My Failure Bow

Failure Bow_ToGa WanderingDuring the Asia ADE Institute 2010, Improv expert Rebecca Stockley introduced the “Failure Bow” as a way of recognising failures as learning opportunities. Basically, if you stuffed up, you held your hands up and everyone applauded your failures (rather than only celebrating your successes).

I love the idea of this, but putting it into practice is something that takes a bit of getting used to. Admitting defeat is not something we tend to do, but I don’t want this blog to become a show-boat of lessons that have gone well without countering it with some of the lessons that haven’t. So here goes:

I stuffed up.

Overall, I think it would be safe to describe my Grade 5 animation project as a bit of a disaster. And that’s if you’re being kind.

The ingredients for success were all there: enthusiastic students, willing and supportive colleagues, the necessary equipment – but several contributing factors meant that the end result just didn’t cut the mustard. Instead of detailing the list of things that went wrong (there is only so much time in the day after all…!), I thought I’d share the lessons I learned through my failures.

Lesson 1. Large photo files + network + 22 students all on the computers = frustration. I wanted to use good quality images to get the best quality for the finished product, however with the scale we were working with (in excess of 300 photos each group), Movie Maker crashed more times that I’ve had hot dinners.
To solve this problem, next year I would reduce the file size to Large or even Medium, to speed the process up, and reduce the chance of crashing.

Lesson 2. Storing video/image files on local machines is much better than accessing files via the school network. I know this seems obvious, but when you have kids using different computers all the time (and occasionally different computers being out of action for some reason), then the network seems like the safest bet. For videos of this magnitude, storing files locally makes the whole thing run much more smoothly.

Lesson 3. Having 22 kids at a time making movies is great in theory, but, practically speaking, 1 per group would have been more manageable for the network. I thought that groups could work together to create and shoot their images, then take the images and edit their a movie individually. One movie per group would be fine, however clear guidelines for each group member would need to be established, so that everyone is responsible for different sections.

Lesson 4. Know your software. Despite making short test versions of animations (as outlined here), Movie Maker wasn’t up for the task on a larger scale. Our other software, Adobe Premiere Elements is a great tool, but the smallest picture duration we could customize it to was 1 frame per second (not nearly fast enough for a decent animation). While trying to fiddle around with the picture duration settings, I discovered Adobe Premiere Elements had a stop-motion animation function (if used with a webcam connected to the computer) which we could have used from the beginning. The quality of the finished movie wouldn’t be as great, however if it meant more kids would be successful in creating an animation, then it’s probably worth trying.

Lesson 5. Persistence pays off. With the Singapore International School Film Festival kicking off in a few short days, I woke at 1am in despair at how despite all the hard work from teachers and students alike, I had not even one video to submit to the Film Fest for consideration. It was heartbreaking. I lay awake for ages composing this blog post in my head. The very next day, one of the students managed to pull together his fabulous animation ready for submission, just in the nick of time. Where other students had given up, Jean-Luc showed an impressive amount of tenacity to keep coming back to the lab, even though each change involved a 10 minute load time, then the distinct possibility of Movie Maker crashing. I am so proud to share this video with you:

Photo Credit: ToGa Wanderings

My Failure Bow

Failure Bow_ToGa WanderingDuring the Asia ADE Institute 2010, Improv expert Rebecca Stockley introduced the “Failure Bow” as a way of recognising failures as learning opportunities. Basically, if you stuffed up, you held your hands up and everyone applauded your failures (rather than only celebrating your successes).

I love the idea of this, but putting it into practice is something that takes a bit of getting used to. Admitting defeat is not something we tend to do, but I don’t want this blog to become a show-boat of lessons that have gone well without countering it with some of the lessons that haven’t. So here goes:

I stuffed up.

Overall, I think it would be safe to describe my Grade 5 animation project as a bit of a disaster. And that’s if you’re being kind.

The ingredients for success were all there: enthusiastic students, willing and supportive colleagues, the necessary equipment – but several contributing factors meant that the end result just didn’t cut the mustard. Instead of detailing the list of things that went wrong (there is only so much time in the day after all…!), I thought I’d share the lessons I learned through my failures.

Lesson 1. Large photo files + network + 22 students all on the computers = frustration. I wanted to use good quality images to get the best quality for the finished product, however with the scale we were working with (in excess of 300 photos each group), Movie Maker crashed more times that I’ve had hot dinners.
To solve this problem, next year I would reduce the file size to Large or even Medium, to speed the process up, and reduce the chance of crashing.

Lesson 2. Storing video/image files on local machines is much better than accessing files via the school network. I know this seems obvious, but when you have kids using different computers all the time (and occasionally different computers being out of action for some reason), then the network seems like the safest bet. For videos of this magnitude, storing files locally makes the whole thing run much more smoothly.

Lesson 3. Having 22 kids at a time making movies is great in theory, but, practically speaking, 1 per group would have been more manageable for the network. I thought that groups could work together to create and shoot their images, then take the images and edit their a movie individually. One movie per group would be fine, however clear guidelines for each group member would need to be established, so that everyone is responsible for different sections.

