Month: March 2009

Total 15 Posts

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Cigotie?

YouTube user cigotie attends my feeder middle school. In spite of his age and our rural setting, he has amassed a portfolio of digital special effects on par with people twice his age and half his distance to Hollywood.

He is an auto-didact, having taught himself with online tutorials (like Video Copilot, which is the best of the best) to use tools which others attend brick-and-mortar schools to learn. He publishes his videos on a YouTube channel to a global audience. One of my freshmen fully expects to see him on the shortlist for an Academy Award in 2015. Your poster digital immigrant, in other words.

I’m impressed. I’m worried.

Here are a few comparisons between cigotie’s work and the Video Copilot tutorial, which, well, I guess “inspired” it is the right word.

The vision of education that promotes digital nativism seems very effective to me at equipping the natives with tools and technique, with hammers, nails, screwdrivers, glue, and a birdhouse tutorial from which they can build an identical birdhouse. But if there is a plan for moving the natives past raw technique, for bridging the gulf between technique and art, I have yet to see it widely articulated.

It’s just too easy to plunder Delicious for tags like “digitalstorytelling,” “aftereffects,” or “tutorial” and pass them off to natives like cigotie. But this kid doesn’t need more links, more web apps, or more resource sites lousy with textures, tutorials, and embeddable 3D objects. He needs someone to help him tell his own stories. Someone to interpret his interests and direct him to fiction and nonfiction that will drive his thinking to the point where he can create and not simply mimic.

I worry. Probably needlessly, but I worry that we are building schools that put students in a place to care about artistic expression while only equipping them with technique.

Fisking Ruff Ruffman

Rhett Allain kills me. Here you have him writing several hundreds words (with LaTeXing and diagrams) taking down the dubious physics of Ruff Ruffman, animated host of the children’s show FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman:

Ruff, if this is indeed the definition you used – I am not sure if it fits in this case. Maybe you meant momentum, although I think that is not quite right either. How about I solve this problem?

This is why God made blogs.

Just Say Yes?

Gary Ball, edtechnophile:

I want to be a Yes Man. I want to be a Lets Find a Way Man. I want my job to be finding ways to say yes to educators requests. Educator: “Can I do/have (insert random skill/technology/tool)?” Me: “Heck ya – that sounds awesome. I am not sure how but lets find a way!”

Mark Weston, Dell’s educational strategist:

Asking the question, “Does technology improve student learning?” is the wrong question. The question should be, “Does technology support the practices that improve student learning?”

End Of Days

Vice Magazine is an odd home for this photo set documenting the decay in certain corners of the Detroit Public School System, but it’s grim, essential stuff no matter who was behind the camera:

BTW: Jen notes that these photos were taken originally by a husband-and-wife team in Detroit who go by the name Sweet Juniper. They document Detroit’s decay wherever they find it, within the public school system and without. Nice find, Jen.