Friday, April 30, 2010

Screen 360 US - 2 Lab Young Programmers Building a Film Festival for their Peers

Screen360 US-2 Lab continues its work with Michael Kidwell's 6th grade class as peer film festival programmers, building empathy and global awareness along the way. Katy Kavanaugh and Ricardo Flores have teamed up to coach one class to become the programmers in preparing the final film selections, testing conferencing technology, writing program notes and promotion, and co-hosting a film festival to be broadcast to the entire Bayside STEM Academy and two other regional venues and one international venue.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Making Sense

Our Beijing collaborators have gone home, yet, I'm looking for their faces today. I feel the absence of that intimate daily engagement--inquisitive, open faces, smiling such different smiles: funny, warm, friendly, quiet, penetrating,rosy, intense.

Sabine Moller is a visiting scholar from Germany and studies Historical Consciousness. Her launching points are the films, FORREST GUMP and GOODBYE LENIN. She has just taken a job at Humboldt University in Berlin. I will interview her six year-old son, Ben, about games and the senses and she will interview me about my historical consciousness.....and she will watch FLIEGEN. Ben will attend the Nelson Mandela School in Berlin where friends Peter and Elise have enrolled their Julian. I hope the two will know each other and play a little baseball together, because Ben told me he's sad that they don't play baseball in Germany.

I gave seven classes to sixth graders today, starting with a sensory circuit tied into the definition of discernment. With simple questions like "What color do you like better, black or green?" the students to expressed the details of why they like or don't like something. They all liked talking about their senses. It was the first day of my internship which will be devoted to peers selecting films for peers audiences. I spoke about the importance of having keen senses to make informed choices. I introduced the concept of "international peers" to the sixth graders. One boy objected that peers had to be friends in the same area, and I asked him to consider that someone born in the same year as he in Berlin, Beijing, Beirut or Boise, Idaho and who had knowledge of some film stories in common might be a peer, too. He accepted that.

This is public school, the classes are only 45 minutes long, the lunch (spicy chips, hot pocket and soda) is sold at four or five walk up windows like you would find at an old lake or beach resort. Lunchtime is only 40 minutes and in that time, food must be gotten and eaten, leaving about twenty five minutes to play, wash up and get to class. The teacher teaches the same lesson for seven classes for only those 45 minute intervals, which end on threes and sevens. The day is scheduled to the minute. I wonder if the students' senses are generally bombarded by school instead of heightened by it.

In the experimental class dedicated to examining curriculum planning through iPhone application design, aka game design, my group is also examining sensory heightening through the senses. An important aspect of game design is to incorporate the surrounding world into the play with the mobile device. I believe we're doing that as well as deepening physiological curiosity. I also attended a lecture on something new called Augmented Reality--an "app" where your iPhone connects the functions of many of its applications at the same time, allowing the user to get information about a location photographed. See "Yelp."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Considerations for a new market in China: Seniors

Our group has the privilege to work with Herman Miller, the notable "high-end" American brand that provides furnishing and interior design for office, homes, hotels, hospitals. I know it as a contractor of Charles and Ray Eames work in the 1940s and '50s. Now, Herman Miller is examining how it can assist the aging population to "Age in Place."

Recognizing that human nature becomes "chair centered" as it ages, Herman Miller is looking to not only bring chairs to China but environments for nursing homes, assisted living communities and private homes.

On pleasing aspect of HM is that they build their furniture in the country of its market. This new market will potentially bring employment opportunities.

Ruosi from Peking University voiced concern about the word "high-end" used in the Herman Miller design brief. I echoed that with a question that proposed a scenario wherein the market would only bear a certain price that might not be what HM is accustomed to but offered a foot into the market. The response was to show how distribution could work.

In closing for now, I foresee a large cultural hurdle being that the aging Chinese have come through the Cultural Revolution. Will they be looking for traditional comfort or something new?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Visiting collaborators from Beijing

Visiting collaborators from Peking University and Central Academy of Fine Art arrived today to begin a five month design project to benefit China's health care system. The d. school's Cross Cultural Design class is sponsored by four large companies: Nokia, The American Heart Association, Wrigley, and one more.

