Moonshot!

Not sure of the context or origin of this – and maybe that’s the best way to view it…

My take on it is that this is how prepared you should be when making a pitch – if you don’t believe in it then no one else will. And if you’re going to make a change, make a big one, aim high. That’s all.

One Day Digital with Nesta

nesta one day digital

It was One Day Digital at Glasgow University on Saturday. Organised by Nesta UK I was invited to provide a workshop to enable Primary Teachers some basic understanding on how they might use iPads for creative projects in their classrooms. I set the scene here.

nesta one day digital

My approach was a combination of showcasing projects I have run and the work that has come out of them; demonstrations of practical and inexpensive apps to use; and some ‘in-at-the-deep-end’/‘off-you-go-and-do-it’ group tasks. Each session broke up into two or three groups periodically throughout the workshop. Each group produced a short film and an animation.

The irony of reinforcing the point that all film-making requires a great amount of preparation, and then sending 13 teachers off to complete a task they are totally unprepared for wasn’t lost on me – however, they all stepped up and threw themselves into the task and what you see below are some of the ‘fruits’ of the day.

nesta one day digital(If you were there and you have content on your own iPad you would like to share please contact me through the form here. (contact page))

Frankenstein’s Photos were pretty popular – basically using a framing app to composite sections of each team member to make one new face with frightening results.

We also managed to stage what must be the shortest film festival in history in that each of the animations were less than four seconds each.

 

One Day DigitalSo despite the very early start (Taxi at 6:20am) to get to Glasgow Uni for 9:30 and inevitable Groundhog Day effect of delivering the same workshop twice, it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed working with everyone.

Finally, here’s a Storify prepared by Nesta who programmed and managed the event – thanks to them too.

If you were there, what was your KEY take-away from the day? Please leave comments and feedback below. Much appreciated.

Volvo not included – getting creative with iPad

learning-ipad-1

This Saturday at Glasgow University I’m hosting a Digital Media class using iPads at Nesta’s One Day Digital event for primary school teachers. The focus will, quite honestly, be my eleven year old self’s wish list of school holiday activities… film-making and editing, animation, audio recording, image manipulation and sharing them.

volvoTo do all of this 20-odd years ago – as I did – and to make it mobile would have required a Volvo estate… bulky cameras, VHS machines and clunky TVs, meters of power and connector cables.

Of course things have moved on, but do you realise how much? In 1982, nearly 10 years before I bought my first video camera, ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) the emerging digital division of George Lucas’ (creator of Star Wars) movie company Lucas Film, created cinema’s first entirely computer-generated (CG) sequence. It was in Star Trek II: The Warth of Kahn, it lasted 60 seconds and cost a reported $250,000 (total budget of which was only $11M) and required a computer that would have filled several large rooms.

Today, any reasonably high-end laptop has the processing power to generate effects vastly superior in quality at a fraction of the cost.

But we’re not going high-end. Let’s take a step back because while laptops got more powerful other options emerged too.

Joby gorillapod video and grip tight

I have several cameras in the house, but the one I use the most isn’t the best quality, it’s the one that fits easily in my pocket. Equally I love vinyl records too but I mostly listen to music on a device that, yep, fits in my pocket. Coincidentally the same device that I mostly take photos with.

So for me it comes down to convenience. Gary Penn of Dundee video game company Denki has a set of design rules for computer games – but I believe they could be applied to many creative activities. The key one here is ‘convenience‘.

If I can easily take the device with me everywhere I go then there are more opportunities for me to be creative. I don’t have to plan opportunities in the way that I would have with a car full of kit.

Now, we may not be making an Oscar winning movie on our iPhone or iPad just yet (except for this one perhaps) but the experience will be much more immediate, fun and equally as rewarding; not forgetting extremely convenient.

treehouse qr scan

Of course, in this instance the key audience are those who are unlikely to have Final Cut Pro running on a Pro Mac. What’s more likely is that at school or in the home they have access to a phone or tablet that is capable of colour correction and manipulation of images and moving images; film-making, animation, time-lapse and slo-mo video.

And despite the convenience of mobile devices they can’t yet take away the reality that movie making is often very hard work, with extremes of both intense attention to detail and periods of not very much happening. But we wouldn’t want them to. These mini-projects can help young people understand and appreciate the challenges of the processes as well as the satisfaction of the professional film-maker, documentarian or journalist; but in a space that they can relate to.

Hopefully we’ll capture some examples from Saturday’s workshop and get permission to post them here. I look forward to meeting those of you who are coming along – it should be a great day! UPDATE: Read about it here!

For reference here are the list of apps we’ll be using and what for:

Part One
Movie making – the trailer (App: iMovie)
Movie making – for fun (Apps: Action Movie + iMovie)
Movie making – the documentary (iMovie)

Part Two
Audio/AudioBoo (Apps: Instant Rec and AudioBoo)

Part Three
Frankenstien’s Photo – image manipulation (Apps: Snapseed + Nostalgio)

Part Four
Stop Motion Animation – (App: iMotionHD)
Time lapse – (App: iMotionHD)

Whether you are coming on Saturday or not please feel free to post any queries or comments below.

Digital Storytelling with Fife Young Carers

fife young carers

A what it says on the tin post: Digital Storytelling with Fife Young Carers

This started about a month ago. I met up with a group of Young Carers from Fife with the aim of working on posters and other ways of awareness raising and ways of reaching to the ‘hidden carers’ that we know exist.

