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Digital Storytelling: Empower the Multimodal Writing Classroom with Scratch

How can the busy writing teacher interested in new media storytelling deepen the pedagogical value of multimodality in the classroom — especially for students with limited programming experience? Students who learn to design, code, revise, and publish multimodal texts are empowered by their encounters with technology, and can be more critical of the interfaces they face in daily life. Yet too frequently we ask students to submit a multimedia project…

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Disruptive Decorations: Kids learned better in a sparesly-decorated CMU lab

Kids learned better in a sparse lab setting than they did in a decorated room. Of course, if they were familiar with the room, and the decorations came from their own artwork and class projects, perhaps the items would be reminders rather than distractions, but the study didn’t test that possibility. For the study, 24 kindergarten students were placed in laboratory classrooms for six introductory science lessons on topics they…

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Adam Savage’s 10 Commandments Of Making

Adam Savage took a few minutes today at the Maker Faire Bay Area to share what he feels are the 10 Commandments of Making. Make something Make something useful Start right now Find a project Ask for help, advice, and feedback Share Recognize that discouragement and failure is part of the project Measure carefully Make things for other people Use more cooling fluid. Adam Savage’s 10 Commandments Of Making |…

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Times photo staffer’s invention: the streaming backpack

“From a photographer’s perspective it makes our photography process more similar to the days of film, where you went out you did your assignment, dropped off your roll of film, and went off to do another assignment. Now you download your cards, color correct and caption it. It takes away from the creative process of photography.” There’s certainly an entrepreneurial opportunity if the newsroom gets the smaller iteration down pat,…

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Text Adventure Geeks Rejoice: Major Inform7 Update

I have final grades, an annual report, and a video project for a publisher to finish before I unleash my inner nerd and install the latet Inform7 update. (Inform7 is a free programming language and development environment for writing command-line computer games in the spirit of Zork and Colossal Cave Adventure.) This release is a major reform of a now-mature language which is widely used, and it has been over…

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Has life in the age of casual magic made moviegoers numb to the amazing?

This is one of the reasons I’ve become more interested in local theater. The dropped lines, unexpected blackouts, and last-minute casting replacements are what makes it so much more engaging to me than a slick professional production. Avatar left me completely numb… yes the visuals were stunning, but I feel much more connected to fantasy characters in a BBC-TV video production from the 1980s. We are living in an age…

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The Great Works of Software

I realized that each one of these technologies set out to help people do something but consequently grew and changed over time. Each ultimately provided a way for large groups of people to talk about and think about very difficult problems: Microsoft Office: How do we communicate about work? Photoshop: How do we create and manipulate images? Pac-Man: How do we play? Unix: How do we connect abstractions together to…