Progress Report on the Activities Conducted by Sergio Mazzarelli for the EVO Video 07 Workshop. (Please use the Discussion Tab to leave comments.)

DSC_4559_copy2.jpgBackground Information

My name is Sergio Mazzarelli and I was born in Italy. After graduating from the Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples, I continued my studies in the UK, where I earned a PhD in English from the University of Birmingham in 1996. Since 1997, I have taught a variety of EFL classes at Kwassui Women's College in Nagasaki, Japan. I have supported some of my classes with Moodle since 2005, and I currently administer a Moodle site I created for my college.



Previous Experience with Digital Video Technology

Although I have shot plenty of digital videos with a Sony DV camcorder I purchased in 1997, I have only occasionally edited them on a computer, and I never put them online. At the beginning, I used to transfer the scenes I wanted onto VHS tape. More recently, when I needed to edit something, I copied it to the hard drive of my home DVD recorder, made the changes I wanted, and burned the video to a DVD. I was also able to add slides I created on my portable computer by connecting the computer to the DVD recorder. Last summer, I used this method to edit footage shot by other teachers to create a DVD presentation that was used during Open Campus. (For those who are not familiar with Japan, Open Campus is a series of events organized by a university to show the public--mainly high-school students--what kind of classes are held there.)

Previous Use of Video in Teaching

In my classes, I have often used video to record student presentations so that both my students and I could review them. Students were shy at the beginning, but they got used to the camera after a while. Initially, sound quality was poor, but it improved a lot after I purchased an external microphone.

Anticipated Benefits of a Class Video Creation Project

Beginning next April, I intend to incorporate video creation in a class for students who plan to become teachers themselves. The topic of the class is the use of audiovisual materials in teaching. I believe that completing such a project, as opposed to just studying how to select and use materials produced by others, would give my students a feeling of achievement, especially considering the fact that most of them are not particularly computer savvy. Moreover, I hope that one day they will be able to introduce video creation in their own teaching practice and thus enhance the quality of English teaching in Japanese high schools.

Preparations Made for the Project

I have secured a college camcorder, and we will have access to a computer lab. Although a single camera may look inadequate, I expect the class to be small and I know from other teachers that students often have access to, and are willing to use, family camcorders. In addition, many own mobile phones that can shoot video.

Desired Outcome of My Participation in This Workshop

I am confident that I will learn a lot more about both technical and pedagogical aspects of the use of video creation as a classroom project. I am particularly interested in practical advice regarding shooting and, above all, effective pedagogical practices for the use of video in the classroom.

Organization of This Wiki Page

I intend to use this page as a sort of journal, recording my activities and reflections as the workshop unfolds.

PRE-SESSION REFLECTIONS

Questions about Ethical and Legal Issues

There are a number of ethical and legal issues that I am not sure how to solve. I wonder whether any other participants in this workshop, especially those living in Japan, would have any thoughts or suggestions regarding these.

1. Release forms

Of course, I cannot force students to put their work online and have no intention to do so. I will ask them whether they want their videos to appear online and, if they agree, obtain their written consent. This raises the issue of what wording would be most appropriate for the release form. I have seen examples on the web, but none of them was specific to Japan. Come to think of it, shouldn't the form be written in Japanese? Otherwise, one could always say that he or she did not fully understand what he or she signed. What if the students are minors? (In Japan, people come of age at 20.) In that case, their parents should sign the form, which would necessarily have to be in Japanese and probably written by a lawyer. That is why, for the moment, I will not use video with first- and second-year students. It is true that I could probably put their videos on our learning management system, where they would be protected by password and therefore would not be seen by the public. However, this would reduce the pedagogical and motivational value of the project. In addition, no system is completely secure, so student consent would be necessary anyway. At the moment, students do agree to use the learning management system, but we also ask them not to post any image of themselves anywhere on the site. (We also avoid putting any personal data in their profiles. For those who do not live in Japan, I must explain that privacy and data-protection laws are very strict here and that we would be in serious troble if such data were stolen.)

