Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Last Day of School IVC with Boowa!

Hey, ya'll,

I won't re-post it, but I will encourage you to check out my Lower School teacher page for a detailed description of what is becoming a tradition--a live sing-along with the big blue dog Boowa at Boowa and Kwala's uptoten.com website. The amazing thing is that the creator and voice talent behind Boowa actually lives on Mauritius, a tropical island off the east coast of Madagascar. There's a li'l movie there, too!


Friday, May 19, 2006

TheatreLink 2005-6 Concludes!

As my first entry here, I want to celebrate another fantabulous year's work by USN High School students with the Manhattan Theatre Club's extraordinary international project, TheatreLink. Wow. This project has legs, ya'll; by which I mean that it has all the earmarks of a program destined to function as a model for all sorts of other ones in all sorts of other areas.

Last year, I won a prize (3rd) in Polycom's Keystone Conference (Indianapolis) challenge to celebrate valuable projects with others by writing a 500 word or less description of such a project. I chose this one: I wish I'd waited until this year because I'd be a shoo-in for 1st prize with the deeper understanding facilitating the work leant me this year.

Over the next week I hope to edit and add some video from our students' work and ongoing TheatreLink collaborative videoconferences throughout the year. Meanwhile, here's the collective evaluation (for the HS mixed-grade level "Online Playwriting" class, taught by Gus Gillette) from three of the USN students who participated this year:

We have learned about the process of playwriting; making characters real, turning emotions into actions, designing simple sets, among other things. When we wrote our first draft we put the entire plot into the dialogue, but then we realized that real people are complex and don’t always express themselves words, but with body language, tone of voice, and action. So by the final draft we had a play that, even though it had less dialogue, had it had a lot of character driven action for the actors to express.
Another really cool thing about this class was the fact that we could do the whole video conference thing. We also thought that being able to talk to and interact with people across the country, or even across the world, like they are sitting in front of you was really neat. We especially liked at the very beginning when we even did some improvisation together, it was hard to believe that they were all the way in New York! This was also fun because we got to meet some new and interesting people from around the world.
This whole process was a fun and very interesting class, it was so well put together and planned out that everything seemed to work perfectly. We are all so glad that we decided to take this class, it has really taught us a lot about theater, acting, and playwriting, as well as introducing us to people from here and in other countries. We would all definitely take this class again.

H Period

And here's another:

To start off, we would like to thank you for all of your help in the technical and organizational aspects of this project. If it had been necessary for us to do the technical and theatrical parts of the project, someone may have lost his or her mind (aka Kerchie). There are some things that really left a lasting impression. It was so interesting to work with our mentor that was in New York, becaue it seemed as if he was right next to us. He could watch our performances and offer us helpful advice. It was also really awesome to watch our play performed in Anatolia live, and talk about it with the actors. It really gave us good practice for acting in front of a camera. While we did have an audience, it was like a rehearsal because there weren’t actually people in the room. So, in a sense, there was a lot less pressure than regular stage acting. We had a lot of time time constraints, but in the end they were a good learning experience that improved both the writing and performance aspects of the project as a whole. And finally, it was pretty ridiculous to meet all those people from Greece and Oregon, and to be able to communicate with them on a personal level. This is a well organized and thought out project that is wonderfully informative and educational for young and aspiring actors, directors, and writers. Definitely a repeater! Again, thank you for all your help…




Interactive Videoconferencing at University School of Nashville

Hi, ya'll,

If you've made it to this page you probably already know what it's about. If you don't, in a nutshell, it's about everything we do at University School of Nashville, a thriving independent K12 school on the edge of urban Nashville, Tennessee--everything, that is, having to do with interactive videoconferencing.

Here I'll attempt to celebrate our efforts, chronicle our travails, and link to resources about IVC. I'll also provide links to my other efforts to promote IVC as a tool to disappear the walls that keep learning from achieving the global proportions it needs to achieve if there's to be any real hope for our collective future.

Joan, if you're reading this, I'm sorry. I know one more online resource from me is gonna make you mad. I just can't help myself. I gotta share.