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About Peter_Tollmar

  • Birthday 08/06/1967

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    Fredrika Bremergymnasiet, Stockholm

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  1. An important part of the Swedish "private" schools, is that they are still tax financed, and they are now allowed to take any tuition. So it is a far cry from American or English private schools, where you have to pay to get in. So they students are not divided into "rich" and "poor" students, but into students with active parents who help their kids find the best school, and those whose parents don't care and let their kids go to the closest school. It has led to some segregation, but it has also in my opinion, led to more pressure on the public schools to be attractive and offer better education.
  2. An interesting editorial in today's Dagens Nyheter stated that the Social Democrats actually won the election. It said that the Social democratic ideology has such a strong hold of Swedish politics and society, that any party that wants to get a large share of the votes has to pursue a Social democratic political agenda. That, I think, explains a bit of this "boredom" that led the Swedes to vote for a liberal-conservative government. They know that the even with such a government, they will essentially get a Social democratic society, i.e. tax financed schools and health care, no real privatization of important parts of society, OK unemployment benefits (they will be reduced with 10%...) etc. So, the Social democrats did win, but their politics will be run by another party.
  3. Even if the top players may be a bit past their prime, Sweden's strength has always been the quality and the organization of the whole team, not the individual players. And John, you are a historian - what can we learn from history? Sweden has never lost against England in a World Cup ever - and has no intention of doing it this time either!
  4. I believe that connecting to a specific ideology has lost its value, if you want to use them to construct a fair society (i.e utopias). If one look at how the world has evolved during the last century, different countries using a variety of ideologies, one can see that none of them have ever been right everywhere all the time. I think you should set up some core values that you really believe in – equality between the sexes, individual rights, economic growth and fair distribution etc - and then look at how your society live up to your values, and try to conclude which ideological standpoint serves best to reach your core values at that moment. That is why I can never give myself up to a specific ideology – different kinds of problems needs different kinds of ideologies. If you look at Sweden in the beginning of the 20th century I believe that (democratic) socialism was the best ideology at that moment. You needed a strong and supporting state that believed in democracy to get rid of an obsolete society. The same I think goes for some African countries in the 60’s. However, in Sweden in the late 80’s a strong and dominant state was the least thing that was needed. Sweden was at this time burdened by a very stale economy and it needed downsizing. So here a more liberal ideology was needed. Right now, in Sweden in 2005, I think that probably social democracy or social liberalism is the best: we have some social problems which I think needs a fairly supporting state. But that might not be the case in ten years. So my conclusion must be that all the ideologies have their advantages and disadvantages, and their specific time and place in society.
  5. Presentation at E-help conference Gothenburg Sep 2005 – Using Digital storytelling and Powerpoint in History teaching by Peter Tollmar I divided my presentation into two parts A. Digital storytelling - What is Digital storytelling? - Two different ways I have used it - Showed some Digital stories my students have made B. Powerpoint - How I integrate Powerpoint with design history - Why use Powerpoint in Design histoy? - Showed some games and animations made by my students A. Digital storytelling 1. What/How/Why is Digital Storytelling? WHAT? A Digital story is a story told with the help of computers. It combines images, text, sound-effects, music and voice-over to tell a personal story. DS was “invented” in Berkeley in the early 90’s when a group of writers, artists and computer people was trying to find a way to incorporate new computer technology with storytelling. HOW?They set up the Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley and the Digital Clubhouse in New York City, where they held courses and invited people for screenings. They also wrote a manual for how to make Digital Stories: the Digital Cookbook. WHY?They wanted to find an alternative to mainstream media, and also to let groups who usually wasn’t heard (ethnic minorities in the US army, woman with breast cancer) be heard. And finally they created some “rules” or guidelines for how a DS should be constructed to work efficiently. The guidelines are: 1. There must be a point of view in the story. Something important the storyteller wants to tell. 2. There must be drama in the story. It is necessary to capture the viewer. It must be exciting. 3. There must be some emotional content in the story. 4. Voice-over. The storyteller must read is story. This will make more personal and it will be easier for the viewer to connect to the storyteller. 5. Use music as a soundtrack to the story, since it will enhance the emotional feeling. 6. Economy in the use of pictures and sounds. Keep it short and simple. 7. Change pace in the story. A change in the rhythm sustains an audience’s interest. 