Thursday, January 21, 2016

Testing Blab on my blog 2

Part of the preparations for the NileTESSOL16 about the Digital Writing Month (DigiWriMo15) +Maha Bali decided to have a video conference with the other two facilitators +Sarah Honeychurch and +Kevin Hodgson and me as one of the participants. The main purpose was to have a recorded video of Sarah and Kevin reflecting on their experiences in designing and facilitating the month, as well as what they have taken from the experience for the future.

Hopefully will explain a bit more later about why we decided to go with as a platform for our video conference, what we expected to be able to do and what we discovered, I will try to come back to this post, edit it an update it, but I am not good at coming back to tidy things up once the purpose is achieved, unless, of course I feel that it can be of use to others. We'll see how this goes.

The main reason for this post is to test and embed code. 

I knew that if a blabcast is recorded the main host receives an email with a link to download the video. I hadn't even opened previous ones because I didn't need them.
This time I discovered that the email includes two things. 1- a button to download. 2- A code to embed the video (yay for that).

So here I am testing that embed code

Which I can see works woot :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Testing Blab On a Blog

So will talk about my experiments a bit later but for now just a quick link and embed to see which one works when I publish .



Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reflections: Here's A Gift Now Wait While We Party

The title sounds weird I know but I can't think of a better one. This is my attempt to put in written words my thoughts about the experiences I had  with the two songs created by Simon Ensor's students. I decided to write about those experiences because I am finally able to decipher some of what was going on in my mind and I want to reflect on them with my #DigiWriMo friends, in particular those who collaborated on Etienne's two songs. For any other visitor, most probably, this won't make sense for now. May be later I can make it into a proper post - or not. :)

Road Trip

When Simon posted his first tweet about Etienne's song "Road Trip" I immediately jumped in. My intention was to capture the moment -- or jump in it -- to help Simon honor his students' expression. I read his request as "sing it WITH them" so I went and listened to it several times then created a couple of vocals to harmonize with theirs. But suddenly things changed, Alan and Kevin created their own versions/interpretations of the song then Ronald and Sarah read the whole thing like a poem, and Bryan created his country version. I loved what everybody was doing that when the Soundtrap collaboration started I felt really happy and honored to be invited to contribute to it, and the sense of excitement was heightened thinking about surprising Etienne and his friends with the final result. 

But throughout I had a nagging feeling or a question or something. Most of the time I didn't even know what it was. I only could understand it every time I went to my Soundcloud page and saw those vocals that I'd created to go with the voices of Etienne and his friends. Only then and for a brief moment that nagging thing became "oh what about them?" and "I wish we could do their song with them". The moment was short and got drowned by the excitement of the collaboration, the excitement of the anticipated surprise and all the other usual business of my on and offline life.

We finally had a finished song, wow, a collaborative song written in France and sung and arranged across countries and states. I think that was a taste of the elation that artists feel or that of a sports team winning an important match. Etienne's reaction -- at least in his tweets as I understood them -- added to the brilliance of the moment. I asked him if he would create a new one -- looks like others did too. I asked him because I wanted to encourage him but also because I genuinely thought that the song was beautiful and that he was talented and should continue. I thought "We can do this again and again and better every time".


When I saw Simon's tweet about Etienne's new song "Regrets" I smiled :) . I felt happy that he felt comfortable and inspired to create something for us, I was glad that he had us as audience, fans. Something was different though. This time I didn't jump to action.

I think the time between finishing the first song and receiving the second one allowed the sense of excitement to calm down and allow something else to come up. I can't say that I knew what it was or that I even noticed. All I know is that this time I couldn't jump in and do anything.

I watched the twitter chat. Someone started a new Soundtrap project for the new song, some people were invited to collaborate on it. Kevin tweeted about inviting me to add some vocals. Someone asked to be let in on  the project. I watched but still couldn't jump in. 

When Kevin invited me to contribute with some vocals to the project, the sense of excitement about a collaborative work kicked in again -- I love working collaboratively, especially with the right people. Whoa, the song sounded amazing. Kevin had mentioned what he had in mind for my part but I wasn't sure what it exactly meant until I heard his arrangement and all of a sudden it just came out. I finished my part, Bryan added some more and Ronald made some extra changes adding and editing then Kevin added a final touch. I couldn't believe how it all sounded. This song sounds so good that I would buy it :)  .  But

Suddenly, I don't want Etienne to hear the song. He shouldn't even know that we have finished it. Suddenly I know what was nagging me and I know that this time I cannot ignore it. One of the things that allowed me to get to this point is how I felt before I was invited to participate and then how I felt after I was invited after I experienced what we were able to achieve.

Before I was invited I couldn't jump in because this time I knew that the song was going to be a project. There were experts on using the Soundtrap and playing instruments. Once I was in I enjoyed it a lot. This made me think. Working on Road Trip individually then as a group to me felt like a celebration of Etienne's creativity. Our finished work was a gift to honor his talent and his teacher's intention. 

I thought that gift was like opening a door for Etienne -- not sure how to express a door to what, but may be to a new space where he sees his talent in a different way, a door to confidence is his art -- and I think writing a second one at our request was a step in that space. But then the second time around is not going to be a surprise, and to me it doesn't feel like we are honoring him anymore. yes I know that celebrating and honoring his talent may be our intention, but to me it feels like we asked him for a beautiful new thing to play with, then closed the door that we'd opened. He couldn't even  watch from the window as we had fun creating some magic with his song. We closed the door and let him wait while we had a party.

I think what we created is beautiful but we got carried away and forgot our original intention. I think that Etienne should be in on all the fun. Even lead it. If he doesn't know how to use the Soundtrap we can teach him what we know. We can always share our with him later or keep it for ourselves if it's more appropriate. I thin this time we should wait.

Ok this turned out to be longer than I intended but when I read it aloud it sounds very close to what I want to say. So it stays this way. At least for now :)

I would love for you to challenge me or question my assumptions or whatever if that's what you want. If you don't agree say so. And of course if you do agree also say so :)