Participate 3- Accessing Digital Learning Communities

The following blog was written as part of a class I am taking online.

The big problem/ barrier  with audio video technology resources is a lack of uniformity.  One of the best school programs I have seen in person is GHS TV at Germantown High School.   The program at the time incorporated several teachers and ran a community access TV station 12 months a year.  This is a great program to follow if you have that kind of financial support.  However just a few miles away in Memphis Tennessee, teachers were patching together consumer grade equipment.   So when you are researching material it may be hard to find a program that has similar resources.  The best thing is to find your information from other programs in your community and state.    This makes it easier to sort out this information.  I was down the road from GHS at the time so it was easy for me to distinguish the differences in our programs.

It is better now then when I started out.  I had a few websites I visited pretty regularly but that was it.  Now I participate in list serves and Facebook groups.  It is much easier to post a question then to find a source online.  You can get answers from across the county from programs that are similar.

Another barrier with online information is some of the information leaves room for discussion.  Most media specialists will tell you that it is ok to to use 30 seconds of copyrighted material in your projects.  However the Student Press Legal Center will tell you something different.    I have seen tons of conflicting information.  I have my own interpretations through my experience.  I tell my students to rely on their employer or teacher when dealing with sticky information.

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 2- Collecting Reputable Digital Resources


The following post is for an online class I participating in.

As part of this assignment I had to collect a list of reputable online resources.  I created this webmix using symbaloo to share these resources.  The webmix I created is for teachers and students studying  audio video and film technology.  I included professional organizations, established film and video programs, learning tools and online tutorials. This is a list I have been building on for years.  In the process, I learned some of the resources had moved and some were better.  

The tools I use the most are the Student Television Network, Rocket Jump Film School and Film Riot.  Film and video is a tricky area for students to do research.  It is best to give them this list of resources and have them stick to that.  I would define what research they should be doing and give them and require them to use these reputable sources to insure they are getting the correct information.  

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.

Film and Video Book for Classroom Teachers

A few years ago,  I was part of a small video production company.  We were trying to find our niche.  We all enjoyed making films, but we knew we were not going to be the next Warner Brothers Pictures.  We all agreed that running our production company would allow us to make films even if that was not the focus of our business.  We produced some commercials, recorded some live events and made some instructional videos.

Fast forward a few years later

We were all working other demanding jobs.  We had a couple of projects we needed to do but not the time to work on them.  We all agreed it was time to dissolve the business part, although we would try and collaborate on some projects together for fun.  In the end, I asked to keep the website up and in hopes that business would grow and we had an entertainment blog that was getting major traffic until this last summer.

This last year, I have began to revive some of our projects for fun and hopefully for profit.  The first of these projects was our instructional video series Tap That. This was video series to help people use their iOS devices.  So far I have made a few videos and am working on updating the format.

Another project that we worked on was an interactive ebook for film and video production. The goal was to align it to match the state standards for Georgia. Since we were dealing with digital distribution it would be easy to create multiple versions to match each state.  I had a 90 page draft, I was working on when the standards were updated.  I  worked on recreating an outline to match the new standards.  I was primarily in charge of creating the content since I had years of experience teaching.  Before I could get a new draft finished, I had a trip to attend the Student Television Network Convention.  We scrambled and I was able to put together on a chapter on camera composition in a PDF format.

When I attended the convention, I shared a link with the teachers I knew.  I also posted links to social media.  The link was for a form.  If you shared your name and email address, you received a link to download the pdf.  It was our plan to send the teachers an email with a discount code when the full book was released.  Our plan was to keep the book cheap since it was digital media and teacher might be paying for this out of their own pocket.  The last time I looked we had 200+ downloads.

Sometime in the middle of the spring, the website was up for renewal.  I missed this because this because I was not in charge of the website.  It went down and with some help migrated the material to a free site.  I am not sure if the link for the PDF or the form still exist.  I still have all the material and several drafts of the PDF.  I am going to  create a new form and put the PDF back online.

So what is next?

