Week 3 Comment: elWray again! (she’s just that good)

Dallmeier J. and Dallmeier M. Big brother is watching you. (2003). Source: www.dallmeierart.com

Dallmeier J. and Dallmeier M. Big brother is watching you. (2003). Source: http://www.dallmeierart.com


Week 3: The Value of Stickam?

Working through the Stickam tutorials prior to tonight’s practice session, I was skeptical of this web-based, live video feed application. I kept thinking to myself, “Why go to so much trouble?” I mean, we all (EMDT students) have iChat and Skype, both of which have powerful video and teleconferencing capabilities… Not to mention there’s Wimba, which accommodates audio, video, chat and a presentation platform…

What’s so great about Stickam, especially since you have to use Skype to troubleshoot its audio deficiencies?

But… when my entire group got logged in and all our faces were visible via the feed, I couldn’t help but smile. I immediately knew the value of Stickam: TOGETHERNESS!

Yes, we’ve all heard each other’s voices via Wimba and seen each other’s images through various projects, but it is quite a different experience to see everyone live, in real time. I couldn’t stop smiling. My classmates are real people! Throughout the EMDT program I have battled feelings of isolation and, even though I have developed deep and meaningful relationships with many of my classmates, when the computer gets turned off at the end of the night, so do our connections. Tonight’s Stickam’s session, in some small way, helped bridge the gap between our worlds.

So when I turn off my computer tonight, I’ll still be thinking of… Chris with his sore back, Abram tucking lil Evelyn into bed, Julia surfing the web at a bar, Libby looking very studious in her reading glasses, Nick as chill as ever and Joe packing up his boxes getting ready to move… It feels nice to get to know you all on another level.

Image Credit: Screen shot taken by Emily Wray of live Stickam session on 7/23/09
POSTED BY EL WRAY AT 7/23/2009 09:08:00 PM

addogaudium said…
I am with you on this one. Even with the delay in the video feed, it just felt a little more communal when we could all see each other. I was thinking that this could be a pretty cool thing to use with my students, but then I remembered than none of them are 14 : (

At any rate, perhaps I can use this with some of the parents when coordinating things like costuming or after school activities. And think, someday you’ll be able to do all of this from your phone (even if it isn’t a Nokia).


Week 3: Fair Use

Oh Dear. (n.d.) Source: http://www.clevelandfrowns.com

Oh Dear. (n.d.) Source: http://www.clevelandfrowns.com

This from the U.S. Copyright Office: “The distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission.” There you have it. No 30-second rule, no 6 notes/words rule (as my former creative producer/Nashville writer once told me), nada.

Speaking of copyright, one of my favorite copyright cases is the battle over Winnie the pooh, in which the guy who owned the merchandising rights to the bear quietly waited for Disney to turn Winnie into a billion-dollar-a-year cashbox, then sued Disney for a couple billion dollars. I love it. Incidentally, I am wondering if a tatoo of Winnie the pooh is copyright infringement . . .

Seriously. I want to know.

winnie napkin (n.d.) Source: www.izzys-party-shop.com

winnie napkin (n.d.) Source: http://www.izzys-party-shop.com

Winnie will be released into public domain in 2026. I’m wondering why he should become public domain at all. I need someone to explain to me the necessity of public domain again. Disney invested all of the money that it took to make Winnie a cultural icon. Why should they, and his creators, not benefit from that for eternity? I have a different take on copyrighted works that our culture has made the investment in to promote to such high status.

The best example of a work in this category is “Happy Birthday to You.” Nobody spent a ton of money to promote this song and make it into an international hit. We did it for free. Yet the song generates 2 million dollars a year for Time-Warner. It is actually copyright infringement to perform this song publicly. This I have trouble understanding, as the “exclusive right to public performances” makes sense when the composer is actually ALIVE and able to perform. Seeing as how the writer of the words (the melody is now in public domain) is dead, how can a public performance be infringement? Logically, it can’t be, yet legally it is. This is a work that I have no problem with becoming public domain, and yet another illustration of our in-need-of-repair copyright system.

Week 3: Ron Smith Q & A

Where does Ron Smith teach?

What is the goal of his school?
(To get students into the entertainment business)

What does Ron Smith want to see his students do while they are going to college? (work in the entertainment industry)

Why type of media do students tend to like the best

What is a struggle for Ron Smith as he works with creative students?
(getting them to do the hard work necessary to unleash their creative potential)

Which of the following does Ron Smith NOT specifically mention he will do/use to engage students. (movies, sound, websites, dance around the room, give out candy)

When new technology comes out, does Ron Smith use it right away or does he wait to see if it will last?
(use it right away)

Why are teachers the problem when it comes to bridging the gap between media the students choose to express themselves and media the teachers prefer
(the teachers think that they have arrived if they can make power-points.)

What does “crossing the Rubicon mean?”
(to pass the point of no return)

Julius. (n.d.) Michael Komarck. Source: www.leidenuniv.nl

Julius. (n.d.) Michael Komarck. Source: http://www.leidenuniv.nl

In your opinion, did Ron Smith use this idiom appropriately?
(no wrong answer)

List three “hot applications/technologies” that students are getting into even outside of school.

(1. Scratch)
(2. Sketch-Up)
(3. Blender)

Does Ron Smith favor a behaviorist or constructionist approach to learning?

