December 16, 2016

The importance of touch

We need to touch as human beings

We are tactile by nature

Will we evolve out of that in the digital age?

I was watching the documentaries of the Twin Towers coming down - the amount of paper! it was scary and like confetti but meaningless. Out of context, charred, settling in unsettled piles on the pavement.

A hypothesis that I'm working on is that on reason we have not gone paperless in the office is that we still need touch

The touch of paper

The touch of pen nib to paper

The feel of pencils shedding colour on paper

The importance of touch in creating and making

The importance of making for connections

The importance of texture

The touch of keyboard (I'm desensitized after years of this touch)

Touch of fingerpads on clarinet keys (a new touch for me this year)

Touch can regulate emotions

Touch modulates negative emotions (Hertenstein et al, 2006)

I reject this image, the tech has no touch

Until I read about the work of adding a sense of touch to prosthetics

I'm left with the feeling of empathy for those who have lost touch

Ahhh, the cold, hard face of tech, 
if only there was more love,
more hands to hold
more flirting and laughter
less bits and bytes.

Surely then, I'd be engaged
more likely to respond
more open to be me
this techy, messy, pixelated
version of me
working in the digital.

Poem for #HumanMOOC 2016

Hertenstein, M. J., Verkamp, J. M., Kerestes, A. M. & Holmes, R. M. (2006) Touch in humans. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 132, 10+.(Accessed 2016/12/15/).

October 6, 2016

Playing and Seeing Scales

When I received this postcard from Sarah Honeychurch, I traced my fingers over the threads. Just two colours but I could detect 3 lines. Each line is made up of 5 strands. I spread them apart, clear lines against the bright background. It reminded me of the Circle of Fifths and I wondered "Could I play that?".

This was not a random thought pattern, as I've been prompted by Laura Ritchie's MUS654 course. In Laura's post here, she talks about visualising scales and making them tactile. I've been thinking about the Circle of Fifths and the lovely, tidy visual that it gives you. Check a Google Search for Wallpapers for visuals of that. I start by placing the scale numbers around the string points and then wrote out the patterns created by the stringwork. Now to choose the key. I'm playing the clarinet and it'll be a solo piece. I have the freedom to choose what key this should be in. I think about colour and different energies in the day as I listen to "A Lecture Demonstration with Pandit Nikhil Banerjee". I'm given bright yellow by this postcard but this uplifting colours is drawn down by the dark colours of the cotton.

In my first attempt at the 3 lines, I play crotchets with the equal spacing that I see. I'm thinking about the space that is created in the middle, the smaller spaces created between the lines. The importance of playing silences, rests and spaces between.

I try to merge them but I'm unhappy with the results. I turned to a different app and chose another  key. The final attempt. I decided to use these notes as an ear and articulation exercise. The notes were discordant in some parts and I kept wanting to change it. This was good ear training.

Visualising scales is fun!

Resources and apps:
Camera, clarinet, Baazart, Score Creator, Acapella, PicPlayPost, Soundcloud

September 28, 2016

Melody and Memory #MUS654

Is there something about context that gives those notes meaning?

Laura poses a question this week. I am linking this with a question of my own.

How does context link with memory?

Yesterday I was thrown back in time, with a seemingly obscure choice of J S Bach's solo cello piece at my son's end of term school musical.

It reminded me of the exact place where I used to play these pieces. I'm glad Laura also turned to Bach and mentions it in her post here "Making It Melodic" In particular how many performers can make this piece their own, through interpretation and situation of performance.

When I heard that melody in the musical, I closed my eyes, blocked out an auditorium full of parents, children and teachers chattering, a video screen displaying a rolling tape of children's colourful drawings and repeated my personal mantra that I created nearly 20 years ago during a personal development course.

I can't see any obvious link between these events but what came out of that memory trip was a warm feeling and a re-affirmation that love needs to be a focus in my life again. The theme of those children's drawings where joy, friendship, family and love. I wonder if this will now be intertwined in the memory/context mix.

Robertson et al (2015) talks about semantic associations and how this is part of the complexity of how memories are formed or even disassociated. They conclude that 'These semantic associations with context are complex, can develop over a lifetime and are complicated by additional associations brought by language use.'. The language of music adds to context and yet can transcend context.

September 27, 2016

Getting Stamped - Part II

Stamp collecting was a hobby when I was young. I have lugged around those stamp albums for the last 30 plus years. Each time I open the box, I can't bring myself to ditch them. I can't imagine my son seeing any value in them. It's time to get creative!

Step 1: Pick the album that has the least sentimental value and pick out a few interesting ones. My son and I have some project-fun time and remove all the stamps from the albums and he has great fun in tearing and ripping up the empty album.

Step 2: Soak the stamps in water and checkout a Youtube video for some hints on what to do next.

Step 3: Make the paper and let it dry

Step 4: Collect some poetry and some materials from the upcycle pile and create some postcards.