After writing the above, I realized that Nicolas had thoughtfully and appropriately put examples of release forms among the files available to us. However, I must say that the legal English they contain would not be comprehensible to my students or their parents (or the parents of their future students), so I am not sure that letting them sign forms like that would really give me peace of mind. In any case, I would have to dedicate at least one class to explaining the content of the agreement and I doubt this would suffice. It would probably be better to ask a Japanese colleague to translate it, but then the translation would become the legally binding agreement and, since my college does not have a law school, it would probably be unfair to place such a responsibility on anyone's shoulders. I suppose I need to find an example of a Japanese release form. If anyone knows where I can find it, I would be much obliged.

In comments he made available to us, Nicolas emphasizes the importance of respecting students' choices. I concur and would add that, sadly, because a teacher is perceived by society to be in a position of power (even when this power is in fact next to nothing), we have to go out of our way to make sure that no one feels obliged (or can say they felt obliged) to agree to put their work online. In other words, we cannot, among other things, be too "enthusiastic" about this kind of project. Therefore, it is likely that at least some students will decide from the beginning that they are not going to put their project online. On a pedagogical level, this is not ideal. However, it cannot be avoided.

2. Obligation to inform students about possible unauthorized uses of their videos

People are not limited to watching the podcasts. They can, after downloading them, edit them and use them in any way they wish. This may or may not be legal. (By uploading video, do we place it in the public domain? I suppose not, but one has to read the small print of the agreements with service providers, supposing that one can understand the lawyerese.) However, some people do not care about legality. After all, do we have the technical means to find out who they are and the economic means to sue them? Now, I may even be flattered if someone uses the video as it is, but what if someone edits it to make my students look ridiculous or worse? This may be unlikely, but it is not impossible, and it is the sort of incident that may shock students and have serious consequences for the teacher. Therefore, students will have to be informed about it before they are asked to give their consent to the distribution of their videos via podcasting or video sharing. I need to find a way to inform them without triggering exaggerated fears. Alternatively, it may be safer to avoid podcasting altogether and use a form of distribution that makes it possible for audience members to play the file but not to save it to their computers. Unfortunately, by doing that one would lose the considerable benefits of podcasting. Young people like to play videos on their iPods, iPods are portable and can be played anywhere, and the "push" technology makes it easier to retain an audience.

3. Insurance

If I assign video production as homework and someone gets hurt while shooting outside the campus, will I be liable? I mean, I am sure students are insured while on campus or school trips, but what about when they do homework? I have to investigate this.

Technical Question Arising from Legal Considerations

If while a video is shot a passer-by accidentally enters the frame, one would have to put a mosaic over their features the way Japanese TV stations do. The same applies to the number plates of vehicles, but I suppose those would be unreadable in a podcast anyway. I have no idea how to cover things with a mosaic. Would affordable editing sofware do the job, or does one need high-end applications? I will instruct my students to reshoot problematic scenes, but I anticipate that there will be cases when they do not realize there is a problem until it is too late.

WEEK 1 REFLECTIONS

Impressions about the Materials for Week 1

The article "Video Online" by Hanson Smith and Marzio is very clear and informative. It provides links to a wealth of online materials that I will certainly exploit with my class. There are both examples of teaching materials and of videos around which such materials can be written. I was particularly stimulated by reading about simple activities such as creating a screencast or a thirty-second video that "dramatically defines" a phrasal verb. Since my students will teach high-school children, these activities would be valuable additions to their repertoire. Before reading the article, I had envisioned activities that would involve somewhat different skills, but I am now thinking that very short videos illustrating vocabulary and grammar usage would be better for my class. In addition, most of the legal issues that were tormenting me would become much less pressing because students would not need to leave our campus. Of course, in the future I would still like to explore more complex possibilities, perhaps with other classes.

Interesting Posts by Other Workshop Members

Reader's Theater

Ryan Detwiler gave me a fascinating suggestion. I quote:

One thought that came to mind though, and I think Ali from Morocco would have some good input here, would be to develop a sort of "Reader's Theater" project. What I mean is, a series of video podcasts that are something like visual poems. In this way, your students would not need to "appear" on camera -- rather, they could pick and read a favorite poem or song (as a group in chorus) and then videotape images that relate to the poem as they see fit. In addition to a video podcast, they could present their video poem in class and talk about why they chose the images that they chose. This kind of project might allow for your students to warm up to the idea of video podcasts.

