Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Having published about 50 video productions in Vimeo and YouTube, I thought it about time to glean across the work-play done in the past four years.  For example, what have I learned about the composing process in digital media production (DMP)?  My first experience was in our University of Maryland Writing Project in a 2008 summer institute workshop about using PhotoStory3.  I’d put up considerable resistance to crossing the frontier from consumer to participant into Web2.0 but was immediately and surprisingly tantalized with the prospect for composing on multiple tracks: still images, video, voice-on, text-on, sound/music background, transitions.  Something in me leaped at the huge opportunity in representing reality in ways that opened insight and that explored potential world-making and consciousness raising.

After trying PhotoStory a few times, I was pretty sure that it was just too tedious and linear for me.  It imposed a print format onto digital capacity.  In a world with many uncertainties, I’m pretty darn sure that a taste of fire keeps hard work going and that BORING kills effort, etc.  I continue to hear folks saying that teachers should learn in the program that their kids will use and that you should write out the script first, and I still contend that would have killed or maimed the DMP drive in me.

So I looked for a program in which I could feel the dynamic combustion when these multiple tracks do their magic.  I bought Pinnacle Studio 12 and it was worth it.  By the next summer, I was able to enjoy making my workshop digital.

And I’m not limited to high-tech schools with multiple-track production programs. When I carry the enthusiasm for DMP and Web2.0+, we will continue to discover how to forge the lightbulb energy of whatever tech we have with the creative minds of learners.

In short, I push for teachers to experience their own flash of insight and joy of creativity when they engage DMP.  We need to invest in edge-of-consciousness composing instead of take-out whatever’s in your pocket, backpack, or bag.  We should take the time to leave the mundane and go search out what’s personally and socially compelling, make our rough etchings there, and love it when they transform into the articulation of deep meaning and feeling.  I’ve done this with teachers in Reins of Power.

With a taste of fire, we can burn through the verbiage of imposed standards to construct experiences in our classrooms that reach to the essence where light and heat prove the value and touch the joy of learning.  That’s starting right.