It’s Memorial Day weekend, and instead of relaxing, I’m neck deep in projects.
Not a bad thing.
1. I’ve launched a new podcast series I’m calling Tangential. It’s focused on making quality videos that deal with issues tangential to the books often taught in High School English classes. I’m not in a classroom next year, so this is my way of contributing. I have no idea about my schedule for these; I’ll get them done as I can. I’m starting with Lord of the Flies.
2. The Mass Digital Publication Collaborative keeps inching (speeding?) closer every day. Attendance has jumped in the last few days, and we’re really excited about some of the sessions we’re running and offering. I hope you’ll come if you’re able.
3. I’m excited to be teaching a two day session at EDCO this July on using iPads in High School classrooms. It should be really good- I’ve learned a ton in my time doing this, and I’m really excited to share.
4. The Long Road Home is thundering away in it’s newest incarnation. I’ve had loads of good feedback, mostly (interestingly!) from students. I’m debating shifting the focus to address that specifically. Especially with my current mission of bringing computer games to the ELA classroom.
That’ll do, for now.
That’s what I’m calling my newest project.
It’s in-progress right now- some test shooting and a prototype intro are in the can, so to speak. It’s easily the most complicated self-shooting rig I’ve worked with in at least a very long time, and maybe ever.
Here’s what it is:
Tangential is a series of video podcasts that cover a wide range to topics related to texts taught in High School English classes. I’m not teaching any English classes next year, and I can’t bear to have some of my more fun and tangential talks sit on the shelf. Plus I get bored. So I’m doing all the stuff I really like as videos so others can watch and learn and enjoy.
So my latest video post is here.
But in the meantime, I’ve done some research, as I’m prone to. And I’ve found some interesting stuff.
So Zork is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s an entire genre of work called “Interactive Fiction” that builds on the format of Zork, but expands quite a ways beyond that. Creating them isn’t the most straightforward thing ever, but I’ve found this gadget called FrobTADS that seems built for that exact function. Granted, I’ve just downloaded the thing (and I haven’t even installed it yet…), but it looks like a mostly straightforward nomenclature that it’s using. Interesting, at least.
So my current thinking is to combine attributes of Interactive Fiction with those of ARGs (Alternate Reality Games). I’m thinking about starting a unit inside of a bit of Interactive Fiction, and then having tasks that have to take place out in the real world. Puzzles, maybe, or locations that need to be visited to gain a clue or code or whatnot that then gets loaded back into the Interactive Fiction to gain the next level or step.
My next step is to play with FrobTADS a bit and see what it can do and how it is to work with, and decide if it’s the sort of thing that’s going to be useful without simply adding to the pile of things I have to do.
That and figuring out if students are even going to like this sort of thing. Because if they’re not into this, then…
That you have to look be in the face like this. But it’s better (I guess) than me driving and filming. So. Yeah.
What a busy week it’s been. Lots going on:
1. My newest (same same but different) Vlog is live, over on my Youtube Channel. I’m back to (currently) recording video podcasts in my car, usually on the way home from work. It’s safe, I promise. I’m hoping to move on to other… venues… but right now my commute is some of the only free time I have. Give it a watch, think a bit, get psyched, and then…
2… take part in Mission #1: The Quest to Find a Good Classroom As A Video Game Platform. Or, TQFGCVGP, as I shall now call it. The Google Doc is here. I’m really excited about this- I hope you are too.
3. I’m teaching a class this summer for EDCO, in Waltham MA. The flyer (as a PDF) is here, and you should totally take it, if you’re interested in starting with iPads in a High School setting. It’s a topic I know a bit about. It’s a two-day session, and we’ll be starting at the basics and moving towards more advanced workflows. You’ll want to bring an iPad- and a smile, ’cause it’s going to be awesome.
4. Numbers of people coming to The 2012 Massachusetts Digital Publication Collaborative are ramping up, and I’ve been watching Andy and Dennis slave over the schedule to make sure the MANY sessions and MANY presenters all have a chance to share what they know. It’s going to be good, it’s going to be free, and you should, if at all able, come.
5. I’ve headed into some murky water with my latest project in the classroom- it’s too early to say how it’s going, but I’m looking forward to being able to post some of what I (and the students) learn in the next week or two. Suffice it to say that I’ve never done it before, and I’m a bit anxious- which are both good things.
6. I’ve added a “Mission Control” tab to the top of this blog for keeping track of the missions we embark on. I also updated my Setup page to better reflect my current uses/devices/apps. My actual setup changes ever couple of days, depending on what I’m doing, but this update better reflects how I’m currently using it. And lastly, some small updates/tweeks to my About Me page.
I know it’s a Saturday (morning!) but I just can’t wait any longer.
Let’s do this.
I’m back- and it’s big folks. Real big.
Group projects, conversations… Making stuff & making stuff better.
It’s not so much a “new” project as one I haven’t touched in a while.
I’m getting back to The Long Road Home
It’s been gone for a while- and that’s for a bunch of reasons. I was tired. I had (more) kid(s). I gave up using that camera. I didn’t want to be like every other vlogger. I didn’t want to bore people.
But now I’m bored. Not really, I suppose, but I find that if I’m not slightly over-extended, I’m not as productive as I like to be. So this is going to be a way to put my commute to use, and to introduce some texture to the post that I’ve been putting up here.
It’s not going to be the same as before. I was pushing a new episode every day. That’s too much- too much for you to watch and too much for me to do. I can’t be good that often- and I’d rather be good than frequent. So I’m going to aim for one a week. There might be weeks where there’s more than that, and there are going to be weeks with less. But I’m shooting for an average here.
I’d really like to thank ZeFrank here- his earlier videos (“The Show”) were always something I looked forward to, and introduced me to the rough format that I use. His new stuff (“A Show”), and specifically, An Invocation for Beginnings really go me ready to go with this. I start shooting today, heath permitting, and we’ll see where it goes.
I’d like it to be a conversation. I’d like you to be able to tell me where you want this to go. I’d like to do things together. Make things.
Let’s make stuff.