The Mac Lab

Archive for September, 2010

Taking Flight (Week 4)

by on Sep.27, 2010, under Blog

chadd_c_float_01_smOnce upon a child’s mind, did flutter butterfly
Gift to share with one then all, who’ll open wings to try
Asked to ask and seek and knock, on wooded points of view
Goodness treats patient resolve, with echoes ringing true
Child’s play remembering, climb branches looking sees
Others just can’t find the time, and hunt on hands and knees
Skocko / Dream Yet Complete

That stanza really does sum up our first three weeks. The recent +10 -30 debacle proves that we have both climbers and crawlers in the Mac Lab. To the latter group, may I suggest looking up instead? And while I have your attention, may I also suggest you read the stanza one more time? I really am trying to hand you a gift. Patient resolve means you have to work long and hard to open the gift. Or should I say Slow and Steady? We’ve got the whole year ahead of us. Are you sure you want to stay on the ground while the rest of us take to the air? (Chadd C)

Going Up: Once the self portraits start rolling in, I’ll throw add a gallery for those too but for now, I give you our initial entrants in the worldwide Float! fest. This is going to be good.

Upcoming Presentation: Ringling College of Art and Design, one of the best new media schools in the nation, is visiting the Mac Lab Thursday of next week (Oct 7). Unfortunately, our presenter will only be here 5th and 6th period. The presentation will focus on portfolio development, careers in art, and examples of student artwork. If you’re in another period and want to see the presentation, speak with your 5th or 6th period teacher in advance. Point them at this post for verification that you speak the truth. That way I don’t need to write a whole bunch of notes. Pretty smart, eh?

Giving it Up: On December 17, one lucky Mac Lab student will win a copy of the entire CS5 Master Collection.* To be eligible you must read the blog (as instructed), work diligently, follow instructions, and create your own stellar projects. Note: Following those instructions leads directly to the oh-so-important stellar projects. The prize will go to one of our many above and beyond the call of duty students who do not already have their own copy of the software. Amassing positive minutes is helpful. Trying to convince the judge of your worthiness is not. As Mighty Odin says: Deeds, not words. The decision of the judge is final.

*You must register the software with Adobe. You may NOT sell, transfer, or “share” the license. That’s the deal I made with Adobe and the winner must agree to the terms of this agreement or forfeit the prize to the next worthy student.

Today’s 1, 2, 3 Assignment: YIKES! Early morning problems. Just watch, don’t follow along with this video. Now: 1. Watch this video then set up your own Dropbox account, accepting all the default settings. 2. Get Inspired. 3. Finished already? Are you sure? Okay, watch this video.

Reminder: iTunes Tuesday is tomorrow. Bring up to 100 of your favorite songs. No, you’re not required to bring any songs if you don’t want to. I’m always happy to provide the day’s tunes.

Mac Lab Studio: Our clients are beginning to line up. Theatre want posters and program art for their upcoming production of Hamlet Macbeth (thanks, Alle) and Vocal Music wants posters, program art, and even custom tickets for their Fall Concert. Details coming soon.

0928: iTunes Tuesday. Please watch this video for procedures and a few rules. Finished early? Get Inspired.

0929: As an experiment, let’s see how you do with minimal instruction. While I’m at a district meeting today, sign up for CloudApp (email address required) then learn to use it. Some of you will figure it out quicker than others. Help one another succeed. By next week I expect to see this in action across the classroom. (Have patience, Grasshopper, if the email doesn’t arrive immediately.)

VAPA: Visual and Performing Arts teachers are meeting today and one of the things I’ll be sharing is how easy it is to create and embed a slide show like the one you see below. It helps that I have loads of great student art to pull from. What will you be adding to our collection this year?

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Moved to Save Bandwidth: Mac Lab Top 100

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Visiting Educators: The embedded slide show (above) is hosted by the Art Ed 2.0 Ning. Another educator-only community you might enjoy is Adobe’s Education Exchange. Both are vibrant examples of the power of collaboration. Note to my students: Please do NOT try to sign up for either of those communities because they’re reserved for the old folks. 😉

Reminder: After getting a handle on CloudApp, return to Inspiration or your to do list. The day is yours. Use it wisely.

0930: Just in case you didn’t find it yesterday, I expect you to be using this by Monday. Today’s adventure involves saving and organizing all kinds of other things that you can reach from any computer. It’s a great compliment to Dropbox and the link would go right here if I didn’t just discover that now they offer special deals for educators and their students. I applied this morning and once we’re approved, you’ll be the first to know. For Now: Watch this video.

Mac Lab Veterans: Please watch this video.

