Category Archives: film

Don’t forget TED for teaching

Engagement in the middle years of school may well be an oxymoron.

This was recently confirmed for me when starting off a year 9 class of boys in their research for an effective speaking competition. We gave them a brief: talk about an event which has had a significant impact on society or has stood out in history.

Hmmm….  reading long chunks of text wasn’t something they were going to do willingly, especially during the last period of the day. What about videos? Yes, miraculously focus was rediscovered, and the boys managed to maintain their concentration for almost an hour as they browsed the list of videos I’d prepared.

Fact known by all: young people respond well to information presented in video format.

That’s why TED is such a great teaching tool. I forget about it sometimes, but really, there’s so much information to spark thinking, discussion and debate.

Today the TED blog recommended the childish thinking playlist.

Today’s playlist is about kids and their brains, which hold the dreams and possibilities of our future. How can we teach them … and how can we learn from them?

TED recommends, amongst other videos,  Adora Svitak, who makes the case that grownups have lots to learn from “childish” thinking — creativity, audacity, open-mindedness.

Here’s another one:

Who are the leaders of tomorrow? Joachim de Posada shows how to find them — with a marshmallow

Dave Eggers thinks like a child to create a massively popular after-school tutoring club — starring pirates, superheroes, time travel …

Then you’re invited to share your favorite stories about kids in the TEDTalks archive –

Add your suggestions for this playlist to the comments below, or email contact@ted.com with the subject PLAYLIST: KIDS. (Jog your memory with the TEDTalks spreadsheet.)

A brilliant way to share best TED content within a theme.

The spreadsheet is seriously informative, and lists the name of the TED talk, the speaker, a short summary, duration of video and publishing date. Very nice. I really like seeing, at a glance, the shorter videos because they are often just what I’m looking for to show students.

I found Sirena Huang, an 11 year old prodigy on violin, playing beautifully and talking about her instrument.

TED’s format is satisfying, providing biography and links, as well as transcript. Excellent for teaching purposes. It also provides relevant websites, you can bookmark the speaker on the site if you like, and you also get a list of related speakers and themes.

I think I should plan to use TED in teaching regularly.

Has anyone used TED talks in teaching? Would you like to share your experiences?

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Filed under 21st century learning, Education, film, media, teaching

Is our own education system like Hogwarts?

Is it just me or is this scene reminiscent of our own education systems?

From now on you’ll be following a carefully structured, ministry approved course.

I can’t imagine why you’d need to use spells in my classroom; you’ll be learning in a secure, risk-free environment.

What use is that when we’re going to be attacked? It won’t be risk free.

It is the view of The Ministry that a theoretical knowledge will be sufficient to get you through your examinations which, after all, is what school is all about.

And how is theory supposed to prepare us for what’s out there?

There is nothing out there!

See the parallels with our own school system, specifically with regard to preparing our students for the digital age?

Who’s still saying

There’s nothing out there?

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Filed under 21st century learning, Education, film

Who needs to learn first?

Amanda Marrinan shared this video on Facebook today – Kevin Honeycutt’s song I need my teacher to learn 3.0.

Yes, I think the learning needs to start with us. Thanks, Kevin, you’re amazing – doing so much to make real learning happen and sharing it with all of us. Not sure how he manages to find enough hours in the day. And thanks, Amanda, for finding the video.

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Filed under 21st century learning, film, learning, teachers

People are brilliant

Long school holidays have given me the time to browse online to my heart’s content. I’m overwhelmed by the constant stream of what everyone is reading, writing, thinking, commenting, asking, creating and sharing. How would I know about any of these things otherwise? I wouldn’t.

Examples of people’s creativity are shared online all the time. I love the way technology combines with basic skills like drawing and paper folding in this video. The creator of the following animation describes this as ‘a shot at animating the old flip book’.

I can’t upload the video so here’s the link.

parkour motion reel from saggyarmpit on Vimeo.

Thanks to @mizminh

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Filed under animation, art, creativity, film, Interesting

Alice in Wonderland trailer

This is cross-posted from my other blog, Fiction is like a box of chocolates.

