Thursday, June 19, 2014

Netflix gives their logo a makeover

I just noticed on my Apple TV menu that Netflix updated its logo. It is more flat and simplified (much like a new google). It is still on a arch but I thin it is now cleaner more arched line.  I didn't notice any other changes in their service. I think that the opening page is simplified to three options Browse, Kids, and DVDs - but I am not sure of how much it changed.
On apple TV

old logo
new logo on apple TV


new logo on their website

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My 7th #Twitterversary !


Yesterday I received this cute e-card from twitter. It's been seven years already
 Here is my very first tweet :-)

You can find yours, and others at: discover.twitter.com/first-tweet 

My favorite first tweet is by one of my role models Madeleine Albright @madeline

https://twitter.com/madeleine/statuses/382127856593035264
Since my first tweet I grew as a professional and I learn a lot from my twitter PLN. I had a lot of fun following interesting people, places and events.  

In 2009 I posted to the tweet challenge by David Pogue @Pogue
  "What is the best bumper sticker you've ever seen?" 
my answer in >140 characters was 
"LIBRARIANS: The original search engine"
My tweet was selected to his book "The World According to Twitter
and I received autographed copy! 


I use twitter mostly to share interesting resources and info with my students (#unietd #ctele) or as a Backchannel during the lectures #unietd. I like learn from others.
I love using twitter as a "second screen" during #Oscars #goldenglobes and other #redcarpet events.
I find twitter especially useful during the conferences like  #i11i #itec #edcampiowa.
My favorite quote about twitter is the one provided by @rgalloway 
"So, what people need to realize is that innovative technologies like Twitter are really what you make them to be. Imaginative people will always be able to use simple tools to accomplish great things."
I think that sums it up. Happy Tweeting!

PS. Here is my profile as of today. I didn't try yet the new profile. From what I saw on other users pages it looks like crossover between Google plus and Facebook.
April 23, 2014

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Happy International Women's Day



Check out  internationalwomensday.com website, "A global hub for sharing International Women's Day news, events and resources".  International Women's Day 2014 Theme is  INSPIRING CHANGE.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Shelfari and Goodreads

Thanks to my colleague's blog I discovered Shelfari, pretty neat social cataloging website for books. I already use Goodreads  and overall I think I like it more. But Shelfari is by Amazon and has nice option of importing books from the Amazon purchase history. Couple of clicks and voilà! My bookshelves were filled and I had a nice opportunity to look back at all the books I have purchased from Amazon over the last few years.  I also like the little widget that allowed me to embed the bookshelf below (here you can learn how to do it a few easy steps).


The plus of the Goodreads (also recently purchased by Amazon) is that it shows more statistic, seem to be more user friendly, and more of my friends already use it (I run the search and none of my 336 Facebook "friends" has Shelfari account, compare to 23 friends on Goodreads) hence the social aspect is more useful.

 I love my books. Good reads needs to be shared, and discussed. I belong to my neighborhood book club that meets once a month, but there are so many other books! There are so many ones from the past, the ones I would love to read one day, the ones I would love my friends to read, the ones for my kids, and books that I have never heard of. Now, I can discover them thanks to social rating and cataloging.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Google changed again ... this time logo

Funny part that with some many constant changes in google apps I just noticed that they also changed the logo. The old one looked more three dimensional and the one before that had an offset shadow. This one looks more flat and generic.  I still  have problem how to call the new link to the apps. The one that looks like Rubrics cube or dial buttons on the old phone. They also added recently the big drop zone graphic in google drive. Seriously, I think that they have the whole division of bored people whose main job is to mess with us.
older logo 

old logo

new logo

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Santa's morphology and Happy Holidays

I  explained who is Saint Nicholas and described the tradition of celebrating his Name Day on December 6 in my previous years post . But this picture is a perfect addition. Not that I want to pick up fight around the jolly dude with the "Santa Purists", but common,  really, Santa Claus?

Christian Meme

It is rather fascinating how traditions change!  After all, even trivial everyday stories are told different depend on who is recalling the event.  Flip between Fox News and MSNBC and you won't believe how political lens can distort the vision.

Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Kriss Kringle (?!)..., is a fascinating partly historical, christian, partly legendary and folkloric, and mostly highly commercialized morph.  People all over the world call him different names and celebrate him in different ways. Now the newest fight is about his skin color!  Wikipedia entry on Santa Claus summarizes his phenomena pretty well.  My take on it? As long as the effect of the traditions will put a smile on ones face, help to bring people together, and help someone in difficult times I'm all for it! Happy holidays! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Iowa's move to 1-to-1 computing

The image below represents districts in Iowa and where they at with 1-to1 computing implementation. 1-to1 is a model that  creates environment in which each student has an access to the personalized mobile computer. The full  interactive map can be found  here: http://www.aea267.k12.ia.us/1-to-1-conference/11-schools-in-aea-267/




And here is a link to the Spreadsheet table with more info about schools 1-to-1 implementation date, platform used, technology coordinator, and more


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Two 1-to-1 schools in northern Iowa


Recently I had an opportunity to visit two 1-to-1 schools. The first one BCLUW High school in Conrad, IA,  second  Waverly-Shell Rock middle school in Waverly, IA. Both schools have 1-to-1   program (one mobile, personalized computer per child) at school. Conrad equips all their students with MacBooks Pro, students in Waverly get iPads. In both cases students are trusted with their computers 24/7, with an exemptions of the Holiday and summer break.

Here are some of my notes from the visits:
Conrad:  
  • We met with Cari Teske, High School Principal and she told us about their history with 1-to-1. BTW, She and Mary Ascher, teacher librarian and technology integrationist seem to be a great tandem. But  at first they and the rest of the faculty had no clear vision how to take a full advantage of this new educational model.  They started without thinking much about the pedagogy. After couple years with  the help from Castle, they realized that teaching in 1-to-1 environment requires some modifications.  They started to treat the computers as one of many tools during the class time, rather than center of an attention. My thoughts went to TPACK framework, I am starting to see more and more wisdom in that framework.
  • I like that the new teachers go through the "culture bootcamp" rather than "technology bootcamp"   
  • Conrad. Visible amount of printed materials,
    mixed with more traditional artwork
  • I loved that they are able to give students individual attention. One student wanted to learn Chinese and they arrange ICN sessions with someone in different city. Talking about personalized learning
  • I was impressed with students work on Blender program and their use of 3D printer. Conrad students designed and printed plugs for the used IV bags so practicing nurses can reuse them as they work on dummies.They are working on patenting the product.

Waverly:
Classroom in Waverly. Modular desks on wheels
for easy reconfiguration. White surface tables
  • We met with Bridgette Wagoner, the Director of Educational Services. She use to be an Interim Director at Price Laboratory School, a change agent that helped Price lab move in to 1-to-1 and Iowa's Statewide Research and Development School, before the evil political sources decided to close the school. 
  • Teachers have freedom of design and choice of content. They work in the interdisciplinary teams, and support each other with the selection of content, and to show students relevance and continuity between subject areas.
  • I liked their descriptive grades. It is hard to wrap the head around at first, as whole my life I was receiving number or letter grades (in Poland the grading scale is 1-6) 
  • I liked the variety of resources and freedom of approaches during the class time. We walked in to the math class where some students worked on their iPads, some used piece of paper, some were writing on the desks (white surface for dry erase markers). Some were sitting on the floor, others on a different kind of chairs and wobbly stools designed for fidgety students. 
  • I loved to see QR codes used in library. As students walking in to the library they scan the QR code on a wall with their iPads and sign in via google form, QR are also placed on the back covers of some books so students can learn more about the book.
Student desk. Notice the variety of resources.
Both Conrad and Waverly are small towns with almost no diversity. As Bridgette Wagoner stated, kids in her school will be well with or without school. Almost all students come from good middle class homes that value education.

I would like to have an opportunity to observe the 1-to-1 environment in larger school with large socio-economic and cultural diversity. I would also like to see the school that chose the OS other than Mac.  Looks like Cedar Falls community district will move to 1-to1 starting next semester . According to the plan, by January, each high school student will receive their own Chromebook they can take between school and home.  I am anxious to see what kind of adaptations, changes, and challenges the will go through.  I also hope that Cedar Falls will prepare nice pathway for Waterloo schools and that they will be able to move to 1-to-1 before my twin girls graduate from preschool.

Kids working on their assigned problems.
Visible freedom of  choice with what medium and how will they prepare 

Corridor at Waverly. Students leave their iPads and other materials
 before walking in to locker room or bathroom under the surveillance camera
Waverly QR code to check in to media center


Saturday, September 14, 2013

'There are no shocking pictures, only shocking reality' - Oliviero Toscani


Oliviero Toscani
Background Kissing Nun (1992) 
Challenging the principle of 
religious celibacy
Oliviero Toscani, is one of my favorite visual artists. This awesomely controversial Italian photographer that shaped the image of United Color of Benetton in the 80's and 90's,  keeps in awe the world with his creativity,  crude images, provocative messages, and bold fight for social change.  His art serves as fuel for debates and make people think.

I often use his images when introducing the principals of visual design (or CARP model) , when talking about diversity, visual literacy or  media influences on our self image.

His work has as many critics as praisers. Some say he has no right to use serious subjects to sell as trivial thing as clothes. Or that he is just an arrogant scandal seeker.  Other applauding his ability to be more than just an advertiser. You be the judge! Here is my pro list

√ He helped raise AIDS awareness . While advertising Benetton Toscani made a decision to show the reality of dying of AIDS.  The controversy around the image came form similarity to pieta paintings.  But despite the disputes related to sacrilegious message, the elephant in the room  an AIDS  problem was also addressed.