1001: Groundhog Day: It turns that some of you did NOT watch this video yesterday. And 41 of the students who DID watch it DID NOT follow instructions and read the page at the other end of the search. I’ll make it easy for you today. EVERYONE WILL READ THIS PAGE as instructed in the aforementioned video. If you do not enjoy repeating assignments, perhaps you should encourage those around you to follow instructions.

100110: Couldn’t resist. I love binary dates. Today, in celebration of all things binary, we’ll be experimenting with one of the many free quality apps available on the Internet: Google SketchUp. Watch this video (your version will prompt you to choose a template for some reason) then you’re free to play with SkechUp all period or return to Inspiration or your to do list. Enjoy the weekend and be ready for something really special on Monday!

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Gallery 031 — 1011 Float!

by on Sep.25, 2010, under Galleries

cat_g_01_smThis is where the best of our Float! entries will be housed. Like our Light Painting Gallery, I expect there will be a great many extraordinary photos on this page. The world is watching. Float!

Cat: You need to rework this image. I’m using this one as a placeholder. Come in early Monday morn to fix it.

Find more info about the Float! project here.

1011 Float Gallery

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Reaction Time (Week 3)

by on Sep.20, 2010, under Blog

trevor_m_pov_smExperience is not what happens to you;
it is what you do with what happens to you.
Aldous Huxley

This is the make or break week for some of you. Friday’s pep talk is now a distant memory. The idea of watching the Illustrator Fundamentals videos a second time is just too much to ask. Sure, you didn’t really pay attention the first time around and you’re thinking, How important can they really be? You just want to get to the first project, right? Enough with the fundamentals. Let’s have some fun!

Master Po says, Patience, Grasshopper. Do you not recognize the fun in fundamentals? In your memory, you can still hear the echo of Skocko rambling on and on about The Tortoise and the Hare. Some of you are thinking, Why won’t he shut up about that stupid story already? We get it. And you can almost hear Skocko reply, Do you? Do you really get it?

To those who missed the first three letters of fundamentals, I ask: What will you do when you hit the brick wall laying straight in your path? Are you as agile as Trevor? Why continue to race ahead if that’s the surest way to lose?

Don’t brag about your lightning pace,
for Slow and Steady won the race!

No, that’s not what Aesop actually wrote in The Tortoise and the Hare but it is the essence of that story’s ending. Take a moment to read this version. (Yes, that’s some really bad Web design.) I want you to embrace the notion of mastering the fundamentals — the skills and tasks on your to do list — by approaching it with Slow and Steady’s relentless dedication. Then, when you finally begin your self portrait, you won’t hit that wall. You’ll run right up it.

0921: Please be so kind as to watch this video.

0922: Sub today. Be good. You know what to do, right?

0923: Let’s see, during the first 11 days of school, one person used a restroom pass. Yesterday must have been all-the-water-you-can-drink day because nine of you had to go. It couldn’t have been because we had a sub, right? As per Mac Lab Policy, those nine students now owe 30 minutes. Oh, and they also lost their 60 minute bonus. Dang! Hope it was worth it.

Speaking of the Honor System: This is your last chance. OTs will be awarded this weekend.

Six Hours of Fun! This weekend is the first Mac Lab Saturday School™ of the year. First come, first served. (But don’t come before 6:15 as I won’t be here before then.) Don’t ask when or where or how or what if because I’ve already answered those questions. Command-F if you’re confused. Type: Saturday school if you’re still confused. And if that doesn’t answer your question, try this.

iTunes Tuesday Next Week: I’ll explain during class. We’ll be shaking things up every day next week as a reward for those who’ve stuck through these first three weeks of basic training. You want details? Patience, Grasshopper. Back to work.

0924: I want to thank you for all the hard work you’ve put in over the first three weeks of school. Continue with the to do list after reading the rest of today’s post. Next week we’ll be doing something completely different. (Link blocked at school. You’ll have to check at home if you want to see what’s at the other end of that link.)

Drop Fuzzy Bunny: Or whatever “cute” handle you’re currently using. Talk to your parents about establishing a permanent email account associated with your actual name. Use whatever service you want (gmail has some worthwhile features). Whatever email you choose, we’ll be putting it to use starting Monday. None of the sites I’ll be directing you to will distribute your email information. We’ll be using safe, professional Web 2.0 services.

+10 or -30: Half of my students have chosen the latter. Strange strategy. Last chance to change your mind (because the one you’ve been using isn’t functioning properly).*

*If you know what I’m talking about, and half of you do, you don’t have to click that link.

iTunes Tuesday: If you want to get a jump on Tuesday, you may bring your favorite songs to Mac Lab Saturday School™ tomorrow. You don’t have to bring 100 songs, that’s just the max you can add to your account.

