Immersed in the Digital: Networked Creativity through Mobile Video Production

Keegan, Helen (2010) Immersed in the Digital: Networked Creativity through Mobile Video Production. [Video]

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Summary of the context of the video, and its purpose: Rather than video developed for consumption by students, this application relates to the use of video produced by students in an a challenging and active learning experience. Audio and Video Technology students were asked to make short films using the devices in their pockets, i.e. their mobile phones. Students assumptions about film-making practice were challenged, they widened their thinking/repertoire, and gained an appreciation for the potential of short-form content to engage - they had a tendency to equate high end equipment with quality (HD movies), and ubiquitous technologies with frivolity (YouTube funnies). They explored the crossover between technologies and genres and developed new techniques as a result of the technical constraints of the medium, having to ‘think outside the box’, and develop skills in the production of ‘user-generated content’ (complementing their professional practice which focuses on high production values). How does a learning activity that requires students to switch roles and ‘technology genres’ (medium specificity), and challenges their core disciplinary assumptions, help them learn more about the practice of their discipline and the changing context in which they will practice? At first, the students were resistant to the idea of creating mobile phone films as many of the (technical and narrative) techniques ran counter-cultural to the predominant disciplinary culture. Once the students began to work on the films, they discovered a whole range of innovative and imaginative techniques that could be used with small handheld devices that they wouldn’t be able to do with normal video cameras. They learned through discontinuity by, having to rethink their practice and turning constraints into opportunities. Students worked in groups and produced 8 videos, 3 are described here: FILM SOUND FOUND - Influenced by musique concrete composers like Pierre Schaeffer and the sampling ethos of bands like the Art of Noise and Coldcut. The group recorded footage of music and noise on their mobiles from a series of events and locations. Audio from the video clips was sampled into a sound library and then manipulated to create new track. The track was then imported back into the video editing programme and the original video clips were synched to the audio - essentially the video clips were cut up and re-pasted to make a collage of organised sound. THE MOVE - "The Move" pieces together the story of a murder. The majority of the movie is comprised of videophone footage shot by the two murderers of their benign activities (presented as police evidence) and it doesn't become apparent that they are planning to murder until the last act. The film offers a different perspective on the dark-sider side of UGC, showing how mobile phone technology can be used to record and capture acts of evil. 3MP DESPERADOS - This is a film about a man (Arthur) who is addicted to his mobile phone, becoming increasingly detached from his friends and his environment until he is actually absorbed into his phone. Once his friend realises what has happened, he tries every means at his disposal to get Arthur out of the phone.... As evidenced above, some of the students took a critical look at mobile technologies, e.g. exploring the dark side of mobile recording devices/addiction to technology; others used their mobile phones film capture truly engaging, authentic footage, while others used the phones in unexpected, alternative ways developing a range of innovative techniques (attaching phone to revolving door, walking through city with phone on high pole, putting phone inside a glass which went inside a fishbowl, taping phone to record to video DJ scratching from deck perspective etc.). The project enhanced learning by allowing the students to challenge their usual practice and explore mobile film-making as an emerging genre. This active, experiential learning video-based project was highly digital and networked; students used wikis for all aspects of project management, technical analysis and final reporting, accompanied by online photo journals (Flickr) which gave an insight into the entire process. The films were also uploaded to YouTube and presented in class (mini film-festival). Assignments were submitted as QR codes, leading to the work online. Through using multiple media across a range of open platforms the students immersed themselves in the technologies as mobile and networked learners and content producers. Institutionally – and further afield - this project has raised awareness of the creative potential of consumer technologies and the benefits of UGC creation as way for students to create open content which can be repurposed for others. We are now transferring this approach across disciplines and faculties in a university-wide drive to establish innovative digital curricula, and staff in other universities are now following our approach. The student experience was evaluated through focus groups, interviews and questionnaires. The response was overwhelmingly positive; after initial scepticism at the project brief (which moved the focus away from high production values) the evaluation showed that they appreciated the extended scope for creativity and imagination as they developed their work beyond the constraints of conventional practice. They also welcomed the ‘new way of working’, which allowed them to connect, collaborate and present across multiple platforms. The project has had a huge impact on the students. Not only have they developed a digital/networked mindset and workflow, but this project seems to have had a transformative effect on the way they think about themselves as media consumers/producers on the mobile web. Their final films were highly praised at a recent TEDx conference by Hugh Garry (BBC Content Producer who delivered a masterclass to the group), who praised their breadth and range (see - go to 21:45), which is a real boost for the students. They generated public video content in an experiential and social learning activity situated in a technological context that was simultaneously accessible, motivating and engaging. By challenging their assumptions about film-making through creating engaging content using the devices in their pockets, the learners accepted alternative approaches and developed an openness to rethinking their practice as a result of technological shifts – easing their transition from education to industry through encouraging a transformation in mindset which is ideally suited to lifelong learning in an rapidly changing world.

Item Type: Video
Additional Information: Finalist of the ALT/Epigeum Award for Most Effective Use of Video 2010.
Uncontrolled Keywords: mobile video learning teaching pedagogy discontinuity transformation transformative genre technology digital
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Awards and Competitions > Epigeum Award for the Most Effective Use of Video
Depositing User: Users 185 not found.
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2010 14:11
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2011 08:23

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