Sun(Fun)day Early Morning – Vending Machines for Short Stories

Although it’s not actually Sunday early morning yet, I have a few interesting items I hope to post on this pre-Post-Holiday Return Day. I figure we all need a bit of extra levity as we complete everything we planned to do over the long weekend.

How did you do with your Thanksgiving Reading? I resumed reading a novel (which I started a while ago) – The Bone Clocks – which was one of the top fiction picks of 2014. We’ll see how I do staying with it over the packed next three weeks before mid-terms and then Christmas Break.

I also started reading a short story collection by one of my favorite fantasy authors – Jeff Vandermeer – who wrote the mind-bogglingly singular and creepy Southern Reach trilogy. For obvious reasons, I find that reading a 15 to 20 minute short story is more manageable during my busy days and evenings.

What about reading a one, three, or five minute short story? And how about one that I could quickly print out as I prepared for a daily commute? What if it came out of a vending style machine?

Hand it to the French for creating an actual device to do all of this. Open Culture brought this to my attention and you can learn more about it via this short clip:

Interested in some of the details about how they pull this off? Open Culture tells us:

The Short Édition vending machines, currently only available in eight locations in Grenoble, France, draw from a database of 600 stories chosen by the community atShort Édition’s website, which counts 1,100 authors as members. Presumably, all these stories are in French.

While new, the machines have gathered enough media attention to attract inquiries from Italy and the United States. So look out, you might find one in your area soon.

As the title of the Open Culture post observes – it’s far better to feed your mind with short fiction than your body with empty junk food.

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Friday FunLink – Mind-blowing Beatles Drum Tribute

After the tragic, yet essential video about the refugee crisis, I thought an upbeat, ultimately trivial one would work for this Friday’s FunLink.

When I came across this video on the always interesting Open Culture, I knew it was a keeper. And I think its awesomesauciness speaks for itself:

Happy First Friday of November!

New Star Wars VII Trailer Fun

Late last week I received an urgent phone call at about 3:30pm from my 13 1/2 year-old son.  Breathlessly he said, “Dad, the new Star Wars trailer is on-line.  Ya gotta see it.  It’s AWESOME!”  [As of publishing this, it has over 36,000,000 views in three days]

 

I was 7 years-old when the first Star Wars movie was released on May 25, 1977.  I clearly remember the lines around the outside of the movie theater when I first saw it a few weeks after its release.  Needless to say, I was blown away by how mind bogglingly cool it was.  My best friend Derek and I acted out roles in Star Wars all summer while we collected the action figures and trading cards.

The funny thing is that I distinctly remember seeing the trailer for it a few months before its release.  I still remember today how odd the droids, storm troopers, space ships and big bear-like thing (later I learned it was a wookie)  This trailer looks positively antiquated by today’s standards.  And it doesn’t use any of what is most likely the best movie theme song of all time!

 

I was engrossed and thrilled by the new trailer for the movie premiering on my daughter’s 12th birthday – December 18, 2015.  Apparently many others were too.  So excited that someone created this fantastic mash-up of Mathew McConaughey watching the trailer [6,000,000 views at publishing]

 

OK, so this post really doesn’t have anything to do with technology and/or education.  The new Star Wars film is so personally and culturally monumental that I couldn’t resist dorking out and embracing my inner dork (which I don’t think I do enough). So please forgive my indulgence.

And BTW, the image at the top is from this article on Open Culture.

And these two images are priceless:

Star Wars 1

Star Wars 2

Strange…Chewy hasn’t aged a day!

Great, Short (60 seconds) Evolution Video to Show in Class

Don’t you love it when something lands in your inbox that you can literally use the next day?  We’ve been talking in my freshman class about the symbolism of the Genesis creation stories.  One fruitful area of discussion is how one can believe in the Deeper Truths of those stories and also what science teaches us about evolution.  Pope Francis got a lot of attention when he affirmed this just a few months ago. As I tell my students: As long as you believe that God created everything and that everything God created was good, then the “how” of creation can include evolutionary theory.

So, thanks to Buzzfeed and Open Culture, here’s the video I’ll be showing tomorrow:

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Access it directly at YouTube.

And I’ll be giving my students this brief article from our local Catholic Times (scroll to left side of page 6)

MOOCs for CEU’s

It’s been a busy week with the “paperwork” which comes with the end of the first semester.  So, it’s been a while since any of us have been able to post here.  A teacher’s life is so busy!

And yet, we need to gain those essential Continuing Education Units for our professional development and renewal of our teaching licences.  Fortunately on-line learning options continue to expand as more and more learning institutions make excellent course content available through MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses.

I recently found this listing of courses geared specifically for those who want to develop their knowledge and skills related to educational technology.  I’ve registered for this interesting sounding course on Digital Literacies which begins next week.  If you like to see a listing of all of the upcoming MOOCs published by Open Culture click HERE.  A well organized list of MOOCs offered through the Coursera portal is available as well.

Finally, if you’re interested in learning about the impact that MOOCs are having on Higher Education visit this article which asks: “Are Massive Open Online Courses Enabling a New Pedagogy?”  It offers a thoughtful, well researched look at this evolving vehicle for adult and increasingly adolescent focused learning.

 

A Gold Mine of Free Educational Technology Resources!

This link takes you to Open Culture – an amazing resource for FREE educational materials of all types!

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Free Educational Technology Resources