This certainly deserves attention. However, poems and songs are copyrighted, and English translations of Japanese poems are also copyrighted, so they could not be used without permission. Therefore, students have four choices:
(a) choose English poems and songs in the public domain
(b) choose Japanese poems and songs in the public domain and find English translations of the same poems that are also in the public domain
(c) choose Japanese poems and songs in the public domain and write their own translations of the same poems
(d) write their own English poems

As for choice (a), most of English literature fits the bill, but I seriously doubt that my students have a favorite English poem. It could only be done as part of a poetry class if I ever taught one.
Choices (b) and (c) have more potential. Japanese poems are very short, and imagery related to them would be available around us. Recently, only a few students know traditional haiku, but it should not be so difficult to revive the interest.
Choice (d) sounds wonderful. However, unless the poems were good, they would probably fail to find an audience. It is very difficult to write a good poem in one's first language. To write a good one in a foreign language would be a feat.

Thus, at some point I think I will explore choices (b) and (c).

Podcasting vs Static Web Pages

Geoff Taylor posted an apt observation on the implications of choosing podcasting as one's publishing channel:

As to the question of whether or not we should post digital video files as podcasts, or put them up in static indexed web pages, I think one answer is that the subscription model of a pocast presupposes new material being published at frequent intervals, and that the old material is archived and becomes somewhat less accessible if not exactly perishable. If your material is better suited to a stable indexed
publishing model, e.g. Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab, maybe podcasting would not be the best way to publish the files.


The necessity of publishing at frequent intervals and the reduced accessibility of older materials seem strong arguments for me not to use podcasting. On the other hand, students would be excited to see their work distributed in such a way, so it may still be worth doing. Moreover, I could make my students' videos available both as podcasts and as files indexed on a static page.

Technical Developments

The IEEE1394 PCI card I had ordered for my home computer finally arrived today (Jan. 19). It installed without glitches, so I can now transfer video from the camcorder to the computer. The next step is learning how to edit video. Although Windows Movie Maker is probably ideal for beginners, I do nor really want to use it because it is part of the OS and my OS is in Japanese. In other words, my Japanese is not good enough to start learning something new through it. However, I have Easy Media Creator 8 in English, so I will use that. I bought this suite some time ago because of certain other functions it had (and because it could be downloaded from the web), but it will now be useful for video editing as well. The first time I tried to edit video (a few hours ago) EMC8 froze so badly that I had to pull the plug to turn off the computer (CTRL+ALT+DEL did not work), but I am hoping this was a one-off. My computer (AMD Athlon 64 1.8GHz, 1GB RAM, ATI RADEON X600 PRO with 128 MB video memory), while not very powerful, is powerful enough to run the software, and the videos I plan to work on are going to be short. [This hope was later fulfilled as the software worked well enough.]

Week 2 Reflections

The materials posted are excellent. The guides give useful tips on shooting and editing. I wish I had known some of those things years ago. My videos would have been much better. The example from The Daily English Show is really impressive. I took the time to watch some other episodes and the presenter is a natural talent. Jamendo is a precious resource. Of course, one must check the specific license attached to each piece of music before deciding whether to use it. There are a variety of licenses. The fact that one is free to listen to the music or to copy it does not automatically entail that one can use it in one's own work. Artists may have reserved some rights.

Resources on Copyright

During the forum discussion it became clear that not everyone is aware of copyright laws regarding videos. Therefore, I decided to share links I collected in the past.

US Copyright Office

Circular 21: Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

TEACH Act

Another useful site, with a special focus on multimedia

A good introductory site on copyright in the US and Japan

Copyright law of Japan (in Japanese)

Copyright law of Japan (in English)

Simple Explanation of Canadian Copyright law

Comparison between US and Canadian Copyright law

A short news item on the CBC website saying that the law will be further tightened next month.

Regarding music, one has to distinguish between sheet music and specific sound recordings of that music. There are no public domain sound recordings in the US. Sheet music published before 1922 is in the public domain, but sound recordings are not. The earliest that copyright protection will expire for any sound recording in the USA is 2067.

