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Cavin Thuring

Dark Matter and Energy

One of the courses I teach, Astronomy, is such a delight. I get to see, again and again, the awe in my students as I show them images and videos of various objects in the universe. Just showing a close up of the Sun’s surface can elicit such gasps from them. And a few of these students have not been outside a metropolitan area with all its light pollution. They have no idea how majestic the night sky is with the Milky Way visible.

We Are the Universe Experiencing Itself

In my Astronomy class at The Beekman School, I often refer to a scene in Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos series, where he states that humans are the universe looking back at itself. I explain that this is traditionally referred to as an anthropic statement. It’s also not far from the old kabbalistic adage that the universe exists because God wished to behold God, not the declaration that all is the lila of Shiva - the play of consciousness.

Teaching Swift at Beekman

Last year we at Beekman added an introductory course in coding to our computer offerings. Since we are an iPad-based school, I settled on using the Swift programming language developed by Apple. Swift immediately got the attention of a lot of people, including companies such as IBM – and, believe it or not, Google. Swift also is a good development platform for iPad apps.  With Swift, I could teach introductory coding one year, then app development the next year.

Tell Me a Story

I’ve taught the course Audio Mixing Bootcamp for three years now.  I used to allow the students a lot of leeway in their choice of sounds they used in their mixes. I mistakenly assumed that this freedom would lead to great results. Although one or two students were especially gifted, most students were too enamored with their process to the point their mixes meandered and wandered with almost no point to sound decisions or any developed idea.  In order to get my students thinking and planning in a more effective way, I had to alter the projects.

The Sound Effects are Free

When I worked in the production/post-production business there was a running joke in our video and audio edit sessions: “The sound effects are free.”  Originally, this was due to the fact that clients often didn’t understand why they had to pay for them.  And so, we just gave them away for free as a perk.  More importantly, the joke applied to the way a client described an action they wanted to see in an animation.  Invariably the action was described with verbal sounds.

Incidentally Teaching Ethics in Digital Art and Design Instruction

After teaching Digital Imaging with Adobe Photoshop and Digital Illustration with Adobe Illustrator here at The Beekman School, I’ve come to realize the classes not only serve to teach the students various aspects of art and design, but also give rise to teachable moments in the responsible use of technology.

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