2. Two different ways I have used Digital Storytelling (or been inspired by it) a. Learning Bridge In Learning Bridge we communicate with American students over the internet and go on a two-week trip to USA to visit some of the students and stay in host families. We run this project to make the students grow and change into more responsible persons. (You can read more at www.learningbridge.se) In order to emphasize this we let them do a story about a person or an occasion that has changed them or have had a great importance for them. The have to go home and collect photos and then write a story. One of the students, Sebastian, did a story about his grandfather who had moved to Canada and USA in the 50’s to work in the auto-industry. And Sebastian did a movie about how inspiring this is to him and that he wants to do the same thing. And it also became a historic movie about his grandfather and family history. When we returned from the trip each student had to make a digital diary of one day, using photos taken during the trip and voice-over. The programs we use are Windows Moviemaker which the students learn to use in 30 min and also various photo editing programs (Adobe Photoshop mostly). For sound editing we use a share ware program called Audacity available at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ These (and other) digital stories are available for viewing or download on the Learning Bridge web site at http://www.learningbridge.se under "Archives". b. Virtual history movie I have also let the students make digital stories in history. Here they don’t make a personal story, but an ordinary short film about an historical event. The material they use for their movies are all available on the internet. They download a number of movies, maybe 20-30, and then take pieces from all the movies to create something new – tell a new story. Like using sampling technique in hip-hop. The main source is www.archive.org which is an internet library with movies, sounds and texts. The material is donated by the American government, companies, institutions, organizations etc and is free to use for non-commercial use. The best for movies are the Prelinger archives, which is found by clicking on “Moving images” on the http://www.archive.org web site, then on “Prelinger archives” and finally “Browse by subject/keyword”. The Prelinger Archive have 2000 movies mostly from the 50’s and 60’s – educational (the banana industry in Central America, nuclear energy), commercials (the new Chevrolet), propaganda (Duck and Cover). The students have to decide what they want their story to be about - the development of the nuclear bomb for instance – and then start looking for material in the archive. When they have watched the movies available they write the story more in detail (the story is somewhat dependable upon what material they can find). Then comes the process of editing and cutting the movies they have downloaded, making it into a story. And then do a voice-over and add sound-effects and music. Movies my students has made are available on my web site www.tollmar.com/skola under “Elevarbeten & projekt”. 3. How they work at DigiClub NYC At the Digital Clubhouse in New York they have a very ambitious community of youths who work with DS. They are not making DS about themselves but about important persons in their local community. Their present project is called Stories of service and is about war veterans – with the focus on veterans from ethnic minorities. They usually start out at the local old people’s home to find veterans. Then they interview the veterans with a tape recorder, and collect photos and other documents which they digitalize. Finally they write a story from the material they have collected and put it all together. You find DigiClub in New York’s website at http://www.digiclubnyc.org/ , Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley at www.storycenter.org/ and Stories of Service at http://www.stories-of-service.org/ B. Powerpoint and Design history I have a class that I teach both in Design history and Basic computer skills, and instead of teaching the two courses separately I have tried to integrate them. I give them a lecture in one field in design history and then they have to make some sort of presentation in a given computer programme. In Basic computer skills they are supposed to learn Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Photo editing, use the internet, internet ethics, ergonomcs,... So I give them very specific exercises which include both design history and the specific computer programme we are working with at the moment. By integrating the subjects I gain a lot: - teaching computer skills can boring and abstract if you don’t fill them with relevant content. Earlier the students have made presentations in Poweroint where the content never mattered – now I let them make a presentation about a subject we are working on. Then they get graded both for the computer presentation and the content of the presentation. - I get more time – now I can use part of the computer skills classes for design history. Probably get 30-50% more time on design history now. - As with the Digital Story telling the students has to internalize the material to make it understandable. For instance – they make a computer game about the Bauhaus School of Design aimed at a certian age group. They have to think through “OK, what does an average 14 year old now about modernist design? How can I make this material understandable to him?”. I think the students understand more if they have to think in those terms. Here are two exercises my students has worked with: - Show the connection between Piet Mondrian and the De Stijl-movement. A painting that is turned into a chair. The idea is to show how art can inspire design. The students learn how to make an animation in PP and how to add sound effects. - Make a computer game about the Bauhaus school of design. The game should be a pedagogic game, i.e. you must learn something from it when you play it. Games and animations my students has made are available on my web site www.tollmar.com/skola under “Elevarbeten & projekt”. Peter Tollmar, Sept. 16th 2005