Is it Really Six Hours of Fun? It really is. Well, almost. Mac Lab Saturday School™ runs from 6:15 to 12:00 so it’s actually 5.75 hours of fun (but that doesn’t have the same ring).

Do I Have to Stay All Six (5.75) Hours? No. You don’t have to come at 6:15 and you don’t have to stay until 12:00. Come when you want and leave when you want.

What if I’ve Been Assigned a Saturday School? Geez! Doesn’t anyone watch the videos? If you’ve been assigned a Saturday School, serve it in the Mac Lab and get extra credit for working rather than drooling on a desk with the losers in regular Saturday School. Don’t even think about showing up after 8:00 if you’re hoping to get credit for serving the Saturday School in the Mac Lab. You did the crime. You’ll do the time.

How Do I Get Into the School if it’s Locked? Pitiful! You were supposed to have already watched this video. If you’re really that negligent, oh are we going to have fun when you ask if someone can let you in.

0925: Here’s a crash course in using the network to reach your files. That was easy, right? Welcome to the first MLSS™ of the 2010/11 school year. Sadly, your commemorative t-shirts were lost in an unfortunate spacetime incident. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts.

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Second Glances (Week 2)

by on Sep.13, 2010, under Blog

at_the_ball_smThis publication is designed to enhance imaginative, creative, cognitive recreation. It seeks to enrich your individual perceptual experiences by providing provocative alternatives to conventional perspectives.
Skocko / Uncomfortably Numb

I first wrote those words back in 1995. Uncomfortably Numb was an outgrowth of the personal epiphany I described last Friday during the juggling demo. Don’t underestimate the power of personal investigation and don’t hesitate to share what you find. In the Mac Lab, you’re expected to share your own artistic discoveries. Prior students have left visual legacies behind on the Wall of Fame, in our Galleries, or on the Blog (Julia H). The question is: What will you contribute?

Today’s Assignment: Please set up your personal account as shown in those videos. When you’re finished, return to the Student Page and complete the policy and expectations videos. If you’ve previously completed those videos, please watch the one I added over the weekend before moving ahead.

Mac Lab Media: Interested in joining or continuing to work with the Video Team? See this post for details.

Headphone Angst: Yes, you may bring in your own headphones to follow our videos. Please plug the class headphones back in at the end of the period so others aren’t inconvenienced.

One-Half Million Page Views! Actually 503,578 as of 3:15 this morning. Wow!*

International Update: The Republic of Angola is the 161st country to visit the blog.*

*Both of those numbers are since April 3, 2009. That’s the day I activated Google Analytics to track our traffic. I never imagined we see such numbers!

0914: If you’ve not finished, continue setting up your personal account. When you’re finished, return to the Student Page and complete the policy and expectations videos. If you’ve previously completed those videos, please watch the one I added over the weekend before moving ahead. (I hope that sounded familiar.)

Mandatory Mac Lab Media Meeting: Video Team veterans and newbies are required to attend a lunchtime meeting in the Mac Lab on Thursday to plan and discuss the filming of Odin’s March. Details here. I imagine the filming of Friday’s football game will also be on the agenda. Don’t miss this if you want to work with the Video Team this year.

International Update: Whoa! Busy day. Visitors from the British Virgin Islands, The Co-operative Republic of Guyana, and the Principality of Monaco dropped by since yesterday’s update. Those are the 162nd, 163rd, and 164th countries to visit the blog.

0915: It’s a Minimum Day so let’s get right to it. Continue with yesterday’s instructions. Remember tomorrow’s Video Team meeting if that applies to you.

0916: C’mon. You know what to do by now, right? If you’ve not finished, continue setting up your personal account. When you’re finished, return to the Student Page and complete the policy and expectations videos. If you’ve previously completed those videos, please watch the one I added over the weekend before moving ahead. And if you’ve done all that, work on your To Do List. (But keep reading first.)

Explaining the Mac Lab in 10 Minutes or Less: Thanks to all the parents who endured the rapid-fire presentation last night. In the Mac Lab, we’re breaking new ground in education every day. Remember to bookmark the Student Page for answers to many of your questions. Assignments and projects are right here.

One Million Minutes: As of 4:30 this morning, people from 164 countries have spent 1,003,008 minutes reading our little high school blog. That officially closes the question asked on 0817. I’m betting we hit both 2M minutes and 1M page views before the school year ends in June. In a more dubious category, yesterday we hit an all-time high (low?) for spam: 172 pieces of excrement form pitiful parasites, the bane of the blogosphere. We’ve gotten over 1,800 spam comments in the first 15 days of September. Looks like we’ll shatter last month’s record-setting 2,304 spams. This is a frightening trend. Get a life, morons!

