K12 Online Conference — We Get Released!

Our Collaborative ABC Movie Project gets released to the K12 Online Conference today and Bonnie and I are thrilled, nervous and wondering how our presentations will be received. We mixed up our formats a bit by:

  • First, Bonnie created a powerful overview movie of the reasons why we launched our ABC Movie project

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/MbjmHWV940I" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

  • Second, I created a podcast of my own. Take a listen.
  • Third, we put together a Webpage presentation that features the various tools that we used in the project, plus some nice podcast reflections by
  • And finally, in that Webpage, there is a hands-on collaborative story project that uses the letters of the alphabet and VoiceThread (please join in!)

[kml_flashembed movie="http://voicethread.com/book.swf?b=6879" width="450" height="500" wmode="transparent" /]
The presentation also marks the true public showing of the various movies that we created in Jumpcut along various themes (thanks to Bonnie) and so here they are for your viewing:


[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.jumpcut.com/media/flash/jump.swf?id=0AD1624060C511DC9E05000423CF3686&asset_type=movie&asset_id=0AD1624060C511DC9E05000423CF3686&eb=1 ” width=”408″ height=”324″ wmode=”transparent” /]


[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.jumpcut.com/media/flash/jump.swf?id=D22883CA60AA11DC96F2000423CF3686&asset_type=movie&asset_id=D22883CA60AA11DC96F2000423CF3686&eb=1 ” width=”408″ height=”324″ wmode=”transparent” /]
Role Models

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.jumpcut.com/media/flash/jump.swf?id=DC07F2D860D011DC806F000423CEF682&asset_type=movie&asset_id=DC07F2D860D011DC806F000423CEF682&eb=1 ” width=”408″ height=”324″ wmode=”transparent” /]

Place Inspirations

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.jumpcut.com/media/flash/jump.swf?id=D34DDCC660C511DCA91B000423CF382E&asset_type=movie&asset_id=D34DDCC660C511DCA91B000423CF382E&eb=1 ” width=”408″ height=”324″ wmode=”transparent” /]

School Days

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.jumpcut.com/media/flash/jump.swf?id=3C3CB50660C411DCAE0A000423CF385C&asset_type=movie&asset_id=3C3CB50660C411DCAE0A000423CF385C&eb=1 ” width=”408″ height=”324″ wmode=”transparent” /]

Oddballs and Ends

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.jumpcut.com/media/flash/jump.swf?id=E3AC268E6E8711DC82AB000423CF381C&asset_type=movie&asset_id=E3AC268E6E8711DC82AB000423CF381C&eb=1 ” width=”408″ height=”324″ wmode=”transparent” /]

Thanks for joining on this journey

Kevin and Bonnie

ABC on Jumpcut

I am experimenting with embedding Jumpcut movies and if it works, here is our ABC movie pared down to just the introduction to our letters:
[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.jumpcut.com/media/flash/jump.swf?id=94366C946F5511DCBFFC000423CEF5B0&asset_type=movie&asset_id=94366C946F5511DCBFFC000423CEF5B0&eb=1″ width=”408″ height=”324″ wmode=”transparent” /]

Let me know what you think and if you are part of this project, you are invited to remix or re-edit the movies in any way that strikes your creative streak.


Little T

It’s time to celebrate!
This is our last movie segment and it comes from Barbara. She captures the potential and frustrations perfectly, I think.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=5087559429074701877" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]

What do you think?


PS — And next, it is on to Jumpcut!!!

O is for Oliphaunt

Peter has sent forth this interesting examination of the world of Tolkien and how words and story have shaped his own experience. It brought back many memories for me, too, as I remember sitting as a very young teen, snuggled on my bed with Lord of the Rings, for hours on end. I await the day I can really begin to move back into the books with my sons (that day is coming soon, I can tell, and The Hobbit was great success).

Do you know what Oliphaunt is? Let Peter tell you:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/kgTge1NR_CY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

His script:

“O” is for Oliphaunt.

