The Final Unveiling

March 26, 2010 at 1:29 AM (Uncategorized) ()

Tutorial 25.3.2010

Today was our video/group assignment presentation.

Our group decided to go first. I mean, why not? Everyone else seemed a little reluctant to.

So, I was just rubbing my palms thinking, “Let’s just get this done and over with.”

Our video was comparatively short. But I think we did okay. Was happy with what we had done. Honestly, though the video may not seem much, but all our sweat, blood and tears went into every minute of it.

We had the most problem with the file format. Every time we wanted to do something with a video, or a clip, the file format is always not suitable. Like Windows Movie Maker, for example (which was what we used to do our video) could only read .mpg, .mpeg or .wmv files, but not .flv. So, more than a dozen times, we had to convert one file from this format to another, downloading suitable programs just so we could use the file. Much time wasted on that. It was exhausting, seriously >.<

But I was happy with the outcome of our hard work.

Then we saw the other groups’ videos.

OMG.

They were all seriously good ! And I enjoyed each of them :)

How did they make their videos so canggih-fied? Wow. I seriously admire their masterpieces. They were really good :)

I am certainly impressed with our class. We all managed to release fairly decent videos all for the benefit of HPA, the previously unknown and now known mystery jungle area of UKM :P

Some videos actually even made HPA seem worth making a trip to. What a miracle ! XD

However, I am mostly satisfied with our work. Hopefully, Major Jasmy is too :)

If you’re interested, have a look ! Enjoy~

Oh, darn.

Just as I was going to upload our group’s video for you to “Enjoy~” I realized that the WordPress “allowed file formats” do not include .wmv – which is exactly the file format our video is.

Sigh.

Will this problem never cease? :(

I’ll fix this later. Darn. I’m so disappointed. >.<

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The Shiny Thing

March 14, 2010 at 1:17 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Lecture 12.3.2010

Dr. Arba’at took over the lecture last Friday.

I was a little late for class cos I could not wake up that morning. I had slept at 4.00 am the night (or morning, rather) before finishing up my part of the Teaching of Speaking and Listening lesson plan pair assignment.

So, instead of being there by 7.45 am like I usually do, I took the 8.00 am bus and was 10 minutes late to class.

Thankfully, Dr. Arba’at had not started yet.

The first thing I noticed was that the entire class had taken up the first few rows of seats in the lecture hall, which was unusual. Normally, we’d fill up the back seats, waaaaayyyy in the back of the lecture hall.

I snorted. Dr. Arba’at must have made them move forward.

Then, he started his lecture on “Integration of ICT into the Teaching and Learning Process.”

He talked a lot about computers and software and hardware, soft skills and hard skills….

Changes in the teaching and learning process from a teacher-centred one to a student-centred one – which calls for a more independent learning approach. One which integrating ICT in the process can provide. Since exploratory discovery methods of learning is encouraged in our students, using technology like the internet and personal computers is beneficial.

Teachers should also encourage active learning, instead of passive (like lectures are >.<) and emphasize more on discovery and creative learning. Teachers should also bear in mind that learning should be a 2-way thing which is interactive and fun and not 1-way (mainly teaching>>student).

SMART school was a concept by the government as an attempt to encourage  and facilitate the use of ICT in the teaching and learning process. Schools such as these were chosen and given the privilege to be subsidized for computers in all classrooms to be used by teachers and students alike.

With such facilities, students are able to work and study independently on their own, with only minimal guidance from the teacher. Yes, the teacher is still needed to provide the teaching and the input. However, students could study at their own pace, and do extra drills and practices via computer programs and electronic interactive tasks. This promotes self-driven learning and lifelong learning as well, since students are able to gain information on virtually any topic in the world with the familiarization of computers and its applications like the internet.

This also increases the quality of the teaching and learning process as well as add variety to the delivery part of teaching. The vast available resources on the internet simply boosts the quality of learning and information.

Although many schools can afford to provide their students with computers and internet facilities, there are still many, especially in rural areas that simply do so. And of the those schools that can afford these facilities, may experience difficulties and problems in providing the space and the maintenance for it.

While learning this is class, I kept getting distracted. It was really annoying but I just could not for the life of me take my eyes off it long enough to look at Dr. Arba’at’s slides for more than 5 seconds.

My eyes kept going back to this shiny, shiny surface in the front of the lecture hall.

I think certain people might understand what (or who) I mean. :P

For those who do not understand what I am implying here, it is better for you to remain that way ! XD

Comparatively productive time during this lecture, considering how I kept getting distracted by The Shiny Thing, and the lack of sleep. :)

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Reflection #5

March 6, 2010 at 9:44 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Lecture 5.3.2010

Dr. R took over the class for this week’s lecture. It seems like such a long time since we had our last lecture. That’s because this year, coincidence or not, most of the public holidays fall on a Friday.

