Ever wondered what it’s like to race straight up a tree trunk like our bushy-tailed vertigo-free friends? Or maybe how leaping fearlessly from branch to branch, nut in mouth, appears from a squirrel’s perspective?
Hilariously, in another twist in the tail (sic) of amazingly robust, miniature and affordable new camera technology, a filmmaker’s GoPro camera was grabbed by a four-legged aspiring filmmaker and we’re taken on a magical ride into the over-growth in this charming short posted from Quebec, Canada. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6I_Zic29VQ
This animal-human joint production can be great inspiration for young filmmakers to think about innovative ways to use ever smaller, higher-resolution and affordable cameras. What unique angles and perspectives can students and their pets capture using modern camera equipment? How can these experimental productions teach about the possibilities of short flights of story-telling? What other inspiring exercises can you set for learners to begin to fully experience the endless possibilities that film offers them?
Source: NY Daily News http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/filmmaking-squirrel-takes-gopro-quick-tour-tree-article-1.2745941
Whilst the vast majority of teachers appreciate how essential technology has become in their classrooms, especially in film and media related courses, with this has come an increasingly complex minefield of options to best utilise technology for the benefits of learning. As Jahana Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year (Connecticut, USA) succinctly puts it:
“Technology has changed teaching. You have access to unlimited resources that are right at your fingertips. And one of the challenges we have at my school is that we can’t keep up with technology. Oftentimes, my students are walking me through programs that our IT department hasn’t even gotten yet. We purchase computers or equipment, and two years later, it’s outdated.”
What can you do to ensure that the technologies you choose will not only enhance learning, but also be future-proofed to a degree that you don’t have to start from scratch again two years later? In Jahana’s experience, the answer lies in solutions which outsource the technology questions to the specialists and free up time and effort to focus on the most important tasks – namely teaching and coaching. She continues:
“I think a better use of our resources would be to partner with industries that can afford to keep up with technology. But teaching does not look like what it did five years ago. I can take my kids on a tour of the Smithsonian from my classroom; I can Skype into another educator’s classroom and share resources or watch them teach.
The key seems to be in recognising what your own strengths are (namely how to best coach students’ learning through your subject), and rely on trusted providers to constantly update and improve the tools and technologies that will help you in that mission, without getting bogged down in having to piece all those tools and technologies together yourself.
source: EdSurge https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-08-02-we-don-t-have-resources-to-keep-up-with-technology-2016-teacher-of-the-year-jahana-hayes-talks-to-edsurge
The power of the supercomputers we all now carry in our pockets has been a function of exponential transistor miniaturisation for over 50 years, but its not the only factor in play. A slower developing but equally critical field of research will soon start to improve not only the number of hours you can get our of your smartphone but also the range of your electric car and how soon your home can rely 100% on your roof’s PV panels. So much of our future depends on batteries.
The brainchild of Ju Li from MIT, lithium-air batteries have taken an old idea and tweaked it into a new generation of technology now nearing commercialization. The trick is to have oxygen available for Lithium ions to store and release extra electrons for charge. Using a chemical called lithium superoxide (LiO2) in the matrix of a cobalt oxide seems to solve issues relating to oxygen in the past degenerating the batteries too quickly. In practise, this means a doubling of the Lithium-based battery’s energy density and potentially doubling it again with additional research along these lines.
The implications for renewable systems well beyond the super-computer in your pocket may be profound, with the businesses like Tesla’s cars and home battery units benefiting massively when in many cases the generation of renewable energy from sun and wind will approach parity with fossil fuels within 5 years or sooner. The only remaining major hurdle before the mass adoption of renewable electricity energy infrastructure will be how electricity can be competitively stored between generation and use. MIT’s Dr Li and her team may have just pushed us much closer to that tipping point.
After a summer of almost undreamed of Olympic success for Team GB, capitalise on the excitement we’ve all shared by immediately inviting your students to engage their creative narrative skills straight off the bat for the new school year!
This exercise’s Goal is for each small group (3-4) of students to produce a faux news report on the Gold Winning performance of an Imaginary Olympic Sport of their choosing. So encourage imaginations to run wild with examples like (but not including): Pillow Fighting, Hopscotching, Bus Chasing, Snapchatting, or Water Ballooning… It can be anything that can be vaguely competitive!
The students should be instructed to make the sports-news report film as close as possible to the format of the dozens of sports stories we’ve each watched on the Beeb this summer, playing close attention to: narration style, colours in studio and ‘on-track’, camera movements. editing cuts between presenter and competition footage.
Students should be started on the exercise in class, and then encouraged to shoot and edit so that the final films can be shared in the classroom 2 weeks later.
Bonus Step: All Faux-Olympic Films are loaded onto the Quickclass m-VLE and a Ballot is opened to find the favourite film, with each student recording their. Encourages the filmmakers to share their work outside of class with family and friends and vote for their films via the Apps or special webpages.
You’re an innovator, you like to be one of the first ones to spot and adopt the Next Big Thing, and even use it like no one ever has before you. You believe there’s no such thing as 100% optimal, but are willing to strive and experiment, and tweak and learn from mistakes to get pretty darned close.
The important thing is to try. You take risks and increasingly hone your skills in picking the right horses to back. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg once said, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
For early adopting teachers, always on the lookout for new technologies to accelerate and enhance their students’ learning and at the same time save them laborious admin time, here are the 6 solid reasons to remain an Early Adopter:
1. Being First allows you to be Best. Early adoption of technology not only proves and exercises your adaptability, it also gives your department complete creative freedom to experiment and revolutionize use cases before the technology becomes mainstream throughout a school and old hat. (you’ll be onto the next thing!)
2. You’re the Expert. You’ll be the one other teachers will come to for advice and expertise, Thought leadership in your school is critical to growing respect and earning the admiration of your colleagues and school governors. When you become the go-to on questions of the next big thing, you become an even bigger asset to your school.
3. Grow your Subject Buzz. We all know that film and media subjects are unfairly but regardless often marginalised in our schools, and don’t get a much encouragement and therefore attention as many other subjects. One great way to combat this is to grow the Buzz around your subject. Luckily handheld devices are allowing students to share their coursework and projects like never before!
4. Lead the Followers. Once you’ve successfully adopted a new technology in your department, teachers from other departments will come to you for advice on how to adopt it successfully for their own subjects. In other words, you become an integral part of the story used to educate future adopters.
5. Help make it Better. When you take a risk and become an early adopter, you can often get involved directly with the technology developers themselves and help shape future developments. A huge benefit as well is to receive the sort of one-on-one support and attention that later adopters rarely get once a technology has gone mainstream.
6. Get in with the Right Crowd. Early adopters are also the one’s most likely to enjoy to encounter other early adopters, and with online communities, the chances to do that grow constantly. For the same reason that these others like you are following the mantras and reasons above and becoming the Pioneers, the fact is, the early adopters and innovators tend to get along really well with each other. You’re an amazing crowd!
So, in the face of inertia from above in your school and even apathy from below, film and media teachers like you continue to look to the latest technology to keep your subject energised, growing and a memorably valuable learning experience for your students.
(credit to Inc. mag for inspiration)