You can read more about this by following these links:

http://www.pdinfo.com/record.htm

http://chnm.gmu.edu/digitalhistory/links/pdf/chapter7/7.55b.pdf

The situation is different in the UK. Any recording made there more than 50 years ago is in the public domain. However, the music itself is protected for 70 years after the death of the author. See the following link:

http://www.copyright.mediarights.co.uk/

Trouble is, which law applies on the Web? I believe that if the service to which one uploads is in the US, US law will apply.

In conclusion, the only safe choices for those who cannot pay royalties seem to be

a) use music obtained under creative commons licenses
b) record musician friends playing music they themselves composed

One may also consider
c) record musician friends playing sheet music published in the US before 1922

However, this would run the risk of breaking European laws unless one is sure that the author died more than 70 years ago.

Week 3 Experiment

It seems that Ryan's idea of a reader's theatre will be what I may have to pursue in the end! I say this because of what happened today (1/29). Two weeks ago, I decided to try a little experiment in one of my classes. I announced that we would record each student making a short speech about a significant moment in their life. This speech was something they had to do anyway, so it would not disrupt our schedule. I found some volunteers to operate the camera, monitor the sound, manage entrances and exits, etc. Well, today the students performed the speeches, but only two out of twenty-four signed the release form.

The experience was valuable, though. The students seem to enjoy operating the camera and performing other ancillary duties. The atmosphere during the recording was very good. Finally, I got to test the college camera (Sony DCR-TRV17, about 5 years old) in real conditions. I will now report on what I found for the benefit of other newbies like me.

At first, lighting seems to be a real challenge. On Friday, I did a test shoot. The neon lights used at the college are not ideal for video recording, I think. Looking at the picture on the camera's LCD screen, there appeared to be two problems. The first was that colors were a tad unnatural. The second was that the image looked overexposed. I adjusted exposure and the result looked better on the screen. However, yesterday night, when I trasferred the footage to the computer, the tests shot with automatic exposure looked better. There was some overexposure, but not that much. Perhaps the LCD screen is not so reliable, or it should be calibrated (but I do not know how to do it properly). I found that there is a menu from which I can change the LCD's color and brightness. I will play with the controls. However, I never had any such problems with my home camera, an old Sony DCR-TRV7.

I did not have time to play with the white balance, so it is possible that color rendering could have been improved that way. I will do that after calibrating the LCD screen. Of course, I could have used the viewfinder, but the picture there is too small for me. I do wear strong prescription glasses, so perhaps people with good eyes would not have the same problem. (On the other hand my home camera has a bigger eyecup, almost twice the size, and has always been a pleasure to shoot with.)

To my surprise, the footage shot by my students was better looking than my previous tests had led me to expect. On Friday afternoon the neon lights were predominant, but this morning there was more natural light and therefore the automatic white balance and exposure worked well. Therefore, depending on the season of the year and the timing of one's class one may get different results. I must learn to control lighting indoors.

I also noticed that a blackboard emits a greenish tinge and tends to generate artifacts. A white wall, however, may show distracting shadows.

Another thing I noticed is that the same picture looks different on the camera's LCD screen, on a computer monitor, and on a TV. The picture on the TV is by far the best. That makes sense. Most people who shoot videos plan to watch them on a TV. It is also true that my monitor is not as expensive as my TV. In any case, I suppose Internet videographers have to accept that they cannot really know what the audience will be seeing. On this matter, Ryan offered the following important observations:

Not only that, but your framing changes from computer to TV too... notice how the TV crops the image on all four sides? Something to keep in mind when adding subtitles and credits to a video intended for playback on a TV screen...

If you edit on a mac, your video will look slightly darker on a pc, and vice-versa. Thus, if you're editing on a mac, it's good practice to increase the brightness just a tad...


A further lesson to be learned is that one must expect things to go wrong, and there are many things that can go wrong. For example, I had checked the classroom on Friday evening and it was fine, but this morning the neon light on the spot where I planned to position the students was flickering. Luckily, mine was the first class of the day, so I could go there half an hour earlier and there was time to call maintenance staff. (The ceiling is far to high for anyone to get to the lights without the help of a ladder.)

