Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Starting a Video Arts Program Over Again

It's that time of year again folks! The difference for me is that I get to smell that 'new school smell'. Not too many people get that in their teaching career. We've moved to a new building here in Cold Lake, Alberta connected to the community recreation facility and community college. It's absolutely amazing! My class shares a service hallway with the performing arts theatre with a HUGE projector screen, Blu-ray and massive sound system!

My Multimedia classroom is almost setup, but the bulk of the work is still in it's infancy for program development. While this will be my 3rd year with 5 multimedia sections, so much has happened that I've decided to throw out the old approach and start fresh.

In is blogging and weekly reflection, out are students who don't hand in module paperwork. In fact, there will be no paper forms to fill out. Google Forms are in.

In are weekly technical assignments for students to do individually, out are students riding the coat-tails of others until the end of the module when the projects are due. It's called accountability- get some!

In are Youtube and an emphasis on Social Media. Students live this and whether people like or it not, we need to use it to engage students.

In are collaborations with others schools like last year. I hope to expand my network of media arts teachers to share resources and assignments. Project ideas are always in high demand and this course always needs to be fresh.

In are larger module assignments for students to shine and showcase their talents in the course. These will be done in pairs or individually. Remember that teacher that stuck you with someone who didn't work at all? Or were you that student that sat back and let the keener kids to all the work? Well I did the work and so I always give the option for students to do the projects solo. That doesn't mean they don't have to be interacting with others, but they now have to ask others in the class to act and operate cameras, like a director.

In are daily 10 minute lessons about editing in Final Cut to help them with their project that week.

In are a large selection of projects that students can choose from to meet the requirements for each module. If they are working on level 3 modules in grade 12 they will get to design their own video projects through a proposal and show me what they can really do!

In is an openness and willingness to share even more with others. Out is teaching in isolation and hoarding knowledge. I've never been one to NOT share, and whether it's through blogging, presenting locally or provincially, everything I do this year will be accessible online. The greatest compliment to me is to have another teacher take an idea and use it, adapt it and share their experience. Plus I usually get 3 more ideas in return. One piece that I find is lacking in sharing of ideas through PLN's is the assessment portion. This is because as Neil Stephenson said to me last week over a beer, "assessment is hard." I totally agree. If assessment were easy everyone would be talking about it instead of avoiding getting better at it. This year I will be sharing all evaluation tools that I tool that I develop and use in my class. Openness is cool.

Just a few things I've been pondering lately. There's so much to be done before Monday when students arrive, but I'm definitely looking forward to this year. Browse my course planning and drop me an email at coolpoolteacher at gmail.com if you can give me any other project ideas or approaches to video arts. It would be greatly appreciated! If you know of a media arts teachers out there send them my way on the web. Conversations between us media geeks can prove to me invaluable for resource and idea swapping.

Plus I may get to make iMac box furniture like this guy! How cool is this?!

Best to you this year...

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