The first mention of oliphaunt elicits a riddle in poetic form:

Grey as a mouse,
Big as a house,
Nose like a snake,
I make the earth shake,
As I tramp through the grass;
Trees crack as I pass.
With horns in my mouth
I walk in the South,
Flapping big ears.
Beyond count of years

The person who recites the riddle is Samwise Gamgee, a devoted, honest, working-class hobbit in JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The verse comes to mind when the possibility arises of actually seeing an oliphaunt, a creature from the cryptozoology of middle earth. Sam’s child-like wonder at encountering the mystical creature, his open and artless approach to new experiences, always reminds me of the wonder I experienced when first I cracked Tolkien’s opus in 1973, when I was a fourth-grader.

Reading The Lord of the Rings became an annual ritual for me all the way through the 1990s; I still read it once every year or two. For the longest time, it was my Christmas vacation treat; I would anticipate the opportunity of having the free time to luxuriate in the world created by Professor Tolkien’s words. But occasionally, I would begin to read at odd times of the year, often because I wanted to relive the terrifying darkness of traveling through the deserted Mines of Moria. Even had I made a conscious attempt to leave behind Middle Earth, I doubt I could have found success. I had been–to borrow a term author Neil Gaiman uses to describe his own fascination with the fantastic–infected. Infected by the idea that an author’s words can change the ways that I think, the ways that I believe, the ways that I behave.

“Oliphaunt” is what’s known as a “nonce word,” a word that is not part of any existing language yet is easily recognizable by virtue of its phonic or semantic similarities to actual words. Cultural theorist Pierre Macherey once said that literary texts operate ideologically through a mechanism similar to the nonce word. Texts create fictional realities that bear enough semblance to our own reality, how ever far separated the two may be, that as readers we filter our interpretations of the real world through the fictions we consume.

When I read Tolkien’s work as a child, I mostly wanted the adventure. Frodo, the hobbit protagonist, seemed like the most interesting character since all of the action revolved around his possession of the magical One Ring. But as an adult, my attention has been drawn more to Aragorn, a human who, in the face of a desperately uncertain future, struggles to attain a destiny shaped by his heritage, fortitude, and personal desires. Collectively, the book’s reality and the characters who inhabit it have worked ideologically to shape my own understanding of the reality I inhabit.

“Oliphaunt” may simply be a nonce word standing in for our own tusked and trunked pachyderms, but we should remember that it is also a touchstone identifying ideological connections between fiction and reality.

“O” is for Oliphaunt.

— Kevin


i is for i

This comes from a new friend, Fred, out in California, who agreed to take on the Letter I with an introspective angle:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-6882141736796382571" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]

And he sent along a version of his script:

I is for I, that first person voice from which all stories spring. Now I don’t mean me, this particular person here who is speaking to you – I mean the voice, the source, the voice, the one from whom everything springs.

I don’t mean me, this particular me, MEMYSELFI…

ME only comes about when “I” looks out and sees that I’m me, not anyone else…and that means really there’s two in that conversation, the one that started it off, and then began to think about herself, about that essence from which springs everything else.

And from that reflection comes the concept of identity, of that uniqueness that wants expression, that wants to be known in the world, that wants recognition, RE-cognition, thinking about, RE-flection, looking again, at something, but it’s that thing, the origin, the source, from which everything springs that I want to point to…

But when I point, then you know that it’s just me doing the pointing, and…the point is lost.

So…how do we recoonect with that original “I,” that source, that voice?

We must go inward, go in, to that source, that well-spring, from which springs everything else.

There’s a quietness to connecting to the source—that’s what religions around the world call the state of grace, the source the origin from which all else springs.

And each path has its own way to find that source. I’m not talking about meditation alone, exactly, nor prayer, exactly, but something like both or neither—the well spring from which all else springs.

So, pretty abstract and philosophical, but appropriate to the main task I see as a teacher wanting to use digital storytelling with students–how best to inspire storytellers to find their unique voice, to use the technological hooks we have to bring forth voices that haven’t been heard.

Thanks Fred!

— Kevin

Y is for Youth Baseball

As my kids get older, the more sports are dominating our lives. So here, I present my Y Movie as a way to look at baseball and my connections to my sons.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-8891800749316318329" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]

Here is the script:

Y is for youth baseball.

