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Week 1: Personal Introduction


Hi, I'd like to introduce myself here.

1. My teaching context


I teach at St Clare's, Oxford, England, a private college with a small adult EFL department. The students are mainly 18 to mid-20s. I normally teach the lowest (pre-intermediate) level, general English, 12 students maximum. I also teach an elective film and popular music appreciation course.

2. How my students would respond to a class video project


My students might enjoy a number of things about a class video project:
  • the general novelty of a multi-media project
  • if done during normal morning class time, the "escape" from studying and normal class activities
  • the creative process of planning and editing a video piece
  • for some more outgoing individuals, perhaps, the chance to perform in front of a camera if performance was involved

On the other hand, there might be resistance from some students if the pedagogical benefits are not spelt out beforehand. From other students there might be resistance to "performing" in front of a camera, or to having their image appearing publicly on the Internet. For my long-running class audio podcast (http://bardwellroad.podomatic.com), I have not yet persuaded a whole group to appear as themselves in a video version.

3. My previous experience with class video projects


For a few months last year, I ran an elective video-making class. The students, working in groups, created and edit digital videos on computer, and made DVDs that they could take away with them. I would say the class was of limited success for two key reasons: (A) on the technical side, the students had very restricted access to the cameras and editing facilities, which limited their personal investment in the projects, and (B) on the pedagogical side, the projects were probably too ambitious for the very limited time available, and probably not as well "scaffolded" as they needed to be. So those two issues would need to be addressed.

4. My experience with digital video


I have a digital video camera and now also a digital still camera that records video and audio pretty well. I have used Apple's iLife programs (iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand and iDVD) to record, edit and produce a number of home videos on DVD, and to a lesser extent, on the Web.

5. My use of video production literature


In the past, I have done little more than take ideas from Web pages I've found using search engines.

6. Subjects and topics I'd like to learn more about during this session


I think I need to address two key technical and pedagogical issues:

(A) On the technical side, as much as possible, to give the students ownership of the resources and processes. This would include, for example, the use of digital video recording on THEIR digital cameras and/or mobile phones wherever possible. It would also include making sure the digital media the students create and are editing is located where they can access it outside class time, if possible on a folder on a shared server accessible in the student computer room

To support the students, I should develop my own skills with the facilities most easily available to the students. That would include getting to know better how to use the software on the PCs in the student computer lab, the Windows equivalents of Mac programs I'm familiar with, especially Windows MovieMaker. So, I should use this course as an opportunity to improve my skills on the Windows PC side.

(B) On the pedagogical side, I think I'm weak. I need to somehow provide good scaffolding for any group projects, at least initially strictly limiting the scope and range of choices available, e.g. via use of project lesson plans and "templates". This is where EVO video group support will be great. I've already seen good examples of well-defined projects such as "making a TV product commercial". A good goal for me in this area could be developing, in a hands-on way, (one or more) group video project templates that would be perceived as interesting, useful and achievable for students in my classes.