Using Harlem Shake to Teach Physics

Feb 19, 2013 by

I’m not going to pretend that I remember enough about my high school physics to speak intelligently about the difference between  centrifugal and centripetal forces, but I do know a good piece of teachable media when I see it. When you introduce a brick to a front-loading washing machine spinning at several hundred RPMs, you get something both destructive and magical. If your mind works in similar ways to my own, you most likely giggled a bit, guffawed a lot, and then started thinking about what a great visual piece this is for students! They get to see a little destruction (popularized by shows like Mythbusters), laugh at the absurdity of it, and then have this wonderfully discrepant moment of a washing machine thrashing about on the ground because someone tossed a single brick into the rotating drum. I can’t even begin to fathom the great leading questions that students could generate from watching this in a physics...

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Media Literacy & Burger King Advertisements from Around the World

Dec 14, 2011 by

This morning I discovered one of the most ridiculous, over the top, and just plain head scratching commercials from Burger King thanks to one of my twitter friends. It appears to be a Russian produced video for Burger King, and while I’m not sure if it’s intended to be an actual commercial or just some rap gone horribly wrong, it turns the “wacky” meter up to 11. Now, I’m not one to quickly dismiss another culture’s take on what is a quintessentially American form of communication; over the top commercials for fast food places. If anything, I appreciated the fact that while this video did have some sexually charged references, it was actually quite tame compared to many American produced commercials with scantily clad women, including the following commercial for Burger King starring Darius Rucker (Dallas Cowboy cheerleader’s giving me a shave, really?). After watching both of those I was curious to see...

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Teaching and Learning with Digital and Mobile Media

Nov 23, 2011 by

I was recently asked to create two “one-pagers” for a special project I had been involved in with Detroit Public Television. I was asked to write these documents as companions to the short video I helped create for a Fractions for 4th Grade App created by Study by APP. The idea was to create a digital learning tool that was brief, engaging, and incorporated a lot of visual elements, along with the typical multiple choice review questions. While the project ultimately didn’t go anywhere due to a lack of funding, it was quite an interesting experience (I got to work with some really amazingly talented video and television people), and I got to hold several bars of chocolate long enough until they were melted all over my fingers (only one way to clean that off, yum!). I tried to condense both papers into one, and while they have a...

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10 Resources for Copyright and Royalty Free Media

Nov 4, 2011 by

A long time ago, in a pre-computer media landscape when copying and pasting meant you actually got to play with scissors and glue, teachers and students created multimedia projects with little regard to copyright law. Images from magazines, corporate logos, and other media were used with reckless abandon to create visually and aurally pleasing projects. Before the dawn of the internet, these types of projects were hung in hallways, classrooms, and refrigerators with great care, and for the most part, didn’t cause much of a stir with copyright holders. However, with the proliferation of dozens of social media sharing websites, many educators’ lack of clear understanding of copyright law and fair use (at no fault of their own, it can get complicated), and the ability for all of these wonderful projects to go digital and posted to the web, the battles and issues with copyright holders can produce paralyzing anxiety...

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The “Big Questions”

Jul 12, 2011 by

As a part of ds106 (the best digital storytelling class ever, guaranteed to blow your mind), I recently had the pleasure to converse with @alanliddell, @shannotate, and @cherylcolan. We each posed one “big question” related to the course, and then proceeded to dissect it in every way possible for close to an hour. Topics covered include the purpose and value of community, the future of media, the role of media and pop culture in education, and using threats and ultimatums to get what you want. Although I’m thoroughly well mannered through the entire podcast, I do toss out a couple of big bombshells that might surprise some. For instance, I’m ok if students aren’t writing to express themselves as long as they can still think and react critically through various forms of media. Summer Camp of Oblivion – “The Big Questions” by techsavvyed If you’re confused as to why we’re sitting around a campfire, and who...

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