that most experienced web users are comfortable opting out of subscriptions and content, but what about those who don’t? Do I need to help them? Inevitably the blurring of play, personal and professional gets in the
way I don’t know what goes where. Should I care? Should I filter or is
that your job?

Let’s get this discussion started.

The original Photo of the Day

I’m not sure if this is “the” original but listening to the Spark podcast on the plane, I discovered this gem and had to share it.

The story behind how this site was discovered is interesting enough but the fact that Jamie Livingston took almost 7,000 photos for 18 years is astonishing. But the stories behind the photos are gripping. In 18 years in anyone’s life, it will be filled with everything from highly emotional to extremely mundane. This is life. And death. Jamie, a filmmaker from New York city died in October of 1997 at the age of 41. Shortly before he died of cancer, he got engaged. This is the photo of the engagement ring and the blurred figure in the back is his fiance. You can sense the sadness and irony in this image.

So as I approach the halfway point of my photos of the day for one year, I realize more and more that this is a diary of my life. Boring to most, but I’m trying to capture life each day. As I go through this process, I’m convinced more and more that visual literacy, images must be recognized by educators as more than icing on the cake of communication. Sometimes the addition of text can provide context, other times, the picture itself is enough.  Unfortunately, our text bias schools continue to place photography and visual literacy well behind the writing. More and more I know this to be misguided.

Listen to the entire story, you’ll be glad you did.