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.

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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.

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Volvo not included – getting creative with iPad

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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.

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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.

#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.

Visual Storytelling Made Simple: Storehouse for iPad

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Did you know that the very first version of Instagram (Burbn) was intended as a ‘Swiss army knife’ of an app… kitchen sink included. As development progressed went on, Kevin Systrom and his team stripped out feature after feature to arrive at the simple (but effective) photo sharing app that subsequently sold to Facebook for 1 Billion Dollars only 18 months after launch.

Storehouse is a new digital visual storytelling application for iPad and shares something of the simplicity of Instagram.

Positioned somewhere between Storify and photo book production, Storehouse maximises the intuitive interface potential of the iPad. Bring in pictures and video from your iPad’s photo albums, Flickr, Dropbox and Instagram to create (very quickly) a polished ‘story’ that can be annotated with text (again, limited to ‘header’, ‘quote’ or ‘regular’) and published on the web to the Storehouse community and to the world.

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Experienced desktop publishers might see the application as limited. As a long-time Adobe InDesign user the power of Storehouse, to me, is in its simplicity. Within 30 mins of downloading the app for the first time I had browsed some great stories (links below) and had one of my own ready to publish.

Sharing is simple too – Facebook, Tweet or email a link to stories. Click ‘recommend‘ to bookmark stories you might like to return to. I expected ‘recommend‘ to be a ‘like’ but I can’t see that Storehouse display numbers of ‘recommendations’, only ‘views’.

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Translation to bigger screens via your web browser is excellent, no need for ‘mum’ to download any pesky desktop apps to see your story. As yet embedding is not an option, but I wonder if that’s an intentional choice for now… YouTube videos can turn up in all sorts of places – Storehouse stories can only be seen on their site.

Developed by a team that includes an ex-Apple employee, the presentation is very cool – limited, but unfussy. As with Storify, the inability to ‘save a version’ of my work is a little disconcerting. I once experienced hours of work on Storify disappear due to a server problem. Once was enough.

Although a PDF would be appreciated, I have to say that much of the functionality and beauty of the ‘story’ would be lost. The Storehouse versions flow and bounce and twist (to close) in the fluid way we have grown accustomed to in well executed iPad apps. And while images can be cropped in the ‘story’, a single tap has the image appear full screen and uncropped.

storehouse application image

While less than a week old the Storehouse community is growing and, like me, they see a lot of potential and room to grow.

I think Storehouse would be great learning tool for schools. My daughter loves creating Keynote (Powerpoint) slides about her favourite subjects. On an iPad I could see the simplicity and intuitive nature of Storehouse being really popular with children creating home or class projects – but for that to happen I would want the ability to create private accounts, maybe even private groups where stories could be shared with the class, youth club, etc.

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I can also see me using Storehouse as a presentation tool – particularly for image heavy and Pecha Kucha style slides; particularly for the cropped images that then appear full screen.

But, I’ve kept you for far too long – you should try it out for yourself.

Have a browse through the stories I’ve linked below, including my own ‘SuperFly’ exhibition retrospective… (read more about SuperFly here)

Remember where you heard about Storehouse first – if it was here then come back and tell me what you think. If you make a ‘story’ (or you already have one) link to them in the comments below or Tweet me @OnTheSuperFly

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Capture. Edit. Share: Film Making on iPad

Over the last few years I’ve been running workshops using iPads; video editing, audio (AudioBoo), animation, image manipulation and more. I can tailor them to young people from 7yrs and up; however I’ve found that there are also a number of adults who would like to know how to use their new devices more creatively. (If as an individual, or member of a group, would like training then drop me a message…)

Perth iMovie Feeback

So, it was great to be back in Perth this week working with ‘Living Communities‘.

I ran a film making workshop (one pupil’s feedback above) with the assistance of two dancers from Space, Dundee College’s Dance Academy. Obviously it’s useful having some form of content to capture, but having the dancers gave us something quite dynamic to film without having to worry about scripts, cues, or plot lines and so on.

The format of the day was that the dancers did a presentation in the main hall. They then came up with a shorter piece which they repeated throughout the morning and afternoon. The pupils suggested the locations, found their filming positions and took turns fulfilling the various roles required, filming, clapperboard, extras, etc…
They then had 45mins to edit what they’d captured down to between 60-90 seconds. Finally we had the Fast Film Festival where every group presented their film.

The video below is a summary of the workshop:

Each group was made up of between 2 and four pupils and one iPad. Collaboration and sharing was the team’s responsibility and though we had a very larger group they handled the challenges of filming together really well.

Coincidentally, I recently did some filming with SmallPetitKlein, dance studio in Dundee. This next video is one of the initial rough edits of a collaborative piece for the ‘Sense of Place’ exhibition at McManus. It proved very useful this week as an example of what the pupils in Perth could achieve. (The final outcome that resulted from this film is currently in the exhibition at The McManus, Dundee.)

Sense of Place – part three

electric theatre

I started using QR Codes in 2010 – firstly to see if I could add any value to advertising. I then became more interested in education and developing the ‘game’ element (of what were essentially digital treasure hunts) to engage children in learning activities.

Conveniently, in the middle of this diversion from advertising in education I was asked to create a trail for an eTouirsm PhD Summer School at the School of Computer Science at St Andrews University. One of the lecturers had been watching the NEoN Knights QR Game unfold on Twitter and got in touch.

