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01 July 2013

17 May 2013

Interactive Storytelling Using Twine

The Middle School students have been writing "Alternative Ending" or "Choose your own adventure" stories.
I recently read about Twine, on Ruben R. Puentedura's Weblog.  Twine is free software for Mac and Windows, which "lets you organize your story graphically with a map that you can re-arrange as you work. Links automatically appear on the map as you add them to your passages, and passages with broken links are apparent at a glance."

On the Twine web page, there are several intro videos, which I've embedded here, so you can get an idea of how it works, and decide whether or not you would like to add this software tool to your computer.



Creating A Simple Story from Chris Klimas on Vimeo.
A quick intro to creating a simple, nonlinear story using the free application Twine.


Formatting a Story from Chris Klimas on Vimeo.
How to customize your story's appearance in Twine.


Finishing Touches from Chris Klimas on Vimeo.
Wrapping up work on a story in Twine.

The links below are on Dr. Puentedura's page:
"The slides for my presentation at the 10th Annual MLTI Student Conference are now online: Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave: Interactive Storytelling Using Twine
The Twine tutorial game described in the slides can be played here, and downloaded here."
Maybe one of our Middle Schoolers will spend this rainy holiday weekend transferring a story into Twine :-)

12 May 2013

There and Back Again: A Packet’s Tale

From the World Science Festival web page:

 

"The video lets you ride shotgun with a packet of data—one of trillions involved in the trillions of Internet interactions that happen every second. Look deep beneath the surface of the most basic Internet transaction, and follow the packet as it flows from your fingertips, through circuits, wires, and cables, to a host server, and then back again, all in less than a second."(link)

This video explains the Internet in very easy to grasp illustrations, with great analogies and metaphors.

10 May 2013

Relevance With Problem-Solving Challenges

Bob Sprankle shared this video with us:

 

Published on May 6, 2013
"Special correspondent John Tulenko of Leaning Matters reports on a public middle school in Portland, Maine that is taking a different approach to teaching students. Teachers have swapped traditional curriculum for an unusually comprehensive science curriculum that emphasizes problem-solving, with a little help from some robots."

You can "see inside" the King Middle School in Portland Maine at its web site.  Click on the Expedition link in the left side bar, to read about other projects, or "Expeditions", like the one featured in the video above.

07 May 2013

Changing habits is a game

Interesting post this morning at the BigFish Games blog. A look at the headers will give you an idea of what it's about:
  • Gamers are experts at making and breaking habits: "You enjoy playing games, right? It can be effortless to pick up a game and get addicted. If you play games, you’re already good at what it takes to change a habit."
  • Crash course on game mechanics: "Think about your favorite game. What keeps you going back? Which game mechanics are at play to keep you returning?"
  • How habits are formed: "Habits – both good and bad – are the product of repetition and reinforcement. We do something, we see and like the results (a rush of dopamine), and we do it again. We do this over and over, forming deep pathways in our brain that become harder to change as time goes on."
  • Changing habits is a game: "Behavior = Motivation + Trigger + Ability"
  • One tooth a night: "... it’s easy to think about flossing one tooth. But you can’t floss just one tooth when you start!"
  • Changing the worst habits: "Start by removing at least one of the variables. "
  • Let’s go on a quest: Random Rewards: "Set reasonable goals:"
  • More ways to break a bad habit
Read the whole post to get the full pictures of how to analyze the game mechanics in your life.  

And while you're there, admire the way the writer has used CC images from Flickr with proper attribution.  She had help from a site called Comflight  (http://compfight.com/) which helps you search the Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr, and gives you the attribution text to use with the image. (Watch out for the NOT free images which will appear at the top of the screen.)


cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Jonathan_W

05 May 2013

Note to Self: Artist Chuck Close

A blog post by the always inspirational David Gran (The Carrot Revolution) introduced me to a video I hadn't seen before.


Note to Self: Artist Chuck Close from grant doug on Vimeo.
Chuck Close gives advice to his 14-year old self.

You will, I hope, want to know more about Chuck Close.  Check out the WIkipedia page about him, and this page at ArtsNet  about his painting.

Chuck Close on Creativity (link):
"Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will — through work — bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art ida.’ And the belief that process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. Today, you know what you’ll do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday, and tomorrow you are gonna do what you didid today, and at least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.
and from a page at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
"Some people wonder whether what I do is inspired by a computer and whether or not that kind of imaging is a part of what makes this work contemporary. I absolutely hate technology, and I'm computer illiterate, and I never use any labor-saving devices although I'm not convinced that a computer is a labor-saving device."