About Thinks

Sometimes good thinks happen and sometimes bad thinks happen. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.

Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.

These thinks are linked to many other wonderful thinks and I like to attribute these.

These thinks do not necessary reflect those thinks of my employer.

Think long, think on.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Copyright - It's all the rage

I started making movies in 1986. My parents had friends that owned a television shop in Wanaka. When we visited their family one year they had a video camera. It was the beginning ...



A few years ago my year 3-4 class made a very cool wee video to a popular song at the time, Bad Day by Daniel Powter. The children reenacted situations at school that would constitute a bad day, such as having your lunch stolen, being excluded by friends etc etc. We enthusiastically shared it with the world, uploaded it youtube (we didn't even have a class blog out the time - how odd?!)

Anyway I arrived to school one day to a very disappointed bunch of kids - youtube had muted our very precious video because it breached copyright. The kids were flabbergasted because we had even had a conversation about this and had added a title in the credits where we thanked Daniel Powter for writing the song.

We moved on pretty quickly and no longer included copyrighted music in our movies. Last year I was introduced to the world of creative commons thanks to an online wikieducator course with Wayne Mackintosh. I was also introduced to a creative commons music/social netwoking site Jamendo. For us it is an essential moviemaking tool.

This term the teachers at my school are beginning to get the moviemaking and blogging bug. This is an absolute thrill! Excited teachers come to me for advise, borrowing microphones, and kids are excitingly discussing their films in the playground. Yesterday afternoon (Friday) I left the teacher next door at 5pm happily editing away. Just awesome!

... here comes the BUT

It seems that the natural video making order is to make one using a copyrighted song. For example, making a slow motion movie accompanied by the Chariots of Fire Theme Song. It brings the moving images to life, it draws upon notions of connotative meaning and it enables students to learn how film and music work together. Replication like this is one of the first steps of movie making. Just because I have had a few more years of experience - does this give me the right to blow their buzz?

Fortunately the teacher I was talking to also happens to be the choir teacher of our school. She produced a document that I have never seen before. It is a licence that our school has purchased from ppnz so that our choir can sing songs at school and concerts etc. It includes an AV clause that states:

This licence allows the making of audio and/or video recordings of musical works for the educational purposes of the school and to supply to their students for their private domestic use, providing that the audio or video recording is:

intended to be played at a school event;
of a school event; or
for analysis by students as a part of a course for instruction.

So we figured that if our intention is to show such films at a school assembly, it is okay to use audio that would otherwise be copyrighted? We could even burn a DVD of it for domestic use, but we can't upload it to youtube or blogs. Are we right?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

EduCamp Auckland

Photo supplied by Fiona Grant

Tara TJ and Florence Lyons discussion Minimally Invasive Education
Another fantastic event organised by the lovely Fiona Grant at Epsom Girls Grammar thanks to the other lovely Claire Amos.

There was a fantastic turnout of educators who were all generous in the sharing and learning of ideas. After a fast-paced SMACKDOWN, came three sessions where we grouped ourselves with like-minded others and took responsibility for our own learning.

This was an awesome chance for me and Florence Lyons to discuss F2F the issue of Minimally Invasive Education in a New Zealand context. Over the past two months Florence and I have been connecting via Skype (and Google+ hangouts) and Twitter to debate and discuss constructivism, the Khan Academy, and Minimally Invasive Education.

We were very fortunate to be joined by Margaret May, Chris Dillon, Helen King, Helen Squires,
and Stephanie Thompson. Meaningful conversations were had as to whether or not MIE can be achieved in a NZ context, much of which is documented here. The key message for me from this was:

Our role as teachers MUST change. We need to stop wasting our student's time by 'teaching' them banal content knowledge. This is quite simply because (as the late Arthur C Clarke said to Sugata Mitra):
If a teacher can be replaced by a machine, they should be...


We also discussed the 'barriers' to this paradigm shift in education. Such barriers were the expectations of what learning and education looks like to students, parents, management, and the government.

In the secondary school context, assessments such as NCEA and timetabling can work as a barrier to MIE.

As an aside we discussed the ways in which we teach writing in the primary school context. I was delighted to hear that there are primary schools in NZ that do not arbitrarily dictate certain writing genres each term. It is always good to have ones faith restored in the NZ education system!

We will continue to practise, record, and document the 'glimpses' of MIE we do in our classrooms in the hope that one day it will become the norm. If these educators are anything to go by we will achieve our vision