We talked about the definition of technology and educational technology. Technology means not just the tools like computers, or LCD projectors, but also methods, techniques and knowledge employed or used.

Previously, the style of teaching everywhere was the same –

The teacher speaks, the students listen.

But now, with technology fast advancing upon us, there are so many different ways of not only conveying teaching material but also in aiding students for searching of information on their own as well as interacting with others. Students can now encounter knowledge for themselves :)

Such variety in styles of teaching and learning is beneficial to diverse learners in our education system. Audio and visual aids are now easier to prepare and disseminate as compared to times before.

Dr. R also talked about how we can align technology with learning. Sometimes, many teachers are knowledgeable in such areas but are not aware of how the knowledge can be used to enhance students’ learning, which should forever remain a teacher’s primary concern.

Just like this blog is used as a learning tool, teachers can use WordPress blogs for students to obtain notes, exercises, further enrichment tasks, sharing and interaction between teacher and students as well as amongst themselves. WordPress has many features that seem to be advantageous for such a purpose, like being able to create categories to make things more organized, community support (among bloggers), high and effective measures against SPAM, and good comment moderation (where the owner of the blog can edit comments written by other people).

With the knowledge that we have of the use of media, as teachers we should learn to integrate it into our teaching. It can be used as an effective teaching aid that enhances students’ learning and not just teacher’s teaching.

There was a video shown by Dr. R (her son Faisal helped :P) where a certain Michael Wesch mentioned about how he had done a simple show-of-hands survey in his lecture room and more than half said that they did not like school. However, when he asked who did not like learning, no hands went up. This goes to show that the fact of the matter is,

Students are willing and anxious to learn, yet the educational institutions they are in do not seem to encourage that, or maybe the manner in which teaching and learning is conducted.

Hence, this should make us teachers realize that:

…a serious revamping of the method in which we teach needs to be done in order for us to remain current and meet the needs of this constantly evolving body of students with diverse learning styles.

One way is by integrating media and IT into teaching. Studies have shown positive results, so why not?

We should always be willing to learn and try new things out. Trial and error is the best way to go. That’s what I am doing now anyways.

What have we got to lose, except self-doubts? :)


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Reflection #4

February 5, 2010 at 11:54 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Lecture 5.2.2010

Veni, Vidi, Vici.

I came, I saw, I conquered.

Those were the words uttered by the great Julius Caesar, emperor of Rome, erm, a long long long time ago.

He was one extremely egotistical person, if you ask me. >.<

Sure, he conquered a lot of land during his time, and he is, even now, one of the most influential people in history. But, he is not that good-looking, if you ask me, contrary to what people say. Which is real sad, for his part.

If THIS is good-looking, I feel sadddd

Anyway, Major Jasmy started off with that, saying that the word ‘video’ came from the Greek word ‘vidi’ which means “I saw”.

Hm, it seems logical, now that you mention it. Videos have to do with sight and is an art (if I can say so) that manipulates light in order to view pictures and movements.

Major Jasmy then talked about the different types of video files, some of which I have seen, or heard of. But there was a whole LIST of types of video files that I had never seen before. Who knew there were so many? >.<

He lectured on the characteristics of videos, the advantages of videos as compared to photos and still pictures. There were also the four basic movements for both camera and subject:

a. Camera is static, subject moves

b. Camera is static, subject is static

c. Camera moves, subject is static

d. Camera moves, subject moves

And for each example, Major Jasmy showed us videos ! Which I love. The videos are always the fun part, and certainly does wonders in snapping a person up from a daydream and forcing one to pay attention. ‘Cause that’s what I did every time a video was played. Some were just really hilarious ! :P

Major Jasmy also talked about camera movements like zoom in and out, tilt up or down, wipe pan, pan left or right, depress or elevate, Dolly or truck in and out, and crab right or left. There are a few terms that I do not really understand. But I guess we will understand more when we try it out for ourselves, right? *crosses fingers*

He also included a bit about the lighting especially on the set of the shooting. Apparently, proper lighting is pertinent in shooting a clear and effective video. I had no idea before this that so many different types of lights were needed before shooting can even start. Here are the types of lighting that I jotted down in my notes during the lecture (aren’t I an exemplary student? *beams*):

a. Back light : to create a 3-D effect of the subjects

b. Set light : to illuminate the backdrop of the scene

c. Key light : to focus on who is speaking at the moment

d. Fill/Base light : to shine on ALL the subjects

I guess I should be doing more reading on techniques and tips in shooting a video. Then we would have more ideas when completing our group Multimedia project (which I will talk about more in the next post). Learning more about this topic will certainly be helpful in not only completing the project, but also creating the best effect possible to convey the message that we plan to convey in the video.

