‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death’
[a] or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said,
“I am making everything new!”
 Then he said,
“Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 

From DSC:
Our dad, in his younger days, used to sing a song with Revelation Verse 21:4 in it. It was a beautiful piece that he had recorded years ago. That recording recently resurfaced, and our family is glad that we located it again. (Our dad sang quite a bit throughout his lifetime, and still likes to recall/sing some tunes. He and our mom met in college, both studying within the School of Music.)

Music was a big part of our family -- my dad used to sing quite a bit. He had a beautiful voice!


Anyway, that song will likely be played at one or more of the funerals within our family in the near future. Any day now we could get “that call.” Or, if we’re lucky enough, we’ll be able to be present with him when he passes away (though Covid19 is making that very difficult these days). 

Add to these experiences the recent loss of a dear, lifelong friend to cancer — and I’ve once again been reminded of the brevity of our lives. These reflections bring a couple more verses to my mind…


From DSC:

If you doubt that last sentiment/lesson, watch a different version of this song, from a present-day recording.

Our lives move quickly. Carpe Diem!


Time flies. So as our mom would say, “Carpe Diem!”
(i.e., “Seize the day!”)

 

From edsurge.com today:

THOROUGHLY MODERN MEDIA: This spring, a college theater course about women’s voting rights aimed to produce a new play about the suffrage struggle. When the pandemic scuttled those plans, professors devised a new way to share suffragist stories by creating an interactive, online performance set in a virtual Victorian mansion. And their students were not the only ones exploring women’s voting rights as the country marks the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.

…which linked to:

The Pandemic Made Their Women’s Suffrage Play Impossible. But the Show Went on— Virtually — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts:

Then the pandemic hit. Students left Radford and Virginia Tech. Live theater was canceled.

But the class wasn’t.

“Neither of us ever said, ‘Forget it,’” Hood says. “Our students, they all wanted to know, ‘What are we doing?’ We came to them with this insane idea.”

They would create an interactive, online production staged in a virtual Victorian mansion.

“Stage performance is different than film or audio. If you just have audio, you only have your voice. Clarity, landing sentences, really paying attention to the structure of a sentence, becomes important,” Nelson says. “Students got a broader sense of the skills and approaches to different mediums—a crash course.”

 

From DSC:
Talk about opportunities for interdisciplinary learning/projects!!!  Playwrights, directors, actors/actresses, set designers, graphic designers, fine artists, web designers and developers, interactivity/interface designers, audio designers, video editors, 3D animators, and more!!!

 

The performance website, “Women and the Vote,” premiered on May 18, 2020

 

The Best of Rooms — by Randall Thompson

Christ, He requires still, wheresoe’er He comes,
To feed, or lodge, to have the best of rooms:
Give Him the choice; grant Him the nobler part,
Of all the house:, the best of all’s the heart.

This is a beautiful piece as well:

“The Road Not Taken”by Randall Thompson

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
And that has made all the difference.

Addendum:
My oldest sister posted this beautiful recording today. Good timing sis.

LATIN TEXT:
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:
Where charity and love are, there God is.
The love of Christ has gathered us into one.
Let us exult, and in Him be joyful.
Let us fear and let us love the living God.
And from a sincere heart let us love each other (and Him).

Phenomenal rendition of "Ubi Caritas" (Latin Hymn)

OK I just discovered this and was floored. I dare you not to be moved as I was by this rendition of the first stanza of the Latin hymn, “Ubi Caritas”. Listen all the way through.Kings Return clearly need to put out an entire album of Latin hymns. Their voices transcend the physical limitations of ‘song’ as the Spirit indelibly weaves Himself within their collective art. What a gift. I so hope they do more…LATIN TEXT:Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.ENGLISH TRANSLATION:Where charity and love are, there God is.The love of Christ has gathered us into one.Let us exult, and in Him be joyful.Let us fear and let us love the living God.And from a sincere heart let us love each other (and Him).•••#song #hymns #Christ #Jesus #love #Latin #Church #voices #chant #harmony #classical #quartet #talent #music #instagood

Posted by Jonathan Roumie on Sunday, July 5, 2020

 

Per EdSurge.com

This week, presidents of a dozen historically black colleges and universities took to social media platform TikTok to participate in the “Don’t Rush” Challenge…The presidents pose in college T-shirts and caps, sorority and fraternity paraphernalia, academic regalia and professional outfits, suggesting a trajectory from joyful campus life to graduation day to success as a college alumnus.

