Monday, April 10, 2017

Stretching Ourselves for the Summary of Learning

Stretching Can be Painful 

Ever go to a yoga class and even though the instructor tells you that it's not a competition, we all have different limitations... you push yourself to the point of potential injury, just because. That is the Summary of Learning in a nutshell... Yoga for Competitive People.

The first time I did my Summary of Learning for ECI 831 a couple years ago, I kind of stretched myself, but still stayed comfortable. I was happy with my digital story that explored my learning journey in that course. I had included cartoon images that I created, photos and videos that reflected my journey and soft guitar music. Within my comfort zone, yet meaningful and reflective (the soft guitar music helped with that...)

Then last year, in ECI 832, my colleague and friend, Genna Rodriguez, thought that we should write a song, record it and make a video. The song writing and video creating part was great. When I was teaching grade 7-8, three years ago, I used to write songs and raps with them all the time. (Then I would of course get the students to perform them of course). So when it came time to singing the song, I happily volunteered to sing backup, as I was convinced that all the auto-tuning in the world would not save my voice. In any case after recording, I was relieved to not hear my singing voice too much as we put together the video. Thank goodness Genna has a great voice!

What Was I Thinking?

My Home Personal Learning Network
So this year, I thought I should write a song again. I remembered how much fun it was to compose the lyrics. Perhaps I got so caught up in the song writing that I forgot about one MINOR DETAIL. I don't actually like singing. Well I like it - I just don't like recording myself singing. After I composed my song, bought the instrumental version on iTunes, I sat down to record in Garage Band. My oldest daughter happened to come in while I was listening with horror to my recorded voice, then laid on the floor and cried laughing, "Oh mom. I think it's going to go viral." At that point, I really went into a cold sweat. I was waaaayyyyy too far down the path in the project, and there was no turning back. So, I told my giggling-hyena daughter that since she had a singing voice (she gets it from her dad's side of the family), she needed to accompany me. Fortunately she took pity on me... and I bribed her. Once she joined in, then it became a family event and my youngest daughter volunteered to help out too. Of course my husband was there to offer constructive feedback... The rest... well you just need to watch and see. So with sweaty palms and trepidation... Drumroll...

Here is my Summary of Learning for ECI 834!

A couple people had asked about how the animations were made. Well... the secret is out (sorry Genna), you need to get a Biteable license. There is a price, but it's worth it (the home page will tell you it's free, but the free version will not let you access very much).  After you construct and arrange slides to go with the song, you will need to download it, then carefully splice up the Biteable video to match the lyrics to the song. It is a long process, and quite frankly, works best in iMovie if you have access, especially if you want to bring in Greenscreen or screen-in-screen video.

So What's Biteable All About? 
Let's you create animations, bring in stock footage and choose a colour scheme. It is also really easy to arrange slides prior to downloading.
Biteable Editing Mode

Green Screen
Use a chroma-key green piece of fabric or paper. If you are in a pinch, try testing any Rider blankets that you might have and use as a green-screen. Ideally it should be ironed to prevent wrinkles. Tape to the wall with painters tape, then start recording! It's always best, when working with kids to have chocolate nearby to act as bribes...

Splicing and Editing the Video
Once I brought in the video, it then meant a lot of splitting videos and fine tuning to match the singing to the soundtrack. For moments like those, you need lots of soothing camomile tea.
iMovie Editing Mode

So you might be thinking... Do I see pics of Jenn's kids? Did she just shamelessly add photos of her kids on this blog? Yep, I did. My family are part of my home-based Personal Learning Network, and have been part of this journey. So these are images of a few out-takes...

Well that's it. It's been great taking these classes. And quite honestly Alec and Katia, if you were to host a MOOC, I might just enrol. Maybe not right away, but in a few months... or a year! All the best everyone! I look forward to our f2f meeting!