Work from X-Mester 2012

Much to my surprise, the results from student surveys at X-Mester showed my Photoshop activity to be the highest-rated among the students. X-Mester being the early college summer “camp” that I work at every year down at Vincennes University. This was the first year I’ve taught Photoshop as a standalone activity. Given the rating of 3.9 out of 4 I wish I had done it sooner.

Here’s some of the stuff we did together as a class. The students’ work all came out a little different, of course, but they made these to be their Facebook cover photos.

Screen Shot 2012 07 09 at 9 38 46 AM


Screen Shot 2012 07 09 at 9 38 39 AM


Screen Shot 2012 07 09 at 9 38 24 AM


We also did a thing in my photography group where we restored a photo and enhanced the photo to give more detailed lines, fewer blemishes, and repair the left side of the face by copying and inverting the opposite side of the man’s face. Here’s the original photo we worked with (that I created by originally adding in the scratches and blemishes):

Screen Shot 2012 07 09 at 9 42 47 AM

A good time, I think.

Ben Davis Students Revamp Website

While I was working with X-Mester at Vincennes University earlier this month, I put on a little nickle-and-dime web design show and we redesigned the Ben Davis University High School homepage. You can view the current site at

With input from the students (who had never worked with web stuff before) and my refusal to use shit like Comic Sans, WordArt, ClipArt or generally anything ending in the word “art”, we put together a pretty nice page in under four hours of work:

Education Today

I just spent the last 2.5 weeks at Vincennes University working with an early college readiness program. The students had a good time, for the most part, and seemed to get a lot of the experience.

I’ve spent the better part of a week trying to figure out why I agreed to work there in the first place. Then, I ran across this comment on Digg today that pretty much sums it up:

The school system is a joke.

I spent 12 years reading textbooks and taking tests and learned nothing about REAL WORLD problems and how to overcome them.

How to write a check. How to pay bills on time and why it’s important. How to buy a car. How to buy a house. How to NOT get into credit card debt. How to change a tire. How to fix household items. How to get a job. How to keep a job. Communication skills and why they’re important.

These are all skills I had to learn on my own, because in school I was too busy learning how to factor a polynomial and building bird houses.

Autoshop [sic] was OPTIONAL, and 2 years foreign language REQUIRED. It’s great that I can say “Good Morning” in Spanish, but I still have no idea how to change the oil in my car.

I’m home-schooling my kids.

I agree with most of this, but not all. I don’t think the school system is useful today. The students we worked with at VU were on the right track thanks to Ben Davis Univ. HS, Arsenal and Center Grove high schools. They get a HS Diploma and an Associate’s Degree from VU before they’re old enough to drink. Frankly, HS diplomas need to be abolished and Associate’s made the norm.

Some would argue that school “teaches people how to think”, but that’s what everyone says about college. So, that can’t be it.

I’m not sure knowing how to change the oil in your car is all that necessary. Even if I knew how to do it, I wouldn’t want to. And home-schooling should almost be put on-par with child abuse. You end up with too many kids incapable of socializing and functioning with everyone else.

But, they’re a lot of practical things in life that schools don’t teach well or at all. Like financial management, how to live with dignity, respect others, etc. Hopefully, these are all things I helped impart on the students at X-Mester.