Adult Coloring Books, the British Museum, and the Adjacent Possible

Here is how I took a little pause from #clmooc today.

Public domain from the British Museum. Click on image to go to site.

11099451033_d3068d4ee7_o (1)


Adult coloring book treatment using the image manipulation tool SnagIt, but you can use the fill/eyedropper tool on any similar tool to get the colorizing done. You will note that my banner is this image.


Took a quote from Simon Ensor’s post and used Visual Poetry to do the layout.

hope is very much

Used the same technique to color it with SnagIt.

hope is very muchyellow background

Sometimes the doors are opened by an unexpected attraction of very dissimilar elements.  That’s an academic way of saying “Shit happens.”  And in a good way, a handy way.  In this case I remembered a very cool gif that Ronald created a while ago

Combine that with the British Museum public domain flood of a million images and some recent work by Susan Watson using zentangles and gifs and the adjacent door in this amazing just opened on its secret hinges.

I know that others of you out there might say, “What;s the big deal? It’s just the fill tool in any image manipulation tool, right?” True, it’s my little deal and it’s fun and useful and I thought it was one of those classic ways that repertoire and connection work to happily complexify one’s play life: Vive Homo Ludens

Raise the Bar: Eight Reasons I Hate Your Screencast by Mark Lassoff : Learning Solutions Magazine

Raise the Bar: Eight Reasons I Hate Your Screencast by Mark Lassoff : Learning Solutions Magazine

Screencasts-digital video recordings of computer screens, often with audio narration or added video of an instructor-have been a staple for teaching developers and software users. But many screencasts are ineffective or even counterproductive because of poor planning and execution. Here are eight common faults of screencasts, with ways to improve the quality of your productions.

My screencasts are terrible. Sometimes necessarily so. Most times I wish I could follow the really useful advice given here in this article. It is a quick read with clear rationales for his suggestions. If I were to teach a media tech course I would definitely steal the ideas in here.

I would also like to know what tools he uses to make his screencasts like “breaking the instructor out of the box”. Yeah, I gotta figure out how to do that as well as figure out a sensible, sustainable workflow. I now have as a goal the creation of one, non-sucky screencast for my online Intro to Lit class this fall.

I’ll let you know how it all works out in an adventure-filled screencast coming to a browser near you.

Visual Poetry: Extended Reflection and Inflection


I know I am derivative.  This post derives from a reflective post by Kevin Hodgson.  Go there and read it.  What follows here is…reactionary, but in no way is it intended to decry the work of others in the Daily Connect. After all I participated, too.  What is intended falls under the category of possible next steps, some “maybe adjacence”, a different kind of fieldwalk.

Here is the text of my comment that was on Kevin’s site using the Visual Poetry tool as a rhetorical vehicle.

carpenterseverytingsanail next stpe3 nextstep2

And here is some more commentary

download (2) hyperactive sheeo

Here is what I said in the post in simple text.

The intrinsic joy of these makes them worthy of doing in and of themselves.


I think there is some next step stuff that needs to happen.

1. Move focus away from digital objects and try to describe the connection that occurs

2. What are the messages about and how can we interact with them.

3. Let’s talk about how this tool might be used in other contexts.

I feel a bit like a naysayer. I am not. I am all for play as an infinite game that needs not justification. I just want verbs to be as important as nouns and I want us to learn together as a community about these tools and from each other about these tools.

OK, I got #3 started. #2? I am interacting with my own message now so I need to use this tool with someone else’s Visual Poetry message and relate what I discovered in doing that.  As for discoveries here, I find the tool helps me to read and think visually with text.  That’s a start.  #1? Describing the connection with myself seems a bit narcissistic, but for writers we do this all the time in the self-editing.  In fact this felt a bit like the same feeling I get when my tweets are too long and I have to fudge and fiddle a bit.  I suppose #1 is about reflecting upon the medium and the message and the medium as message.  Why bother?  Why not? Isn’t reflection part of a grander game of motivation and intention and agency?  I think it might be but that is a game for another post.

You try it.  Mess about with my message.  Mess about with your own messages. Hmmm, do mess and message have the same root? Hang out, message/mess about, geek out, share out. HOMAGOSO.


Policy Is Boring (NOT!)

What do policymakers want from researchers? Blogs, elevator pitches and good old fashioned press mentions.