  6. My name is Peter Tollmar and I teach History, Social studies, Basic Computer skills, Design history and a subject called Technology, Man and Society (TMS) at Fredrika Bremergymnasiet in Haninge, Sweden. I also run a project called the Learning Bridge (www.learningbridge.nu) with Dalibor Svoboda, which was the first school based internet project in Sweden when it started in 1991 (I joined in 1997). In Learning Bridge our students collaborate with American students over the internet, raise money and go visit them for two weeks. Since I started teaching, and since I joined the Learning Bridge, I have been more and more involved and interested in using ICT and computers, and here are some of my experiences: a. I have my own web site, www.tollmar.com/skola (mainly in Swedish) where I post all my classes and exercises, and also some student work. b. I lived 6 months in New York City in 2003 and had distance learning with two of my classes back in Sweden. I was usning my web-page, e-mail and a discussionforum created in FrontPage. c. All senior students in Sweden have to do an independent project. For the last two years I’ve had students doing a project called “Virtual Historic Movies”, where the make their own historical documentaries without leaving the classroom by using movie clips downloaded from the Prelinger archive at www.archive.org in combination with stills and their own voice-over. d. In Learning Bridge we work with Digital Storytelling. The students make digital stories about someone in their life who has been important to their personal development, by combining scanned images, music and voice-over etc in Windows Moviemaker. e. Instead of teaching the Basic Computer course, Design History and TMS as separate courses I fuse them into one course. Assigments I give my students can be “make a Q&A game about Bauhaus using Powerpoint”, “make a short movie about postmodern design using Windows Moviemaker” or “do a cartoon in Powerpoint where a painting by Mondrian is turned into a De Stijl-table”. I then evaluate the content for the Design history grade and the presentation for the Computer course grade. These are some of the things I do and have been doing in the past. In Gothenburg in September I will talk about Digital storytelling and show some of the stories my students have made. Peter
  7. One way to use ICT in history is by Digital Storytelling. Let the students assume a historical role and let them tell a story using technology (e.g. Powerpoint) to show picturs, maps, works of art, citations etc. I think this is very useful to get a deeper understanding of history - the students idetifies themeselves with a historic character be living their lives digitally.
  8. We are a group of teachers from Sweden who are interested in starting an exchange with a design school in or near London. We teach at Fredrika Bremergymnasiet (age group 16-19) in Stockholm at the Technology programme with a design orientation. We will be in London from the 31st of March until the 2nd of April, and we are very interested in meeting teachers who would be interested in some sort of cooperation. Please contact me at peter@tollmar.com Best wishes, Peter Tollmar
  9. We are a group of teachers from Sweden who are interested in starting an exchange with a design school in or near London. We teach at Fredrika Bremergymnasiet (age group 16-19) in Stockholm at the Technology programme with a design orientation. We will be in London from the 31st of March until the 2nd of April, and we are very interested in meeting teachers who would be interested in some sort of cooperation. Please contact me at peter@tollmar.com Best wishes, Peter Tollmar
  10. I believe that the school has to be a part of society, with the same rules and regulations as the world outside. Yes, it is true that the students might come across offensive material by mistake on the internet but that can happen anywhere. I think it is better to prepare the students for these kinds of things than to ignore and/or hide them. The school should prepare the students for a life outside of school and how to use the internet in a responsive way should be a part of their education.
  11. I really can't agree that filters has a purpose. Internet is not only available at schools or at libraries (the only places where you can have filters) but at the homes of most childrens. So if they don't watch "offensive" pages in school they will do it somewhere else. I think it is more important to stress "netiquette" and internet ethics in school, i.e. to discuss with the students what is appropriate behavoir and what is not. Internet has opened up a whole new dimension in life - everything is available for everybody anytime. We need to learn to cope with the fact that that is the world which we live in. And not by censorship but by seriously discussing moral matters with our students. There is also the problem about how to decide which words should be filtered (and who should take those decisions?). I have just spend six months at a school in New York City (otherwise I teach at Fredrika Bremergymnasiet in Stockholm, Sweden) where they have filters, and sometimes the situation was absurd. One class was involved in a discussion about terrorism in a forum with some of my students in Sweden - and if they used the word "terrorist" in their replies the forum wouldn't accept it. Other offensive words included homosexual, lesbian and gay... What does that teach the students - that being homosexual is as bad as blowing up the World Trade Center?
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