Practice #3: Assume the Best

grade A. (n.d.). Source: www.wales.nhs.uk

grade A. (n.d.). Source: http://www.wales.nhs.uk

As I read through this third chapter in The Art of Possibility, I was almost moved to tears twice. I don’t know if I was just having one of those days, or what, but this chapter really touched me, impacts me still, and I hope will continue to impact me and my teaching for years to come. This longest chapter so far attempts to convince us not only to give everybody the benefit of the doubt, but to actually give everybody we encounter an A, just as we would give our students an A when they met all of the assignments expectations. Only in this book, Mr. Zander actually gives all of his students A’s before their first week of class is over. Mr. Zander found that once his students knew they had the grade in the bag, they were free to really experiment with their musicianship while playing, which in turn led them to much greater expression than they ever would have achieved. Removing the threat of failure freed the students. I was so inspired by this story that I have decided to do the same thing for my incoming 8th graders (a class that as 6th and 7th graders was the hardest to teach for a number of reasons).

Forgiveness. (n.d.) Source: dlibrary.acu.edu.au

Forgiveness. (n.d.) Source: dlibrary.acu.edu.au

There were two very touching stories in the book, both involving bitterness toward fathers. One involving a girl and one involving a boy. Both of them were free from the pseudo-hatred they felt for the fathers by allowing themselves to assume the best of their fathers and then reevaluating their relationships with them based on the new assumption. Both were enabled to overcome their bitterness and sense a new-found love from their now deceased fathers. The other part of the chapter that made me emotional was re-experiencing the somewhat traumatic life of Gustav Mahler. I love Mahler’s music and am sometimes strangely ashamed to derive so much enjoyment from his work, which is so good largely as a result of the painful experiences he endured throughout his life.

Giving an A to others is very much in the same vain with the Biblical expression of love. The Church could use a little bit more of it. Even in my own church I am at times left wondering “Man, where is the grace, people?” Christians are told to love one another in this assuming-the-best-of-each-other kind of way (I Corinthians 13). We are also told to love our enemies in this manner, and are told that this kind of love for one another is the truest form of expression of our love for Christ. I don’t want to come across as a “God is love” flower child kind of a believer, but love is given a preeminent place in scripture for a reason. As the Apostle Paul says, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”


Zander, R. & Zander, B. (2002). The art of possibility: Transforming professional and personal life. New York: Penguin Books.

Practice #2: Forget Measuring!

The Zanders use chapter 2 to convince the readers that we are indeed slaves of the measuring stick. There are always standards that we compare ourselves to. Wether it is GPA in school, money, recognition or awards, or our own personal measuring sticks that only we know about, we constantly try to measure up. The message of our authors? Forget all of that! Imagine the freedom you would have if you weren’t constrained by such obsessions? How much more creative would your thought process be if instead of trying to measure up, you just lived? Just wake up and breath the air in and LIVE. It is a blessed experience, and one which I am fond of having. I choose to rarely ascertain how well I am meeting particular standards in favor of just being/living/whatever you want to call it. There seem to be plenty around me who do the job for me anyway. It’s not that I don’t have goals. I have many of them. I just don’t let them ruin my life, that’s all. I know that if I just live everyday to its fullest and do what I am happiest doing, I will meet all of those goals. I haven’t really failed yet. I’ve made mistakes and have figured out how NOT to accomplish my goals, but I’ve never really failed.

measure. (n.d.). Source: clickmailmarketing.com

measure. (n.d.). Source: clickmailmarketing.com

This outlook is particularly important to those of us in the Christian faith. We all know of, and perhaps are or have been, people for whom the faith is one gigantic measuring rod. They measure themselves everyday, of course finding out that they can never really measure up. One of three things happens to people like this. Some get fed up with it all and fall away. Some realize that if they only would have paid attention a long time ago they would’ve heard or read multiple scriptures indicating that it is impossible for us to measure up, which is why we need Christ (there are none righteous, all have fallen short of the glory of God, etc.). The third group? Well, the word Pharisee comes to mind. I have found it helpful to walk in reliance on the Spirit of God to “light my path,” as the Psalm says, and to help me do the best I can at everything I do. Those of you who know me, which is pretty much anybody who is reading this, know that I am nowhere close to measuring up to God’s standards. But thank God that Christ has given me the freedom to live with my eyes focused on him instead of the measuring rod!

Zander, R. & Zander, B. (2002). The art of possibility: Transforming professional and personal life. New York: Penguin Books.

New Book: The Art of Possibility

Cover art. (2000). Source: www.intropsych.com

Cover art. (2000). Source: http://www.intropsych.com

It’s like The Power of Positive Thinking on steroids. I have read three chapters of the book so far and eagerly anticipate the rest of it. The chapters are short and easy to navigate (unlike Convergence. Short chapters = Good. Its like having short quests in World of Warcraft. Seriously who has 2 to 3 hours to try and beat the Deadmines?

The authors determine to teach the reader 12 practices “for bringing possibility to life.” (Zander & Zander, 2002). Chapter 1 illustrates for us the way our mind frames in our circumstances in a way that may not necessarily represent the entire truth or the whole picture. Our brains become wired to think in certain ways, and those habits may not lead us to the solutions we need when confronted with obstacles. To prove this phenomenon to their readers, the authors challenge them to complete the nine-dot puzzle.

07ninedot. (n.d.) Source: www.intropsych.com

07ninedot. (n.d.) Source: http://www.intropsych.com

The challenge is to “join all nine dots with four straight lines, without taking pen from paper.” (Zander & Zander, 2002)

If you cannot complete the task, which my wife and I both failed to do, it is because your brain has inserted extra instructions into those expressly written above. I’ll allow you to figure out exactly what that is, but the point is our minds are very adept at misconstruing bits of information together to from an impression that is not completely true. When faced with seemingly unsolvable problems, our challenge is to figure out what barriers our mind is inventing and seek to see around it. As my 9th grade Algebra teacher said on a daily basis, “every problem has a solution”.

Zander, R. & Zander, B. (2002). The art of possibility: Transforming professional and personal life. New York: Penguin Books.