What Helps You Learn?

Would you help me with an experiment? I’m looking for feedback on some digital teaching tools. I’ve tried to make it worth your while with a free video and two screencasts on digital fabric design. But since I changed to Blogger’s Dynamic Views, you’ll have to click on the header for this post to see the whole story and the links.

Here’s the backstory. Twenty-five years of training and experience in adult education have convinced me: Students benefit from having an idea of what the “big picture” looks like. Then, when you break down a technique or design concept into do-able parts, they have a better idea how the parts fit into the whole.

So I’ve been sampling different teaching tools and delivery methods for helping students glimpse the big picture and setting the stage for learning before a workshop or e-course.

To begin, I produced an 8-minute video that follows the transformation of a digital photograph into the seamless repeat pattern pictured at the top of this post. One short video won’t make anyone an expert on Gimp, an open-source software alternative to Photoshop that you can download for free. But the video shows exactly what I did to turn a snapshot of a sumac leaf into a design I could print on Spoonflower, a print-on-demand fabric company that can turn your ideas into yardage.

The screencasts show how that design can be altered after it’s on Spoonflower. The first uses the Picnik imaging utility, which can be accessed directly from Spoonflower. The second shows the Color Change utility within Spoonflower.

I’d like to get your impression of the content, and your help with testing the technology on a wide variety of platforms — for example, Windows vs. Mac, operating systems of different generations (XP to Windows 7, for example), desktop vs. iPad vs. smart phone, that type of stuff. I need to know if you experience any delays in the buffering or problems playing the video or screencasts, the type of internet connection you were using when you viewed them, and sound quality you experience on different players.

In other words, I need feedback that tells me several things that I think you really need to be kept private.

So here’s my plan. I’ve password-protected the video. If you’d like to view it, use this link to email me with your email address. I promise I will not fill up your inbox with spam. What I will do is add your email to the “approved” list for viewing the video, and send you the password. You’re under no obligation of any kind, but you will have my email so you can answer my nosy questions as privately as one can, I suppose, in the digital age.

The two five-minute screencasts that follow up on the video’s content are here:

Fall Color Fabric With Picnik
Fall Fabric with Spoonflower Color Changer

You’re free to download or share those. In fact, I’m happy to share the password-protected video to any friend of yours who contacts me by email. But I would appreciate it if you not publish my email address in any form readable by the bots that troll the web looking for vulnerable email accounts. You can print my email as donnastitches [at] gmail [dot] com and advise your friends to remove the bot inhibitors, if that helps.

I really appreciate all the help I can get in this digital sampling session. And as always, thank you for your comments and feedback here on Two Red Threads, on Facebook and wherever else we connect!

Add your voice to the conversation at facebook.com/donnakallnerfiberart

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Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin