Friday, 23 September 2016

Ignite presentation!

Ignite presentations are efficient and ensure that the speaker uses their allocated five minutes wisely (and do not run over time). I had first experienced ignite talks at the Manaiakalani Hui, where teachers presented about their inquiries and found the concept impressive but daunting. The concept is simple, you have 20 slides which run for 15 seconds each,  adding up to a five minute presentation.

From Try it Tuesdays! Blog

In our PLG, we were given the task of creating an ignite talk on a topic that we pulled out of a hat. In my case, I was given the reading "Policies of Distraction" by John Hattie.  We were given three hours to learn about our topic and create our slides. These presentations were created through Keynote, which meant that we would be able to animate and time or slides simply.

My slides became simpler as time went on!

My topic was concerned with the policies that we create and follow, which do not accelerate learners. Hattie noted things like labelling children and keeping them at the same level for an extra year to be among this type of policy. I found it quite an interesting reading and did not struggle to come up with a five minute speech about the topic.

As you are so determined to meet the 15 seconds,  it is hard to be afraid of public speaking!

However, I did run out of time when it came to developing my slides. At the start of my slideshow I put time into my images and added animations, yet I ran out of time quite quickly and the latter half of my slides were not as appealing. As you would usually have more time to perfect the design of the slides and practice your speech to ensure that the timing works,  this form of presenting is not quite as difficult as I first thought. Were the occasion to arise, I would be happy to create an ignite presentation in the future.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Stop Motion Through Keynote

After discussing the use of Garageband a few years ago, I have found a new appreciation for Apple software. This weeks PLG on Keynote only affirmed this feeling, as I discovered how effective it can be, despite being a real fan of Google slides.


Keynote contains more advanced features than I had experienced with Google Slides. It is possible to animate different elements of a slide (or the entirety of the slide if you were extra keen) and alter your images. Not only would these features be useful when creating interesting presentations, but they could be used to insert images into a movie or to create Stop Motion.

As you can also edit the settings of the slideshow - e.g. to loop it or to vary the length of the slides, it is a great tool to use when presenting Ignite talks.  It can also run straight off your device, which could save you a lot of stress if you were presenting with a dodgy internet connection!

I decided to manipulate my presentations to create a simple Stop Motion video. Although the video itself was quite simplistic, it took me a fraction of the time it took to create my plasticine version and could be more effective.

I'm looking forward to creating a presentation in next weeks PLG!

Friday, 9 September 2016

Video Band-Aids

As I have been focussing on movie making for the last few weeks (and struggling) I have had to become quite resourceful in fixing some of the problems that we have encountered. I have discovered a few tricks that can save you in an emergency!

A decent camera and tripod are essential for movie making, and having a microphone doesn't hurt either. As the teachers at my school shared one camera, I decided to use my one from home but I also experimented with my phone camera which I discovered could capture great video and audio. Shooting some test footage was really helpful as I uploaded it to iMovie to check the quality.

I didn't quite have the budget to afford a proper tripod, but found that a phone tripod fit both my phone and camera and worked effectively. I purchased both a table top and full length phone tripod which was really helpful and kept my footage steady. I purchased these on sale at Typo

It was really easy to focus on the action live rather than what the camera was picking up. Fortunately, my script writers thought carefully about the camera angles when planning the movie to ensure that we had a variety of shots. We also became quite inventive with our use of the camera. My table top tripod came in handy here and we were able to place it on the floor, on top of a playground and on top of a wheely chair which proved to be particularly effective.

Out of desperation I ended up filming on a windy day. Even though we waited for gusts to pass before we filmed, we still captured a lot of wind noise. I found audacity to be really useful at fixing audio issues like this and there are a few tutorials on Youtube that supported me to use it effectively.

Garageband is also helpful to adjust the soundtrack of the movie once you are content with your video. I used what I had learnt in our Garageband PLG when working on the sound of this movie.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Filming Friday

One of the aspects of digital pedagogy that I have struggled with the most has been movie making. After a disastrous first attempt (our footage somehow missed most of the action) at the start of the year, I have slowly built up to create very simple films over the last few terms.

However, with the Manaiakalani film festival drawing closer, this week I have been facing my fears again. After being away for the majority of last week, I managed to film two scenes during my release on Friday after my students returned from technology. 

One of these scenes came out fairly well, although it was clear more footage was required for it to make sense. The other scene looked fabulous on camera, but when I watched it on my larger screen I noted several errors and again this needed to be re-shot. Fortunately, we were able to shoot this scene quite quickly yesterday afternoon.

A frame from our movie: Harriet Potter?

My learning so far:

1. Try and prepare everything as much as possible in advance and don't take too much time between shots. Although movie making is fun, the students will get restless if they have had to wait too long!

2. Meet with your team and make sure everyone is on the same page. We had an issue where one of the actors did not understand a joke that they were part of! I found holding a 'directors' meeting was very beneficial, particularly as these students were taking control of the filming and directing.

3. Watch out for continuity issues! We ended up filming one scene completely again due to continuity, but we had issues with the sun disappearing behind clouds during the session. We did not notice this at the time, but some parts of the scene appear colder than others.

4. Don't wait until the last minute! As I discovered, some scenes will take longer than expected and others may need to be re-shot. Also, if you are filming outside you will need to allocate some rain days