Category Archives: Inquiry

Giving GIFs a Try

One of the suggested #etmooc tasks for this week’s topic of digital storytelling is to make an animated GIF. I’ve never tried created a GIF but I’ve been very interested in testing it out, especially after watching the the “How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the GIF” session with Jim Groom.

During the session there was an active backchannel via the #etmooc hashtag and someone asked about tools and apps to create GIFs. One of the suggestions was Cinemagram, which I promptly downloaded so I could test it out.

After checking out the app, I considered different things I could film to create my first GIF. I had hoped one of my cats might be a willing participant … but no such luck. Then, on my way into work today, I realized I had the perfect setting right outside my door – the playground.

I love playgrounds and think they can be wonderful places for play, exploration, and discovery. Given how many people have experienced a playground of some sort, I think they are also rich ground for calling on memories and prompting people to reflect on their own childhoods.

I created two GIFs to try and capture the movement of playgrounds. I appreciated the ability to slow the clip via Cinemagram because while action is often very fast on the playground when you’re a child, when you recall your experiences, things seem to slow down. Time is less of a factor and you’re able to gently savor a moment and think back to the people and places that share your playground memories with you. I’d be curious to hear what memories these GIFs might call up for others.

cinemagram_monkeybars
This first GIF shows swaying monkey bars, slowly yet perpetually migrating from side to side. To me, they tell the story of children who have swung on them over and over, of the desire young kids have to return to the same games time and time again. And while they sway, they are also not all in sync, reminding me of the discord that often develops among children during play when activities don’t always go as planned.

swing GIF

I debated about what story this next GIF was trying to tell (since I’m giving it a life of it’s own) and hopefully it will speak in different ways to different people. At first, I thought the GIF was a bit somber, showing empty swings with no one to enjoy them. But as I watched it some more, I felt it was actually a nice way to capture the peace and joy I often experience when swinging. I like how through the GIF I can capture the rhythmic repetition of gliding back and forth in one “still” scene and watching it, I actually begin to feel like I’m in motion too.

With all of that said, I’m not at all sure if I’m taking full advantage of all of the capabilities of Cinemagram and creating GIFs to capture a moment. Next, I hope to explore creating GIFs from photographs and using a tool like GIMP.

 

Image

My Five Card Flickr Story: Summer Brownies

My five card flickr story: Summer Brownies

Photo credit: Henriksent

I’m excited to dive into the topic of Digital Storytelling with #etmooc for the next two weeks. I started yesterday with a #sixwordstory so today I thought I would try a 5 Card Flickr Story! Here’s my first attempt!

Joining #etmooc to Connect and Learn

I finally took the plunge and joined #etmooc! I have been watching the course grow and evolve online for a few years now but I had never actually jumped in and signed up. I was always worried that I didn’t have the time (still a bit worried about that) but after successfully completing my first MOOC in 2012, I feel like it’s time to give this a try. I’m particularly excited because this is a “Connectivist” MOOC, compared to the content-based one I took in the fall. I have found that connecting with other educators and technologists who are similarly passionate about using technology as a tool for meaningful learning, creation, and collaboration is the best part of having a PLN. Through #etmooc I hope to grow that network and connect with even more great minds and innovative practitioners.

Haikudeckmp

Our first assignment was to create a quick introduction to ourselves using some type of media. I decided to test out Haiku Deck because I have heard great things about the app and saw some cool presentations from other participants in the course. My first attempt at it is linked above. It was very user-friendly and easy to get started. The only challenge I encountered was not getting stuck searching forever to find the “perfect” image for each of my slides. Being a photographer who loves to take, look at, and enjoy images makes that tough.

I’m looking forward to learning and trying a number of new tools during the course and connecting with others who are doing the same. It’s always nice to have company when you embark on a learning journey and now I have the privilege of traveling with people from all over the world as we engage in 11 weeks of ed tech explorations.

How do you find a good professional mentor?

Some rights reserved by Peter Guthrie

Tonight, my post is really more of a question: How do you find a good professional mentor?

The importance of mentors for one’s professional growth and guidance has been emphasized to me repeatedly over the years but recently the reminders have been even more prevalent. With the ending of my master’s program and the beginning of the next phase in my career, I have been attending a number of professional networking events, including a recent conference at American University. Like the other events I have attended, the Women in Business Conference reiterated the value of having a mentor but when I sat down at the “mentoring” table during lunch, there were no clear answers about how to find a mentor. I heard warnings about the political and professional complications that can arise from having a mentor in your workplace (e.g., a boss or colleague) and I heard the age old advice of reaching out to everyone you possibly can to connect with potential future mentors. I also heard comments about the added-value of mentors for women and young professionals. I’m curious to learn if there is research behind those ideas but I’m even more curious to discover why mentoring can be such a “hot topic” at networking events yet rarely have any clear actions steps associated with it. I have discovered that finding a mentor is not as easy as simply contacting as many people as you can or crossing your fingers and hoping that one will magically appear (I’ve tried).

Given the crossroads I am currently at professionally (i.e., selecting a career path to build upon my new master’s degree, one that ideally combines some or all of my interests in early childhood education, global education, and educational technology) it seems like the perfect time to search for a professional mentor. It would be amazing to have guidance about various professional paths, such as working as an independent consultant versus a full-time employee, or to to learn more about the best ways to find a career that will allow me to continue to grow professionally. I’m interested to hear another person’s professional perspective about each of the career fields I am exploring and the ideal way to set myself up to achieve my professional goals.

So with all of those questions in mind, I ultimately come back to the first question, how do you find a good professional mentor? I’d love to hear others’ ideas and experiences with answering this question!