Navigate 3- LMS Tool Categories

The following is a blog for my online EOTC class.  Identify the major tool categories in Learning Management Systems.

The most important tools in most LMS are the ones for communication and grading.   For most of my career, I have had some sort of online assignments for my class.  Communication tools are those most important to online assignments.  Do the students know when the assignments are due? Do they know where to find the requirements of these assignments? Do you have a way to remind the students of upcoming due dates and assignments? 

Most of my students who had trouble with my online assignments had the same problem.  They simply refused to log on or go to the relevant site to find the information.  My students who were good at communication where the students who were most successful.  They would often turn in assignments ahead of time or ask questions relevant questions to upcoming assignments.  

Another aspect of communication was the ability to announce upcoming due dates.  This was a nice little reminder to the students that a deadline is approaching.  I also like the ability to send group emails.  I use these sometimes to remind students that an assignment was due yesterday or that day.  I have found out that some of the students would complete their work but neglect to turn it in.  So this helped to get in missing assignments.  

Grading is another tool.  This allows the teacher to give valuable feedback to the students.  This unit didn’t go into depth but I have scanned ahead to other units (  doing work on phone/ wifi issues).  In my experience most recently with Google Classroom, was the ability to leave feedback was great.  With the feedback, I could say great job but you skipped 2 items. This way the student knows their work is fine but they need to more careful. 

  

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.

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.

 

Film Equipment for the Audio Video Technology and Film Classroom

This is enough gear to get your class started in film production.

DSLR Camera capable of recording video

Suggested Canon Rebel

A 50mm or an 85 mm prime lens

Suggested a Canon 50 mm  1.8

A slate

Suggested a Ikan White production 9 x 11 slate

An audio recorder

Suggested Zoom H4n

A boom pole

Suggested a Rode Micro Boom Pole

A shotgun microphone 

Suggested Audio-Technica ATR6550 Condenser Shotgun Micro

A tripod

Suggested a Benro or Manfrotto

Light source

Suggested 2 Wescott 5 in 1 Reflectors

Assorted Cables and Extra Batteries

This is almost the same equipment I used on some of our first short films.  We have used most of this same equipment if not something equivalent was used. Hopefully, you have a few of these items.  For my next post, I am going to going to go over the crew positions for a classroom short film and next steps for equipment.