As part of my education on all things astronomy, I try to read a variety of modern sources of information including discussion forums on Facebook and Cloudy Nights, helpful tips from blogs, the big name astro books like Nightwatch, and the various monthly magazines like Astronomy, Sky News, and Sky and Telescope.
A couple of years ago, one of the members of our astronomy club, Paul, passed away and another member, Attilla, was helping his widow clean out some of the astronomy collection that he had accumulated. He had a collection of Sky and Telescope materials going back to 1966 to get rid of, and while some people might see that as merely an opportunity for hoarding, I saw it as an opportunity for learning. Could I read through some 50 years of astronomy articles aimed at backyard astronomers rather than scientists, and if I did read them, what would I glean? » Read the rest
The final assignment for the course, “Metaliteracy: Empowering yourself in a connected world”, is to create a digital artifact of some kind — a story, video, podcast, etc. — tied to the theme of metaliteracy, metacognition, and the topics of the previous 3 weeks. The goal is to help teach some aspect of it to someone else. For me, one of the most interesting areas of metaliteracy falls into the area of ethics. And I think I have something unique to say.
Metaliteracy and Ethics
It’s quite interesting that so many people talk about the “ethical use of information” on the internet and in journals, on talk shows and in lecture halls. Yet none of them seem to stop to ask themselves what they mean by ethics? In most cases, the explanation is quite simply “do no harm” or “don’t do bad things with the info”. It is akin to Google’s slogan, “Don’t be evil”. » Read the rest
This week’s materials are all about preparing a digital story. It starts with a simple example of telling something personal, maybe including some primary materials, adding in some secondary materials, doing research, planning, and ultimately creating the story in some form.
It takes the view that digital storytelling encompasses lots of different tools — text, pictures, video, etc. — and gives examples of how to do that creation, find the relevant materials, and shares a lot of examples from StoryCorps of how to do that creative process.
I have to say that I found it rather basic. Too much of it is about the tools you can use to tell your story, and not enough time is spent on what the story is…for me, all storytelling starts with the arc. A beginning, a middle, an end. And some sort of purpose to the story — or to sharing the story. Long before I figure out what I’m going to use to tell the story, I need to figure out what story I want to tell. » Read the rest
While Lesson 03 is only 14.5 minutes long, I started following along with the video and pausing it here and there so I could do the steps myself. It drastically increases the training time, but it really helps with learning the new stuff that goes beyond the simple basics of Lessons 1 and 2. This lesson is about working with the actual slides, managing their order for example, and so it includes adding and removing slides, changing the slide layout, organizing slides into sections, and simply rearranging slides.
I confess, as I mentioned previously, I was pretty confident that I could do most things I needed to do in PowerPoint. Which is apparently not the same as doing them the RIGHT way, which is way faster than my hacked techniques. Take for example where I’m really not sure how I want a slide to look, so I might start with a slide with dual text box layouts. » Read the rest
When I started the Metaliteracy course 18 months ago, week 2 was originally about “creating and sharing a social identity” which included some revelations of what you find by googling yourself, thinking about what others might think of what they find without a larger context (i.e., if an employer was to search), etc. At times, it seemed more like a Grandmother telling you to watch what you post online. One of the resources walked you through the googling process and the “types” of things you might find. Since I share the same name as a US politician, almost all of Google is dominated by his links. If you add “Ottawa” to the search, then I come up with my Twitter feed listed first. It made me think about whether I should (for branding and transparency) more accurately label my website, but I don’t feel the need to shout it out. » Read the rest