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.