Monthly Archives: November 2011

How DS106 Changed My Life

Having exhausted everyone in my physical proximity, I was sitting around this weekend just hoping someone would ask me about DS106.





Oh, Tom, I’m so glad you asked:

This is the second animation that I’ve tried using this method. The first one was last week for Dave Cormier’s #change11 session on Rhizomatic Learning.

I find it interesting that Rhizomatic Learning has 300 views and two “likes” whereas this DS106 video has only had 30 views and already has 5 “likes” and 3 comments. I realize we shouldn’t conflate mouse clicks with engagement but this is a good example of how I feel the DS106 community is so encouraging and enthusiastic.

What I meant to mention in the video was the essential role of commenting. My first post was just two drawings, no text. The comments caused me to revisit the post and write out context and process. Luckily, Tim and Alan have already touched upon this in their videos.

And maybe you will too? There’s always time to tell the world about how much you love DS106!

Technical notes:

[Yes, I used an iPad but please be aware: I partially despise the things.]

I used the Taptrix Brushes app to do the drawing, which records your brush strokes as you draw. I have been mostly using AutoDesk SketchBook Pro for most of the work in my Visual Practice. I use a pogo stylus. The hardest part is erasing and redrawing because it does not do frame-by-frame animation, just records everything you do.

I do NOT enjoy the process of drawing, exporting “Actions” via email. [EMAIL?It's 2011, why am I EMAILING!?]
Then I have to extract the .zip file into a .brushes file, open the file on the desktop Brushes App (free download). Then export to MOV. Then Import into iMovie. Alas, this is Life With an iPad, where moving content is notoriously painful.

I feel like I help sell these infernal devices every time I do a drawing on one, so I must tell you: it is not all rosy. It takes patience and tenacity.

I used PhotoBooth to record the video and just watched the animation as I read. (This is why I missed the key important bit about comments) Finally I brought the whole thing into iMovie. I confess I also despise iMovie 8 and up so I’m still using iMovie HD (v. 6?). I had to export the thing about 4 times before I got the settings correct. YouTube wants wide screen but Brushes exports 800×600.

Overall I’m pleased. I wouldn’t mind (hint, hint) if someone took the drawing part and did their own audio since I find my volume is low. [REMIX!]
I tried to get the smooth voice of @scottlo to do it, but alas he’s too busy dissecting his teaching.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

Rhizome Remix

This week’s #change11 facilitator is Dave Cormier, talking about Rhizomatic Learning – Why We Learn. I saw him present at the University of Guelph #eportfolio week earlier this year.

I know that as the Manager, Web Communications and Innovations at Prince Edward Island University he is well versed in the pragmatist view of a bureaucratic policy maker. Ah, but you don’t have dig too deep below that job title to see that Dave is also a husband, father, French philosopher-citer, teacher, @gsiemens-contrarian, coffee-science hobbyest and nomadic, rhizomatic learner. Perhaps even a #socialartist?

Leslie Lindballe went on ds106radio a couple weeks ago, did some rhizome reading and reflecting live on the air. The following week Dave presented in Alec CourosECI831 class and I downloaded the video, listened to it on my mobile and did a little bit of drawing.

My Animated Doodle about Rhizomatic Learning

I like it for my first real try. But. Do you know what it really needs?

Someone to say something.
Narrate this thing!
Sing to it!
Play the guitar, ukelele! Or didgeridoo! Or piano!
Just make some sense of it. (if any is to be found!?)

So, I’m issuing a remix challenge. Record some audio for my doodle: using your PC, Mac, mobile, soundcloud, YouTube, etc. (your tool of choice, etc.), while watching the video and post it here for me. Or download the video using MPEG StreamClip and do whatever you like to it! (Update: I’ve made a version without audio for easier remixing)

Of course, feel free to take your own nomadic rhizomatic learning path. Cuz that’s cool too.

Some of my fave nomads: Leslie and Alan Levine (hopefully GNA Garcia) are joining me in a G+ hangout Wednesday November 9, 2pm EST to talk to Dave about Deleuzian, Rhizomatic Nomadic Learning. I think Tim Owens will be there (yaay!) and we *might* also be on DTLT Today. (Please join us if you can!)

