A great exercise for getting students to think all about time in film, how it’s compressed and manipulated with endless possibilities offered by the medium. Time lapse, jump cuts, ellipses, and even slo-mo are all examples of the possibilities film students can experiment with for this exercise that challenges every student to tell the story of their typical day.
- Show this film [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TKZRc2Cn00] as inspiration, ask your group to think about: How many different shot types and styles are used? How does the film make the best use of these types? Which are your favourite shots?
- Challenge the students to make their own version of this film, giving them 2-3 weeks to complete the exercise.
- Make a proposed freehand shotlist of the events to capture from a typical day.
- Over the course of 2-3 days, take a few minutes at a time to work through and capturing this list, paying particular attention to framing, camera stability and also economy of takes.
- Compile the shots into a 1 minute simple narrative story of the day.
Because of the films’ strict brevity, the entire group should have time to present each of their films in a group session, and discussions can be prompted about editing choices, production difficulties and narrative structure.
With Teresa May’s government making moves this week to turn back the clock on comprehensive secondary education with the return of Grammar Schools, the ensuing controversy has been revealing as to where the new government really sits on social equality. The reintroduction of a tiered system means the pressure to prove oneself aged 11, and feel the consequences for the rest of one’s life. This is in stark contrast to not only the equal education strived towards by all policies the UK has been moving towards since Grammar schools started to fall from favour 50 years ago, but also contradicts the Prime Minister’s own assurances that her government would be for ALL the British people.
If re-introducing policies that are like to do exactly the opposite of stated aims of reducing inequality in society is the PM’s way of governing for ALL the country’s people, the outcome of a minority of winners continuing to reap most of the rewards of modern society, while the rest fall further behind will be the wholly predictable outcome of this change. The question is, how effectively will a down-beaten post-Brexit progressive voice be able to muster in opposition to this elitist turning back of the clock?
Quickclass stands for the level playing field that a truly equitable education system should provide, and is striving to create learning tools that allow the brightest as well as the not so bright YET to all learn at their own pace and to a level that is ideally challenging for each individual.
The fact that we’re more closely watched, listened to, tracked, and read than we’ve ever been in history has snuck up on us and we’ve embraced it gratefully. But at what cost? The methods and purposes of data collection expand without pause, with no limit in sight. And whilst you might argue that Facebook and Google ‘pay us’ for our data with their services, behind these overtly public and bullishly data-gathering platforms is a whole army of behind the scenes data appropriation agencies – hoovering up and tying together unprecedentedly accurate profiles of everyone online.
That’s you and me, and the details that we don’t know are known about us are mind boggling. This exploding realm of data gathering and analysis is so far most interested in helping companies market to us with uncanny accuracy. If you ever think ‘what a coincidence that this news site is marketing shoes to me after I ordered a pair online last week… ‘ That is NO co-incidence. Behind the scenes, Mountains of YOUR data are being analysed by algorithms as never before, and conclusions are being drawn about YOU, increasingly in ways that we are less and less able to understand, let alone control.
The trouble with all this data sharing is: the degree of privacy each of us now forfeits every time we take our phones out of our pockets is generally underestimated and misunderstood. All this free stuff and information is great until that day when we find we can’t get a mortgage for no apparent reason, that a prospective employer mentions an embarrassing holiday photo from 10 years ago, or you’re held in airport security for an interview because of a funny comment you made on a blog post last week.
Its up to each of us to become aware of and take back control of our personal data, or suffer the perils of every moment of our imperfect lives potentially coming back to haunt us. The best methods for minimising our digital footprints are: use private browsing mode in your browser of choice, use data-tunnelling VPN software when using public Wifi networks, and consider the benefits of sometimes paying for a product, because when you’re not paying, your data and you ARE the product.
Nearing ubiquity, smartphone adoption is rapidly reaching saturation in many countries as the allure of these supercomputers in our pockets grows too strong for even the most determined Luddite to resist. The world finds itself with over 2 billion smartphone users this year.
At the same time, even mighty Apple’s rate of innovation seems to slow as successive generations of smartphones grow unimaginably powerful but with fewer and fewer genuinely ‘new’ features each year. (in fact they’re now taking features away!)
What smartphones actually mean is mobile internet use, which has rocketed in line with handset numbers. Following in the wake of this technical revolution has been a explosion of new possibilities of what we can access, manage and learn from our pockets. This last activity in particular is an area where educators are waking up and pressing ahead with adopting tools and changes to work practises which is transforming learning.
With 67% of organisations now offering mobile learning in some form, and 37% providing touch screen devices of some sort for learning and development, the rate of adoption and therefore transformation of how, where and when learning happens is lightning paced. Educators in businesses and schools are realising the digital wonders in students pockets are perfect accompaniments and enablers to: flipped classrooms, learning on the go, individualised courses and learning rates, and microlearning. Cloud-based teacher-created content now has the perfect conduit to be published through – with ALL the other knowledge needed for courses.
mLearning encapsulates all the best signs and chances that learning will evolve to become more flexible and tailored than is currently imaginable. As a result, we will ALL benefit as we grow collectively smarter.
With the new academic year starting in schools, and all the excitement and anticipation that brings, its a great moment to plan creatively how to hit the ground running with your students.
One great exercise that is sure to break the ice, get your classes back into the swing of just being there again, and also capitalise on the excitement that they’re coming in fresh from holidays is the Summer Summary. Assign each student the task of creating a 60-second film which best captures what their summer was like. They can use films they shot on their smartphones, photos of where they went and even their ‘song of the summer’. Upload all the resulting films to a platform the whole class can celebrate and share with family and friends.
Returning to school will be far less dramatic if it can become an immediate celebration of time off, while also getting students back into the mindset of learning by doing in groups in class again!
The press frenzy surrounding this year’s flagship update of the most valuable product range from the world’s most valuable company marks another milestone in putting to rest an outdated technology.
Namely, headphone cables.
The beloved 3.5mm jack has powered the headphones of our pocket music devices since Sony launched the Walkman in 1979. Countless trillions of hours of music and talk have pumped through these little jacks into humanity’s collective listening capacity, ever since.
In shutting this headphone socket, in making it instead another 3.5mm of smooth aluminium, the design gurus from Apple are marking the close of another era… and like the 8-Track, VHS, and floppy disk before it, the headphone jack is something we’ll smile at when we find a tangled old pair of earbuds in a box in a decade… “My ears used to be WIRED, imagine!”
For film students on the other hand, the disappearance of another cable to get tangled in on set? There’ll be no nostalgia there….
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.