It's the end of week 3 of my new Ning-multimedia class.
There's so much happening at times that I can scarcely keep up. So where to start? Well here's some of the highlights and issues I'm thinking about.
The building of community
The students are posting incredibly supportive comments to each other. And it's not empty rhetoric. They're making connections to their own lives - making comparisons and offering support and encouragement. Within a classroom of refugees this is extremely important for a sense of belonging and connection.
The building of skills
I've spent quite a bit of time introducing them to different filming techniques via Atomic videos (which I've mentioned in a previous post) and they're continuing to add to their filming repertoires with such techniques. There is among a number of the students a thirst for more and more knowledge. They are so keen to try out different approaches.
A couple of groups came back today after having shot short segments from different angles and positions. I was then able to take them through how to make choices about 'what to include'. It's here that I'm showing them what to look for (ie. lighting, frame composition etc) to help them decide about 'what's in' and 'what's out'. I realised today how much I was drawing from my own history of watching film - in knowing about different styles of film-making, different ways of filming a shot (ie. through a bookshelf in a library, from above etc)
I'm getting students to plan their filming via storyboards. It's a bit of a struggle as many don't think they can draw and are real reluctant to try. I emphasise that the drawing doesn't have to be artistic and can be stick figures etc but it's still a drag for them. I want to persist but I recognise their issues and also that it can be difficult to draw angles etc for some. I'm just wondering about them using photographs. I'm also encouraging them to explain how they're going to film it and introducing them to the vocabulary to do so. This has proved a very useful strategy as I'm able to gauge the sophistication of their discourse - and see what they've picked up and where they need further support. I'm also encouraging them to tell those who are filming how they want it done. The value of language is never so apparent as when I'm watching them do this.
Well that's it for now...the brain has stopped functioning...may add more later.