Friday, December 19, 2014

The Final Colbert Report

The last minutes of the Colbert's Report last episode were nothing short of great and very in an "over the top", Colbert style! He said goodbye, singing "We'll Meet Again" with Randy Newman at the piano and the impressive crowd of the "friends of the show".  I am not sure how many famous people they managed to squeeze in a studio. To name a few: Jon Stewart, Tom Brokaw, Willie Nelson, Yo Yo Ma, Barry Manilow, Big Beard and Cookie Monster, Tom Friedman, Cyndi Lauper, Ken Burns,  Keith Olbermann, Katie Couric, Andrew Sullivan, David Gregory, Ariana Huffington, JJ Abrams, Alan Alda, George Lucas, Henry Kissinger, Toby Keith, and Christiane Amanpour. Even Mike Hackabee was there!  I was surprised not to see papa Bear Bill O'Reilly.
#‎ColbertFinale was trending on Twitter in the US. 
President Bill Clinton made it to the final song while twitting:
President Obama remarked:
 Nancy Pelosi posted

 In Stephen's own tweet:

You did Stephen. You and Jon Stewart. One show at the time.

We will meet again Stephen. Colbert had been chosen to succeed David Letterman as the host of the Late Show in 2015. I have hard time to imagine him hosting the show out of the character.

You can catch up or reminisce  the best  Cover Report moments at My favorite moment from the show?  I love when Colbert was singing with John Legend "The Girl is Mine"

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

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 a fight about the jolly dude with "Santa Purists", but common,  really, Santa Claus?

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.

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.

  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! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

My Bucket list - 2014 revisit

I think it is either the omnipresent spirit of the holidays, or  the fact that Pitbull will be on tour near me that made me think about my bucket list:

I consider myself VERY lucky. I traveled, I am educated, I have a job I like, I have a great hubby and beautiful, smart, and healthy kiddos. I have my big dining table and many opportunities to host my friends and family around it.  So part of me is a little ashamed that I am making "list of more". But given that we only have one life, why not squeeze from it as much as we can? My bucket list is my dreams and goals. Not what I need, but just what I would love to experience/see/acquire before I kick the bucket.  I noticed as I was revisiting my dreams and goals that some of them changed.  For example "Visiting Paris" became  "Show kids Paris from the Eiffel tower",  or I added "Walk with Lucy on a Great Wall of China" because she raised an interest in doing so.  I am not quite ready to remove  Madonna's and Blondie's concerts. I think Tokyo, TED conference, and live long enough to spoil my grandkids are my front-runners.

My list is not well organized or prioritized it just a fun reminder that you never should say "I am done! "
  • Listen to a good music in Havana, Cuba  
  • Visit Alaska
  • See the Stonehenge in England
  • Experience Tokyo with Rob
  • Walk with Lucy on a Great Wall of China
  • Put a little free library in front of my house
  • Show kids Paris from the Eiffel tower
  • Eat Crabs in Main
  • Eat again sourdough bread and seafood at San Francisco’s Fisherman's Wharf
  • Visit Olympic Peninsula
  • See the Presepolis in Iran
  • See the old city of Jerusalem
  • Visit New Orleans (We did that in 2012 on our 10th wedding anniversary! )
  • Take kids on an African safari
  • Visit Kremlin
  • See original Kiss by Klimt
  • See the Les Miserable  on Broadway
  • See Mama Mia on Broadway
  • Visit the Salvador Dali Museum is an art museum in St. Petersburg, Florida
  • See Blondie on stage
  • See Madonna in Concert
  • Attend Pitbull Concert (Rob gave me a ticket for Christmas! I am going to see Pitbull on Feb 21, 2015!)
  • Become sustainable member of NPR and IPR 
  • Become a Google certified Teacher
  • Become a Google Certified Education Trainer (as a teacher of EdTech&Design, I kind of am, but not certified)
  • Know at least a little about every marvel listed on the UNESCO's World Heritage List 
  • Doctorate
  • Read all Terry Pratchett
  • Buy RV camper 
  • See the performance at Sydney Opera House
  • Fly for a date with Rob to Hawaii
  • Visit Every Continent!
  • Visit Salvador Dali Museum in in Catalonia, Spain.
  • Send my girls to college
  • Learn to ski (started this winter  2014. We went a few times to Sundown and put together the ski sets for the whole family. It is a good start)
  • Learn to swim
  • Own a piano
  • Learn to play piano 
  • Learn to play guitar
  • Ride on a horse in some scenic location
  • Participate in a carnival in Rio
  • Have my brother visiting me in the US
  • To have my parents visiting me here again 
  • Tour CNN 
  • Be in a live audience during Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show
  • Be in a live audience during  Colbert Report (too late)
  • Organize my attic
  • Attend TED conference
  • Spoil rotten my grandchildren  :-)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween AND good All Saint's Day

