Inspirational videos

Like me, you would have seen some fantastic videos online.


Common Craft make simple and effective how-to videos telling us about web applications “in plain English”. Like this one: Social Networking in Plain English


Professor Michael Wesch conveys messages about how technology has impacted the way we learn and use our time. Here is one example of his clever efforts: A Vision of Students Today


The TED Talks offer top quality presentations by some interesting and influential people on a wide variety of topics. This talk by Sir Ken Robinson is great: Do schools kill creativity?


And there are a million other amusing and inspirational creations by some very talented people. Watch the Worlds by Robbie Dingo is awesome.


Providing links to these from either the school’s library website or library catalogue for the benefit of the teachers is not the best way to share these due to security firewalls and bandwidth. YouTube is blocked for the students as are many Web 2.0 applications. For the teachers it can sometimes take so long to start a video on YouTube that the lesson plan is totally impeded.


A solution is to use an online file converter to convert the YouTube URL to a FLV file. This file can then be saved to the hard drive, and with a free FLV player downloaded, these files open and play automatically. Access points are then added to the library catalogue that includes all the relevant bibliographic information such as author. This is what I’ve been working on this week and we now have a little collection of “inspirational videos”.


Copyright and intellectual property is always considered. This kind of format shifting could be a breach of copyright. The loophole for the school environment is that these resources are used for education. Since these issues are apparent it makes for timely discussions.


The combination of easy to use multimedia creation tools with awareness of intellectual property, has resulted in people now creating more of their own original work than ever before. YouTube provides assured publication and popularity is reflected by the number of views, usually through electronic distribution networks of online friends. Move over corporations. Frozen Grand Central Station by Improv Everywhere


What a fantastic and fun world we live in! How great for coming generations to have this freedom of expression! Our inner creativity is finally being called upon and appreciated. Pink Floyd’s Brick in the Wall is certainly a thing of the past, thankfully. 



Online personas

Walking briskly along the track after work I pondered the incongruity of online personas.


At the simplest level there are the super-hero cartoon avatars on Second Life that may represent the real life homely cake-loving knitter. (Not that there’s anything wrong with cake or knitting!) There are the more complex, fluent, grammatically-correct and over-wordy bloggers who write online like there’s no tomorrow.


Then there is Eckhart Tolle! He has my mind ticking over on so many levels. The content of his books shove my consciousness sideways as I consider his theories. But then there is the man! Seeing him on YouTube speaking to an audience while wearing a gold vest stunned me. In A New Earth he tells us that the path to enlightenment requires us to recognise our ego as being separate to our Self. So the vest seems at odds with his message.


The shadows from the Banksia trees grew darker as I followed the path. I wondered how to shape my words to find some clarity. Don’t mistake the message from the messenger, is wise advice to recall, and this applies to online personas as well. To criticise and be judgemental is not my intention. Finding integrity in both the message and the messenger is what I listen for.


The beauty of Web 2.0 is that it builds bridges across the chasms created by geography, distance, age, gender, race, education and lifestyle. We can connect with like-minded others in a positive way; reading, appreciating, connecting and affirming others lives; and this enriches us all.


Just be aware that even if people are honest online and aren’t hiding behind a fictional character, a wall of well-placed words, or a super-hero vest, we still can’t really know the real person behind the online persona. In the words of Mr. Tolle himself, “All we can perceive, experience, think about, is the surface layer of reality, less than the tip of an iceberg.” And even less so online.


U2 3D at the cinema was fantastic. I swear drops of sweat from Bono fell on me as I reached out to touch his hand.  Powerful message, powerfully delivered by cool messengers!!