Week 4 Motivational Poster

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This weeks creation was to create a motivational poster that focused on my story telling theme. My theme is “Through the Eyes of a Toddler” so I knew right away that the photo would be of my daughter. Not sure what photo I wanted to choose quite yet I decided to look through quotes first. Dr. Seuss has some of my favorite quotes so I began the process by looking at his work. When I found the quote “Kid. You’ll Move Mountains” I immediately thought of when we talk our daughter to Mnt. Rainier.

The next step in the process was to figure out how to create the poster. I settled on using PowerPoint because I knew I could add  text to the background with ease. The photo compliments the quote perfectly because not only does it literally have a mountain and a kid in it but it was the story behind the photo for me as well. The photo was taken last Winter right after we had hiked up the mountain at least a mile each way. That may not seem like much of a deal, unless you are a two year old. My daughter was so proud of herself because not only did she hike up the glorious mountain but she did so for the first time without asking me to carry her. It was a moment where I felt this sense of pride for her because I knew she realized she can do anything she puts her mind to!

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Week Three Reflection

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Each week seems to be getting better than the last! I feel that I completed the tasks this week in a more timely manner than the last two weeks but I still need to get stuff done a bit earlier. I felt like I was just behind the curve on a couple of assignments and I know that can affect my peers trying to respond to my posts.Next week I will make it a point to really have everything done and turned in as early in the week as possible.

I think the main thing that gave me trouble this week was also my favorite, the video creation. It gave me the most trouble because I got so excited about it and I didn’t want to stop which in turn also put me behind in other assignments because I only have so much time to a lot for homework each day. In the example I saw on the ds106 page the person only created a few videos that were connected where I ended up using probably a dozen videos, and that is the edited version! When given the task to sum up the last three years of my child’s life in three minutes you end up finding that you simply cant include all of the special moments which is really a great problem to have!

I really didn’t have any issues this week with my work relating to my theme. I have luckily found a correlation almost immediately for each assignment.

My self assessment for this week is a tough call. I feel like with certain assignments such as my video I would definitely say exceeding expectations but given that I didn’t get everything on Friday that was due Friday my time brings me to below expectations. I strive to do each assignment to the best of my ability and moving forward I need to find more time in the beginning of the week to get ahead of the game.

Digital Story Telling Critique Week 3

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     This week I decided to critique a video on sign language for kids. I ended up finding a video that focused more on babies than toddlers but I figured the signs are the same right? I ended up finding this video to critique. I have to admit that this video was not one of my favorites on sign language. That being said, it did have some good aspects to it.

As far as how well I feel the story worked, I would have to give it about a seventy five percent. I say that because it did have some good points, it had not only someone talking and explaining things to the viewer but also did the hand sign close up and included the word in text.  My biggest issue is with the signs themselves because I am pretty certain a couple of them were not real signs. I am thinking that perhaps it is being seen as a simplified version so that little ones can form the sign however I personally feel that the sign should be shown correctly and if the child modifies it naturally then that is fine.

There was definitely project planning that went into this video which is evidenced by the text being included in the video as well as frankly the fact that the person speaking seems to be saying a script. The video has obviously been edited and has several clips smashes together. It gives the impression that she filmed possibly several clips and then put only the most successful ones or that perhaps she memorized her lines in smaller increments. Either way, it was effective because what she is saying is clear and easy to understand.

Regarding the research done prior to creating this video I am on the fence. I’m not sure if her modified signs are generally excepted or something she made up to make it easier. For example when she signs the word “help” she does so by having her fist tilted to the side and falling down on an open hand. My understanding of the sign is that you need to have your thumb up when doing it. So was it omitted to make it easier or a mistake? To find out more I referenced other children signing videos and found this one. You can see that they are showing how to sign the word “help” the way that I remembered it. I am still not certain if this was simply a modification though.

The flow of the video was done very well in my opinion. The woman gets right to the point with each word and gives you all of the information you need for each one briefly and clearly. I know that when I look for a video to explain how to do something the last thing I want to locate is a video that is 20 minutes long to explain something that could easily have been explained in less than 3 minutes!

Lastly, I wanted to discuss the sense of audience. I was a little surprised that a sign language video had the majority of its explanation done through speaking. Then I had a bit of a duh moment though because if a parent was deaf chances are that they already know the basics! What are your feelings on that?

