Amy's Whimsical Musings
In early September, I was thrilled to get an email request from Mozilla to be a part of their first ever “Webmaker Fellows” program. Apparently, they were pleased with my Introduction video for the #teachtheweb MOOC using the Popcornmaker tool. I had previously used (and loved!) Popcornmaker for my final project for the E-Learning and Digital Cultures MOOC with Coursera in this cheesy ’80’s music video parody/commentary on our present relationship with digital devices: “Digital Life”. I immediately saw the potential for Popcornmaker in the classroom, particularly for annotating student-curated videos, end-of-the-year reflection vlogs, and introduction videos.
My challenge, however, was to tap into the “remix” nature of Popcornmaker and create 3 “makes” that would lend themselves to a call to action of sorts – inspiration for people to remix. I will be writing a few posts about my makes and the process it took to develop them (including all the troubleshooting!). This first I envisioned as a SERIES entitled “GloBALL”. The concept came about as I was brainstorming with a student, and like most creative endeavors, it helps to have another person generate ideas with you.
Basically, it’s a call to have fun (i.e. have a ball) on an international scale, with people from around the world by finding joy in the arts and even in the mundane, and sharing that joy by “passing it on” in a crowdsourced, remixable platform.
The first simple idea was “GloBEAT”. This entails people from around the world adding to the original Popcornmaker video (or creating their own) by striking a beat on anything (preferably something commonplace) and annotating with their photo, Twitter handle or name, and map. I didn’t have time to get friends to do this, but instead created a sample:
I hope this would take off, as percussion is very therapeutic and it would just be neat to see all kinds of people from different corners of the globe bonding in this way. Of course, they would have to be careful to share with the hashtag #globeat as Popcornmaker currently does not offer much in social media connection (like channel subscriptions or notifications).
My student and I came up with all kinds of versions of the GloBALL project, including “GloBAR”, where people could add quick video clips of themselves at bars and pubs around the world stating where they are (augmented with a map annotation), what they’re drinking, and saying “Cheers!” in the local lingo. Here’s what I could gather together in a week and mashup:
“GloBELLY” ( an obvious riff on “globally”) would entail participants adding clips to the mashup of them at local restaurants or even their homes, describing what culturally-specific dish they are eating. I thought this would go over big, but when I asked my social media friends, only one dear man in Sweden sent me a clip. I included it in the GloBAR mix above.
The most surprising was the response I received for the “GloBARD” project – a call for people to recite their favourite poem or song lyrics and describe why they love it. In a mere few days I was able to gather several AMAZING audio and video recordings I could splice together for the sample.
1. I had to import all the audio recordings (most people used “Memo” on their iPhone) into my Soundcloud account for easy importing into Popcornmaker. Sure, I could have spliced everything together in iMovie first, but I really wanted to play with the platform and see how easy it would be to compile and edit clips directly in Popcornmaker.
2. All video clips had to go into YouTube (most participants were keen to send me YouTube clips in the first place). Again, that was for no-fuss importing into Popcornmaker.
3. I had to keep all the extra resources (hyperlinks, images, and participants’ narratives) organized, so I created folders for each.
4. I had to figure out a consistent design (same font and size for each participant, same format for titles, etc.)
5. For the audio-only clips, I had to decide what to use to fill in the white space – images? typography (quotes)? photos of the author or speaker? I ended up, as one can see, keeping it rather simple with a few hyperlinks as well.
This project took hours and hours (my estimate is at least 8). However, ideally the remix would be crowdsourced, so that each person adds his or her own portion and sends it on.
I had one problem: for some reason Popcornmaker would not let me add one last audio entry – it kept cutting it off at 22 minutes (yes, I know that is a long video). I’d therefore recommend that each remix of GloBARD be kept to 15 minutes or less.
Other than that it was fairly intuitive – just keep in mind you need only click ONCE (not the usual double-click) to insert media into the timeline. I also prefer the “POP UP” option for all media rather than “Fade”, which takes a while to load.
Overall I was really impressed by the passion and diversity of my friends and acquaintances (albeit, 3 people submitted Pablo Neruda poems). I think this would be an excellent project for the classroom, or even for establishing international connections between classrooms in different nations. You could even challenge students to incorporate an “epic question” at the end of their poem to prompt discussion. Personally, I’d do this project for fun, or maybe even have one specifically for music lyrics (who doesn’t want to reminisce about those great ’80s songs!?)
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