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So far simone has created 16 blog entries.

Getting your film into the classroom (and other educational settings)

Part 1. Introduction Making an independent documentary involves many decisions. The filmmaker should really think through what they want the documentary to accomplish before they start shooting. If the documentary might be used in the classroom or other educational setting, then planning for the educational market should be integrated into all phases of production. As filmmakers ourselves, we at NerdsMakeMedia understand how overwhelming independent documentary filmmaking can sometimes be. It often takes much more time and resources then originally intended. Most documentary makers don’t want to think about how the film will reach its audience until after it has finally been completed and submitted to festivals. Unfortunately, film festivals are sometimes the only plan. This paradigm is sorely in need of an update. A clear educational strategy can have financial yields for select films.1 For others, it could mean greater impact for the film, with it reaching more of the kind of audience the filmmaker is seeking.2 Therefore, filmmakers should seriously think about whether this is a possible path for their film before a single frame is shot. Not all documentaries are, or can be made suitable for the classroom. However, if this is something you are considering for your film, you should ideally consult an educational specialist who can provide guidance about the topics that teachers are teaching these days, and ways they are incorporating video into the curriculum. It is also in the interest of documentary filmmakers as a whole to reach a greater number of younger viewers. The more exposure to high quality, engaging non-fiction stories kids get in the classroom, the more supportive of them they will be later in life. A very small percentage of filmmakers are fortunate enough to [...]

Getting your film into the classroom (and other educational settings) 2017-05-18T23:30:27+00:00

Documentary Film in Adult Education Myriad Uses, Myriad Possibilities

Introduction This paper will first clarify what “documentary” and “adult learner” mean. Then it will speak generally of what the adult learner’s’ educational needs are and what makes documentary film a useful tool for meeting these needs. It will then focus on the specific areas where documentary is used, including the university, the workplace, the community and the home. What is a “documentary”? I have observed and participated in many debates about what “documentary film” is or should be. For the purposes of this paper I will use the Oxford English dictionary’s definition of: Non-fiction. Factual, realistic; applied esp. to a film or literary work, etc., based on real events or circumstances, and intended primarily for instruction or record purposes (Oxford English Dictionary, 2011). Who are “adult learners” and how do they learn best? “Adult learners” will be defined as those learners age 18 and above who are learning outside the K-12 educational system. This enormously varied group can include college students away from home for the first time, employees of all ages learning procedures on the job or obtaining required continuing education credits, people wanting to promote a cause they believe in or just become more informed citizens, individuals needing to learn specific skills to apply to their home lives and senior citizens taking a non-credit course for the joy of learning. There is much variability in the adult learning population, so therefore it is challenging to make generalizations (Gailbraith, 2004). However some considerations apply very frequently to most adult learners and therefore should be taken into account. In general adult learners are busier than younger learners and thus more careful about how they spend their time. They often are not motivated to learn [...]

Documentary Film in Adult Education Myriad Uses, Myriad Possibilities 2017-05-18T23:30:27+00:00

On “Millennials” and e-books

Recently the Washington Post featured a story on how Millennials actually prefer print to digital reading. I thought is was an interesting article that made some relevant points. I too prefer reading something on paper, finding sitting down with a printed book or document both easier to absorb and less distracting. The point of the textbook industry trying to push the e-books for their own financial motivations also makes a lot of sense. However, you shouldn't try to stereotype a whole generation. If you took one younger relation as representative you would think the whole generation goes through life not only attached to their devices but more concerned with taking pictures of their activities and posting on Facebook then experiencing them. Yet another is rarely on Facebook and can't be bothered to figure out how to get a cell phone that works affordable both Canada and the US, so just goes without most of the year. As an active participant in an internet forum on "i-Docs, Multi-Platform & Cross-Media Projects" it seems that we have yet to find an interactive site that seems like even a prototype of what the form could or should be. It still seems that there is much work to be done in figuring out how to use the capacities of technology in a way that aligns with how the human brain learns and what actually motivates people and engages them.

On “Millennials” and e-books 2015-02-28T15:31:35+00:00

The “D-Word” – a role model for online communities of practice

In the training world we often hear "communities of practice" or "learning communities" touted as a more effective method of "just in time" learning and mentoring. Yet very few organizations have figured out how to successfully create one that will last. Outside of a few education focused ones like "edutopia" most seem to languish, with very sparse attendance or contributions. Instructional design has been no exception. Amazingly, 15 years ago, before Facebook and Twitter, some visionary documentary filmmakers had figured out the formula. The "D-Word" is a thriving resource for this rapidly changing industry that should be a role model for anybody who wants to attempt such a community for their own field. I have used it as a sample of what best practices for those considering such an endeavor. If you want to learn more click here for a short blog based on a paper I wrote in grad school. A key-takeaway is that, like almost any other training or educational endeavor, it will take time and money to make something effective and worthwhile. It is not just "build it and they will come". There really aren't any substitution for patient and continual attention by a "benevolent dictator " (in the words of founder Doug Block). The D-word is currently seeking funds for a major upgrade. I have no doubt that their members, even though they are for the most part struggling artists, will be happy to reciprocate for all that they have received from the D-Word. Learn all about it here:

The “D-Word” – a role model for online communities of practice 2017-05-18T23:30:27+00:00

Good summary about the limitations of online learning

Facebook somehow actually figured out something I'd be interested in recently - KQED's Mindshift Blog.  Recently they wrote a great post about the problem with MOOCs. I've repeatedly said that by $1500 3 credit course in "Adult Learning Theory" at UMBC could have been boiled down to one word: "motivation" It makes me wonder if the ideal scenario for most learning is a flipped model (recorded lectures watched at the students convenience) with the in-person sessions being used for conversation, analysis, synthesis, skills practice and keeping the learner motivated.