Lesson 4. Know your software. Despite making short test versions of animations (as outlined here), Movie Maker wasn’t up for the task on a larger scale. Our other software, Adobe Premiere Elements is a great tool, but the smallest picture duration we could customize it to was 1 frame per second (not nearly fast enough for a decent animation). While trying to fiddle around with the picture duration settings, I discovered Adobe Premiere Elements had a stop-motion animation function (if used with a webcam connected to the computer) which we could have used from the beginning. The quality of the finished movie wouldn’t be as great, however if it meant more kids would be successful in creating an animation, then it’s probably worth trying.

Lesson 5. Persistence pays off. With the Singapore International School Film Festival kicking off in a few short days, I woke at 1am in despair at how despite all the hard work from teachers and students alike, I had not even one video to submit to the Film Fest for consideration. It was heartbreaking. I lay awake for ages composing this blog post in my head. The very next day, one of the students managed to pull together his fabulous animation ready for submission, just in the nick of time. Where other students had given up, Jean-Luc showed an impressive amount of tenacity to keep coming back to the lab, even though each change involved a 10 minute load time, then the distinct possibility of Movie Maker crashing. I am so proud to share this video with you:

Photo Credit: ToGa Wanderings

Group Dynamic!

ADE group T-shirtsYou know how sometimes the planets align and everything works effortlessly? When you somehow manage to snag the most productive, knowledgeable and talented bunch of people and complete tasks with absolutely no stress and plenty of fun? Well, that was my group for the ADE 2010 Challenge Based Learning task!

I decided I wanted to focus on sharing best practice with teachers wanting to integrate technology more into their classrooms. Thankfully (and perhaps intentionally), I found a group of like-minded people to inoneplace logohelp work on this issue.

By the end of day 3 of the ADE Institute, our group knew we were going to create a website that would be edited by invited educational tech experts, which would feature best practice at our various International Schools. We even had a name – we secured the domain inoneplace.org and were on our way…

PizzaWe decided we wanted our presentation to the other ADEs to be a take off of the launch of the iPad (please take the time to look at the link!), so we set about creating something similar. We got T-Shirts on the cheap, and had Chrissy write our domain name on the front & our twitter handles on the back. I noted down the text on the video and Jeff modified it to fit our product (over sensational pizza at lunch). Patrick offered his house, and set about creating a take-off of Steve Jobs’ Keynote of the iPad launch. Donna said she’d edit the iMovie, and Thomas laid down the sound track using GarageBand.

Jeff videoed us all, then Donna started editing. I wrote the first blog post on the site while the others were creating. Chrissy & I sorted out a twitter name and an email address, while Jeff created the look of the site using WordPress. It would be remiss of me not to mention Patrick’s wife Rebecca, who helped us bring our vision for the logo of our site into being!

Here’s our promo video for your viewing pleasure…

Chilli CrabWe all laughed and had fun the whole time, and unlike some groups, didn’t need to stay up until 3am sorting out our stuff. We were done and dusted by the time we had to meet at 6:30pm for Chilli Crab at the Esplanade! Sa-weet!

So I’d like to shout out a huge thank you to my lovely, talented and fabulous group. You have re-energized me and I learned a lot from working with you.

Peace out!

Photo Credits:
Apple Arc – ToGa Wanderings
Chilli Crab peace – Thomas Galvez

Group Dynamic!

ADE group T-shirtsYou know how sometimes the planets align and everything works effortlessly? When you somehow manage to snag the most productive, knowledgeable and talented bunch of people and complete tasks with absolutely no stress and plenty of fun? Well, that was my group for the ADE 2010 Challenge Based Learning task!

I decided I wanted to focus on sharing best practice with teachers wanting to integrate technology more into their classrooms. Thankfully (and perhaps intentionally), I found a group of like-minded people to inoneplace logohelp work on this issue.

By the end of day 3 of the ADE Institute, our group knew we were going to create a website that would be edited by invited educational tech experts, which would feature best practice at our various International Schools. We even had a name – we secured the domain inoneplace.org and were on our way…

PizzaWe decided we wanted our presentation to the other ADEs to be a take off of the launch of the iPad (please take the time to look at the link!), so we set about creating something similar. We got T-Shirts on the cheap, and had Chrissy write our domain name on the front & our twitter handles on the back. I noted down the text on the video and Jeff modified it to fit our product (over sensational pizza at lunch). Patrick offered his house, and set about creating a take-off of Steve Jobs’ Keynote of the iPad launch. Donna said she’d edit the iMovie, and Thomas laid down the sound track using GarageBand.

Jeff videoed us all, then Donna started editing. I wrote the first blog post on the site while the others were creating. Chrissy & I sorted out a twitter name and an email address, while Jeff created the look of the site using WordPress. It would be remiss of me not to mention Patrick’s wife Rebecca, who helped us bring our vision for the logo of our site into being!

Here’s our promo video for your viewing pleasure…

Chilli CrabWe all laughed and had fun the whole time, and unlike some groups, didn’t need to stay up until 3am sorting out our stuff. We were done and dusted by the time we had to meet at 6:30pm for Chilli Crab at the Esplanade! Sa-weet!

So I’d like to shout out a huge thank you to my lovely, talented and fabulous group. You have re-energized me and I learned a lot from working with you.

Peace out!

Photo Credits:
Apple Arc – ToGa Wanderings
Chilli Crab peace – Thomas Galvez