School’s out Friday

Jim Gates shared this video on Twitter earlier in the week, and I knew instantly it just had to be the focus of School’s out Friday. I worked in a bookshop from the age of 15 through to 22, and I can’t imagine the hours it took to create this stop motion video. Sean Ohlenkamp and his wife own Type, a bookshop in Toronto Canada. They, and 25 volunteers, spent quite a few sleepless nights it seems reorganising these books to create the effect we see above. I love the little touches, like the textas and plastic figurines getting into the act too.

I’m sure a video like this evokes a response in people who love reading. Some will see it as a homage to the printed book, and the bookshops that are facing troubling times as we see  ebooks begin to make inroads into the way we consume reading matter. I think it’s a very clever marketing tool for this bookshop, and with over a million views on YouTube, I do hope the owners are seeing an increase in foot traffic to their store. They should do, it’s also been featured in the Toronto Standard and The New Yorker.

I’m in the process of writing a post about our school’s decision to use Overdrive, a platform for downloading borrowable ebooks and audiobooks to devices. I’m sure there are many out there who see the move to files for borrowing as a threat to libraries, but I’m very comfortable with what we are doing. Look out for the post. I hope to have it up in the next couple of hours.

We’ve seen a few grey days here in Melbourne this week. The prognosis is for a sunny weekend. Bring it on I say! It’s my husband’s birthday tomorrow – we need some sun so we can crank up the barbie for family and friends.

Enjoy whatever comes your way this weekend. : )

 

Lean back 2.0 – new media demands new approaches

Andrew Rashbass, Chief Executive for The Economist Group, has shared a fabulous presentation called ‘Lean Back 2.0‘ to SlideShare. In it, he presents a case for what he calls ‘Lean Back Media’, a new age of media consumption typified by the way people use tablet devices for reading and browsing. His presentation makes a case for changes to the way The Economist Group approaches its business model, and it is required viewing and reading for any publishing company in the throes of rethinking their operation.

I’ve been using an iPad for 15 months, and it’s definitely changed my reading habits. I haven’t read a paper (dead tree) book for quite some time, and prefer instead to download titles to iBooks, or the Kindle app on my iPad. I haven’t moved to subscribing to journals through apps on my iPad as yet, because I find that quite a lot of longform journalism that interests me is shared through links on Twitter or through Zite, the personalised iPad magazine. Readership of  publications from The Economist Group would be in the higher demographics of our population I’m figuring, and their close analysis of the reading habits of their target group seems a very sensible approach to ensure they stay solvent in what are challenging times for newspaper and magazine publishers.

The real dilemma for newspaper and magazine publishers, is how they sustain profit given that the advertising model that was successful in print media does not translate in digital media. As Andrew notes in the slide below regarding advertising, “The Lean Back digital model is unproven and the transition will be treacherous.” The coming year or two will see who can come out still solvent, and quite possibly even thriving.

Andrew concludes his presentation with the big questions they ask themselves at The Economist Group. If you’re part of a media organisation today, hopefully you’re asking yourself similar questions and are planning for inevitable change. Interestingly, I think you can apply these questions to education. Look closely at them and see if you have any answers.

Thanks Andrew for a thought provoking presentation that goes a way towards envisaging what the future will look like for the publishing industry. Special thanks for opting to share through SlideShare, and making your company’s thinking processes available to people outside your organisation.

School’s out Friday

My daughter mentioned this video from Kina Grannis, In your arms, to me as we were driving home today. She’d seen it featured on the Ellen DeGeneres show. Apparently it went viral on YouTube back in November, but it escaped me until now. This is a true labour of love. All of the backgrounds are made from Jellybeans. Yes, that’s right, jellybeans. They were donated by the JellyBelly company – smart move on their behalf. Over 4 million views on YouTube is some pretty good marketing for any company, and their only investment was the donation of bucket loads of their product. (288,000 Jellybeans, to be precise!)

Digital Journal has an article discussing the process. Here’s an excerpt from what they had to say,

“The project took 22 months to complete and a behind the scenes look at the process can be viewed on YouTube (shown below). It took 1,357 hours of hard work and a ‘jelly bean animation team’ that consisted of over 30 people. Add two ladders, one still camera, a producer, director, writer, concept artist and 288,000 jelly beans and the finished product is a new creative video featuring one of Grannis’ popular songs from 2010.”

Read more: http://digitaljournal.com/article/313983#ixzz1ifzFfQ2B

I hope the director, Greg Jardin, has garnered some work from what was a labour of love for him. He deserves whatever comes his way. The ‘making of’ video is well worth watching, and is great for any teachers out there helping students understand the art of stop motion filmmaking. This was a frame by frame shoot.

In the spirit of things, I created a bean art portrait of myself with help from the bean art maker tool on the JellyBelly site.

Nothing like immortalising yourself in Jellybeans!

Have a great weekend. Indulge in some jellybeans perhaps. : )

Leading to some light…

Helen, my very close friend, gave me this plaque as a Christmas present. She said the words here reminded her of me. Can you guess already that my eyes were watering as I read what is written there? To think that she connected this message to the work I try and do touched my heart. It’s a wonderful reminder I will carry with me through 2012. If my words can help others then maybe I need to devote more time to this space in this coming year. Let’s see how that pans out shall we!

What’s been really lovely about the start of 2012 is a reunion being held in a Flickr group of some of the members of the 2008/9 International PLP cohort. Back in 2008, we participated in a 31 day photo challenge, led by our Group Leader Darren Kuropatwa who hails from Canada. Darren has organised the activity again, and joining him are Hiram Cuevas, Susan Carter Morgan, Melanie Hutchinson, Alex Ragone, Derek Willard, Carey Pohanka and myself. We are trying to post a photo a day (the above photo is my contribution for today) and already I am enjoying insights into my online friend’s lives. It’s fascinating when I realise that since we first participated in that PLP group I have met Susan, Melanie, Alex and Carey face to face. It really is amazing the experiences I have had since starting this blog.

This was Melanie Hutchinson’s first picture for 2012 in the Flickr group. It’s a road in the Catskill mountains, and Melanie described it like this, “…leading to some light- just like 2012 stretching ahead.”

It’s how I feel about 2012. I feel like I am moving into light, after being in a couple of dark patches over the last couple of years. It’s affirming. I feel positive about the future, both in a personal and professional sense. If you haven’t noticed, we’re in an even year  – in my book, they’re the good ones. There’s no Mayan calendar apocalyptic doom and gloom in my outlook. I hope you’re feeling the same way.