Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Ubiquitous Google, The Blob Opera, And Student Creativity


Source: Google Arts & Culture

Our students fell in love with our refrain that "Google is ubiquitous; it's everywhere" when they realized that whatever they typed in their Google Docs showed up on any device. Now with Google Classroom, they especially see the connection that everything they need is synced in one place by multiple teachers. For educators, it makes hybrid learning streamlined for both remote learners as well as for those in the classroom, particularly when this situation remains fluid. Many know that the students are always checking their emails and Classroom with little to do because of the current situation.

Source: ASIDE Google Blob Opera

So when we recently sent out Google's new project called the "Blob Opera" to Classroom over the winter break, the students happily started making their own four-person, musical creations. Blob participation depends on the producer. It's simple and easy to launch. Compose an opera with blob vocals ranging from bass to soprano in just minutes. It's also easy to share via Google Classroom as a teacher, and students can send their creations in the same way as an announcement to their peers.

For more information, check out Fast Company's article on how to manipulate the blobs to create a symphony of your own chamber music. Google did not use any recordings of actual singers. Instead, it built the system by recording "hours of classic opera singers, and used that data to train an AI model to know and mimic what an opera singer should sound like."


It's a nice way to end a crazy year by bringing in a new one with a little joy and creativity. If you're not actively checking Google's Art and Culture resources, start today.

Here's an opera from a very proud student: Irene's Blob Opera

Monday, December 7, 2020

'Tis The Season And Joy Was On The Menu - Student Designs To Promote Well-Being

Source: 6th Grade Students

It's December, and it's been a long, long year for us as well as our learners. We're teaching hybrid, and our students go in and out depending on concern and fear of the virus. They definitely needed a pick me up by week 13, and that's when we read Dr. Dolly Chugh's recent post on Dear Good People entitled, "No Justice, No Joy." 

Source: Dear Good People

We couldn't ask for a more perfect advisory activity to promote joy as well as student agency and creativity. The students received a quick overview of the seven tips for a "Quick Joy Sandwich," with instructions for designing their own "Joy Menu" using a Canva template.
Source: 6th Grader
Their charge was to think about the heading from the article that read "Joy is as essential as food" to create a menu complete with appetizer, main course, and dessert. They loved it. Each student brought his or her own take to the three course meal, and each handled the descriptions differently. They took the opportunity to create catchy headings of their own with descriptions for their plates that were anything but food. 
Source: 6th Grader

We wish we could share all of them, but the sampling is indicative of what can happen when kids have free range to express their joy, especially in the world they live in right now. For a full size look at these joyous delights, click here. No matter the season, joy is as essential to learning as it is to the social and emotional well-being of our learners.

What would your joy menu look like? As Dolly Chugh recommends, take a look at the tips she provides and make your own "Quick Joy Sandwich."


Source: 6th Graders


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Commitment To Design, Visual Thinking, And Now The Virtual Classroom

Source: ASIDE 2020

The reminder popped up today for our ninth anniversary since starting this blog. We had good intentions of entering the fall of last year, ready to contribute more to our passion and commit to haring our ideas, but life changes. We've had changes in job responsibilities, personal additions and losses to family, and of course, COVID19.

So today, on our anniversary, we begin anew. We never wavered from our initial mission; instead, we pivoted toward a range of other opportunities. While a good portion of what our students did was in the brick and mortar phase, it was the virtual classroom that advanced the realm of possibilities for learning. The last three months reminded us more of the 18th century nursery rhyme, "Jack be nimble / Jack be quick," with students jumping over "lickety split" to synchronous online sessions of remote learning. Metaphorically, it was a stressful breeze.

Source: Imagine Museum

We were fortunate. Our students, already provided with devices and trained in using them, made the transition far easier than in many other cases. They worked on a number of different projects this year that pushed the boundaries of their design skills, their creative thinking, and their independence. As learners, they developed a knack for tackling new applications across a range of platforms to bring the world of transliteracy front and center, especially as it applies to digital humanities.

In the coming posts, we hope to share the latest work by our learners.
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