C.A.R.E is a 16 minute long documentary filmed by 5 Bucknell students taking an English Film/Media Studies course. The film was selected from a list of possibilities from the Film/Media Production Clinic, where every semester local organizations bid to have videos completed by film students. The C.A.R.E. program was selected because of the high impact this type of project could have on ex-offenders. The students wanted to participate in a meaningful production that could create social change.
The program was created by Judge Yvette Kane and is supported by additional Judges Thomas Vanaskie and William Arbuckle. The program hopes to reduce the recidivism rate by offering participants the opportunity to receive support. The ex-offenders are partnered with probation offers, Judges, and community members who help council. Ex-offenders who participate in the program can receive a reduced sentence, receive funding to attend college, and aid in finding jobs.
The program hopes to become a model to reduce recidivism across the country and hopes more inmates awaiting release will be encourage to participate due to the testimonies of the participants of the documentary film.
My community work with the Wildlife Leadership Academy was my first attempt at a Virtual Digital Storytelling Experience with 4 participants from the Wildlife Leadership Academy camps. Michelle Kittell, the Executive Director of the non-profit organization wanted to use digital storytelling as a part of a fund-raising campaign for the organization. Four participants, four digital stories of conservation, each released within a week of each other to help promote the camps and raise money.
We worked virtually with the participants because they were not local. Two were in high school at the time, the third in college, and the fourth a recent graduate of college. The wordpress site acted as a hub of information for the participants to access any and all information they needed regarding the assignment. It also served as guide for anyone wishing to duplicate such a process. All materials and scaffolding of the assignment available for anyone. The link to the blog is below followed by my report and presentation on the project. I think others who are looking to duplicate such a process will find my reports valuable.
Sarah’s How a Mayfly Nymph changed my life
Jackie’s Hunting: Conserving Our Tomorrow
David’s An Unexpected Journey: Inspired by Japanese Stilt Grass
Roberts’ Hunting for Understanding
Professor Janice Mann (Art History) and Rebecca Reeve (Art History ’17) collaborated on a research project during the summer of 2016 to digitize archival materials in the Packwood House Museum. The Packwood House was the residence of Bucknell graduate Edith Fetherston and her husband, John. Reeve worked with Courtney Paddick and Carrie Johnston to learn how to scan, digitize, and write metadata for the collection of postcards that Edith Fetherston received from friends traveling the globe in the early twentieth century. Reeve and Mann are generating an Omeka exhibit that will showcase these postcards and eventually serve as an online repository and virtual museum for the entirety of the Packwood House papers and collections.
This research collaboration grew out of Mann’s fall 2015 course, “The West Imagines the Rest,” in which students learned about the ways westerners interpret and collect eastern art. During the course, students worked alongside Emily Sherwood to create a virtual guide for the museum, which featured Edith Fetherston’s collections from her travels in Asia.
If you are wondering how you might be able to produce some of these project ideas in a low tech way, I think the best option has always been to use the technology the students are coming to the classroom with. You don’t need costly equipment to produce great multimodal stories. Most students have either an iPhone or an Android. Right there you have your camera, the most expensive piece of technology you need is now eliminated and production and post production apps are everywhere, available through the app store for free or a minimal cost. Now you just need a few inexpensive pieces of equipment to seal the deal. That’s why I’ve created the Going Mobile Packs for our students.
Going Mobile Packs were created with the intention of using the equipment that students come to campus with. We all know that the cameras and sound recording on smart devices these days are pretty good. The film Tangerine, was filmed using an iPhone 5s. Bently shot this short documentary style car commercial entitled Intelligent Details on the iPhone 5s as well.
What’s included in the Going Mobile Pack:
Check out these great YouTube iPhone Video How To’s from Matthew Pearce called iPhone Filmmaking Tips.
Vengence, a short film, created by Matthew Pearce was entirely crafted on the iPhone 4s including filming, color grading, editing, and special effects.
Recommended Apps: iMovie or Pinnacle Studio, FiLMiC Pro, GarageBand. Of course the sky is the limit when it comes to apps these days.
Inexpensive tripods can be found anywhere but I highly recommend that students use one.
If you are interested in learning more about the Going Mobile Packs contact Brianna Healey Derr from Digital Pedagogy & Scholarship, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deconstructing a TV Commercial: Media Literacy
Lesson plan created by Frank W. Baker, media educator- copyright 2009
For years, ever since I first saw this commercial, I have been using this ad in my media literacy workshops. We know that young people watch a lot of TV, and so, we know they are exposed to a lot of commercials, even though they may zap (skip) them.
Most of our young people already own mobile (cell) phones—they’re already connected. But if we ask these same young people: how was the cell phone first marketed? this question alone is a good backgrounder for what they are about to see.
