Participate 1 – Ideal Digital Learning Communities

The following blog is part of an online course, I am completing.  

Answer: Consider what would be needed to create an ideal digital learning community. What would be needed to bring such a vision to fruition

A large number of educators from a diverse background is just one of the factors needed to make an ideal digital learning community.     In my subject area, film and video production there is usually only 1 teacher in a school and sometimes in a whole district.  So it is hard to find someone to collaborate with in a school.  Even when I do find another teacher, they sometimes work in a totally different environment, have different goals, or have a different focus than my program. For most of my career, I have worked in the same type of schools.  My current position is totally different.  It took me over a year to discover this and most of the last 2 years to adapt.  If I had reached out a little farther, I would have discovered teaching in a Title 1 is a huge difference.  They could have helped me along.  To me they were the same students, I couldn’t see the difference.  

A factor I hadn’t considered before is that there would be students or learners in the group.  I guess most people in the education field consider themselves lifelong learners.  This also gives everyone a chance to participate.  

What can one do to make an existing DLC more attractive to and welcoming for students and teachers?

I have been participating in a few twitter chats recently.  Some I am fully participating other times I am just watching. From my experience, people are really friendly.  Whenever I make a popular comment, I will get a few likes and new followers.  This positive feedback has made me more active in the chats.   Some folks will announce they are participating and they will always get a hellos to welcome them to the chat.  DLCs need this same welcome environment.  

I hope you enjoyed this blog. Please email me if you have any suggestions holcomb.ca@gmail.com. Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom. Subscribe to my youtube channel for iOS tips.

Participate 1 – Joining a DLC

This my 2nd post for my online class.  Although it is a little off topic for me, I hope it offers my readers something they can use.  The product I am creating as part of this class should offer something for my readers. If this article does not interest you skip to the bottom and look for Film and TV webmix and click on it.  I am sure you find this is a valuable resource.

The first thing I immediately did was do a Google search to to find out the difference between a digital learning community and personal learning network.  According to the websites I visited, a digital learning community or dlc for short is socializing with others to share knowledge about a subject.  A personal learning network or pln is personalized to you.   So your pln may be composed of several different subjects.  My pln is composed of journalism, film and technology resources.

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 4.31.09 PM

I was a little surprised to discover I have been doing this for years in my own personalized way.  I have been participating in RTNF Listserv for years.  I have followed several schools that had exemplary video programs via their webpages. I am a member of a Facebook group for Broadcast Video Teachers.  I started a Google plus group for my school and fellow film and video teachers.  Plus I have been participating in a few different twitter chats.

The digital learning community I have learned the most from lately is the Facebook group for Georgia  Broadcast teachers. It is great because I can post a question in the morning and usually by lunch someone has answered my question.  Most of the teachers in this group are the only one in the building and possibly the district who teaches their class.  It is great being able to hear feedback and share answers with others.  The most difficult thing about this group is you need to know someone to join it.  It isn’t really for students but for their teachers.

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 4.30.16 PM

I am using the iOS and the desktop version of this Symbaloo.  Using the desktop versions gives me a lot more options.   Using the iOS version gives me the convenience of using the software anywhere.  I think it may be best to set up Symbaloo on a desktop.  Once I have a fully functioning web mix I have created, it  will be able to easily use from my iPad or other mobile device.

I took all of the resources from above and created a WebMix.  This includes tutorials that I use in my class, school websites, youtube channels and professional organizations.  My goal was to create something I would use and other teacher in my subject area could use.  Students might find some of it useful.  I would probably adapt it for student use.

Film and TV Classroom Webmix

I hope you enjoyed this blog. Please email me if you have any suggestions holcomb.ca@gmail.com.  Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.  Subscribe to my youtube channel for iOS tips.

Participate 1 – Character Traits

As part of a class I am taking,  I have been asked to blog about the three most impressive character traits of an exemplary citizen within a digital learning community.  Since I am film and video teacher I am going to relate this back to my subject area.

Sharing – People on social media tend to over share.  As part of a digital learning community you should share enough to encourage people read your thoughts, opinions, insights. There is a difference between sharing enough and sharing too much.  Daily posts about interesting topics tend to bring the reader back to enjoy your experience.  However,  if you simply just flood the digital landscape with everything people become unengaged from information overload.   It is better to have a few really relevant posts then fifty you must sort through.

