Spark a movie?

This week I decided to look into something that has been talked about a lot in class: iMovie.

I know, I know. How original. I’ve never used it before and didn’t know I had it on my iPad. On a whim, I looked through my apps and lo and behold, I had iMovie.

So I decided to give it a go:

I tried to replicate the video on Adobe Spark (using the app on my iPad) and was instantly frustrated. I have nothing to show for my half hour attempt at using the app. Maybe it just wasn’t meant for doing that? I’ll have to try it using a different idea.

I found iMovie incredibly easy to use, though I just used their trailer function. I think it created a polished, cohesive product that was quick and intuitive to do.

I think I can use iMovie to create my module, though I don’t think I’ll use the trailer aspect, but create from scratch.

Fingers crossed it works!


I admit it. I’m biased.

Those colds I wrote about last week? Through some bizarre twist of biology, they’ve morphed into stomach flu. 0/10 do not recommend.

Source: Giphy

I am approaching this week’s blog entry with a large amount of bias: I am an English teacher. I teach “text”.

But, as I tell my students, text means a whole lot of things. According to the English Language Arts Curriculum, a text is:

…any form of communication, whether oral, written, visual, or multimedia (including digital media), that constitutes a coherent, identifiable unit or artefact (e.g., poem, poster, conversation, model) with a definable communicative function. It refers to printed communications in their varied forms; oral communicating, including conversations, speeches, dramatizations; and visual communications such as illustrations, video, and computer displays.

So when Bates classifies “text” as simply print media, I’m working against my prior knowledge.

Source: QuotesWave

However, I am intimately familiar with text, as Bates describes it. My first love is reading. I have read thousands of books, stories, poems, plays. Books are my one true love (sorry, Nathan). Books are the reason I pursued an English degree and am currently teaching English. What better job is there than to teach what you love?

To hear my mother describe it, I began reading at two years old. Apparently, I had Dr Seuss’s A Great Day for Up memorized.

But that creates an interesting juxtaposition: I had memorized through audio rather than print. Hm.

Source: Momfilter

My first “real” chapter books were my mother’s copies of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, which introduced me to all kinds of colloquialisms like jalopy and dungarees. These were quite frequently mispronounced by me, which created never ending laughter for my parents. Again, the juxtaposition of audio and print. Hm.

As for auditory, I’ve begun listening to podcasts while on maternity leave, just to have some noise and other adult voices. Stuff You Should Know is a current favourite of mine. Lots of interesting things to hear, but like Sarah, I find I don’t learn anything. It’s too easy to tune out because there’s no reinforcement of the material, as Bates discusses. Sure hearing about the origins of quinoa is interesting, but do I remember anything from it? Nope.

Another juxtaposition of audio and text. I’m noticing a pattern…

Source: Open Clip Art

So then, what about video? I love video. I’m a frequent purveyor of YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video etc. But what I find is that more often than not, I have subtitles turned on. I find it easy to understand what is going on when I can see and hear what is happening. Maybe that speaks more for my advancing age than anything else, but another piece of the pattern: audio and visual and text. Hm.

And we reach computing. It seems to be the amalgamation of all of the above media: “it can combine the pedagogical characteristics of text, audio, video and computing in an integrated manner” (Bates, 2015, 7.5.4). Seems like the perfect solution, no?

Yes and no. I do spend a lot of my (non-maternity leave) days on a computer, interacting with audio, video, and text, whether researching content for a class, modeling, or just exploring. However, using a computing method of teaching/learning requires due diligence and constant double checking.

Is that awesome website still up? No?!

Finally, social media. Ah, yes. The boon and bane of my existence. I use social media for, well, everything. I crowdsource questions, communicate with my parents who live 3000km away and keep up with the news (today’s Reddit is tomorrow’s Facebook). I really enjoy the collaborative atmosphere of social media and it combines a lot of the previous media. It almost seems a culmination of the other media.


Again, it has its drawbacks, as it can be a time suck and disseminate false information as truth (fake news), as well as create hostile spaces. It takes a bit of teaching and learning in order to use it well and effectively.

But that’s the same with any of the other types of media: they take time to learn thoroughly.

So, to conclude, all of these types of media are intimately linked together, through one way or another. All of that validates the definition of text from the curriculum: it is all this and more.

Source: Giphy

If you’ve read this far, thanks.


I leave you with a question: how do you decide which type of media to use?

Crash course in Crash Courses

I’m writing a little later in the week than anticipated (thank you, cold. Everyone, even the baby, is sick. It’s truly a magical time) but I’m so glad I did!

Source: Imgflip

Reading through classmate’s blogs has been super informative this week. I especially appreciate the blog posts on the creation aspect of this past week. It really helped alleviate my (usual) procrastination about end-of-semester projects.

Liz looked at iMovie, which I have been contemplating for my project, as I’m on leave and don’t have a laptop, but I have my own iPad. I really glad to see the pros and cons of using that program.

Twana and Stephanie both blogged about Adobe Spark, which is another program I’ve been wanting to try out, potentially for the summary of learning. Their reviews definitely convinced me to try it out.

This week, I didn’t focus on the creation part, but the learning part. Like Andrew, the Crash Courses intrigued me.

In doing some cursory research, I found out that Crash Courses are actually partnered with PBS and Khan Academy.

Screen Grab: PBS
Screen Grab: Khan Academy

Which is kind of cool, because it adds validity to their content because it has presumably been vetted by these partner companies.

I decided to watch a couple videos on Hamlet as that’s what my module will focus on.

I found the videos really informative and accurate, which is good for students looking to confirm their knowledge and to expand on information about the play they were unsure of. As well, the production value is WAY beyond my budget, both talent-wise, time-wise, and money-wise. But that’s good. It’s much more entertaining than I can be (some days).

Source: Vancity Buzz

But, I found that it went so. fast. Like super fast. I was looking for the subtitles and the rewind button constantly. I feel that a script or watching (and re-watching) segments would be the best way to tackle this as I found it too much to ingest all at once. I would feel that I am also really putting my EAL kids at a disadvantage because of the speed.

Source: Vancity Buzz

Overall, though, I really like the format because I think it appeals to students, especially after they find out he’s the author of The Fault in Our Stars (Okay? Okay.) (and many more)

Source: Vancity Buzz

And yes, that’s good.