Part of the day was spent setting up a blog and I’m happy to say they are still using it. If you go over there you’ll see another output from the day –  a prototype for a viral video (posted above) based around a story they wrote together. They’ve used the blog to document their follow up session where they developed storyboards for a revised version of the film.

I’ll be catching up with them soon to continue work on this a related projects – can’t wait!

Please visit their site and offer some encouragement!

Apps we used: Toon Camera; Flipagram; iMovie (iOS) and Instant Rec.

#HowAreYouWired?

positive wiring tshirt

Positive Wiring – Positive People is a project that has been baking for almost two years. And now it’s ready. Im so pleased to have been a part of it but I also hope that this is just the beginning…

I had the privilege of being present at the launch of Elgin High School’s Positive Wiring – How Are You Wired? website. You can get a taster of the day in the video below and read more about the event and the project itself on the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) news website.

Positive Wiring was one of three projects piloted as a result of the SSSC/IRISS Workforce of the Future (WotF) Challenge (WotF was a collaborative project which crowd-sourced ideas via a website and then, over the course of two days workshopped, prototyped and pitched them with social services staff from across Scotland. Five projects were selected by those who took part and two in particular – Positive Wiring being one of them – have seen significant results.)

However, what I want to write about here is a little more about the process.

positive wiring cake

Recipe for change
If change and innovation has a recipe then, among the many ingredients, buy-in/commitment is the yeast. That teaspoon-and-a-bit may seem insignificant next to a mound of flour an butter, yet it permeates the entire mix and has a significant effect. Without it, their may still be a product, or service, but it’ll be distinctly flat.

Success
And so while there are dozens of factors that contribute to the success, from my perspective, the constant here was the commitment.

All projects require all involved to be 100% invested. And yet it doesn’t always happen. The Elgin Positive Wiring team demonstrated what happens when everyone, at every level and stage of the process, wants the project to succeed; and is prepared to go out of their way to make it happen. In this case, as the young person at the end of the film says, everyone wanted Positive Wiringto thrive.

positive wiring bands

And there’s a lot to shout about: the website (howareyouwired.wordpress.com) – for young people, by young people, in the voice of young people; the ten young ambassadors who fully understand and appreciate the research the project is based upon – whose enthusiasm alone may have more impact than the website through word of mouth/one-to-one, with friends and family.

positive wiring team ElginPositive Wiring is a particularly interesting project because its aim is fundamental change,  a cultural change. Changing behaviours in people is no easy task.

But Positive Wiring is not a sticking plaster, it’s not even a solution, it’s a preventative measure. It demands we change our ways to provide better futures for children not yet conceived. Positive Wiring demands teenagers and young adults think differently and more responsibly about becoming parents.

Positive Wiring is an opportunity to significantly change the lives of future generations; not through a poster in a GPs surgery or national advertising, or even through Government legislation – but through 14/15yr olds. And what a group of 15yr olds we had.

Hopefully other Positive Wiring teams across Scotland and the UK will follow in the footsteps of Elgin. They’re big shoes to fill – so are you up to it?

positive wiring shirts

If you or your class/school/club or youth group would be interested in becoming a Positive Wiring Team please get in touch and I’ll pass you on to the right people.

Exhibition. Reflection. Snacks.

mcmanus feedback 5

Tonight (Thursday 6 February) was a reflection evening at the McManus. We were reflecting on the Sense of Place project with our young artists who range from 15 to 18 years old. We hadn’t seen most of them since the show opened so apart from anything else it was just great having them all together again. And there were snacks.

mcmanus feedback 1

I should point out that these young people come outside of school hours. While they have support from school and family, no one is required to come along – they come because they want to.
Tonight in particular demonstrated their enthusiasm because, let’s face it, tonight wasn’t about ‘making and creating’, it was the dull stuff – answering our questions. You could argue they came for the snacks – however, this is not your stereotypical group of 21st century teenagers and they dutifully told us some of what they had learned. The snacks were a mere perk.

Reflection is essential for us as we begin to prepare to think about new projects but it’s extremely rewarding to hear them articulate the impact it has had over the year.

mcmanus feedback 4

So part one of the evening was to answer a series of four questions:

1) What have you learned about your City?
2) What’s the most important thing you learned, or what had the biggest impact on you?
3) Describe a person you met in the City/through the project who made a strong impression on you? (positive or negative)
4) If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?

Each question was written on a sheet of A2 paper. The young people divided themselves into four groups; each group sat at each question in turn for four minutes writing bullet-style answers. With the sheets mostly full to bursting (and the snacks already near consumed) we moved on to part two and the final question…

mcmanus feedback 2

Each group took turns to gather in our ‘Electric Theatre’ and spent about five minutes answering the question, “Because of Youth Action Group; Sense of Place, I am…”

These answers are posted here in full. They were aware that we were recording and that we would post them although they hadn’t seen the question until we started recording.

So it’s all here (minus snacks); and not so much an ending but, genuinely, it felt/feels like a new beginning; which is perfect because while everyone was very excited to see their work complete and presented, I don’t think any of us feel so precious that we can’t see past it for the next (BIG) thing. And lets not over look the possibility of more snacks in the future.

mcmanus feedback 3

So, if you live near Dundee, ‘Sense of Place’ at The McManus closes tomorrow at 5pm (Friday 7 February) – If you’ve not already been I suggest you hurry up.