My wife and I spend most of our evenings on the ball fields of our small city in Massachusetts. With two boys playing in two different youth baseball leagues, my wife and I are scrambling around, trying to catch a few innings here and there, shouting out encouraging words and support. Our youngest boy, just two and a half, is a wishful thinker of the game, wondering how the ball has suddenly landed in his glove. His diamond is our back yard. Our middle son is in the farm leagues and just learning about staying in tune with the sport. He’s a quick learner, though, and already has the arm of a star pitcher. Sometimes, at home, I watch him from the window as he plays out entire baseball series between the Red Sox and Yankees in his imagination. And our older son has moved up to a more competitive league and everything in his mind right now is baseball, baseball, baseball. He’s emerged as one of the starting pitchers, the first base iron glove, and a lead-off batter. Recently, I came across a couple of photographs that brought the younger me up to the surface. Three of the photos were team pictures from my own little league years and the memories arrived at just the right moment in time, as my older son’s team is struggling mightily to even notch up a win this year. So I told him the story of my own team in the photograph, and how we were winless for so many games, so deep into the season. Somehow, though, we found a way to pull it together and end up in first place. The same box that housed the photographs also held the first place trophy as well. My older boys are in awe of the hunk of fake gold glory, so I gently reminded them that the true essence of baseball is not in the winning (as nice as that feels) but in the moments that accompany the waiting and anticipation, when you are crouched down low in the field or standing at the plate with the bat, ready to spring forward.

Y is for youth baseball.


This is one script that I rewrote a number of times to make it work the way I wanted it to work. One of my problems was trying to balance out the boys in somewhat equal fashion (it must be the thread of fairness that dominates our household sometimes) and then move from their experiences into my own memories. Luckily, we were cleaning out our attic and I found some of my old photos and scanned them into my computer. I like how it came out, as a tribute to them and to my own past. It has been years since I have thought about my own little league teams and what baseball meant to me on those spring and summer nights at the parks. I was hoping to recapture some of that here. (I also loved that I still had that cartoon illustration of me, striking out at bat. My kids love that picture and giggle at it everytime they see it — it’s my desktop picture for now)

— Kevin

Cynthia-Squared (U and J)

Cynthia just sent in her two movies (U and J) and both are incredible pieces of storytelling (I am no longer surprised by the quality of movies and stories being told, of course) about a musical instrument (ukelele) and settling a family score with humor (jacks). In this case, Cynthia ended up emailing me the movies after running into some upload problems and I did the uploading for her.

Here are her movies:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=501383732198705689" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]


[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/oteTKEmaPYg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

— Kevin

The Letter D — A Horse Story

We have had a late entry into our ABC Project and Peter has graciously allowed our new friend, Marianne from New Zealand, to submit a movie about the letter D. It’s a wonderful profile of a very special animal.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/0MN05lpEhLM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Here is her script:

D is for Deputy Girl

Deputy Girl is a twelve year old thoroughbred mare who has taught me a lot about understanding horses. I was very new to owning horses when we first met four years ago and I had a lot to learn. Deputy Girl immediately took the position of dominant mare in my small herd. We thought she was aggressive because she used to turn her back on us a lot. This behavior can be an indication of a horse getting ready to kick you with their back feet. A friend of mine who had a lot more experience with horses said that behavior was not acceptable and suggested immediately hitting her on the back when ever she turned on us. I had no intention of hitting her and was interested in finding a different way. So my friend told me about two Monty Roberts’ trainers who were based in New Zealand. Monty Roberts is the original horse whisperer who has a ranch in California.

I spent a week in training learning the silent language ‘Equus’. When I got home I had a lovely time reconnecting with my horses. When I was leaving the paddock Deputy Girl walked me to the gate. When I was on the other side she turned her back on me. It didn’t make sense that she would threaten me after a lovely visit. As I stood there reflecting on what was happening she leaned into the gate and started rubbing back and forth. She wasn’t trying to threaten me.

Deputy Girl has now trained us to respond to her wishes on demand. It is not a behavior that we are encouraging in her foals.

D is for Deputy Girl


I created it using Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0.

Reflections on the lessons I learned from my horse about communication and trust are also relevant for many aspects of life.

— Kevin

W is for Walking

Donna has just completed her W moving and it nicely evokes both the inner voice of contemplation and captures the sense of place where she does her walking. See for yourself:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-5731297424528282572" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]

— Kevin