Friday, January 9, 2009

Seven Things ... Plus

Thanks to Mari Hobkirk (from my Plurk PLN) and her On the Road to 2.0 blog, I've been tagged for the 7 Things You May Not Need to Know About Me meme! Like many memes, it has been viral...and, as usual, I'm on the tail-end of the spread. However, this meme has the potential for being somewhat timeless as it helps to personalize our widespread and diverse PLN contributors.

So, here are my seven things:
  1. My life as an Army "brat" took me to various places in my childhood, to include Heidelberg, Germany and Seoul, Korea (where I graduated from high school). Though at the time I wasn't that excited about the moves every two years, I look back at those experiences as true treasures! I only wish I'd been older and more mature to better appreciate what those opportunities could offer.
  2. Before I entered the rat race of my professional demands, I often relaxed by creating stained glass panels. I would get so focused on the design, the cuts, the assembly, the soldering, and the finishing of each piece...I would get lost in time. Sometimes I would work for 10-12 hours without taking a break, even for food! That intensity was amazing and a reflection of a passion from the past.
  3. My favorite color is blue - just a random fact! Blue is considered a 'cool' color, but I like the warmth of its hues - from the turquoise to the teal - I love them all! All colors have a place in my world, but blue always rises to the top!
  4. In 1990, I spent three weeks in studying dolphin behavior in Tampa Bay via an Earthwatch expedition. I can't articulate the multi-faceted rewards of that summer - the relationships, the learning, the satisfaction of 'doing good', and the incredible dolphins. I have awesome memories, images, and other documentation that I bring out every once in a day I'll indulge in another expedition.
  5. Volunteering as an Intake Counselor at our Neighborhood Health Clinic for the uninsured working poor is an important highlight of my life. I always leave there with a sense of awe: humbled by the proud, but desperate, individuals seeking affordable medical care (to which everyone should be entitled don't you think?); thoroughly enamored with the founders who still actively participate in the clinic; and glad to be part of a vibrant community of more than 500 volunteers.
  6. I can make a great roasted salmon with citrus and thyme entree! Though I love to cook, I don't often make/take the time. I often read cookbooks, just for the pure vicarious pleasure! Experimenting with foods and cooking techniques is inspiring and, if I could just figure out a way to evaporate the extra calories! :)
  7. The use and integration of technology tools in our world excites me and I can't wait to see what the future unfolds for us, especially in learning and teaching. But I'm also fearful that our educational institutions are not embracing change as quickly nor as thoroughly as needed. Nonetheless, I remain optimistic and hopeful that we will indeed create our futures, as desired!
*Lagniappe* - the little extra - I love to learn and, more importantly, I enjoy sharing what I know with those interested. If 'the teacher arrives when learner is ready,' how can we create that 'readiness'?

To play this meme correctly, I'm suppose to 'tag' seven more people to carry on the 'virus,' but I'm not sure there's anyone in my immediate PLN who hasn't responded....If so, please consider yourself 'tagged' and share your seven things!!

Photo credit to platinum on Flickr

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2008 In Pictorial Review

Nothing earth-shattering here, but I did manage to almost meet my 2008 New Year's Resolution of taking a daily photo - there were two days, July 31 and November 30, that I totally forgot! If interested, you can watch the year's review slideshow or look at the pictures here.

My goal was to learn more about my camera and photography in general. I didn't do as much camera experimentation as I'd hoped. Yes, there were days that I was able to explore and to plan a shoot, but there were more days when I either just plain documented or worse, I felt the pressure of needing to take an image (any image!) before the day's end. On the other hand, I didn't expect to gain so much in
  • viewing another perspective - the camera lens can be deceptive for both positive and negative,
  • slowing down at least one moment a day to visually focus on my environment - yes, there is a world beyond the 'rat race' and we have to claim it or it may escape,
  • exposing latent aspects to some photographs - the digital process is so much different than the old film processing, but there's still the potential for surprise in the product,
  • thinking about my choice of a daily selection - again, the process of focus and prioritization and the metacognition of such was revealing, and
  • journaling every day - sometimes the photo description was rather pedestrian, but often there was deeper meaning.
I will try again in 2009 - not necessarily as a quest to meet the goal, but more for the pleasure I did enjoy this past year. With the advent of additional 365/2009 Flickr groups (EdTech 365/2009, 365Random, Project365) and Photoblogs (i.e., Karin's Daily Photo, Martha's 365 Challenge, PhotoJourney2009), I look forward to seeing what others in the community will add to the experience! Additionally, I hope to stretch my potential photography skills - practice makes perfect, right? ;)

Lagniappe: The Picnik editing tool integrated with Flickr is indeed a lifesaver! Those shots that are a bit too blurry can still be saved with a transformation via contrast tool and/or effects which still warrant the photos as interesting.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Special Effects

Flower Study 03
Originally uploaded by colemama
In mid-December I had the honor of participating as an evaluator/judge in a trio of multimedia projects:
Every experience was valuable and insightful for students and evaluator alike!

Most of the projects had a focal point of relevant content, as one would expect, but it was interesting to note the emphasis on the 'hooks' some used to entice the viewer to stick with it and engage in the content! As one who constantly fought the 'bells and whistles' syndrome in teaching PowerPoint, I was not surprised at the ubiquitous special effects.

Exploring and experimenting is a vital element for learning - and these projects usually showed evidence of such knowledge and skills. What I found lacking was the process of reflection on the part of the students...not to say that it wasn't part of the process - perhaps just latent, but valuable. As an evaluator, I wanted to know what the students were thinking and discovering as they created their final product.

Lagniappe: My dual love of iPhone and photography is enhanced with a small investment ($2.99) - the Photogene application. It created this photo (Flower Study 03 - a definite 'attention grabber') as part of my own exploring and experimenting with images and Flickr! I love its simplicity, but also the opportunity to try out new things and, in this case, see the results of the minimal Flower Study!

Lagniappe #2: It was easy to upload my iPhone pictures directly to my Flickr account with the Flickr upload email account!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Originally uploaded by colemama
Though old, rusty, and barnacled this heavy chain is steadfast in its strength and consistency. Many times it is covered by the gulf's waters, but this morning, caught in the early sunrise, it was exposed and called out for a photo snap. Yes, I've taken a similar picture before as it is along my usual beach walk, but the unexpected turquoise blue of the surf and the stark rusty orange of the metal coupled with the barnacled textures really struck me!

Often one associates being 'chained' with the lack of freedom and nonexistent creativity, but it can also be an important foundation that can stretch well beyond the fleeting moments of impulsiveness and the fanciful fads. Beginning this new year is an opportunity to re-establish that relentless structure or touchstone which provides guidance in our rational decision making, as well as in our right-brained activities! 'Chained' can also evoke the necessary contrast to keep balance and grounding in our world.

The strength implied by chains is only as good as the interconnection between the links. Age and constant wear & tear have an impact. Broken or deteriorating links need adjustments or repair in order to carry out their function. But as long as there is one solid section keeping connections, there is still hope!

I'll take 'chained' any day!

Lagniappe: Blog This option on Flickr photos is a fast and easy way to get a posting with picture!