An amazing resource.

I’ve known about these for a while now, but since the last of the series just dropped yesterday, it seemed like the time to write about them.

The Everything Is A Remix videos should be required watching for all educators and students. End. Of. Story.

Kirby Ferguson breaks down the complicated differences between copying and tranforming- showing the merits of either and limitations of both. In the educational world, it’s all too common for us to say “copying is bad” without ever admitting that copying plays an important role in the creative process. We delineate the world into good and bad without ever addressing the substantial grey area.

These videos take the very difficult subject matter and via use of excellent narration, wonderful animation, and astute split screens, open students’ eyes to the true nature of creativity and ownership.

If you’re not watching these, and if you’re not showing them to your students, you’re doing it wrong.




New England 1:1 Summit

So I’m helping work on this fairly large summit we’re running. As of right now, we’ve got 280 people signed up, but we’re predicting something over 300 attending by March 10th.

Pretty excited about all this.

We’re trying to start some good communication between people already doing the 1:1 thing, and people looking to go that direction. If I’m honest, I have absolutely no idea what that other direction might be, but there you go. Let me say a few thing about what this conference isn’t:

1. An Apple-specific event. Yes, they’ll be there, and yes, we use iPad2’s at our 1:1 schools, but this isn’t about a specific device.

2. A focus on how to use specific tools in classrooms.

3. A waste of time.

And as to the question as to what this conference is:

1. A plainspoken talk about the culture shift required in a successful move to 1:1.

2. A chance to share and create resources about that cultural shift.

3. Awesome.

I’ll post more about the cultural shift I’ve mentioned above, but that’s a bigger topic than I’m willing to tackle right here and now.




New coolness.

It’s no secret that I’m a bit fan of Kickstarter. If you don’t know it, it’s a crowdfunding platform that allows people to bring cool ideas/products/projects to life, and reward the people that back those projects. To date, I’ve backed eight projects there- and it’s been an adventure every time.

So I just backed project #8.

It’s different this time. I know the people involved- the excellent folks over at Bootstrap Productions, who besides being brilliant educators (Yes, you too Derek…), are brilliant writers and artists. They’ve hooked up with the folks over at Eyeformation studios and are trying to fund some genuinely impressive activities books.

I’ve got two young daughters, and it’s hard to find activities that aren’t princess based- never mind activities that have artistic merit on their own.

I don’t plug things much- but this is worth your time.





Annndddd We’re Live!

There we go, folks. Live and back at ’em.

1. Email is live, too. So you can stop having your emails bounce. Which is nice.

2. I’m working on a pretty involved video project right now- multiple camera shoots, 1080/24p, and the like. I should have the A-roll finished this week, and with my fingers crossed, much of the B-Roll too. Then editing. Lots of editing. I can say that it’s for the New England 1:1 Summit, and that it will debut there, but I’ll post it here as well.

That’s it, for now.

Happy to be back and in action.




Bit of news…

Couple of things going on. Allow me to enumerate them.

1. Our school is in the midst of Poetry Out Loud, a national poetry recitation/dramatic reading competition. School semi finals are today, and have just over 100 students taking part, which represents roughly the top 10% of performances. I’ll be running a livestream of the entire event today, which runs all day, from 7:35am until nearly 2:00pm (EST). Feel free to tune in over here to see what that looks like. The finals (which is much shorter & top 1% of all students) will be Feb 10th, and for that I’ll be producing the stream live- remote cameras and all. I’ll post that link then, too.

2. This blog/webpage is finally ready to move to a custom server- so expect that to be happening soon, likely over this weekend. If all goes well, it’ll look just as it does now, and you’d never be the wiser. But if things go sideways a bit… well, there you go.

3. The New England 1:1 Summit is gathering some steam- more people signing up, more sponsors getting on board… And you should, too. It’s free, it’s fun, and there will be tons of good talks about how 1:1 isn’t really about tech at all, and is about a shift in culture. The first-draft schedule just got posted too- check that out as well.



Ah yes. Time for another one of these.

1. I’m still hosting this site at, as my web guy hasn’t moved it over to for whatever reason. As a result, my primary personal email is still busted. Sorry ’bout that. Plenty of other ways to get in touch in the meantime.

2. Just grabbed “DraftPad” (for free!) off the app store, and so far impressions are pretty good. Nice interface, excellent output options. A little less draw-y than Adobe Ideas (a prior fav), but with better output… so… get it while it’s free!

3. All the cool kids are at Educon this weekend- and I’m not. So if you ever had any doubts about me… there you go. That said, I’ll be at (and helping run… and leading sessions, no doubt…) the New England 1:1 Summit on March 10th. It’s free, and if you’re in the area you should totally come. Did I mention I’ll be there?

4. We’re booking school visits out into mid-March right now. If you’d like to get in and see how/what/why we do what we do, please get in touch soon- the year will be done before you know it.

5. My new business cards should be here early this week. Ted over at Terrapin Stationers printed them, and I can’t wait to have them in my hands. Check him out if you need quality work done.

6. I’m looking for a way to create Google Map layers on an iPad- anyone got a way to do this? I’ve tried via Safari & Google Maps, I’ve tried the Google Earth app… no luck so far.

7. I’ll be trying to drop a SitRep every Sunday- seems like the right way to wrap up/begin a week.


Sanity. Sweet, sweet sanity…

So I found this floating by on twitter the other day.

It’s a nice, sane view and a careful reading of what the Apple iBooks Author EULA actually means. And -wait for it- it doesn’t mean what people are complaining about it meaning.

Apple doesn’t own your content, they retain exclusive rights to publish the outputted file. That’s it.

The difference is crucial. Nothing stops you from publishing that same content via other means in other file formats. So by all means, use iBooks Author to build a book for iPads, then turn around a push out roughly the same content via ePub and PDF and whatever other format you like. And sell those elsewhere, if that’s your thing.

Maybe people need to take a deep breath?

Have a cup of tea?

Otherwise calm down?

Missing tools…

So I’ve been thinking again.

I know, I know. It just gets me in trouble. Whatever.


Anyway. Apple’s been kind enough (or hateful enough, depending on your viewpoint, I suppose…) to release some eBook authoring software to us, the unwashed masses. I think it’s pretty cool; there’s already been a bunch of blowback about the EULA. I’ve already written about what I think about that mess over here.

Here’s what I think is missing: Animation software.

It’s great that I can now easily build these eBooks. Actually, I could do that already, via Pages or Sigil or InDesign (cringe) or whatever. Just this morning, in fact, I built a quick ePub for a friend- something like 70 pages long, took me, oh, maybe 30 minutes. Tops. All text, easy.

What I’m missing is the ability, with my meager skills, to build the sort of nice looking animations that seems so common in the media these days. I mean, I know I could try to learn Blender (have you tried, btw? least intuitive interface. ever.) or shell out the money for Maya or Motion or Rhino or some other overkill industrial strength tool. I don’t really want that. I loathe using InDesign, mostly because it’s so wildly overkill and complicated for my needs- Pages or GDocs tend to be a better option for me. As much as I love my Final Cut Pro rig, lots of the time the quick videos I’m making are faster to build in iMovie. I try to avoid Pro Level software unless I really need it. I find the lighter the weight of the tool, the faster and more often I use it.

So what I really want is a nice, well designed, reasonably full-featured 3d animation software that doesn’t require a huge learning curve. I’ve not found one, have you?

Once I’ve got that- whoo-boy! My presentations and eBooks and websites will never be the same.