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New Ways of Seeing the (Web) World

We all get email newsletters. And, presumably, we all delete them (if they even make it to our inbox and don't proceed directly to junk). However, there are a couple that I actually do read and enjoy immensely. One of those is Adobe's Flash newsletter, Adobe Edge. Each month the technology evangelists and product managers at Adobe compile this newsletter which focus on developments in the Flash world along with loads of examples of cutting edge sites and tools. This month was no exception and, frankly, I was struck by just how creative some of these sites are and, in a way, how they point to some of the potential and shortcomings of technology in the classroom.

For instance, we all know Akira Kurosawa's classic, Rashoman, and despite the fact that it is in Japanese and is in black and white that it is still frequently used by English/language arts teachers and social studies teachers to highlight perspective, memory, and the uniquely personal nature of experience. I recall showing Rashoman to students and watching them slowly warm up to the format and then become more and more captivated by the story. From there, getting them to write about perspective and point of view was really quite simple and resulted in some very high quality work out of high school juniors. 

And now for something completely different...if Web films aren't your think, but you're still looking for ways to foster creativity in your students (regardless of grade level) take a look at Incredibox. As the Edge newsletter puts it, "if your human beatboxing skills are not quite up to par...this site will give you that coolness that you have always desired." Speaking as a former high school principal, I'm not sure if I was even desiring the right coolness, but whatever it is, this site has it.

To me, finding these sorts of resources, whether on the Web, in a museum, or in a book are key to inspiring students to find new ways of sharing their world and helping others to re-define their own.