I feel rather excited actually. But at the same time, I feel a little overwhelmed. It feels like such a daunting task of shooting not only a well-done video, but an effective one that conveys exactly what we want to.

Add to the fact that most of us are amateurs at shooting a video, this task is going to be more than difficult. The truth is, the only time I have ever touched a video camera was during our micro-teaching (where we had to record our teaching sessions for feedback and response) and even that was the minimal. >.<

I seriously need to stop saying that I need to do something and never do it. I should instead say that I need to do something and actually do it. Like, read up on techniques for shooting videos and how to use Studio Pinnacle software for video editing.

Sigh.

LISA KWAN, stop talking so much, and get to work !


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Reflection #3

February 1, 2010 at 3:44 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Lecture 29.1.2010

Major Jasmy came in a few minutes after 8 am. And, as usual started off the lecture without any delay or fuss (some pointers that we future teachers should take note of).

This lecture was focused more on photography. It is an interesting topic, for sure. :)

I have always admired photographers. My interest in photography however, is merely as a spectator. I do not think that personally, I would ever take up photography. Not because I am not interested, possibly more because I do not think I have the talent (nor the $$$) for it.

Wouldn't it be cool if I could do something like THIS? ;)

I often stare wide-eyed and amazed at pictures taken by shutterbug friends. They produce such beautiful pictures, especially those of natural landscapes. It is simply wonderful that photography is able to capture a single moment in time on film and preserve it forever for a very long time. :)

There was the introduction of the types of cameras, the types of lenses etc. What does photography mean, as well as the purposes and benefits of photography being incorporated as an interesting and educational tool for teaching. There was also all the photography jargon (eg. DSLR, SLR etc.) which was foreign and alien to me although I have heard some of those terms before.

On the whole, photography is certainly an interesting area to explore especially regarding the aspects of how it can be used to better enhance the teaching and learning process.

I guess, as an educational tool, it is not necessary to spend thousands of ringgit on equipment for a wide-lens camera or those underwater ones. A basic understanding of photography and how it works should be sufficient. Photographs taken can be used as non-electronic teaching aids that are more meaningful for students. In fact, students can be asked to take photos for themselves as part of an activity for any lesson.

If I were the student, I would feel pretty excited about the whole thing. I guess anything that doesn’t require me to just sit on my rear end and offer my full utmost attention for an hour or so would be very much welcome. It seems rather fun to do ! :P

Anyhow, I cannot wait for our field trip for photography, which Major Jasmy says we will soon have. I hope I will be able to learn some new things there and be smart enough to know how to use it in the future !

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Reflection #2

January 22, 2010 at 8:43 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Lecture 22.1.2010

Today’s lecture was finally in a place where I could put my elbows up on the table and not hit the person sitting beside me. :)

I was there ten minutes before the class started, nice and early, because Major Jasmy had already requested us not to be late for his lectures, with certain consequences to follow should we be late for lecture for more than fifteen minutes. And when someone with the title “Major” (indicating military background, I presume) tells you something like that, you know he is not joking. >.<

Major Jasmy came in on the dot, and started the lecture without any delay – with a video :)

The video was funny, poking fun at female drivers and how they are apparently bad at it. There were claps from the guys, and scoffs from the girls, myself included. But it was all in good fun, though. None of us were really offended.

One thing is for sure: it definitely caught our attention :)

The content of the lecture, however, was rather dry. There were a lot of definitions, and theories and procedures and models with all sorts of acronyms. The ASSURE Model, ADDIE Model, ICARE Model, PIE Model, ARCS Model etc. (Proves I was paying attention, doesn’t it? :P) And these are only those I managed to catch. There are plenty more, I assure you. Yikes. >.<

Thankfully, at every ten to fifteen minutes or so, Major Jasmy would show us a video or two to better illustrate his point. We would all watch the videos, clearly interested. Until the video ended, of course. Which was unfortunate, because we would lose the whole point he was trying to illustrate in the first place. :)

One video though, I remember. It was a documentary video including interviews from teachers of Special Children in a SKPK school in Penang. They showed the children in the classroom, Down Syndrome kids, slow learners, the blind. It was heart-warming to see these children even able to perform simple tasks like feeding themselves, independently.

Then, there was this one child. He was blind; had some deformity in his eyes. But he sang like an angel. I could catch a few phrases that he sung in his mother tongue, first about a burung pipit, and then about his beloved teacher Cikgu Wan, whom he described in his song as sangat cantik.

That brought me to tears. I had to hold them back as Major Jasmy continued on with his lecture. But I think I would always remember his sweet innocent face, and his husky little voice. It inspired me. :)

Oh, and I remembered the point that Major Jasmy was trying to make by showing us that video. That children need to do, to remember and learn, rather than just see or hear.

