Feb 03 2010

Creating a DVD

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Last week I tried the dvd toolkit and recorded my first dvd using the burning software that came with MSVista.  It was a very easy task to accomplish.  It was done in minutes.  I didn’t have a video on hand, so I just used a sample video that came with the operating system combined with a few pictures I took along the same theme.

I didn’t manage to follow all the instructions from the toolkit, namely in the naming for the files and folders.  I would hope there are more options available to me with this software but I haven’t found many so far.

This takes me to the case study for the Diabetes DVD.  As the friend/teacher I would certainly suggest using a dvd as a teaching tool.  Essentially, in this case, the dvd will be used to reinforce the lessons taught face to face.  The main need identified in this case is that of second language learners who have not mastered English in its written form.

Firstly, burning the dvd will be the easiest task.  I see the recording and mostly the editing of the video footage as the more challenging task.  I would suggest that Anju use many versions of the video to produce the final product (she needs to record 2-3 presentations).  That way, she will be able to choose the best lessons for the final video.  When we teach, we have a way of explaining things in a slightly different way each time, as we adapt our explanations to the audience.  Such is the nature of oral communication.  In terms of time, it will take maybe 2 to 3 hours of teaching to get the required footage.

Editing the footage down to manageable segments should take about 30 hours.  I’ve based my estimate on learning how to use a basic software such as Movie Player, which comes with her Vista operating system.  There are more sophisticated applications, but let’s assume she doesn’t want to invest time and money in learning video editing.  It should take her roughly 10 hours to learn Movie Player and then another 20 to produce a good quality video.

This part is important – in order to make the video easier to navigate, I would suggest chucking the various parts of the lesson into short segments that can be called up through the dvd menu.  That way the audience can watch the parts that they need to reinforce rather than watch the whole lesson, over and over.  I see navigation as a key component in this video.  And the menu items should be clearly labelled, with simple titles, for easy access.

In addition, I would add still shots that can be either photos of a demonstration, such as how to test for blood sugar, or text based slides for further reinforcement.  She can also use Movie Player to create text slides and titles.

The final step will be the distribution of the dvd.  It can be given out after training sessions or distributed to community centers, doctor’s offices or even through libraries.  This could help her increase her client base and possibly help cover the cost of production and distribution of the dvds.

I estimated the time needed to complete this project based on my experience with the dvd burning software on my own computer, my own experiences with using Movie Player and a conversation with our school tech teacher.  I have never used or edited video, so I tried to approach this case from the point of view of a novice.  Anju should be able to cope easily with her project, as long as she gives herself the benefit of trial and error.  The fun is in the experimenting.  Later on, she might even try adding subtitles in the language of her clients…

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Jan 15 2010

Response to Sections

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I’d like to discuss two items in this article that are particularly pertinent to my classroom situation. For some background information you might read the post (actually a rant) on my blog https://blogs.ubc.ca/cteachr565b/2010/01/13/section-2-readings/

The first item under Student is Access. At one time I was the site admin for my school. One to the main goals we had was to ensure equity in terms of access to the equipment. Historically, the Computer and Business courses were taught in a lab. That left little availability for other classes such as English, History or even Science. The Enrichement students had a special program that allowed them full access to the lab for 1 or 2 periods per day but they were a small, select few. I don’t even want to mention how under-served the 7/8 classes were.

A lot of money is spent developing curriculum and activities and updating textbooks to reflect the use of technology, yet little consideration is given to the limited access afforded to the majority of students. By now most students in our community have personal computers and unlimited (often unsupervised) internet access. However, that does not help the teacher who is teaching all classes in a portable and can only access the computer lab by booking it weeks in advance. This lack of accessibility severely limits and certainly greatly affects the chosen method of curriculum delivery, evaluation and assessment.

The second item is ease of use and reliability. Referring back to my blog post, it is frustrating to students to be working with older, slower technology. Their frustration is so great that they tend to destroy equipment, call out inappropriate comments to the tech guy (who’s office is adjacent to my classroom) or do everything with the computer except the assigned task.

The problem does not lie uniquely with the equipment. The software is frequently the problem. Our board does not provide MSOffice products. We are using WordPerfect (it’s free) and OpenOffice for our Business applications. A software that won’t load, freezes or shuts you down in the middle of an assignment is never appreciated.

The decisions as to what software is being used are made at the board level, so the teacher has little input. A further frustration lies with the network constraints that keep innocent software such as dumpr.net locked because it is interpreted as a game.

And finally, there is the issue of the slow connection that makes certain uploads impossible (like Toondoo) or watching video streaming a painful experience.

It seems to me that the teachers need a bigger say in what technology is chosen for the board. I understand that we are in a great period of upheaval with web 2.0 tools being the light at the end of the tunnel.

In the meantime, I can only hope that many of the tools I will explore in this course will be compatible with my environment. Although they show great promise, any technology that doesn’t have the basic qualities of being accessible and reliable is better qualified as an experiment than an aid to learning.

I know some of you have a lot of experience getting teachers to integrate technology in the curriculum. I’d like to hear your views on access and reliability?

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