 

Week 3 Reading Reflection and Scholarship

This week we read Chapter 1: DIY Media: A contextual background and some contemporary themes. I truly really enjoyed the subject matter of this article. It was all about aiming to introduce ourselves to DIY or do-it-yourself media. It discusses how today’s youth is doing a lot of “digital media” and having ourselves as educators more informed about these practices to be able to apply it to teach students in a more modern way. I enjoyed the article because it was discussing how we can adapt education to fit the needs of more modern times rather than being negative about the new technology and pushing to keep things the same. I feel like it is a step in the right direction because as a society we are definitely becoming more and more tech based. As it says in the chapter, “They are not just curious about what kids are doing. Rather, they want to be able to make meaningful and respectful connections to these practices; connections that will contribute to learning in ways that will enhance…”.

In the chapter we learn about the do-it-yourself method and its origins. Interestingly enough the term comes from the mid-1950s and references mainly men taking on larger tasks in the home or on the family vehicle. This was done to cut down on having to pay a fortune for a licensed worker to complete the task. In today’s day and age I feel like most people will first see if they can address the problem themselves before resorting to calling someone.

The chapter also describes how the do-it-yourself movement really spiked as tools and knowledge became more and more accessible to everyday people. So for example, smaller more affordable power tools became available and the local community colleges started offering classes to teach what was previously considered to be tasks only done by “professionals”. Then the chapter discusses the DIY ethic which is when you refer “…to the ethic of being self-reliant by completing tasks oneself as opposed to having others who are likely more experiences complete them.” I feel like I can definitely relate to this ethic because

Lastly, I wanted to discuss the participation phenomenon that Jenkins calls “participatory culture”. Participatory culture is exactly what is sounds like, it is what happens when “consumers take media into their own hands”. When I read this section I started thinking about how it applies to digital storytelling.

For my interest driven article I wanted to find an article about how the do-it-yourself mentally affects children seeing as my storytelling theme is “Through the Eyes of a Toddler”. I was actually able to locate the perfect article! In the Chicago Tribune, they published an article called “Fun ways to teach kids DIY skills”. The article begins by describing a time in the author’s life that he got to help in a DIY project with his dad and how memorable the experience was. I can totally relate to that feeling and immediately began drawing connections to my own childhood. I remember in 5th grade when I made a wooden bird house with my grandfather. He helped but I really did a majority of the project by myself. The feeling of accomplishment was just great but more importantly it showed me that even though I was young I could accomplish big tasks. I think it is very important that we teach children young that they can take on big things too! It helps with a feeling of inner strength which helps as we reach adulthood.Fun ways to teach kids DIY skills article here.

3 Years in 3 Minutes!

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This weeks challenge was to create a video that paid homage to something I care about. I knew immediately I wanted to create a video about my daughter but I had no idea what approach to take at first. So I started by looking through my videos and realizing I had most of the good ones only on Facebook. As I looked at the videos on my Facebook library I realized I had a really good selection of videos of my daughter all throughout the last three years. That is when the light bulb moment happened! I started downloading and saving all of the videos I had of Ashlyn on Facebook and saving them in a format that would work for My Movie on Windows.

When I first downloaded everything I had over five minutes of material and that was when the idea came to me to cut it down to three minutes even. I accomplished my time goal by selecting smaller portions of each video as well as omitting a couple of videos. The process took a long time because it felt impossible to let any of the material go. At first my intention was to mute the videos and add just one song to play as the videos went but as I was watching it over to make sure I had the videos in the right order I realized how much the audio made the movie. Without the original audio the viewer would have really missed out on the special moments being conveyed such as Ashlyn’s great grandmother singing to her when she was just an infant.

The final steps of creating the movie involved creating a beginning and an ending for my video. For the intro, I decided to create a page on PowerPoint. Then for the end of the video I found a credits option to add in My Movie. I found it quite comical to have a whole section at the end for credits and to only put my name! This was one of those projects that I could have continued to tweak for weeks to really get it the way I want it. I had a lot of fun seeing my daughters life shown in this fun little cliff note version. I feel very inspired to make her more movies in the future now. It also should be noted that my daughter absolutely loved her video and made me play it for her several times!

Checkout the video here!

