Friday, 15 August 2014

The Digital Glue Cookbook

cookbook icon anim

In common with many other cookbooks this one focuses on delicious things to cook rather than techniques. This allows the recipes to be suitable for a wide range of age, ability and equipment.

 

I have been an advocate for greater use of digital storytelling, as a learning tool, for more than 10 years. At first this meant making and using film. Now, with the availability of free Web 2.0 tools,  the boundaries between film and other digital media are blurring in this post I use the term ‘movies’ to describe this wider form of digital storytelling. For example my Digital Glue ‘advert’ uses many media tools (including coding) to tell a story almost without words.

By learning communities I mean any learning organisation wishing to develop the use of movie- making for learning. In my contribution to A Manifesto for Media Education I described the need:

Critical viewing, worthwhile in itself, is also a resource to be drawn upon in creating media and, in being used, becomes more deeply understood.   Making movies needs to be made easier for the sceptical; for only then will they have the chance to observe the benefits at first hand.

Problems

Despite this advocacy,  there still remains a widespread resistance to the use of creative media. Teachers need to overcome a ‘pain threshold’ in order to experience the flood of endorphins that comes from working with students deeply engaged with learning. Over the years, working with and training teachers, I have observed that the principle ‘pain’ barriers to film-making in schools are perceived to be a lack of:

  1. Time
  2. Funds
  3. Curricular ‘space’
  4. Technical expertise

It is insufficient to simply allow space for students to exercise skills acquired outside the classroom. By no means all young people (or older) are as creative-media-savvy as Josh Macrow (a former pupil).

Solutions

The Digital Glue Cookbook  would be a contribution towards removing these barriers.

  1. Time: The cookbook will offer ‘recipes’ for short and medium length movie projects that can be embedded in the wider curriculum.
  2. Funds: The ‘recipes’ will only require applications or hardware that are commonly or freely available to learning communities. Specialist equipment or software is not essential
  3. Curricular space: Movie making can be considered ‘digital glue’ for joining up ‘subjects’. Minimising technical requirements allows space to be made through the aggregation of curricular time ‘allowances’

In this example, movie making provided the ‘glue’ for History, Literacy, Design technology, Art and Geography.

  1. Technical expertise:  As far as possible the activities will be generic and multiplatform. Thus slideshows, like this example , could be made using a webcam on a simple tablet app or with an SLR on Final Cut Pro. The choice of application would depend on the expertise of the student and teacher.

Format:

At present a website appears to be the most flexible format though a printable ebook is also planned. Looking further ahead: my recipes as the core of a crowd-sourced collection would be the ideal.