Step 5: Post them out!

My mother still takes great care on what stamp is chosen for the recipient. When I receive a letter from her I check the stamp carefully. Letters from family have immediate hand writing recognition. Postcards from #CLMOOC peers have Avatar and Twitter handle associations. As I handle these thin slices of paper, I think of people's avatars and Twitter handles. Will this association with these icons pass as well? How will we connect or associate with each other in the future?

Wendy Eiteljorg and her marvellous creations in this post, I'll be using stamps!
Karen Fasimpur Postcard Project

September 6, 2016


What makes a 
musical instrument?


It's vibrations.

Beside tones.
That interact with the room
and people in the room.

It's all perspective ~
Frame of mind.

Dancing fruit
is hardly acceptable.

Context, context.

When do we resist

Poem from Twitter conversation 
@laura_ritchie, @sensor63, @bmurley, @ronald_2008, @NomadWarMachine

Here is a blackout poem from the start of David Byrne's book about How Music Works.

August 13, 2016

I am the stamp

I left the land of clogs 
Flying low over reclaimed land 
Tulip carpet stretched to horizon
My message written by steady hand.
I flew over vineyard and mountain 
Across idyllic islands 
Over the turbulent waters 
On to the Middle East.
I flew across vast desserts
More seas than fish counted 
Continents and borders were nothing 
To the power of this stamp.
Gunshots rang in the streets below 
As I flew ~ untouched by fog and humidity 
I traveled on ~ scarcely marked
By that messy humanity.
I flew over volcanos and land faults 
Touching the edge of the Ring of Fire
 Mesmerised by ocean currents 
Deep sea trenches I admired.
I flew to Southern climes 
Language and skin of many colours
The smells were getting stranger 
As we bumped across cirrostratus. 
I landed on New Holland
Smack bang in the middle 
Deserts surrounding occasional oasis 
Red, brown and green a patchwork riddle.
The weather was impossibly hot 
It nearly caused me to come unstuck 
Placed gently in the letterbox 
I waited for hands to pluck. 
I am the stamp.
Reflections on the Connected Learning MOOC (#CLMOOC) postcards project
To preserve privacy we turn our postcards (see Karen Fasimpaur post) to their face. What has really captured my attention is the stamps and post office markings. The postcards have bought a sense of 'place' much closer. While we talk about weather and timezone differences during Hangouts and Twitter chats, it is the stamps that have imprinted the distances for me.
It was not until I received Ron L's postcard that I felt the distance between here and there. I created this piece to become the stamp as I travelled between Australia and The Netherlands. Often we operate in a 'flat' world on the internet and this has its benefits. We can escape the hierarchy we might find binds us in the organisation we work in. When I see these stamps I read them, trying to decipher the date and time and place. My own memories of travels to those places kick in. This tactile movement allows me to feel the space, the distance, the culture of another place.

POSTSCRIPT: Kevin created a song from this poem. You can read his two posts about that here and here. Or you can listen to the song on Soundcloud. Across the waves, we create. Thanks Ron and Kevin.

August 3, 2016

Make it how you want it --- Make With Me Hangout

Here is a collage of the 'makes' that happened during this conversation. I think it would be great if we were encouraged to 'make' during meetings at work. I have a lot of online meetings and while I'm mostly ignored (on screen), I think it is perceived that I'm listening when I'm sitting still and staring at a webcam (wrong!). Colouring-in is a favorite that I can sneak under the camera radar!

The hands, they are so important in the making for this Hangout. I feel the emodiment of including more than just our 'talking heads' for these pictures.

Below is a "Vibby" version with the highlights I saw in the Make With Me Hangout #3 (6 mins).



July 29, 2016

Filling in the spaces (with colour)

Using SnagIt (See a TechSmith review here) I used the Fill In tool for an online colour-in exercise. Image from the British Library and the idea from Terry Elliots post.

Perhaps not as satisfying as holding the pencil
But more possibilities open to me
Different options provided by digital tools
It's not the 'next best thing' it is

(PS the limitation of the Font list in Blogger is really getting to me!)

July 26, 2016

Messing with the Message and Feeding Forward

Using Visual Poetry tool to mess with the message

From Terry's post, he threw out an invitation to mess with his message. I created an eMess above. I made my coffee brew, sat down and contemplated this invitation. Why would I bother? What's in it for me? What could I learn?

Then from my Twitter feed I saw a link to Stephen Downes recent presentation on Connectivism, MOOCs and Innovation. His keynote presentation was embedded and I started to flip through. Slide 13 caught my eye (not just the cat!).
Stephen Downes (2016)

In the Connected Learning MOOC (#CLMOOC) I have been doing a fair bit of aggregation and a bit of remix. The next step as suggested above, is re-purposing. Terry mentioned "moving away from the tool" and I see that as the next step after 'playing'. Faced with the Visual Poetry tool is one thing but what I would like to do is use this to re-purpose Terry's message.

