Stories and Art in 3D: Wander the Watercolours

Artists and writers have new media opportunities to explore with digital tools.  For example, artist CK (Creakay Ballyhoo in the virtual world of Second Life) created watercolour (spelled that way in her part of the world!) paintings in 3D to illustrate a story presented in a virtual world.  Read the story of a little girl on a watercolour wander.

A group of educators, the Virtual Pioneers, take virtual field trips to simulations in Second Life.  A recent trip allowed the pioneers to wander through CK’s story paintings.  This machinima shows the educators inside A Watercolour Wander.

The Virtual Pioneers  are an open group, welcoming others to come along on virtual adventures.  Through collaboration with groups like this, the Community Virtual Library strives to connect virtual communities with high quality simulations.  This machinima illustrates how the future of libraries and the future of education may include mixed reality and amazing new ways to enter art, history, and all subjects for all learners.  Learning will never be the same.

Summer of Connected Learning & I am Building a Little Digital Lifeboat

During the #clmooc this summer, I connected with educators to explore the potential for Google Plus, tweet-ups, Google Hangouts, and a variety of digital writing tools.  Although I am no stranger to the importance of embracing change and diving into new innovative technology, this group of moocers made me realize the impossibility of conquering digital media and EVER feeling as though I am “done”.  So, as I reflect, I contemplate how to cope with this feeling of never reaching the end.

As a National Writing Project trainer and mentor, I used to teach summer writing institutes with a philosophical foundation about process being more important than product.  Writing is a process which is recursive- meaning a writer continuously gathers ideas and revisits them.

Digital media, however,  has dramatically changed this process, by providing a constant stream of new tools. Imagine giving the writer different paper, pens, typewriters, or other writing materials every hour or so and expecting a revised, high quality essay of a sizeable length. Without time to master the tool, can one create something of value with the tool? I have written about “disposable media” in the past.  We now witness a flood of disposal media from all age groups: status updates, tweets, Vine videos, memes, and blog posts.  Some of this triviality is simply clutter and very little is meant to be of high literary quality.  Because I simultaneously taught a childrens’ and young adult literature class this summer (while moocing) high quality literature is foremost in my mind.  Literature, I daresay, is still important!  How can we teach writers to carefully hone revision skills in an age of disposable media?  I raise the question, because the process has become so rapid and chaotic, the actual products (countless digital Web 2.0 productions) are tossed into the cyber sea.

One goal I propose for myself, is to gather these new digital tools into a personal electronic portfolio (eportfolio)- not only to help myself find them later in the numerous online spaces (think accounts/passwords/urls) but to share them as examples to students and educators.  This eportfolio might also be a personal archive, similar to a physical scrapbook. I might view this as a lifeboat for the bits and pieces I tryout in my digital writing process rather than allowing them to float away.

The #clmooc challenged me to consider some new digital writing forms, such as poetry written in code (thanks @chadsangsing) and countless others at the Making Learning Connected blog.  I plan to try thimble and computer code poetry!  I repeat, I feel like I will never be done!  The tools are flying past me at tweet speed.  Perhaps, this concept is not really new.  Life is never “done” but somehow a sense of closure, a sense of accomplishment may have given humans comfort in times past.  Was that just an illusion?

Building a professional learning network has been a rewarding, yet challenging feat.  I highly respect my colleagues in online communities (some newly met in the #clmooc).  I wonder if any of you sometimes feel a sense of uneasiness due to our constant digital media intake and production?

Where shall I build my “little digital lifeboat”?  I think my starting place for an eportfolio will be  livebinder.  Who knows, that tool may also change and I will have to jump over to another boat.  Being a positive person, I know that some of my friendly colleagues will help rescue me.


Machinimatography 101: a session by Valibrarian Gregg

I was totally blown away when I found that HVX Silverstar (a wonderful machinimist who taught me how to get started) captured my session on machinimatography in Second Life this week! Machinima is a portmonteau which combines the words “machine” and “cinema” and means capturing video within a computer simulated environment. Machinima can be used for digital storytelling, visual poetry, archiving digital content, and capturing simulated learning experiences in virtual worlds and online games.
There are a couple of audio glitches (when I lost sound) but most of the session can be viewed here. Just fast-forward if there’s a lull. I do not consider myself an expert, but I hope my session helped other beginners who want to learn how to created videos in this creative format. Video formats and editing tools continue to change and are now readily available for home use.


I’ve worked with editing videos for my school news show for years but only started editing them on the computer a couple years ago.  I made a couple of videos to compare video camera choices.  I am sure that there are numerous other video cameras available now, but here is a video created with the RCA SmallWonder (a very small and inexpensive model) and another filmed with a Sony HandyCam (edited in Adobe Premiere 2.0).  Hey, by the time you read this, they will both probably be obsolete!  I bet you can tell which one I like best.


I am so frustrated with my stupid videocamera!  After a year of working with a digital video camera (between the full-time job as librarian, part-time job as choir director, pianist/organist, sunday school teacher, graduate school student, writing trainer, webmaster, school television show producer, student council sponsor, poet, composer, band leader, guitar player, gourmet cook, homemaker and so on….just to let you know why I haven’t had time to figure out the stupid videocamera) I still have not figured out how to use it!

I love my laptop but, I guess a laptop is just not powerful enough to handle huge image files for making movies.  So, I will have to explore moviemaking on a bigger computer. I am venting.

OK, now that’s over.  I suppose we all feel the frustration of ever-changing technology.  We have to keep learning, always learning.  That is what life is about…learning.

Digital Storytelling

I have always had an interest in storytelling and I have collected some tales over the years.  I think sharing stories is a part of the purpose of the library.  In this age of information, I think digital storytelling will provide new opportunities and new audiences.  I have examples of  digital storytelling projects that I created (just for fun and as an example for students) at Maybe someone will stumble upon them and want to create a tale of their own!