Monthly Archives: May 2012

Camp MacGuffin – Counselor G Log 1

For those of you who haven’t met me at Camp MacGuffin yet, my camper name is Doodle Bug because I’m a hobbiest entomologist and I like to draw stuff.

The first week of Camp MacGuffin has been really exciting. First I moved all my stuff into Bunkhouse 1 but realized I read the Bunk assignments incorrectly and had to move to Bunkhouse 2.


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

@Tripper106 is my co-counselor and he’s been rocking the PA system every day on DS106Radio which makes me super happy and productive. You should have seen all the macaroni necklaces I made during his epic setlist. Pics to come, I promise!

Other Bunkhouses have already settled on names, thinking about logos and we’re still in the brainstorming phase. I’m not even sure if we got all the brains to the table yet. But I do know we have a really great group of campers. John Johnston already created a twitter list and an RSS aggregate for us. Yippee!~

A lot of our Bunkhouse2 campers have hit the ground running. Creating assignments & doing them, completing the Daily Creates with fervour but I’m kind of worried about a couple of the campers. The woods and the swamp can sometimes take you through a time vortex and suddenly you come back to the bunkhouse and 3 weeks have passed by without doing a Daily Create, an assignment or even setting up your blog! The swamp, especially, has this swamp monster who is dreadfully boring but to be polite campers will sit down and have a cup of tea and the next thing you know four daily creates have passed!

We also have to remember to take time to comment on the other blogs in our Bunkhouse. I say this but right now I’ve got to run, I was hoping to find time to tie-dye some t-shirts and make some animated GIFs this afternoon but that swamp monster is coming my way!

QUICK UPDATE: happy welcome to @mgershovich who has decided to take the ds106 plunge (he knows it’s #4LIFE)


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

Casserole Ensemble

Casseroles - Montréal

Sunday’s Daily Create was to take a picture that shows motion. I decided to make it rather show a movement. I love the celebratory, non-violent movement of this ensemble featured in The Huffington post. I’ve included the embed of the video below. It’s quite moving. I love the track titled Intuition by Astronomie. It’s en français; my fave line is “D’un même élan” (roughly translated: the same momentum).

Quebec students have been on strike for over 100 days and most mainstream media has mostly ignored them or chalked them up to “self-absorbed brats

Last week the National Post ran an op-ed from John Moore where he challenges the prominent notion from the R.O.C (Rest of Canada)

He points out, “Today’s youth face a grim future not of their own making. Is it any wonder that they’re angry about it?”

Born in Toronto, Ontario but living in Montreal, QC, my brother, Matt Forsythe has done some beautiful art work as his contribution to the Casserole.

In addition, his recent FB status update has generated a lot of discussion.

Students should be realistic and think about the economy. Let’s be realistic.
Raising tuition fees reduces social mobility, increases personal debt, reduces spending and home ownership, increases student loans (which, by the way, is great for banks), creates a less-educated and less-skilled workforce.
So how is raising tuition fees good for the economy?

I agree. I think this argument is brief but clear and his friends are commenting in droves, not all agreeing but all being quite respectful.

Now this is really looking like a fan site for my brother, but I really have to also give credit for this stunning picture he took from a rooftop in Montreal:

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NOTE on making the Animated GIF: I took a screen grab of the video for about 5 seconds. The more observant of you will notice my sloppy mouse icon in the bottom left corner]

Then I Imported mov as layers into Photoshop CS5. I masked out the movement I wanted to freeze and what I wanted to move.

I applied the filter: Brush strokes-Ink Outline to the layers and exported as B&W animated GIF.

Photoshop screen shot of layers for casserole gi

Photoshop screen shot of layers for casserole gi

Trace that Face

Today’s Daily Create is to FACE TRACE! I use this ALL THE TIME! So much that it’s worthy of a blog post.

Daily Create Instructions: Use a photo of a face. Use a draw tool or your finger to draw all lines of the face on top of it. Delete the photo leaving the tracing.

I started by importing a picture of my very lovely daughter onto my iPad using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.


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


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe
I changed the opacity of the photograph on the layer before and added a new layer. All my drawing is done on the top layer. I cannot emphasize enough how much I LOVE and LIVE for layers. This is the main reason I don’t like 53 Paper NO layers! (that I can find, unless that’s some kind of extra in-app purchase?

I’m using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro but Taptrix Brushes works well too. In fact, sometimes Brushes is better because it records your brush strokes, as you will see from Tim’s excellent face trace.

