Blog Pile, Odyssey

StoryBox Goes to High School

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

My visit here in Camilla Georgia was exciting enoiugh with yesterday’s tour of the alligator farm, but today topped that easily. Vicki Davis invited me to where much of her magic happens, at Westwood High School.

The first hour was spent with the entire school (elementary through high school) taking in a performance of “The Little Mermaid” that the theater group is going to be doing in a state competition. It was energetic and had everyone engrossed (well I felt that way).

But the highlight for me was getting a chance to do a demo of the StoryBox for 2 different classes of Vicki, in her computer classroom. I tried this one differently, by only telling them the basics of what it was, not doing a demo. The point was to get them to join the network and explore. And maybe contribute.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Here is a snippet of the activity recorded as audio:
StoryBox at Westwood High School

The kids got the “how” part quickly, and some went for the videos, most looked at the photos. Most popular seemed to be the roadkill, the double wide sheep, the kid holding the cats, the guy with the blue hat.

And did they ever upload stuff! This was more content then ever came in during a demo.

I liked how Vicki draws them into reflecting on the what the box might mean, or asking them questions about privacy online.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

This was also the biggest stress test- there must have been 25 connections going in the second class, and it did get bogged down where some computers were not connecting (rebooting the box helped). BUt in a few cases the load time was really slow. Painfully slow.

One fix I need to do is to re-organize the photos. Right now, I run a script on updates that makes thumbnail version of all new images, but the links are alway to the full sized images, which can be upwards of 3 Mb. What I think I will do is make the default viewing size 800px wide, and provide a link to the full size for use when people might be doing editing. On the drive down, I formulated how I want this to work, and I just need to crack open my rusty Javascript skills.

I am still hoping as well to try my hands at some python scripting.

But really today was all about getting that vibe of the high school experience (I am convinced I attended in the neo-lithic age). And mostly, a heap more respect of al that teachers like Vicki give, role modeling and being tough. And how important teachers are, it is so easy to underestimate what they do.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

I’m eager to see what the kids shared in the box, I am diving in!

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


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