Feedback –  By giving people feedback, you are saying I enjoy what you had to say please post more.  This is more then just simply liking a post but explaining what you liked about the post.  I was viewing the analytics data on my YouTube channel earlier.  I was able to see that my videos about video and photography were getting more views.  Do you thinking I am going to post more videos about these topics.  Absolutely!

Attribution-  When you get an idea from somewhere else let people know.  Even if you are not copying their idea exactly.  People researching a topic like to know where you got an idea.  This helps then to find other resources on the same.  When I started teaching film and video, there were few resources out there.  I explored every link they mentioned.  Without these resources I would not be not have made it all these years.

Email me if you have any suggestions holcomb.ca@gmail.com. Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.

 

 

 

iBook Production – Camera Composition

I mentioned that I worked on an iBook, a few weeks ago.  I promised to share a copy.  I created a form to download a PDF copy.  Here is the download link:

A few weeks later, I discovered iBook Creator and created a similar book in the EPUB format.

Email me if you have any suggestions holcomb.ca@gmail.com. Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.

Film and Technology in the classroom



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Using YouTube Playlists in the Flipped Classroom

The Problem

I play a lot of YouTube videos in my class. Luckily, for me I teach film and not math. It is not hard to relate the videos I am playing back to the curriculum. Still I don’t want people to get the wrong impression.  It was this concern that brought me to create YouTube playlists.  A few years ago, I found myself always searching for the correct video to show my class.  I try not to play videos I haven’t previewed before.  Sometimes it would take a second or two to find the right video.   During this time, my students would ask to watch other videos they saw on the screen. I hated not showing them the videos, that would have probably worked.  When searching for behind the scenes examples to show my class, the results would show videos from newer more popular films. Although, I would like to show them the newer examples it was in my best interest not to show them a video that may or may not illustrate the concept I was trying to teach them. This searching took time away from class.

When students are absent they are supposed to check Google Classroom for the daily agenda to see what was covered that day.  Sometimes they are sick, other times they are on a field trip, or out due to testing.  Creating a playlist of videos related to the subject we covered  helps the student to catch up. They may not need to watch everything the class watched to get the concept or they may need watch more because I may have pointed out things to look for in a particular video

The Solution

I discovered that I can create a playlists in YouTube and save them for future use.  I start by finding the videos that are most important. I put the most important videos first in the playlist. I play these first. If the students understand, you can move to the next topic. If not the class can watch more. This gives me the opportunity to include more videos then are needed.  If class is running a little short I have extra material to fill the time.

I  save time, by only showing parts of the videos. One of my favorite video series to use includes an opening and commercials at the end. I just show the students the core of the video. If you have seen the video before it is easy to find these sections.

I try to keep updating my playlists.  I am always finding new videos to use.  You can do this by looking at the suggested videos on the side of the screen.  There are always new videos to find and discover.

Preparation

In the description, I include which standards that are being addressed.  I watch the videos carefully for everything.   I made the mistake of not realizing how boring a tutorial was once. It made perfect sense to me, but it made the students tune out.  Now  I show this video in small parts.  There are some places where you might want to pause the video to explain something or call attention to some details.
For teachers, who are interested in flipping the classroom. You can record videos to put into a playlist.  You can copy existing playlists and modify then to fit your classroom.  Here is some of the playlists I have created.
Examples

School spirit songs

Safety on Set

iPhone Tips in the classroom

Copyright

I hope this helps and email me if you have any suggestions holcomb.ca@gmail.com.  Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.


The New Way to Teach Camera Composition: the scavenger hunt revisited

By: C. Holcomb

Photo by C. Bundy

I am not sure if I invented it or saw it somewhere, but I have been teaching camera composition the same way for at least the last twelve years. I know a few others teachers that have a similar lesson to teach camera composition.  The students take still photos for a scavenger hunt, then label the photos, and then create a powerpoint. The technology has evolved to a point where this project is getting easier and the pictures are better quality.
To start this assignment, I show the students a short powerpoint on different shots and provide them with different examples. I explain to the students that everyone has a slightly different definition on shot composition. It important for them to understand this because you can find some resources that explain composition slightly different. This might confuse a student who doesn’t pay careful attention. I rely on my professional experience and my textbooks to define what I require on this assignment.
In the past, I had the students take pictures with the still camera or sometimes with a video camera capable of stills. This project would take a while because I only had a few cameras and I would send the students out two at time to take pictures. Thanks to cell phones most of students do not need to use the school cameras to complete this project. So, a few years ago, I changed this from a partner project to an individual project.

