2nd Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium Was a Great Success

With nearly 100 registered attendees and more unregistered, the 2nd Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium on Extrapolation, Interdisciplinarity, and Learning on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 was a great success! We were honored to have Samuel R. Delany give the event’s keynote address, and we had excellent presentations and panel discussions from scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates! Below, I’m embedding video of all of the presentations from the symposium. Visit this site for a copy of the program.

Lego Building Experiments with Google Glass, Thoughts on Its Potential for Interdisciplinary Humanities Research

Since I received my Google Glass last week, I have been learning how to wear and use it. Ultimately, I want to incorporate Glass into my Retrocomputing Lab research workflow. I am interested in the experience of using computer hardware and software (something that I have been interested in for a long time and wrote about as an undergraduate), so Glass will provide a way of capturing some of my phenomenal experience–perspective, vision, and sound. I can provide oral commentary of my haptic and olfactic experiences (yes, computers have unique smells–something that helps store/recall memories and emotions) while also recording thoughts, memories, and asides that enrich my shared video experience. As one component of the digital humanities, I want to create an archive of my raw research of working with computers and their software that others can use, draw inspiration from, or comment on through their own research, writing, and teaching.

For the work that I do in my personal Retrocomputing Lab, I will use Glass as one more tool among a variety of other technologies that enable my research. Glass will add another data layer–itself richly textured and layered with audio/video/Internet/software capabilities–to the research that I do. Due to the ease of sharing images and video in real time, I can immediately make my in-process research available on YouTube, Twitter, and here on dynamicsubspace.net. Furthermore, my research will be useable by others–hobbyists, students, and other researchers in many interdisciplinary fields. Glass will join my non-real time distribution of data on paper, computer written notes (though, I could make these freely viewable in realtime on say, Google Drive), and published research.

Finally, I am interested in the mixing of old and new technologies. Glass meets its ancestors in the IBM PC and Macintosh. Glassware meets DOS, Windows 3.1, and System 7. I want to explore how the intermingling of these technologies leads to new insights, connections, and elaborations. While I am only speculating, I strongly believe that Glass and similar wearable computing technologies will elevate the outcomes and knowledge produced in humanities research–conceptualized as interdisciplinary like mine or not.

The videos included in this post were tests of the manually extended video recording feature. They don’t involve the Retrocomputing Lab, because how I want to use Glass to record my work will involve more and different kinds of planning. I used what I had at hand to test out Glass’ video capabilities included below.

Glass Video from Apr 22, 2014, Lego Build of The Batman Tumbler 30300 Polybag

Glass Video from Apr 24, 2014, Target Exclusive Lego 30215 Legolas Greenleaf Polybag

ENGL1101 Sections G3 and L, Fall 2013, Project 2 Narrative Videos Based on John Medina’s Brain Rules

I revised my “Maximizing the Brain” Project 2 Assignment for my current ENGL1101 students at Georgia Tech. It is currently in its third iteration, and I have ideas for its fourth iteration with more radical changes.

In the meantime, my current students have delivered their unique takes on their chosen chapters from John Medina’s Brain Rules. I have included their YouTube-based videos below.

For each project, a team of 4-5 students collaboratively wrote an outline, a script, a revised script (after receiving feedback from another team whose members collaboratively wrote their suggestions/questions). Then, they all contributed to drawing a storyboard for shooting and editing the video, which was also revised with feedback from another team. Finally, they shot and edited their video using equipment from the Georgia Tech Library’s Gadgets Desk (run by Justin Ellis) and software on their computers or in the Library’s Multimedia Studio. Individually, each student completes the project by writing a reflection essay explaining the rhetorical decisions made during each phase of the project.

These are my students’ videos that teach us how to maximize our brain’s potential through lessons learned in Medina’s Brain Rules.

Section G3

Team 1: Survival

Team 2: Sleep

Team 3: Exercise

Team 4: Gender

Team 5: Sensory Integration

Section L

Team 1: Sleep

Team 2: Exploration

Team 3: Attention

Team 4: Gender

Team 5: Exercise

Spring 2013 ENGL1101 Project 2, “Maximizing the Brain’s Potential,” Final Videos

For the second major project in my ENGL1101 class at Georgia Tech titled, “Maximizing the Brain’s Potential,” students work in teams of several students each to produce collaboratively an entertaining and educational video based on a single chapter from John Medina’s Brain Rules.

Building on the success of my students’ work on this assignment in Fall 2013, I revised the assignment to make it more streamlined and process-driven by building a weekly, recursive structure into the peer review schedule.

During the first half of the semester, my students had already read Brain Rules and individual students had presented on the readings during class. The remainder of the class had also written Tweets (outside of class) and short summaries of these chapters (during class).

With this project, the students demonstrate their understanding of the material by transforming their chapter’s content into a video of their own creation. They went through the steps of creating an outline, script, and storyboards before filming and editing the video. The outline, script, and storyboards are peer reviewed on a team-to-team basis at the beginning of each week of this project’s duration.

Today, we will conclude the project by showing the videos in class and having each student write a review of the video (what works, what doesn’t work, suggestions for improvement, etc.). Each student also wrote and submitted a three page analysis of their use of WOVEN (written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal) modalities used in each deliverable of the composition process.

Section G1

Team 1

Team 2

Team 3

Team 4

Section P

Team 1

Team 2

Team 3

Team 4

Section E

Team 1

Team 2

Team 3

Team 4

Best Source of American Space Missions: NASA Human Space Flight Gallery

If you want the best seat in the house for NASA missions, you should visit the NASA Human Space Flight Gallery. When I’m not reading about the brain and science fiction, I like to fall back on my interest in space exploration, and the Human Space Flight Gallery is always at the top of my list. Find images, audio, and video of past and present missions such as STS-133 Discovery (pre-launch above).

Brian Dunning’s Here Be Dragons: An Introduction to Critical Thinking

A post on Kristin Sanford’s excellent science blog, The Bird’s Brain, directed me to a terrific 40 minute video by Brian Dunning on critical thinking.  Available here, Dunning describes all the basics for critically engaging, evaluating, and questioning the world around us–particularly focusing on pseudo-science and unsubstantiated pharmacological claims.  He presents a well-thoughtout and expertly assembled video.  I recommend it, and I might use it in my college writing class in the Fall.  Also, check out Dunning’s website and podcast here.