Technical Sidenotes

I’ve been wanting to try animation for a while now but have gotten in the comfortable groove of using AutoDeskSketchBookPro and not Brushes, which will record your brush strokes on the iPad to make a movie. However, in light of Tim Owen‘s recent question: where is the change? and Nancy White‘s highly interactive and thought-engaging week about #socialartists, I decided to move out of my comfort zone, try Brushes again and do a little animation. Resolution could be better. Anyone know what export settings I should use from iMovie!? It goes in sharp and comes out fuzzy :( Audio: mixed in some CC music by Serge Seletskyy.

UPDATE: Discussion with Dave Cormier about Rhizomatic Learning, joined by Zack Dowell, Leslie Lindballe, Bryan Jackson

Inspired Rants – more on copyright

I have a renewed sense of vigour about injustice, irony and absurdity after being recharged from the electric energy emanating out of Utah and the OpenEd conference.

The Twitterz and The Blogs are lit up with chatter about Jim Groom’s OccupyOpenEd keynote. It has gotten people talking and that in itself makes it a success.

While Jim’s keynote was awesome, in truth, I’ve heard it already or lived it really, since I’ve been deep in the fray of ds106 fanaticism for a few months now. He was preaching to choir and I was singing Hallelujah loud and clear. Heck I even created a whole sock puppet identity to take the Summer of Oblivion.

So, to shift onto other new things that had me rethinking and re-examining and something that really reinvigorated me was Brian Lamb’s session : Towards Open Sustainability Education


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

I didn’t quite realize how much I had absorbed, until -fast forward- to our institution’s most recent copyright workshop, co-hosted by our teaching centre and the library. Let me set the stage: Imagine a room filled with 50 slightly irate faculty who are frustrated about what Access Copyright and changing legislation will mean for their teaching. They were mad as hell and wanted to vent that anger.

Etched into my mind through my chaotic visual notes while listening to a stream of #ds106radio a bit of Brian’s session took a new shape of its own, in my own words (slightly embellished, perhaps mutilated but nonetheless inspired).

I said:

As academics you write these articles, for free.
You peer review these articles, for free. [I got a few nods on this one]
You submit them to journals to be published.
Then your articles get locked up and sold back to us. Repeatedly.
We are paying the Access Copyright tariff and many times we already pay for licences in the library.

We are a publicly funded institution. Our government collects taxes and funds the university and granting agencies so that we can further our body of knowledge, so that we can have a competitive world class knowledge economy. What good can we do if we lock all this knowledge up behind paywalls? How are we solving the world’s problems? How are we being thought leaders?

I am glad you are angry. You should be. But you shouldn’t be angry at the library or administration.

Then I asked everyone to recognize their own agency for change. This doesn’t need to be something that happens to us. We can actively work to change things because this is bigger than us. This is bigger than just our institution.

Across Canada, universities are dealing with the exact same problems. The entire world is struggling with these issues. Last week, academics around the world participated in Open Access Week.

Turn your anger into action: I urge you to show your support for AUCC, CAUT, CLA. Write your member of parliament. And- if you have the option to contribute in an open access journal, pledge it so! There are also an expansive ever growing list of work to choose from, that has been released as open access.

At this point a faculty member pointed out that one journal wanted to charge him about two thousand euros if he wanted to release his article as open access. This was news to me, but then another faculty member piped up and indicated that the granting agencies have a field in the forms to ask for extra funding in order to publish as open access.

I even slipped in a couple snide comments about Aaron Swartz.

Okay, I kind of glanced over the sustainability part during the rant, but it’s not that hard to see that the practices of academic publishing are exploitative and do not contribute to a sustainable model of knowledge growth.

Sometimes I get scolded for speaking out of turn. I mean it wasn’t my session, I was a guest, supposed to be there for support. Well I didn’t get scolded and a few people came up to me afterwards and thanked me.

So in turn, thanks OpenEd and especially Brian Lamb for stirring up my outrage again.