The Mac Lab

Tag: assignment

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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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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Multiple Artistic Personalities (Week 9)

by on Nov.01, 2009, under Blog

aaron_l_smA girl should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across her mind from within, more than the lustre and the firmament of bards and sages. Yet she dismisses without notice her thought, because it is hers. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility than most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.
Ralph Waldo Emerson / Self-Reliance (gender edit)

All of you should be familiar with that quotation. You’ve been instructed, twice now, to read this post. Yes, please read it again. Whether it’s for the first, second, or third time, you need to understand the 5 Stages of the Creative Process as we’re going to be using them the rest of the year. As the father of a daughter, I wish more of the quotations I post were gender agnostic rather than aimed at the guys. So, if you’re an XX chromosomer (girl) rather than an XY (boy), the sex-change operation (above) is for you. If you’re a boy, and the altered gender in the quotation bothers you, you’re a regular RWAC (Aaron L).

Speaking of Rebel, last week Theatre approached us to design the poster for their upcoming play. Our instructions (on Monday) were: Red jacket, no face, this information, and we need designs by Thursday. I tossed out the project to a few students and here’s what they came up with after only three days of work: Austin W | Christian L | Danny O | Philip B (and you’ve already seen Aaron‘s). They liked all of the designs but chose Austin’s because the play is about a teenager who’s about to explode and they liked the metaphoric look of his design. Austin’s frantically working on the redesign so we can print on Tuesday. Deadlines happen.

Now, getting back to Ralph’s advice to pay attention to our own ideas… Sherman, set the WABAC Machine to 1989…

I was browsing the used CD bin in a bookstore in Santa Cruz prior to the LPQ when I happened upon a recording by Heart. But when I picked it up, I thought, for a second, that it said Earth. What the?! Looking at the typography, it suddenly clicked and I had the coolest idea for a t-shirt design. I went home and sketched it out. Today, that idea is safe, somewhere, tucked away in a box in a corner of our garage.

Over the years I’ve returned to this idea several times but never acted on it until printing a few posters last year. They, of course, sit in a box on a shelf in the Mac Lab and haven’t seen the light of day since they were created. Because I recently talked about my belief in Richard Bach‘s declaration: You teach best what you most need to learn, I’m going to publish this idea right now. This is a painfully plodding rough cut of a much more ambitious concept that I’ll have to learn After Effects to produce. I’ve also ordered the first t-shirt with this artwork and will put it on the Mac Lab T-Shirt Shop for resale ASAP. (Redesigned store layout coming soon.) Since I know you’ll ask, yes, of course you’ll be able to design, print, purchase (about $20 with shipping), and wear your own custom t-shirts. Profits go to the Mac Lab Foundation.

That felt good. Now it’s your turn.

Next up are poster designs, the last shared project between classes. Those of you in 3D, listen to this: Keep it simple, elegant, and purely typographic because you’ll be taking it into Cinema 4D (that goes for your logos too). Please heed my advice or you’ll pay the price. Here are two examples of what you’ll be doing with your logos: Austin W and Trevor C (your typography will be better than those). Back to the posters. I’m opening this up to ideas beyond public service. What I care about is good composition and an appropriate message. Please read up on the Elements and Principles of Design before beginning (yes, there’s a lot of reading today). I’ve begun to set up third party galleries to give you ideas: 01 | 02 | 03. I’ll set up a couple of 3D galleries and add the links either today or tomorrow.

Mac Lab multitasking begins now. You must have an online portfolio (your Website). By Friday that portfolio will contain your self portrait, logo, and poster (coming soon). Don’t worry about finishing. Everything is a work in progress at this point. See the Project Page for links to assignments. In honor of James Cameron, I’ll be awarding extra credit for Avatars. Details will follow but you’ll be posting your proof, if you catch my drift.

Last for today, I’ve updated the time sheets (as I do every week) but this time I spent a few hours reviewing the district’s records. It’s your responsibility to check your balance (each week) and alert me if you think there’s been a mistake. For those of you who’ve cut class (according to the district quite a few of you have), the penalty is stiff. It’s your responsibility to clear truancies with attendance. I have no control over truancy records. If the district thinks you have one, you have one until you clear it. Friday is the D and F report deadline. I’ve scheduled a Mac Lab Saturday School™ for this weekend to help some of you avoid the infamy of inclusion. Look at the time sheets. Is your ID number red? See you Saturday at 7 am!

1103: Just a reminder to update your Websites. I’ll be checking them this weekend. Oh, and you might want to watch this video if you want to avoid inclusion on the D and F Report. What about the self assessment? Reminder about simplification: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | Please review this designer’s logos: 01 | 02 | You have to learn the rules before you can break them. When we break rules (and break them we will) we will break them intelligently.

Student Logos: Gallery 021 Where is yours?

1104: Someone from Dhaka (the Rickshaw Capital of the World and the most densely populated city in the world) in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh spent a few minutes wandering about the blog to bring us to 129 countries. I wonder what he or she thought of our little classroom in the Web.

