Wendy Melnick
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  • Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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Media Arts Film

Posted on January 25, 2009 at 6:53am 0 Comments

It was only a few years ago that Westdale got its first digital camera, now we have a fully operational Mac computer lab (30 computers) complete with digital video cameras, editing with Final Cut Pro, plus a full array of software for graphic and web design. The students are energized by the courses and it has infused a validation of all things progressive into the school community.

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At 12:27pm on July 21, 2010, Ken Greene said…
Greetings, Wendy, from Memphis, Tennessee, USA. My name is Ken Greene and I am the general music teacher and choir director at Ridgeway Middle School. I am very impressed with the wonderful work of your Media Arts students! Would you be interested in participating in a "global collaboration" with me and my students? We are experienced with online tools such as Glogster, Voicethread, Blogger, and other applications. We even participated in several live video chats using Skype and Google Video Chat. We have had a lot of success collaborating with students in other countries and we are anxious to continue meeting and working with new friends. If you would like to visit my web site to see what kind of work we have done, the address is: http://web.me.com/knrgreene/RMSMusicMediaNetwork/Welcome.html. If you visit the site, be sure to check out the Voicethread Forum page! I hope to hear from you soon! Best Regards, Ken
At 1:19pm on December 6, 2009, suehellman said…
Hi Wendy --

It's great to so many Canucks in here in CR 2.0. You might want to join a group called "Canadians Mashup". If you join, please use the Welcome forum at http://www.classroom20.com/group/canadianmashup/forum/topics/welcome-to-canadian-mashup to introduce yourself.

-Sue in Surrey, BC
At 9:59pm on March 24, 2009, Jerrilyn Jacobs said…
What a nice note! Hello!
I'm impressed that you use Final Cut and Motion.
I have a New Media class for 9th graders, which changes every year as we try to understand what's happening with Web 2.0 apps and give basic skills/experience with most of them. (I also have them read a dystopia futuristic novel, "Feed," that looks at what could happen when these kids are grandparents.) I teach these kids basic photography skills as well, and to protect my equipment (12 cameras) I make them generate a diagram of what most still cameras have, label the parts and explain what they do. They have to be able to do this with NO mistakes, no matter how many times it takes them. If they pass this test the first time they get 100%, with their grade dropping 10 points each time they take it, staying at 60 until they pass. When they realize they have to master the information before I'll let them touch the cameras they develop a healthier respect for the equipment. I also have neck straps and a rule about how cameras are passed. In six years I've seen a camera dropped once and none have been broken---they just wore out! So to protect equipment I am the dragon-lady (this applies to everything I have), then I'm the fun teacher when we do project-based learning and they get a free, creative hand to provide the content within which to illustrate their mastery of the skills I teach. I don't teach Photoshop because my focus is film making, but I encourage kids to take it elsewhere.
Then I have basic Film making classes which feed into an Advanced Film making class (10-12th electives). Film making is split between gaining skills to make short (3-5 minute) documentaries and short narrative films, including the pre-production and production techniques that go along with each. I have short exercises to give them focus for their ideas and to teach specific skills but they have a lot of creative freedom with the content. Their final project is open to whatever they'd like to do, though I have backup project ideas for those who need them.
The Advanced class is run like a production company, where students 'pitch' their projects then the class decides which ones to group together to do. I encourage longer work in this class when they are ready for it.
There are very few times when I lecture/demonstrate in these classes, and a basic rule is "ask everyone else before asking the teacher' to foster problem solving and working within groups (and save my sanity).
This is my sixth year and I finally have a few pieces worth showing. I'd like to get them online but there hasn't been time yet for that priority.
I spend a lot of time finding ways to get money. Last year I got a large Perkins Grant (just when all of my videocameras were dying) so was able to buy three levels of cameras. I have 12 Canon ZR800s for the babies, 12 amazing Canon HV30s for the Film making classes, and two Canon A1s for the advanced. I also got 15 new iMacs and 3 MacbookPros to go with my 7 older iMacs. My room used to be the Graphic Arts room, full of printing presses, so it's absolutely huge. I have hopes of developing a corner into a green screen stage.
I don't teach much about lighting, which is not good, but I do focus on getting the best audio possible and I use Sennheiser shotgun mics for all levels of shooting.
I have the New Media and Film making kids use the 7.0 version of iMovie and the other iLife programs simply because it is easy for them to do so (and I have some kids who have very little technological experience). The Advanced kids have Final Cut Pro suite of programs, but I don't know them very well. This is an area I definitely need to work on myself! I hate the new iMovie (gets in the way of film making actually) so maybe I should try to get everyone to just use Final Cut Pro. It sounds like you are able to do that. Any advice?
At 8:00pm on January 24, 2009, Mark Cruthers said…
Hi Wendy,

With your interest in Education Technology for your students, I recommend you take a look at Wiziq's virtual classroom and authorstream's power point presentation platform. Both are web based platforms, have a bunch of features and free basic service.


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