“Our hope was that in addition to showcasing our schools, the TikTok would bring a smile to the faces of our students and showcase HBCU pride and solidarity during this unprecedented pandemic,” said Roslyn Clark Artis, president of Benedict College, in a statement.

 

A great, fun TikTok from the Presidents of HBCUs

 

How the research on learning can drive change — from gettingsmart.com by Chris Sturgis

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

#2 Learning results from the interplay of cognition, emotion, and motivation.
The brain does not clearly separate cognitive from emotional functioning so that optimal learning environments will engage both. It’s important that students feel safe if learning is to be optimized. When we are afraid, our amygdala becomes activated making it harder to learn. Do students feel valued? Relationships matter in creating a culture of inclusivity and belonging. Are schools designed so that teachers and professors have the opportunity to build strong relationships with students? Do students feel that the school and teachers want them to be successful? Do they have chances to receive feedback and revise or do grading practices simply judge them?

 

From DSC:
Two instances — plus a simmering question — instantly stand out in my mind when I read the above paragraph.

First instance:
It was years ago and I was working at a Fortune 500 company outside of Chicago. I was given the chance to learn how to program in one of the divisions of this company. I was in a conference room with my brand new boss. I had asked him a question about a piece of code, which clearly must have let him know I had some serious misunderstandings.

But instead of being patient, he grew increasingly frustrated at my lack of understanding. The madder he got, the worse my learning became. My focus shifted from processing the expected syntax of the code — and the content/instruction overall that he was trying to relay — to almost completely being concerned with his anger. My processing shut down and things deteriorated from there.

Second instance:
My mom was a classical piano teacher for decades. Though she was often loved by her students, she could be very tough, strong, and forceful. (This was true of several of my siblings’ music teachers as well.) Most of the time, she developed wonderful, strong relationships with the vast majority of her students, many of which came back to our house around Christmastime / New Year’s to visit with her (even long after “graduating”).

I mention that as background to a different context…when I observed my mom trying to teach one of my nieces how to do a math problem in the kitchen of our old house. Again, the teacher in this case kept getting increasingly frustrated, while the student kept shrinking back into their shell…trying to deflect the increasingly hot anger coming at them. The cognitive processing stopped. The amount of actual learning taking place quickly declined. I finally intervened to say that they should come back to this topic later on.

(The counselors/therapists out there would probably rightly connect these two scenarios for what was happening in my mind (i.e., not wanting to deal with the other person’s growing anger). But this applies to many more of us than just me, I’m afraid.)

A simmering question involving law schools and a common teaching method:
In law schools, one of the long-standing teaching methods is the Socratic Method.

Depending upon the professor and their teaching style, one student could be under intense pressure to address the facts, rules, the legal principles of a case, and much more. They often have to stand up in front of the class.

In those instances, I wonder how much capacity to actually process information gets instantly reduced within many of the students’ brains when they get the spotlight shown on them? Do the more introverted and/or less confident students start to sweat? Do their fear levels and heart rates increase? With the issue of having other students attempting to learn from this grilling aside, I wonder what happens to the amygdalas of the students that were called upon?

You can probably tell that I’m not a big fan of the Socratic Method IF it begins to involve too much emotion…too much anger or fear. Not good. The amount of learning taking place can be significantly impacted.

A professor, teacher, or trainer can’t know all of the underlying background, psychology, personality differences, emotional makeup, and experiences of each learner. But getting back to the article, I appreciate what the author was saying about the importance of establishing a SAFE learning environment. The more fear, anger, and a sense of being threatened or scared are involved, the less learning/processing can occur.

