Monday, April 30, 2012

The Game Layer (inspired)

image from Storify

Are we heading into a world where everything is turned into gaming?  

Points for brushing your teeth?  For watching certain TV shows?  

Is gamification the next big revolution after social networking?  I think so, although I doubt we can completely predict exactly what this will mean in 10, 20, or 30 years from now.  Some of it may be easy to imagine (and perhaps scary), yet I suspect there will be unforeseeable dynamics and serendipity.

If you find the idea of gamification interesting, check out these two videos.  

Jesse Schell, DICE 2010: When Games Invade Real Life (full video here)

Seth Priebatsch, TED 2010:  Building the Game Layer on Top of the World

What do you think?

Microsoft has an entire research division devoted to this as well as a non-profit partner created with MIT (Education Arcade) to explore gaming implications for teaching and learning.

How will gamification change us?  Will it change how we feel about life?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Street Games (inspired)

My dad grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

He tells me of a time when diverse communities played together on the streets.  Stick ball, Marbles, Ring-o-Leavio, Hopscotch, Skelly, etc.

For those interested in this rich history, I strongly suggest finding the documentary New York Street Games.

A Green NYC? (inspired)

What if we were forced to quickly adapt to new energy sources, new food sources, etc.  What's possible?  How quickly would we adapt?  How might we rethink the urban landscape?

What if people started digging up concrete and planting food/herbs?

image from SphereTrending
image from

What if "green became the new graffiti?"  


Urban Farming is real.  Action towards sustainability in Hunts Point, Bronx, is real.

Green roofs are real.  This is Chicago's city hall.

I think it's going to spread (in spite of maintenance and liability hurdles).

image from
image from the Green Roof article.
image from

Solar energy?  There are entire towns running on solar and wind.

image from BBC
What about algae?  Photobioreactors are coming.

image from BIOS blog

Imagine bio-fuel growing all around us.

images from

New ways of thinking about sustainability are here.

image from Tuvie

Personal Drones (inspired)

Kids like power and cool things.

Can we imagine personal hoverbots/drones on the street in 10, 20, or 30 years?  What types of uses and capabilities will consumer drones offer in the years ahead?  Micro-drones, UAVs, nano quadcopters, octocopters, nano-drones, etc.  Whatever they end up being popularly called, how will they change our daily lives?

Check out these examples of what's already out there.  Truly inspiring.

An iPhone-controlled commercial toy/drone.

July '12 Update:

Browsing a Barnes & Noble in Florida, I spotted the "Parrot AR.Drone" from the first video.  If these are in B&N in mid-2012, then can you imagine what might be available in 10-20 years?

Why a blog? (reflection)

My students are my deepest inspiration for writing.

When I shifted from school system bureaucracy into the K-12 classroom, I created some personal narratives to model the writing process with my 6th graders.  The hook sank right into my bones.

For over three years now, the writing bug has woken me up early in the morning.

In this process, I've come to see myself as a writer-for-life.  As a professional challenge, it makes sense to share inspirations, reflections, and perhaps some reviews-of-sorts.  It's an exciting moment.

I'm currently revising a YA novel that's set in a near-future NYC.  My goal is to craft a book that youth will not be able to put down.  I want them to fight over copies.  I want them to pull out the book to read when they could (or should) be doing other things.  That's the dream.  This blog cannot be separated from this writing process - the joys, the hope, the strains, the moments of complete bafflement.

So, I just picked up Story Engineering by Larry Brooks as well as the Gotham Writers' Workshop text on fiction.  As impossible as it seems, I also hope to take a week to step back and reflect.  I'll probably dump quite a lot of posts and media during this time.  :)

(photos) City Breathing

I often find myself exploring different corners of New York City.  Some of these personal photos are from places in the city that I'm writing about.  Some are just places.  Moments.  

" ciudad respirando."

They flew a kite while waiting for a hurricane.  Riverside Park, Harlem.
"Uptown Girl Power" mural reads: 'Live Better.  You don't have to leave your community."  Hunts Point, Bronx.
Exhausted parents watch their rainbow.
Sometimes clearer in reflection.  Brooklyn Heights.

Man walking around the Harlem Meer, Central Park
We are nature.
Underground scene.  South Bronx.
Main Street, Queens, USA

Skaters under the Unisphere. Flushing Meadows, Queens.
Alexander Hamilton.  Hamilton Heights (Harlem)
Man with swagger, Edgecomb Ave.  Sugar Hill, Harlem.
Mountcliff Arch, Central Park
Beautiful twins waiting for hurricane.  Riverside Park, Harlem.
The People's Garden. Morningside Heights
Main Street, Queens.

So much magic and mystery. Notice the police tape... the little playground... and Yeshiva Univ HS in the distance. That beam of light...
This man loves his work.  Inwood.
Inwood Hill Park, where eagles soar. Henry Hudson Bridge in the distance, where the Hudson and Harlem rivers meet.
Queens Botanical. Tower on Dahlia & Main in the distance.
From the ash dumps came The Tent of Tomorrow.
Main Street, USA
Montague romance.  Brooklyn Heights.

Washington Square Park
Gourmet Gluten
South Bronx
Brownsville.  What if this were all green?


Photos taken with ProHDR and Pano apps for the iPhone.  All rights reserved on these photos by Jude Hollins.