In fact, Tim’s video reminded me that last week someone asked if I ever record video of me drawing. Dean Shareski made a short video at unpluggd but other than that, no, I never even thought that would be interesting.

I always aim to please, so here you go:

I sped the video up 400% using iMovie so you wouldn’t have to sit through all 7 minutes.

UMW Faculty Academy

I had the honour to be invited to speak at University of Mary Washington’s 2012 Faculty Academy in Virginia. Andy Rush did an excellent job of recording the session.


The thought of talking straight for an hour terrified me that I’d have a room full of sleeping people, so I tried to incorporate some of Cathy Davidson’s advice about encouraging large groups to think, pair, share. I took her idea one step in the doodle direction and asked them to draw. I scheduled regular doodle breaks to punctuate the segments between my agenda of history, brainstorming, planning, teaching, learning. Finally I tried to mash that up with Stephen Brookfield‘s critical incidents questionnaire so I could get feedback about the most engaging/least engaging moments in the session.

The big take away is that DS106 and ds106radio communities have given me the tools and inspiration to unleash my creativity in ways that best suit my learning. I hope I convinced a few folks to take DS106 a spin this summer at Camp MacGuffin

and a few more to pick up a pencil and sketch to brainstorm, plan, teach and learn.

For those of you, who are like me and prefer to skim content, here’s the slide deck you can quickly click through.

I wanted to end with a bang, so I paid homage to Jim Groom’s excellent TEDxNYED talk where he was able to deliver the first 3 minutes of a talk based on animated gifs without the projector working. He improvised and BECAME the animated gif. It was legendary.Below is the animated GIF renactment of McCaule Culkin in Home Alone represented the disastrous act, No Child Left Behind.

Of course presenting was a thrill but in truth, this event was a huge professional development opportunity for me. I learned a ton from so many amazing folks.

This was my second time in Virginia on the lovely UMW campus. This time I got to meet so many more incredible UMW staff and faculty, in addition to the awesome CUNY and Oberlin crews who I have only known online.

The first day was Grant’s really great presentation on Tinkering, Learning & The Adjacent Possible.

I wanted to riff off this concept, so I included my visual note as a first slide in my own presentation the next day:

@grantpotter Tinkering, Learning & The Adjacent Possible

What a treat to meet Michael Bransons Smith & Luke Waltzer (& see Mikhail again, of course). I loved their presentation on Dreaming about 100 Gadzillion BAzillion posts (we’re not gonna get hung up on the math).

100 Bazillion Posts A Year. CUNY Federation, Curriculum & Management #Umwfa12 @mgershovich @lwaltzer @mbransons

I was pleased to see Shannon Hauser present her blog journey. I cannot express how much I appreciate student voices at these events. Her dashboard was inspiring. It told a story on its own but it was great to have her give a bit of insight into the inner workings.

@shauser What a Long Strange Trip it's Been #umwfa12

It was cool to sit in the discussions about The Domain of One’s Own, which thanks to coolest CIO, Justin Webb (who happens to have the coolest CIO name, EVAR) is being made available to 400 students this coming fall.

A Domain Of One's Own #umwfa12

Another highligh was getting to see the MakerBots in action, thanks to the tinkering of Tim Owens.

Maker @timmmyboy With More Pompadour Cc @drgarcia @leelzebub

Especially after seeing David Darts reach for his source code.


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

David Darts is the artist provocateur / inventor of the Pirate Box, which inspired @Noiseprofessor to build one for Alan. Eventually that adorable little box came to hold thousands of files, affectionately known as StoryBox. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, it’s always awesome to spend any amount of time with Alan too, of course.


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by rushaw

Just as I was finishing this post up, GNA encouraged me to think about things I learned from doing this presentation. Good question. I really like the idea of having people graph their attention but I think I could have spent more time explaining or (here’s a radical concept) include a drawing of how I expected the axis to look. One piece of feedback I received from the index cards was that “forced doodling was awkward” and I should have given space for participants to gracefully opt out of drawing if it was out of their comfort zone.

UPDATE: Additional Resources & References
The Art of Changing the Brain, James Zull

Being a Critically Reflective Teacher, Stephen Brookfield

Now You See It, Cathy Davidson

Back of the Napkin, Dan Roam
Gamestorming, Sunni Brown
Visual Teams, David Sibbet
The Shape of Thoughts, Nick Sousanis

Cost of Knowledge. Elsevier Boycott
My Visual Practice Resource Page