 As usually Google did a great job putting their halloween Google logos galore:

They even offer you a help to get into the Halloween spirit by "Halloweenify" your google plus profile photo:

Tomorrow is All Saints' day(All Hallows day, or lately just All Dead day). That holiday we celebrate in Poland, and most Western Christian countries. That one is much more reflective, sad day in which we remember all the people that are gone. We visit the graves bring flowers, and light the candles for their souls. Prior to that day many organizations taking on themselves to clean up the graves of those whose families are lost, or unknown, such as fallen soldiers of World Wars and old historical cemeteries.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I am looking at the NMC Horizon Report Europe 2014 Schools Edition

The New Media Consortium Horizon Report Europe 2014 Schools Edition is out!
The report describes the trends, technologies and challenges for European schools over the next five years. Although the report was issues for Europe there are many similarities with trends and challenges in the States. I am not sure if it is the fact that I am from Europe or is is simply better visualized but I found the HR European edition easier to read.

The trends from fastest to long range:
  • Growing Ubiquity of Social Media
  • Rethinking the Roles of Teacher (as a result of ICT- Information and Communication Technology)
  • Increasing Focus on Open Educational Resources
  • Increasing Use of Hybrid Learning Designs (emphasis on P2P collaboration at school and online resources to extend learning to home - flipped classroom? ) 
  • Evolution of Online Learning (rich media, more interactive features, better-defined outcomes. Increased consideration of how both students and teachers are impacted)
  • Rise of Data-Driven Learning and Assessment - (data for personalizing the learning experience, for ongoing formative assessment of learning, and for performance measurement)

Challenges in order from easily solvable to more elusive

  • Integrating ICT in Teacher Education - Well, we can help with that: Become EdTech minor or pursue MA in IT  people! :-)
  • Students’ Low Digital Competence (kids are lacking critical skills how to analyze and evaluate the authenticity of the increasing amount of messages they encounter everyday).
  • Blending of Formal and Non-Formal Learning (attention toward self-directed, curiosity-based learning that can happen in non-traditional, non-formal educational environments).
  • Creating Authentic Learning Opportunities (Use of learning scenarios that incorporate real life experiences, technology, and tools that are already familiar to students, and seek interactions from community)
  • Complex Thinking and Communication -  which bring to my mind Siemens and Downes theory of connectivism
  • Students as Co-Designers of Learning - the role of the teacher is shifting to being more of a mentor and advisor in the learning journey.
  • The US version also had  listed  Increased Privacy Concerns; Competition from alternative schools, especially those with online programs.

Here is a wiki that was put for european schools to discuss the trend

UNI IT - helping with an integration of ITC in Teacher Ed since the beginning of its existence :-) 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Changes for Foursquare

First Foursquare moved the check -in option to a separate app called Swarm. Now I noticed it changed its logo. Personally I was using the app sporadically mostly to check-in - which is no longer part of the foursquare. Hmm..
The welcome message stays:
“The new Foursquare is all about helping you find places you’ll love, anywhere in the world. Swarm: Your Swarm check-ins will continue to teach Foursquare about the places you like, but your location will never be shown to anyone in Foursquare"  
So, to my understanding, Swarm became old Foursquare and Foursquare became…Yelp?

