Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

A little visitor, and a big lesson....

During our class presentaions the other day, the windows in the library were open, as warm weather has finally arrived in Suffern. During our work, a pigeon landed on the window sill, and proceeded to step down onto the computer tables and stroll across the keyboards. Naturally, the kids were initially distracted by the arrival and entrance of our fine feathered friend. But the lesson is - the first thing they did - ON AUTO PILOT- was whip out their cell phones (which they are supposed to keep in their lockers) and start photographing the event! So here's my question: When are we, as educators, going to harness this technology instead of banning it? Teachable moment? Yes, especially for us, the teachers!

PS: We had some good laughs coming up with a caption for the pic of the pigeon on the keyboard. My favorite was "Pigital Native"!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Snow Crash Presentation...

Clifford Hillburn: this obviously, is a new addition to the show
[10:17] Clifford Hillburn: this is the cover of the book
[10:17] Clifford Hillburn: ok so liu will start us off
[10:18] Liu Hillburn: hiro begins the story as a pizza deliverer
[10:18] Liu Hillburn: working for the mafia
[10:18] Liu Hillburn: he's the wrold's greatest swordfighter and the last of the freelance hackers
[10:18] Liu Hillburn: now, he meets Y.T. when he gets into an accident
[10:18] Liu Hillburn: that's when their relationship begins
[10:19] Liu Hillburn: they decide to work together in the information sharing business
[10:19] Liu Hillburn: they become partners
[10:19] Liu Hillburn: in that business, they discover the narcotic, snowcrash
[10:19] Clifford Hillburn: now, obviuosly
[10:19] Clifford Hillburn: snow crash is a drug
[10:20] Clifford Hillburn: the difference between it and conventional narcotics
[10:20] Clifford Hillburn: is that it is distributed using a computer
[10:20] Clifford Hillburn: ok next slide
[10:20] Snow Crash project: Touched.
[10:21] Clifford Hillburn: unless you have anything to say tenore
[10:21] Ivey Zeami: Nice work so far...very interesting
[10:21] Tenore Hillburn: they basically introduced the plot
[10:22] Tenore Hillburn: as the story continues, there are several "antagonists", such as Raven and L Bob Rife, who are involved in snowcrash
[10:22] Tenore Hillburn: Hiro's friend David is the first affected by this narcotic
[10:22] Tenore Hillburn: that we see in the book
[10:22] Tenore Hillburn: ok next slide
[10:22] Clifford Hillburn: ok
[10:22] Snow Crash project: Touched.
[10:23] Clifford Hillburn: ok, so the majority of snow crash takes place in the realm of reality
[10:23] Clifford Hillburn: however the world is broken up much different thn today
[10:24] Clifford Hillburn: the world is a consumerist liveing environment
[10:24] Clifford Hillburn: where there are no nations, only franchises
[10:24] Liu Hillburn: there is no more government
[10:24] Liu Hillburn: as clifford said, the majority of the book takes place in a realm of reality
[10:25] Liu Hillburn: but the virtual reality - this is called the metaverse
[10:25] Liu Hillburn: the metaverse is actually an alternate computer generated reality
[10:25] Clifford Hillburn: much like a videogame
[10:25] Liu Hillburn: it's a new way of communication, much like the internet is today
[10:25] Clifford Hillburn: and *second life*
[10:25] Tenore Hillburn: not unlike second life
[10:26] Tenore Hillburn: you read my mind clifford
[10:26] Ivey Zeami: interesting
[10:26] Clifford Hillburn: ok next slidde
[10:26] Snow Crash project: Touched.
[10:27] Tenore Hillburn: Neal Stephenson is an author who started most of his work in the mid-80's
[10:27] Tenore Hillburn: he's most remembered for his invention of the cyberpunk genre
[10:27] Tenore Hillburn: yesterday we mentioned what cyberpunk is, but just for recap
[10:28] Tenore Hillburn: it basically is a modern reality with much more advanced technology
[10:28] Tenore Hillburn: anything you want to add
[10:29] Ivey Zeami: Definitely sounds like a challenging but engaging read.
[10:29] Clifford Hillburn: well, stephenson also had many political undertones in his work
[10:29] Liu Hillburn: many dealing with religion
[10:29] Ivey Zeami: We should stop for questions
[10:29] Tenore Hillburn: yes he made many criticisms of religion
[10:29] Clifford Hillburn: he trys to poke at american consumerism
[10:29] Ivey Zeami: We need to move in (sorry!!!!)
[10:29] Tenore Hillburn: specifically protestant christianity
[10:29] Clifford Hillburn: ok so ill stop for a mnute and open for questions
[10:30] Clifford Hillburn: I would say the book, as a read, is definitely a ten!
[10:30] Liu Hillburn: i'd rate it as a 8-9
[10:30] Liu Hillburn: we're not done
[10:30] Liu Hillburn: nvm
[10:30] Clifford Hillburn: yes we are
[10:31] Clifford Hillburn: ok good
[10:31] Liu Hillburn: let's finish.
[10:32] Liu Hillburn: that is neal stephonson
[10:33] Clifford Hillburn: ok so this book
[10:33] Clifford Hillburn: created a high influence
[10:33] Clifford Hillburn: for many of my favorite game designers
[10:33] Liu Hillburn: "videogame
[10:33] Clifford Hillburn: for example, a man named will wright has cited it as his main influence in creation
[10:33] Clifford Hillburn: as, does philip rosedale
[10:34] Clifford Hillburn: the founder of second life
[10:34] Clifford Hillburn: ok so, who has any questions
[10:34] Liu Hillburn: questions?
[10:34] Shanahan Hillburn: wat did u thin of the book?
[10:34] Shanahan Hillburn: *think
[10:35] Liu Hillburn: anyone?
[10:35] Clifford Hillburn: well, as ive said it was definitely a fantastic read
[10:35] Shanahan Hillburn: ok
[10:35] Hertzman Hillburn: did u learn anything from the book
[10:35] Clifford Hillburn: tenore
[10:35] Hertzman Hillburn: (Y)
[10:35] Hertzman Hillburn: (-.-)
[10:36] Tenore Hillburn: um, well i found it interesting how he wrote this book so long ago and described the metaverse very closely to second life
[10:36] Hertzman Hillburn: c((-)(-)
[10:36] Liu Hillburn: i think it puts together a lot of the ideas and fears we have today of technology in thought
[10:36] Ramon Hillburn: c((")(")
[10:36] Clifford Hillburn: well, second life is built around it
[10:36] Tenore Hillburn: our technology is heading toward what he described
[10:36] Shanahan Hillburn: (-.-)
[10:36] Clifford Hillburn: like its made for that purpose
[10:36] Tenore Hillburn: exactly