The dedicated zoom microphone (Sony ECM-HS1) that goes into the hot shoe on top of the camera recorded the sound clearly enough. There was some mild electric noise at times, but this was due to the lights. In the past, when I recorded my students I used my personal camera and the sound was not very good even though I used an external microphone. That microphone, however, looks more like a desk microphone and does not connect to the camera through the hot shoe.

The college tripod (no brand) was very light, but its plastic head is weak and shakes when one touches the camera. Therefore, I do not recommend this tipe of tripod. I have to see whether the college could consider purchasing a better tripod.

My students did not see or hear themselves because there wasn't time to replay what had been recorded. In fact, the only people who saw the images that were being recorded were the camera crew. To reduce stress (and avoid extraneous sounds being recorded), the speeches were recorded singly in a separate room (our regular classroom). This worked, as all students were able to speak confidently and smile throughout. Before and after the recording, students were in a computer lab writing their online journals, posting to a class forum, or rehearsing their speeches. At the end of the class they were happy because they felt all had gone well, I think.

(2/2) It may not be a chance that the camera crew were also the only people who signed the release form. Students may want to see how they look in the video before committing themselves. A colleague of mine pointed this out, and I have just edited a short video using the speeches made by the crew members. I will show that video at the end of the next class, which is also the last this semester. Perhaps some student may change her mind.

Next year, I will teach students how to edit video, so they will watch themselves and feel much more in control. I hope they will at least give me permission to show their work to others on DVD, if not to upload it to the Web.

A number of us EVOVideo07 members met at Tapped In and had a good chat with Sarah Lilburn, creator and presenter of The Daily English Show. I asked her about lighting and she said she uses two garden spotlights that only cost 2,000 yen each. I thought she was using spotlights because in one episode there were two shadows on the wall behind her, but I could never imagine one could get them so cheaply. That's really resourceful!

I am sorry I have not yet shot my personal narrative, but every time I was free the weather was miserable. I am now thinking of recording a slide show.

My First Video




Explanation of the Video

I would like people to imagine whatever meanings they like, but just in case anyone is interested, I will provide an explanation of its content and of what it means to me. Buddhist, Confucian, and Christian places of worship appear. This reflect the special role that Nagasaki played in the history of Japan. The Catholic Church (1863) is Gothic in style but is made of wood and was built by Japanese artisans. Christianity had first spread in Nagasaki in the sixteenth century, but was believed to have been wiped out by government persecution. However, after the church was built a number of citizens went to worship there and it was revealed that they had kept their faith in secret for generations. The Confucian Shrine is actually Chinese territory and is the only such shrine built by Chinese outside of China. The sculpture group honoring the bodhisattva Jizo, protector of children has a bit of the feeling of a nativity. Finally, my college, fouded in 1879 by an American Methodist missionary, Elizabeth Russell, pioneered higher education for women in Japan. Some of the great camphor trees on campus were planted by her. All the things shown were damaged by the atomic bomb in 1945, but were rebuilt by the faith and determination of the local people. Therefore, I was glad that the music I found for it is entitled "Resurrection."

Week 4

How I Am Going to Use My First Video



Context
As mentioned above, I intend to use the video in a course that will introduce video making to students who wish to become English teachers. Before learning how to use videos for pedagogic purposes, they will have to learn basic video-making and editing techniques. Given the fact that they are camera shy, a simple slideshow in which they do not have to appear in person or even speak seems a good way to begin.
The class will have access to a computer lab and to the college LMS.

Goals
Introducing students to video production.

Instructions for my students

Step 1
Watch the teacher's video.

Step 2
In small groups, discuss the questions below. Then report your conclusions to the class.

Many of the places shown in the video are famous. Why are they famous?
Are the images organized in any way? Could they be grouped into categories? If so, what would these categories be?
What meaning or meanings do the images convey to you?
Do you think the video would have the same effect if the images were in a different order? Why or why not?
Do you think the video would have the same effect without music? What feelings does the music convey to you?


Step 3
If you were to create a video about your hometown (or another district of Nagasaki), are there places you would certainly photograph? Write a description of these places and explain why you would choose them and post it to the video forum on the college LMS. Read other people's postings. What places seem to attract most interest? What are their characteristics?

