Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The future of technology?

Is this and cloud computing what the world will look like in 3 - 5 years? Educator should pay attention

Friday, March 26, 2010

World Without Oil - A transmedia-like project with practical use in the classroom.

So yes, this has been around since 2007 and is about to celebrate its three year anniversary - it till is a great resource and example of how to bring transmedia structure into education

World Without Oil - A transmedia-like project with practical use in the classroom. -

This game/event/lesson/story/put your own word here experience ran from April 30, 2007 – June 1, 2007. It let the users, the players, be the creators and writers while puppetmasters guided, linked, collected and basically just sat back and let it go. It is a great example of a way a transmedia approach can be used to generate learning and bring people to content. The "playing" to learn idea is important in a transmedia structure, and one that has good and bad when invoked in an educational setting – here, IMO is a good thing.

They also are trying to maintain an archive, even as the game ends. This is an important topic in transmedia, and one I think is not addressed enough….

I plan on using this in my environmental science classes as well as other places, it is a topic all people should really think about – and as you will see from the materials created – the response is so varied – check out the lesson plan page for some ideas - - they even have compiled some state standards that the projects links with – also, the lesson plan page has some great ideas that should be considered with any transmedia/crossmedia lesson – not just this one.

Check these links for more information – an overview of how to still access the game and "play" - more info and lesson plans including an independent study plan for students - - the World without Oil blog – continues to follow certain topics - World without Oil YouTube channel - some examples from the experience

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Digital Arts Alliance Project curriculum

Digital Arts Alliance Project curriculum

This is a very nice unit and it could be useful in a transmedia setting as it would roll into working with the crossmedia aspects and also could be used to introduce how to plan a large scale project. I also like how this unit I organized and I hope to develop a structure similar to this for the transmedia units I develop.

The unit starts here - and contain how to physically organize a classroom for this type of project, how to plan a curriculum and a nice overview of digital arts.

Clicking on the Pre-Production bring you to some awesome tools and even ready to use in the classroom materials. The section entitled - Developing Effective Narratives – goes right into transmedia concepts and there is a nice video ready to use. It goes from the standpoint of a voiceover – but this is right in the overview – " Ask your students if their stories are meant to inform, entertain, explain? Who is the intended audience? Then begin with an outline." And to me those are the same questions you want students asking at the start of a transmedia lesson. There is also a great script activity and handout – again, these items are already made and ready to be used.

The other topics in pre-production are wonderful as they hit important thought to consider such as – Storyboarding, Finding and Saving Images, Connecting Devices to the Laptop, and Making a Checklist. Once again this highlight why I think a transmedia approach can be valuable, you mix content with skill development in a logical way (what do I need to do a project/solve a problem).

The next step is Production – again from the nuts-n-bolts aspect this is a great unit. Depending on what platforms your students use, they can find useful lessons such as – recording a narration, keyframing, editing video, but than the wonderful curriculum designers throw in a unit on working in groups.

I take an aside here – working in groups is the BANE of students and yet IMO, is one of the MOST important skills a person needs to master to be successful in a global world. I like the video the unit provides and will have my students watch it and talk about it.

Presentation is the next step. The unit is a bit light, but the topic of Distribution is brought up, which falls into the multiplatform moving of a transmedia project.

There is a section on Housekeeping, which I like, as too often projects become oohh-ahh in the classroom and the essential details are skipped over. There is a Permissions form and that concept tie in perfectly with the overall theme of copyright, piracy, intellectual property and so on. Plus we are in a school, so we have to watch certain legal aspects.

And there are some nice samples, take a few moments and appreciate the students' hard work. The site as a whole has a lot of resources and I suggest if you are bringing a transmedia/crossmedia/project-based lesson to your classroom; take a gander.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Relating Game Theory to everything we do

This is a great article about making something "sticky" and why games are so important and perhaps education needs to take a look.

Talk about changing the way things are done

Just as Transmedia allows for different entry point into a narrative/project/etc. this little app may change how we construct text and approach even something as basic as communication... ok maybe not that revolutionary but...

Wow - is the human brain ready for this - will this catch on?

and it breaks the texting world record - here -

Augmented Reality - a new player or a fad?