This tool could be used for Language and Literacy purposes. Keeping people engaged as they struggle with a new language through play. It could also be used for children. From simple vocabulary there could be very interesting drawings created. For myself I like that fact of being able to put words into a different angle, pattern and colour. It helps the brain to think around the corners of the very familiar word structures.

To answer my own questions: I bothered! It's not all about me, maybe someone else might benefit from my own learning. I really like the learning process as described by Downes (2016) and want to see how this can play out in the future.

My next challenge is how to feed this forward. This process of blogging is the best way I know how (for now) as it can reach into vast corners of the interconnected web that we may never reach into with our bare head or hands.

July 20, 2016

Dipping, Swimming and Diving into CLMOOC 2016

I'm MOOCing again for Connected Learning. There has been a lot happening over the last week and a half. Some of which I can capture in this post.

I started off with an Introduction called "I Hardly Know". I've been dipping in to some of the #DailyConnects with this star inspired poem The Milky Way and planting in the Answer Garden on the term "connecting". I swam with others with Dive Remix of a remix. Even had a aha-moment captured here. I contributed to the journey of a poem to a song which Kevin has documented.

While I watched the Make with Me from Week 2, I made me a 'flying thing'.

From over in Twitter I was inspired by +Deanna Mascle (things that fly), #SNA by+Sarah Honeychurch who posted TAGS Explorer image and +Raymond Maxwell who reached out to people from that. Also to +Kevin Hodgson for his comic that asked if we could "break the MOOC" [ball] and the confirmation from+TERRY ELLIOTT that we totally should!!

I'm capturing my favourites for the week for #F5F via Google Collections. For each fave I've used three words or phrases to describe the highlight for me.

June 28, 2016

How to perform a reduction

Use poetry to cut the excess elaboration.
Poetry seeks to glean the nuggets out of any experience.

Often there is so much happening during the experience that the senses just need to soak it all in. 

After the experience, there is a condensing, a meaning that comes out of it. 

How to be a poet:

Accept what comes from silence. 

Write words that don't disturb the silence they came from.

Write words that can disrupt/erupt/plant new ideas.

Share words carefully.


Using a Haiku form to cut to the core.

By using a reduced form of word structure it makes you think about what is critical to the conversation. Even expressing an image into words can be more effective by reducing the amount of words. The typical haiku form (5/7/5) has a flow about it that is pleasant to the brain.

Is seven the magic number?

Could you write any experience in just seven words?

Changing forms to perform a reduction.
Reductions have intense flavour.

We want our words to have impact.

Intensity can encourage a 'more-ness'.

What is the consistency of your learning?

"When you evaporate the liquid, you will get a more concentrated flavor and a thicker consistency."


Using Manifesto's to cut through the layers

"Manifesto's cut into the deep rooted principles that drive you" M. Lindenmayer

The Online Teaching Manifesto, 2016, has 22 statements.

Each one is thought provoking, condensed and rich.

June 27, 2016

Loudly lurking (with new tech tools)

Testing out I have used the #DigCiz Week One Hangout to highlight some of the things I heard. I'm using this as an example of 'loudly lurking'. How can people show that they watched your Hangout/conversation/video? My highlights might tell a different story to the whole one hour hangout but that's the beauty of individuals and what they bring to the conversation, async.

Vibby is in beta - right - but I'm an early adopter so that's not scary for me. I found it easier to use than Vialogues but wondering if others will be able to join in the comments or perhaps add other highlights.
You might need to try this link: to access the comments

I picked up this new tool from here. Thanks to Terry Elliot for his visibility in his learning as part of his Digital Citizenship contract with himself.

March 10, 2016

A Journal of Twitter Poetry

I'm not sure I have the right format yet. I'm trying out Storybird to capture all the poems, haiku and micropoetry that I have posted on Twitter.

February 16, 2016

What's your favorite rhizome?

Is poetry a #rhizo16 focus now?
What is rhizo-poetry?

Poetry that is crowd sourced?
Poetry that is freeform?

What about structure?
Can a sonnet be a rhizopoem?

A poem that has no beginning
Is it like poetry that never ends?

My favourite rhizomes are
Galangal and fresh tumeric

Poetry that connects people
Poetry created by connected people

That’s like saying poetry-poetry

What would make it a rhizo poem then?
Yes to rhizo poemetric algorithms

Slinkies modelling the heat death of
the universe in your house

Snail tracks across rose leaves
Without apparent connectors

The difference between a right word
And an almost right word *

Like apples of gold in pictures of silver **
A poem that can be read in any order.

Sarah Honeychurch
Angela Brown
Terry Elliott
Autumm Caines
Jefferey Keefer
Scott Johnson
Mark Twain *
King Solomon **

(I feel the need to identify the dead mens words. Did the others give me all rights to reproduce? Or can the dead men sue me now?)