Step 4

Part A
With a digital camera, please take pictures of your hometown (or another district of Nagasaki). Take as many as you like. Later you will choose which ones you want to use.

Part B
Bring the pictures to the computer lab. Copy the pictures to your personal folder on the network drive. Following the teacher's instructions, use the software to prepare your video.

Part C
In your own time, listen to music on Jamendo until you find a piece that suits your video. In class, download the music you chose and add it to the video. When you are finished, put your video in the shared folder on the network drive. Do not put your name in the title. Use the avatar your teacher has provided you with.

Step 5

Watch other students' videos. Choose the two videos you like best and write a short review of them. Post your review to the video forum on the college LMS.

Step 6

Now that you have completed this project, reflect on it. What have you learned from it? How would you improve it if you were to do it again? Did you learn anything from your classmates' work? Write a short report detailing your conclusions.

Step 7

Revise your video, if necessary, and write a brief introduction to it. [Initially, I had not thought of an introduction, but one of Ryan's many thoughtful comments helped me to correct this oversight.]

Step 8

Upload your video to the Internet and post your introduction next to it.

Alternative Activity
There could be an extra part in Step 4.

Part D

Add narration to your video. You can use your descriptions and reflections from step 3 to decide what to say, but remember to keep it brief. Try not to sound as if you are reading a script.

Conversation with Roger Drury

The conversation with Roger Drury at Tapped In was stimulating. He provided many valuable insights based on his experience. For instance, he confirmed my belief that showing students models of what they are expected to produce motivates them a lot. Therefore, next April I will show my students a variety of videos I have learned of through this seminar, including some of those authored by Roger's students. Roger would also be interested in showing his students the documentaries which my students should eventually put together. I think there is a real possibility for meaningful cooperation. Sue also expressed interest in this. It would be great to cooperate with her, too. She has so many good ideas!

Another interesting observation made by Roger was that making students appear on camera in groups greatly reduces their tension. This is something I should take into account when planning future video projects.

I was thinking about ways to keep in touch with other videographers, so after the chat was over I suggested creating a website for that. I thought it should be a Moodle site because Moodle discussion boards allow users to read a whole discussion on a page as opposed to just seeing the titles of each post like here on Yahoo Groups. Reading past discussions could have helped new users, and people would have been able to go back to it if they were away from video production for a while. I even offered to build the site myself, but maybe I had not thought this through. For example, such a discussion board would require a moderator, and I am not experienced enough for the task. Moreover, it is probably better for any such site to have an "institutional" dimension like the present seminar. I suppose I was carried away by enthusiasm. Well, if there were interest for it, I may still consider building such a site, but it is likely that the pros have better solutions in mind. In any case, I will certainly be looking at sites like Roger's from time to time to see what they are up to, and anyone who wants to see what my class does will be able to do so by checking videos by the orandazaka user on You Tube.

PS
I now (2/16) realize that there is a site for videographers to discuss their work and improve their techniques, and that is the one Nicolas created. It even has a forum, although there do not seem to be any posts in it. It is a pity that Nicolas has been away for so long. I hope we will be able to ask him whether it is possible to continue discussions on his site after EVOVIDEO 07 shuts down.

Week 5

Although it is well written, the rubric provided to us as an example seems to be unsuitable to someone in my teaching context. It appears to have been designed for people judging a video-making contest and would be appropriate for someone teaching a class in video-making. However, in most cases ELT teachers' classes have exclusively linguistic goals, and the role of video is motivational. A student's artistic talent or even his or her technical skills with camera and software cannot influence his or her grade. This came out quite well in last week's discussion with Roger, who explained that he comments on the quality of the video but only grades pronunciation and delivery because that is the topic of his class. My class next term is for those who want to become teachers, so I can to a certain extent consider video-making skills one of the abilities a modern teacher should possess. However, that is a special case and I would not want to limit my future use of video to that class alone.

Another issue is how to judge content. If the teacher requires students to pick up topics which he or she is qualified to teach or very knowledgeable about, that's fine. However, in ELT contexts this is often neither feasible nor even desirable. Therefore, the value of teacher's opinions as regards the accuracy and originality of the content is questionable. If my students report something incorrect or unoriginal about their hometown, I am not in a position to judge. My only concern has to be how well the students expressed their opinion in English.