I am working on new outlines and would like to break this down into series of several short ebooks.   The ebooks will be aimed more at teaching video production.   This time it will be in the Kindle format so that it can be read on more devices.  I am going to be looking for a couple people to proofread my material.  I usually write late at night and I type slower then I think.   Since this is going to be a solo effort,  any feedback would be great.  A new website would be great.

If you could subscribe to this blog, share it with others and comment I would appreciate it. This way you can copy of the PDF when it becomes available.

Thanks,  I hope to hear from you soon.

Pre Production

This started as FaceBook post to my group for my film students, but I think it is worth sharing with anyone.  We are participating in the the Ten Day Film Challenge for the next 2 weeks.  I am really looking forward to our production next week. Students from all 3 levels will be collaborating to produce a short film.  Before the first day was over, the students came up with an idea for a script and began to write it.  We now have a script and are planning the production schedule for next week.

This morning, I was previewing some YouTube videos for my class. I have learned my lesson with this.  EVEN IF IT IS DISNEY TRAILER preview it first.  I want to recommend Rocket Jump Film School to everyone involved with the teaching film and video production. They have playlists divided by area everything from breaking down a script and editing to visual effects.

We can all learn from these videos. Some of these you may show in class. Others you will never show in class for a variety of reasons. Some of the content may need a little censoring.  This is no worse then anything they see on TV during prime time, but I try to aim for a PG rating for my class.  I plan on contacting RJFS and Film Riot to beg for more school appropriate content.  That being said I don’t play films in my class for entertainment, unlike some math teachers I have worked with. This is excellent content.  It helps to fill in the holes in areas that are not my speciality.

This is what I posted for my students earlier today.  If you have a few minutes watch 2 or 20 of these videos in an area that interests you.  Remember film making is a team effort. When you get better so does the team. Your role is very important to the film making process. Learn more then one role, there can only be one director, DP or lead actor. Make yourself a MVP by doing multiple jobs when needed. I learned a few things this morning and so can you. GO TEAM!

Seven Years Ago…..

Seven years ago,  I woke up on the last Saturday of winter break with a bad back ache.  It was early in the morning and I couldn’t remember what I had done to cause me this amount of pain.  A little later, I woke up my wife to look for a heating pad.  It wasn’t getting any better and she offered to take me to the emergency room. I wasn’t going to the emergency room only to remember that I had moved something heavy and was paying the consequences for it now.   We decided to wait until the minor med opened a few hours later.

We were waiting for the minor med to open. After a quick check up, I found out I had kidney stones.  A few days later, I had the first of 6 procedures to remove my kidney stone. This began what was my worst six weeks of work of my career.  I was basically absent from winter break to spring break.  I didn’t miss as many days as you would think.  Through a combination of snow days,  a holiday, half days and a field trip, I managed to only miss about half the days.

I had every excuse I needed to not go on the field trip.  First I had a stent from all of my procedures. This made me extremely uncomfortable unless I was laying flat or standing  straight up.  Second I was taking pain medication.  I was suppose to drive but for the first 2 reasons I was unable to drive.  Finally I was always recovering from the previous week procedures.

Even with all of these factors I had to go on the field trip. This was a trip to attend the Student Television National Conference.   One of my students was picked to be a presenter at the closing ceremony.  I also did not realize my kidney stone would last that long and hoped it would be over with before the conference.

I don’t know why my doctor agreed, but he gave me a week off to recover.  He put me on different prescription so I could drive.  He also gave me his phone number so that he could help me remove my stent if I had trouble.  That would have never of happened because I could only imagine the cleaning lady finding me passed out on the floor.

So we packed two cars and we drove to Orlando for the conference.  On the way, we took a side trip to visit Full Sail for a tour and took a picture with this cow.  I don’t remember much about the conference. Luckily there was another chaperone who helped me out with the students so I spent a lot of trip in my room.  I know we attended a professional training on how to edit and competed in a contest.

