In my 3D Design/Video Storytelling class, we are exploring a new website. That website is called HitRecord.org. It is a site for an organization founded by none other than director and actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. HitRecord is all about encouraging individuals to explore their creative passions, and see others' as well. You can upload your own creations onto the site, including categories of animation, photography, screenwriting, cinematography, and more. My personal comfort zone would be in photography and cinematography, but there is so much more I want to explore and become better at.
When you first get into HitRecord, it can seem so overwhelming. Overwhelming because there is so much stuff going on, not in a bad way though. It is organized and pretty (and neat). Joe [Levitt] has little opening clips of him enthusiastically explaining to you what different features are and how you can use them, so that is really helpful. It is just so awesome to see how passionate he is about his site and how he is so determined for people to express themselves, maybe even making some cash along the way.
There is a page specifically made for The Project Developing Slate. This chart contains different projects that you can get involved with. Concept Development are just some projects being developed are still in the first phase. The second step, Advanced Development, are the projects that have been further developed and picked up by HitRecord. In the last step, there are Funded Projects. It is exactly what it sounds like. You can join that project, contribute your work, and get some money! All three phases allow you to contribute to them.
I am always drawn to the photography projects. It’s just something I love doing on my downtime, and something you can always get better at, especially in my case, being an amature and all. Sometimes I love editing the picture just as much as taking it. I would love to say that I take good pictures or that my editing skills are pretty relevant, but the truth is: I am still just a beginner and I have so much more to learn. I hope to grow out of solely snapping images of plants and my animals because I am a pro at that by now. I want to take great breathtaking shots where even I am surprised at myself.
My teacher told me last year that she thinks I am blessed with the skill of editing. I had never ever heard anything related to that be said to me before, let alone, it be about a digital media class. In fact, was replying to a video I had edited with mostly Windows Movie Maker. I had never thought of digital media as a class that would interest me. To be honest, I never really thought it would be in my career interest, even though at the time I hadn’t the slightest idea of what I wanted to do. Now that I somewhat have an idea of what I want to do, I am grateful for taking the class and improving all my tech skills.
Movies have always been great ways of communication for me. I take them to heart, and when I deem them important, it will be on non-stop repeat on-screen and in my mind. The scenes that always stick to me are the empowering, self-discovering moments that send shivers down the spine, and chills throughout the body. This being said, I know now that I want to work in film. Behind the scenes, making the magic come alive.
HitRecord is a great resource for me to launch my passion for photography and film. With practice and patience, I know I will get better. I am so excited and busy with so many things to do. So here it goes.
It's official. We've kicked off 5 weeks of personalized learning for my Level 3 Digital Design students. They are working on HitRecord.com, choosing their own challenges and projects to work on within an online collaborative production company. The company is run by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who starred on Third Rock from the Sun and 500 Days of Summer. Students are working on everything ranging from voice-over work to animation to creative writing. It's exciting and scary, not just for me, but for the students as well. Here's one student's short blog post on the idea of learning in such an unstructured, student-drive way.
Can you say "100% engaged?" I'm incredibly eager to watch this unfold. I can already see that certain students need help staying focused and getting down to work during each class period, but they are in the minority. Out of 19 students in the class I would say this is true for 2 students. I am telling them the most successful people in life, the busiest, the CEO's of the world, do so well because of a process called "Time Chunking." So, instead of chastising them for goofing off, we talk about ways that we can learn the skill of time chunking and what advantage they have when they put their focus on one task for an extended period of time. Efficiency goes way up and so does knowledge gained.
On the first day of independent work time today, they came in, opened up their computers and dove right in. Students are at different places in the process, but all or working.
Three Strategies for Creating Structure
The first document I provided for my students was a Template of the document I used this summer when I was doing my own independent learning on HitRecord, called "Choosing a Project." I also provided the example of my own document for them, so they could understand the kinds of information that would be helpful in the document.
The second document is a template for creating a Personal Learning Plan (PLP), a process I was asked to do during my Master's studies in Innovative Learning this summer for Touro University. Here, again, I provided the example of my own work for students to examine.
The third strategy comes in two parts, an ongoing blog to document their work and thoughts, as well as weekly one-on-one meetings with me to assess how they are progressing, what they are learning and how they feel about their work. I plan on creating a template to help facilitate the conversation so that we can arrive at assessments for oral and written communication (10% of the grade), collaboration (10%), agency (40%) and knowledge and thinking (30%). Notice that Agency is a huge part of the grade for this project because of how student driven it is.