Week 2 Reflective Summary

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I feel like this week started off really well and then I became quickly overwhelmed again. On the one hand, I am definitely starting to get the hang of the structure of the class but the workload is still feeling very overwhelming. I am finding myself spending multiple hours every day working on things in order to try and keep up. That being said, I am proud of the assignments that I did this week especially the audio assignment. I enjoyed that one the most as well because I knew how excited my daughter would be by it. I also learned a lot doing the audio assignment because it required me to look into how create things in a way that I have never done. For example, I had no idea I could get a video off of Facebook and put it on YouTube! That is very exciting for me because I lost a lot of videos on my phone and only had access to them from Facebook. You know small little videos such as my daughter’s first steps! So needless to say I am thankful for that new skill!

One thing that gave me a lot of trouble was sound cloud but mainly only because I didn’t understand what it was! It rejected the music I wanted to add to my account multiple times even though the sites I had downloaded them from said it was free for downloads. I struggled with it for over an hour before finally getting the audio I wanted to download. After all of that though I realized that the site wouldn’t let me combine songs at all or least not that I could see, oops! What I would do differently is avoid sound cloud all together and just stick with Audacity, PowerPoint and Windows Movie Maker to make the video. I am not sure what the larger issues surrounding my work are really except just finding the time for everything. I think I began the week exceeding expectations and then began to falter a bit.  New week, new goals!

Reading Reflection: New Literacies and Social Practices of Digital Remixing

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This weeks course reading was all about “remixing”. When thinking of terminology that required careful attention it would be the word “remix” itself and how it is being used in this chapter. Typically when I think of “remixing” I automatically imagine a DJ in the corner of a crowded room making some entertaining beats. I was glad to see I was not the only one that automatically made that connection because it was actually mentioned in the article itself immediately as well. In this reading however, the term takes on a more broad meaning. When looking at the term “remix” and associating it with culture, in my interpretation the word “remix” basically becomes synonymous with the word “change”. When reading the article I began to test my theory by saying “change” or “changing” every time I saw the word “remix” or “remixing” and in every scenario it worked in my opinion. So then my question becomes, isn’t saying that everything “changes” kind of obvious? Of course everything changes, that is our one constant in life, change.

“Remix as a necessary condition for culture” was an interesting section in the chapter. It discussed how “remix” can be someone interpreting something that someone else did. So for example, if I were to go see the new Finding Dori movie and then call up one of my mom friends to discuss the movie I am “remixing” the original movie because I am giving my own opinion about that original creation. One could argue it would be a “remix” of the “remix” because the Finding Dori movie is basically a “remix” of Finding Nemo.

I read an additional article to help develop more of an understanding on remixes and how it can relate to digital storytelling. The article was titled, “Remix Culture and English Language Teaching: The Expression of Learner Voice in Digital Multimodal Compositions”. If you would like to read the entire article click here. The article brought up an interesting point saying, “The issue is whether this practice of remix promotes or compromises the expression of learner voice.” It talks about living in this age of having information at our fingertips now and if it makes it too easy to copy someone else’s voice rather than our own. As much as I am for the idea of everyone collaborating and sharing, I do feel there is some truth to the concern.

Pondering about the idea brought me back to elementary school art class when the teacher would give us an assignment and then give a sample on the board. I always kind of wished she wouldn’t provide a sample because then it became hard to go away from that idea and form my own. Then it got me thinking about movies coming out the past few years and how it always seems to be remakes of previous successful movies. Are we simply running out of ideas?

She Just Couldn’t Let It Go!

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I was recently tasked with completing an audio assignment for my ILT 5340 course. One of the really neat components of this course is the ability to take assignments in a direction of your choosing. So I began the assignment by sifting through various assignment choices which you can look at yourself here. The first one that really stood out to me was “What A Song Might Mean To You”. Without even reading the description I immediately thought of that song by the Spin Doctors, Two Princes. When I was a kid my step-grandmother and I were in her car driving somewhere. One thing we really had in common was listening to music very loud in the car and singing along with the songs on the radio very loudly and admittedly very poorly! It was great though, it was our time. However, I remembered the prompting to try and relate it to your story telling theme which in my case is “Through a Toddler’s Eyes”.

Then I saw a second assignment that caught my eyes, “Music Mashup”. The idea with that assignment is to combine at least two songs to create a conversation. When I thought of a “Mashup” I didn’t think of combining two different songs but rather, what if I combined my daughter singing a song with the original song? My first hurdle with this idea though was that the video of my daughter I wanted to use was on Facebook. How the heck do I take a video off of Facebook and get it onto something else such as Youtube? I didn’t even know if that was possible but it turns out it is! You just have to locate the original source code and copy it and then find a converter to make it an mp3.