The engagement didn't wait for the workshop the next day, questions flew comparing incidence organic groceries,farmers' markets, maternity and child counting(how do you consider that-medicine or wellbeing?)and the PKU's compulsory Tai chi whereas the girls must take aerobics. There is one young man from the countryside and his parents are rice farmers. He is shyer to speak but his eyes pierce and his face is calm. The student s are in a variety of programs from law to business, a minor in German (we talked about Fassbiner, Herzog, Wim Wenders and Dorris Dorie), engineering and then there are the art studetns from CAFA....they're classic artschool characters and I'm looking forward to talking more with them.

The beautiful healthy lunch I planned came off well without a hitch.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

391XPO Streaming Live on, 12.3 l 4 - 6pm PST Instead of watching another hour-long episode of Law and Order, watch the young, energetic UCSF Pediatrician speak about Child Development...

Watch our final project for d school bootcamp. We're Team 10, our focus is Janet and Ruben, super-hero grocers in the campaign to make the community healthier!

Please join us Dec. 2, 4 - 6pm pst, streaming live: EDUC 391XPO Web-based Technologies in Education.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Two Places at the Same Time: discovery of video Skype

As it is Thanksgiving and I wouldn't dare set foot in an airport, I asked my very sensible brother to download Skype so that we might see each other this evening....and so I could meet my new nephew.

My brother obliged with his special brand of skepticism (he always kept his sisters honest) downloaded Skype and came through cooly with the connection.

The crown of my five year-old nephew's curly head came frequently to the bottom of the screen. His discovery was gradual, and definitely close-up. My nieces popped up varying intervals. They each quietly took in their aunt's talking head in a square frame with little kid awe. Computer screens mean something completely different to them now. How will this interaction affect their dreams?

I met the two week-old boy my third sister had just given birth to....through a video camera in a computer screen, something that will be commonplace in his world. His dad leaned with him into the screen so I could see his tiny face...and, I guess, so he could see mine. Will he remember? I realized later that I could have taken a screen shot.

My octogenarian father beamed, for so many reasons not the least of which, I suspect, is that same, calm marvel at the innovations.

What I didn't learn how to do was capture all of this digitally. Perhaps that doesn't exist in Skype yet but it should. I would go back to this Thanksgiving scene over and over again if there was this feature. The program does allow for screenshots.

I hear "Sita Sings the Blues" is worth's free, a gift of the director.

I got to be in two places in the same time thanks to technology: Here on campus having Thanksgiving dinner with two grads in the documentary production program discussing cinema and projects and with my family.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Filmmaking with online resources and a Webinar

In preparing for presentation of Artifact 2, I was impressed to discover new media tools for filmmaking, available largely free online.

Ning helped me make screen shots of websites so that I could introduce my audience to the delightful and smart Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Website. The service includes a professional access that allows for capturing the movement in a website (ie, videos, pop-open features, etc.) and downloading the captured website into a useful MP3 file. This professional service is available for fifteen dollars, a very fair price, but restrictive password coding through a required intermediary site made it impossible to sign up for., on the other hand was entirely user-friendly. It provides a site that allowed me to take clips of Youtube videos. There I found clips of important films from history that supported my premise, "Children around the world have learned about each other through cinema for decades--acquiring insight as they watch them learn, play, discover and dream."

Voiced over narration was recorded directly into FinalCutPro using a microphone provided by the library when my Sony lavalier mic failed.

I also can't say enough about the lasting benefits of learning through doing, especially when the good staff at the Meyer Library is there to help through the difficult places. They are fonts of information and have introduced me to many ways of finding, often free, means of using the wealth of information available publically on the web. Freeware, is a great place to start.

Finally, I chose Vimeo for delivery. I had used Vimeo (like Youtube doing the very same things)to deliver a d school project and, with five minutes to go, I chose that and the d school codes. Vimeo did not deliver my product in its entirety, sadly, so the video section failed, requiring me to be quick on my feet. I know what to do differently in the future.

On further web learning, I "attended" a webinar presentation, " What Does It Mean to Be Internationally Competitive? How the U.S. Can Learn from Standards/Assessments in High-Achieving Nations" from Linda Darling-Hammond this morning form 8:30 to 9:30 through Edutopia's I heard the speaker's voice, viewed her powerpoint presentation online, and was able to type in questions afterward. Sadly, my question was not attended to. I asked her to consider the arts, both visual and performance, in preparing students to achieving the goal she presented: allowing students to demonstrate more analytic thinking and "to use their minds."