Jut read about this today -

and I've heard more and more people talking about AR - plus I had found the Viz app and was going gaga thinking of the great ways I could use that in lessons - I mean AR could be a way to compromise on say dissection in biology and that's just one of millions of uses - for transmedia projects - ohhhhh the possibilities

I remember awhile back, how much I liked pop-up video on VH-1 - and now, with this boom, it is almost like making the world one big pop-up video..... it is exciting and scary how much potential there is - but... the question always remains - how to make this a valuable part of the classroom and not just a fad, or ooohh-ahh or toy....

And that is where the nitty-gritty comes in - making lesson plans that integrate this tech/concept in a day to day basis as opposed to a one-shot deal....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Does this device exist - cell phone apps in the classroom

Alright - so reading about this cool iphone app and how it could be used in a great way in a class setting. But of course we reach the idea of no cellphones in school, not all can afford cellphones, etc.

Is there a handheld device being made, that is cheap, but mimics an iphone so students in a classroom can download, access and learn how to use these programs? Yes, there is the ITouch and I am starting to look into how to find funding for that, but are there similar devices?

Bringing transmedia concepts to learning would JUMP 1 gahzillion fold if this hurdle could be overcome (only because the world is shifting to handheld devices)

So does anyone know of such a device or funding? Please share the info as I'd like to look into bringing the use of Apps into the classroom.

Here is an example of an iTouch cart that would be awesome -

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First steps in setting up my transmedia lesson - the hurdle of time

Well, working on getting things together. I worked with another teacher to provide a few extra periods during the first two days of the project - this will make a big difference, and one of the biggest hurdles to a transmedia construct in a classroom.

we have 42 minute periods - and while the ideal is to have students working on content outside of those 42 minutes, realistically, a lot of what happens only occurs in those 42 minutes, especially with the one type of student I work with.

So you start to introduce a subject, and bam bell rings, they go on to other classes and have 24 hours worth of other stuff to compete with and then you spend time on day two trying to reorient and well... time is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome (more of these as we go along)

So with my GIS and Forest Fire Ecology class I am semi lucking out - I have them one period, once a week - how's that for trying to make continuity - luckily the botany teacher is going to incorporate the project more into his class, so at least students will have more than once a week... but that is one time structure

with the culinary - I will have three periods the first day - then many of the students are gone for a function, then the weekend, then Monday I have them for three periods again - then we move to the one period a day...

I think, for a transmedia project, especially if it is the first time introducing this type of project, or with certain levels/populations, if you can barter some swing time for the first day or two when introducing.... it will make a huge difference.

when I put up my lessons and plans, I'll try to keep it so they could be broken down into smaller time units....

I also want to address the hurdle of time and other hurdles as I go - plus in the workshop series I am developing - classroom structure and timing are two big item to discuss.

Two upcoming Projects

Ok so a brief run down of two projects I am working on at the high school level

1. GIS and Forest Fire Ecology - this is being delivered in a Botany class - the class is an elective and populated with seniors - the unit will be taking a transmedia (very loosely defined) approach to the structure and the final product to be delivered

2. Transmedia and Digital Literacy - this is being delivered to a group of senior from the culinary program who have been taking online classes. This will be done at the end of the year and will actually introduce the conepts of transmedia and then the students will create a transmedia product with a culinary theme

So two different projects and lot of fun and trying new things. I am doing both with seniors and at the end of the year - which brings a few items to the table - seniors and the end of the year aka senioritis, two very different class structures and very different final outcomes desired - which means I can compare how these go over.... here is to a few wild and fun months!!!!!

A model for learning

Interesting blog (by Dave Bill on May 3, 2009) discussing the ideas of participatory culture and a framework 9transmedia would play into this concept)

from article

"Our students participate. They want to be involved. They are connected, ALL the time. If we ignore that fact we will lose our students. Henry Jenkins alluded to this fact in his 2006 white paper on participatory culture. It is vitally important that our students create, circulate, connect, and collaborate. Research by Project New Media Literacies highlights this point. But not only will this participatory model be useful in engaging our students, it is an opportunity to teach ethical behavior when working with digital media."

An Example of a Transmedia Project/Lesson for Middle school - High school

So I found this lesson/project – Transmedia Improv – it was introduced in 2006'

This is a great example of scaffolding in a new concept – which is transmedia. While this leans more to digital storytelling and crossmedia use, it does have the transmedia addition that all students created new narrative for the original universe and then used a different platform.