The video that I converted was my daughter dressed up with her best dress knocking on the bathroom door and singing, “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?”. I felt that the video went perfectly with the theme, “Through A Toddler’s Eyes” because of the story behind the video. You see that morning my husband was trying to get our daughter dressed and kept trying to put a t-shirt on her but she kept refusing. She wanted to wear her Christmas dress and it was April so not really the right weather for that kind of attire. My husband kept trying to explain that it was too hot outside to wear the dress but eventually he broke and let her wear what she wanted. We were both baffled by her demand to wear the dress considering we barely got it on her to go see Santa!

She marched down the stairs very proud of herself with her dress on. She walked right up to the bathroom door and knocked on it. Then we hear her say, “Elsa? Do wanna build a snowman?”. Bam! All of a sudden the entire situation made sense! She wanted to wear the dress so that she could be Anna and play out the scene from the movie. Had I been looking at the situation through her eyes, which is the theme of my storytelling topic, I would have realized why the dress was so important to her. This situation also reminded me of our current reading for this week for my ILT course. In one section of the chapter it discusses, “...But if you think about the ways kids under 15 using digital technology think about writing – you know, writing with text is just one way to write, and not even the most interesting way to write. The more interesting ways are increasingly to use images and sound and video to express ideas.(in Koman 2005: n.p.)” After seeing what my daughter was trying to do I asked her if she wanted me to make a video like the one she watches on my ipad. Her face lit up and she yelled, “Yes!” immediately. So the video you will see is her acting out the scene knowing I was recording her. There was my two year old daughter using video to express herself!

After getting my daughters video converted to the correct file the next step was to download and add the original song so I could combine the two songs. As I googled all over for the right song and legal download I realized I was looking at the assignment as an adult. The assignment stated that I should be combining two songs. Looking at it from my daughters point of view, is that what she would want to do with it? Combining her best interpretation of the song with the original would make it about the original song and not about her and lets face it, with toddlers the theme is themselves! So I thought, well what if instead of combing two songs I combine instrumentals to her song to make her singing come out even better!

So I set to work and found a perfect set of instrumentals only of the song. It took a while to download and even longer to figure out how to use audacity to adjust the timing to match my daughter’s audio. Finally, I got the audio to lay over each other the way I wanted. The next step was to use Windows Movie Maker to match up the audio with the video. This was the point where I realized I didn’t need to combine the audio in audacity because the original video already had her audio. So I went back and cut out all but the instrumentals from my audio clip and added that to the video. Then I used PowerPoint to create some intro slides and added that to the mix. I think over all it came out really cute! Even better, my daughter thought it was the best video ever and made me replay it a couple hundred times. She loved seeing herself with the added audio to her song. (I think she may now be under the assumption that she is famous!)

Checkout my daughter’s video!

All Back Of The Bus!!

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Today’s Daily Create was to decide what would be in Scooby-Doo’s Mystery Machine. My first thought was the scene from the movie Riddick where he has been arrested and is sitting in the back of a plane about to head to his new prison. His captors mocked him while he was chained to the back of the plane and Riddick responds in his mind in an epic scene. Here is the Riddick scene for those that haven’t seen the movie. Watch from about the 30 second mark. I loved this scene of the movie because it was the calm before the storm. The next part that happens is he ends up escaping his captors and goes to find his enemy. I felt that the scene would be appropriate because it is how I am feeling in my online class right now (minus the mocking captors of course). It is just the beginning, the moment before I spread my wings and really soar in this #ILT5340 course.

The second part to this is I decided instead of doing an edited photo I would try to make a GIF of the two photos I had in mind with the added text “All Back Of The Bus”. You can click on the GIF here. Unfortunately I have not figured out how to make the GIF work on my WordPress site. I was able to get it to work finally (after much trial and error) to Twitter and Facebook but for WordPress so far the best I can do is a link. If anyone of my peers reading this know how it is done please let me know!

Dark Side Of The Moon!

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This Daily Create was about the dark side of the moon of the DS106 class. My first step was to find a good picture of the moon that had a good amount of dark space to fit my images. The next step was to think about what students on the dark side of the moon would look like as they worked on their assignments for the course. I came across a photo of an alien studying and felt that it couldn’t be anymore perfect. While searching through photos I stumbled on a photo of Darth Vader checking out a Pink Floyd album and my inner nerd went nuts so I had to add that as well!