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.
I was a little surprised to discover I have been doing this for years in my own personalized way. I have been participating inRTNF 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.
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.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Please email me if you have any suggestions firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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
I discoveredthat 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.
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
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).
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!
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.
Here is a list of the pictures I have been using for the assignment:
XCU of an object
XCU of a person
MS of someone wearing a green or gold shirt
MS of someone near the vending machines/ someone in the stands
LS of someone walking (lead room)
MCU of someone in front the media center/ someone near the gym entrance/ football gates
MCU of someone in the cafeteria/ MCU of someone cheering
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.
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.
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.
At the convention
The trip home was miserable. We left in plenty of time to get home before dark and stopped a huge McDonalds.
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.
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.
I was going to post a blog explaining why I was so busy, I have not posted my Bring Your Own Technology Video. However since Hunter has already done it on Curious Intentions site. I guess there is no need too.