Speaking of thinking, how about you? Do you think you understand the logo project? If you do, you’re one of the few. Please allow me to explain. <<< You should probably click that link and do what it says. You must understand kerning, tracking, and leading!

1105: We’ll hit our 200,000th page view this morning. (Sitting at 199,968 right now.) That count doesn’t include videos or JPGs. Just the blog’s self-contained pages. Update: 200,002 as of 5:58 this morn. A quarter million should happen in early December. The last 50,000 views came from 47 states (+DC) and 84 countries.

Reminder: Minimum Day/Parent Visitation Day tomorrow.

Hint: Sure hope you guys (my students) have read the instructions (above). I’d hate to be disappointed when looking at your Websites this weekend. That’s all. I’ll let you work now.

1106: Visitors from 134 cities in the United Kingdom have pushed Canada (107 cities) into third place in the global visitor standings. Jolly good showing from across the pond! Likewise, the folks in 81 Florida cities have moved past New Jersey (74 cities) to take second place in the US standings.

Mac Lab students have a growing global following! 😀

Welcome parents! Today the kids are updating their Websites using these tutorials (if necessary). Note: Use Working with InDesign — Take 2. I want to see works in progress and correctly formatted portfolios. See this video for details. (Correction: To change margins go to Layout > Margins.) Here’s the example site. Is your logo in the gallery? Get designing! (Use the graphic tips and tricks video.) And speaking of galleries, is your self portrait in this one? Let me know if you think it should be.

Free Software: Mac users, MacHeist is giving away 6 free apps. Offer expires next week. (Thanks, David!)

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Sewing the Seeds of Art (Week 7)

by on Oct.19, 2009, under Blog

hana_i_and_d_smIt seems, then, to be one of the paradoxes of creativity that in order to think originally, we must familiarize ourselves with the ideas of others.
— George Kneller

Just as we used the first self portrait gallery as a reference for our self portraits this year, so we will use the first logo gallery as a starting point for our next project. Similarly, I expect the quality of this year’s logo/identity creations to surpass prior efforts (Hannah Johansen). Today, your task is to research, to familiarize yourself with the work of others. First, as I’ve said, look at last year’s gallery. Next, I’d like to introduce you to something I call Grand Central Linkage. Please watch this short video to understand today’s quest for inspiration.

Progress Report: A word about grades. Grades are on time sheets.

1020: A bit of synchronicity in that Terry White (who’s responsible for us using InDesign for our initial Website designs) posted The Importance of Attending Workshops a few minutes ago. (He’s an early riser too!) I was at Ben Willmore‘s Photoshop for Photographers seminar yesterday and boy do I have some new ideas to share with you! It’s not too early to begin exploring your photographic vision. In fact, the adventure may be right outside your door.

Want a Freebie? Have you noticed the NAPP link in the right sidebar? (That’s the group who throws Photoshop World and Seminars like I attended yesterday.) If you’re serious about learning Photoshop (and the rest of the Creative Suite), NAPP a bottomless learning resource. If you ever do join, use the link from the blog and I get a perk or two. If 12 people join, I won’t be the last technology teacher on Earth without a cell phone any more. Note: There’s a freebie for you too (see: lower left of page). Discounted rates for students and educators.

1021: Because of the presentation yesterday, most of you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s update. Please do so now. It’s okay, I’ll wait.

Now, while I’m at a Final Cut Studio workshop today, here’s what I expect from you. After reading and following the instructions above, explore the 5 Stages of the Creative Process. That’s a post I wrote over the summer and I want you to begin to understand the creative process. Read it. Reread it. Click the links. Ponder the quotes. Spend some time there. Have you really tried to understand? No? Try again. Yes? Watch this video. What are thumbnail sketches? Link to a quick overview. One last link. And just for students in multiple periods.

Reminder: Thumbnails are small, quick sketches of your logo ideas. You should be able to fit 10 or more on a single page. DO NOT make finely detailed drawings. This process is quick and simple. You’re brainstorming and capturing ideas without trying to refine them. No one, and I mean NO ONE will be “finished” with the assignment today.

1022: Yes, I’ll be asking to see your thumbnails today. Yes, you’re supposed to have saved them. Yes, I told you that yesterday (and the day before). Yes, you finally get to work in Illustrator today. And yes, you’ll continue to work out your ideas in thumbnail form for the rest of the year. Now watch this video.

Visitor Update: The Palestinian Territories makes 125 countries to visit the blog. Yes, I know the word “country” is a bit nebulous in this case, but it’s only a matter of time. To be honest, I never even imagined we’d see a visit from there. Our 175,000th page view will occur in a few hours. Little milestones recorded here. Side note: Both New Jersey and Florida have visited over 1,000 times (from 150 different cities).

If I were Looking for a Job: I’d apply right now. Note that an online portfolio is required. If the job is filled and the link is a 404, here’s a snapshot of the page.

1023: I just noticed that we had our 2,000th comment a few days ago. Simply amazing participation! All who’ve commented are to be commended.

