Friday, August 7, 2015

Inquiry-Based Learning



I spent several months observing and filming a senior composition class taught by English teacher Jenny Wellington, and with editor Shondra Burke put together a video called Inquiry-Based Learning at Pittsfield Middle High School. I learned so much from Ms. Wellington's masterful unit design, classroom setup, facilitation of student-moderated discussions, and supervising of meaningful student projects and presentations. It's wonderful to truly see students at the center of their own learning!

This video was funded by Nellie Mae Education Foundation and will appear on their Students at the Center Hub.

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Robot at Radcliffe


We really enjoyed meeting Francesca Rossi and her robot friend at Radcliffe last may. Francesca is a computer science professor at the University of Padova in Italy and her research focuses on artificial intelligence.

She introduced us to Pierre, a NAO humanoid robot made by French company Aldebaran. Pierre is designed to be a companion for elderly people, children, and others needing help around the house.  Francesca borrowed Pierre for the day to show him off at the Radcliffe Fellows certificate ceremony for the 50 fellows.

We interviewed Francesca briefly as part of a new video we are producing for the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard - a signature video that the institute will use for their capital campaign.

In 2012 we produced a series of 10 videos which included portraits of fellows Radhika Nagpal and Douglas Rogers.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Story 2: Touching Home


Melissa Ludtke and I are so excited to launch iBook story 2, Touching Home, in our transmedia series Touching Home in China: in search of missing girlhoodsThese stories anchor our project’s global social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and our website.

In this story, two American adoptees meet girls who grew up in the rural towns where they were abandoned as babies. The Chinese and American girls discover kinship in their shared beginnings and set out to explore differences of experience and attitude that their distant childhoods created.

Videos, photo galleries, interactive graphics, and audio narrations bring the girls’ blossoming friendships to life – and enable viewers to glimpse life as a girl in 21st century rural China.

The iBooks series Touching Home in China: in search of missing girlhoods anchors a transmedia project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and a narrative website. At the heart of the story are two American adoptees who return as teens to the towns in China where each was abandoned as a newborn. There, they meet girls who grew up in these towns and learn about what their own girlhoods might have been like in 21st century rural China.  The girls open a fascinating cross-cultural dialogue about family life, school, work, and their aspirations. The project’s social media platforms engage a global audience with interactive news and commentary about girls and women’s lives in contemporary China.


The Touching Home story is available for purchase for $3.99 on iPads, iPhones, and Macs here.



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

MCC Artist Fellowship

I was honored to be a receive a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship at the Massachusetts Statehouse today. "Cultural development IS economic development" said Senator Eric Lesser at his speech, above.

Friday, May 8, 2015

First Transmedia Story Published!

For the past year, I have been working with journalist Melissa Ludtke on our first transmedia project, Touching Home in China: in search of missing girlhoodsThrough interactive storytelling, a rare journey unfolds as two teen adoptees from America return to the towns in China where they were abandoned as newborns. There, they meet girls who grew up in these towns and learn about what their own girlhoods might have been like in 21st century rural China.  In sharing the realities of their distant upbringings, the girls open a fascinating cross-cultural dialogue about girls and women’s lives in contemporary China.

Today we published the first iBook story in the series, Abandoned Baby. In this story, two girl babies are abandoned in rural China. Taken to the same orphanage and adopted by American families, they return as teens to the towns where their lives began. Videos, photo galleries, interactive graphics, and audio narrations tell their story in the context of China’s one-child policy and its ensuing gender imbalance.

This iBook includes intimate videos of the girls’ adoptions in China; a unique interactive timeline of population policies, “From Mao to Now”; a seesaw graphic illustrating China’s extreme gender imbalance; and artists’ interpretations of the consequences of the one-child policy – from “missing daughters” to lonely childhoods. Abandoned Baby is available for $3.99 on iPads, iPhones, and Macs here.

The iBook stories anchor our project’s global social media presence on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube and our website.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Land Memory Bank and Seed Exchange

A new grassroots organization, the Land Memory Bank Collective, has sprung up in Southern Louisiana. It emerged out of a series of informal salons focused on environmental and cultural information sharing and solution-seeking in the Mississippi River Delta. Multidisciplinary artist Monique Verdin (Houma) is project manager.

The collective's first activation is happening this Sunday March 22, 5-7pm on Lost Islenos Cultural Complex side lawn Called the Land Memory Bank and Seed Exchange, it's a community-built photo/shelter/sculpture and site-specific data exhibition. There will be plant and seed swapping, storytelling, a screening of documentary My Louisiana Love (which I co-produced and edited), a scanner, and portrait service to capture historic photos and stories.










Sunday, March 8, 2015

Celebrating Student-Centered Learning

Last night I was up at Pittsfield Middle High School - where I've been producing a series of 6-7 in-depth videos about different aspects of the district's transformation - to film a lively celebration of Student-Centered Learning. The evening was sponsored by Nellie Mae Education Foundation, which has been a major funder of reform in this district (and of the documentation project we are undertaking there).

One of the highlights of the evening was hearing from students in the school's Site Council, a governing body made up of students, faculty, and comment members.  Ryan, Quinn, Colby, Madison, and Jess (pictured above) shared personal stories of how their learning experiences changed for the better over the years that PMHS has moved toward student-centered learning.

After they spoke, Superintendent John Freeman introduced a panel of important guests, including Fred Bramante, president of the National Center for Competency-Based Learning; Paul Leather, Deputy Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education; Tom Raffio, Chairperson of the New Hampshire State Board of Education, and Mike Wolfe, Chair of the Pittsfield School Board. Below, Tom Raffio is expressing how he was going to "fly, not drive home" after hearing the students' great presentations.