Another benefit of using cell phones is that the students are no longer limited by their location. Most of the pictures were taken in locations just outside my classroom, but now students no longer need to be at school to take the pictures. The results of having a larger location base was that I had students turn in some really good looking pictures. Gone are the days of student taking pictures with a cinder block backdrop and florescent lighting (boring).

Photo by K Cochran

 

The next advantage is, I have been able to decrease the time needed to complete this project.  Not only can the student upload the photos quickly to the computers, but they can also do their entire project on their phone. I no longer require the students to use powerpoint, and now I ask them to use Google Slides. They can work on their project on their phone, on a computer at home, or at school by logging into a Google Account. This semester I will give the students the option to turn in their project in as a Google Photo Album.
In the past, when they they did this assignment, they only took a few photos and many of them were incorrect. They felt rushed to take the pictures because someone was waiting to get the camera, and they had a limited amount of storage space. To overcome this, they had to delete the photos that were left on the card. My assignment only requires fifteen photos to make sure the students have a good grasp on camera composition, but I recommend taking much more than that.

Today, I had one student take only twenty photos, another take ninety-six and one take over two hundred. Now, they can afford to take more pictures until they get the picture they want. I am challenging students to show me something I haven’t seen before by using angles and lighting to their advantage. I have also made this a contest by telling them I would use the best ones in an article I was posting online. The downfall is not every student has a phone.

I know it is hard to believe. I still have a few who have broken their phone, or they refuse to clear up space on it. Others supposedly get grounded from their phone, or run the battery down before class. I started my lesson this year by explaining how to use Google Photos and letting them know it had unlimited storage. Still, I had to pull out some old still cameras to let them use for the projects. A benefit of this is, students working on their own device are finishing their project faster. The last two semesters I have had some talented students finish the assignment in one day!

Photo by C. Gill

Next year, I plan on adding lighting to this assignment. I want the students to experiment with lighting. The students will take photos that are backlit, overexposed, and underexposed. If the student can master this assignment we can make great looking projects all year long! One time, the students caught me experimenting, with lighting, while they were working on their projects, and they began taking their own lighting pictures.
Another thing I am experimenting with, is having the students do this project in a completely different format. When I first started, we were using video cameras with tape. Back then to have the students do this assignment as a video, would take way too long.  It would a lot quicker these days.  I have one student who is doing drawings on a computer. I would like to see someone, who is interested in animation, doing this as one.

 

Students drawing the shots on a computer.

Here is a list of the pictures I have been using for the assignment:

 

  1. XCU of an object
  2. XCU of a person
  3. MS of someone wearing a green or gold shirt
  4. MS of someone near the vending machines/ someone in the stands
  5. LS of someone walking (lead room)
  6. MCU of someone in front the media center/ someone near the gym entrance/ football gates
  7. MCU of someone in the cafeteria/ MCU of someone cheering
  8. XLS of a group of students
  9.  2 shot   
  10. a shot with a canted angle
  11. CU shot of someone in profile
  12. a shot that shows great depth of field
  13. a shot that shows shallow depth of field
  14. a eagle eye shot
  15. a low angle shot

I hope this helps and email me if you have any suggestions holcomb.ca@gmail.com.  If you would like to see how I define the shots above, you can download this short ebook to your favorite reader.

Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.

 

Book Creator App

I installed the Book Creator app on my iPad this morning.  I used it to create a book of my daughter’s sight words.  With her help we recorded the words on the iPad.  It was a easy program to learn.  We were able to export it out as an ePub, a PDF and a video.  This only took a few minutes.  It will be easy to create a book each week for her to study.   The app cost $5 in the App Store.   It is available on iOS, Android and Windows mobile.  I recommend trying the free version out.   Here are links for the video  and ePub.  

I hope this helps and email me if you have any suggestions holcomb.ca@gmail.com.
Subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.  Check out the Tap That YouTube channel for tips and tricks on using your iOS device.