Looking Ahead: Some of you are wondering what’s on the horizon and I figure now is a good time to give your right brain a preview so it can begin working on ideas while you’re otherwise engaged. (If that makes no sense, you didn’t read or understand this.) Digital Arts and 3D students will soon part company but not before both classes complete their own logos (including the Pathfinder workflow — trust me, you’re going to love it), avatars, favicons, and one optional typographic project. After that, 3D students will begin with the Mac Lab 3D 1-2-3 Intro to Cinema 4D: the spaceship, the logo animation, and the animated camera projects. (Old tutorials here. New ones coming soon.) Digital Arts will dive deeper into typography but will have expanded freedom of choice in their subject matter. Examples include redesigning corporate logos, movie or band posters, book covers, CDs or DVDs, or anything that begs for a new and improved version (including public service posters promoting appropriate causes of your own choice). The overarching goal is implementing the elements and principles of design while developing a mastery of typographic form and function.

Do you want creative freedom in here? Play by my rules and master the fundamentals. Read everything I post and follow the video tutorials. Resistance isn’t really futile, it’s just self-defeating. If you’ve not lived up to your end of the deal, it’s not too late to change your ways. And remember, if you want to catch up (or get ahead), we’ve got another Mac Lab Saturday School™ tomorrow. I’ll arrive around 6:30. As always, it’s first come, first served. Alright, back to your logos.

P.S. Almost forgot to mention that I’ll be loading piles of cool fonts (and other resources) on your computers within the next week. And while I’m mentioning things I forgot to mention, Rotoball 2010 is on the horizon (cue Shaun) as is this 15 seconds of fame project! Oh, and did I mention photography? Painting with Light? And what about… (Too much to mention. Though, interested parties might check this at home. Hint, hint.)

It’s going to be a fun year!

Opportunity: The Student Creative is asking Mac Lab students to submit designs for a logo. Who’s going to step up?

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Here’s Looking at You, Kid (Week 3)

by on Sep.21, 2009, under Blog

fadi_eye_wip_smTo see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
William Blake

You may or may not be ready to begin the self portrait. I’ll let you be the judge of that. But before you begin, I’d like to ask you to remember the demonstration I gave on Friday. Remember how juggling is like the Pen Tool? Master the fundamentals and the rest will follow. Please watch this video for today’s instructions.

International Update: Montenegro marks the 121st country to visit the blog.

0922: All students, watch this video. If you’re just starting or have already started the self portrait, watch this video. If you’re still learning the Pen Tool, keep at it and watch that prior video when you get to the self portrait.

0923: Last night the Rotary Club of El Cajon generously awarded the Mac Lab a $3,750 grant towards the purchase of new computers. I honestly had no idea that the Rotary Club was the world’s first service club organization with 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs around the world. And I certainly didn’t know about the Four-Way Test. In their own words, Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto Service Above Self. Every time I hear a story about what’s wrong in the world, I’m going to remind myself that there are individuals like the men and women I met last night who walk the talk and make the world a better place. Thank you, Rotarians, for all you do!

I want to challenge my students to examine the first question of the Four-Way Test: Is it the TRUTH? Have you been following the guidelines for success in the Mac Lab? The words and videos I’ve had you read and follow aren’t busy work or a waste of time. I’m trying to set you up to succeed but you have to do your part. I know some of you are already cutting corners. It’s not too late to go back and begin again. Launch PhotoBooth, look yourself in the eye, and ask yourself if you’ve passed this first test.* Have you done all I’ve asked? Is your answer the TRUTH? You already know if it is or not. What you do from this point forward… Well, that’s going to determine your future, isn’t it? You have a choice. Your future’s not pre-determined. Why not make it a good one?

*It has been brought to my attention that it’s impossible to look one’s self in the eye using PhotoBooth (since the camera is positioned above the screen). Johnny and James, you’re both right. How ’bout we change that to a metaphorical exercise? Or I could go all Professor Trelawney on you and ask you to look within for the answer. Your aura is pulsing! Are you in the beyond? I think you are! (Just answer the question honestly.)

0924: Back to School Night was a rousing success in the Mac Lab (or so it seemed to me). Thanks to all the parents who took the time to visit. Again, if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to see the Mac Lab in action, my door is always open and you’re always welcome.

All Students: Continue working but keep yesterday’s message in mind. Quality counts. Honesty counts more. Take pride in doing the job as best you can. Push yourself to try harder. Replay the video tutorials when necessary. If you’re confused about any aspect of the class, please let me know. Watch this video about the Twitter widget.

International Update: Someone from the Isle of Man spent almost 40 minutes exploring 31 pages of the blog yesterday. I wonder what held his/her interest. If you return, mysterious visitor, share your story in an email or better yet, add a comment (scroll to the bottom of the page) so the students can read your story. Believe it or not, your presence makes the class more exciting! Your visit brings our world-wide tally to 122 countries.

0925: What a start to the 0910 school year! Watch this video, listen to the message, and follow the instructions. Long live vector graphics!

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Learn it all.