Archive for the ‘bunkx’ Category


Not so 80s

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

The Noun Project credits:
Community by Mike Endale
Beach Ball by Tim Piper
Cap by Oliver Guin
Bicycle by Ugur Akdemir

Name that 80s movie #5

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

The Noun Project Credits:
Football designed by Saman Bemel-Benrud
Rocket designed by John O’Shea
Tree designed by Saman Bemel-Benrud
Palace designed by Okan Benn

Name that 80s movie #4

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Experimenting a bit with The Noun Project and Illustrator before today’s Breakfast Club edition of ds106, and figured I would throw out another 80s movie 4 icon challenge because I can!

The Noun Project Credits:
Television by The Noun Project
VHS Tape by Ted Mitchner
Lips by Davide Eucalipto
Gun by Simon Child

First Time Teaching Animated GIFs

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

I just blogged about the animated GIF I made while showing the Breakfast Club edition of ds106 how to make animated GIFs. What struck me after writing that post was that it’s the first since teaching this class that I actually taught any group of people how to make an animated GIF. There are a few reasons for that: 1) we have a few tutorials for this kind of thing, 2) I’ve never before taught ds106 in a classroom full of computers with Photoshop, and 3) I’m usually much lazier.

All that said, I had my chance today and I didn’t want to squander it. So I spent some time this morning consulting video guru Andy Rush so I could be sure I had a workflow that would make creating animated GIFs seamless even on lab computers that can be locked down and hostile to new programs. I think we came up with a pretty good formula, and I’ll sketch that out below for good measure.

We didn’t want the overhead of DVD ripping or any of that, so we decided to make them get the clips they want to work on from YouTube using, in particular the File2HD option, and be sure to select the mp4 version of the YouTube clip (click the get files button, the big, honking Download buttons above and below are bad ads).

Once they had the clips with the scene they want to use I had them open MPEG Streamclip (which I installed on the lab computers beforehand, and it didn’t seem to need any special admin permissions in this lab). MPEG Streamclip allows them to select the precise in and out points of the short scene they want to animate and trim away the rest. Once they have done this they need to export it as an mp4 file (this is where these directions for PhotoShop diverge for GIMP which would require them to export the video as individual image files).

Finally, they import the video to Photoshop (we are using CS 5.5 on the PC) and it is Import–>Video to layers. After that they simply go to Window–>Animation and animate the GIF and save for the web.

It was amazing, I showed them how to do this process in about 15 minutes, and they spent the next hour and 15 minutes making GIFs, and I have to say I was very impressed. Their files were a bit bloated, and we talked about that, but over all there work so far has been amazing. I am blown away. Here are a few samples!

I love that this student figured out adding text to animated GIFs. #4life!

This one is a bit long and bloated for its own good, but I love it.

Game on college students, you need to bring your A-game to catch up with these Breakfast Club all-star ds106ers who are 4life in only 2 weeks!

400 Blows

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

I did the above GIF on the fly while showing the Breakfast Club edition of ds106 how to make animated GIFs using MPEG Streamclip and Photoshop. Today was a thoroughly enjoyable class—and the students seemed to have a blast and did some fun stuff themselves. Many of them are already done with there 10 visual stars, a couple did closer to 20! What’s more, we are on our way to the design assignments, and after spending the last hour of today’s class talking about the design assignments, I know it’s gonna be a ball. I love ds106 design!

ds106: The Breakfast Club Edition

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

On Monday I started teaching five students as part of the Summer Enhancement Program for high school age students. I proposed a Digital Storytelling class—surprise, surprise—that spans two weeks and what I figured I would do is have them do an abbreviated, two-week session of ds106 that lasts for 2 and a half hours a day for 4 days over a two week span (“Two weeks Bender, I gotch you!”). The nice part is there are no grades to worry about and the class infrastructure is all set up and ready to go thanks to*

I haven’t taught high schoolers since 2003-2004 when I taught English at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn, NY. That was a trip, and to be honest I couldn’t get out of Dodge soon enough. The kids were awesome but the actual institution had more in common with a jail than a school, and I was starting to think more like a warden than a teacher (it was the early years of the Bloomberg/Klein anti-Union trail of terror). I’m no martyr, and the one thing I learned from that experience is monolithic institutions like the NYC Public School System will crush your spirit quickly and mercilessly—especially when run by robber baron financiers.

Anyway, I was already excited to get back in the saddle for this two week session with a whole different breed of students and having wrapped up day two a little while ago I am thrilled at the progress so far. Yesterday I gave them a brief introduction to Digital Storytelling, had them all tell me their own stories, and then headed up to the computer lab and had the lot of them get a WordPress blog site (one of them already had a Blogger blog!). I then showed them the basics of posting, talked about incorporating media around the web (YouTube, Flickr, links, etc.), discussed the importance of their controlling their privacy while working on the web, and that’s all we had time for.

Today we got right into the thick of Visual assignments and I used Alan Levine’s in class exercise for Photography for the first 30 minutes to get them out and about around campus to explore and get in the habit of looking and seeing anew. They were asked to do the following:

  • Make an ordinary object look more interesting, almost supernatural.
  • Take a portrait of a person; have them display an emotion.
  • Take a photo that makes use of converging lines.