Ivey Wednesday...

Here are more pics of slides and a transcript of the chat for one presentation:
[5:47] Roberts Hillburn: should we start
[5:48] Hammershlag Hillburn: Other books that H.G. Wells wrote that he is well known for are The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau.
[5:48] Hammershlag Hillburn: H.G. Wells along with Hugo Gernsback and Jules Verne are referred to as "The Fathers of Science Fiction"
[5:49] Hammershlag Hillburn: When H.G. Wells was a child, his family was very poor. He had to think of a way to make money. He started out drawing because it was an easy way to express his feelings. He then tried writing and it hit him that he can make a lot of money by his science fiction writing. The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau.
[5:50] Broder Hillburn: In the time machine the time traveler travels to the future and needs to solve the mystery of where his tme machine went. it takes place in england in 1895 and 802'701. the central conflict is that the time traveler loses his time machine and needs to get it back. the main protaginist is the time traveler and he learns to adapt to the future. the central theme is survival of the fittest and the Eloi cant defend themselves against the morlocks while the ime traveler can
[5:51] Ivey Zeami: Cool pictures
[5:51] RokN Hillburn: time machine and what it looks like when it is heading to a different time
[5:51] RokN Hillburn: there are also some pix of the book cover and movie advertisements these are the mesmerizing pictures of time machine
[5:52] Roberts Hillburn: The time machine was written in 1895 by H.G. Wells.
[5:52] Roberts Hillburn: He believed that the future would be potrayed as mutants, and aliens.
[5:53] Roberts Hillburn: Today, the people of 2007 believe the future will be a bunch of hovering buildings and flying cars and disintegrating guns.
[5:53] Roberts Hillburn: H.G. Wells makes the future seem less technological
[5:54] Mcinerney Hillburn: Everything is'nt what you expect. The Time Traveler thought that the future would be technologically advanced. H.G Wells decided to show the future as a simpler time with simpler needs. Different is'nt bad. Just because the future wasn't technologically advanced didn't mean that it was a horrible future. Their needs were supported and there was no conflict. It was as close to perfect as possible. Nothing is perfect though. The Eloi may have been supported, but there was a problem. The Morlocks eat the Eloi during the night. The Eloi are to peaceful to fight back. This book was written to entertain the reader.
[5:54] Mcinerney Hillburn: The main purpose is to entertain
[5:54] RokN Hillburn: he pictures here are of the morlock an eloi which is what Weena is
[5:54] RokN Hillburn: Weena is the female next to the morlock the elderly man is a picture of the Author H.G Wells the rest are some interesting pix of the book and movie
[5:55] Puncar Hillburn: The Time Machine has many aspects that make it such a great book to read. These aspects include suspense, action, futuristic plot and conflict, vocabulary, science fiction and the characters. Throughout the main part of the book, suspense fills your mind. The reader is constantly wondering if the Time Traveler will ever return home or end up living in the future forever.
[5:57] Puncar Hillburn: While he is looking for his time machine, the Time Traveler becomes very frantic. What he does to get it back makes for a huge amount of action. Also, as you can imagine, the whole concept of time traveling and being in the future makes the book full of science fiction.
[5:58] Puncar Hillburn: This book has some of the best vocabulary I have ever seen before. Words such as endowed, repugnance, convulsively and pallid really help paint a picture in the reader’s head as if you are really there.
[5:58] Puncar Hillburn: Characters in this book are so mysterious and there are so much not told about them. For instance, the Time Traveler, the main character, never reveals his name. He always is acting strange and mysterious.
[5:58] Puncar Hillburn: Characters in this book are so mysterious and there are so much not told about them. For instance, the Time Traveler, the main character, never reveals his name. He always is acting strange and mysterious.
[5:58] Puncar Hillburn: This book is able to entertain the reader all within 38,000 words, which is apparently a small amount of words for a novel.
[5:59] Hammershlag Hillburn: the end