Duncan Green provides short and sweet translations of some of the key findings from a recent survey looking at how US policymakers use and value international studies research. The findings point to the importance of blogging, but also to the sustained influence of traditional print media.

I cast a ‘not nearly’ wide enough net in my daily fieldwalks through my browser, but it is wide enough to pick up some interesting stuff that resonates on a different frequency than my usually beat of edtech, connected learning, and composition tools.

I came across this in my RSS feed (Inoreader) and could not help but see adjacent possibilities flash before me. Duncan Green makes an open invitation to anyone out there who could be seen as big time, informal policy experts. I see his blog post as a call to our students at university (and younger) to become expert in at least some aspect of their discipline (or their lives) as it applies to social policy. I, too,  see this as an acknowledgement of a growing sphere of influence for credible outsiders and iconoclasts. In other words, this is a clarion trumpet blast for readers and writers to become expert readers and writers. If this is not a supreme justification for liberal arts principles and values I don’t know what is.

Green identifies some of these adjacent opportunities in this post. His comments are in bold below and mine are in block quotes.

1. The more policymakers know about a subject, the less they believe ‘experts’.

What I know well, I can suss out so-called experts on. If they are nuanced, I know it. If they are not, then usually that is a sign they don’t know their stuff. Not always, but usually. So, I want experts who know their stuff summing up, critiquing, curating, and analyzing research materials so I don’t have to. And I want to be able to trust them so I am so burdened with fact checking them.

2. Get blogging, people.

Folks who are visible and have been for a long time have greater credibility. For example, someone like Bryan Alexander has cred for me. When he writes about higher ed I read it. There are real opportunities for writers who can grow in expertise through blogging. Policymakers need bloggers to help them and, apparently, familiarity and trust trump academic standing. Good news for outsiders and iconoclasts.

3. Work on those elevator pitches.

Outsider information can rocketh even in the face of inside game “classified” channels. But…the internet is still viewed as suspect or perhaps a bit of a diluted authority. Elite print still wins.

4. Good old fashioned press work beats social media.

There is a growing role for those who could become authoritative experts online and guides on the side. These senior policy folks don’t want or need to be ‘educated or trained’. What they need are advisers and sharers of new knowledge. Most of all thy want “frames” from which facts and new knowledge can be made sense of. In other words”the best narrative (not the best evidence) wins”.


a pie graph that shows learning sources for policy makers
How policymakers view their own learning sources


As an aside, I find the pie graph cited in Green’s piece to be very revealing and a corroboration of adult/informal research work done by folks like Charles Jennings  known in learning and development theory as the “70-20-10 model”.

At the P-20 levels our policymakers are considered typically to be the administrators.  The open and startling truth of this graph is that 50% of real, useable learning comes from field work, but the hidden truth is I think what this means to teachers and students. We are all potential hyperlocal policymakers and the adjacent possibility here is that fat and untapped channel of policymaking that could rise up from the everyday field of ‘classroom’ work.

How could we cultivate this unacknowledged field?  Start by admitting that it exists, then begin to develop simple, easy to use ways to tap into the flow or to use existing channels (social media, email, online communities) to do so.  If we don’t, then we still have the status quo with its secret backchannels and old boy/old girl networks.  Yeah, how’s that been working for us?

I want to think more about how this applies at all levels of the educational establishment. I would love to know whether it could or already does constitute a separate path, a countervailing force within the establishment institution. What do you think?

Duncan Green’s piece was published in his blog From Poverty to Power.Green has also written a book by the same title. His twitter handle is @fp2p.

We Are Boundary Catalysts

paper theater as tool for creative visualization
Visual Facilitation Theater

I think Sarah Honeychurch was remarking that “catalyst” was one of her favorite words. Mine, too.  Then I ran across this blog post by Chris Glynn and knew I had hit a very rich vein that I could share with her.  Here is the quote that thrilled me and I hope you like it, too, because I think it represents one of the those disciplinary crossover moves.  What I mean is I am going to steal this idea to motivate myself and maybe you can as well.

Illustrators are like actors, teachers and politicians: we are boundary catalysts, able to engage with emotionally charged, strategic, learning situations. Illustrators have always been interpreters and translators. However, in addition to illuminating a text or idea from within, or commenting from the side-lines, or speaking for others from a brief, we can take the main stage and occupy an expanded role by hosting, influencing and directing the conversation, and animating the exchange of energy and ideas.

Job description anyone? Teacher as Illustrator? I like it.

