Sunday, June 28, 2015

A 25 Word Story Told with Animated Paper Circuitry

All of the sharing that's been happening during the first week of #clmooc has got me thinking more deeply about the roles of identity, connection, curation, and the ways that we portray ourselves in the myriad settings of our lives.  When we put ourselves out into the world, we are attempting to communicate and connect with others, but we may not always be successful.  Sometimes, we may feel like our words are disappearing into cyberspace. Other times, we might be hoping for a sign that our message has been received, by looking to the outside world for validation that what we have to say has value beyond our selves.  I suspect that for some, social media may even lead to alienation in the pursuit of authentic human connection.  I am grateful to #clmooc for explicitly inviting participants to reflect on issues like this as we explore and consciously create our connected learning community.

I decided to turn my latest paper circuit into an animated #25wordstory, which came to me when I started thinking about the paradox of social media.  I am interested in the intersection between paper circuitry and story-telling, to get myself thinking and expressing in new ways.

To create the video, I used the DoInk Green Screen and Drawing/Animation apps and iMovie.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Klexos Remixed #DoNowObject

binocular poem.jpgPerched upon the windowsill in my kitchen are three pairs of binoculars; this pair, found in an antique shop, is my favorite.  This object represents my attention to detail, a desire to watch, learn, and create, and my passion for noticing things that are often overlooked by others.  These lenses represent my passion for watching birds flitting around my yard, the value I place upon quiet introspection, and the ways that past events may be viewed in the mind’s eye.  They symbolize a desire to be deeply known, viewed beyond the surface.

After seeing @Susan Watson’s post depicting a list of emotions that people feel but cannot explain, I journeyed down a wormhole to explore the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. While there I savored the story of Klexos, by turning the text into a blacked out poem that expresses my thoughts.  

Klexos RemixedLife is opportunities.Look closer: notice.Questioning enrichesto allow someone to expose cracks by thoughts alone.It’s worth looking in memories,memory as art.Paint and remember.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Paper Circuitry Remix #untro

For the next few weeks, I will be participating in the Making Learning Connected MOOC, a collaboration between the National Writing Project and Educator

For the first #clmooc make, we were asked to "shatter the parameters of our introductions" in order to "see things in a new way."

I decided to do this by remixing of a couple of images that I drew and illuminated with paper circuitry.

Yesterday, I drew a purple monster with three glowing eyes.  Today it was a green alien (a cosmic photo bomber?) with a glowing heart.

After experimenting with a couple of fun tools (Bazaart and Lunapic) I remixed the images into a new piece of art! (If you look carefully, you may notice an alien heart beating).

I love the way that the new image tells a story without words and how the aliens look like open, welcoming critters.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Paper Circuitry and Animation

I have been captivated by paper circuitry and e-textiles since last summer, when I first started learning about soft circuits.  Using conductive thread or copper tape with LEDs to create objects that light up makes me extraordinarily happy, even if it hasn't necessarily contributed to my becoming a better writer, yet.  
While I have been deepening my exploration with soft circuits in my personal life, and by teaching a few workshops here and there, I am particularly interested in thinking more deeply about ways that this interest of mine can be integrated into content area teaching.  I want to know whether paper circuitry can help me and my future students become better thinkers, writers, and communicators.

I'd like to hear from other educators about how you have used paper circuitry to help upper middle to high school students communicate ideas or tell stories. 

Today, while I was thinking about this, I had an idea that could have some promise.  Rather than leaving my circuit hidden in a notebook, I decided to use it in a digital animation.   

Here's How I Did It:
This video is an app smash of iMovie, DoInk Greenscreen, and DoInk Drawing and Animation. I started by recording footage of a drawing of two cars in the middle of a road, with blinking headlights powered by a paper circuit.  I imported this clip into the DoInk Greenscreen app.  Next, I took a photo of the drawing and used Pixlr photo editer to remove the background from one of the cars, saving it as a transparent PNG file.  I imported the PNG file into the DoInk Drawing and Animation app and created a new composition, making the photograph appear to move.  I added the text by creating another animation.  I imported these compositions as new layers within the Greenscreen app, uploaded the final video to camera roll, and added audio within iMovie.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Paper Circuitry and the Writing Process

I started with a drawing.
Inspired by Nexmap's 21st Century Notebooking idea (done in collaboration with the National Writer's Project) I am attempting to blend paper circuitry with my own writing process.  This might sound easy, but I was surprised to find it more challenging than I thought I would. I love making the circuits, and even drawing or making collages of images that are in my imagination; but, when it comes to writing down the words, I sometimes struggle.  

While a goal of integrating paper circuitry into the writing process is to provide another communication tool, it should be noted that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the writing that you desire to inspire in yourself or others will be particularly good or flow easily. If I'm being completely honest, my writing process has been labored, even though I'm doing this as my own personal challenge.  I’ve found myself procrastinating and looking for permission to take a low-stakes approach, such as creating a blackout poem, composing a haiku, or illustrating a borrowed quotation. These options seem less daunting than documenting a personal metaphor or attempting to write something profound and magical. Still, I believe that this is a process worth exploring; we all need encouragement to practice telling our stories in different ways in order to find our most authentic voice.

I allowed myself to start writing in haiku. 
I created the circuit last.
So, when I struggle to find the right words, or worry that they won't be good enough, I need only remind myself to trust the process and play.  

I started my haiku by creating a drawing that reminded me of where I grew up. With some effort, and slightly adjusted expectations, the words followed.  With a little revision, I was happy enough with the outcome to share it here.

The thing that I like most about my finished piece is the way the illuminated flowers really look like jewels.

This is the first time that I let my content drive the circuit, instead of vise versa.

As I continue my exploration of paper circuitry as a literacy tool, I am wondering how I may build upon this experience to create meaningful learning opportunities for students. I personally love making things with my hands, so I naturally gravitate toward this sort of work.  

Conversely, I am wondering what research has to say about the use of paper circuitry in the writing process. I know some audacious educators have already been practicing this process in their classrooms, but I haven't seen a lot of examples of student work. Beyond the gleeful anecdotes and gee-whiz appeal that blinking lights are sure to conjure, I am curious to know how effective notebook hacking really is as a tool for improving communication or increasing creativity. The process has value on a personal level, but I'm eager to find out what students think.

Forgotten Jewels
Dusty petals croon
against a blanket of sand.
Sing, desert blossom.