 

Healthy looks different on every body...and learning looks different with every mind.

 

A group of Nashville studio singers perform an epic cell phone choir — from wsmv.com by Derry London; with thanks to a wonderful cousin for this resource

 

 

Also see:

Neal Plantinga on His “God Go Before You” Blessing — from worship.calvin.edu by Joan Huyser-Honig & Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.; with thanks to John Witvliet for his post on LinkedIn for this resource

Excerpt:

God go before you to lead you, God go behind you to protect you, God go beneath you to support you, God go beside you to befriend you. Do not be afraid. May the blessing of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be upon you. Do not be afraid.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Amen.

From DSC:
The song at the bottom of the page is a beautiful song. Check it out as well.

 

 

From DSC:
With a shout out to a colleague of mine for these resources:

 

Also see:

 

Turn Your Home Into A Mixed Reality Record Store With Spotify On Magic Leap — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick

“We see a time in the not too distant future when spatial computing will extend into the wider world of podcasts, audiobooks and storytelling,” continues Magic Leap in their post. “And this is just the beginning. The launch of Spotify marks an evolution in the way you can see, hear and experience the bands and artists that you love. It’s an exciting time for music. For musicians. For developers. And for music-lovers the world over.”

 

We’ve been warned about AI and music for over 50 years, but no one’s prepared — from theverge.com by Dani Deahl
‘This road is literally being paved as we’re walking on it’

Excerpt:

AI is capable of making music, but does that make AI an artist? As AI begins to reshape how music is made, our legal systems are going to be confronted w/ some messy questions regarding authorship.

 

 law will also have to contend with the bigger issue of authorship. That is, can an AI system claim legal authorship of the music it produces, or does that belong to the humans who created the software?

 

From DSC:
Through the years, my mom was an incredible person — in a variety of ways. She was a wonderful mother to us, as well as a spouse to my dad. But she was also a wonderful daughter, aunt, grandma, friend, teacher, counselor, investor, and more. She was a philosophical, deep thinker and a person of action — often doing several things at a time (from the moment that she woke up until the time that she finally called it quits at the end of a long day). Amongst other things, she was an incredible musician. After graduating from college, my mom taught classical piano (to kindergarten through 12th graders) decade after decade…well into her 70’s.

But then, like her mom, she developed Alzheimer’s Disease and as things go with Alzheimer’s, things got progressively worse. Fast forward to today, and her short-term memory is now completely gone and the person who she once was continues to increasingly leave us. She lives with my dad in a memory care unit. (My dad has also experienced physical and cognitive decline…though not nearly as much as my mom.)  My mom will ask you the same question many times over, as she can’t remember asking you the question before and she can’t recall your answer (for but a moment). She still recognizes us — though for how much longer that will be the case, we’re not sure. She doesn’t use our names nearly as much as she used to.

Below is a picture of my mom at her memory care unit…and, by the way, she didn’t recall that the piano that she was playing on was actually the exact same piano that she used for years to teach kids how to play classical piano.

 

Mom at the piano - 1

All that said — and as you can tell from watching the video below — she can STILL:

  • Sight read music (i.e., recognize notes, rhythms, dynamics, etc.) 
  • Play songs she remembers from long ago
  • Sing along to songs/hymns from years ago
  • Recognize and/or recall many of the lyrics from songs that she once knew

Wow!

The human mind is absolutely incredible to me! Scary and tragic when it stops working as it once did — but incredible nevertheless.

Glory to GOD in the highest! 

 

 

Also see:

Facts and figures regarding Alzheimers

 

 

 

Cambridge library installation gives readers control of their sensory space — from cambridge.wickedlocal.com by Hannah Schoenbaum

Excerpts:

A luminous igloo-shaped structure in the front room of the Cambridge Public Library beckoned curious library visitors during the snowy first weekend of March, inviting them to explore a space engineered for everyone, yet uniquely their own.