This comment was left by LArry Steckler, but had to be deleted due to the link not showing up properly: Thank you LArry for this great info!
COMMENT: Here is a link to a new book – (un-attributed autobiography) of Hugo Gernsback. Long lost manuscript edited by Larry Steckler, was found in the company files when they stopped publishing in January 2003.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007


OK - First of all I now realize that I need to create a different blog section for each project as we now have three different teachers using Ramapo simultaneously and there is just so much to tell! I have asked each of the teachers to write an entry about their experiences using SL and I will post them ASAP. For now I want to talk about Ms. Ivey's class project as it is concluding this week and the results have been astounding! (Please read prior "Ms. Ivey's Class" posts for background.) To catch you up, after discussions in the classroom platforms, the kids were asked to create presentations. They were allowed to use either OS (mac or pc), so they either created the presentation in PowerPoint or Keynote applications. They then saved their slides as JPGs and uploaded them to SL. One person in each group retrieved a FreeView TV from a dispenser in the library, and they were in charge of loading the slides into the viewer. The students created notecards on which the script of their presentations were pre-written. The presentors all sat on the stage in the auditorium and the rest of the class filed into the seats. As each presenters slide came up on the screen, they walked to the podium and entered their notes into the chat. At teh conclusion of each presentation there was a brief Q&A session. Here are some pics of the first groups to present:

Here is the group notice that Ms. Ivey sent out when we were ready to begin presentations:
Group Notice From: Ivey Zeami

All avatars:
Please report to the library for the first presentation. Follow these steps:
1. Get to the library (on Ramapo)
2. Go through curtain
3. Have a seat
4. Refrain from talking or moving or contributing to the chat during presentation as I want to have a clean log for each group
5. Watch the slide show and read the chat from each presenter
6. Be prepard to ask questions at the end
7. Thank you for cooperating!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

OK! Body Image class has begun - very interesting to see the kids grapple with the tools and with the reality of addressing their own appearance --- they are first creating an avatar as close to their real life persona as possible. Ryl Redgrave was kind enough to add folders and folders of hair, skins, shapes, etc. For the most part the kids are being true to the assignment - AND they have learned a great deal already. For instance, many wanted to be able to "keep" the avatar that they had before this assignment, so we learned how to do that - Also they are learning important rules about managing their inventory as they are acquiring things very rapidly! But more importantly, we are hearing comments like " My nose isn't that uptuned!" -and "How do I make my self shorter?" The discussion/refection will ensue tomorrow. For now here are some pics: