Midstream analysis…

I am in the middle of it all, things flying by on all sides…assignments, in class essays…and then there is a moment of brilliance-
I actually had students reflect on their own work today.
It has been mentioned several times around the staff meeting table that schools often don’t allow time for meaningful reflection.
Today I think there might’ve been some (at least there was time allowed for it).
I think we sometimes just get into the habit or the misconstrued perception that we must mark everything that we make students do. I think students also have that misconstrued perception (the question: ‘is this worth marks?’, or ‘does this count?’ quite often surfaces in discussion).
To be quite honest, marking students out the gate on a new assignment or concept is ridiculous. There is no learning time: students are forced to perform from the get-go on some newly innovated thing that may take a few tries to finally get a handle on.
When I was a teenager, Apple (part of Capitol Records) released ‘ The Beatles – Live at the BBC’ – a double disc recording of about 70 songs and sound-bites. I ran out and bought it on the day it was released. I was stoked, and my dad was wishing he had kept all his old Beatles vynl… To be honest, I listened to it a handful of times, but found it to be….a little annoying. There is a reason why a lot of it never was recorded and released on a ‘real’ album. Some of it wasn’t, in my opinion, all that hot (but the photos in the liner notes are pretty slick).
When I pick photographs to put in an art show, I go through reems of negs and picture files looking for strong images, ones that I feel communicate my strengths as a photographer. I spend time in post production working on developing images. If I imagine just pulling my first roll of film to represent me as a photographer, I cringe. On my first roll, I didn’t know the camera, didn’t know the film…didn’t know smack about photography.
So here’s the point of this ramble – I think we should allow students to view their progression and allow their ‘strong moments’ to be represent and communicate their achievements.
Today I had students write an in class essay, then I gave them the chance to compare it to one they had done months before. I asked them to pick what they felt was the stronger of the two, and provide comments or commentary in the margins that explained why the essay they chose was stronger. I am marking the one they chose, and reading the other one. My comments are exploring their essay, but are also agreeing with or adding to their own self assessment of their work.
So far, it seems to be a really constructive written conversation. Allowing students to choose how they represent their learning…sounds like an informative and constructivist learning experience to me…
From the top of my head today.

NETworking effectiveness…

Just doing some thinking around the idea of using the net as a networking tool for social means. It seems as though the huge popularity of sites such as myspace, blogger, and facebook point towards that strong pull of the social aspect of technology {not to mention the msn phenom…}.
I am wondering if this popularity goes further than social networking…A great experiment would be to create a persona and promote him/her via the net using some of the programs listed above to see if they create any kind of stir in ‘real time’. I know this idea is a little reminiscant of movies such as S1m0ne or perhaps a slipstream version of Shelley’s Frankenstein
(which, by the way, I think S1m0ne refs quite a bit…).
Author Peter Carey explored this idea in terms of the literary world in his novel
My Life as A Fake , which, {opinion warning…} in my opinion, was a great idea but ended up being badly written and too closely modeled and reffed to Shelley’s work. Regardless of my thoughts on the product, the idea in itself of fabricating a poet and the effects of this persona actually coming to life was a thought provoking one, albeit not an original one (see the list of poets and authors who wrote/created personas…although Carey took it a step further in his fiction).
All this to come to the point: is the virtual social net an effective tool, or a distraction from ‘real time’ social networking? Thoughts, anyone…

Cleaning blog house…

I Haven’t posted anything substantial in some time…and have felt for some time the desire to clean up this mess of a blog a bit…

What’s on the burners of the web-minded side of me these days?
Well, just added James Kingsley to the blogroll (clean up, did you say? How about, add to…)

Signed up for virb on a whim, as it was a jump on Andrew into the new trends of web 2.o…he isn’t convinced yet…and I can’t really say I’ll do anything substantial with it…but it beats myspace hands down in terms of design savvy.

Speaking of nothing substantial, Andrew got me signed up on facebook, which seems like a great connective tool if you want to stay in touch with your high school buddies…

Thinking a lot in terms of images and photo ideas these days…still ruminating there…

Just a few random updates.

Edu-blogging? I’ve heard of it…

new lens…



new lens, baby! – spring break potd day VII

Originally uploaded by James Matthew.

After some long deliberation, and mourning over the loss (breakage) of my last lens…I have finally gotten some new glass…

I picked up Canon’s 17-40 f.4 L series lens, which is a fine piece of glass.

Initial take on it:

It is a beauty of a lens, with solid construction and very rugged materials. Has strong connections that are made specifically for water & dust resistance. Not that I do that sort of thing, but bouncing along in kayak or on the West Coast Trail is not attypical behavior for my camera gear…

All zoom mechs. are internal, which means it doesn’t ‘grow’ when you zoom, and also means that the lens mech. are protected.

Constant manual focus, so you can tweak even in auto focus mode (which, by the way, is the quietest and fastest I’ve ever seen/heard – thanks to Canon’s USM (ultra-sonic motor)).

It’s big, especially with the lens hood on. Nice glass!

Overall, I am stoked, and can’t wait for some nice weather to get out and do some shooting…