Which goes to show that using videos as a teaching aid in the classroom does help the learning process if used appropriately. :)

I seriously enjoyed today’s lecture. There was a bit of everything – humour, laughter, knowledge and a few tears. :)

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Reflection #1 (cont)

January 22, 2010 at 5:56 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Ahhhh. Had an intriguing, thought-provoking (and confusing ! >.<) Literature tutorial, a nice lunch, a (kinda) productive group discussion and a short nap earlier.

Now, back to business.

About Lecture 15.1.2010:

Dr. R’s son, Faisal (who studies in Adelaide yo !) was also there again to help. Dr. R showed us 2 more videos as examples of what we could come up with for our group project. The two videos wowed me just as much as the previous ones she had shown us.

My gosh.

Will I ever be able to do something like that?

*mutters to self* Positive thinking positive thinking positive thinking…..

Pfft. I’m sure I should be able to do something like that by the end of this course. Whoohooo~

Anyways, the 2 examples shown to us were really interesting. While the one themed around friendship had certain cool effects (like the moving calendar), the second video made a bigger impact on me.

The second video not only had a more heart-warming theme of the plea of the Palestinians, but also had very emotive-provoking music. The most amazing thing about this second video was that it consisted entirely of still pictures put together and words. There was not even any narration. I felt touched by the video, just through the pictures and the music that was played.

I guess what really matters is not how canggih your technology is, but rather, really knowing the message you want to convey, the usage of striking, effective pictures, and appropriate music.

I loved the music used in the video. There was this booming beat in the background of the music that made my heart thump at the same time. Which was not odd considering the message of war and terror that was shown in the pictures as well. From this video, I can learn that it is extremely important for your music to match your pictures. Besides that, towards the end, there was also a wailing-siren effect that was perfect in depicting the utter chaos and emergency, desperation, anguish and suffering of the Palestinian people during such tragic times.

I guess you can tell I liked the second video better. :)

This tells me that to produce such a well-done video such as that, although only using still pictures, requires a lot of planning. You must know your message, select not just any okay-music, but music that must be perfectly matched with your message and pictures in order to create the best effect, to carry your message through.

I know this is really tough, but it is not impossible.

Positive thinking positive thinking positive thinking.

I can do this. I just need to start planning from now. :)

Aja aja !


p.s: Do you see my signature? Isn’t it pretty? I like it :)

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Reflection #1

January 22, 2010 at 9:54 AM (Uncategorized) ()

Lecture 15.1.2010

Oops. I guess this reflection is waaayyyy overdue. >.<

Lecture was still in GM2, which was less of a problem this week as compared to the previous week. It seems that there were less people in the room. Turned out (yes, I was one of those people who found out later >.<) that Dr. Rosseni had actually posted on her blog requesting those who already had WordPress blogs, or were familiar with them, to not attend the lecture that week, just to alleviate the human traffic a bit.

And it worked ! I felt like there was more space to breathe :)

During the lecture, Dr. Rosseni talked about using WordPress. There were links to WordPress tutorials on her blog as well. But I have not had the chance to look at them yet.

I have opened a WordPress account and fiddled with some stuff. Here and there. That’s got to count for something right? (I hope)

That’s where Dr. Rosseni (I think I’ll call her Dr. R from now on, just to make my typing easier, AND it also sounds more mysterious, don’t you think? :P) mentioned about the Box.net file sharing widget which we could use to upload documents (like her on her blog) or pictures and videos and music files.

Whichhhhhhhhh in my previous post, I mentioned having problems with. Argh.

I haven’t fixed it yet, but not to worry, oh my non-existent readers ! I shall have it up-and-running soon enough ! And then you’ll be able to view some pictures I have of our TESL Year 2 group having some awesome fun !!! :)

I saw the Meebo chat on Dr. R’s blog. Which made me want to have one as well. Although hers is definitely more for discussion purposes, I guess mine is just so I can chat with people. Or just so my blog sidebar does not look so empty. *teehee*

Ooh. And one more thing that I am extremely jealous of Dr. R’s blog is her tabs at the top of her blog page. You know, those different pages like “About” and “Tutorials” and “Why I Love Teaching”?

I can’t do it ! :(

I’ve even written a pretty inspiring piece (if I say so myself :P) about why I chose the teaching profession. However, I am unable to put it up as a page. So how do people get to view it?

Googling the “How to Make Tabs On WordPress” reveals that I will have to fiddle with the html codes for my blog.

Needless to say, all I saw were stars ! @.@

Plussssssssss

Dr. R’s blog is wide-page. I want mine like that too. But how do I do it?

I better start finding out instead of whining away.

Oops. Off to Literature class now. Will continue later ! :)

TTFN !

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