Interestingly, most students are picking projects that they know will challenge them. When students choose projects that they feel would be too easy for them, they seem to be bringing that my attention when we look at their PLP together, as if they want me to push them harder. The moment I ask if that will be too easy for them, they change their minds and begin looking for a new, more challenging project. The very real consequence of being bored with the work sits squarely on their shoulders, a motivating factor that should not be discounted.
The very real consequence of being bored with the work sits squarely on their shoulders...
I'm really eager to see where this takes each of them and whether this will be a meaningful journey. My gut says that this could be quite amazing. I wonder what we will learn!
I think it's the equivalent of a "Like" on Facebook
I looks like I got two "recommendations" on my backpack girl animation and one so far for my VR guy animation. That's kind of cool since I just posted those a couple of days ago on the HitRECord website. I'm still trying to figure out all the ins and out of the website, but there are so many cool projects and possibilities and the social component to the creative community is quite fun. I think it will help the students to feel that their work has an authentic audience and that they can participate in the community and add their voices to the mix.
As I collect projects that I might be interested in, I see that some projects are open and active and some challenges are just to get people thinking and working creatively and are ongoing. It's interesting to notice that the challenges that are not connected to an active project have a different feel to me in terms of my personal investment. They are great for exploring and deepening a creative practice, but they don't feel like they are pushing me outside of my comfort zone. I will have to explore that with students moving forward! I can not WAIT to work on this with my students. It's ripe for self-discovery, will help students find starting places to explore digital media, and it provides such a diverse set of possibilities from voice over acting to music mixing, to animation, to editing, to poem writing. Maybe, as a class, we can even come up with a challenge for the HitRECord community! That would be a blast!
Below you can see my first template for students to document their process (click on the image to blow it up larger). I will be asking them to choose three diverse challenges and projects to consider for their first HitRECord projects.
Here's another attempt at another line on the Edward Snowden interview. I could see this simple animation used on Line 18: "What technology can ultimately provide, if we make sure that it works for us rather than against us, is liberty." The production notes I left on HitRECord suggest that this be used as a wipe with other images coming from the VR headset as it advances across the screen. This could also be used in the same fashion for Line 19: "People are more liberated to be creative."
I spend a lot less time on this one, about 20 minutes total, but feel like it's more in line with what they might be looking for and could be used in conjunction with a ton of other submitted animations. Sometimes less is more. And you can see that I took my own advice and went with what I already know, Photoshop and After Effects. I changed the background to green like they asked and outputted to the right size format this time. I also kept it simple and an easy to recognize image. Click on the image below to watch the animation. I feel much better about this one!
I opened up HitRecord.com and jumped in. First thoughts: This is incredibly exciting, daunting and intimidating. I'm about to jump into creating something, for a challenge of my choosing, from Joseph Gordon-Levitt's online creative social production company. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I DO know that I like to be creative, I like to make cool things and I like to make a difference. I will document my journey as I participate in this realm of creative possibilities.
Ok, I decided to take the line where Snowden says "Things are getting better in education" and make an animation that shows that concept. It took me about 2 hours to create the animation since it was my first time, in a long while, working with stop action. I came up with the idea of a grown-up doing a cartwheel over a student who is moving into the distance.
Overall, I have to say that the prospect of creating something on the fly, was so daunting that I almost didn't do it. I had to keep telling myself that I have to start somewhere and just do something. Then I can learn from my mistakes and improve based on what I now know. Learning is all about iteration, try and try again, and getting a prototype up and running at soon as possible.
That didn't stop me from beating myself up for making all the mistakes I made. Hmmm. Interesting. I would assume that some, if not all of my students, go through the very same thoughts and feelings when they first start in my classroom.
I went for it anyway. There are a lot of ways I can improve on the technique and also on the actual content. And as much as I am shy to show what I did, because it's not a masterpiece by any means, I'm still going to show it below. And give myself huge points for Agency, grit and a willingness to risk.
Click on the image above to view the 4-second stop animation.
"Things are getting better in education...."
Things I would do next time:
Things that I'm proud of:
Want to see what other people are doing on HitRECord? (Click pic below.)