Coming Up Next: The Self Portrait tutorials will be ready for you Monday morning. If you’ve completed the Pen Tool tutorials and successfully completed the maze repeatedly — not just once or twice — then move on to the Toolbar videos. There are tips, tricks, and techniques there that will help you top last year’s self portraits.

0917: I’ll be interrupting you today for a little ninth day in the Mac Lab review. Meanwhile, you know what to do, right? (Read carefully. The page has changed.)

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Sailing Away (Week 1)

by on Sep.07, 2010, under Blog

christopher_city_09_smI’m sailing away
Set an open course for the virgin sea
‘Cause I’ve got to be free
Free to face the life that’s ahead of me
On board, I’m the captain, so climb aboard
We’ll search for tomorrow on every shore
Dennis DeYoung / Come Sail Away

Welcome to a new year in the Mac Lab. To paraphrase one of my favorite authors: Oh, the places we’ll go! This year, students in the Mac Lab will help lead the way in a global collaborative project called F L O A T. Last year it was Paint the World With Light. Check out our submissions. We’re also going to expand our role as Valhalla’s Media Design Studio in producing videos, posters, brochures, and t-shirts. Here’s a look at what else we did last year. On 10.10.10 we’ll join the world in submitting our story to the One Day on Earth project. And that’s just on the near horizon. Wait until you see the whole map! Plus there are all sorts of uncharted territories you’ll be free to explore if you play by the rules.

School and Rules: Don’t think you’re the only one going to school or playing by someone’s rules. I started my school year last week at Full Sail University in the Education Media Design & Technology Master of Science program. Can you believe they rejected my headshot? Oh well. I’ll be sharing my experiences and assigning some of the same projects to you as the year goes by. You’ll see one tomorrow and you’ll be producing your own later this year.

Featured Image: Thanks to Christopher Canel for the fabulous image accompanying this week’s post. Yes, he has his own blog as do several other dedicated students. If you’re interested in doing the same, please speak with me before setting it up.

Blog Comments: If you want to leave a comment, please feel free. Unless you have specific permission from your parents to use your last name, use your first name, last initial, and a valid email address (you’ll have a class website soon). Your first comment will be held for moderation. Keep the comments relevant to our class and appropriate for high school.

Finished Early? You should know that YOU’RE NEVER FINISHED IN THE MAC LAB! Yes, that was shouting because I want to make this clear. If you’ve done everything I asked today, please explore the blog. You might begin by scrolling down and reading the prior posts.

That’s it for today. Let’s make the most of our journey together.

0908: Wow! A database glitch in our blog took down every school’s website in the district yesterday. I’m exceedingly happy that it was determined NOT to be my fault. At last report, things were working normally and we should be back in business today.

School Assignments: In a college class, we were asked to tell our story in 3 minutes or less. My response to that 2002 assignment revolved around leaving for college when I was 18, falling in love with the girl who would become my wife, watching our daughter grow, and landing my dream job right here in the Mac Lab. Special thanks to Jim Messina for permission to use Follow Your Dreams to tell the story. (Check the old-school computers at the end of the video.) Click. Last week, Full Sail assigned a similar project with a different objective. Click. Like I said, you’ll be asked to tell your own story later this year. I’m looking forward to watching yours.

AVID/College Love: Three cheers for Fadi George‘s design for the t-shirts staff are wearing today. If not for Fadi, they’d look like this.

Program Change Request Form: Want out of the Mac Lab? Or are you on the outside looking in? Either way, you need to fill out a Program Change Request Form, have your parents to sign it, and return it to Guidance. I snagged a few from upstairs to make the process easier for everyone. They’re on the small file cabinet next to my desk.

Rules of the Road: Time to get down to it. Go to the Student Page, start at the top, and work your way down over the next couple of days. You might want to pay attention because you’re now responsible for knowing these rules, procedures, and expectations.

0909: WARNING: WATCH THIS VIDEO or suffer the consequences. 😛

0910: You’re choosing your seats today but first we’re going to see who’s paying attention. I want you working for about five minutes after the bell. So, please pick up where you left off yesterday, watch one or two videos, then log out, sit quietly, and look around to see who cannot follow simple instructions. If you came in early to work, please watch one or two more videos after the bell and play along. If today’s your first day in the Mac Lab, watch this video then log out and wait quietly.

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Learn it all.