Good summary about the limitations of online learning 2017-05-18T23:30:27+00:00

Internet forums ­ an imperfect example of informal learning

Internet Forums are simply online sites where people can have conversations on a variety of topics by posting and responding to messages.  “On-line bulletin board”, “message board” and “bulletin board” are often used interchangeably.  If well moderated, an internet forum can become a place where people from all over the world come together to share knowledge about their discipline or subject of interest – a true “community of practice”.  Friendships, professional connections and reputations are developed as well.  They can exemplify the best of informal learning. However, not all Internet forums are equally successful.  In this paper I will briefly touch upon the history of Internet forums and look into the different varieties that exist today.  I will discuss some of their limitations and focus on one called “D-Word” that I am familiar with and consider a very successful example. Perhaps we could trace the true origins of “bulletin boards” to graffiti from the antiquities.  Centuries ago, paper was precious.  Newspapers were posted in public spaces so that members of the community could come together to read and discuss them.  Some newspapers inserted blank spaces so that readers could add their own comments for the person they would be passing the newspaper onto.  As paper eventually became more affordable for the masses, “bills” and “broadsides” could be posted where people were likely to see them. Bulletin boards made a central place to post and read information. In the late ‘70’s and  ‘80’s computers gradually began to enter the home.  The first dial up Bulletin Board system (BBS) was started in 1978 when a Chicago blizzard stranded computer hobbyists Ward Christensen and Randy Suess inside.  People would dial into this and other bulletin boards on 1200 [...]

Internet forums ­ an imperfect example of informal learning 2017-05-18T23:30:27+00:00

Up in Air with ISD and George Clooney – #ISD

 As a person with a many pots on the stove, keeping up with the latest movies usually falls pretty low on the priority list. So I only recently saw “Up in the Air”, a wonderful take on life in a globalized world.  George Clooney portrays a man whose job has him flying all over the country on a continual basis.   He is kept busy by cowardly bosses who don’t have the guts to tell their employees themselves that their services are no longer required.    In these times, he might seem to be one of the few with job security.  However, a fresh faced young woman has recently been hired by the company.  She introduces the idea of reducing the  cost of doing business by firing people via web conference instead of in person.  Management is quite smitten with the idea and authorizes her to implement it right away.   In one scene she is shown making a flow chart type of diagram.   When Clooney’s character asks her what she’s doing she replies that she is making a flow chart of possible outcomes so that anybody can be easily trained to do his job. What she could have said is that she was doing the design phase of ISD.  Of course, very few members of the general public would have understood that response since very few people seem to know what ISD is.  But that was indeed what she was doing.  George Clooney’s character was horrified by it, feeling that his work was too complicated and skilled for this approach and required a personal touch.   I won’t spoil the ending, but urge you to see “Up in the Air” for yourself.    This film was a refreshingly [...]

Up in Air with ISD and George Clooney – #ISD 2017-05-18T23:30:27+00:00

E-Learning for Real Learning

This paper served to be a nice summary of what I’ve learned at UMBC in the course of completing the Certificates in Instructional Technology and Instructional Design.  Much credit goes to my partner Rosemary Harty – I highly recommend partnering with an English teacher for collaborative paper writing! Abstract In order for e-learning to become “real learning” it must be designed thoughtfully and carefully.  E-learning should be approached with many of the same best practices used in instructor-led training.  This means the focus should be squarely on the learner and instruction should be planned with a sound understanding of learning theory.  Examples from research and practice, guidelines for selection, design and content approaches are examined in the context of e-learning.  Learning theories, from long-established to emerging, are discussed and addressed.  A case study exemplifying good principles in learner-centered design demonstrates key ways that theory can successfully be applied. Key words: E-learning, workplace learning, rapid e-learning E-Learning for Real Learning In a recent interview with T & D, the American Society for Training & Development’s magazine, e-learning “guru” Jay Cross describes how he became a disciple of the power of  e-learning in 1998:  “I’d been in the training business and adult education for more than 20 years, and when the Web came along, I was blown away; I fell in love.  Learning and the Web were made for one another, and I wouldn’t let go of it. I was a man obsessed” (“Jay Cross”, 2011, p. 72). The enthusiasm for e-learning has only grown since Cross’s epiphany.  E-learning is seen as a cost-efficient means to deliver training: once prepared, a training session can be used over and over without a facilitator.  E-learning eliminates the need to send workers [...]

E-Learning for Real Learning 2017-05-18T23:30:27+00:00

Objectionable Objectives

Camy Bean and her followers said it best a few years ago here: Learning objectives in the beginning of a project can be a signal to “listen up kiddies, and prepare to be bored”.  As a learner I also usually skip over objectives.  I’m afraid that to alot of people they are preceived as a signal to prepare for some really dull “educational” but good for you cod liver oil.  As you may know, I’m a career changer with only a few actual design projects under my belt so far.  It is my preference to try to engage and motivate the learner first.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe it’s crucial to have well thought out objectives in order to design effective training.  I just don’t believe it’s alway necessary to introduce them to the learner in the beginning of a module. But the issue comes seems to come up again and again with every project I do.  My current project is a live webinar/presentation about an emerging technology and how it applies to e-learning. The goal is to get us used to presenting and inform other students.   So I jumped right in, and was having a grand old time making something which I think will have a nice flow and be interesting and informative. Then it occurs to me that I’m not using proper ISD techniques because I’m not writing, much less including the old “Objectives:  Here’s what we are going to learn today bullet one, two, three etc.”.    Will I be marked off for this by the teacher?  When I asked him he said (to paraphrase)  . . . “at least let us know what we are going to be [...]

Objectionable Objectives 2013-12-23T23:36:38+00:00