Monday, November 2, 2009

COETAIL Course 3, Reflection 6

I found the Kevin Kelly post about screen literacy fascinating and little optimistic.

With full-blown visuality, I should be able to annotate any object, frame or scene in a motion picture with any other object, frame or motion-picture clip. I should be able to search the visual index of a film, or peruse a visual table of contents, or scan a visual abstract of its full length. But how do you do all these things? How can we browse a film the way we browse a book?

While I have no doubt that many minds much smarter than my own are hard at work trying to make this possible, I think it is a very sticky computational problem. The sheer mass of video that is being produced is staggering. The power necessary to sift through all those images and videos will be enormous. I wonder when the web will overtake transportation in terms of energy consumption? Has it already?

While I am not holding my breath, I certainly would love to have access to the web this way. This way I wouldn’t get images of this…

confused with images of this:

COETAIL Course 3, Reflection: Final Project

Here is my final project, a screencast explaining some ways to think about formatting a document using styles.

The goal of this project for me was to produce a stand-alone presentation that could be used by HS English teachers to give guidance on efficient formatting functions, particularly in MS Word. Firstly I checked in with the department head to identify a unit during which they might want to use such a presentation. After identifying research papers as a good candidate I obtained the formatting sample that the students receive. I used it to identify a subset of commonly overlooked, but useful functionality available in MS Word and other word processing and layout applications. I chose screencasting as the delivery mechanism.

I did a bit of experimentation with screencasting software to get comfortable with it. As I planned my screencast I tried to think of the audience. In my experience it can be difficult to persuade people to do things differently in familiar programs. I identified fear of an unproductive learning curve, as in spending 15 min learning something that only saves 5 minutes work, as the main obstacle.

Initially I approached it almost like an infomercial, trying to be convincing. I also spent way too long rehearsing and fighting with Word trying to get it to behave consistently. The screencast was becoming very long, detailed and boring.

I reread presenting naked for some inspiration and completely revamped the majority of the video. Making the lessons more general and being honest about the difficulties involved really helped my message.

I am looking forward to feedback from the English department.