Now – why can't this method be used to teach ANY content - we are studying the civil war - here is the basic introductions – now follow one of these basic essential questions and prepare a transmedia product – then the entire class presents – thus everyone is exposed to all content and you've reached the same endgame.

As I find specific lessons and projects – I'll spotlight them here and share – if you know of any – please share!!!!!!!!!!

The lesson/project


Over view of the project - This is from a Flickr account ( with images detailing the project –

" We created the Transmedia Improv for high school and middle school kids in which they role-play aliens and create remixed content from Star Wars and the web. No joke. We beta-tested with two groups of really cool kids, once in Boston (pictures you see here) and once in Chicago.

Here are the basic steps: We all watch the cantina scene from Star Wars. They use a website we created called The Cantina, where they create a profile for an alien they'd like to role-play. They invent a back-story with their partner for how the two of them arrive at the Cantina together. The do an image search for locations for their back-story and integrate these into sequential Powerpoint slides. They use IM to generate dialogue with a partner and integrate it into Powerpoint as word balloons like a comicstrip. They can add music and sound effects too. They upload their finished pieces to the website and we have a group show and tell.

The idea is that the kids learn technical skills (Exercises) while making creative choices and remixing content (Expressions). Along the way, the teacher leads discussions on the Ethics of making and consuming media. Since kids are making their own media pieces, the idea is that they're more invested in the Ethics. Star Wars and other media properties are discussed as Exemplars, referencing and analyzing the role media plays in the kids lives and our culture at large."

I found a number of references and articles documenting this project

An extension -

Some photos of this project -

Article by Henry Jenkins with overview of project -

Article by Henry Jenkins with overview of project -

Teacher professional development and change

Oh what an interesting time last week. Wednesday and Thursday we had a speaker come in to lead small workshops on co-teaching and related topic. Dr. Hines is a great speaker and has a lot of perspective that a teacher in rural southern NJ does not have. So much of what she said she sees in education at the federal level and the place education is going in other states aligns with my idea of transmedia approaches in education.

She mentioned the concept of gaming in education and also discussed Florida's new virtual high school – you can go K-12 totally online – and there is a huge waiting list for this program. A lot of the change in culture, technology and approach regarding students came up. There are definitely two camps to education theory (ok there are more, but still)....

I was a little saddened to hear many of the responses to what she was talking about. And I know that for 95% of those that attended, it will be status quo come today.

Friday we had out teacher in-service – and again I squirmed listening to the conversations. First was a review of the new standards. It was mentioned just lat week the Governor's board approved the math and English standards (except Texas, which do not get me started, and Alaska) - Many teachers were tuned in and many tuned out.

In our new state standards – I am finding almost direct references to concepts a transmedia project can address – I am entering some of those here and when I share my unit materials, I've aligned things even more rigorously. And of course NJ is updating their standards as well -

Well, we had a session on school culture, and that descended into griping chaos. We are very lucky in this district and yet… this is why change in education will be very slow or nonexistent, yet, it is coming.


here are a few - again - just a few - and these are just for the high school - I could cite more

8.1.12.A.3 Participate in online courses, learning communities, social networks, or virtual worlds and recognize them as resources for lifelong learning.

The use of digital tools and media-rich resources enhances creativity and the construction of knowledge.

8.1.8.B.1 Synthesize and publish information about a local or global issue or event on a collaborative, web-based service (also known as a shared hosted service).

8.1.12.B.1 Design and pilot a digital learning game to demonstrate knowledge and skills related to one or more content areas or a real world situation.

8.1.12.C.1 Develop an innovative solution to a complex, local or global problem or issue in collaboration with peers and experts, and present ideas for feedback in an online community.

Digital tools facilitate local and global communication and collaboration in designing products and systems.

8.2.8.E.1 Work in collaboration with peers and experts in the field to develop a product using the design process, data analysis, and trends, and maintain a digital log with annotated sketches to record the development cycle.

8.2.12.E.1 Use the design process to devise a technological product or system that addresses a global issue, and provide documentation through drawings, data, and materials, taking the relevant cultural perspectives into account throughout the design and development process.

The designed world is the product of a design process that provides the means to convert resources into products and systems.

