TL:DR: I  haven’t banned fidget spinners yet, and I don’t expect that I’ll have to do so. Long version: Spinners: Kids love them, teachers demonize them. They’re a distraction! They’re disrupting the classroom! They’re fine for autistic kids, but to everyone else, they’re toys! I won’t have them in my classroom! We’ve banned them on the district level, and good riddance! … sound familiar? Like any thing else that comes around and finds its way into a school setting overnight (remember the era before dabbing was…Continue Reading “Obligatory Spinner Opinion”


Friends, teachers, life long learners, I come to bury Twitter, not to praise it. OK, with apologies to Shakespeare, I don’t mean to imply that I’ve found a “Twitter killer” service. I’ve thought that before, and I’ve been wrong. Instead, I think I’ve found a service that can fill some niches that currently are occupied by Twitter (albeit poorly) and some other social networks.  It’s called Mastodon, and I like it a lot. On to my reasoning, in convenient list form: Getting started is easy….Continue Reading “Why You Should Try Mastodon”

Teachers all have their pet peeves, rules that are not to be broken at any cost. At this point I think I’ve taught enough Media Arts curriculum to list mine. I plan to print these out and put them on my wall for next year. Respect the intellectual property of others. (Cite sources, don’t use anything without written permission.) Black borders are to be avoided. (Video, with very specific exceptions, is a HORIZONTAL format.) Talking heads are to be avoided. (People can be on camera, but…Continue Reading “10 Commandments of Media Arts”

TL;DR: OpenShot is a free video editor that supports multiple tracks and chroma key. Try it out.   I’ve been an off-and-on-again fan of Linux for years (decades?), but one of the things that always had me come crawling back was the lack of decent video editing software. (And video games, but that’s another blog post.) (Yes I know about WINE, but it doesn’t work for everything and it adds extra steps that complicate things for younger students.) When I taught Visual Arts it wasn’t…Continue Reading “OpenShot: Open Source Video Editing”

I used to have a book on  Paul Cézanne (which I have since donated so it is difficult for me to look up its exact title) that told the story of Cézanne’s early years in Paris. One of the things he did was take trips into the museum with his paints so he could make color studies of the artworks on display. The paintings he created weren’t exact copies, far from it in fact, but they did help  Cézanne build his ideas on color theory and…Continue Reading ““You See More When You Draw””

It’s a pun! Get it? Er, OK, maybe I should explain a bit more. TIME and its publications (Fortune, Sports Illustrated, etc.) are trying to enforce a new contract for its photographers. PetaPixel reports: TIME’s latest contract for photographers has been at the center of controversy for about a month now, and many photographers are still refusing to sign it as they campaign for more favorable terms.We shared last month how the new contract eliminates space rates, has copyright grabbing terms, and pays relatively little…Continue Reading “Photographers Are Running Out of TIME”