And I was pretty impressed with what they came up with, take a look at this one for an interesting object by Emma Rose:

Or this one for converging lines:

I’m pretty blown away by the results thus far, and after this experiment I turned them onto the Daily Create which they will be doing for the next two weeks. Easy as pie—open course architecture that provides a communal infrastructure that works and anyone can tap into? That’s far more interesting to me than MOOCs.

After we shared our photos and discussed the shots, we headed up to the computer lab and I introduced them to the wonderful world of the ds106 assignment bank, which has 372 assignments and over 4000 examples! They seemed to love this whole idea, and I let them know they had ten stars of visual assignments due by Thursday, with another 10 design stars due by Sunday (you must work them hard!). We spent the last hour and a half  discussing Flickr, picking an assignment, and learning the basics of layers in Photoshop (but the concept can be easily abstracted to any photo editing software). We did the Creep on a Movie Scene assignment because it’s fun and it provides a relatively simple introduction to layers in Photoshop. I spent a half hour trying to explain layers using two different images, but I am so out of the habit of teaching a program that it failed miserably. I scrapped it and  just went around from student-to-student and helped them  use the move tools, the magic wand, the magnetic lasso, some layering transformations and opacity settings and we were golden. What’s more, they started helping each other and I was once agin in the comfortable position of not trying to lecture about an application I am only moderately comfortable in :) The crazy thing is their work was good and fun! Only one had ever used Photoshop before—another knew GIMP!—but they all picked it up rather quickly and the fact they were photoshopping a creeper into a scene from their favorite film made them that much more invested. Here’s a couple of examples from their work today:

The Road to WeeGee

Obama creeps on Land of the Lost

Yeah I was there


Anyway, I loved the character weegee (based on Luigi from the Mario franchise) creeping on The Road to El Dorado. A couple of them had Obama as the creeper, which I am fascinated by—Obama love in the younger generations is pretty interesting to me. I don’t think anyone in ds106 at UMW has done any Obama meme art for the class until now. And creeping your way into the Breakfast Club is nothing short of genius!

In less than an hour 5 high school students knocked out some impressive first runs at ds106 assignments using Photoshop and had fun along the way (two stars down!). I think the marker of ds106′s greatness is the way it can adapt across different registers so seamlessly to highlight skills of K12 or college age students alike. I can’t believe more elementary, middle school, and high school teachers aren’t experimenting wildly with models like this (or maybe they are and I just don’t know it). I could care less if it’s ds106, but the idea of an open framework where they can program the assignments, share their work, have fun, and fine tune media creation skills seems like a pretty solid approach to all kinds of web literacies—or whatever we want to call them. I’ll stop preaching now, but jesus stop talking about it and start playing with it—it freaking works!

I’ll stop there because tomorrow we do animated GIFs and I have to do a little prep on the creative GIF I will be bestowing on them ;)


* One thing that struck me while running with this two-week course is that when I showed off the assignment bank to these 5 students they were immediately excited about creating stuff—and there is so much great stuff there. With all the talk about MOOCs I think we missed the boat with open, shareable frameworks that anyone can tap into—the key is personal ownership, syndication, and collaboratively created and shareable spaces (green spaces!). Funny how none of these ideas really come up in the larger, popularized discussions of MOOCs—it’s as if the idea of architecture and sharing has all just been re-canned as large broadcast experiences. That seems completely antithetical to the original framework of open, portable experiences, but more and more it’s what the MOOC conversation is evolving into: the focus on consumable product rather than a process of individual ownership and communal exploration with the web as platform.

I’d rather be weird as fuck than be boring as hell.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012


An “everything” blog that follows back

DS106 Confidential 2012-07-09 21:12:00

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012


The mystery surrounding Camp Magic Macguffin and its parent organization CVI deepened this week as DS106Confidential reporter Joe Beets, on assignment in Arizona, caught Camp MM director Alan Levine far from the camp’s rural location in Virginia.  Mr. Levine, who seems to spend little actual time at the camp, was spotted entering a black helicopter at a small private airport at a secret location in the Southwest.  Beets was able to follow the helicopter for its short trip to the top secret testing facilty in Groom Lake – aka Area 51.  Entering through a hole in the barb wire fence, Joe was able to snap one photo of Levine inside a shed housing a very unusual craft. 

Beets was unable to take more photos, but did catch Mr. Levine at the same airport the next day.  While he was not able to enter the secure area he did get manage to get a picture using his telephoto lens.

It is interesting to note that in this photo Mr. Levine appears to be markedly younger!  Are the rumors of some sort of alien presence at the Area 51 site true?  Could Mr. Levine have undergone some sort of anti-aging process?  What does this mean for Camp Magic Macguffin?  Is there some sort of link between Levine’s youthful appearance and the disappearance of the campers in Bunkhouse X?

And why is it called Groom Lake?  Take a close look at the patch on Levine’s shirt.  Is it just coincidence that the counselor in charge of Bunkhous X is none other than Jim Groom????? 

And the big question —– why does a super hi-tech organization like CVI, with ties to the military and alien visitors, run a summer camp????

Filed by Kim Beets (for Joe Beets who is still on special assignment.)

Welcome to the planet of Toronto 

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Welcome to the planet of Toronto 

mrdiv: cycloid

Sunday, July 8th, 2012