8.2.8.G.1 Explain why human-designed systems, products, and environments need to be constantly monitored, maintained, and improved.
8.2.8.G.2 Explain the interdependence of a subsystem that operates as part of a system.
8.2.12.G.1 Analyze the interactions among various technologies and collaborate to create a product or system demonstrating their interactivity.

The ability to recognize a problem and apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to solve the problem is a lifelong skill that develops over time.
9.1.12.A.1 Apply critical thinking and problem-solving strategies during structured learning experiences.
9.1.12.A.2 Participate in online strategy and planning sessions for course-based, school-based, or outside projects.
Critical thinking and problem solving in the 21st century are enhanced by the ability to work in cross-cultural teams in face-to-face and virtual environments. 9.1.12.A.3 Assess how a variety of problem-solving strategies are being used to address solutions to global problems by participating in online discussions with peers from other countries.
9.1.12.A.4 Justify problem-solving strategies used in the development of a particular innovative product or practice in the United States and in another country.

9.1.12.B.1 Present resources and data in a format that effectively communicates the meaning of the data and its implications for solving problems, using multiple perspectives.

Digital media are 21st-century tools used for local and global communication.

9.1.12.E.1 Create messages for different purposes and audiences with sensitivity to cultural, gender, and age diversity, using various digital media outlets.
9.1.12.E.2 Generate digital media campaigns in support of or opposing a current political, social, or economic issue.

More copyright and license info

great source for certain projects and what I intend to use for the materials for my education related projects. Have students use this and start to get in the habit of copyrighting their material. if they are thinking about it for their materials, they may think twice when looking at taking others work.

Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.

We provide free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.

Digital citizenship curriculum

a very important part of any artistic/media/etc. endeavor and just important in being a person on this planet - is the concept of intellectual property. One of the "roadbumps" in this changing world is how individuals interact and use content that comes to them.

Everyone wants everything for free, ideally... and the ethical lines people make between just using, stealing, and such has begun to blur or is not really addressed well, IMO, in the education system.

As part of any transmedia/digital/actually any type of project - creative content and intellectual property needs to be addressed. here is one new, and very solid, curriculum that comes with everything all set. And it is very good!!!! I plan on using this at the beginning of any unit. I like it is scenario based, meaning it has real world examples that students work through.

As transmedia/digital media moves into our lives more and more - who owns what is going to blur more and more (a piece of a transmedia project is the user becomes the creator in some avenues). There are actually some simulations where a student has his/her image used when at a video game contest and the implications of someone is making money and what can they do. Another - it's going to be interesting to see where things land.

p.s. - I found this copyright resource that looks interesting as well -

Great graphic Organizer for planning a transmedia project

Great graphic Organizer for planning a transmedia project

The diagram below was created by Gary Hayes. He has created a number of wonderful images, diagrams, and other visuals as well as having written a number of awesome articles.

This particular one I plan on using with my students and with my writing group (for my own transmedia project) and it serves as a great start point in general for thinking about all the assorted possibilities.

How might you use it?


Research for Educational styles

Oh there is so much out there, and as I am trying to organize, categorize and produce resources, I am coming across so much.

I need to finish reading through this presentation but it is good background research that i file in the developing a classroom approach and developing the theory end.

I found the presentation at this blog - - which is a good read as well, this is a blog aimed at marketing, but it hits home with education as well.

Here are a couple of quotes from the article and they tie into the presentation.

"Take a social utility such as Facebook, for example. We’re seeing tremendous growth in adoption, yet profound shifts in retention, and a noticeable decline in attention. This means that people are yearning for experiences they can’t get anywhere else (or those they can get anywhere), and are not interested in being herded into a corner to find them. They also crave ubiquity — this means less time spent in a particular location, engaging with content we think they care about. "

and this one

"The larger point is that all of the real-world intelligence we have available at our fingertips is actually reopening the doors of self-actualization, because we are now seeking action, not just alignment with our personal value systems. The social web of the last few years has validated much of our beliefs, and now it is formalizing more viscerally in the way we build our social graphs and in how communities band together. We are witnessing a profound shift in consciousness, and this is not something that I think any of us could’ve predicted or even imagined, at least not to this extent. "


I plan on using this blog to collect and document my work and exploration of the merging between Transmedia, Participatory Culture and Education. Not much else really, just that : )