Guess the Twilight Zone Episode

May 29, 2013 by

This week in DS106 we’re supposed to be creating audio and design assignment based around three particular episodes from the famous series. I choose to create an assignment around none of them, because I like to rock the boat in seemingly harmless and inconsequential ways like that. We all have learners like this in our classrooms, right? Besides, if I had created the 4 Icon Challenge assignment around one of the three episodes suggested, it would have been too easy. As it is, for fans of the Twilight Zone, this should be easy enough; guess the episode based on these four icons representing four of the main elements from the show. Was this particularly difficult to do? No, I went over to the Noun Project (a website every serious digital storyteller in K-12 should have bookmarked), and grabbed the four Public Domain images above, lined them up in Photoshop...

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Brian Bennett, Flipped Video “Lord”

May 27, 2013 by

DS106 is a magical and serendipitous course. There’s really nothing else like it. The recent Education Technology MOOC that Alec Couros and Alan Levine, among others, helped facilitate this Winter came close to matching DS106. It had awesomely silly collaborative experiences, and fantastic conversations based around the educational use of technology that helped introduce a host of educators to blogging, but it just wasn’t DS106. There’s something about the student generated assignments, and creative constraints placed upon participants, that scratches a particularly fantastic itch for me. Enter Brian Bennett, young educator and “Flipped Learning” expert. After some early prodding, some video story problems, and a few exploratory GIFs, Brian decided to jump in with both feet for this “Twilight Zone” themed go-around of DS106. I’d say he’s in way over his head, but the man has been treading water like a champ, completing scores of assignments last week alone! He...

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The Hardest 4 Icon Challenge Yet

Jul 13, 2012 by

I’ve been following Jim Groom’s “Name that 80s movie” 4 icon challenge series, and while he promised that they would become more difficult, I think the many summers I spent glued to the TV watching HBO for hours on end gives me an unfair advantage (I totally nailed the Flash Gordon one). I thought I’d try to up the “name that obscure movie” difficulty level, and while it was entertaining for myself to put together the following 4 icon challenge (I learned how to make a parchment-like background in Adobe Illustrator), I’m not sure if I did actually come up with something that will stump anybody….at least not anyone who is halfway decent with Google searching. Think you can name the this movie? I continue to fiddle with the 4 icon challenge concept, this time blending both icons and actual images, one of those images laying over another. It’s not...

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4 Icon Challenge in the Classroom

Feb 19, 2012 by

I recently had the opportunity to spend a day in my old teaching position; an elementary technology class. I was always big on working with media when I taught the class for the 4 years I was in the position, so I took the opportunity to give the students a challenge taken from the pages of ds106, the wonderfully playful and media-rich digital storytelling community. The particular challenge that I gave them comes from the 4 Icon Challenge Assignment found on the ds106 site, and asks those willing to complete it to break down a story into 4 basic elements or themes, and then whittle those 4 ideas down into 4 basic icons. The students LOVED IT! I had them open up Neo Office on their school Macs, though it could just have easily have been done with Pages, MS Word, or some other word processing application. I then...

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Who Watches the Watchmen?

Feb 18, 2012 by

Who watches the watchmen? If teachers are to be held accountable now for every single result that their students achieve on any and all testing, who makes sure that every single teacher in a school building is bringing their “A” game every single day? If it falls upon the administrators, then who is it that makes sure those principals and evaluators are able to observe every single teacher, each and every week, in order to maintain at least a semblance of consistency? If each and every state is going to hire external monitors, pay for expensive testing protocols, and report data in a near-constant stream to the public, which oversight body of elected officials or bureaucrats is going to have to spend every waking moment following through on this? If all of these measures are going to cost millions, if not billions, of dollars, where is that money coming from, and what could...

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