As I look at the pictures I chose for my collage, I believe that creative journeys are the central theme. The hobbies, activities, and passions that are represented in my pictures include acting, traveling, cooking, gaming, and my current relationship. Each great facet of my life is something that I can put effort into and be surprised by the results. I naturally gravitate towards interesting experiences over money or items.
My inner peace and happiness come from finding novel experiences in my life. The pandemic made it harder for me to find such experiences, and yet lockdown itself was an incredibly novel experience for a time. As acting opportunities dwindled, I searched for new meaning in the field of teaching, which I view as a version of performing a one-person show every day.
QR Code Story: The Umbrella
Scan the QR Code to listen to a voice recording of my original short story: "The Umbrella". Making QR codes is a simple and unique way to share information with students and improve media literacy!
Green Screen Ad Study
This self-made advertisement is based on a summertime ad campaign by Williams-Sonoma. They are currently promoting cookware and kitchen items which appeal more specifically to men. This includes knives, grills, coffee machines, and cocktail shakers. These items, of course, appeal to people of any gender, but men in the kitchen are perceived to have limited activities in the kitchen compared to women. While women are expected to do all manner of household cooking, the post-industrial man is expected to be too busy and must save his effort for the workplace.
Williams-Sonoma’s advertisements seek to make their product look chic, elegant, and efficient. They do this by putting the pristine looking item in a picture with delicious food and drinks, almost as if acquiring the food is as simple as owning the product itself. The food is also typically the kind of food one would have at a large gathering, to make it appear effortless to entertain guests with their products. Williams-Sonoma utilizes emotional techniques by evoking a sense of relaxation and social connection, two things that working adults yearn for in their busy lives. They specifically suggest getting something for “Dad” to create a sense of ease and familiarity, which is another emotional technique targeting those lacking comfortable paternal relationships. By purchasing products, consumers are subconsciously seeking more social engagement in a working culture which prioritizes spending time at work over leisure.
Coded Game: Flappyman
Coding is a concept which appears daunting to many. The computer systems in our lives, from GPS navigation, to video games, to even touch screen menus are all complex systems which are easily taken for granted. We appreciate these conveniences so much that taking a look into how their complex functions seems contrary to their user-friendly design. Computers also speak different languages than humans and interpret information differently. It makes for an odd combination, organic and emotional beings trying to work with unnaturally logical electronic parts. Though our processes differ greatly, as humans, we have created several physical and social systems as we have shaped society. The computer is simply a system which creates and combines other systems, and coding as a skill is a path to creating optimal systems throughout our lives.
Papert’s theory of constructionism affirms that students need to learn how to construct their own systems as members of greater, highly systemic society. Students can develop systemic reasoning through coding, and in particular, game design. One of the reasons beginners in coding learn by making simple games is that games make sense to us as humans. Humans, as well as all mammal species, learn through play, and so game design is the bridge that help human brains understand computer system concepts. For example, the simplest “Flappy Bird” game I can code is one in which the bird flaps when you click, but there are no consequences for hitting the obstacles or ground. This makes the gameplay experience simple and efficient, but certainly boring and empty. Because I wanted my game to be worthwhile, I added game design elements to challenge the player, resulting in emotional rewards from achieving a goal. My coding process showed me that I can create more engaging, rewarding systems, and reinforces my ability to create and optimize systems in all facets. Students can learn through coding about game design, and therefore the very systems which construct our lives.
Click here to play Flappyman
This simple comic strip was created to capture how film and TV producers use engagement rate as a primary means of making casting decisions. Also know as, “like rate”, engagement rate is a measure of how well content on social media is received by an audience. It’s becoming more and more common for producers to cast people, such as influencers, to appear in high-budget movies based on how popular they are with the masses, rather than based on any talent or skill. Producers don’t need a production to be a critical success as long as it’s a financial one. Engagement rates further demonstrate how filmmaking is much more about making money than creating art. The media we consume has been carefully formulated and gathered using data to make it as appealing as possible to a mass audience.