Teaching advertising is a great way to infuse media literacy, critical viewing, and high order thinking skills into instruction. We know our students are targets for all kinds of products and services. We know that advertisers use every trick in the book (techniques of persuasion) to make their products attractive, appealing and believable. We also know that most students watch media passively. Media literacy, among other things, is designed to turn them into active (questioning) thinkers/viewers.
Introduction: For the most part, students have never been taught how to watch or deconstruct television. (For that matter, many educators have never had a minute of media literacy training.) This activity involves listening and viewing a commercial for cell phones. Students will be encouraged to look deeply and to ask questions about the production techniques used to make the commercial. (Most national and state standards for English/Language Arts include both “viewing” and “listening” so this activity can help educators fulfill those objectives.)
Pre-viewing questions Students should be challenged with questions like:
who creates commercials and for what purpose?
what techniques do the creators use to make a product appealing?
how do they know who might be their “target audience”?
which specific “techniques of persuasion” might be used in this ad?
which television shows will the creators buy time within to show the ad?
how much does it cost to make an ad; to position it inside a prime-time program?
how are camerawork, lighting, music, editing used to tell the story?
how do I feel after seeing a commercial? How does it appeal to my emotions?
Step One: first, ask your students to simply close their eyes while you playback the one minute ad. (click the image below to start the video )
At the end of the minute, ask them to open their eyes and to write down everything they heard. Now, why is this important? Most of us are visual learners. Yet commercials are composed of both visuals AND sounds. ( A simple two-column script is how most commercials are formatted.) This exercise is designed to get them to think about the audio (sound) portion of what they experience. Give your students about a minute to make their list. After the minute, you should ask: what did you hear? Be prepared to write their responses on the board, overhead, or WhiteBoard. Invariably, some students may have heard things in the commercial that others in the class did not hear. For example, ask how many heard the wolf (or dog) howling? For those who did not hear it, you can point this out in step two.
Step Two: Be prepared to play the commercial a second time: this time allowing them to see it for first time. Before doing so, ask your students this question: Other than cell phones, what else is being sold? (This question is designed to get them thinking about how the creator of the cell phone ad used techniques to sell….fear, for example). After the second viewing, ask students the question: what else is being sold? (Did they answer fear?) Why would cell phone makers use fear to sell their products? What techniques did they use to “sell” fear? ( student should think about specific words, phrases, sounds, music, etc. ) Can they think of any people who have used fear to sell products/concepts/issues/ candidates?
Post viewing questions
Introduce students to the “languages of television/video production”—these are the tools producers use not only to create media, but also to create meaning. Introduce these before proceeding to step three.
1. camera shots (where is the camera positioned? close-up, far away)
2. camera lens (does the lens zoom in or out?)
3. camera movement (does the camera tilt, pan, truck?)
Lighting: what time of day is depicted? What clues tell you so?
Music: what types of instruments do you hear?
Sounds: other than music, what other sounds are heard (e.g. female narrator, car cranking, sound of cars going by; dog (wolf) howl, etc.)
Setting: where is the location? is it artificial or real? justify your response.
Post production: editing, what impact does it have?
Actors’ Expression: other than words, notice how an actor communicates with facial expression, body language, gestures.
Step Three: Playing the commercial again. If you have time, play the commercial a third time: assign groups of students to one of the languages of television/video production. They will be responsible for discussing the ad from their groups’ assignment.
– how many close ups; medium shots, wide shots?
– why is lighting important? how does it help to set the mood?
– describe the music; does it remind you of something?
– how do sound effects contribute to the feel of this spot?
– what is the setting; how do you know; is it realistic?
– count the number of edits (the number of times the shot changes.) Students should count out loud.
After this screening, you might ask: what is the impact of quick edits?
– what non-verbal expressions are used that might reveal how she is feeling, thinking?
– What happens at the end of the commercial? Why do you think the producer of the commercial stopped it like that? What do you think might happen next?
– Power: who has power and who is powerless in the ad? How does that make you feel?
Optional: have your students create the actual script for this commercial. Download a blank script template here. Ask students to re-create the script. In the video column they should make a list of each shot and describe it in detail. In the audio column, they should document everything that is heard.
For further discussion questions about this specific ad, go to page 64 of the document Literacy for the 21st Century
For more resources on teaching advertising and media literacy, go here
To view other YouTube videos with accompanying lesson plans, go here
By using the same exact images and placing different tones of music over our visual, we can manipulate the emotions of our audience. Notice narrator, Tom Grebenick, as he talks about Shamokin. His words are very neutral. It’s only when a specific tone of music is added as an element of storytelling that we feel his tone of the city sways one way or another when in actuality it isn’t. The music is manipulating your emotions and making you feel a very specific way.