New logo and add on app
Old logo

Friday, July 11, 2014

Why Big 10 Conference changed their logo

Let me preface with the explanation that I am extremely ignorant when it comes to sports. I was using the old big 10 logo for years in my Visual Literacy class as a good example of the negative space used in design.  So naturally, when I discovered that they changed the logo I decided to find out why.

The Big Ten Conference (B1G), formerly Western Conference and Big Nine Conference, is the oldest  (120 years) Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States.  In 1990 the conference added 11th member, Penn State, which was honored in the logo in a very clever way: The designer hid a number 11 in the negative space around the letter T. Brilliant, right? Now the problem arrived in 2011 when they added 12th member.

The new Big Ten logo was developed by Michael Bierut and Michael Gericke of the international design firm Pentagram. Looks like they designed it in 2010 in anticipation of the changes. The new logo, B1G , can be read two ways - BIG and IG may be read as a number 10. Clever design that combines word big and number 10 in a single word.  Timeless! They honored the old name but don't have to worry about changes in the number of members in a future.

Old logo - notice the number 11 created by the negative space

The new logo combines word big and number 10 in a single word 

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

Monday, June 2, 2014

Shinzi Katoh & Zakka: Fun, Kitsch or Applied Art design?

I discovered him on ebay while looking for interesting blankets for Lulu. I found one and I instantly fell in love! I ended up buying one for each of my girls.

Lulu and her Shinzi Katoh Little Red Ridding Hood blankie
Shinzi Katoh is Japanese Zakka designer.  Zakka from what I found, is a fashion and the design trend from Japan. In Japanese it means "many things"or "a little bit of everything".  It is basically everything that one can use in everyday life - at home and on the go,  and that one never really need from a practical standpoint :-)  From colorful can openers, cute tea sets, and bento boxes; through whimsical cellphone charms and covers; stationary, masking tapes, purses, pouches, handkerchiefs, and toys,  zakka designers offer cute and beautiful alternative to everyday items.

Zakka is the art of seeing the savvy in the ordinary and mundane . Some may consider it a kitsch, others an applied art at its cutest. I think it is both and I absolutely love it!   Tadao Kushimatsu, one of Japan's largest advertising agency analyst, says: "Cute is not enough. To qualify as a zakka, a product must be attractive, sensitive, laden with subtexts".

Shinzi Katoh Rabbit Tea Set, Tea For Two

Zakka art reminds me of many handmade products that one can find on Like the Teeny-Tiny Dolls in my favorite and way out of my price range etsy store

My Teeny-Tiny Doll (MTTD) Bunny

Shinzi Katoh designs remind me very much of old Russian children books illustrations. Clearly, along with fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood,  the Russian/Soviet art is one of his inspirations:

"Colorful Bears"- Russian book 1967
"Riddles" - Russian book 1956
Shinzi Katoh lunch box

Shinzi Katoh postcard
Little Girl - Doll by Shinzi Katoh

I love the whimsy in Zakka style. Why shouldn't we add a splash of color, texture, fancy and happiness to everyday items?

I would compare it to the design change brought by late Steve Jobs to the world of personal computers.  From the candy-colored iMacs and Clamshell iBooks of the '90, through minimalistic Mac Cube, super sleek skinny Macbook Air, whole spectrum of pretty little iPod nanos, to the wonderful GUI of all iOS devices - Macintosh products are known not just functionality and quality performance, but also beauty, innovation, style and the friendly design. iZakka :-)

 Here is my last Shinzi indulgence: Surprisingly capacious mini pencil box:-)

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: 

My favorite first tweet is by one of my role models Madeleine Albright @madeline
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 website, "A global hub for sharing International Women's Day news, events and resources".  International Women's Day 2014 Theme is  INSPIRING CHANGE.

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

Saturday, January 18, 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.