Teaching Examples

Support this child’s laptop for only pennies a day
January 11, 2007, 4:09 pm
Filed under: innovation, international, online, tools

The One Laptop Per Child program has my full support. But my support, unfortunately, is just a warm feeling in my heart. Jeff Jarvis has suggested that the project subsidize the distribution of laptops to children in developing countries by selling us wealthier folks the same laptops at an inflated price. Now the BBC reports that the OLPC group might launch a “buy 2 and get 1” deal.

One Laptop Per Child

While I would like to fondle one of the laptops for a day or two, I don’t really want to own one. What I would love to do, though, is add OLPC to my annual charity donations list. I’m telling you, I believe in this program! I think it can change the world.

So give me a way to do what those “you can sponsor a child for just $24 a month” campaigns purport to do. Send me a picture of a kid with the laptop I bought for her. Make a Web site, for heaven’s sake, so it’s fully transparent and all of us donors know we are not all getting the same photo of the same kid. (Imagine the database: name of child, country, date laptop received, photo of child with laptop, donor ID number. Nothing could be simpler.) I would pay $150 (or $200, or $250) to buy a laptop for a child in India, Kenya, Cambodia, Brazil … you name it. Heck, once the kid has her laptop, she can send me an e-mail!

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Beyond fact finding: Journalism’s next steps
January 11, 2007, 2:37 pm
Filed under: future, innovation, journalism, news, newspapers

Mitchell Stephens wrote the best-ever journalism history book, A History of News (3rd edition: 2006). It’s more than a mere textbook; it’s a real history, well written and thoroughly researched.

Stephens also wrote a spot-on essay about newspapers in the November-December issue of Columbia Journalism Review. It’s insightful and fresh.

Here are three of many wise thoughts in the essay:

[1] In a day when information pours out of digital spigots, stories that package painstakingly gathered facts on current events — what happened, who said what, when — have lost much of their value…. Selling what is elsewhere available free is difficult, even if it isn’t nineteen hours stale. Just ask an encyclopedia salesman, if you can find one.

[2] There will continue to be room, of course, for some kinds of traditional, thoroughly sourced reporting: exclusives, certainly. Investigations, certainly. That’s something extra. Yahoo isn’t in a position to muckrake.

But the extra value our quality news organizations can and must regularly add is analysis: thoughtful, incisive attempts to divine the significance of events — insights, not just information. What is required — if journalism is to move beyond selling cheap, widely available, staler-than-your-muffin news — is, to choose a not very journalistic-sounding word, wisdom.

[3] … an ability to go and get is simply no longer sufficient. The best journalistic organizations are going to be selling the best thinking on current events — and that often is furthered by deep, directed study.

Just a few more ideas about what REAL change would be — in the business of journalism.

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A different flip book (with a linear story)
December 17, 2006, 2:16 pm
Filed under: design, innovation, photography, video

I can’t stop watching this video: Between You and Me.

A friend recently bought the Canon EOS 20D. I tried its burst mode and was in seventh heaven. In this mode we could record at five frames per second (as opposed to film’s 24). We could shoot for about 12 seconds before the camera’s memory buffer would fill up, so our takes had to be really exact — no long, hypnotic shots. I did a series of tests beforehand to find the best setup …

We would shoot until the camera’s memory card filled up (1 GB — about 650 stills), and then we would take a break to transfer the pictures to our laptop….

Patryk Rebisz, 27, wrote about how he made the video (a fictional story) in Still Life, an article in Filmmaker magazine (summer 2005 issue).

There are more than 2,000 still photos in the video. Length: 5 min. Frame rate: 8 fps.

In an interview with ABC News, Rebisz said he was inspired by La Jetée, a 1962 French film made up of still black-and-white photos. (La Jetée was also credited as the inspiration for Terry Gilliam’s 1995 American feature film, Twelve Monkeys.)

Update: I think I found the video in dsato’s del.icio.us bookmarks.

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