Therefore, my rubrics would evaluate things such as pronunciation, intonation, fluency, vocabulary, grammar, logical organization, and the appropriateness (rather than the accuracy) of any supporting information. Length, choice of images, and credits would also be evaluated, as they are in any presentation (where "credits" may be printed on a handout). However, I would not be able to give any weight to artistic values, mastery of photographic techniques, or the ability to use editing software. I may, of course, comment on these things, but I would not include them among the categories to be scored.

Here is my rubric for the slideshow activity.

Week 6

One of our tasks for this week is to think how to keep in touch with others. I have reworked my original idea of a website and I have actually started building one with a more limited objective. Instead of providing a place for general discussions about video, which I would not be qualified to moderate, I have decided to make a site to support my own Video Slideshow project. If anyone is interested in having his or her students exchange video slideshows with my students and other teachers' students, they will be able to use that site to coordinate activities. To see the site, please click here. The site is still under construction, but registration works (Ryan and Bernardo have already kindly registered), so if you are interested, please go ahead and register. After registration, in order to access the Teacher's Room you will need a key. To obtain a key, please send me an email message at the following address: admin@deepmoat.com If you are one of the members who have posted profiles on EVOVIDEO 07 and wish to copy the same profile on the new site, just say so in your email. I will do that for you. If not, please include a profile detailing your teaching context and experience (if any) with video.
I will be adding content to the site next week, and I hope we will be able to use it to continue the wonderful conversations we began in this seminar.

Nature of Slideshows

One of Roger's posts led us to begin a reflection on the difference between a slideshow and a moving image video. It is not the case that moving picture videos tell a story and slideshows do not, though of course slideshows do not all tell a story. One can tell a story through stills: comic books and graphic novels spring to mind. The American comics writer Will Eisner talked about sequential art as "the arrangement of pictures or images and words to narrate a story or dramatize an idea". Eisner wrote books, which I have not read, about how pictures are arranged to tell a story. Of course, in some countries comic books are more often associated with very specific narrative traditions such as the Superhero in the US, but for example in Japanese culture comic books (manga) have been used to onvey a wider variety of content.

To return to our slideshows, like movies they can also tell a story, but telling a story through still images is qualitatively different from telling it through moving images, and the exploration of this difference and of the possible implications it may have for language learning may even be a nice research topic.

It may or may not be the case that certain kinds of stories lend themselves to being narrated in this medium more than others. For example, I initially thought that personal narratives and documentaries would work best. However, this may have been a failure of my imagination. On the web, I have just found a "picture story" narrated by students of a junior high school in Italy. The site is in Italian, but I include the link anyway. http://ospitiweb.indire.it/~rmmm0015/fotormz/index.htm

Click on the title of each episode to see it. Click on the images to hear the recorded dialogues (which you can also read in the captions). I think this would have worked very well as a slideshow. They also have a page giving background about each character in the story.


Releases

In his letter provided as discussion topic for this week, Nicolas raised an important issue. The students own the copyright of their work. To display it to others, a teacher needs permission. This does not apply only to work in which photographic images of the students appear. It is the same with an essay or any other kind of creation. However, the releases uploaded to the files area of this workshop are photographers' or film makers' releases. They are appropriate if the teacher has played the role of a photographer or film maker, i.e. if he or she has made a film in which students appear. In that case, the teacher owns the copyright of the work. He or she needs the release because otherwise he or she may be accused of violating the students' privacy. However if the students have made the video (even one in which they do not appear), the teacher needs something that deals with copyright. I found an example here. By signing this form the student authorizes the use of his or her work (copyright) and the divulgation of his or her name (privacy). As usual, I am not a lawyer and I am not giving legal advice here, but I suppose students who worked on a video without appearing in it should sign this kind of release, students who only appeared should sign the other, and students who both appeared and shot or edited the video should sign both.

Final Evaluation

This worshop has been great. I have learned a lot and I have met people with similar interests with whom I hope I will be able to cooperate in the future. Mreover, I now have a promising slideshow creation activity planned for my class on audio-visual media in English education.