Note: this post has annotation extras in the side margin. Feel free to add your own annotations. You don’t even need to ask permisson, just have at it, hoss.

The Whole World Is A DJ

I ran across this quote reading a forum here on how to keep your mixes from getting booted off Soundcloud.

The whole world is a DJ

In the context of that forum the point was that the tools are available now for almost anyone to begin to be their own DJ, but there is real consonance and dissonance in that short declarative sentence.

This collage is my first take on exploring it.  If you go here you can add your own to it, remix or de-mix.

Ladybug Baby Shower Ideas Photo Collage

Here is my own annotation of it.


Why bother with this ‘hyperactivity’? I am interested in the play of text and image. As a teacher and especially as a teacher of composition I feel it is part of my discipline and work to explore the metes and bounds of these media. What happens when they cross each other. Is there a hedgerow effect where text and words get all weedy and messy together just as they do in a fencerow? Is it like the various DMZ’s around the world that end up being profoundly diverse ecocorridors for diversity to expand into? Is it even like an ecosystem at all? All of these questions and more all go toward answering the larger pedagogic one: if text and image and sound are an ecosystem, then how can those who are learning along with me make the most of their own ‘mess’? I love my work.

Please note: there are some notes in the margins created by You are welcome to join me there where you will find explanatory screencasts, snarky endeavors by colleagues, and much and sundry:

How I Stole a Poem & How You Can, Too

I was reading a post by Deanna Mascle.

I saw a nice picture.

My eyes were going crazy trying to read it so, with Thoreau as my guide,  I made it more legible. And I wanted to break the cycle represented here, to open it up. That is my main collaborative addition to this. I noted to Deanna in G+ comment that I didn’t know whether I’d done justice or violence to her image. Sometimes violence is justice. In this case I am hoping this is non-violent justice.

Like any reader worth his salt, I added the arrow elements above and below as my way of making sense, of making legible, the image.  I cut out big words using much the same subliminal judgment I use when making cut-out or black-out poem, which is to say only vaguely and mos def not rationally. Those words are the red, yellow, and green ones above.

Next step: make more sense (or stop making sense at all).  The image below is me making a mess before it maketh sense.

I know it’s a not so nice picture anymore.  Non-violent justice? Violent injustice? Homage and sincerest form of? Maybe I can get rid of some of the arrows.

Maybe I make it more legible? more pretty? more mine?  Not mine. Ours. Perhaps ‘mined’ from Deanna’s, but not mined. Yourn + mine = Ourn?  I trust that is true.

pablo (95)

And finally…an invitation to collaborate using this editable embed courtesy of Hackpad.

View Real-ly…original copy on Hackpad.



KQED Teach

KQED Teach

KQED Teach is a fun and social online learning platform for educators to improve their media literacy skills


KQED has been committed to helping teachers and learners for as long as I can remember. Early on it was providing public TV resources and lesson plans. Now, as they have evolved, they give us communities and networks of connected learners.  This is their latest effort.  And it is a hand-in-glove fit to the DIY online community, CLMOOC, as they wend their way through their four week field walk.

I especially like the “courses” they offer.  Here is one I like a lot, Video Storytelling Essentials.  Why? Because it divides the ‘lessons’ into how to tell stories with video (five modules) and how to teach others to tell those stories (one module).  That is the correct order of things.  If you want to teach then you need to make–a lot.

The community part of the site is nascent, but there is still activity–a very good sign.  Check out Rachel (sorry, I don’t know last name) and her use of WeVideo to make a six-word video story.  Got me inspired:  wake, take, make, reflect, listen, go.  Going to try to have something by the evening before the Twitter chat for #CLMOOC

Six Degrees of Annotation Meets the Silent Tree Falling Unheard in the Forest

animated gif of emergency vehicle flashing a light in the fog.
Ubiquitous as fog.

The history of the idea that we are only six steps away from anyone is ubiquitous.

Microsoft proves there are just six degrees of separation between us

I decided to add to that ubiquity by annotating a blog post and relying on the annotations to somehow in sixish silence make their way to the writer.

I know that this ‘experiment’ is different than Milgram’s original small world experiment . No probs.  Just like ol’ Stanley, I have no IRB peering over my shoulder  with their beady crow eyes.

I wonder how long it will take.

coffee coming from an endless cappuccino machine
Endlessly waiting for my cuppa cafe