August 4, 2006

Educational historiography on Youtube

I've taken a few pieces from the historiography of common-school reform, mashed it up a famous pop-culture icon, and ruined it, but for instructional purposes. Oh, yes, and I've uploaded it to YouTube. See Version 1 starring Orestes Brownson as well as Version 2 starring Horace Mann (each 73 seconds long). Now, if only someone would make the movies to go along with the introductory text.

Background: several years ago, when I was retooling my only online course, I wanted to establish more social presence (a word I learned from Brookfield and Preskill's Discussion as a Way of Teaching, even though I didn't know that term then). So I figured I needed to use a bit of creativity in creating online presentations, something with a bit of humor in ways that could still get points across. So, for a presentation discussing some aspects of common-school reform, I used Blender software to create movie introductions to capture very different perspectives on common-school reform. It certainly worked in terms of getting my students' attention, though I didn't have time or any ideas on background music (and borrowing from the John Williams score was right out, obviously), so I just talked over the images.

The presentation files were humongous and this upcoming semester, I'm trying to be a little lighter with them, using one of the commercial software packages for turning presentations into Flash packages—that way, the bulk of the file is the audio. But I wanted those text animations! And I wanted some background music. So today, after my daughter came home from school, I downloaded SuperJAM, set up a style within it to create background music that is entirely different from what any viewer would expect but still fits the genre, and melded it to the movies that already existed. A little bit more work, and now it's available for anyone who wants to be a victim of my "creativity." Bwahahaha!

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Posted in History on August 4, 2006 7:15 PM |