Called “Alterspace” and developed by Harvard’s metaLAB and Library Innovation Lab, this experiment in adaptive architecture granted the individual control over the sensory elements in his or her space. A user enters the LED-illuminated dome to find headphones, chairs and an iPad on a library cart, which displays six modes: Relax, Read, Meditate, Focus, Create and W3!Rd.

From the cool blues and greens of Relax mode to a rainbow overload of excitement in the W3!Rd mode, Alterspace is engineered to transform its lights, sounds and colors into the ideal environment for a particular action.

 

 

From DSC:
This brings me back to the question/reflection…in the future, will students using VR headsets be able to study by a brook? An ocean? In a very quiet library (i.e., the headset would come with solid noise cancellation capabilities build into it)?  This type of room/capability would really be helpful for our daughter…who is easily distracted and doesn’t like noise.

 

 

Smart speakers hit critical mass in 2018 — from techcrunch.com by Sarah Perez

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

We already know Alexa had a good Christmas — the app shot to the top of the App Store over the holidays, and the Alexa service even briefly crashed from all the new users. But Alexa, along with other smart speaker devices like Google Home, didn’t just have a good holiday — they had a great year, too. The smart speaker market reached critical mass in 2018, with around 41 percent of U.S. consumers now owning a voice-activated speaker, up from 21.5 percent in 2017.

 

In the U.S., there are now more than 100 million Alexa-enabled devices installed — a key milestone for Alexa to become a “critical mass platform,” the report noted.

 

 

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.

   Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

   Praise the Lord.

 

 

Designed by Freepik

 

From DSC:
Thank you LORD for the gift of music — I, as well as many others, appreciate this universal, soul-deep language. It often brings people together. That’s one of the reasons I chose the above graphic — the circle represents unity…plus I like the musical notes/flavor of it.

Personally speaking, music can turn my day around. I know something’s off in me when I don’t want to listen to music. 

 

 

From DSC regarding Virtual Reality-based apps:
If one can remotely select/change their seat at a game or change seats/views at a concert…how soon before we can do this with learning-related spaces/scenes/lectures/seminars/Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs)/stage productions (drama) and more?

Talk about getting someone’s attention and engaging them!

 

 

Excerpt:

(MAY 2, 2018) MelodyVR, the world’s first dedicated virtual reality music platform that enables fans to experience music performances in a revolutionary new way, is now available.

The revolutionary MelodyVR app offers music fans an incredible selection of immersive performances from today’s biggest artists. Fans are transported all over the world to sold-out stadium shows, far-flung festivals and exclusive VIP sessions, and experience the music they love.

What MelodyVR delivers is a unique and world-class set of original experiences, created with multiple vantage points, to give fans complete control over what they see and where they stand at a performance. By selecting different Jump Spots, MelodyVR users can choose to be in the front row, deep in the crowd, or up-close-and-personal with the band on stage.

 

See their How it Works page.

 

 

With standalone VR headsets like the Oculus Go now available at an extremely accessible price point ($199), the already vibrant VR market is set to grow exponentially over the coming years. Current market forecasts suggest over 350 million users by 2021 and last year saw $3 billion invested in virtual and alternative reality.

 

 

 

 

You can now build Amazon Music playlists using voice commands on Alexa devices — from theverge.com by Natt Garun

Excerpt:

Amazon today announced that Amazon Music listeners can now build playlists using voice commands via Alexa. For example, if they’re streaming music from an app or listening to the radio on an Alexa-enabled device, they can use voice commands to add the current song to a playlist, or start a new playlist from scratch.

 

From DSC:
I wonder how long it will be before we will be able to create and share learning-based playlists for accessing digitally-based resources…? Perhaps AI will be used to offer a set of playlists on any given topic…?

With the exponential pace of change that we’re starting to experience — plus the 1/2 lives of information shrinking — such features could come in handy.

 

 

 

 

 

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