 

 

The trip home was miserable.  We left in plenty of time to get home before dark and stopped a huge McDonalds.  1937245_1275902216670_3911158_n

When we were about a 100 miles from home.  I had a flat, but I was in no condition to change it.  So my students put on the spare.  If this had been just me, I would have finished the trip on the spare.  Since I had students I had to make a stop to see about getting a new tire.   The tire center at the Walmart was closed.  Luckily one of the workers was still there.  The manager took pity on us and changed the tire. After purchasing a  new tire, 5 hour energy drinks, glow sticks and having impromptu dance party, we made it home after midnight.

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Despite all the problems getting there and back, I consider the trip a success.  The next year I took a larger group to California which included many of the same students.  With the knowledge they gained at the conference my media program really took off the next year. The students from that trip provided the leadership for the program for the next 3 years.  Everyone on that trip has studied or continued in media in some way.  I don’t know that I would take a trip under these circumstances again, but I am glad we all had the experience.

 

 

It Started 13 years ago

In the fall of 2003, I went to check my box for a check on a Friday afternoon.  When I got there I found out that my purchase order had not be approved.  I was trying to buy a DSLR camera to take pictures of homecoming the next week. My class was going to sell candid pictures to raise money to take a trip in the spring.  At the time you could get digital photos developed for less then a quarter.

At the time my wife was in law school and our money was tight.  I didn’t know what to do but I had a best buy credit card.  I purchased a Canon Digital Rebel for a little over a thousand dollars.   I am not sure how many photos we took that week or sold but we raised enough to get us started.  A few months later, I took my first school field trip.

We attended the first ever Student Television Network Convention at Universal City in California.  I wasn’t very prepared, because I had only taken students to sporting events before then.  I knew we wanted to go see a film studio and visit the walk of stars.   We left Memphis after spending the whole day at school.  The students met me at the airport and soon we were on our way.  I debated on transportation.  I knew that we could catch a shuttle to our hotel and that we weren’t far from all of the attractions.  We got there LAX was over whelming.  When I added the number of students we had and the cost of the shuttle, I decided the rent a van.  At the time, no one had GPS so I a student with a map.  The van was big enough for all of us but I hadn’t considered luggage.  We managed to squeeze into the van and fight the late night traffic to the hotel.

We showed up at the very nice hotel where according to the students I announced  “We don’t need no valet” in my best southern accent.  As soon,  we got to the front door  we were swarmed with students wanting to interview us.  There were students everywhere.IMG_1590

The order of events is kind of a blur now, but here are the highlights. We went to Warner Brothers students where  Martin Sheen wished us “Happy New Year”, we saw the sets of the Gilmore Girls, West Wing and ER.  We sat in on a rehearsal of the the Drew Carey show and Drew Carey spoke to my students during a break.  We kept the students busy all day for the entire trip.  Group shot

The conference was amazing.  IMG_1435There was standing room only in some of the presentations.  My student competed in several contests and toured the campus of USC. IMG_1595 We skipped a social event one night and were able to get into a taping of the show 2 and Half Men.  The music video contest ran extremely late.   My students were editing late into the night in a different time zone.   They were delirious by the time the contest was over but they finished.  IMG_1474

The conference ended on good note with one of my students placing 3rd in a contest.

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After the conference ended, we went to Hollywood Blvd to the walk of stars.  I made my students bring cameras and put together news stories about Hollywood.   IMG_1660We loaded the van on Sunday morning made a quick trip to beach before catching a plane home.

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When my students made it back to school they were excited to tell there friends all about the trip.  The next year, I took twice as many students.   I have been back to California for the conference 5 times.  The trip was a recruiting tool for my class and really helped me to grow my program.  I took over 400 photos on that trip that I still have on my computer, not bad for 4 day trip.
IMG_9468.jpgI am still in touch with most of the students from my trip.  A few of them studied film or journalism in college.  My last trip to STN,  I went at the last minute to Orlando because my students had a video that was being shown there.  I took a break one afternoon to visit one of student from my first trip, who is working at the happiest place on earth.  IMG_9507

I am not going to say that taking students to the STN convention is better then Disney World, but as far as school trips go it is the best substitute.