Directed by Tim Burton (famous for Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare before Christmas, and Charlie and the chocolate factory) and starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland, due out early 2010 (March 5), has already sparked interest from film-goers who have enjoyed a recent spate of fantasy films, such as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Narnia series, to mention a few.

Out of all these, Alice in Wonderland is arguably the strangest story, playing around with logic, celebrating nonsense and absurb characters, many of them animals. But how many people know that the original story, Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, was written in 1865 by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the author better known as Lewis Carroll.

 Arthur Rackham’s illustration250px-Rackham_Alice

What child (or adult) can resist a story which allows the reader to escape the boredom of daily life by escaping down a rabbit hole, and enter into a world of crazy characters. Did you know that early Alice fans included Queen Victoria and the young Oscar Wilde?

Proof of the popularity of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland  is the fact that it has never been out of print, with over a hundred editions, as well as different theatre and film versions.

The film versions of Alice often mix the original story of The adventures of Alice in Wonderland with the sequel Alice through the looking glass. Characters like Twiddledee and Twiddledum, Humpty Dumpty and Jabberwock are actually from the sequel, but are often included in the original story in films.

The setting, Wonderland, has inspired the imagination of many. One of the novels written after the TV series, Dr Who, was called Wonderland. There are many songs called Wonderland, including the one by Simply Red. There are numerous amusement parks called Wonderland, including the one in Sydney which my family used to enjoy, and which is now, unfortunately, closed (sob).

Did you know that Alice has also been used in the field of medicine? There is a neurological condition called Alice in Wonderland syndrome, also known as Todd’s syndrome, in which things seem larger or smaller than they really are.

Comics have also been influenced by Alice. The supervillain of the Batman comics, The Mad Hatter, for example. And on TV, the seventh season of The Simpsons included references to the Alice story.

There are many phrases from Alice that have been used in popular culture. How many times has the phrase ‘Off with her head!’ been repeated? And what about ‘we’re all mad here’ spoken by the Cheshire Cat? Another often repeated phrase is the one uttered by Alice when she started growing after trying the cake labelled ‘Eat me’ – ‘curiouser and curiouser’.

Not everybody liked the book. Fantasy writer, Terry Pratchett, didn’t like it at all. And in 1931, it was banned in Hunan, China, because it put animals and humans on the same level, and especially because animals used human language, which was apparently unacceptable!

And who hasn’t read and enjoyed the nonsense poem, Jabberwocky, found in Alice through the looking glass, considered by some to be the greatest nonsense poem in the English language?

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

If you’d like to read Alice’s adventures in Wonderland online, click here.

Have a look at the Disney website for Alice in Wonderland.

Or why don’t you just read the book?

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Filed under Children's books, film

The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello

Love science fiction? Watch this.

The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello is an amazing, award-winning short animated film which has been nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA award. The silhouette-style science fiction animation has been developed by director Anthony Lucas, and the story has been inspired by Edgar Alan Poe and Jules Verne. What a combination! 

Quiet Earth gives a synopsis:

 In the frontier city of Carpathia, Jasper Morello discovers that his former adversary Doctor Claude Belgon has returned from the grave. When Claude reveals that he knows the location of the ancient city of Alto Mea where the secrets of life have been discovered, Jasper cannot resist the temptation to bring his own dead wife Amelia back. But they are captured by Armand Forgette, leader of the radical Horizontalist anti-technology movement, who is determined to reanimate his terrorist father Vasco. As lightning energises the arcane machineries of life in the floating castle of Alto Mea, Jasper must choose between having his beloved restored or seeing the government of Gothia destroyed. Set in a world of iron dirigibles and steam powered computers, this gothic horror mystery tells the story of Jasper Morello, a disgraced aerial navigator who flees his Plague-ridden home on a desperate voyage to redeem himself.

The whole film goes for 26 minutes. A great example of steampunk. I’m impressed by how simple animation, silhouette black on white, can evoke such a strong atmosphere and setting. All those dark, heavy machines flying around reminded me of the black hawk helicopters which have been training over my house in the dark without lights. Shiver.

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Filed under animation, creativity, film

Is Twitter a search engine?

Still in Friday night mode, I give you this and ask:

Is Twitter a search engine?

 

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Filed under film, networking, technology, Web 2.0