QR page mini-banner

His brief was for my trail to achieve two things: 1) An example, on day one, of technology enabling tourism that would prompt discussion and encourage the students to design their own ‘products’ throughout the remainder of the week. 2) An ice breaker, an introduction for the students (most of whom would be travelling from across Scotland) to St Andrews and to each other.

The aim of the eTourism trail, from my perspective, was a combination of both advertising and education. For a city like St Andrews those tow things are inseparable because the majority of the tourism is heritage and history.

St Andrews Space Hop

It was also an opportunity to engage with a Twitter/Social Media active community of independent traders across St Andrews who would value the interaction with tourism in a technological way and boast about it through their online channels.

The combination of these three opportunities has prepared me with the experience to create at least two other trails (though their have been more) that both educate and entertain:

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Dighty Water – A vital stretch of water in Dundee’s history; rich with stories that have been gathered and tagged to QR Codes that will be dotted along portions of the walkway that follows the water.

And now:

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Sense of Place (SoP): The McManus, Dundee

The McManus has a fantastic permanent collection, curated under the title of The Making of Modern Dundee (MoMD). This collection is situated down stairs at The McManus includes remnants of the original Tay Bridge that collapsed in 1879, through to video games from the 1980s created in the city. Many of the objects in this collection inspired work created for Sense of Place. Without moving them, we wanted to acknowledge them as part of our exhibition. QR Codes were the simple solution.

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Throughout the SoP exhibition programme visitors will find QR Codes alongside project descriptions. These codes deliver additional content and help visitors understand the connection to MoMD – you may even find a sample hide here…

However, should you wander into MoMD knowing nothing about SoP there are QR Codes on the display cases that point you to the relevant work in our exhibition.

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For me, it is the richest combination of physical and digital artefacts that I have worked on and another accomplishment in the image of the model I established with my Masters ‘Mystery Boxes’ project during 2011.

As if this wasn’t enough, the content behind some of the QR Codes are pieces of work that could constitute an exhibition for themselves. Trips across the Tay Bridge replicating a journey made, captured and shared over 100 years ago. Besides that you can share in the tour of MoMD that we made as a group with Brian Cox and hear him recounting memories of growing up an living in 1950s Dundee.

mcmanus-qr-codes

The thread through all of this is a desire to preserve memories, stories and experiences. While this feels very new, because the technology is so ubiquitous in 2013, we learned that our capturing and sharing activity is no different, in practice, to that of 1897. More people have access to the tools but the majority of them are filming the mundane processes of daily life as the pioneering filmmakers of the late 19th Century had. Train journeys. People at work. Children at school.

So, I am very grateful to ‘Sense of Place’. As I’ve said before, working with the young people was rewarding/entertaining enough. But in addition to that, together we’ve worked on projects that we will talk about for the rest of our lives – Tay Bridge journey, SmallPetitKlein, Brian Cox, the BIG Print, and so on… Finally, the fact that we’ve had the opportunity to bring it all together for the exhibition is the icing on the cake. But not just any old icing. Elaborate, swirly, multicoloured icing with adornments of sweet decorations covering a beautifully hand-made cake. That’s what it’s like.

Go along. Have a look. Let me know what you think.

Thanks :)

Find out more about:

NEoN Knights (Digital Arts Festival) – St Andrews Space Hop (St Andrews Uni PhD Summer School) – Balmullo Primary School (Permanent Heritage Trail)
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Sense of Place – part one

YAGsop - poster

Having worked on the Living Communities project in Perth I was keen to carve out a deeper ‘educational-digital-projects-that-are-not-dull’ kind of niche for myself. Working in Perth  Museum and Art Gallery was a great experience. I love museums. And engaging kids with content and spaces, that are both often perceived as ‘dull’, is a thrill.

So, 18 January, 2013 I approached The McManus | Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum. One covering email and a link to my ‘services‘ PDF later and I’m the luckiest chap there is…

Because the National Gallery for Scotland had, only days before, invited McManus to collaborate on a group project (with three other museums across Scotland) called Scotland Creates: A Sense of Place. While McManus has plenty of talented artists they needed someone to deal with ‘digital’ stuff. Nice timing, eh?!

Almost 12 months later I’ve only made passing references to McManus and Sense of Place because we’ve been saving the best of what we’ve done for the exhibition. Of course as time goes on some of that gets relegated because even better work comes along and there simply isn’t room for all of it!

So, there will be a few gems that I will be able to share over the next few months as ‘DVD extras‘ to what we have in the exhibition… speaking of which…

The exhibition, Sense of Place, opens this week! Thursday 12 December is the private view and Friday 13 is the official opening. Here are the private view cards – we have four (of course) which split our Instagram’d poster image into four… (collect ’em al!)

YAGsop - Private View Invite

Sense of Place was constructed around the need to get more young people into museums. McManus already has a great track record of getting young people through its door because of YAG! The Youth Action Group (YAG) is simply a couple of hours on a Thursday evening, when the museum is closed to everyone else, and we get creative. YAG is 14+ and will start again in February. If you, or someone you know, is interested, drop me a line or contact McManus directly and ask for Keri.

I’ll say more about Sense of Place another time, for now it’s enough to say that there were train journeys and QR Codes and Hollywood actors and iPads and steam rollers and animation and Instagram and walking through walls and time travel and Tumblr and modern dance interpretation and… and… oh, and tea! Quite a lot of the time there was tea.

Scotland Creates: Sense of Place
The McManus | Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum
Opens Friday 13 December, 10am

To throw your hat into the ring for a limited number of private view invitations, please leave a comment below. Quick!