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Five card story-telling

March 17, 2010

Anyone who has played poker will see the resemblance between “five card draw” and Five Card Flickr, an engaging exercise that presents random images and challenges you to create a story to save and share. The stated goal is to foster visual thinking, but there are all kinds of possibilities for creative writing and language learning. Students could even explain how the images illustrate various laws of physics.

Five Card Flickr is Alan Levine’s ingenious extension of Scott McCloud’s Dadaist game, Five Card Nancy. Levine is the CTO of the New Media Consortium, and he calls the game “quasi experimental.” Read his article, Reborn: Five Card Flickr Stories, at CogDogBlog for background and details.

Experiment or not, Five Card Flickr is an excellent illustration of the Internet as an incubator where ideas propagate and evolve. Some innovators seek to imagine something completely new and then build it from scratch. In reality, though, most successful developments are essentially clever, well-timed twists on familiar ideas.

I tried Five Card Flickr myself and took the liberty of dealing the cards repeatedly until I had an image sequence I liked. Then it occurred to me that haiku might be a appropriate way to describe the story, so I wrote an adequate one. Check out my story or any of the other samples at the site. I also tagged some of my photos for the Flickr pool (there’s a danger of inappropriate items creeping into the pool, but that bridge can be crossed).

Kudos to Alan Levine. He was not content merely sharing his website; he also published the code that makes it work! Someone can now copy the basic idea, perhaps connecting it to their own pool of images related to a specific topic – OR another clever person might take the concept in an entirely new direction.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. LT Lab permalink*
    March 22, 2010 4:23 pm

    This blog uses the Vigilance theme with a little custom CSS and a custom header.

  2. March 21, 2010 9:55 pm

    Is this design custom or did you find it at the theme site?

  3. March 17, 2010 6:12 pm

    Thanks Chris for the write up on Five Card Flickr stories– I am hopeful people can do some clever creative ideas with running their own versions; there is someone at Stanford who has been patiently waiting for the code update to do activities in language learning (writing stories in Spanish or Arabic).

  4. March 17, 2010 11:01 am

    This could be great for language learners! I am envisioning creating sets of cards that represent recently introduced vocabulary items.
    Thanks for sharing!


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