David Kirby dying of AIDS and his family. 
Photo taken by Therese Frare in Ohio SU Hospital (1990) 


√ He spoke against war.  1991 campaign featured cemetery in France with rows of crosses and one star of David. The message was quite simple : When you die it does not matter who you are, what is your rank, social status,  nationality, or religion. In war the death is the only victor.  

1991 "War Cemetery" Ad appeared in Italian media few days
before Gulf War and was immediately banned.

1994 Allegedly Uniform of dead Croat soldier
Marinko Gagro killed in the Bosnian war

√ He spoke against racism.  In 1984 the 'All Colors of the World' campaign he photographed multicultural group of young people wearing Benetton clothes. It was the first time when such a diverse group  appeared together in a positive light in an Italian advertising. 

Interestingly, all his race related campaigns sparked heated debates and were often accused of being racist. The breastfeeding ad according to critics does not show the racial harmony but rather suggest black servitude. Because of outrage of unspecified African -American organization  Benetton withdrawn the ad in United States. The rest of the world praised the concept and the art.


1989 campaign for equality. Black woman breast-feeding white
baby is the most-awarded image in Benetton's advertising history

1990 The theme of multiculturalism
 appropriate for 'United Colors' 
was a main theme for almost 10 years

Hearts 1996. 
Critics called it the most racist.
They are actually pigs hearts.

√ He spoke against death penalty.  The 'We, On Death Row'  2000 campaign feature death-row inmates and the slogan 'Sentenced to Death'. It stirred so much controversy that Toscani had to leave Benetton after being their Creative Director for 18 years.


2000. The On Death Row campaign 
was the reason why he left Benetton

√ He fought for gay rights.   In 2005 he managed to piss of the Catholic groups (again!)  by putting homosexuals in rather shocking positions while advertising Ra-Re clothing brand.
The campaign came in a middle of 
 ongoing debate in Italy about gay rights.

√ Working for No-li-ta clothing company he took part in fight against anorexia. 


2007 French model/actress Isabelle Caro (1982 – 2010)
Suffered from severe anorexia nervosa 
With ad she became the face of anorexia fight

√ He took part in promoting tolerance and global love.  Recently in 2011 the Benetton foundation launched  the 'Unhate' campaign.  'A campaign to combat the culture of hate'. Which contrary to its message, evoke extremely strong reactions.
The ad showing doctored image of Pope Benedict XVI kissing a top Egyptian imam on the lips was withdrawn almost immediately after the Vatican denounced it as an "unacceptable" provocation.


2011 Storefront in Paris. German Chancellor Angela Merkel 
kissing French President Nicolas Sarkozy 
and Chinese President Hu Jintao kissing Barack Obama

2011. Pope Benedict XVI kissing 
an Egyptian imam Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb 
withdrawn after the Vatican denounced it as provocation.


What's next maestro? Oil dependency? Green Planet? Crazy parents agains vaccination? Crazy governments against birth control? Exploitation of illegal immigrants? Children trafficking? The distribution of wealth? There is so much shocking cruelty, stupidity, ignorance, shortsightedness, -isms in the world...

Or perhaps it's time to focus solely on positives ? I love the direction taken be the Benneton group and the UNHATE Foundation. I like the idea of focusing on the new generation.

The Toscani's  legacy is visible in every Benneton project.  The Raza Umana Italia  latest project by Oliviero Toscani Studio looks interesting but I am waiting for his next BIG international move!

Oh, and by the way, the Benetton advertisement did it's magic on me :-)  I really enjoy their classic clothing line for kids.

2011 - Vivi & Lili exploring  the cavities :-) ©

--

I started this post quite some time ago, but every time I thought that I am ready to finish it I had to stumbled upon yet another interesting piece of information or a new image! As usually, when you deal with fascinating subject, you found yourself few hours later with the nagging feeling that you need to learn more ;-)
Here are some of the better resources I used to educate myself on the subject:

  • http://toscani.com/
  • United Color of Benetton. Case Study (pdf)
  • Creative Review - Benetton Hits Middle Age 
  • The True Colors of Oliviero Toscani by Eric J. Lyman 
  • P. Rutherford, (2000) Endless propaganda: The Advertising of Public Goods; University of Toronto Press
  • O. Toscani (1997) Reklama uśmiechnięte ścierwo; Warszawa. Agencja Wydawnicza Delta (oryg. fr. La Pub est une charogne qui nous sourit (Reliure inconnue) 1995)
Ps. This is an updated repost. I originally created it in March 2012 but the subject keeps coming back :-)